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Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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*** UPDATED x1 *** DuPage Chair Conroy drops censure threat after Sheriff Mendrick backs down

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

Monday, January 30, 2023

Joint Statement on DuPage County Public Safety

Statement attributable to DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin:

“DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy, Sheriff James Mendrick, and State’s Attorney Robert Berlin engaged in a meaningful conversation during which they discussed their shared commitment to the safety of DuPage County residents. The conversation also included discussion of Illinois’ new assault weapons ban, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act. Enforcement of this law does not demand that deputies go door to door seeking to remove weapons from those licensed to own them. With this understanding, Sheriff Mendrick is committed to enforcing all state and local laws. Chair Conroy is committed to supporting the Sheriff’s Office in maintaining safe communities within DuPage County and sees no reason to pursue a censure resolution at this time. All parties look forward to positive, productive collaboration on important initiatives that will keep DuPage residents safe and ensure the security of our communities moving forward.”

…Adding… Daily Herald

While the DuPage County Board posted the joint statement on social media Monday afternoon, Mendrick had not yet shared the statement on the sheriff’s social media page as of 3:30 p.m. Monday. Mendrick’s original Jan. 13 statement also remained posted on the DuPage County sheriff’s Facebook page.

County board member Liz Chaplin, a Downers Grove Democrat, said the joint statement was “a good start” but expressed some reservation.

“When I see the sheriff post on social media, I will feel much better about this,” she said. “He has unnecessarily caused a lot of confusion, fear and anger. He needs to publicly set the record straight that he will enforce the law and all laws.”

As of 5 o’clock, it’s still not there.

* Meanwhile, from the Conversation

A gun control law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois in January 2023 immediately faced opposition from a group key to the law’s enforcement: sheriffs. They are county-level, locally elected public officials who run jails, provide courthouse security, and, in many counties, are the primary providers of law enforcement services.

In Illinois, and around the nation, some sheriffs also view themselves as the ultimate defenders of the U.S. Constitution and its rights – even though there’s no law and no history giving them that position. […]

In our research surveying sheriffs, in 2012 and again in 2021, we have found that sheriffs are far more likely to support looser gun laws than the public at large. And we have also found that that perspective is linked to some sheriffs’ views that they are the highest level of defenders of the U.S. Constitution and Americans’ constitutional rights.

From that poll

Gun laws should be MORE strict than they are today

    19% (Sheriffs)
    53% (Americans in general)

Gun laws should be LESS strict than they are today

    75% (Sheriffs)
    14% (Americans in general)

Current gun laws are about right / No answer / unsure

    6% (Sheriffs)
    32% (Americans in general)

* Back to the story

We traced sheriffs’ views of themselves as ultimate protectors of the Constitution to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a political organization founded in 2009 by Richard Mack, a former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona. […]

Mack and his organization have spent more than a decade actively recruiting and training sheriffs to believe that their office is more powerful than the president, and that they can reject laws they believe to be unconstitutional. Mack told NPR in 2019 that sheriffs “have the responsibility to interpose – it’s the ‘doctrine of interposition’ – whenever anybody is trying to diminish or violate the individual rights of our counties.”

Counties have individual rights?

* Interposition

In Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958), the Supreme Court of the United States rejected interposition explicitly. The Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have consistently held that the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional lies with the federal judiciary, not with the states. The courts have held that interposition is not a valid constitutional doctrine when invoked to block enforcement of federal law.

* In other news, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association is awarding more than $58,000 in college scholarships throughout the state. Individual sheriffs are offering $500 scholarships. For instance

La Salle County Sheriff Adam Diss will award one $500 scholarship. There will be no restriction on any applicant by reason of race, age, creed, color, sex or national origin. The only limitations are as follows:

    Applicants must be permanent Illinois residents
    Scholarships must be utilized at institutions of higher learning within the state of Illinois
    Students must be enrolled as a full-time student during the 2023-24 school year (excluding summer session).

Not mentioned is this essay question

What are your thoughts about the elimination of cash bail in Illinois? Do you think this is a good policy decision? What are the effects? Please explain your rationale for position.

*** UPDATE *** US Rep. Casten…

U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06) released the following statement regarding the joint statement from DuPage County Board Chair Deb Conroy, Sheriff James Mendrick, and States Attorney Robert Berlin on public safety in DuPage County:

“Public trust in our institutions depends, in part, on the principle that laws, once passed, will apply equally to all. I’m grateful and relieved to hear that Sheriff Mendrick understands this and is committed to fairly and impartially enforcing the laws of Illinois.

“The Protect Illinois Communities Act is an important law passed by our state legislature to prevent future tragedies like the shooting in Highland Park. I would like to thank Chair Deb Conroy for her leadership in DuPage County, as well as all those who stood with me on January 23rd in steadfast commitment to keeping our communities safe.”

On January 19th, Representatives Sean Casten, Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), and Bill Foster (IL-11) sent a letter to DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick expressing concern over his January 13th statement that he will not enforce the Protect Illinois Communities Act. Rep. Casten then held a press conference on January 23rd to reiterate the importance of enforcing the laws of Illinois.

