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*** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker’s new EO includes change in eviction moratorium

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Click here for the renewed disaster proclamation and click here for the EO.

Most everything in the EO just extended everything for another month. The only major change was the eviction moratorium, which is amended thusly

A person or entity may not continue a residential eviction action pursuant to or arising under 735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq. against a tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident of a residential property if the tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident submits a Declaration pursuant to Section 1 following commencement of a residential eviction action, unless that person poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.

That’s apparently designed to deal with the worst problem tenants.

*** UPDATE *** From attorney Michael J. Steadman…

Rich-

Great work on the blog.

A clarification as to the effect of the amendment to the EO re: evictions. Thank you by the way for the update- these EO’s do not get much media coverage and the State does not always update right away.

It is a change that benefits tenants. Until now if a tenant did not submit their signed declaration prior to the filing of a case the case could proceed through the system through trial and judgment. Everything would be finished except the enforcement of the order. Now, if I’m reading it correctly, if they submit the declaration at any time in the process the eviction case gets frozen.

Exceptions of course for health and safety situations. This order does not affect cases where a landlord can demonstrate a tenant is posing a “direct threat”.

Editorial comment- what most folks don’t realize is that once the moratorium is lifted it will still take landlords months to get the cases through the system and litigated where necessary. At least here in Cook. This is a further obstacle to those landlords who have been able to file cases and start moving them forward.

I’m a landlord attorney if that wasn’t already plainly obvious!

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Riverfront Times

The Bottle Rockets, the Festus-born, St. Louis-based band of alt-country stalwarts some 28 years running, have announced today that they have broken up.

The news came via a statement on social media. According to the post, guitarist, frontman and co-bandleader Brian Henneman has decided to retire, and the group simply can’t go on without him.

“Although he’s in good health, he’s been feeling the passage of time and has lost interest in anything that distracts from or takes him away from home,” the post reads. “Unfortunately, this means the Bottle Rockets can’t continue as we know it. This is a difficult and emotional outcome for the band, and we share the sense of loss over this ending, but it can also be framed as an opportunity for new directions.”

Accompanying that post is a statement from Henneman himself that makes clear the decision was not made lightly.

“Been thinkin’ about it this entire time off,” Henneman writes. “I’m more certain of it than anything I’ve ever been certain of before. I’m turning 60 this year. Including my time with Uncle Tupelo, I have been doing this recording/touring thing for 30 years. I don’t consider myself too old to do it anymore, but I do consider myself too old to want to.”

I’d been trying to convince the group’s bassist Keith Voegele to do a European tour so we could all go over there together for a couple of weeks and get weird. Alas, that wish will never be fulfilled.

* Henneman is just a top-notch lyricist. Here’s one example

Guess I’m gonna have to row
Looks like the Gulf of Mexico, down by the Texaco

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Pritzker to extend eviction moratorium

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* CBS 2

Gov. JB Pritzker says he will extend the statewide moratorium on evictions for another 30 days. The moratorium was set to expire on Saturday.

However, Pritzker said he’s also looking at how the state might adjust that moratorium, depending on how much federal aid the state might get from the COVID-19 relief legislation currently being debated in Congress.

The governor first issued a moratorium on evictions on March 20, 2020, and has issued 30-day extensions multiple times since.

In November, Pritzker modified the moratorium to provide new protections for landlords who have complained that some tenants who can afford their rent have been refusing to pay.

* What Pritzker said…

I’m looking very hard at the assistance that will come from the federal government for renters and homeowners that’s in the package that’s being considered by the federal government. And I think that we ought to be considering how to adjust our moratorium on evictions according to the amount of money that is allocated to the state of Illinois for renters and homeowners.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Rate the state’s new vaccination ads

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Press release…

As more Illinoisans become eligible for the vaccine and the supply from the federal government continues to grow, Governor JB Pritzker launched a new public awareness campaign directed especially to residents in the hardest-hit communities who are reluctant to take the vaccine.

The public awareness campaign features Illinoisans who have been personally impacted by COVID-19 and are sharing their stories and belief in the vaccine.

The $10 million campaign will reach Illinoisans statewide in both English and Spanish through a variety of traditional and online media channels, including cable, broadcast and connected TV; streaming audio and radio; billboards and bus shelters; digital display and video; print and social media. Like other coronavirus-related expenses, costs are reimbursable by the federal government.

“This campaign builds on Illinois’ existing messaging which has used data to inform how to get outcomes that emphasize equity,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Vaccine hesitancy is real, and misinformation is rampant, especially on social media. So Illinois is acting proactively to share the message: All three of the approved vaccines were 100% effective in trials for stopping hospitalizations and death. After a year of staying socially distant and staying safe, what a relief it will be to get vaccinated so you can be protected from this virus.”

“I empathize with the Illinoisans who are unsure about whether to take the vaccine, and we’re launching this campaign to speak directly to them,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “I encourage everyone to do your research and listen to the personal stories of real Illinoisans who believe in the vaccine. As a physician myself, I got my shot because I know vaccines work. They have saved millions of lives. And by making the choice to get vaccinated yourself, you can protect yourself from this devastating virus and start getting back to normal.”

As a part of the administration’s data-driven and equity-centric pandemic response, the campaign follows the CDC’s Vaccinate with Confidence Strategy of aiming to reach “the moveable middle” — residents who want to protect their health but are hesitant about getting vaccines. According to research conducted by Civis Analytics, approximately 46 percent of Illinoisans are in this group, a disproportionate number of whom are 18 to 34-year-olds, women, lower-income individuals and Black adults.

