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WGN poll: Vallas still stuck at 46, but Johnson still trailing

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’d much rather be Vallas than Johnson at this point, but the frontrunner can’t seem to get over the hump despite outspending Johnson 2-1, unless people are lying to the pollsters…

…Adding… Important point from Emerson

When undecided voters are asked which candidate they lean toward, and the vote is accounted for, Vallas’ lead over Johnson increases to six points, 53% to 47%.

Oof. There it is.

* More…

* As we all saw last year, crime has been the top issue in Chicago for quite a while now…

* Interesting

Six in 10 voters (61%) feel there is more crime in Chicago today than there was a year ago, while just 8% feel there is less crime.

When asked who they trust more to handle the issue, a majority (54%) chose Vallas. 38% of likely voters say they trust Johnson to handle crime, while just 9% trust both equally.

Both men have made their backgrounds in education a major selling point on the campaign trail. When asked who they trust more to handle education in Chicago, 48% of those polled picked Paul Vallas, 41% trust Brandon Johnson, and 11% trust both equally.

Regarding city finances, 50% trust Vallas’ vision, 37% trust Johnson.

If crime is the number one issue, and voters trust Vallas 54-38 over Johnson on that issue, then that is horrible news for Johnson’s campaign.

* Johnson has to do a lot better than this with Black voters or he’s doomed…

* Vallas’ favorable rating is 56 and his unfavorables are 36. Johnson’s fave/unfave is 53-40. So, Vallas has the edge there as well.

* More from Emerson

“Of those who feel there is more crime in Chicago than there was a year ago, 59% are voting for Vallas and 27% Johnson,” Kimball noted. “Of those who think there is the same amount of crime, 60% plan to support Johnson and 27% Vallas.”

* Crosstabs are here.

* The Hill

The data, however, reveals a stark demographic divide in the mayoral runoff; 58 percent of young voters — those between 18 and 24 years old — favor Johnson, while Vallas performs better among voters 50 and over, drawing 52 percent support.

And men are also leaning toward Vallas, with 52 percent saying they plan to vote for him over Johnson. Women, meanwhile, are more evenly split; forty-three percent say they’re backing Johnson, while 41 percent are supporting Vallas.

Seems obvious that Johnson has to solidify his support among Black voters and lock down more votes from women in order to win this thing.


Afternoon roundup

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* What the heck is going on with higher ed? Three?…

* Illinois Freedom Caucus…

The Illinois Freedom Caucus held a press conference today at a location across from of a proposed site of a new abortion clinic in Danville and called out the far left’s pro-abortion advocacy.

“The people of Danville don’t want an abortion clinic in their community,” said State Representative Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich). “My office has received numerous phone calls from people upset by what is happening in their own backyard. There seems to be an effort to bring abortion clinics to parts of Illinois that are overwhelmingly pro-life just to make a point. The far-left has moved far beyond merely making abortion legal. They have become abortion advocates.”

State Rep. Brad Halbrook said what is needed in downstate Illinois is a solution to the doctor shortage in rural areas.

“What we need in downstate Illinois is more doctors – not abortion providers,” Halbrook said. “We have a physician shortage issue in rural Illinois and the far-left’s solution is akin to a mechanic changing the tires to fix a fuel pump. The physician shortage is real. People often have to drive long distances just to get routine tests and basic medical services. We should be addressing the physician shortages instead of opening more abortion clinics.”

The intent of the clinics being built in rural counties is not to address the health concerns of Illinois residents but to capture the growing number of out of state abortions being performed in Illinois. Nearly one-third of all abortions in 2022 involved women not from Illinois. Prior to the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, only about 6 percent of abortions at Illinois clinics involved women from out of state. Women from 31 different states had abortions in Illinois last year.

“The proliferation of abortion clinics in Illinois is not about improving healthcare for Illinois citizens – it is about trying to bring more women from other states to Illinois to have abortions,” said State Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City). “The explosion of abortion clinics in Illinois is about making money. Abortion is the most protected industry in Illinois. The State of Illinois is actively working to shut down power plants which is increasing energy costs and leaving working people without a job. Working people don’t get these protections. Abortion providers in Illinois get proclamations from the Governor recognizing them. They get immunity from lawsuits. These clinics don’t have to live up to the same standards as regular ambulatory surgical centers. If you are in the abortion business, Illinois will roll out the red carpet. Illinois is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.”