* Related…


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Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Afternoon roundup

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois Legislative Black Caucus statement on the release of video documenting the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police

“The release of police body camera footage makes clear what we already knew: the murder of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was brutal and unjustified. Our deepest condolences are with his family and all those who knew and loved him. The police officers who beat this young man to death have no place in law enforcement, and were rightly dismissed. Still, this is not enough. These officers callously and viciously killed another human being, and Mr. Nichols’ family deserves justice. We know very clearly this is about more than a few bad apples.

“For the people who are angry, for the people who are sick of living in fear, we will always stand with you in the fight for justice. We are proud of the steps we have taken in Illinois, including restrictions on dangerous policing methods and closing prosecution loopholes in officer-involved killings, but we know there is still much more work to do.”

More react here.

* Daily Herald

As a draft of legislation that would give the Chicago Bears a massive property tax break at Arlington Park emerges in Springfield, the NFL franchise has a major backer in its corner.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch’s lobbying pitch to legislators is practically a version of the “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” fight song, which famously proclaims the team as the “pride and joy of Illinois.”

“They deserve their place in front of the legislature. They’re a huge economic driver and a source of pride for the state. So they deserve everything they can get,” said Maisch, whose organization is pushing a bill that would create a new economic incentive program that the Bears and big developers could tap to pay less than the regular amount of property taxes on a given site. […]

The state’s leading business advocacy organization and the Bears are leading a coalition in support of the so-called PILOT financing tool that would allow developers of “mega projects” — those worth at least $500 million — to make negotiated payments to local taxing bodies instead of the full amount of property taxes. Others who have signed onto the plan are the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association and Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

* Also from the Daily Herald

Although wrong-way crashes are relatively rare, the results can be catastrophic mainly because they typically occur head-on and at high speeds, experts with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Highway Administration and AAA have found.

Six in 10 wrong-way collisions involve alcohol impairment, AAA reported. To that point, the McHenry County coroner concluded in November that the driver who crashed into the Dobosz family’s van was intoxicated.

In Illinois, “this is still largely a behavioral driving issue,” IDOT spokeswoman Maria Castaneda explained.

“About two out of three (wrong-way) occurrences involve an impaired driver. Roughly a third of all traffic fatalities involve an impaired driver in Illinois. Drivers are urged to pay close attention and remain focused and alert when driving.”

* As subscribers know, Vallas also received $50,000 from one of Tom DeVore’s top contributors…

* Speaking of money

An outside group hoping to elect City Council candidates it sees as pragmatists geared up its campaign over the weekend, launching ads in five wards. So far, its focus is on helping three appointees of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and going after two candidates who are members of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.

The Get Stuff Done PAC — an independent expenditure committee chaired by Michael Ruemmler, an advisor to former Mayor Rahm Emanuel — has raised $1.2 million since its official formation in early December, according to the state board of elections. The group is launching a series of digital ads and sending out mailers supporting 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee, 12th Ward Ald. Anabel Abarca, and 24th Ward Ald. Monique Scott. All are appointees of Lightfoot that were selected to fill City Council vacancies. […]

Another former Emanuel donor and confidant, Michael Sacks of Grosvenor Capital Management, contributed $500,000 to Get Stuff Done PAC, while $200,000 came from the political action committee for the laborer’s union, LiUNA (a group that backed Susana Mendoza for mayor in 2019, then Lightfoot in the runoff).

Henry Crown & Co. heir Lester Crown and his son James Crown each donated $100,000, and Sterling Bay’s Keating Crown, Lester Crown’s grandson, gave $25,000. Duchossois Group CEO Craig Duchossois and the Illinois Restaurant Association PAC both gave $50,000.

Not sure how a committee funded by Sacks, LiUNA, Lester Crown, the Duchossois family and the restaurant association can be described as an “outside group,” but OK.

* Press release…

Following its announcement by city and county officials on Friday, state Rep. Robert “Bob” Rita, D-Blue Island, is promoting awareness of the new 211 social services hotline now available to all residents of Cook County. The hotline is available via phone, text and web chat. Residents can use 211 to be connected with a local Resource Navigator who can assist with finding and accessing assistance and other programs in a wide variety of categories.

“Helping individuals and families to obtain the services they need to live, work and care for their loved ones is one of the most important things government does,” Rita said. “Having all that under one roof, where people can do it all easily and efficiently, just makes sense.”

Categories covered by 211 include Housing, Senior Services, Legal Assistance, Immigration, Veteran Services, Health Care and Utility Assistance. A full list of resource categories as well as additional information can be found at To connect with 211 via text message, residents should text their ZIP code to 898211.

“211 is a game-changer,” Rita said. “I hope that, once more people are aware of it, that it helps them and their families to live safer, healthier, better lives.”

* Media advisory…


Illinois National Guard
Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd, Assistant Adjutant General-Army, Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton

Brigadier General Rodney Boyd, the Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard and the Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard, will be promoted to Major General making him the highest-ranking minority officer in the nearly 300-year history of the Illinois National Guard. Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton will officiate the ceremony. General Boyd is a native of the South Side of Chicago.