To speak to those residents, the campaign features public health experts and residents who have had Covid themselves, two of the most trusted sources of information on the virus, according to research.

Driven by real-time data, messages will be targeted to high vulnerability areas where vaccine uptake is a challenge. IDPH will analyze local vaccination rates in conjunction with the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index. Communities with lower vaccination rates and higher vulnerability scores will receive additional allocations so these critical messages are seen by those who most need to hear them.

The campaign is part of the state’s larger All in Illinois effort, backed by doctors and public health experts, encouraging Illinoisans to protect themselves and their neighbors from COVID-19 by wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing and getting vaccinated.

Watch the first ads here:

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Gov. Pritzker was asked today for his thoughts on the past year of the pandemic…

You know, it’s hard, it’s hard to reflect on all of it, because it’s been quite a year. And for many, many people it’s been a devastating year. People have died, people have been sick, there are people with long-hauler syndrome who’ve been sick. And I, you know, I, I guess the first thing that comes to mind for me when I reflect on this year is that it’s the safety and health of the people of Illinois that has weighed on me every day. And that I think about then the financial health of people who’ve lost their jobs. So many people who lost their jobs, frankly, are the people who can least afford to lose their job. That is to say, they’re living paycheck to paycheck, or they’re getting paid minimum wage. And these are the folks who have suffered the most in this pandemic. And so I think a lot about how do we lift them up, how do we make their lives better? So we’re working, as you know that the health aspects of COVID-19, the metrics and everything are all moving in the right direction. Now we need to take care of people’s financial situations. And fortunately, we have a president who cares deeply about that, and hopefully a congress that will be able to get something passed. And so help is on the way.

* The Question: Your own thoughts on the past year of the pandemic?

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


1,442 new confirmed and probable cases; 33 additional deaths; 1,166 hospitalized; 263 in ICU; 2.2 percent average case positivity rate; 2.8 percent average test positivity rate; 83,115 average daily doses

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 1,442 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 33 additional deaths.

    - Carroll County: 1 male 60s
    - Cook County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 3 males 80s
    - DeKalb County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
    - DuPage County: 1 female 80s
    - Kendall County: 1 male 60s
    - Knox County: 1 male 60s
    - Lake County: 1 male 30s, 1 male 50s
    - LaSalle County: 1 female 80s
    - Madison County: 1 female 80s
    - Massac County: 1 male 80s
    - Monroe County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 90s
    - Montgomery County: 1 female 80s
    - Ogle County: 1 female 80s
    - Peoria County: 1 female 70s
    - Sangamon County: 1 male 80s
    - St. Clair County: 1 female 60s
    - Whiteside County: 1 male 70s
    - Will County: 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,194,702 cases, including 20,700 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 103,336 specimens for a total of 18,492,848. As of last night, 1,166 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 263 patients were in the ICU and 121 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from February 26–March 4, 2021 is 2.2%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from February 26–March 4, 2021 is 2.8%.

A total of doses of 3,780,305 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 443,700 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. This brings the total Illinois doses to 4,224,005. A total of 3,125,425 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight, including 336,911 for long-term care facilities. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 83,115 doses. Yesterday, a record 131,882 doses were administered in Illinois.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. Information for deaths previously reported has changed, therefore, today’s numbers have been adjusted. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

I went back and looked at the seven-day average of administered doses on January 20th: 21,869.

* Tribune live blog headlines

Stimulus check updates: Democrats trim emergency jobless benefits as Senate debates $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

City shuts down makeshift club in a home in Old Town, cites 6 businesses for COVID-19 violations

St. Clair County Jail inmates should have had masks before January, Gov. Pritzker, lawmakers say after newspaper investigation

With COVID-19 shots in short supply, some people are getting vaccinated with leftover doses that might otherwise be wasted: “Better in your arm than in the trash.”

After initial glitches, thousands register for COVID-19 mass vaccination site at United Center, officials say.

CPS proposes starting classes in August, citing “learning loss” from COVID-19 disruptions, as district also begins union talks to bring high school students back.

Will the world ever really get over COVID-19? What we learned from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Chicago talk.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


CDC report: Masks decrease spread, but on-premises restaurant dining increases it

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* From the latest edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

What is already known about this topic?

Universal masking and avoiding nonessential indoor spaces are recommended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

What is added by this report?

Mandating masks was associated with a decrease in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation. Allowing on-premises restaurant dining was associated with an increase in daily COVID-19 case growth rates 41–100 days after implementation and an increase in daily death growth rates 61–100 days after implementation.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Mask mandates and restricting any on-premises dining at restaurants can help limit community transmission of COVID-19 and reduce case and death growth rates. These findings can inform public policies to reduce community spread of COVID-19.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Unemployment applications rose nationally last week, fell slightly in Illinois

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* I’m coming a day late to this. Sorry. Here’s the New York Times

Even as the economy shows signs of rebounding, employers continue to lay off large numbers of workers, a sign of how long it will take for the job market to recover fully from the pandemic.

The pressure was evident Thursday with a new report from the Labor Department showing a rise in initial jobless claims last week after a big drop the previous week. […]

A jump in claims after the devastating winter storms in Texas contributed to the increase last week, but the weakness was broad-based. […]

A total of 748,000 workers filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended Saturday, 32,000 higher than the week before. In addition, 437,000 new claims were filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program covering freelancers, part-timers and others who do not routinely qualify for state benefits, a rise of 9,000.

