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Madigan: “We’re not gonna walk away from Senate Bill 1″

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Speaker Madigan said today that the House will call the SB1 override motion next Wednesday. If it fails, he said, the House has until August 29th to override the governor’s veto. If it fails again, Madigan said the House would eventually advance HB3163. That’s the bill which contains exactly the same language as the vetoed version of SB1.

“We’re not gonna walk away from Senate Bill 1,” Madigan said. “We’re not walking away from that bill.”

* Madigan said he will continue to meet with the other legislative leaders to try to hammer out a compromise. “We’re prepared to come to an agreement with the governor,” Madigan said. “I question whether he’s prepared to come to an agreement with us.”

Madigan claimed that, over the weekend, a proposal was made to resolve the SB1 issue, but when Leader Durkin took it to the governor, Rauner rejected it.

When told that House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said today the leaders were “close” to an agreement, Madigan said, “I would expect that Mr. Durkin would say that and I wouldn’t be surprised if he and I were close. The better question is ‘What about Mr. Rauner?’”

“It may be that we’ll need reasonable Republicans to come with us,” said Madigan, pointing to the override of the governor’s budget and tax hike vetoes.

Asked about Sen. Barickman’s proposal to trade relief from some teachers union rights for Chicago pension funding, Madigan turned a big thumbs down. “We didn’t support that when the Republicans passed it in 1995 for Chicago,” and he’s not going to support it now.

* And remember this quote from Gov. Rauner on WTTW?

Well, the last time the speaker came to see me, he spent the time talking about how he was going to kick Scott Drury out of the General Assembly, and he was laughing about that.

Madigan’s response…

The answer is I never said that. The question I would put to you is do you think I would say that to Bruce Rauner?

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* I told subscribers about this earlier today

Amends the Counties Code. Provides that, on and after the effective date of this amendatory Act, no home rule county or non-home rule county has the authority to impose a tax on the use, sale, or purchase of sweetened beverages based upon the weight or volume of the sweetened beverage. Provides that any such tax in effect prior to that date is void and repealed. Defines “sweetened beverage”. Preempts home rule. Effective immediately.

* Daily Herald

A Schaumburg state representative has introduced legislation that would prevent counties from taxing soda or sweetened beverages as Cook County has begun to do.

Democrat Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg filed the bill this week as lawmakers returned to Springfield for a special session focused on education funding. […]

Twelve lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, are co-sponsors of the bill, which is before the House Revenue and Finance Committee.

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle issued a statement to the Daily Herald calling the move “a vast state government overreach that infringes on the rights of municipalities to govern themselves.”

To introduce such a measure, Preckwinkle continued, “is ironic coming from politicians who spent 736 days bickering among themselves instead of doing right by Illinoisans and passing a responsible budget in a timely fashion.”

The bill has been assigned to the House Revenue Committee, but no hearing has yet been set. Some House Republicans introduced a similar bill yesterday.

* The Question: Should the GA pass this bill, or should it bow to local control? Click here to take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** No “Yes” votes as House show trial results in public defeat for Rauner

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* House Republicans were advised to either vote “No” or “Present” on the legislation, which contains the same language as the governor’s SB1 amendatory veto…

An “up” day?

* From the House committee hearing earlier today

Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, questioned the superintendents’ prediction of a loss of state money under Rauner’s version, saying the Illinois State Board of Eduction has not produced any numbers to back up those claims.

“Nobody knows what the numbers will be in 2020,” Ives said.

At one point, she asked a group of education officials testifying before the committee a question, and Ralph Martire, executive director of the liberal Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, leaned in to talk to the panel.

Ives said Martire’s offered counsel was an indication that members of the panel could not answer questions on their own. That prompted a rebuke from Davis, who said the comment was insulting and that panelists are allowed to consult with advocates and lobbyists.

“Is this really what it’s deteriorating to in state government? Really?” Canton Superintendent Rolf Siversten asked Ives. “You are embarrassing yourself.”

*** UPDATE ***  Finke

Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday they’ll be meeting with [the two Democratic legislative leaders] in Chicago Friday to attempt a compromise on the school funding reform issue. […]

“I think Senate Bill 1 is dead,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington. “It was a poor attempt to ram a Democratic proposal through the process.” […]

“The governor’s involvement would be beneficial,” Brady said when asked if Rauner should be part of talks. “I don’t know that it’s necessary at this point. I think the four of us need to come together.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   79 Comments      

Pawar was also with Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Remember yesterday when we discussed how both Sen. Daniel Biss and Ameya Pawar are battling over the Bernie Sanders vote? Biss was with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, but what I didn’t realize yesterday was that Pawar was a Clinton primary supporter, too…

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

The governor’s core message

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Tribune

“We’re up against an incredibly powerful political machine in Chicago,” [Gov. Bruce Rauner] said. “They have dictated the terms in our state for decades and they haven’t even run their machine really for the benefit for the people of Chicago. Just look at the unemployment. Look at the terrible schools. Look at the violence in Chicago. Look at the taxes going through the roof in Chicago.”