11:00 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 4
Carver Military Academy Auditorium
13100 South Doty Ave.
Chicago, IL 60827

Appointed Assistant Adjutant General-Army and Commander, Illinois Army National Guard on July 1, 2021
Graduated from ILNG Officer Candidate School in August, 1990.
Served as Assistant Chief of Staff J4 (Joint Logistics Wartime) for U.S. Forces Korea
Has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait

…Adding… Politico

Christian Mitchell, a deputy governor, is leaving the Pritzker administration. No word yet on his next move. But the announcement sparked talk that Mitchell could move to a political position to help Pritzker in a potential presidential run. “Absolutely not,” said a person familiar with Mitchell’s exit.

Literally everything “sparks” that sort of talk these days.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Sun-Times | Facing pressure to ban books, suburban libraries ‘becoming a battlefield for the First Amendment: According to the library association, which is based in Chicago, there were 67 attempts to ban books last year in Illinois, up from 41 such efforts in 2021. It says the number of book ban attempts has been on the rise in recent years, with 681 such moves involving more than 1,600 titles throughout the United States in 2021.

    * BGA | Illinois Legislative Oversight is Weak Compared to Other States: Because of this, Illinois’ commission is more easily subject to gridlock, as well as ineffectual oversight, than the commissions in other states. This situation is compounded by having a weak Legislative Inspector General. The commission, being made up of the very people they should be holding accountable, has little incentive to allow the Legislative Inspector General full rein to investigate wrongdoing, and instead is able to keep the legislative watchdog on a short leash.

    * Illinois Newsroom | University of Illinois students caught in financial scams, prompting police outreach: Scammers often target international students and pose as government agencies – threatening to deport students if they don’t send money. University of Illinois Police Department’s Sergeant Robert Murphy says scam cases are difficult to solve, because they often require expensive equipment and technology training.

    * Robin Bertram | Chicago needs to offer homeowners assistance with repairs: Last year, the Pritzker administration set aside $309 million to Illinois homeowners to help pay mortgages and other expenses. In 2023, the administration should offer a different kind of assistance for homeowners: home repairs.

    * ProPublica | Can Community Programs Help Slow the Rise in Violence?: For years, these programs competed with one another for whatever scarce funding was available, passing from one short-lived pilot project to another. Now they are being showered with unprecedented resources: Louisville is getting $24 million; Baltimore will receive $50 million.

    * Daily Beast | The Liberal Case Against Public Unions: Instead of pride, unions enforce a culture of entitlement in many schools and agencies. Employees are ostracized if they strive to do more than the bare minimum. A study by Johns Hopkins University of Providence, Rhode Island, schools found peer pressure against “‘going the extra mile’” which “makes everyone look bad.” The study’s authors also wrote: “Specifically, we heard, ‘Unions discriminate against hard work. They put pressure on those who go above the bare minimum and ask ‘why?’ if you want to do more. This is not only teachers, but secretaries and custodians.”

    * SJ-R | Langfelder, Buscher draw crowd for mayoral forum; tackle Wyndham, partisanship questions: Who Trump was as a candidate compared to his four years as president were not equivalent, she said. “I voted for the candidate who I thought was going to bring new jobs, job creation, corporations back to our states,” Buscher said. “That person did not govern the way I thought they did with that vote.”

    * Fox News | Paul Pelosi attacker David DePape makes chilling call to TV station: ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t get more of them’: Despite saying he didn’t want to jeopardize his case, DePape told KTVU he attacked Pelosi because “liberty isn’t dying, it’s being killed systematically and deliberately.” The “people killing it have names and addresses, so I got their names and addresses so I could pay them a little visit … have a heart-to-heart chat about their bad behavior,” he asserted.

    * WaPo | What if the crisis of democracy is (mostly) in our heads?: To summarize and simplify: Democracy, at least liberal democracy, means both that the winning side must be allowed to govern and that the losing side’s rights must be respected. Sometimes, the two are in tension. When citizens support the party in power, Bryan found, their definition of democracy focuses on that party’s right to govern — or “obeying authority.” When citizens oppose the party in power, their definition of democracy focuses more on the protection of their own rights as a political minority.

    * Sun-Times | Nykia Wright departs as Sun-Times CEO: Nykia Wright, who has had leading executive roles at the Chicago Sun-Times since 2017, managing ownership changes and a shift toward digital operations, is leaving the newspaper. Chicago Public Media, which owns the Sun-Times, announced her departure Monday. Wright issued a message to staff members saying she will announce future plans soon.

    * Crain’s | Drug discovery startup spun out of Northwestern acquired for $50 million: Samdi Tech, a Northwestern University biotech spinout that provides automated screening for early-stage drug invention, has been acquired by pharma services giant Charles River Laboratories.