State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland) said the celebration of abortion in Illinois such as Gov. JB Pritzker’s absurd Abortion Provider Appreciation Day proclamation is grotesque political pandering.

“No longer is it enough to merely keep abortion providers open for business in Illinois, but apparently all must bend the knee in humble submission to the sacred sacrament of abortion,” Miller said. “JB Pritzker’s proclamation trivializes the very serious challenges for women facing an unwanted pregnancy. Where is the compassion for these women who believe the only choice they have is to sentence their unborn child to death? If pro-abortion advocates were really ‘pro-choice,’ they would recognize the seriousness of the choice rather than minimizing it. The cartoonish efforts to use abortion and women as props for Pritzker’s laughable presidential aspirations is insulting and disrespectful to women facing the emotional stress of unwanted pregnancies.”

The Illinois Freedom Caucus is comprised of State Representatives Chris Miller (R-Oakland), chairman; Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), vice-chairman; Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich); Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville); Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur); Jed Davis (R-Newark) and David Friess (R-Red Bud). The members of the Illinois Freedom Caucus are members of the Illinois General Assembly who are advocating for limited government, lower taxes and accountability and integrity in government.

* Johnson press release…

Chicago-based, multi-Grammy-award winning band Wilco endorsed Brandon Johnson for mayor.

In a video recorded ahead of their show at the Riviera Theatre, Wilco’s lead vocalist and Chicago native Jeff Tweedy said “we just want to let you know, this is the guy we’re voting for: Brandon Johnson. Be sure to do it before April 4th, do it right now.”

“Wilco started out via Chicago, and has ended up touring across the world, becoming a testament that if you can do it in Chicago, you can do it anywhere,” said Brandon Johnson. “This endorsement is a real shot in the arm for our movement.”

Johnson’s campaign has continued to build momentum in recent weeks, earning new endorsements from several members of Congress, unions, progressive organizations, and community leaders across Chicago since entering the run-off.

* Sen. Ventura…

State Senator Rachel Ventura partnered with DePaul University to create a new legislative internship uniquely catered to incarcerated individuals at the Stateville Correctional Center.

The new program will allow either a Senator or Representative to interview a select few individuals at the Stateville prison to be a legislative intern for a semester. At the end of the program, the legislator will provide them with a grade and they would receive college credits for their participation. Ventura spearheaded this new program and has interviewed three potential candidates.

“As I interviewed the candidates and heard their stories and aspirations, I knew this program would be beneficial for not only the student but also the communities they will return to,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Giving a voice to the voiceless ensures we have balanced and fair legislation that has a positive impact for all.”

Stateville has a number of other programs within its facility including education, job training and restorative justice programs - however this program would be the first of its kind.

“As a society we are coming to better understand the difficulties that formerly incarcerated people often experience when reentering society,” said Dr. Susan Burgess, the Internship Coordinator for the Department of Political Science at DePaul University. “The opportunities that Senator Ventura is providing by opening up internship placements in partnership with DePaul University’s Department of Political Science will give men from Stateville much needed experience and the beginnings of a professional network as they prepare to reenter.”

Ventura has helped spearhead this program alongside DePaul University and other Illinois legislators.

“Many of the men incarcerated at Stateville have spent years improving themselves, pursuing higher education, and cultivating expertise in law and public policy,” said Representative Will Guzzardi. “Their lived experience with our criminal legal system and their extensive knowledge of policy-making will provide invaluable contributions to our office.”

Ventura will pick her candidate of choice in the upcoming week and the new internship will begin thereafter. The student will be researching legislation and providing a unique perspective.

“Stateville Correctional Center is proud to partner with State Senator Ventura and DePaul University on this new offering. The Department and Stateville will continue to provide all available resources to ensure individuals in our custody have educational opportunities at every level. This program will uplift the voices of each participant and enhance their sense of hope, self-worth, and confidence in preparation for community reentry,” said Warden Charles Truitt.

Within this program, they will submit weekly summaries to DePaul and suggested legislation changes to the Senator or Representative. Stateville houses a full law library for their usage as the individual will not have access to constituent records nor the internet.