“They don’t run the political operation to benefit the people of Chicago and I’m sure as heck telling you, they don’t run the government for the benefit of the people of central Illinois, southern Illinois or northwest Illinois or the suburbs of Chicago either,” he said. “We have a broken political system run by a political machine in Chicago that’s run for the benefit of politicians and their cronies.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

A day at the fair

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Protesters and motorcycles…

* Madigan!…

* Rauner = Reform…

* Speeches…

Says the candidate with no campaign committee whose announcement video was paid for in part by the Rauner-funded ILGOP.

* Hashtags…

Except, that particular hashtag is being used right now by fans of Steve Bruce, manager of the Aston Villa soccer team. There’s also a #sackbruce hashtag for the haters.

* Into every life a little rain must fall…

* And what State Fair would be complete without a steer auction controversy?

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, became the proud owners of a $50,000 prize-winning steer called Snuggles on Tuesday night after winning a charity auction at the Illinois State Fair.

But the auction organizers might want to double count the cash.

Of the “record” $104,000 Rauner bid for a prize steer at the same event in 2016, only $84,000 has so far been paid, organizers say.

That’s because one of the private donors who was helping Rauner cover the cost of the pricey beast refused to pay the $20,000 he committed.

Financier R.J. D’Orazio — a big Rauner supporter — confirmed to Chicago Inc. on Tuesday that he had not paid the $20,000 because “I did not get any recognition.”

Remember Mongo?

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Rauner finally speaks out on Trump

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* From the Twitters…

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

Wisconsin Senator suggests Illinois should pay for part of Foxconn deal

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson appeared to suggest Tuesday that the $3 billion burden to Wisconsin taxpayers to locate a Foxconn plant in the state should be shared with their neighbors to the south.

“The question is, should Wisconsin be the one to bear the full three (billion dollars)? Illinois and their workers will benefit. America will benefit,” Johnson said, referring to the fact that some of the Foxconn labor pool will likely come from across the border.

The Wisconsin senator said the public-private partnership ratio in the proposed Foxconn project is a good deal. The Taiwanese company will pay $10 billion to build its plant with the state kicking in up to $3 billion in incentives.

On a side note, Sen. Johnson’s campaign manager is now Gov. Rauner’s campaign manager.

* Tribune

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Intersect Illinois, the state’s nonprofit economic development arm, earlier this year made a pitch to Foxconn through the University of Illinois. Foxconn has a presence in the university’s research park, and Illinois alumni within the company.

In a February letter to Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, Rauner talked up the state’s transportation network, engineering and manufacturing talent, cheap energy prices and roster of global companies, and outlined potential financial incentives, according to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

Caption contest!

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Make sure to read the linked story, too…

- Posted by Rich Miller   69 Comments      

Rauner admin fighting Asian carp plan

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Greg Hinz on a fight over a new plan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes

Though some details are in flux, the fight pits Rauner against the state’s powerful green lobby, including the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club.

Those environmental groups are lined up with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which last week released a much-anticipated report concluding that the best option available is a $275 million plan to install a combination of electronic and sound barriers by the Brandon Road lock and dam on the Illinois River, near Joliet and about 47 miles upstream from Lake Michigan.

“The Asian carp have no natural predators in the Great Lakes and will disrupt the $62 billion economy based on fishing, boating and recreational activities,” said ELPC’s Howard Learner. “We cannot let the Trump administration’s war on the Great Lakes involve insufficient actions to prevent the Asian carp from threatening our fresh water system.”

On the other side is the Rauner administration, which is opposing the plan as too expensive—the state says it would have to provide $95 million of the construction cost, and provide about $8 million a year for maintenance—and too disruptive of the state’s lucrative barge industry. […]

[Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti] did not offer a substitute, a particular point of contention. But Rauner administration officials who asked not to be named suggested that the corps itself is not big on its own plan and only wants to pacify critics in the Michigan congressional delegation.

* From Sanguinetti’s press release…

This new approach is neither cost effective nor environmentally sound.

Today’s report recommends the construction of a $275.4 million project, of which Illinois taxpayers would be on the hook for over $95 million in construction cost and another $8 million in annual operation and maintenance costs. This project will hurt our economy and the commercial navigation industry that moves over $28 billion of commodities annually through the Chicago Area Waterway System and along the Illinois River. Furthermore, this project at Brandon Road will separate the Des Plaines River and Illinois River ecosystems, disrupting native fish migration patterns.

The full report is here.