    * The Atlantic | The narcissism of the angry young men: Some years ago, I got a call from an analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center. After yet another gruesome mass shooting (this time, it was Dylann Roof’s attack on a Bible-study group at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine and wounded one), I had written an article about the young men who perpetrate such crimes. I suggested that an overview of these killers showed them, in general, to be young losers who failed to mature, and whose lives revolved around various grievances, insecurities, and heroic fantasies. I called them “Lost Boys” as a nod to their arrested adolescence.

    * Journal & Topics | Des Plaines Woman Faces Felony Charges After Allegedly Striking State Police Vehicle: At approximately 6:22 p.m., ISP reported that Des Plaines resident Jasmine Solano, 27, was driving a blue 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan westbound. An ISP officer was tending to an existing crash on the left shoulder of the road. Solano allegedly failed to yield to the stationary emergency vehicle and struck the squad car’s rear.

    * Kaiser Health News | A baby spent 36 days at an in-network hospital. Why did her parents get a huge bill?: It took Kearney months of calls to Blue Cross and the two hospitals to find out why Lurie billed more than $14,000 for physician services: The physicians treating her daughter at Prentice Women’s — an in-network hospital under her health plan— actually worked for a separate, out-of-network hospital. Illinois law bars insurers from charging patients out-of-network rates for neonatal care at in-network hospitals.

    * Sun-Times | Two Chicago universities receive millions in federal funding to expand high-speed internet access: St. Augustine College and Dominican University received federal grants to expand access to high-speed internet on their campuses. The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, under the U.S. Department of Commerce, awarded $2.6 million to St. Augustine and $2.5 million to Dominican, the department announced Monday.

    * Illinois News Bureau | Site of integrated Illinois town founded by former slave is newest national park: Frank McWorter, known as “Free Frank,” platted and registered the town of New Philadelphia in 1836. McWorter hired out for extra work on neighboring plantations while enslaved, and he and his wife, Lucy, bought freedom for themselves and 14 other family members. They acquired land in Pike County, and after platting and registering space for the town, Frank and Lucy sold lots to free African American families and European American families attracted to their vision of a community dedicated to freedom. New Philadelphia – just 25 miles from the slave markets in Hannibal, Missouri, – helped people escaping slavery along the Underground Railroad.

    * KHQA | Documentary about the Old State Capitol to air on TV: The documentary features interviews with two of the original architects who were in charge of dismantling and rebuilding the Old State Capitol.

    * NBC Chicago | Chicago ‘Dibs’ Scene Sparks Big Social Media Debate: “I don’t mind dibs when my neighbor spent time clearing dibspot ( I have a cool neighbor that clears 2-3 spots but claims only 1), but in the weather it’s just petty. May as well start dibs in the summer too,” one commenter wrote.

    * CNN | Puppy Bowl XIX: How to watch the other big game: There will be more puppies playing - 122 from 67 shelters and rescues across 34 states - and, for the first-time, the competition will feature a Native American animal organization and a puppy player from Dominica, West Indies.

    * Block Club | In Englewood, Thousands Of Tulips Are Blooming — During The Winter: Southside Blooms, the flower shop of Englewood-based nonprofit Chicago Eco House, 6250 S. Morgan St., is growing 18,000 tulips indoors for a good cause. The program — which has been featured on TV — is known for creating jobs for at-risk youth and converting vacant lots into community assets.


It’s just a bill

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Patrick Keck

As of Friday, there were 1,690 bills introduced from both chambers - 156 in the state Senate and 1,534 in the House. A common thread in the bills was income tax credits applying to a wide spectrum of eligible taxpayers, state agencies. and departments. […]

Under House Bill 1250, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity would be permitted to award up to $50 million in the fiscal year to eligible taxpayers. […]

House Bill 1343 pertains to an individual selling or renting an agricultural asset to a beginning farmer. The bill defines a beginning farmer as someone who “has not received income from agricultural production for more than the 10 most recent taxable years” and has received certification from the state Department of Agriculture identifying them as a beginning farmer. […]

Caregivers of veterans would receive up to a $1,000 credit under legislation from state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville introduced last week.

* Daily Herald

With some finesse, nuclear reactors can be placed on retiring coal plant sites to take advantage of existing transmission, water and transportation infrastructure. This would preserve jobs and revenue in Illinois’s existing energy communities. It would also make certain that the replacement energy is reliable in addition to being carbon-free. A rare win-win.

However, this option is not available to the coal communities of the state. Illinois has a decades-old moratorium on nuclear power, meaning there are restrictions on the construction of new nuclear plants.

The moratorium was introduced under the premise that Illinois had no solution to nuclear waste, which is simply the used nuclear fuel. In actuality, Illinois has a perfect record for managing and storing waste. The used fuel is stored at the power plant in steel and concrete “casks,” requiring less space than a parking lot. In the future, this fuel can be recycled to produce even more power for the reactors!

Back in 1987 when Illinois’s nuclear moratorium was passed, carbon was irrelevant to environmentalists. Nearly 40 years later, we understand the need for clean and reliable nuclear powering our state regardless of time of day or season.