* Today is March 27th, so some of these numbers are 18 days old. That’s way out of date. SJ-R

A Cor Strategies poll on the Springfield mayor’s race puts challenger Misty Buscher up by two percentage points over incumbent Mayor Jim Langfelder with a week to go before the April 4 consolidated election.

The poll was based on a survey of 510 registered voters in Springfield conducted from March 9-12.

The poll gives Buscher, the current city treasurer, 39% and Langfelder 37% with 25% undecided.

A Chicago mayoral poll was shopped around over the weekend, but it was also hopelessly out of date.

* Have a look at the thread and tell us what you think

…Adding… Press release…

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton today announced she will join the Reproductive Freedom Coalition (RFC), a group of Lieutenant Governors and Second-In-Commands from 22 states and territories. They are united in their dedication to protect and broaden paths to reproductive rights and ensure equitable access to health care for all.

“This coalition is needed now more than ever, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “There is a destructive movement in full swing in this country, hammering away at the rights that give people independence and a sense of wellbeing.”

Right now, more than a dozen states have banned or severely restricted abortions. And there is legal action that seeks to block or limit abortion medication that has been used safely for years. Members of the Reproductive Freedom Coalition will stand on the frontlines, fighting against legislation and policies that harm while advocating for laws that protect reproductive rights.

“I expect my daughters to have more rights than I had, not fewer,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “We cannot go back. Future generations will be shaped by what we do today. Our states can and must lead the way, that’s why in Illinois we fight back.”

* Isabel’s roundup…


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Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Your feel-good story for today

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* We have a national champion in our midst

When it opened the NJCAA Division I Tournament Tuesday as the No. 1 seed, [John A. Logan Community College] was 0-4 all-time in the tournament.

When its bench stampeded the floor after time expired Saturday, the Volunteers had the period to end all sentences.

A come-from-behind 73-70 win over No. 7 Northwest Florida State in Hutchinson Sports Arena gave Logan its first national title and a season-ending 31-game winning streak. And it made a prophet out of leading scorer Curt Lewis.

“Defense and free throws,” he said. “That’s what we said it would come down to.”

That’s basically what allowed the Vols (33-2) to overcome a cold shooting day – they were 26 of 78 from the floor, 4 of 20 on 3-pointers – and cut down the nets. Logan also took 19 more shots than the Raiders (29-8), a critical advantage in a one-possession game.


The Vols conclude their season with a 33-2 overall record, winning an astounding 31 games in a row to the end the season.


“I think this is a big deal to both the college and to Southern Illinois,” [Scott Wernsman, Asssociate Dean of Career and Technical Education at Logan] said. “A lot of people don’t realize the quality of basketball that comes through our gymnasium and the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.” […]

Vols head coach Tyler Smithpeters said he is thankful for the support shown by the school and SI community. […]

“I don’t really know how to put it into words when it comes to winning a national championship in my first year as a head coach. I don’t do much. It’s more our players. I stand on the sideline. I’m just happy for them.”


Question of the day

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Bill Flick

Question: A difference in the times? When Illinois State Normal University admitted its first two Black children to its lab school in 1877, how did the Illinois governor react?

Answer: Aghast, saying the state’s universities could not condone such integration, Gov. Shelby M. Cullom wanted to close the university. Fortunately, leveler heads prevailed.

* The Question: What is your own “favorite” bit of ignominious Illinois history?


Comed 4 trial coverage roundup

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Click here to follow along with today’s trial developments…

    * Joe Cahill | The verdict is in — ComEd wins: Trial testimony revealed that a 2016 law passed by dint of a massive ComEd bribery scheme was worth $1.8 billion to the Chicago-based electric utility. Add $2.3 billion in nuclear power plant subsidies for Exelon, and ComEd’s illegal conduct produced a $4.1 billion corporate windfall. ComEd and Exelon got to keep it all under a “deferred prosecution agreement” with federal prosecutors, in which ComEd admitted to various acts of bribery aimed at influencing then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who had the power to block or ensure passage of virtually any legislation during his nearly four-decade reign as Springfield’s most powerful figure.

