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Medical marijuana expansion bill to be released

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* The State Journal-Register is reporting that Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) will soon release SB 336, a medical marijuana expansion bill, to Gov. Rauner. The bill is aimed at reducing reliance on opioids and instead prescribing certain patients with chronic pain medical marijuana instead.

The legislation, which passed with bipartisan support and supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate, soon will be sent to the Republican governor’s desk, said Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, sponsor of Senate Bill 336.

Medical marijuana may not help every pain patient avoid an opioid addiction that can lead to misuse of legal prescription drugs or illegal drugs such as heroin, Harmon said.

But he said allowing people who have been or could be prescribed an opioid to instead use marijuana is worth a try, based on anecdotal reports and studies that show a reduction in opioid-related fatalities and opioid prescriptions in states that allow the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

“I’m not saying there’s no need for opioids,” Harmon said last week. “But we’d like to give people an off ramp. People die from opioid overdoses. They don’t die from cannabis overdoses. I’ll take that tradeoff any day.”

If approved, the legislation could increase enrollment in the program — currently serving about 38,000 patients — by eightfold or more, based on estimates.

It’s unclear what Rauner thinks of the bill. A Rauner spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment, and Harmon said Rauner is “not a fan” of the medical marijuana pilot program, which was set in motion under Rauner’s predecessor, Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat.

Rauner’s administration is opposing a legal effort to add “intractable pain” to the state’s list of about 40 qualifying conditions for people wanting to enroll in the medical cannabis program.

And Illinois, unlike many states with programs, doesn’t allow patients to legally buy marijuana if they have “chronic pain” but not one of the other qualifying conditions such as cancer, AIDS, fibromyalgia, seizures or spinal cord injuries, Harmon said.

* As of Monday afternoon, the bill has still not been sent to the governor.

Related…

* Post-Dispatch: “St. Louis circuit attorney’s office will dismiss some smaller marijuana possession cases”
* BND Editorial Board: “St. Louis letting marijuana possession slide. Illinois? Stay tuned.”
* Sunday Spin: “Medical Marijuana could be the cure for the opioid epidemic”

- Posted by Hannah Meisel   23 Comments      


Madigan taps Maggie Hickey for independent investigation of House

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* Just hit inboxes. This appears to be concurrent to Legislative IG Julie Porter’s ongoing investigation…

Former Federal Prosecutor and Executive Inspector General Maggie Hickey to Lead Independent Investigation of the Illinois House of Representatives

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House Speaker Michael J. Madigan announced today that Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor and former inspector general for the agencies under Gov. Bruce Rauner, will conduct a thorough and independent investigation and review of the operations of the Illinois House of Representatives, including all departments within the Office of the Speaker and the Office of the House Clerk.

“Ms. Hickey’s reputation for integrity is widely recognized, and her experience in conducting investigations, including instances of workplace harassment, will enable her to identify past failures and mistakes, and recommend reforms and new policies that will help create a better culture throughout the operations of the House of Representatives and the General Assembly,” said Madigan.

The Speaker and a group of female legislators in the House selected Hickey to lead the independent investigation after interviewing several candidates. Members representing various communities and constituencies were involved in the selection, including state Reps. Kelly Burke, Deb Conroy, Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Jehan Gordon-Booth, Lisa Hernandez, Camille Lilly, Theresa Mah and Ann Williams.

Hickey, a partner at Schiff Hardin, has extensive and unique experience in conducting criminal and civil investigations of units of government. Most recently she served as the executive inspector general for the Office of the Governor under Gov. Rauner. Prior to that she was the executive assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. She also served as chief of staff and chief legal counsel to Republican U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, and served as investigate counsel for the Senate’s Committee on Government Affairs.

“The challenges we face in the Capitol are bigger than any one office, individual or policy,” Burke said. “That’s why a review of all House practices and offices – from the clerk’s office, to member’s offices and staff offices - is a necessary start to changing our culture. Maggie Hickey’s understanding of state government, her record of tenaciously fighting against workplace harassment, and her independence are the exact qualities we need. I thank the Speaker for moving so quickly to bring her on board and thank her for joining the effort to change the culture in our Capitol.”

“Changing the culture in Springfield is only achievable when we work together and take the appropriate action to study what has gone wrong in the past and what we must change to be better in the future,” Conyears-Ervin said. “Ms. Hickey brings a wealth of expertise, and her independent review of all House operations is a critical step toward a better tomorrow.”