* US Sen. Tammy Duckworth…

“Invasive species are a growing threat to our entire inland waterways system and to the countless Illinois communities and businesses that rely on strong and vibrant aquatic ecosystems. Brandon Road Lock and Dam and other existing controls have successfully prevented Asian Carp from reaching the Great Lakes, and the Brandon Road Study is another important step in better understanding the challenges of limiting Great Lakes’ exposure to invasive species. I will continue working with the federal, state and local partners to find common sense solutions that protect the Great Lakes while ensuring reliable and sustainable transportation on the Illinois River.”

* And from a Rockford Register-Star editorial

But let’s be rational about the Asian carp threat. Illinois has been dealing with Asian carp for more than three decades and its multipronged attack that includes commercial fishing, creating new markets and encouraging Illinois residents to deplete the fish population through fun events such as bowhunting tournaments has been working.

The Asian carp population has been decreasing, according to Kevin Irons, aquaculture and aquatic nuisance species program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

There are about a quarter of the fish there were in 2010 when Irons joined the DNR. In 2010, it was estimated that Asian carp accounted for 70 percent of the fish population in the Illinois River. While the carp still make up a significant portion, that percentage has decreased.

Commercial fishermen on the Illinois River are using smaller nets because the bigger fish are not there anymore. They’ve been downsizing since 2010.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Attorney general claims governor is “sitting” on her bill

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* From the attorney general…

* From the linked story

A proposed law could help dig struggling students out of debt in Illinois.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked Governor Bruce Rauner to sign a “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” which is a law designed to reform the student loan industry and help borrowers repay their lenders.

It would also require lenders to provide the right information to students asking them for money. […]

The governor’s office said the bill is being reviewed.

* From AG Madigan’s press release…

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today convened a student loan forum with education advocates and community organizations and urged Gov. Rauner to sign into law a bill to reform the student loan industry to help student loan borrowers repay their loans. The bill addresses widespread abuses and failures in the student loan industry that were revealed by her investigation and lawsuit against one of the country’s largest student loan servicing companies, Navient.

Senate Bill 1351, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss and Rep. Will Guzzardi and drafted with Madigan’s office, would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to better protect borrowers from abuses in the student loan industry.

“For too long, student loan borrowers have been put into more difficult and more expensive repayment plans because of fraudulent practices by student loan companies,” Madigan said. “The Student Loan Bill of Rights will finally crack down on abuse and make Illinois a national leader in protecting borrowers. The Governor should sign this bill into law immediately on behalf of Illinois students, families and our economy.”

Over the past decade, student loan debt has doubled to become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the country with more than 40 million borrowers owing over $1.4 trillion. Nearly 70 percent of graduates leave college with an average debt burden of $30,000, and one-in-four borrowers are behind on their payments or in default.

Students who attended for-profit colleges are particularly hard hit, making up the vast majority of borrowers in default. While federal income-based repayment options are available, the U.S. Treasury has reported that only 20 percent of eligible borrowers are enrolled in these options, which can lower payments based on income to as low as $0 a month.

Madigan’s investigation into Navient revealed that borrowers frequently experience problems with their student loan servicers and are put into more expensive repayment options when more affordable plans are available. Specifically, borrowers in Illinois have complained to her office that their loan servicers failed to inform them of affordable repayment options, follow borrower payment instructions and answer questions consistently.

Because it is so difficult to get legitimate help from loan servicers, student loan borrowers are increasingly turning elsewhere for help. Scam artists have rushed in to exploit desperate borrowers, much like they did during the mortgage crisis, with false promises to help in exchange for large, illegal upfront fees. Madigan has led the country in shutting down illegal student loan debt relief operations preying on borrowers.

Senate Bill 1351 would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect student loan borrowers by prohibiting student loan servicers from misleading borrowers and requiring that they:

• Properly process payments;
• Require specialists to provide and explain to struggling borrowers all of their repayment options, starting with income-driven plans; and
• Inform borrowers that they may be eligible to have their loans forgiven due to a disability or a problem with the school they attended.

The bill would also create a Student Loan Ombudsman in the Attorney General’s office and require student loan servicers to obtain a license to operate in Illinois.

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. In addition to her lawsuit against Navient and Sallie Mae, Madigan has investigated for-profit schools for fraud and repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately forgive federal loans of students who attended fraudulent for-profit schools. Madigan has also testified before Congress and urged the U.S. Department of Education to crack down on the many abuses and scams facing student borrowers.

Madigan also instituted a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with resources about repayment options, avoiding default or how to file a complaint about loan servicing at (800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). More information can also be found on her website.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

State Fair and education politics

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Posted in the order they were received. From the ILGOP…

During this year’s state fair, Governor Bruce Rauner will rally for major reforms and highlight how Democrats led by Speaker Mike Madigan refuse to do anything but raise taxes and use government to benefit their friends in Chicago.