    * Tribune | ‘ComEd Four’ trial offering a fascinating and unprecedented look into the inner workings of Michael Madigan’s political power: Cousineau’s testimony describing Madigan’s backroom muscle illustrated the deft political jujitsu that a politician can perform outside of the public view to whip up votes from other lawmakers in order to pass a bill that he actually did not vote upon himself. The move to refrain from voting, which Madigan sometimes employed on various legislation, created the illusion that he’d recused himself or steered clear of the issue when he in fact sent his troops out to round up votes.

    * Hannah Meisel | Former Madigan political director details push by speaker’s office for key ComEd bill: The email concerned third-term state Rep. Michelle Mussman, of suburban Schaumburg, whose district was considered “swingy,” as Cousineau testified, making her vulnerable to a Republican opponent. Mussman, along with other mostly suburban and downstate members of the House Democratic Caucus, was often referred to as being “on the target list,” meaning Madigan’s staffers kept a close watch on their legislative positions in order to protect them from votes the speaker and his team considered politically risky.

    * Tribune | ‘ComEd Four’ bribery trial: What you need to know: The Tribune has chronicled the events that led up to the trial and the backgrounds of the key defendants and witnesses expected to testify. Follow our writers — Ray Long and Jason Meisner — for the latest news.

    * WBEZ | Here’s what the ComEd bribery trial this week revealed about Illinois politics: Four former ComEd executives and lobbyists are on trial for allegedly bribing House Speaker Michael Madigan to advance legislation that steered hundreds of millions more profit to the power company.

    * State Week | Corruption or lobbying? Jurors will decide in ComEd bribery trial: Madigan’s trial is set for next year, but he’s playing a prominent role the federal courtroom proceedings now underway. Host Sean Crawford is joined by Professor Emeritus Charlie Wheeler and Capitol News Illinois reporter Hannah Meisel, who is covering the case.

    * Daily Energy Insider | ComEd finishes five year-long project to install more than 131,000 LED smart streetlights: After five years of work, ComEd announced last week that all 131,600 streetlights it owns in northern Illinois have been installed and upgraded to smart LED light fixtures, providing brighter and more reliable light and major energy savings.


That toddlin’ town roundup

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…


Would the real Paul Vallas please stand up?

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sunday…

* Last week…

The Cook County Democratic Women’s Organization also endorsed Vallas’ mayoral bid in 2019, so he’s obviously familiar with the group.

* Sherman, please set the Wayback Machine to 2013

Rikki Jones, president of a group called the Cook County Democratic Women, is disseminating “an open letter to Lisa Madigan” calling it “very disrespectful to say the least” to equate marriage equality with civil rights.

“As a Christian who believes in the Bible, I feel what you are doing is taking my rights as a Christian and sacrificing them for the gay and lesbian community. How could you?” the letter said. It continues with references to Biblical condemnations of homosexuality.

The letter goes on to say allowing marriage equality violates the Constitution because “you have no business insinuating yourself in the church’s business.

“You have gotten out of your lane and got in God’s lane! Have you lost your mind? Yours arms are too short to box with God!”

* From Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson…

Paul Vallas has shown a consistent pattern of building a coalition with some of the most strident anti-LGBTQ+ voices in his effort to become mayor of Chicago. When he thinks it will serve his political aims, he is fine associating with people who deny us our dignity. This leaves us wondering: if Paul Vallas were elected mayor, would he appoint officials to the Department of Public Health who have a track record of opposing gender-affirming care? Would he appoint people to the Board of Education with a track record of supporting “don’t say gay and trans” efforts? Would he appoint a police superintendent with a track record of anti-LGBTQ+ views? Paul Vallas is wrong for LGBTQ+ people and wrong for Chicago.


Today’s quotable

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald editorial

Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes bristled a bit on Monday when a speaker during the village board’s commenting period suggested he and other officials would benefit personally if the Bears end up anchoring a $5 billion redevelopment at the former Arlington Park property.

Hayes called the comments “offensive,” and he’s right. And the exchange highlights an unfortunate tendency in all our politics — a rush to find some sinister personal motive behind every action elected leaders take that contradicts one’s own point of view.

It’s a notion worth reflection as we head into the final stretch of the campaign for local municipal and school offices in the suburbs.

To be sure, history, local and otherwise, teaches us to recognize the temptations that abound in overseeing vast sums of taxpayer and development dollars, and to watch carefully to ensure that officials, whether the cause is fundamental greed or the lure of the moment, don’t succumb.