“Women throughout our country, throughout our state and throughout our Capitol have stood up to demand a culture free of harassment and discrimination, and Ms. Hickey’s independent investigation is an acknowledgement of their call,” Conroy said. “Changing any culture requires serious, measured reflection. That’s exactly why Ms. Hickey’s work is so important, and why I am grateful for her efforts. I appreciate that the Speaker has agreed to an independent investigation and that he recognizes this step is necessary to move forward.”

“I am extremely impressed with Ms. Hickey’s background and experience,” Lilly said. “I hope all members will cooperate with Ms. Hickey as we undergo a full review and seek to eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination in the House. I look forward to working with Ms. Hickey over the coming months.”

# # #

* Hickey stepped down as Illinois’ Executive Inspector General in April. Hickey was also tapped to investigate the Chicago Public Schools’ alleged failure to protect students from sexual assault from school employees.

…Adding…

* Tina Sfondeles

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said Hickey will be paid $500 an hour to conduct the investigation. Brown said the funds will come from the Illinois House operations budget. Brown initially told the Sun-Times there was a cap of $50,000 but later said “the final version of the contract does not have a cap.”

Madigan is still reeling from the abrupt departure of Tim Mapes, clerk of the Illinois House, his chief of staff and the executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois, amid a whistleblower’s accusations that Mapes made light of harassment allegations, amid other claims.

Mapes’ departure came just a week after Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang stepped down from his leadership positions and his role in the Legislative Ethics Commission after a woman came forward with bullying and harassment allegations.

Madigan last month requested Special Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter investigate his office after State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, alleged retaliation.

- Posted by Hannah Meisel   12 Comments      


New photos of the Executive Mansion, and some vintage ones

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* The Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic Blair Kamin weighs in on the restoration of the Executive Mansion, along with great photos by photog Zbigniew Bzdak (don’t miss the 54-slide gallery, which also includes photos of the mansion pre-restoration)…

Illinois, your house has been put back in order. Not your political house, already in the midst of an ugly gubernatorial campaign. We’re talking about the Executive Mansion, the “People’s House,” which will reopen to the public July 14 after a $15 million renovation that has simultaneously modernized and beautified what used to be the state’s most embarrassing fixer-upper.

An exclusive tour of the mansion and its grounds Thursday, led by Illinois first lady Diana Rauner, revealed much beyond the practical pluses of energy-efficient windows that don’t leak and an elevator that finally provides full access to the home for people who are disabled.

For the first time in years, passers-by actually can see the mansion, no longer hidden by a thicket of trees and shrubs. The home’s stout brick exterior has been skillfully edited, losing ungainly features while gaining richly articulated details. The elegantly revamped interior transcends mere redecoration to tell significant stories about the state, including its role in the Civil War and the World’s Columbian Exposition. And there’s no more peeling plaster in the Lincoln Bedroom.

The irony is that Rauner and her husband, Bruce, the Republican governor, could be forced to leave the home if he loses the November election to Democrat J.B. Pritzker. The Rauners donated $1 million to the privately funded renovation drive, which has raised a little more than $14 million so far, according to Diana Rauner, who chairs the nonprofit that supports the mansion.

The last time I was in the mansion was the summer of 2014, when the state spent $40,000 for a roof patch after leaks threatened the historical bedrooms and upper floors. I remember loving the wallpaper that had been peeling (the fourth slide in my story), and am glad to see it repaired in the Trib’s photo gallery. It was before Gov. Rauner moved in, of course, and put a renewed focus on the disrepair of the mansion as a metaphor for Illinois writ large.

* The Tribune’s really cool Instagram account, @vintagetribune, also posted a quartet of old photos of the mansion last night…

| Scroll through for 4 photos | The Illinois Executive Mansion, or the “People’s House,” will reopen to the public July 14, 2018, after a $15 million renovation that has simultaneously modernized and beautified what used to be the state’s most embarrassing fixer-upper. Here are four historical photos of the mansion. 1) Former Governor Len Small, left, stands next to the new Governor of Illinois, Louis L. Emmerson, right, on the front porch of the Governor's Mansion in Springfield during Emmerson's inauguration festivities in 1929. 2) The Governor's Mansion in Springfield in 1933. 3) The dining room at the Governor's Mansion in 1949. The image of the ghostly woman is a result of a long exposure. 4) The living room at the Governor's Mansion in 1949, complete with a resting dog. View more photos and read commentary on the renovation by Blair Kamin here: https://trib.in/2t4AaQG #vintagespringfield #governorsmansion #springfield #IllinoisGovernor #govrauner