Today the Illinois Republican Party is launching a digital ad campaign to amplify the Governor’s message and hold Democrats – including their Madigan-backed candidates for Governor – accountable.

The digital campaign will feature snapchat filters on both Governor’s Day and Democrat’s day.

Check out some of the ads below:



* DGA…

It has been a tough summer from Governor Bruce Rauner. He’s seen Republican lawmakers break with him, a new poll that showed him at 63% disapproval, and now he can’t get anyone to support his veto of the state’s education funding bill. But summer is a time for fun, and there is nothing better than the State Fair and Governor’s Day. The DGA releases the following video profiling Rauner’s day at the Fair doing what he does best – playing political games.

First, Governor Rauner rides the “State Crisis Roller Coaster”. In July, the state finally ended a two-year budget impasse when lawmakers overrode Rauner’s budget veto. But, just as the state reached the summit, Rauner sent it plunging again when he vetoed SB1, the state’s education funding bill.

Next, Governor Rauner rides the “Revolving Staff Carousel.” After his budget defeat, Rauner replaced most of his aides with staff from the right-wing Illinois Policy Institute and other Koch-brother funded think tanks. But Rauner will realize that even with a new staff, he’ll just find himself back where he started – as the nation’s “most vulnerable incumbent.”

Finally, Governor Rauner plays “Whack-A-Question.” All summer Rauner’s tried to whack away reporters’ incident questions. Unfortunately, he has not played the game very well.

Watch the video here.

“While Governor Rauner plays his political games, Illinois families are wondering who is looking out for them,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Bruce Rauner has forced the state into one crisis after another, pushing up debt and pushing out jobs. Instead of searching for a solution to avert impasse, Rauner refused to compromise. At least at the Fair, people will believe him when he says the game is rigged.”

* Pritzker campaign…

Bruce Rauner’s school funding amendatory veto is so bad that the district that stands to “gain” the most from Rauner’s rewrite won’t even support it. Tony Sanders, the CEO of Elgin U-46, says he has “significant concerns” about Rauner’s gut job of SB 1 and still supports the bill passed by the legislature and overridden by the Senate.

That’s because Rauner is flaunting phony numbers that don’t tell the whole story. Sanders explains, “I just don’t want the general public to see the dollar amounts being flashed out and think, ‘Oh my gosh, we can get so much more with the amendatory veto.’ Again, that’s one year money, and it will go away.”

“It’s embarrassing that Bruce Rauner can’t even convince the school district that he claims gains the most under his amendatory veto to support him,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Instead of building support from school administrators, Rauner is focused on peddling phony numbers and misleading Illinoisans. Fortunately, schools and communities across this state are standing up and refuse to be pitted against each other.”

The story referenced in the Pritzker press release is here. Worth a read.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Sen. Haine announces retirement

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* I told subscribers about this earlier today, along with who is most likely to run for his seat…

Fifty years ago, fresh out of Saint Louis University, Bill Haine enlisted in the Army and went to war in Vietnam.

It was the first step in a lifetime of public service that would include a Bronze Star for combat service as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969, election to the Madison County Board, 14 years as Madison County State’s Attorney and service in the Illinois Senate since 2002.

On Wednesday, Haine announced his career in elected office will come to an end and that he will not seek another term in the Illinois Senate.

“It has been my honor to represent the people of the Metro East region. They are my neighbors, my friends, the people of the communities of my life. I have always tried my best to serve them, and I hope I have done a good job,” said Haine, who was born in Alton and lives around the corner from his boyhood home.

“The good Lord gives us a finite amount of time on this Earth. I believe the time has come for me to find a new adventure and for someone else to take up the challenge and honor of serving the people in the Illinois Senate,” said Haine. He intends to serve out his current term.

Earlier this year, Haine, 73, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. A regimen of medical treatments kept him away from the Capitol for most of the legislative session, though he recently returned to cast deciding votes on a balanced budget and override the governor’s rejection of a historic school funding overhaul.

Haine’s tenure in Springfield has been marked by practical politics rather than political agendas.

His focus has at times been big.

He was the legislative architect of a sweeping plan to modernize the levee system in the Metro East region, an effort that has helped protect homes and businesses from damage in recent years’ flooding.

He helped win state investment in maintaining and expanding the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University and other key infrastructure such as I-255. He similarly led successful efforts to approve a Constitutional Amendment protecting the state’s Road Fund from being raided for non-transportation related spending.

He drew upon his distinguished, award-winning law enforcement background from his time as Madison County State’s Attorney to sponsor, negotiate and win approval of the state’s medical marijuana law that balanced compassionate use with stringent standards and regulations.

Proving he wasn’t afraid to think outside the box, Haine raised political eyebrows when, just a few years after taking office, he sponsored and helped pass medical malpractice litigation reforms opposed by some of his staunchest allies. Those reforms were later thrown out by courts, but Haine credits the effort with helping change the tenor of the legal practice in this area.