* CBS 2

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) reported 68,111 new unemployment claims were filed last week, only a slight decrease from the previous week, when 68,383 people filed.

However, it’s still a huge spike from the same timeframe last year, when 8,980 people filed claims in Illinois. That’s a 658% increase.

* US Department of Labor

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending February 13 were in Pennsylvania (6.3), Alaska (5.7), Nevada (5.4), Rhode Island (5.1), Connecticut (4.9), New York (4.9), the Virgin Islands (4.9), California (4.7), Illinois (4.7), and New Mexico (4.6).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 20 were in Illinois (+6,014), Missouri (+5,624), Tennessee (+3,987), Mississippi (+3,266), and Colorado (+2,842), while the largest decreases were in California (-49,138), Ohio (-45,189), New York (-9,117), Idaho (-5,111), and Michigan (-3,942).

* National chart

Long way to go.

* In other news, some House committees met jointly yesterday to query IDES Acting Director Kristin Richards

Rep. Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest) emphasized the department clearly needs more employees answering calls and IDES should look into recruiting people desperate to get back to work.

“I mean, we have people who are waiting or looking for jobs because they’re unemployed,” Davis said. “How many of those people were given the opportunity to work at one of these call centers?”

“I would have to honestly ask the recruitment teams the extent to which they’re recruiting that out to the unemployment population,” Richards answered. “But, these are jobs that are out there that are available.”

However, Richards also noted IDES can’t circumvent state and federal hiring guidelines. For example, when the department posted call center vacancies in April, officials didn’t bring those new employees into the call center until September. Still, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle stressed their staff haven’t received calls back or answers from IDES in a proper manner.

OK, so it takes 5 months to put people on the job, apparently. But this crisis has lasted a year. A larger, quicker ramp-up could’ve been done.

* Related…

* Senate Democrats Agree To Extend Unemployment Benefits Through September: The version of the legislation that passed the House would have increased the payments to $400 per week through the end of August. The change is a compromise between progressive members who wanted enhanced benefits for several more months and moderate Democrats who wanted to curb the weekly payments. The updated version of the bill would make the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 nontaxable.

* About 40,000 people just lost unemployment benefits in Illinois. Here’s why, and who will lose them next.

* Some filing for extended benefits have trouble reaching IDES: “Unfortunately, when this law was passed, Congress enacted the bill on Dec. 21. But President Trump delayed signing law until Dec. 27, which allowed those benefits to lapse and it’s not as easy to reinstate those programs, especially once people exhaust benefits. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, it can take weeks of coding,” explained Alexa Tapia of the National Employment Law Project. She says most states are having this problem.

* Despite Unemployment Numbers, Illinois Per Capita Income Climbed In 2020 During COVID-19 Pandemic

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      


Kass (no, not that Kass, the smart one) argues against austerity

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Our old friend Amanda Kass of the Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois-Chicago and Philip Rocco of Marquette University penned an op-ed for Governing Magazine entitled “The Myth of ‘Unnecessary’ Federal Aid to State and Local Governments”

Second, the myth relies on narrow assumptions about the appropriate indicators of fiscal need. While on average state and local revenues have fared better than initial expectations due to the combination of an economic rebound and extensive federal stimulus, revenues are only half of the equation. What’s missing is a focus on the spending needs created and exacerbated by the pandemic that cannot be addressed even if revenues return to their pre-pandemic baseline.

State and local budgets account only for planned spending and do not capture the amount necessary to meet the full demand and needs of their respective communities. The number of people experiencing homelessness or at risk for eviction has increased, for example, but spending on emergency housing and relief programs is based on the number of people the programs can support, not on how many people actually need assistance. Yet even analyses by supporters of additional aid note that they cannot account for spending needed to “help people and businesses facing extreme hardship,” ongoing costs tied to combating the disease itself or “the added costs of providing services effectively and safely during a pandemic.”

Determining the full scope of spending needs is challenging, and hinges on subjective decisions around what constitutes a COVID-related expenditure and what should be prioritized. Yet few analyses consider whether the pre-COVID status quo for state and local governments was acceptable.

For years, governments have deferred maintenance on existing infrastructure and facilities and underinvested in an array of programs and services. While the pandemic placed unprecedented strains on state unemployment insurance systems, their pre-COVID baseline was unacceptable. State UI systems were riddled with administrative burdens and outdated technical infrastructures. In 2019, for example, only 9 percent of Mississippians who were eligible for UI actually received benefits.

Schools provide another example. According to Government Accountability Office estimates, in 2019 about 41 percent of school districts needed “to update or replace HVAC systems in at least half their schools.” Although deferred maintenance is quantified and recorded in financial reports, the consequences of austerity have long been displaced onto already marginalized, predominantly minority communities. While COVID-19 has made a wider swath of society feel the effects of disinvestment, the crisis has exacerbated racial inequities, which is why the issue of spending and whose needs are not being met is so central.

The Great Recession should provide federal policymakers with a powerful lesson: Limited support for state and local governments slows economic recovery. But political pressure for fiscal austerity often re-emerges before the economy is out of the woods and before adequate stock is taken of state and local needs.

There more to this, so go read the whole thing.

* Meanwhile, here’s the Wisconsin Examiner

The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to begin debate on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, after drafting a number of revisions that, among other changes, tweak the aid intended for state and local governments.

The legislation approved in the House outlines $350 billion in direct aid to state, local governments, territories and tribes. Of that figure, $195 billion would go to states and the District of Columbia, and $130 billion would be divided among cities and counties.

