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Question of the day

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Press release…

Morrison Pushes for Real Pension Reform

SPRINGFIELD—Today, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) joined Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski and fellow lawmakers at a press conference in the state capitol to discuss new research on Illinois’ pension crisis.

The recently disclosed Wirepoints’ research sheds new light on the effect the pension crisis has on local municipalities. Specifically, over a hundred of Illinois’ largest cities have received an “F” grade for their local pension funds, compared to 2003 in which only seven cities got an “F” grade.

For Rep. Morrison, who serves on the House Personnel and Pensions Committee, this serious issue cannot be ignored.

“We’ve all heard about the 5 statewide pension systems that are in crisis, but this research looks at the pension crisis happening in our home communities,” said Morrison. “Our cities are struggling, property taxes and fees are rising, and the added unfunded mandates placed on them is making matters worse—the research proves that.”

The legislature has not yet taken up impactful pension reform matters this spring, despite the growing liabilities at the state and local level.

At their press conference today, Dabrowski discussed the rising costs for Illinois’ 650 local pension funds—which has a direct effect on city budgets, taxpayer wallets, and the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of police, firefighter and municipal workers and retirees.

The key findings of Wirepoints’ report include the following:

    * Workers’ retirement security has declined in an alarming number of Illinois cities. In 2003, just 21 of 175 cities analyzed had less than 60 cents on hand for every dollar they needed to fund future benefits of their city workers. By 2019, 99 of the 175 cities were below 60 percent funded. A 60 percent funding level is often seen as a point of no return from which pension funds can’t recover.
    * City taxpayers have increasingly paid more to pensions over the past 16 years, yet the pension shortfalls are far larger today. Pension contributions of the 175 cities have nearly quadrupled to $960 million in 2019 from $250 million in 2003, yet local pension shortfalls still tripled to $11.8 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2003.
    * Pension costs as a share of city budgets have doubled, crowding out spending on core government services. City pension contributions as a share of general budgets have doubled to 17 percent in 2019 from 8 percent in 2003.
    * Some local pension funds have turned upside down – they now have more retirees drawing benefits than active workers contributing. In 2003, only 15 cities had more pensioners drawing benefits than active workers making contributions into the fund. In 2019, that number rose to 112 cities.

“We have ignored this problem for far too long,” continued Rep. Morrison. “Today’s research should be a stark wakeup call; ignoring this massive, growing problem won’t make it go away, it will only make it more difficult to dig us out of this hole.”

In my suburban Cook County district, property taxes remain a top concern. Additionally, the hidden cost is that property values are not appreciating as they should. This is a huge weight on the state and its residents, and why we must have pension reform now.”

While there was a group of Republican lawmakers present at today’s press conference, not one Democrat was in attendance, leading Dabrowski to call for their support.

I followed up and asked what his actual reforms were…

For starters, he would support a constitutional amendment. He also supports allowing municipal bankruptcy.

* The Question: Should the state allow municipalities to declare bankruptcy without state permission? Make sure to explain your answer. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      


Rodney Davis ranked as most bipartisan US Rep. in Illinois

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* What does Dave Weigel always say on Twitter? Folks…

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) has again been ranked as the most bipartisan member of Congress from Illinois and the 14th most bipartisan nationwide, according to The Lugar Center & Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy’s Bipartisan Index. This Bipartisan Index ranking is out of 437 members, including the two non-voting delegates from Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, of the 116th Congress.

“Making Washington work for the people of Illinois has always been my top priority, and I will work with anyone, Democrat or Republican, to get it done,” said Rep. Davis. “In the 116th Congress, we worked together to pass several bipartisan COVID-19 relief bills that helped turn our economy around and make critical investments in our nation’s public health, particularly through vaccine production and distribution. Now that Democrats control both Congress and the White House, we can’t let the far left fringes of their party set the course for our nation’s government and keep us from working together. Although the President has yet to follow through on his commitment to work in a bipartisan way, I stand ready to work with the President or anyone on areas where we can find agreement.”

According to former Senator Richard Lugar, founder of The Lugar Center, “The Bipartisan Index is intended to fill a hole in the information available to the public about the performance of Members of Congress. There are innumerable studies, rankings, and indexes that grade members according to a partisan, parochial, or special-interest standard.

“We sought to develop an objective measure of how well members of opposite parties work with one another using bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship data. We gravitated toward bill sponsorships and co-sponsorships for two reasons. First, they allowed us to construct a highly objective measure of partisan and bipartisan behavior. Second, sponsorship and co-sponsorship behavior is especially revealing of partisan tendencies. Members’ voting decisions are often contextual and can be influenced by parliamentary circumstances. Sponsorships and co-sponsorships, in contrast, exist as very carefully considered declarations of where a legislator stands on an issue.