But there is an important difference between cautious oversight and assumed corruption. When we step over the line from the former to the latter, we degrade our public discussions and weaken our public institutions.

It’s a pretty good editorial, so go read the rest.


It’s just a bill

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Ana Soskic, founder of Protect Our Pets Illinois

Puppy mills are places of shocking neglect and inhumanity where dogs are horribly mistreated, run by unethical breeders who seek to churn out the maximum number of puppies possible. That’s why, in 2021, the Illinois legislature passed a bill ostensibly designed to protect animals from the cruelty of puppy mills. […]

First, the bill set up a false choice: shelter dogs or purebred dogs. While we can acknowledge that shelters play a vitally important role in matching animals with loving families, that shouldn’t mean someone who loves Golden Retrievers or Yorkies or Australian Shepherds shouldn’t be able to get one from an ethical source. But the authors of the 2021 bill required that pets be obtained only from shelters, never from breeders or small businesses that help breeders place puppies in good homes.

Yet puppies must come from somewhere, especially during the great American dog shortage — and that’s why the bill did not actually shut down puppy mills but merely diverted some of their traffic to shelters. The phenomenon, known as “retail rescue,” refers to the cycle of shelters paying puppy mills to “rescue” their dogs, then adopting out the dogs for a fee — thereby pumping more cash into the mill industry shelters claim to oppose. It’s a symbiotic relationship that keeps puppy mills thriving. […]

That’s why Illinois law desperately needs a tuneup. The proposed HB2793 would choke off demand for mill dogs at the source by prohibiting all entities — small businesses and shelters — from obtaining puppies from a mill. It would establish strict breeder standards of care that require humane, loving treatment in the form of regular veterinary attention and oversight, socialization and exercise, as well as rigid requirements for the way animals are housed and the amount of space they must have. These are the kind of standards that responsible breeders already have in place and will ensure unethical breeders can’t stay in business — which should be the goal we all share.

* NBC Chicago

A bill passed in the Illinois House that would allow businesses, universities and other building owners to have multiple-stall gender neutral restrooms has sparked debate. […]

“I am all for inclusivity and diversity but not at the expense and decency and not at the expense of risking the safety of older women or any women and even young children in their development,” said Steve Boulton, chairman of the Chicago GOP party. […]

[Brian C. Johnson, CEO for Equality Illinois,] disagrees with Boulton and believes this bill will be a benefit, citing the reasons why.

“[It will help] parents of children of opposite genders, seniors who have caregivers of opposite genders, LGBTQ+ people and businesses who want to cut back on regulations and red tape,” he said.

Johnson added that this bill is not mandatory, but optional.

* Rep. Maurice West…

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives passed HB 2471 by a vote of 77 to 26 to create the “Healthy School Meals for All” program. Sponsored by State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford), the legislation, which received bipartisan support, provides a free breakfast and lunch to all students who need and want one.

“This legislation will help ensure every student has access to healthy food at school, an especially important support for the hundreds of thousands of Illinois children who are experiencing food insecurity,” said State Representative Maurice West. “Giving all children access to free, healthy school meals will improve their health, growth, development, mental health, and academic performance. This bill will also help remove the stigma for children who need breakfast or lunch at school while reducing the burden on families and providing a steady budget for school food service programs. I applaud the amazing advocates who helped get this bill over the finish line in the House, and I look forward to its passage in the Senate.”

Federal school meal waivers provided K-12 students with free school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the waiver expired in June 2022, putting thousands of Illinois children at risk. The bill now goes to the State Senate for consideration.

* Center Square

Lawmakers have advanced a bill that would stop schools in Illinois from involving the police in issuing tickets to students for minor violations. […]

State Rep. Katie Stewart, D-Edwardsville, said she is worried the bill will limit the authority of school officials.

“I just worry that this is going to hamstring principals with real discipline problems in their schools,” Stuart said.

Ford said the measure does not prevent schools from calling the police on students who commit serious crimes.

* Sen. Laura Fine’s SB49

State Senator Laura Fine’s legislation, which would make official transcripts more accessible to students, passed the Senate on Friday.

“Students need their transcripts for a myriad of reasons after they graduate, including seeking employment to pay off their student debts. Without access to their transcript, they can lose out on many opportunities and take even longer to repay any debts they owe the university,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “This initiative would give students the opportunity to pursue more post-grad opportunities and address their student debts quicker.”