Under the Senate version, the size of the state aid would remain the same, but the share for local governments would go down to $120 billion. The $10 billion difference would be set aside for states’ infrastructure projects, like improving broadband access.

It also would set limits on how the money can be used, barring cities and states from using the dollars to pay down pension costs or to pay for new attempts to cut taxes. And it would ensure that states get at least as much as they received under the last aid package.

* And

Based on the details emerging Thursday, [Philip Rocco of Marquette University] finds that history might be about to repeat itself. Under the Senate rewrite, “the rest of the aid is going to be subject to fairly tight restrictions and requirements,” he says — which could slow funds from getting out where they could re-energize the economy.

“If we listen to state and local officials about the difficulties they experienced with these programs, the restrictions are the biggest hurdle,” Rocco says — a hurdle that looms once again.

“I think that it’s unfortunate,” Rocco says, “because I think what happens is when these restrictions are in there, and you make it harder for state local governments to use the money, it can perpetuate the myth that we don’t need it.”

* Related…

* The Deficit Hawks That Make Moderate Democrats Cower - Despite decades of being wrong, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget still calls the tune in Washington.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Democrats, business leaders argue for phased approach to full reopening, and they want it to start soon

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* More background from this committee hearing is here if you need it. Capitol News Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said she is hopeful outdoor events can return as early as this summer with large indoor events such as conventions and trade shows beginning in the fall.

Speaking during a Senate Tourism and Hospitality Committee hearing, Mendoza said that the return to holding events would be gradual and based on a number of factors, including COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates. […]

Some business leaders told the committee that they have been set back by the state’s current cap of 50 people for event gatherings under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois guidelines. Phase 5 of the reopening plan would allow for a return of large-scale events with the necessary safety precautions, pending the widespread availability of a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment.

As a result of the federal government moving up projections that a vaccine could be available to the entire population by the end of May, business leaders asked the committee for a “ramp” approach to reopening under Phase 5 to allow events to resume in some capacity as soon as possible.

* Center Square

State Sen. Suzy Glowiack Hilton, D-Western Springs, said the difference of Phase 4 with a cap of 50 people and Phase 5 with no restrictions is too great.

“It’s all or small and we need an in-between piece to kind of ramp us up and plan and give us some predictability for the folks who really need it because we’ve got to get our people back to work,” Glowiack Hilston said. […]

State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said meetings expected in about 10 days aren’t going to cut it compared to other states.

“That is the same week that Connecticut, Nevada and New York are actually already going to be implementing their 100-150 capacity, but we’re still in these internal conversations,” Feigenholtz said.

150 people ain’t gonna help the convention industry much.

And while Texas is fully reopening soon and abandoning its mask mandate, it has a 10 percent positivity rate, which is five times higher than Illinois’ rate. Texas’ daily new case rate is 25 per 100,000. Illinois’ rate is 14.2. But no prominent Democrat in this state is arguing for such a drastic move.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


Chicago Sun-Times: “Illinois Can’t Sit Back And Wait For The Federal Government To Do The Job.” CEJA Can’t Wait.

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board recently urged legislators to finally pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA, HB804, SB1718). Here are a few excerpts:

“It’s time for the Legislature to get charged up about passing a comprehensive energy bill that would help the environment, assist ratepayers, benefit communities that need jobs and help workers displaced by the shift from fossil fuels.”

“Here’s just one reason: Illinois has not only gone over the so-called “solar cliff,” but it has also crashed on the ground like Wile E. Coyote. Because CEJA was not enacted in time, payments will be yanked away for solar installations that have already been started around the state. Others won’t begin. Fossil fuels will be burned unnecessarily.”

“Here’s another reason: Illinois has missed the window to protect ratepayers from unnecessarily paying higher power bills to support fossil fuel companies. The Trump administration is the culprit, but it will take years to unwind that on the federal level. CEJA would throw ratepayers a lifeline more quickly.”

We must pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act to create equitable jobs, lower electric bills, and hold utilities accountable. Read the full editorial here and learn more at ilcleanjobs.org.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Durbin agreed to back Harris before flipping to Kelly

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* I told subscribers about this controversy yesterday. Here’s Lynn Sweet

Duckworth and Durbin had both called early on for Madigan to step down as state House Speaker and DPI chair. Madigan announced his party resignation on Feb. 22.

Before that, Duckworth launched conversations with Durbin and Pritzker about who should replace Madigan. Duckworth wanted a unity candidate. There was agreement it was time for a woman of color to be the chair.

The three agreed on Harris not realizing that Kelly would be interested. Kelly told me she held back because there was no official vacancy. She jumped in immediately after Madigan stepped down. Durbin ended up backing Kelly.

* Meanwhile, here’s the Tribune

The election of U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson as Illinois Democratic chairman represented the party’s growing effort to move beyond the one-man control exercised by embattled former House Speaker Michael Madigan over 23 years.

Kelly’s election over Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th, by the Illinois Democratic State Central Committee also revealed another fault line in the political operation of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who had backed Harris and is seeking reelection in 2022. […]

Instead, the wealthy heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, who has the ability to bankroll Democrats, found a committee more interested in a future of decentralized leadership as it seeks to grow in Republican areas through the participation of activists spawned by Donald Trump’s 2016 election as president.

Heading into a critical reelection year, Pritzker has sustained losses in his push for a graduated-rate income tax, an effort to dictate a new state Senate president and now in his choice for the Democratic chairmanship.