“The Bipartisan Index measures the frequency with which a Member co-sponsors a bill introduced by the opposite party and the frequency with which a Member’s own bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party.”

The Bipartisan Index from The Lugar Center & McCourt School of Public Policy is a non-partisan ranking of how often each Member of Congress works across party lines.

More here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


A quick look at CPS’ governing history

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Yvette Shields at the Bond Buyer

The Illinois General Assembly established the Chicago Board of Education in 1872 with an 11-member board appointed by the mayor, according to 2017 Chicago Civic Federation piece. In 1979, the district fiscally collapsed and lost market access. During the 1970s and 1980s it faced multiple teacher strikes in addition to its fiscal crisis and leadership turnover.

State lawmakers created the Chicago School Finance Authority in 1980 to provide fiscal oversight. The 1988 school reform act reorganized the board structure which paved the way for a nominating commission to submit board recommendations to the mayor. In 1995, then Mayor Richard M. Daley won state legislation to give him direct control of the schools with power to appoint the board and CEO.

The district slowly regained its fiscal footing and received new city funding and tax-increment financing help that helped rebuild its ratings. But CPS also went on a borrowing spree to fix and build new schools and as expenses grew and state aid remained stagnant the district turned to one-shot gimmicks like scoop-and-toss debt restructuring to manage. That left it again with junk ratings and a structural imbalance of $1 billion.

The latest turnaround began in 2016 and 2017 when new state aid and state help with pension funding came through, a local pension levy was restored and a new capital improvement tax levy approved.

* More from that Civic Federation history

In 1993, as part of a deal that included a two-year $400 million debt-financed bailout of CPS, the Illinois General Assembly expanded the Authority’s powers to include independent management assessments and audits of the Board.

Not to mention the complete lack of pension funding by Mayor Daley.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      


Today’s must-read

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Derek Cantù at NPR Illinois...

Black and Brown Illinoisans in long-term care facilities died of COVID-19 at comparatively higher rates compared to white Illinoisians in the first few months of the pandemic.

That comes from a new study released last week by the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services. HFS told a panel of lawmakers about the disproportionate number of deaths for minority nursing home residents a day after Governor J-B Pritzker signed an expansive law last week meant to address racial inequities in healthcare. […]

According to data collected by HFS between March and July of 2020, 60% of COVID-related deaths of nursing home residents on Medicaid occured at facilities where at least 10% of residents lived in rooms with three plus people. […]

When comparing mortality rates across different demographics, the department’s analysis found Black and Latino Medicaid residents were 40% more likely to die of COVID during the first few months of the pandemic compared to white Medicaid residents.

HFS Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Analytics Andy Allison said one of the reasons for the disproportionate mortality rates was the stronger likelihood that Black and Brown nursing home residents live in facilities that are both overcrowded and understaffed. […]

The department proposed the state fund an incentive proposal that would reward facilities based on required reports they submit to the federal government documenting both a commitment to increase staff sizes and the types of direct patient care staff members offer to residents.

There’s just way too much to excerpt, so click here and read it all.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      


CEJA Will Transition Our Power Sector Completely Away From Dirty Fossil Fuels By 2030, Protecting Public Health, Workers, and Our Children’s Future

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) would transition Illinois’ power sector completely away from dirty fossil fuels by 2030, support workers and communities impacted by the decline of coal, and significantly expand clean energy generation and good-paying clean energy jobs in our state. That’s why CEJA can’t wait.

President Biden recently announced an ambitious climate agenda that includes drastically reducing greenhouse gas pollution through decarbonization. States like Illinois must lead the way by transitioning away from fossil fuels, while supporting environmental justice communities.

In addition to spewing dangerous pollutants into the air and soil, these coal plants simply aren’t profitable anymore. More than half of Illinois’ coal plants have closed since 2009, cutting and running on workers and communities often with little notice. Vistra’s CEO even admitted that coal is “on its way out.”

Illinois needs a plan for an orderly retirement of fossil fuel plants that gives workers years of notice, provides for their future, and advances clean economic development for these communities. That’s what CEJA does and why it can’t wait.

Pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act this month!

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


It’s just a bill

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Center Square

With lawmakers back in Springfield this week, bipartisan working groups have begun discussions on how lawmakers plan to appropriate taxpayer dollars.