Fortunately, action is already being taken to change this. Rep. Mark Walker, an Arlington Heights Democrat, has introduced a bill to repeal the ban. Sen. Sue Rezin, a Morris Republican, has filed a similar bill in the Senate, one of numerous indications that the proposal will enjoy bipartisan support. These bills require no allocation of funding or commitment to building future nuclear power plants — they simply put the option for new nuclear investment back on the table in Illinois.

* Sun-Times

State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez and state Sen. Robert Peters, both Chicago Democrats, said Monday they will introduce a bill to protect temporary workers’ rights.

The Temp Worker and Fairness Safety Act would make it easier for workers to sue temp agencies, unionize and strike, attorney Chris Williams said.

It would also make it harder for temp agencies to use noncompete clauses and other tactics to discourage workers from moving to permanent employment with a client.

“By passing this bill into law, we will set the standard for temp worker protections with the rights of workers and create meaningful pathways to union membership for every worker everywhere,” Gonzalez said.

* The Telegraph

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, has introduced the Beginning Agriculturist Lifetime Employment (BALE) Act to help ensure agricultural producers – especially those just getting started – have access to credit to expand or diversify their operations.

The act builds on a provision sponsored by Bost in the 2018 Farm Bill to increase caps on conservation, ownership, and operator loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Guaranteed and Direct Loan Programs.

“Sky-high inflation and supply chain challenges have made it even more expensive for our Southern Illinois farmers to build their businesses, especially those just starting out,” said Bost. “I was proud to lead this effort in the 2018 Farm Bill and will continue fighting to help ensure that the farmers who feed our nation can access the financing they need.”

…Adding… Another one…


Some Republicans open to abortion ban exceptions, but people rarely qualify in more restrictive states

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Stateline

Even as anti-abortion legislators and advocates celebrated, they considered how much further they could go — perhaps by barring Tennesseans from seeking abortions in other states, or by restricting contraception.

But now, some GOP legislative leaders have returned to Nashville for the new session with a different attitude. Swayed by input from constituents and health care providers — and perhaps by a November poll showing that 75% of Tennesseans believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest — some key Republicans say they want to add exceptions to the law. […]

Some Republicans in other states with strict abortion bans, including Texas and Wisconsin, also might be interested in adding rape and incest exceptions. But abortion rights supporters point out that few if any patients have qualified for abortions in the states that do have exceptions.

An August poll by the University of Texas showed that 78% of Texans support an exception for incest and 80% favor an exception for rape. GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan said at the Texas Tribune Festival in September that he has heard from House members who are concerned about the absence of exceptions.

Here’s the poll if you’re interested.

* Caveat

Most state abortion bans with exceptions for rape and incest require victims to provide a police report proving the crime, adding an extremely challenging legal barrier that activists say are meant to discourage survivors from pursuing abortions.

* Politico

Some state laws, for instance, require people to file a police report to qualify for a rape or incest exemption — a deterrent to marginalized groups that fear contact with law enforcement or those who don’t know how to navigate the legal system.

Ashley Coffield, the CEO of Tennessee’s Planned Parenthood Affiliate, said that in the 10 years she’s worked there, they never had a case of rape or incest qualify for Medicaid coverage. Planned Parenthood’s Missouri affiliate pointed to a similar record when asked why they oppose the push to add exceptions, saying that in the 18 months before Roe was overturned, only two of their patients qualified under the rape and incest exemptions for Medicaid coverage.

“They don’t actually protect patients in reality, and neither do medical emergency exemptions,” said Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, the spokesperson for the network’s St. Louis region clinics. “As the provider, we know that folks very rarely qualify.”

* County 10

[Cristina Gonzales, a registered nurse and trained sexual assault nurse examiner]’s feedback focused on the caveat allowing abortions in the case of rape.

That exception “assumes that reporting an assault is available to all victims,” she said, “thus ignoring those in a community where justice for such crimes is unattainable.”

Many of the sexual assault survivors Gonzales worked with on the reservation were “resolved that justice would not be served” by a police report, she explained, and they “feared retaliation” from their assailants – often people they knew – if law enforcement got involved.

“Making a police report was not an option,” Gonzales said. “They feel unempowered to make police reports because of the fear of retaliation, from being ostracized, and from the violence that could come (from) the assailant’s family to their family.”

* New York Times

An example of that disconnect is in Louisiana, which has exceptions for protecting the life or health of the patient and for deadly birth defects, and has reported zero abortions since its ban took effect. Mississippi, with exceptions for rape and protecting the life of the patient, has reported no more than two. Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas have exceptions for protecting a patient’s life or health and have reported similarly low abortion figures.

* More…


Pritzker: Tollway chair leaving after a year “to focus on her health challenges”

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker accepted the resignation of Tollway Chair Dorothy Abreu, as she leaves to focus on her health challenges.

“I appreciate Dorothy’s service and dedication to both the Tollway and the people of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Her work has undoubtedly improved our infrastructure and she is leaving the Tollway in a strong financial and operational position. I wish Dorothy and her family well.”