A post shared by Vintage Tribune (@vintagetribune) on


- Posted by Hannah Meisel   9 Comments      


Question of the Day

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* I met my old man for breakfast yesterday in Bloomington. While we were waiting for a table to become available, a man in a wheelchair reached up and tugged on Dad’s sleeve and called him out by name.

It was former state Sen. John Maitland and his wife Joanne.

Seeing the Senator was a thrill for both of us. Mom and Dad were on his senior campaign leadership team and considered the Maitlands friends. Moreover, it was the first time we had heard him speak since a stroke in the fall of 2000 forced the “Dean of the Senate” to retire. Mom and Dad thought so highly of the Maitlands that they used his statesmanship as a model for my brother Mattheis and I to emulate.

I mentioned I was co-hosting Capitol Fax this week. “Tell everyone I said, ‘Hello.’”



*** THE QUESTION: What are your earliest personal political memories?

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   51 Comments      


Wisconsin gerrymandering case punted by Supreme Court

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* The U.S. Supreme court this morning declined to rule on the merits of Gill v. Whitford, better known as the Wisconsin gerrymandering case and Benisek v. Lamone, a Maryland case involving a Democratically gerrymandered district. Instead, the court remanded the Wisconsin case back to the District Court level, ruling the 12 plaintiffs lacked proper standing to sue, as they failed to show injury from the entire Assembly map. On remand, the plaintiffs will have a chance to evaluate their claims of gerrymandering specific to their district.

From the opinion, authored by Justice Elena Kagan…

To be sure, remedying each plaintiff ’s vote dilution injury “requires revising only such districts as are necessary to reshape [that plaintiff ’s] district—so that the [plaintiff] may be unpacked or uncracked, as the case may be.” But with enough plaintiffs joined together—attacking all the packed and cracked districts in a statewide gerrymander—those obligatory revisions could amount to a wholesale restructuring of the State’s districting plan.

* From WaPo

The Supreme Court on Monday sidestepped a decision on when partisan gerrymandering goes too far, ruling against the challengers of a Republican-drawn map in Wisconsin and a Democratic redistricting in Maryland.

The rulings in the separate cases once again put off a decision on when courts can find that partisan efforts to keep parties in power goes so far as to be unconstitutional. But the court again left open a path for such challenges.

It was a technical resolution of what has seemed to hold the promise of being a landmark decision about extreme efforts to give one party advantage over another.

While the court routinely polices the drawing of electoral maps to combat racial gerrymandering, it has never found that partisan efforts went too far. It has never settled on a test that judges could use to determine how much politics was too much.

The practical impact of the case is that legislation elections in Wisconsin this year will be conducted using the map challengers said overwhelmingly favors Republicans. The Maryland congressional districts will also remain the same, including the district that challengers said was drawn to elect a Democrat. The incumbent is not running for election.

However, as the WaPo article points out…

A pending challenge of North Carolina’s redistricting efforts could provide another case for the justices to consider the issue. In that battleground state, Republicans control 10 of 13 congressional districts. That case has plaintiffs challenging each district.

* Had the court ruled on the merits of the cases, it would have had major consequences for Illinois. Maybe the Wisconsin case will get back up to SCOTUS before the 2021 redistricting, or even that North Carolina case.

From Wisconsin Public Radio’s Shawn Johnson (PAR class of 2001)…


Some really great podcast deep dives on gerrymandering:

- Planet Money’s recent episode “Ungerrymandering Florida”
- More Perfect (from Radiolab)’s two episodes “The Political Thicket” and “Who’s Gerry and Why Is He So Bad at Drawing Maps?”

- Posted by Hannah Meisel   8 Comments      


Morrison defends his handling of SVP arrested twice for child sex crimes

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* Mark Brown…

In a statement to the Sun-Times, (Sean) Morrison staunchly defended his handling of the case of Anthony Martin, who was a senior vice president of Morrison Security when he was arrested by Orland Park Police in August 2013 and charged with solicitation to meet a child.