* Politico

Kelly is beginning to form a post-election transition team to work on her promised revamp of the party organization. Some names already on that team: Board of Review Commissioner Michael Cabonargi, state Sen. Cristina Castro and political consultant Scott Kennedy.

* Related…

* NBC 5 Hosts 1-on-1 Interview With Illinois Dem Chair Robin Kelly

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Local 150 responds, criticizes plaintiffs *** Appellate ruling: Transportation lock box amendment doesn’t apply to home rule units

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Cook County Record

Cook County and other “home rule” units of local government in Illinois are not obligated to spend transportation tax money on actual transportation projects, despite a state constitutional amendment intended to lock away transportation funding from being spent elsewhere, a state appeals panel has ruled.

In the ruling, the appellate justices said they believed the limits within the so-called Safe Roads Amendment applies only to taxes levied by the state government itself, or governed by state law.

“In sum, all of the extrinsic information that might inform us of the Amendment’s intent points to the same conclusion that struck us as the most reasonable as well,” the justices wrote.

“The Amendment protects from diversion those revenues from transportation-related taxes whose expenditure is authorized by statute. The Amendment does not sequester revenues from transportation-related taxes spent by home-rule units pursuant to their independent constitutional spending power.” […]

The road builder associations said, by diverting the money away from transportation construction and maintenance, the county was balancing its budgets on the backs of its member workers, businesses and unions. […]

The county cautioned that allowing the road builders’ interpretation would not only be opposed to the actual language of the amendment, but would open units of Illinois local governments to a six-lane freeway of lawsuits from “transportation contractors and the like with an appetite for more construction contracts who will demand a ‘line-item accounting’ of how they spend their money…,” the county wrote in a brief filed in Cook County court in 2018.

The opinion is here.

*** UPDATE *** Ed Maher of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150…

Typically in constitutional jurisprudence, a strategy is employed to define the contours of constitutional limitations in a case of first impressions. The plaintiffs in this case clearly employed no such strategy.

We are disappointed by the decision, not least because we worked closely with home rule communities and advocates in the eleventh hour of crafting this amendment, and all were in agreement that the lockbox would include home rule units.

We will work – legally and legislatively – to fix the damage that has been done to this important policy. Illinoisans have come to demand that transportation revenue be used for transportation purposes, and this decision places local governments at a crossroads of whether to build taxpayers’ confidence in them or dispense with it completely.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


ALPLM hires first person of color as executive director

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Press release…

Christina M. Shutt, the director of the African American history and culture museum in Arkansas, has been selected to lead the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the ALPLM’s Board of Trustees announced Friday.

Shutt has been executive director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock since 2016 and guided it through the complex process of earning national accreditation, making it only the ninth Black culture museum in the United States to earn such a designation.

She previously served as Associate Librarian for Special Collections and Instruction at Hendrix College and has worked in a variety of special collections, including the Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard University. Shutt holds two master’s degrees, one in history and the other in library science/archives management, from Simmons University.

She will be the fifth executive director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the first person of color to hold the title.

“Christina Shutt brings tremendous expertise to the job, as well as new perspectives on how to interpret the life, legacy and lessons of Abraham Lincoln,” said Ray LaHood, chairman of the ALPLM Board of Trustees. “We are thrilled to have her guiding a great institution dedicated to an even greater man.”

Shutt, 34, was unanimously selected Friday by the board after a nationwide search. Her appointment requires approval by the Illinois Senate.

She called her selection a tremendous honor.

“You can’t truly understand America without understanding Abraham Lincoln’s impact on the nation,” Shutt said. “I’m excited to help share Lincoln’s enduring legacy and his relevancy for today.”

“Museums play an important, often overlooked, role in the community. The ALPLM’s path forward must include cultivating partnerships with our neighbors in Springfield and central Illinois,” Shutt added. “We should also step forward in the larger community of institutions that are exploring new ways to share history and ensure it includes all voices.”

Governor JB Pritzker praised Shutt’s selection.

“After a nationwide search for the best candidate to shape the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s 21st century legacy, Illinois is elated to welcome Christina Shutt and her family to Springfield,” Pritzker said. ”A barrier-breaker in her own right, Christina comes to the ALPLM with formidable experience in lifting up historically marginalized voices and ensuring they are heard and understood in the greater American narrative – and in turn, the American present. Abraham Lincoln’s legacy is not only a critical piece of comprehending our nation’s past; but also in understanding how to navigate our future. I have every faith in Christina as the best person to guide ALPLM forward and help make the life and legacy of Lincoln more accessible to all Illinoisans. We are proud that she has chosen to call Illinois home.”

Shutt is scheduled to start the new job in early June.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.

Take a look at this profile on Shutt. She looks like a solid choice.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Support The Illinois Healthy Youth Act – SB266

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

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Open thread

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Polite and Illinois-centric, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Friday, Mar 5, 2021

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      


Chicago Sun-Times: “Illinois Can’t Sit Back And Wait For The Federal Government To Do The Job.” CEJA Can’t Wait.

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board recently urged legislators to finally pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA, HB804, SB1718). Here are a few excerpts:

“It’s time for the Legislature to get charged up about passing a comprehensive energy bill that would help the environment, assist ratepayers, benefit communities that need jobs and help workers displaced by the shift from fossil fuels.”

“Here’s just one reason: Illinois has not only gone over the so-called “solar cliff,” but it has also crashed on the ground like Wile E. Coyote. Because CEJA was not enacted in time, payments will be yanked away for solar installations that have already been started around the state. Others won’t begin. Fossil fuels will be burned unnecessarily.”