Lawmakers have a May 31 deadline to pass an approximately $42 billion spending plan. That’s just the state’s side of the spending. There’s also the nearly $53 billion in federal funds the state is expected to appropriate this year. The total spending plan, including state and federal sources, is $95.5 billion, up 2.2 percent from the previous fiscal year, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Then there’s the $7.5 billion the state is getting in federal COVID-19 stimulus funding.

State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said there has been an ongoing discussion among Democrats about the state’s budget, but this week they brought in Republicans. […]

Several measures at the statehouse would drop that [trailer license registration fee] from $118 to where it was before the 2019 change to $18, but those measures have not advanced despite having bipartisan support.

Zalewski declined to comment on the fee. But, lawmakers are expected to adopt the overall revenue estimate.

“In a year when federal stimulus is a concern of ours, to not interfere with it with tax credits or tax deductions or tax cuts, I think it makes sense to wait for the federal government to offer guidance on that,” Zalewski said.

* WUIS

A proposal moving through the Illinois General Assembly would require video game developers to warn players of the financial and psychological risks of a particular in-game microtransaction — “loot boxes”.

“Loot boxes” are randomized digital items that either improve a player’s gameplay, like unlocking weapons, or alter a player’s aesthetics.

However, State Rep. Barabara Hernandez (D-Aurora) believes many younger players may not realize the virtual currency they use to purchase additional content like loot boxes are tied to real money, and as a result kids can run up substantial bills.

* Press release

Senator Elgie Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of a Senate committee today to give community college boards of trustees and local housing authorities permission to develop affordable housing for community college students.

“This is about bettering the college experience for every student in this state,” said Sims. “Research shows that students who live on campus have higher GPAs. When students live on campus they are more plugged-in to the campus community and have more opportunities to join clubs, attend events and meet new people.”

* Illinois Public Radio

A Chicago state senator wants to withhold funding from schools that apply dress codes to hairstyles. School associations and the Illinois State Board of Education are worried the bill’s punishment mechanism goes too far.

In the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, said policies that ban certain hairstyles in schools are outdated. He said he thinks schools will want to be on the right side of history if the amendment to SB817 becomes law. […]

Under the bill, districts out of compliance would have their names listed on the state board’s website, in addition to having their state funding kept at the previous school year’s level. Districts would receive the additional funding once they comply with the bill.

Amanda Elliott, the director of legislative affairs for the state board of education, said there are a variety of already-existing enforcement mechanisms that can be used when schools don’t comply with legislation, including a process to revoke recognition from a district. Elliott said in almost a decade with the board, she hasn’t seen a district have their recognition, and thus their funding, revoked.

“We have threatened it several times, which results in pretty quick compliance,” said Elliott. “Districts generally don’t want that to happen and come into compliance with the mandate.”

…Adding… Sen. Simmons is amending his bill.

* Press release…

A bill that would allow some public benefit recipients to purchase feminine hygiene products with their respective benefits introduced by state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, recently passed unanimously out of the Illinois House of Representatives and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

“Feminine hygiene products are not optional luxuries that most women can neglect to use, but unfortunately many low income women find themselves in situations where they cannot afford these products, which could result in very serious health concerns,” said Hernandez. “I am working to ensure that all women have access to feminine hygiene and menstrual products, no matter their income.”

Hernandez introduced House Bill 155, which would allow recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Infant, and Children program (WIC) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) to use their benefits to purchase feminine hygiene products, including tampons, sanitary napkins and feminine wipes.

Addressing menstrual inequalities has been a top priority of Hernandez’s throughout her time in office. In addition to passing House Bill 155 with bipartisan support, Hernandez also brought forward legislation that would require schools to provide menstrual products in bathrooms for students. She has also hosted a handful of local events about this issue including menstrual equality town hall events and feminine hygiene product donation drives to help support local women’s shelters.

“Feminine hygiene products are necessities that many low income women lack, and they should not have to choose between buying food or other goods and affording these products,” said Hernandez. “Denying access to feminine hygiene products to anyone who needs them is denying a basic human right, and we must continue to work on this issue to ensure all women have access to feminine products.”

…Adding… Another one…

State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is continuing an effort to decriminalize the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus.

“Having HIV is a health care concern, not a crime,” Peters said. “People living with HIV don’t need to worry about facing criminal charges for simply living.”