Senator Fine, a former college instructor, is a longtime advocate of supporting university students working to pay off their student debt. Last year, she passed legislation prohibiting universities from withholding transcripts from students with a past-due debt if the transcript is needed for a job application. This ensured students would be able to use their hard-earned transcripts to find a well-paying job, from which they could repay their debts to the university and pursue a career best suited to the skill set they developed in college.

Senate Bill 49 would expand on this legislation by requiring institutions to provide official transcripts to current or former students if the student requires the transcript to transfer to a different institution, to apply for financial aid, to join the U.S. Armed Forces or to pursue other post-secondary opportunities. The measure also would require higher education institutions to outline the process a current or former student must go through to obtain a transcript or diploma that has been withheld due to debt to the university — making sure students have a clear path to receive their transcripts if they are being withheld.

* Patch

Single-use foam containers and other items used by restaurants would be banned in Illinois starting in 2024 if a bill that passed the House of Representatives on Thursday gets through the Senate and is signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

House Bill 2376 prohibits the sale or use of disposable food containers and other foodware that is made wholly or in part of polystyrene foam. The bill, which was sponsored by Glenview State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D), passed the House 67-43 on Thursday and now awaits action by the Senate, where a similar bill was introduced. […]

In a statement issued after Thursday’s vote, Jen Walling — the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council — called the vote a “huge step forward” toward recognizing “we cannot recycle our way out of a plastic pollution crisis.”

* Sen. Sara Feigenholtz

A measure sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz assures that Medicaid covers any newborn relinquished under the Act. It also extends the time of notice that the police or fire department can inform a parent to share information of the hospital the child was transported to.
“Senate Bill 1999 not only ensures that abandoned infants can receive Medicaid immediately once they arrive at the hospital, but also creates a path for biological parents to reconsider their options,” said Feigenholtz (D-Chicago).

Changing the time period from 72 hours to 30 days will provide a biological parent additional time to consider other options, such as putting in place a traditional adoption plan with a child welfare agency or deciding to parent the child if possible.

* Illinois Family Institute…

Last month we alerted you to tyrannical bills designed to shut down the operations of “limited services pregnancy centers.” State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is looking to advance her bill SB 1909, which is titled the “Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act.” This overbearing proposal will probably be called in the Illinois Senate Executive Committee hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29.

Make no mistake, this bill takes direct aim at shutting down all pregnancy centers. No other way to say it. SB 1909 allows the Illinois Attorney General (AG) to investigate all centers it believes are providing any wrong information or omitting any correct information in any form (advertising, speaking to a client, offering services, denying services, answering questions, etc.).

nd guess who gets to define what qualifies as “wrong information”? That is correct, the far-left Illinois Attorney General.

The Illinois Attorney General has free reign to investigate any center it believes may be doing something “wrong,” or even about to do something “wrong,” based on any information that comes their way. If it is determined there is a violation of this Act, Pregnancy Care Centers can be fined up to $50,000 per incident and clients may take centers to court for other civil penalties with the AG’s blessing and detailed documentation against the centers.

We are living in scary times, my friends


The Illinois Department of Human Services could be tasked with tracking stolen SNAP benefits and card skimming that leaves low-income people without benefits.

Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago) told her House colleagues Friday that her bill would also require state funds to be used to replace SNAP funding stolen during the period of Jan. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2022. The plan also calls for the department to replace cash assistance stolen from Link cards through skimming, closing, or other fraudulent activity from Jan. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2024. […]

IDHS would be responsible for tracking and collecting data on the scope and frequency of SNAP fraud and where benefits are stolen. The agency will be required to report annual findings to the General Assembly starting on Jan. 1, 2024. […]

“My concern is if in fact we were able to secure $2 million from the federal government as they have allocated to other states, that would still leave Illinois on the hook for anywhere between $22 million and $46 million,” said Deputy Republican Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb).


Could the Highland Park massacre have been prevented?

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Could the 2022 massacre during Highland Park’s July Fourth parade have been prevented with a small change to state law?