“Here’s another reason: Illinois has missed the window to protect ratepayers from unnecessarily paying higher power bills to support fossil fuel companies. The Trump administration is the culprit, but it will take years to unwind that on the federal level. CEJA would throw ratepayers a lifeline more quickly.”

We must pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act to create equitable jobs, lower electric bills, and hold utilities accountable. Read the full editorial here and learn more at ilcleanjobs.org.

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It’s just a bill

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* Tim Kirsininkas at Capitol News Illinois

The Illinois House Human Services Committee advanced two bills Tuesday, one allowing special needs students to stay with a school program past their 22nd birthday and another allowing the use of certain federal nutrition benefits to purchase feminine hygiene products.

House Bill 40, introduced by Rep. Frances Hurley, D-Chicago, would allow special needs students to receive special education services through the end of the school year that they turn 22 years of age.

Under current state statute, special needs students can be removed from special education programs as soon as they hit their 22nd birthday. Hurley said the bill would be key to beginning to increase equity for special needs students that can already be left behind by a state system not properly equipped to support them.

“I don’t think they should be punished for their birthdate,” Hurley said.

* Raymon Troncoso at Capitol News Illinois

Legislation backed by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group would require farming equipment manufacturers to make software required for repairs available to consumers for purchase.

House Bill 3061, introduced as the “Digital Right to Repair Act” in February by Democratic Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg, would mandate that manufacturers, by 2022, provide farmers with the same diagnostic materials available to official repair providers. It would also require the manufacturers to make parts necessary for repair, including software, available for purchase.

The legislation comes after the release of a report by the U.S. PIRG that alleges farmers are unable to sufficiently repair tractors purchased from John Deere and other manufacturers because they withhold the software necessary to do so.

“The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, of which John Deere is a prominent member, promised that by 2021, they would give farmers the necessary tools to fix their machinery. However, Deere has fallen short of that commitment, so farmers – and all Americans, who rely on them to produce food – are worse off,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund Right to Repair Advocate Kevin O’Reilly said in a release announcing the report.

* Bill becomes law, law implemented by rule

The state is no longer charging interest on late child support payments that are made through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services unless it’s ordered by a court, and all of the outstanding interest charges that those parents owed have been zeroed out.

A spokesman for the agency said in an email that the total accrued interest penalties that were eliminated amounted to just over $2.7 billion.

DHFS made that announcement Monday, saying those interest charges fell disproportionately on low-income families and people of color. […]

Illinois had been one of only 15 states that automatically charged interest on late child support payments. But, in a bill passed last May and signed by Gov. JB Pritzker into law in August, the automatic interest penalty was repealed and DHFS was given authority to adopt administrative rules to determine how, and if, it would charge and enforce interest penalties.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* Sun-Times

When does a town become a city? For Chicago, that was exactly 184 years ago, when the state of Illinois officially gave it the bump to city status using the exact language you’d expect from a law written in 1837: “That the district of country in the county of Cook in the state aforesaid … shall hereafter be known by the name of city.”

Similar to how this anniversary doesn’t matter much to anyone outside of Chicago today, it wasn’t a big deal across the country back then. Martin Van Buren was sworn in as the United States’ eighth president on the same day, which dominated national headlines. And unlike the Midwest metropolis it is now, the newly anointed city of Chicago had a population of just 4,500 at the time.

* The Question: Your birthday wishes for Chicago?

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Support The Healthy Youth Act – SB266

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

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President Obama Wants Lawmakers To Stop Gerrymandering

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Are we going to continue with political maps hammered out in backroom deals or are our lawmakers ready to strive for the ideals set out by President Obama?

“The movement for fair maps will determine the course of progress on every issue we care about for the next decade.” - August, 2019

“I think people don’t completely appreciate how much gerrymandering affects the outcome [of elections],” Obama said. “You can draw a district that almost guarantees one party is going to win instead of another because you have voter histories and you have a sense of where people are typically going to vote.” - September, 2020

“I’d love to see changes at the state level that reduce political gerrymandering.” - January, 2015

“Regardless of our party affiliations,”
he says, gerrymandering is “not good for our democracy.” - July, 2018

“We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around.” - January, 2016

Learn more at CHANGEIL.org.

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1,740 new confirmed and probable cases; 42 additional deaths; 1,200 hospitalized; 260 in ICU; 2.4 percent average case positivity rate; 2.9 percent average test positivity rate; 78,942 average daily doses

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 1,740 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 42 additional deaths.

    - Bureau County: 1 male 50s
    - Champaign County: 1 male 80s
    - Cook County: 2 males 50s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 2 female 80s, 3 males 80s
    - DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s
    - Kane County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 60s
    - Lake County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 female 90s
    - LaSalle County: 1 female 80s
    - Macon County: 1 male 80s
    - Madison County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
    - McLean County: 1 male 70s
    - Monroe County; 1 male 80s
    - Morgan County: 1 female 70s
    - Ogle County: 1 male 80s
    - Peoria County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s
    - Sangamon County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 80s
    - Stephenson County: 1 female 100+
    - Will County: 1 female 30s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 male 70s
    - Winnebago County: 1 female 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,193,260 cases, including 20,668 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 73,990 specimens for a total of 18,389,512. As of last night, 1,200 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 260 patients were in the ICU and 128 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from February 25–March 3, 2021 is 2.4%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from February 25–March 3, 2021 is 2.9%.