At the same time, Haine kept an eye out for injustice at any level.

In response to media reports of motorists being ripped off and forced to pay outrageous amounts of up to $500 to have towed vehicles released from impound lots, Haine sponsored and passed a consumer protection law to limit those charges and end abuses.

To protect jobs at the US Steel plant in Granite City, Haine rallied the Illinois Senate to protest China’s dumping of low quality, cheap steel into the U.S. market. He called on the president and Congress to rewrite national tariff policy on steel goods in order to protect American jobs.

“I’ve never forgotten that it’s the people who sent me to Springfield to represent and fight for them,” Haine said.

A true historian, Haine often sprinkles legislative debates with rhetorical lessons and anecdotes from the works of Roman emperors, a litany of popes spanning civilized history and the founding fathers.

Despite his many awards and accomplishments, Haine considers the crowning achievement of his life to be his marriage to his wife Anna, whom he met in college, and the family they have built.

Bill and Anna Haine have seven children and, at press time, 32 grandchildren. Haine’s future plans include spending more time with all of them.

He’s a heck of a man. This place won’t be the same without him.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Mayor Emanuel weighs in *** Illinois Policy Institute hammered for “Sambo cartoon”

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Uh-oh…

No location? The kid is wearing a Cubs hat.

If you click here and read the mentions, the reaction was pretty harsh. And the Radical Candor IL account fired off a sharp projectile.

* Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) threw down…

Not to mention that TIF districts don’t take money from black and brown kids.

* Rep. Mitchell then went on a tweet tirade. He posted much of it to his Facebook page

PI: I’m going to do this in a series of tweets, so please bear with me. First: we have had a series of policy disagreements. That’s expected.

But I am extraordinarily disappointed in your organization and your leadership for the way you’re handling this situation.

1st) I disagree with your point, but that is not the issue here. You could have drawn a CPS building, You could have put CPS on the cap. You could have drawn another kid. You could have drawn an african american child without exaggerated features (ie lips), like the white male in the same photo. But you made a different choice, one that links to a dark and troubled history, and when confronted with it, decided to double down. It’s a choice, but not a great one.

2nd) A group whose staff looks like a Trump Org. photo, with minimal front facing diversity, a group who sued to block same day voter registration, with a disproportionate impact on minority voters, a group whose budget book slashed programs with a disparate minority impact, a group who is right now, despite data and evidence, attempting to take $500 million from predominately poor, minority kids around the state, Lacks both the credibility and should, in theory, have too much shame, to be the arbiter of what is fair to black kids in Chicago. You have made your choice. But understand that that choice - especially this week - is incredibly tone deaf and provocative.

…Adding… The cartoon was the topic of House floor debate today…

*** UPDATE ***  Mayor Emanuel…

“At the same time the President of the United States is throwing his arms around neo-Nazis and Klansmen, Governor Rauner’s brain trust at the Illinois Policy Institute weighed in on the SB1 debate by publishing an unambiguously racist cartoon. The critical debate over education funding in this state should be about ensuring a better future for students in every corner of Illinois, regardless of race, income or zip code – and not as an opportunity to divide us further. It’s particularly frustrating because CPS students are making historic academic gains. In fact, three CPS high schools were recently recognized among the top 10 in the country, and seven of the top 10 in the state. Over the past five years, virtually all of Illinois’ academic progress is attributable to Chicago’s students.

We’d call upon the Governor to use his influence as IPI’s largest funder and alumni-employer to demand this tasteless cartoon be taken down, but what’s the point? Instead, it provides a useful window into his outlook and determination to continue punishing poor and minority children instead of grasping the opportunity in front of him to right decades of unfair and unequal funding for school districts across Illinois. What a disgrace.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   88 Comments      

Rauner lashes out at reporters over their questions about First Lady’s involvement

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* After reporters finished asking questions at the State Fair yesterday, Gov. Rauner said he wanted to say something else….

We’ve had a few inquiries in the office about, reporters have been calling asking if my wife has been very involved in the staff changes that have gone on in my office, um, over the last month or two.

Um, let me address that and say I think that the inquiries, the questions themselves are pathetic. I think they’re terrible. I think it just shows how desperate my political opponents are to try to attack me through attacking my wife. I think it’s disgusting and I’ll say that very strongly.

And let me be crystal clear, I decide who will be members of my senior staff. Nobody else decides, I decide. I decide what the policies of our administration are gonna be. Nobody else decides, I decide. I get input from many people, both in the administration and outside the administration, experts in the different fields, I like to get advice. But I decide, no one else decides. And it’s despicable for somebody to try to attack my wife. I decide my staffing for our administration. And I’m very proud, my wife is a national expert in early childhood education and a national expert in helping disadvantaged children from low income backgrounds. And I’m very proud of her and I get her advice on many regards, but I decide, especially on staff issues. Thanks very much everybody, I appreciate it.