It’s never been publicly reported before, but several local sources confirmed this week that Highland Park Police Chief Louis Jogmen wanted to send a city-owned drone above the parade last year. That camera-equipped drone could’ve spotted Robert Eugene Crimo III on a building rooftop overlooking the parade before he allegedly fired 83 shots that killed seven people and wounded 48 more. But the chief couldn’t launch that drone because of state law.

Jogmen’s police department has for years wanted to launch the camera drone, which the city uses for search-and-rescue and other emergencies, to fly over major public events. But state law prohibits law enforcement agencies from using the drones for things like event surveillance.

In other words, state law allows police to use drones in the aftermath of horrific and deadly mass shootings, but not to safeguard the public before they happen.

“The Illinois Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act was passed in 2014 in an effort to balance evolving technology with important privacy concerns,” explained state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, who was at Highland Park’s Independence Day parade last year. “Nearly 10 years later, it has been unchanged and undeniably stands in the way of law enforcement doing their jobs to keep our communities safe. We need to revisit and amend this law to prevent future mass shootings like what we endured on July Fourth in Highland Park.”

Highland Park and other municipalities are allowed to deploy helicopters with high-tech video and tracking capabilities to surveil events, but not drones. Helicopters are expensive to purchase, operate and maintain and are very noisy (just ask anyone who lives in or near a high-crime area in Chicago how loud they can be). Drones are relatively inexpensive, not difficult to fly and operate almost silently.

The quiet operation of the small drones is part of what worries the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. People “could be observed in a host of different places — like the upper floor of a large condo building or one’s backyard — without knowing that any surveillance was taking place,” explained ACLU of Illinois spokesperson Ed Yohnka. “The same is not true for a helicopter and requires law enforcement to, essentially, announce their presence. This announcement could well deter criminal activity.”

Yohnka is right that the loud noise made by helicopters might deter criminal activity (it’s also a very real and obnoxious intrusion on the lives of South and West Side residents at all hours of the day and night). But, again, helicopters are expensive and difficult to fly and maintain. A town of 30,000 people isn’t going to, and likely can’t afford to shell out that kind of money. Even a place as wealthy as Highland Park.

Highland Park City Manager Ghida Neukirch pointed to a bill introduced last year that would’ve allowed police to use the drones for proactive law enforcement. “Had we had the opportunity to use it last July Fourth, it would have provided our employees with an aerial view of the entire parade grounds and rooftops and the entire area,” she said of the drone.

State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, went further, suggesting that Highland Park’s drone could have prevented the mass killing.

Morrison was just a block away from the site of last year’s parade shooting and she’s involved with the negotiations.

“We’ve been working with law enforcement to tailor a bill that will serve public safety concerns,” Morrison told me last week, adding that she and others have been “meeting on a daily basis” to find a fix for the state’s drone laws.

Chicago has its own drone rules, and is reportedly skittish about any state law changes that could alter them.

“It’s an important issue to me,” Morrison said. She said giving the police the ability to use drones in a more proactive sense, “could have prevented the shooting in Highland Park.”

The General Assembly passed sweeping legislation to ban assault weapons after the Highland Park shooting. But, so far, those are just words on paper as court challenges to the law work their way through the system.

People should have the right to attend public events without nervously scanning unprotected rooftops, or worse. Nobody is talking about giving the police unregulated and unfettered access to drones. Nobody is talking about blocking Chicago’s drone program. It is time to come to an agreement.


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Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* I hope y’all had a relaxing weekend. What’s going on in your part of Illinois?…


Isabel’s morning briefing

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller


*** ComEd 4 trial live coverage ***

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…

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Live coverage

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


* Afternoon roundup
* Illinois Credit Unions Oppose Regulatory Fee Increase
* Today's good news: Coffee station to open in Statehouse
* Another day, another Chicago mayoral poll
* CTBA: After adjusting for inflation since 2000, state higher ed funding is down 46 percent and tuition is up 110 percent
* It’s just a bill
* Today's quotable
* Question of the day
* Comed 4 trial coverage roundup
* Johnson's anti-gay rights supporters and Vallas' Daley people
* Keep Uber Affordable. Stop Lawsuit Abuse. Oppose HB 2231
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* Bishop Paprocki: "Our nation is divided today over the question of abortion as it was in the 19th century over the question of slavery"
* Better management, please
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* *** ComEd 4 trial live coverage ***
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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