“The past eleven months leading the Illinois Tollway have been a tremendous journey for me,” Dorothy Abreu, Director, and Chair of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. “As I promised on day one, I have conducted my affairs with integrity and strived to provide transparency with all stakeholders. I am grateful for the opportunity to have helped oversee the Tollway and the more than 1,200 dedicated employees that make it great.”

Vice Chairman Jim Connolly will assume the responsibilities of the board chair until the Governor names a new permanent chair.

Her replacement will be Pritzker’s third since 2019. Will Evans served for three years until resigning. Abreu replaced Evans.


Tom DeVore fights with Rep. Caulkins over gun suit

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Facebook video from Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) a week ago

Big announcement today. We’re going to sue in Macon Countyover this unconstitutional gun grab. If you want to be a part of our group, send your information to me, Dan at Dan Now, there’s no charge for this, but we certainly would appreciate a donation from everybody to help defray our legal expenses. So, if you can help us out, we’d like to have a $200 donation. You can send it to me here at the office or you can take it down to the Bullet Trap. All funds will be used to pay for our legal expenses. Anything left over will be used to help defend our Second Amendment rights. So, we’re gonna file this on Thursday. So if you want to be a part of the Macon County lawsuit, now’s the time.

Rep. Caulkins allegedly asked people to send the money to his campaign account.

* Today’s press release from Tom DeVore

Today we entered our appearance on behalf of several citizens of the State of Illinois in the firearms lawsuit filed by State Representative Dan Caulkins in Macon County, IL. The filing is attached to this press release and speaks for itself. My clients asked me to protect them from any risks now associated with being solicited by State Representative Dan Caulkins to join his lawsuit. While only one of them submitted a financial donation to Representative Caulkins political campaign account, at his direct request for alleged legal defense expenses, she is hopeful the transaction will not be finalized, and her money returned.

My clients were led to believe each would be allowed to join the lawsuit as party plaintiffs and none of them were aware that financial donations being solicited were not payments being made directly to an attorney, but actually being deposited into the political campaign account of Representative Caulkins. Without any knowledge or consent of my clients, Caulkins lawyers failed to join them as plaintiffs, as each was led to believe by Caulkins would be the case, and instead learned only after the case was filed that they were now going to be members of a nonexistent entity characterized as an association which none of them had ever heard of or ever agreed to become a member.

Sadly, whether intentional or otherwise, several hundred citizens of the State of Illinois, in their efforts to obtain individual legal representation for themselves, are likely going to be required to find other avenues to assert their rights. It is never appropriate for non-lawyer politicians to engage directly, or as intermediaries, in the solicitation of clients in need of legal representation to seemingly further their own political or pecuniary benefit. They should consider sticking with the legislative process and leave the judicial process to the legal professionals. I am confident that my client who did in fact initiate a financial contribution to Caulkins political campaign account will receive her funds back, and I am hopeful that anyone else who’s similarly situated does as well.

* From DeVore’s legal filing

As a result of Caulkins Facebook video, Lyons requested to join the lawsuit on January 24, 2023.

On January 25, 2023 at 7:54 A.M., Caulkins responded to Lyons and affirmed she had joined the lawsuit and sought a financial donation to his political campaign account.

Lyons did in fact click the link [] and make a contribution to Caulkins campaign in the amount of $50 but as of yet is has not cleared her bank account.

On January 23, 2023 at 3:46 P.M., Martz responded to Caulkins and provided his Name, Address and phone number.

After Martz continually tried to determine if he was accepted as a client, Caulkins replied to Martz to be patient as they were checking e-mails with the lawyers.

At this point, Martz has no ability to know if he has been added to this alleged list of members or not. […]

Caulkins has admitted payments received as a result of his solicitation of clients to join his lawsuit have all, or in part, been deposited into his political campaign account. […]

It is clear from reading Caulkins legal jargon that he, and other unknown persons, decided to arbitrarily create this fiction of an unincorporated association merely due to the fact that hundreds of citizens responded to his solicitation to “join a lawsuit” and the resources it takes to onboard all these clients was likely overwhelming which is evidenced by Caulkins statement that an updated list of alleged members is forthcoming after e-mails are sorted out.

There is no recognized jurisprudence which holds Movants who merely desired to join a lawsuit, after being solicited by Caulkins, were assenting to becoming members to the Law- Abiding Gun Owners of Macon County for which they had never heard about.

This associational fiction, which Caulkins only advised the Movants of after the lawsuit was filed, is nothing more than a poorly devised and otherwise unlawful legal strategy to get around having to provide proper and adequate legal representation to the Movants, and those similarly situated, which is what each was lad to believe they were going to be provided

There are no by-laws, no constitution, no applications for membership, no membership dues, nothing available to characterize such action of Movants as an assent on the part of any of them to become a member of any association.

The law does not allow this fiction which Caulkins attempts to present to the Court through his attorneys as such would be a workaround to joinder and class action jurisprudence under Illinois law.

This Court will assuredly, at what will be the request of the Defendants, dismiss this alleged association for failing in all aspect to have standing as a lawful entity, but Movants are merely asking this Court to enjoin Caulkins, and the attorneys of record, from adducing their names on any list as alleged members of this association and further enjoining Stocks and Eck from seeking payment for legal fees from them as alleged members of this association.