* OK, first of all, did he just call reporters’ questions about his wife “pathetic” and “terrible”? Did he imply that those inquiring reporters were doing the bidding of his political opponents, or perhaps are his political opponents? Did he say all that after he claimed his wife was his “most senior advisor”? Sounds a lot like someone else in the news lately.

Also, nobody else decides staffing issues? Remember this quote after his body man was fired after one day on the job?

“I don’t know (his) exact role or title. You know, we’re obviously adding people all the time,” said Rauner. […]

Rauner said he has a team of people who making hiring decisions.

“In that particular case, I don’t know. There are probably a dozen people who are involved in hiring,” said Rauner.

* Also, as far as the First Lady’s involvement is concerned, what about her 350 documented e-mails to Rauner’s former chief of staff Richard Goldberg during the first six months of 2017? Why is it “despicable” to ask about her involvement when she sent, on average, more than two e-mails a day just to his chief of staff seven days a week for six months?

* And then there’s today’s Sun-Times article

Sources said the first lady’s involvement in messaging began in late 2016. It blossomed this year, leading up to the firing and resignations of key staffers. Rauner fired nine senior staffers by mid-July, with at least 11 others resigning in protest. Many were replaced with members of the conservative think tank the Illinois Policy Institute; the group’s CEO John Tillman is a close friend and adviser to both Rauners.

“Her involvement in decision making within the administration has exploded within the past 16 to 18 months, and it’s not just education and health care issues,” said a second source close to the governor’s office. “She became part and parcel of all messaging and issues. Every decision he makes she’s been a part of, including hiring IPI.” […]

Diana Rauner grappled with concerns over the rest of the governor’s term and how it would end: “There was this continuing escalating presence where it grew to a point in the last few months where the governor sort of gave an order to his communications staff that the first lady was to be included on every single communication, on every single draft statement, on everything possibly that was going to go out.” […]

Sources described the environment as highly intense with “an insane level of micromanagement” at a time when the staff was dealing with the budget impasse, a fight with the largest state employee union, and wars with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

From what I understand, both the governor and Mrs. Rauner were infatuated with the Illinois Policy Institute’s social media presence, particularly its Facebook page. They “understood” messaging the same way the Rauner’s did. And now here we are.

* One more thing. The governor sounded a lot like former President George W. Bush with his “I’m the decider” schtick. Not a good look, dude.

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      

House won’t vote on SB1 override today

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Amanda Vinicky

Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva, was a leader in the GOP faction that supported the budget, but says that he does not support Senate Bill 1 and won’t vote to override the governor.

Neither will Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Sycamore.

“I’ve based my career on looking at the facts, judging policies based on how it affects citizens in my district and across the state. That’s why I ended up voting for the budget. That’s why I’ll continue to evaluate every piece of legislation, including SB1. My decisions it that we’ve skewed SB1 from what will help every student, and that we need to come up with a follow-up bill that will right those deviations,” Pritchard said at a City Club of Chicago panel Tuesday.

Rather than making a botched attempt at an override, it’s expected that Democrats will go another route Wednesday in the House—a move that will keep their original bill intact: They will take up a separate piece of legislation, with language identical to what Rauner pitched in his amendatory veto.

Though there’s little chance it will pass, that’s the point—it’s a symbolic move, designed by Democrats to show that Rauner’s plan lacks support.

That way, if enough Republicans change their mind as pressure builds, Senate Bill 1 is still in place for an override.

Pritchard is right.

* Finke

The Illinois House will not vote Wednesday on overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of a school funding reform bill, the House sponsor said Tuesday.

Instead, Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, said the chamber will take up a separate bill that contains all of the changes Rauner made to Senate Bill 1, the school funding reform bill.

“Right now, (Wednesday’s) focus is just on the amendatory changes the governor put toward SB 1 and figuring out how advocates feel about that,” Davis said. […]

“Madigan wants more pressure,” Pritchard said. “There are some Democrats that think pressure can be exerted on four Republicans to vote for the override. They want to stretch this out as long as they can and let school districts holler to their representatives and see what happens.” […]

“It’s been characterized so effectively as a bailout for Chicago that my citizens certainly get it and they’re furious,” Pritchard said. “It’s going to be hard for somebody to necessarily break for Chicago. Breaking for the state of Illinois and our universities and our health care providers and our human service providers is a different issue.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Breen has new question on SB1

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* I told you Sunday that Attorney General Lisa Madigan had replied to an inquiry from the two Republican Legislative leaders about the actual effective date of SB1. AG Madigan replied that the effective date would be the date that the governor’s AV is overridden or the date that the governor certifies that the GA has accepted his recommendations for change.

But Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard), an attorney and the new HGOP floor leader, has more questions…

August 15, 2017

House Republican Colleagues
Illinois State Capitol
Springfield, Illinois

Re: Attorney General Opinion Letter Regarding Senate Bill 1, 100th General Assembly

Dear Colleague:

As you know, Leader Jim Durkin and Leader Designee Bill Brady recently requested a formal legal opinion regarding the effective date of Senate Bill 1, in light of the Democrats’ decision to delay presentment to the Governor for two months. The Leaders requested that clarification due to concerns that SB 1 might not be effective until June 1, 2018, because it did not pass out of the Senate until July 31, 2017. See, e.g., Bill Status, SB 1, (“7/31/2017 | Senate | Passed Both Houses”).

As explained in the Leaders’ letter, a July 31, 2017, passage date would mean that SB 1 was not passed with the required three-fifths majority it would need to become effective immediately. Instead, it would be effective next year, on June 1, 2018. See Illinois Const. art. IV § 9 & 10; 5 ILCS 75/2 (Effective Date of Laws Act). The current passage date requirement of our state constitution was put in place by the General Assembly and our voters in 1994, to ensure that the General Assembly finishes its work by May 31 and does not remain in session year-round.

The Attorney General’s answer to the Leaders’ request, however, raises additional concerns about the validity of the process employed in passing SB 1. Specifically, in addressing attempted veto overrides, the Attorney General assumes that SB 1 passed out of both houses on May 31, 2017. If accurate, that definition of “passage” would appear to conflict with the definition in the Illinois State Constitution’s presentment clause, which requires the legislature to advance passed legislation to the governor’s desk in an expeditious manner, within 30 days. Illinois Const. art. IV § 9(a); 5 ILCS 75/2 (Effective Date of Laws Act).

The Attorney General correctly assesses that, when the General Assembly approves a motion to override a veto, the vote is not a new legislative action but instead “a reaffirmation of the bill’s original language.” AG Opinion at 8. Her opinion also notes that there are four actions typically considered “final” legislative action in the caselaw, and a motion to reconsider is not traditionally included on that list. Because of this, she concludes that “the final legislative action is deemed to have occurred when the bill was passed by the General Assembly initially.” Id. at 9. In this instance, the Attorney General concluded “the point at which Senate Bill 1 passed . . . was May 31, 2017.” Id. at 10.

However, the Attorney General’s opinion does not squarely address the impact of the motion to reconsider on SB 1. A motion to reconsider acts against a vote in favor of a bill, such that the vote is “prevented . . . from having any legal effect.” Ceresa v. City of Peru, 133 Ill. App. 2d 748, 753 (3d Dist. 1971). And of course, none of us would consider a bill “passed” (and on the clock for submission to the governor) while still under a motion to reconsider, as was SB1 on May 31 of this year. See, e.g., Senate Rules 7-15. Reconsideration. (“When a motion to reconsider is made within the time prescribed by these Senate Rules, the Secretary shall not allow the bill or other subject matter of the motion to pass out of the possession of the Senate until after the motion has been decided or withdrawn.”).

Because of this, the Attorney General’s opinion raises as many questions as it answers, and what the opinion highlights, at the very least, is the lack of controlling Illinois Supreme Court or Appellate Court caselaw to guide the General Assembly on the effective date question before us.

Certainly, it is an abuse of the legislative process to use a motion to reconsider in order to circumvent the 30-day presentment requirement of our state Constitution. And a bill can’t be said to have passed a chamber, or to be ready for presentment to the governor, when it’s held up by a motion to reconsider. It’s also hard to argue on these facts that SB 1’s passage is in accord with the Constitution’s command that our General Assembly finish its business by May 31, especially when our own legislative information system,, says that SB 1 was “passed” on July 31, not May 31.

To sum up, a bill that is “passed” must be presented to the governor within 30 days. A bill subject to a motion to reconsider cannot “pass” out of the Senate or House, until the motion is resolved. A bill that is not “passed” by May 31 is not immediately effective, unless the General Assembly provides an immediate effective date in the bill, approved by supermajorities of both House and Senate. The motion to reconsider the Senate concurrence vote on SB 1 was not resolved until July 31, and the bill did not pass out of the Senate until that date. SB 1 was made ready for action by the governor on July 31.

The simple fact remains that no one can be confident that SB 1 would be immediately effective, if the governor’s veto is overriden. There is no controlling caselaw on point. But there is a coherent, thoughtful legal argument that the effective date of the bill would be June 1, 2018, well after our school districts’ educational funds would run dry.

With all due respect to the Attorney General and our Democrat colleagues, it would be irresponsible for us to proceed with SB 1, when we can’t be entirely certain that the bill would get our kids the money they need to sustain their schools this year.