The charge stemmed from suggestive text messages that Martin, then 46, sent to a 14-year-old girl he met at an office barbecue/pool party hosted by Morrison at his Palos Park home.

Morrison said there was “no history or hint of inappropriate behavior” involving Martin before the incident.

He said that when he learned about Martin’s texting, “I immediately encouraged his arrest and prosecution.”

But he said he did not fire Martin immediately “because my attorneys believed Martin could have the basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit and I did not want him to profit from his criminal activity by hiding behind labor laws.”

Instead, Morrison kept Martin in his senior vice president role, managing more than 450 employees, while the case dragged through the court system.

By October 2014, Martin was expecting to receive probation through a court-supervised alcohol abuse treatment program that would have allowed him to avoid a criminal conviction on his record — and keep his job.

As part of that effort, Martin’s lawyer submitted a letter signed by Morrison to Circuit Judge John J. Hynes seeking permission for Martin to continue to travel on business.

In the letter, Morrison noted that the 10-year veteran employee is “instrumental in running my business.”

“Due to his position with my firm, the trust I have in him and his long tenure with me, one of his core functions is to be the Traveling Executive for the company, to monitor my business. To continue to be able to function in this company, he must be able to travel,” Morrison wrote.

In his statement to the Sun-Times, Morrison said it was Martin’s lawyer who drafted the letter, but Morrison didn’t deny authorizing or signing it.

Just 19 days after the date of Morrison’s letter, Martin was arrested again, this time in Colorado, on charges of trying to sexually exploit a child using the Internet.

That is more than I normally like to copy from a story. The rest is here.

Morrison is chairman of the Cook County Republican Party and sitting Cook County Board Commissioner from the 17th District.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   30 Comments      


Rauner campaign launches two new initiatives

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* The Rauner campaign launched two new storytelling initiatives this morning — one called “Back Bruce” and standalone website called “Women Working for Change.” The female-focused website (which already has its own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts) is far more interesting.

The site, ww4c.org, currently features 17 stories, dating back to December, some of which are female-focused but others are general-interest recycled campaign content. A podcast from the vertical also forthcoming, but the Rauner campaign couldn’t tell me yet when the podcast is launching or who will be hosting the show.

The latest story highlights a new-ish pilot program called “Illinois Family Connects,” which was touted in an April press release as a “free, universal nurse home-visiting program that can provide peace of mind for all families, and create positive health outcomes for at-risk babies.”

The WW4C story goes on to explain the pilot program, which is up and running in Peoria County and Stephenson County, supported by a $650,000 grant. A story about the project from last summer says the pilot program is “a product of the Illinois Home Visiting Task Force, which Diana Rauner has co-chaired since 2009 and is a public-private partnership funded through federal and state grants.”

* From Rauner campaign manager Betsy Ankney this morning…

Friend, 


As Bruce Rauner’s campaign manager, I am keenly aware of the power Illinois’ women have to define the future of our state.
 
To harness this power and to ensure all women have a voice in this election cycle, we’ve launched Women Working for Change (WW4C). The mission of this group is to help women across the state stay informed and engaged so when each of us cast a vote in November we are confident we are making a choice that is truly aligned with our beliefs and goals.
 
WW4C will share feature stories that dig deep into the issues that keep us up at night, profiles on women from across our state sharing their perspectives and ideas, and original content for women, by women.

* Launching an entirely female-focused platform, especially in the #MeToo era, is a shrewd move for the Rauner campaign. The campaign tells me that both First Lady Diana Rauner and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti will be involved. They couldn’t tell me if the stories will make their way into traditional ad buys, but with the Pritzker campaign hitting Rauner hard on women’s health issues (eg breast cancer screenings during the impasse), I wouldn’t count it out.

Also interesting to note: a story labeled “Executive Order on Sexual Harassment in Illinois Government Makes Timely Investigations a Priority” uses Kevin Quinn’s mugshot as its main photo.

The “Back Bruce” web page currently only features three videos of GOP elected officials/candidates (only one of the three identifies himself as such), but the campaign tells me that testimonials of everyday Illinoisans are coming soon.

…Adding…

* Had someone point out that the Women Working for Change initiative isn’t quite “new,” as there’s a whole email archive for it dating back to December. I guess we could call it a re-launch.