A total of doses of 3,563,775 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 443,700 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. This brings the total Illinois doses to 4,007,475. A total of 2,993,543 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight, including 330,328 for long-term care facilities. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 78,942 doses. Yesterday, 93,302 doses were administered in Illinois.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

…Adding… As a commenter rightly points out, these are the lowest hospitalization and ICU numbers since IDPH started keeping track in mid-April.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Cracks develop as top Chicago union leader testifies about convention industry: “We can’t exist” with the governor’s “Phase 4 limbo”

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association live-tweeted testimony today by Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter to the Senate Tourism and Hospitality Committee about the city’s convention business

@BobReiterJr from @chicagolabor during IL Senate Tourism Cmte. hearing: Decisions made now will impact the #travel industry for this summer and beyond. Without a roadmap, current regulations are causing events to be canceled as far out as 2022.

@BobReiterJr: Other states like Nevada & New York are moving ahead w/ changes to allow for events to reopen. We have been working w/ health experts on protocols and believe events should resume w/ 50% occupancy cap and no maximum as long as precautions are implemented.

A balancing act needs to be had that protects people’s health but also need to look at what needs to be done to get people back to work. 25-30,000 union hospitality & convention workers are out of work & are making the decisions b/w paying for healthcare, mortgage or buying food

@BobReiterJr: We can’t exist in @GovPritzker’s phase 4 limbo & just hope that regulations are going to change. We need a ramp. How do we make incremental progress as pandemic winds to a close. Help us plan a path forward that protects workers but allows them to get back to work

@BobReiterJr: @McCormick_Place is the largest convention center in the United States. The convention industry was born in Chicago. Tourism is going to come back as the cabin fever wears off.

@BobReiterJr: The conversation (on reopening the convention industry) with @GovPritzker’s office needs to be had right now.

@SenatorSara6: Since our last hearing, 2 weeks ago, Chicago has lost three giant conventions - all cancelled. Growing concern for the potential revenue loss for the state. The Colorado dial telegraphs to those convention planners that we’re on the move, getting ready.

@BobReiterJr: We need to look towards the future. Can’t focus on previous benchmarks as vaccines increase. We don’t need capacity limits. We need a percentage based occupancy cap based on the size of the space where the event is.

@SenatorSuzy: Right now, with @GovPritzker’s Restore Illinois phase 4 and 5, it’s “all or small.” We need a gradual ramp up to larger events and gatherings.

Video is here.

Also, don’t nitpick typos. Live-tweeting ain’t easy. Stick to the topic at hand.

* I asked the governor’s office for a response. Here’s Jordan Abudayyeh…

The Governor has always said as the science evolves the response to this pandemic will follow what medical experts deem appropriate. The Governor shares the eagerness to resume normal life and as vaccine becomes more readily available looks forward to the next phases of this response.

* Related…

* National Restaurant Association Show, Inspired Home Show cancel McCormick Place events

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Mercy Hospital may stay open after all

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* WBEZ

Historic Mercy Hospital in Bronzeville, which is slated to close by May 31, is under a non-binding agreement to be sold.

That’s according to an email Mercy CEO Carol Schneider wrote to employees today and obtained by WBEZ.

Mercy’s owner, national Catholic hospital group Trinity Health, plans to sell Mercy on the Near South Side to Insight Chicago, a non-profit affiliated with a Flint, Mich.-based biomedical technology company.

“Insight Chicago will operate Mercy Hospital as a community hospital and will maintain ICU, Medical/Surgical, OB (non-high risk), Acute Mental Illness and Comprehensive Physical Rehabilitation categories of services,” Schneider wrote. “Insight Chicago will continue to operate Mercy Hospital’s ED as a basic Emergency Department.”

* Sun-Times

Mercy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, saying it was losing staff and experiencing “mounting financial losses” which challenged its ability to maintain a safe environment. The move came just two weeks after a state review board rejected Trinity Health’s proposal to open an urgent care and diagnostic center on the South Side. The same board unanimously rejected a plan in December to close Mercy.

Mercy — which was the site of a deadly shooting in November 2018 — was set to merge with three other South Side hospitals struggling financially, though that plan fell through due to a lack of state funding.

Until the pending deal with Insight Chicago is signed, Mercy’s overall plans for the hospital remain unchanged, the hospital said. As of now, it’s expected to cease operation May 31. If the agreement is finalized before then, Mercy will help Insight Chicago in transitioning services, according to the statement.

* Tribune

“We plan on a hospital that meets the needs of this great community, while leveraging regional expertise of our health system,” said Dr. Jawad Shah, president and CEO of Insight, in an Insight news release. “We are committed to a thoughtful community engagement process to ensure access to care for Chicago’s diverse populations while achieving financial solvency.”

…Adding… Jordan Abudayyeh…

The Governor believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege and that’s why his administration has worked tirelessly to exhaust every legal, legislative and administrative option to preserve healthcare access on the southside. The administration is hopeful that any potential buyer would provide the necessary services underserved communities need. And we encourage any buyer to meet with community stakeholders and legislators to better assess how they can work together to achieve better health outcomes for the community Mercy hospital serves. The state of Illinois has supported safety net hospitals throughout this pandemic, and with the General Assembly’s passage of health care transformation legislation, has even more tools to help providers meet the needs of the communities they serve.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


Light shines on ex-governor after Florida contribution

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* Set the Wayback Machine to 2014

After pulling strings to get his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep, Bruce Rauner, a Republican candidate for governor, became one of the elite Chicago public high school’s biggest benefactors.

The Rauner Family Foundation gave $250,000 to the Payton Prep Initiative for Education on Dec. 14, 2009 — about a year and a half after Rauner called then-Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to overturn his daughter’s rejection for admission, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times reveal.