WHEREFORE, Movants, herein request that this court enter an Order: […]

Finding under the facts presented herein, Dan Caulkins, or the attorneys of record are enjoined from submitting any list of members of the alleged unincorporated association which list would include any of the movants;

Enter an injunction enjoining Dan Caulkins to return any payments made by Movants back
to them instanter;

Enter an injunction enjoining the Stocks and Eck from seeking payment for services from Movants which may be incurred in counsels representation of the alleged association


ChatGPT takes on the governor’s verbal tics

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A friend came up with this ChatGPT query…

Please write a short story of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker going through an ordinary day and telling people “As you know…”

He does that a lot. The response…

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker woke up early on a typical weekday morning. As he got ready for his day, he couldn’t help but think about all the important tasks ahead of him. “As you know,” he thought to himself, “there’s never a dull moment in this job.”

He arrived at the state capitol building and immediately went to work. “As you know,” he told his staff, “we have to address the budget deficit and find ways to fund our schools and infrastructure projects.”

He then met with business leaders to discuss ways to improve the state’s economy. “As you know.” he told them, “Illinois has some of the best companies and most talented workforce in the country, but we need to do more to attract new businesses and create jobs.”

Later in the day, he visited a school in a low-income neighborhood to talk to students about the importance of education. “As you know,” he said, “your education is the key to your future success and the success of our state.”

As the day came to a close, Governor Pritzker reflected on all that he had accomplished. “As you know.’ ” he thought, “there’s still much work to be done, but I’m committed to making Illinois a better place for all its residents.”

With that, he headed home, ready to tackle another day as governor.


* My own query today…

Suggest a conversation between Gov. JB Pritzker and a communications staffer over the governor’s repeated and problematic use of the phrase “you know” when answering reporters’ questions.

My father’s greatest pet peeve is people who say “you know” all the time. It has rubbed off on me. The other day, in fact, I told you I’d edited out several uses of that phrase to make the governor’s remarks more readable.

The response…

Gov. JB Pritzker: Hey, how’s it going?

Communications Staffer: Good morning, Governor. I wanted to talk to you about your recent press conferences.

Gov. JB Pritzker: Sure, what’s on your mind?

Communications Staffer: You’ve been using the phrase “you know” quite a bit when answering questions from reporters. It’s starting to become a bit of a distraction.

Gov. JB Pritzker: Oh, is it? I hadn’t noticed.

Communications Staffer: Yes, it is. It can come across as uncertain or unprepared. It’s important to present a confident and professional image, especially in front of the media.

Gov. JB Pritzker: I see what you mean. So, what do you suggest I do instead?

Communications Staffer: Instead of using “you know,” try taking a pause or using filler words like “um” or “ah” to buy yourself some time to think about your answer. It will give you a moment to gather your thoughts and present a clearer, more concise response.

Gov. JB Pritzker: Alright, I’ll give it a try. Thank you for the advice.

Communications Staffer: You’re welcome. And if you need any more help or tips, just let me know. We want to make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward.


….Adding… While answering reporters’ questions today, Gov. Pritzker did not say either “As you know” or “you know” one time.

…Adding… From that same friend above…

Please write a short story about Illinois Governor B Pritzker celebrating after making it through a press conference without saying “as you know”

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker stood in front of the podium, sweat beading on his forehead as he gazed out at the sea of reporters gathered in the room. He had a reputation for frequently using the phrase “as you know” in his speeches and press conferences, and today was a particularly important day. He was determined to break that habit and deliver a clear, concise message to the public.

As the questions began to fly, Governor Pritzker kept his cool and answered each one with confidence and clarity, never once resorting to his infamous phrase. The reporters were taken aback by his newfound composure, and when the press conference finally ended, Governor Pritzker let out a huge sigh of relief.

He made his way back to his office, where his staff was waiting with applause and cheers.

They all knew how hard he had worked to break this habit, and they were proud of their boss for finally doing it. Governor Pritzker beamed with pride, knowing that he had accomplished something that had eluded him for so long.

As the day went on, Governor Pritzker received calls and messages of congratulations from all over the state, congratulating him on his impressive performance at the press conference. He was elated, feeling a sense of accomplishment that he had never experienced before.

That night, as he sat in his office reflecting on the day’s events, Governor Pritzker couldn’t help but smile as he realized that he had truly made it through a press conference without saying “as you know.” It was a small victory, but it meant the world to him. He was ready to tackle any challenges that lay ahead, confident in his ability to communicate effectively with the people of Illinois.


Lightfoot once again advocates pension reform, but refuses to say what she wants

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday she’s done all she can to put Chicago’s four city employee pension funds on solid footing — and now, Springfield must do its part. […]

On Friday, Lightfoot said it’s time for the city and its labor unions to “get to the table, make some hard choices, but do the right thing” to make certain that pensions promised to city employees and retirees are “actually available” to honor those promises.