- Posted by Hannah Meisel   23 Comments      


Adventures in data governing

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* Here is an example of proactively trying to prevent a data breach and public relations nightmare…

A conference next week in Bloomington featuring local election officials and representatives of the Illinois State Police, Department of Homeland Security and the Election Assistance Commission will educate officials on election security, from recognizing and reporting a threat to how hackers can try to access their networks.

Helping to organize the event is six-term Logan County Clerk Sally Turner.

“Most county clerks have no idea that, when they ran for office, that they would have to be an IT director,” she said. “And so, this is helping us get a basic knowledge of what is all this information that is out there, and how do we decipher it all.”

* And then there is the other side of the spectrum…

Families were sent an email Friday evening from CPS’s Office of Access and Enrollment inviting them to submit supplemental applications to selective enrollment schools. Attached at the bottom of the email was a link to a spreadsheet with the private data of over 3,700 students and families.

The link to the private data was active for several hours after CPS noticed and apologized for the breach. The link was eliminated by Saturday morning.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   1 Comment      


*** UPDATED 1x - SIU Board to meet on Dunn *** Higher ed group to continue working this summer

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* Hoping to find a way to keep Illinois youth from flocking to other states, a bi-partisan group of legislators interested in the performance and condition of the state’s public higher education institutions will continue working through the summer.

The group has previously pushed ideas such as four-year MAP grants and a $25 million grant program to provide financial assistance to students based on merit…

“We have a lot of students whose family income is above the threshold for Pell and MAP (grants), so they don’t qualify for any of the need-based financial aid,” Burke said. “But the families also don’t have $20,000 sitting around for them to go to school, so people end up borrowing.”

Though the bulk of the financial aid given by the University is need-based, beginning in 2019, the University will match the amount of state money it receives from AIM HIGH with its own institutional dollars to be distributed, on the basis of merit, to students who are Illinois residents.

“The two main reasons why people don’t end up accepting our admissions officer is because of our cost and lack of financial aid,” said Dan Mann, interim associate provost for enrollment management at the University. “We’re hopeful that this program will help us provide more financial aid that will attract more Illinois students here.”

Next on the group’s agenda, according to state Rep. Dan Brady, is a discussion on “what those universities are capable of doing and what they’re not capable of doing and shouldn’t be doing” and possibly a more formalized funding formula…

The working group plan on later this summer reconvening into what will be the fall veto session and really focusing in now on what is going to be some type of funding formula. I don’t think there’s anyone in Springfield who can explain what is the funding formula for higher education in the state of Illinois. And so, that is going to be something, and I think we’ll probably have some of the ideas that mirror K-12 and the new funding formula there. I think that will be very, very helpful.

Universities have been cut numerous times over the past decade, and neighboring states have diverted some Illinois high school seniors by lowering their tuition rates to what they would charge their own residents. And then the impasse happened…

By (John) Jackson’s analysis, the two-year impasse left SIUC with about 41.5 percent of its normal budget.

“In other words, we lost 58.5 percent in higher ed over that two-year period. No big organization can reduce 58.5 percent of their base budget and not be hurt by it,” Jackson said.

SIU had been allowed $178.8 million in state appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018, a 10 percent decrease from FY15, the last normal year before the budget crisis.

The university system’s state appropriations peaked at just shy of $250 million in 2002 under Republican Gov. George Ryan. After gradual state disinvestment in the 2000s, the FY18 payout was the lowest since 1994.

UPDATE - The Southern Illinoisan is reporting the SIU Board of Trustees will have a special meeting Thursday to, among other agenda items, discuss placing President Randy Dunn on administrative leave and appointing an acting president during an investigation…

This Thursday, the board will begin in open session for public comments and questions followed by some routine orders of business. In addition, the board is slated to give authorization to pursue a campus funding allocation study and engage a consultant to evaluate the system’s funding formula.

Next, the meeting will close to the public for an executive session so that the board can discuss “pending, possible or imminent court proceedings against or on behalf of the Board; and appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees,” according to the meeting notice.

Related…

* State rep. launches petition drive calling for IBHE study of SIU funding: Stuart said she was launching the petition because the SIU Board of Trustees failed to reallocate $5.1 million to SIUE this spring. The board was also split on whether to support her resolution.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   14 Comments      


*** UPDATED x4 *** State Senate candidate once dressed up in blackface for Halloween

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* From the Belleville News-Democrat. Patton is running as a third-party candidate after having been kicked off the GOP primary ballot…

At a Halloween party at his friend’s house at least 10 years ago, state Senate candidate Hal Patton was photographed dressed in an orange football jersey, wearing a black bandana on his head, and his face painted black.