A portion of the Criminal Code – referred to as the Criminal Transmission of HIV – provides that individuals living with HIV can be criminally prosecuted, charged with a Class 2 Felony, and jailed for having consensual sex, sharing needles, or donating organs or bodily tissues or fluids. Despite the reference “transmission” in the criminal code, actual transmission is not required. Peters’ proposal repeals this portion of the criminal code.

Currently, HIV is the only communicable disease in Illinois that is criminalized.

“Those living with HIV deserve to be able to receive treatment for their condition, and not risk arrest or incarceration,” Peters said. “It’s time we end the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases and start treating them like the medical conditions that they are.”

House Bill 1063 had passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in April. On Wednesday, the Senate Executive Committee approved it, also with bipartisan support, and it will now be sent to the full Senate for further consideration.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


2,410 new confirmed and probable cases; 30 additional deaths; 2,060 hospitalized; 496 in ICU; 3.3 percent average case positivity rate; 3.9 percent average test positivity rate; 71,219 average daily doses; 60 percent of adults and 80 percent of seniors have received at least one dose

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Press release…

60% of Illinois Adults and 80% of Seniors Have Received at Least One Dose of Vaccine

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 2,410 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 30 additional deaths.

    Adams County: 1 male 70s
    Cook County: 3 females 50s, 3 males 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s
    DuPage County: 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
    Iroquois County: 1 male 60s
    Jackson County: 1 male 60s
    Lake County: 1 female 40s
    Mason County: 1 female 70s
    McDonough County: 1 female 60s
    McHenry County: 1 female 80s
    Monroe County: 1 male 80s
    Ogle County: 1 female 70s
    Peoria County: 1 male 50s
    Whiteside County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 90s
    Will County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 90s
    Woodford County: 1 female 60s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,346,398 cases, including 22,096 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 77,670 specimens for a total of 23,007,188. As of last night, 2,060 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 496 patients were in the ICU and 249 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from April 28-May 4, 2021 is 3.3%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from April 28-May 4, 2021 is 3.9%.

As President Biden sets the goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by July 4, 2021, Illinois has administered more doses than the national average and will continue to pursue innovative strategies to encourage all eligible residents to get vaccinated.

A total of 9,546,833 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 71,219 doses. Yesterday, 96,415 doses were reported administered in Illinois, including approximately 40,000 doses that were not reported by pharmacies over the weekend because of a national system issue. Additional doses could also be added.

* Meanwhile…

CVS Health announced today that it is now accepting walk-in COVID-19 vaccination appointments, with no appointment necessary, at CVS Pharmacy locations across the country, including the more than 50 locations in Chicago and more than 300 across Illinois. Same-day scheduling, including appointments as soon as one hour from time of scheduling, is also available at CVS.com. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduler is updated throughout the day to account for same-day cancellations.

As of May 5, CVS Health is now vaccinating in more than 8,300 stores across 49 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., and has surpassed 17 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered through its participation in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program and Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Second dose compliance is more than 90 percent at CVS Health locations.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


Maybe it’s time to stop blaming workers, particularly women workers

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Center Square

Women workers have left the hospitality industry in droves, Nahabedian lamented. With unemployment benefits as a cushion, and side hustles in delivery businesses, women support staff and even women chefs are not willing to come back to work just yet for fear of bringing the virus home to their families, Nahabedian stated.

That fear is real.

* But there’s another reason

With the U.S. economy growing rapidly, millions of people have returned to work. Yet there is still one large group of Americans whose employment rates remain far below their prepandemic levels — mothers of young children.

Consider this data, which Moody’s Analytics compiled for The Morning:

The explanation is obvious enough. Many schools and day care centers have not returned to normal operations. They are open for only a few hours a day, a few days a week or on alternating weeks, making it difficult for parents to return to a full-time job. And parenting responsibilities still fall disproportionately on women.

* Meanwhile, here’s Illinois Review

A restaurant in Plainfield Illinois is begging its customer base to be patient - very patient. Why? Because although they’re trying desperately, they’ve not been able to find and hire the employees they need to be up to their normal efficiency.

Why the shortage of employees? The owners of the Tap House Grill - Santino and Rick - don’t get political in this plea posted on Facebook Monday, but they give a hint of what they’re thinking:

“With many people not actively pursuing employment opportunities and not wanting to work at all at this time. our business is having a massive uptick in new customers and with that comes a lot of pressure without having the ability to find qualified applicants or applicants at all at this venture,” they write in a post to their customers.

* They’re blaming workers, but maybe potential employees can use the Google and don’t trust the owners to do what’s right to protect them? From last October

A growing number of restaurants throughout Illinois have opted to defy Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s orders mandating they shutter indoor dining service.