Peter Breen
House Republican Floor Leader

* It’s an interesting question. I’m not sure if the courts will take it up, but the Constitution is pretty clear and gives the judicial branch authority

Every bill passed by the General Assembly shall be presented to the Governor within 30 calendar days after its passage. The foregoing requirement shall be judicially enforceable.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Barickman proposes SB1 trade

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Mark Brown on the SB1 talks

Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said that if Illinois Democrats want Chicago Public Schools pension relief as part of an education funding reform deal, then they ought to agree to give other schools the same management “flexibility” accorded Chicago Public Schools two decades ago.

Management flexibility is code for limitations on union collective bargaining rights, so naturally, Democrats say they aren’t interested.

But it’s a difficult position for Democrats to defend, given that Chicago was already granted these same provisions as part of the deal under which Mayor Richard M. Daley took over the school system in 1995.

I can’t really defend it either. I understand why the unions don’t want to open the door any further than they already have, but it makes no sense for Chicago to be playing by its own set of labor rules, just as it makes no sense for Chicago to be the only school district that pays for its own pensions.

“One of the abilities is for Chicago to use third-party contractors for the provision of non-instructional services, whether it be safety, grounds keeping, landscaping or the like,” Barickman said.

The privatization of such services was not without its bumps at CPS, and many would say those third-party contractors continue to be a problem.


* Meanwhile, Gov. Rauner told reporters this yesterday

If a school district has dramatically fewer students, it’s not fair to other districts that have more students or the same where their dollars keep flowing to fund half the number of students or a third of the number of students. at some point you need to sort of true it up and adjust it or it’s not fair to the taxpayers in other communities. I’m open to when that adjustment happens. And for the time being have a hold harmless so even if there’s enrollment drops that the school district can keep getting the same amount of money from the state. But some day there needs to be some sort of adjustment, otherwise it’s not fair or sustainable over time.

If he’d settle for limiting the funding cuts to school districts which lose half or two-thirds of their students, then fine because it’ll probably never happen or it’ll be so rare that it’s no big deal. What he may be implying, though, is that he really believes his private school tuition tax credit idea will prompt tons of kids to move away from public schools. What he is also doing, however, is trying to get at CPS funding. Call his bluff.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

“Wreck It Rauner” to attend State Fair

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Pritzker campaign…

Today, on Governor’s Day at the state fair, Crisis Creatin’ Rauner introduced Wreck It Rauner. With a duct-taped wrecking ball in hand, Wreck It Rauner will highlight how Bruce Rauner is destroying our state and hurting Illinois families.

From wrecking social service agencies to hurting working families, Bruce Rauner’s damage is done and he must be held accountable. Before appearances at the state fair later today, Wreck It Rauner made a digital debut.

“Bruce Rauner came in like a wrecking ball and unleashed two-and-a-half years of destruction on our state,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “The wreck he leaves in his wake has irreparably harmed families and hurt communities. Rauner’s damage is done and ‘Wreck it Rauner’ is ready to hold this failed governor accountable.”

* The video

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Rauner campaign launches two new TV ads

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* Press release…

Today, Citizens for Rauner Inc. released two new television ads highlighting the benefits of Bruce Rauner’s plan to reform Illinois’ education funding system.

The changes proposed by Governor Rauner provide more funding than SB1 to 98% percent of Illinois school districts, with an emphasis on making sure those funds go where they are most needed: the classroom.

The Governor has made it clear that he is open to compromise, and is trying to work with legislators to ensure fair and equitable funding for all Illinois schoolchildren.

Illinois’ education system is broken, and legislators are now pushing for an education funding system that pulls money away from some of the state’s most needy districts to bail out Chicago. That isn’t fair to the students of Illinois.

At the upcoming Governor’s day events at the Illinois State Fair, Governor Rauner plans on addressing the issue of inequity in funding for public schools, and how his plan ensures that schoolchildren across the state receive the funding they deserve.

These TV ads will run in markets across the state in conjunction with digital ads and phone calls in support of Governor Rauner’s plan.

* Let’s see how his new campaign manager is doing


*** UPDATE ***  DGA…

The following statement can be attributed to Sam Salustro, DGA Illinois Communications Director:

“Yesterday, Governor Rauner could not name a Superintendent that supported his plan, so today he has to spend his millions misleading the public. As hard as he may try, Rauner cannot change facts. Rauner willingly pushed the state into crisis by issuing a politically driven veto that now puts school funding in jeopardy. Illinois families already watched Rauner veto the state budget after a two-year impasse; they should not have to suffer through another crisis just for Rauner’s political ambition.

“Schools need funding and Governor Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership is the only thing standing in their way.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Governor’s Day, education funding reform coverage

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* The House has an approp committee and 9 then convenes at 11. Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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