Patton, the Edwardsville mayor who also has been in public office for nearly 20 years holding positions such as City Council member and Madison County Board member, is seeking the seat currently held by state Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton. Haine is not running for re-election.

In the photo, obtained by the Belleville News Democrat from Democratic operatives, Patton is smiling while holding a drink at the Halloween party.

Patton confirmed the photo is of him, and said it was taken at least 10 years ago. He said he was dressed as a rapper.

“There was never any intention for it to be an act of racism or racial commentary. It was a rapper,” Patton said in an interview. “At the time, Run DMC and others were rappers. That was the look. I hate to say I regret a Halloween costume, in the sense it wasn’t meant to make a statement about anything in politics or anything in race relations or anything in that nature.”

He added, “I’ve certainly live my life above board and with the best principles that you can. I have lots of friends from every race and every country — that is how I’ve always lived my life.”

The rest of the story is here

*** UPDATE 12:34 p.m. ***

* The BND published a full statement from Patton…

Having served the public for almost twenty years as an Edwardsville Alderman, Madison County Board Member, and now as Mayor, I have been on the ballot ten different times and involved in many challenging races. So nothing really surprises me in terms of the nasty tricks opponents will try. Typically, the more desperate the opponent, the lower they will go.

This particular picture has been threatened to be used in my last three races. It was taken at an annual couples Halloween costume party where husband and wife try to pair their outfits. My wife was set on wearing a pink dress and wrapping it cellophane, those a piece of bubble gum. My choices to pair up we’re going as a school desk or as a “wrapper”. A rapper outfit with a microphone and face paint was chosen, not as a racial statement, but due to the fact that most rappers are African-American.

Looking back, it was a bad choice for an outfit. I regret it and apologize to those it offends. I never imagined it would be viewed as a racial image, much less saved by someone for nearly nine years before using it to impugn my character.

Any one the knows me, knows that I do not judge people by their race or nationality. I grew up in household that taught how to love others, not to hate them. My friends, former classmates, employees, dental patients, and current co-workers at the city would all confirm this. In my dental practice I care for people of many different races and backgrounds yet all my employees will tell you that we consider them family. At the City of Edwardsville, we have always hired the best candidate, and I am pleased to report that we have more minorities and females working for us than ever before. In fact, my last three appointments that I have recommended for the city council have been females.

I am saddened that I need to write about these things, but feel it is important for those who do not know me, to not judge my character from a Halloween costume. Moreover, I am sickened by and worried for the individual or individuals who would keep such a ridiculous picture for nine plus years and use it such a cheap manor. If these persons or anyone would like to discuss any issue with me, I have always made myself available.

This is the second desperate act taken against me in this election cycle. Clearly, my opponent and her allies will use any methods, no matter how pathetic, to maintain power and control of our political system in Illinois. The more I get into trying to change the dysfunction in Springfield, the more disgusted I get.

Sincerely, Hal

*** UPDATE(s) 1:17 p.m. ***

* The BND updated Patton’s statement to reflect a missing “not” in the fourth paragraph. We also now have a statement from Sen. Kwame Raoul in his capacity as an Attorney General candidate…

“This photo is blatantly racist and deeply offensive. I’ve spent a lot of time with local leaders in the Metro East area, and I know they have worked hard to promote diversity and inclusion in the region notwithstanding the prejudice of some. I look forward to continuing that work together.”

*** UPDATE 1:52 p.m. ***

* Statement from Rachelle Aud Crowe, Democratic candidate for Illinois State Senate in the 56th District.

“I was shocked to see this photo of Mayor Hal Patton in blackface. I’m not sure why he would ever think that wearing blackface is appropriate - it’s offensive and completely unacceptable. Blackface is racist, ignorant, and threatens the advancements we’ve made in the long fight for civil rights and equality.

“Elected officials should be held to the highest standard. They should be dedicated to serving the people they represent, not using stereotypes that divide us. Patton’s actions don’t represent our community, and are a painful reminder that we have much more work to do in achieving full equality and overcoming harmful stereotypes.