“I’m not prepared to talk about specifics here. But we have to be at the table with all of the relevant stakeholders and think about structural changes that are necessary to shore up the pensions — not taking away the benefits that existing retirees are getting. We’ve got to look at other things that we can do. You know the list. What’s missing is the political will. And we’ve got to find it,” she said. […]

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall made the same argument, while applauding the mayor for including the pension prepayment in her preelection budget. […]

Pressed to identify funding sources, Msall made a renewed pitch for taxing retirement income in Illinois, broadening the sales tax umbrella to include professional services and amending the Illinois Constitution to eliminate the pension protection clause.

60-30-1. None of that has any of those numbers.


State law infuriates auto manufacturers, with one calling it “crony capitalism at work”

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

The Rockford Register-Star reported last week that the state of Illinois “has submitted what could be its best offer to keep the Belvidere Assembly Plant operating and save what could be thousands of jobs.”

Stellantis announced in December it would idle its Jeep Cherokee assembly plant in February. So there appears to be a glimmer of hope that the state can finally notch a victory with a carmaker after years of trying.

And the online Web site Jalopnik recently reported that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin told the Ford Motor Company that he didn’t want their $3.5 billion electric vehicle-battery plant which would employ 2,500 workers because the company had partnered with China.

Ford already has a big assembly plant in Chicago. Maybe the state could capitalize on this Virginia thing

But something else happened in December that highlighted why Illinois has had so much trouble closing deals with the automotive industry, even with a couple of lucrative subsidy laws passed within the last year or so.

Volkswagen filed a federal lawsuit in December that described a bill which overwhelmingly passed both Illinois legislative chambers and was signed into law in 2021 as “crony capitalism at work: Redistributive legislation that takes hundreds of millions of dollars from some (but not all) motor vehicle manufacturers and, for no public purpose, deposits that money directly into the pockets of politically-favored Illinois [car] dealers.” The automaker claims the law is costing it an extra $10 million a year.

The bill in question (HB3940) was hotly opposed by automotive manufacturers. The law forces manufacturers to reimburse car dealers at a much higher rate (the auto industry says it’s a 50-percent higher rate) for warranty repairs. The bill came about after a labor dispute between dealerships and a mechanics union. They apparently decided to let the car makers pay to resolve their monetary dispute, although the mechanics ended up on strike anyway because the dealers allegedly kept the new windfall initially instead of passing it through.

Just about every state legislator has multiple auto-dealers in their districts and Democrats have been eagerly allying themselves ever closer with organized labor in past years, so the bill hit a sweet spot with both parties and cleared the House 85-24 and then passed the Senate without a single dissenting vote a few weeks later.

The manufacturers say the law is costing the industry $240 million a year. Yes, you read that right: $240 million. Per year. They claim Illinois has the highest warranty-repair costs in the nation. By far.

The manufacturers were furious and remain so. And since the cost of doing business in a state is a main factor in deciding where to locate a new plant or keep a plant open, the law is not helping Illinois overcome automaker objections.

The subsidies the state can offer simply don’t compare with the gigantic annual cost of that 2021 law. Couple that with our high local property taxes (these electric-vehicle plants take up huge amounts of space) and other costs and hurdles (Ohio, like Illinois, is not a “right to work” state, but has a new concierge system to quickly clear red tape), and you can see why the state hasn’t yet convinced a national or international corporation to construct an electric vehicle-related facility here.

It’s no secret that Illinois has reputational issues. People love to run Illinois down. It seems to be a major sport everywhere. When Governor JB Pritzker recently appeared on CNBC while he was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the first question he faced was how he would attract businesses when so many existing businesses want to leave Illinois.

That 2021 law merely added to the state’s reputational problems. Manufacturers say that the bipartisan eagerness to quickly throw them under the bus is something they hadn’t ever witnessed before here. The substance was bad enough, but the process was outrageous, they say. One industry lobbyist called the process a “radical departure” from the past. The whole thing is understandably giving them quite a bit of pause.

Even so, a key labor leader says unions haven’t yet been approached to repeal or modify the law (manufacturers disagree) and an official with the governor’s office says they are unaware that this remains a big issue with car makers.

I suppose we’ll see what happens with the Stellantis Belvidere plant in the coming days. If Governor Pritzker does cut a deal and convinces the company to stay and even expand, he’ll have overcome some gargantuan hurdles.

* Meanwhile, from Crain’s

For weeks, Crain has written about how Pritzker has staked a fair-sized chunk of his deal-making chops on replacing the soon-to-be shuttered Stellantis Jeep plant in Belvidere with a new generation, long-lived EV factory. What’s new is that government and private sector sources say that the fight has boiled down to Illinois vs. Michigan, pitting governor against governor.

“They’re both pulling out all the stops,” with calls, letters and other constant communication, says one source in a position to know. “This one counts.”


Isabel’s morning briefing

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Thoughts?…

* Here’s your morning roundup…


Open thread

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Good morning! Congratulations if you happen to be an Eagles or Chiefs fan! What’s goin’ on in Illinois today?


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Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

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