Rauner’s gift was the largest the not-for-profit foundation had received up to that point. It amounts to nearly 30 percent of all the money the group has gotten during its first five years, according to records the Rauner and Payton charities have filed with the state.

Rauner’s gift to the Payton Prep Initiative came two months after his foundation gave $500,000 to the Chicago Public Schools Foundation, run by the school system’s top administrators. His foundation previously had given money to that organization.

* Now

Former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner made a $250,000 campaign contribution to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week after seniors in the uber-wealthy Florida Keys enclave where Rauner owns a home were among the first in the state to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in January.

Rauner’s connection to the favorable treatment first was reported Wednesday by the Miami Herald, which obtained a memo the management of the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo sent to residents noting that its medical center had vaccinations for residents age 65 and over while most Floridians struggled to access the shots. DeSantis has used the state’s vaccination program to open special distribution sites in select communities while skipping state and local vaccine registration logs, various Florida news outlets have reported.

“Over the course of the last two weeks, the Medical Center has vaccinated over 1,200 homeowners who qualify under the State of Florida’s Governor’s current Order for those individuals who are 65 years of age or older,” the Ocean Reef Club’s message to residents read, according to the Herald. “We are fortunate to have received enough vaccines to ensure both the first and second for those vaccinated. At this time, however, the majority of the State has not received an allocation of first doses of vaccines for this week and beyond, and the timing of any subsequent deliveries remains unclear.”

In its report, the Herald stated that contributions to DeSantis’ political fund surged amid the disbursement of vaccines, noting the only contributions the Florida governor received from Key Largo were from Ocean Reef residents.

* And

Since DeSantis started using the state’s vaccine initiative to steer special pop-up vaccinations to select communities, his political committee has raised $2.7 million in the month of February alone, more than any other month since he first ran for governor in 2018, records show.

A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages, but, after the story was published, DeSantis spokesperson Meredith Beatrice said that the governor was not involved in selecting the Ocean Reef Club for the early vaccine distribution. She did not explain how the club obtained so many doses ahead of others. […]

By hand-selecting the communities, DeSantis allows residents to bypass state and local vaccine registration systems and go directly through their community organizations, like the Medical Center at Ocean Reef. […]

The effort has brought scrutiny from DeSantis’ critics as the state’s vaccine distribution appears to be inequitable. By the end of February, only 5.6% of those who’ve been vaccinated in the state are Black, even though Blacks account for 17% of the state’s population, state records show.

He might want to bump up his apparent standard tip. $250,000 in 2014 is equal to $279,568.31 today. /s

…Adding… React…


- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      


DPI Chair Robin Kelly election coverage roundup

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* Background is here if you need it. Tribune

Illinois Democratic leaders on Wednesday night selected U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson as their new state party chairman and the successor to embattled former House Speaker Michael Madigan, who held the post for 23 years.

In a vote of the 36-member Democratic State Central Committee, with each member’s ballot weighted by the number of votes cast in the 2020 March primary, Kelly got 52% to 48% for Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th.

Harris’ loss was a blow to first-term Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who sought to consolidate power in the party with Madigan leaving the political scene. Pritzker backed Harris, as did U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Both are seeking reelection in 2022.

Kelly’s selection reflected a desire to decentralize party power after Madigan as well as fears that Pritzker, a multibillionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, would wield control of party purse strings. Kelly had the backing of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, the state’s senior senator and No. 2 ranking Democrat in the chamber.

* Sun-Times

Kelly, who is Black, garnered 51.7% of the weighted vote to become chair of the party, narrowly besting Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) during a virtual meeting of members of the state party’s leadership ranks.

Kelly and Harris, who is also Black, thanked each other and promised to work together after the evening vote.

Harris went into the meeting with more committee members publicly supporting her candidacy, but fell short with 48.3% of the total.

In a statement, Harris called Kelly “an esteemed colleague” and said “it is time to move forward and we will do that together.”

* NBC 5

She will now ascend to the role held for more than 20 years by former Illinois State Rep. Michael Madigan, who also resigned his seat in the house after stepping down as Speaker earlier this year.

Kelly is now the first Black woman to be elected to lead the party, according to her office.

The State Central Committee consists of two members from each of Illinois’ 18 U.S. House districts. Each of the 36 members received a weighted vote based on the number of votes cast in their district during the 2020 Democratic primary in the state.

Kelly had received the support of several prominent politicians, including U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. Harris had received support from Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, but ultimately Kelly prevailed in the tight race.

* WCIA

Though Pritzker congratulated Kelly for her win on Twitter, her win was a blow to his efforts to assert more influence over the party as its largest financier.

Kelly rebutted a line of questioning from former Senate President John Cullerton who raised “a major, major problem” with her ability to raise campaign funds for the state party while serving as a sitting member of Congress.

“To be a chairman and not be able to raise money is really a limitation,” Cullerton said, warning that “the Republicans are going to have a field day with this,” and “donors are going to be investigated by the Federal Election Commission.”

“Every memo from every lawyer said I can chair the party,” Kelly responded. “I just have to follow the federal regulations, so it’s not that I can’t raise money at all. That’s simply not true.”

* WTTW

Cullerton suggested that Harris and Kelly split the job, with Harris raising funds for state and local races and Kelly serving as the party’s public leader.

“This is a quagmire,” Cullerton said.

Kelly rejected his offer.

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Open thread

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* Heh…


Keep it Illinois-centric and polite in comments, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

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*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

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