“In response to this photo, Hal Patton has made excuses and deflected by attacking me. There is no excuse for blackface. Patton is circulating petitions to get on the ballot under the “Downstate United” party, but his actions don’t represent Downstate values and only divide our community.”

- Posted by Hannah Meisel   35 Comments      


Brady says GOP leveraged balanced budget from nervous Dems

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady was asked by WMBD-TV this weekend if the Governor chose not to hold up the budget process this year on account of the election…

I wouldn’t say the Governor held up the budget process in the past for the Turnaround Agenda. He held it up in the past because it was unbalanced. The Democrats couldn’t put together a balanced budget in the past three years, and the Governor said it had to be balanced. I think because it’s an election year we were able to leverage some points. The Democrats are nervous. They didn’t want to go back and ask for re-election having another unbalanced or state-ordered spending plan. We were able to leverage that to get a balanced budget for the Governor.

J.B. Pritzker is pointing the finger squarely at the Turnaround Agenda for the impasse in a Daily Herald column today…

For the first time since Gov. Bruce Rauner took office three and a half years ago, Illinoisans will begin the next fiscal year with a budget intact.

Social service providers across the state will be able to plan a full year of programming to connect children, families, and seniors with the tools they need to build better lives.

Work crews will be able to arrive on the job site without worrying about whether they will be sent home because there’s no state budget.

Students at our colleges and universities can start the academic year knowing that their MAP scholarships will be funded.

That’s how it is supposed to work. But for years, Bruce Rauner stood in the way of a state budget, holding it hostage for his special interest agenda. Time and again, he didn’t just derail the process, he refused to negotiate and even vetoed a bipartisan budget last summer. This year, lawmakers had to sideline the failed governor in order to get the job done.

* Brady was also asked during the interview about the validity of claims the budget is balanced…

“It’s not unlike business. Businesses put budgets together that are based on assumptions. The assumptions in this budget are solid. They, I believe, are very solid. The economic performance of our state in this economy, would this budget be even better if we had the business reforms that Governor Rauner had pushed in the last several years? Yes, because we’d know that we had a better chance of economic growth enhancement. As the economy grows, revenues increase. But this is based on what realistic projections are for Illinois’s economy based on the current set of laws, policies, and procedures. If the economy under-performs, it’ll be challenging. If it over-performs, it’ll be even easier. There are a few things in here that we’re hoping to happen. One is the sale of the Thompson Center…So it’s pretty real. Anyone can throw stones at it, but the results will prove it out. Like any projections, there are challenges. The Governor’s gonna have to work. It won’t be an easy budget to manage, but it is certainly one that with the right discipline and the right effort can, I believe, come to a balanced nature at the end of the fiscal year.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   19 Comments      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* We’re still posting updates throughout the day in the ScribbleLive feed. Follow along


- Posted by Barton Lorimor   Comment      


Politifact rates Rauner Legionnaires’ claim ‘False’

Monday, Jun 18, 2018

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* A claim made by Gov. Rauner last week about the origins of Legionella bacteria in the plumbing at the Quincy Veterans Home has been rated ‘False’ by Politifact and the Better Government Association.

Rauner said during an event in Marion Mississippi River flood waters and strong storms in 2015 helped Legionella bacteria reach the Home. From the BGA in explaining the rating…

Former President George W. Bush clearly was powerless to stop Hurricane Katrina from slamming into New Orleans in 2005. The problem for Bush was how slowly his administration reacted to a tragedy with broad and fatal consequences once winds subsided and the devastation became clear.

Similarly, not even Rauner’s harshest critics have suggested he could have prevented the initial Legionnaires’ outbreak in 2015. But lawmakers from both parties and political opponents have blasted his administration for delays in responding to the crisis and possibly making it worse.

Rauner vehemently disagrees, and it’s not our purpose here to weigh in on who is right or wrong on that score. What is significant, however, is whether the trigger for the outbreak in any way affected the response, and the governor has provided no evidence for that being the case.

More background on the remark is here and here.

* This is the third time the Politifact-BGA partnership has stepped in to assess the validity of claims made about QVH. The first instance was a January ‘Half True’ rating of the Governor’s claim that Legionella bacteria can be found in most Illinois water systems. In March, the Pritzker campaign’s attempt to blame the Governor for a stomach virus outbreak at the Home mustered a ‘Mostly False’ rating.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   14 Comments      


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