In Plainfield, Tap House Grill, 24402 W Lockport St, has said it will stay open despite Pritzker’s orders.

Last September

“Pritzker is a far-reaching, power abusing, tyrant that is destroying small business,” said Santino Patragas, owner of Tap House Grill in Plainfield

* Also, perhaps there’s a lesson in the Pittsburgh Business Times

As March drew to a close, Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor in the Strip District found itself without enough workers for the upcoming spring and summer rush, and it certainly did not have enough workers to open the shop to its desired seven days a week schedule.

Then, on March 30, the parlor announced it would more than double the starting wage for the roles, going from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, a scoop that seemed to captivate workers throughout the region and one that earned a significant amount of local media coverage.

“It was instant, overnight. We got thousands of applications that poured in,” Maya Johnson, general manager of Klavon’s, said. “It was very overwhelming, very. People were coming in by the next day that it broke on the news, they were coming in, filling out paper applications. I was doing on-the-spot interviews.”

* Economic Policy Institute

Further, when restaurant owners can’t find workers to fill openings at wages that aren’t meaningfully higher than they were before the pandemic—even though the jobs are inherently more stressful and potentially dangerous because workers now have to deal with anti-maskers and ongoing health concerns—that’s not a labor shortage, that’s the market functioning. The wages for a harder, riskier job should be higher.

* And the BLS

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 916,000 in March

People are going back to work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


The state’s reopening could happen in about five weeks, as long as the unvaxed don’t double down on the crazy

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* I’ve seen this sort of reporting a lot this morning

Following announcement of Chicago Auto Show return, Pritzker cautious Illinois can fully reopen July 4

But the state’s full reopening might actually take place well before then.

* Pritzker has told reporters that if current trends hold up, then the “bridge” phase could begin as early as next week. Full reopening would happen four weeks from that date as long as certain metrics are met

Illinois will move to … Phase 5 when 50% of the population 16 years and older has received at least one dose of vaccine. In addition, when moving to both the bridge phase and Phase 5, hospital ICU bed availability needs to be higher than 20%, and new COVID-19 hospital admissions, total COVID-19 patients in the hospital, and death rates are not increasing significantly statewide over the most recent 28 days.

Currently, 55 percent of Illinois’ population 16+ has received a first dose, so that target has already been achieved. But if the unvaccinated folks go wild and act like they’re vaxed, then they could imperil reopening when they get sick.

* Meanwhile

Congressman Rodney Davis has a new reason why he thinks you should be vaccinated against COVID-19… so that you don’t give Governor JB Pritzker an excuse to keep things shut down.

Davis… who has been discussed as a possible challenger to Pritzker next year… says it’s time for everything to fully reopen.

Get your shots.

* Related…

* State officials urge downstate Illinoisans to get vaccinated: “If you come and get vaccinated at the World Shooting Recreational Complex vax site, which is already completely free, you will get 100 free targets of traps, skeet, or sporting clays anytime before the end of October,” Pritzker said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


Feds hinting of a possible superceding indictment, but won’t show their cards

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Hmm…


- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Biden’s Illinois job approval rating is 51-38 with 11 percent unsure

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Public Policy Polling survey of 700 Illinois registered voters taken April 28-29

Do you approve or disapprove of President Joe Biden’s job performance?

    Approve 51%
    Disapprove 38%
    Not sure 11%

Lots of unsures. Interesting. Click here to see the xtabs. Even 10 percent of Biden voters and 8 percent of Democrats are unsure about his job performance, while 20 percent of independents, 17 percent aged 18-45 and 15 percent with a high school diploma or less are also unsure.

* The poll was conducted for Personal PAC. More questions

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Abortion should remain legal in Illinois as a private decision between a woman and her doctor, not politicians?

    Agree 73%
    Disagree 22%
    Not sure 5%

Most young women live in supportive and loving homes, but an Illinois law forces a small number of other young women who live in homes where there is violence and sexual assault, to tell a violent parent she needs an abortion. Do you support this law that forces young women to tell their parents they need an abortion, or do you think it should be repealed?

    Support this law that forces young women to tell their parents they need an abortion 29%
    Think it should be repealed 46%
    Not sure 25%

If your State Senator or State Representative voted to keep in place the law that forces
young women to tell their parents they need an abortion, would that make you less likely or more likely to vote for them next time, or
would it not make a difference in your vote?

    Less likely 38%
    More likely 20%
    It wouldn’t make a difference 23%
    Not sure 19%

It’s all in how you ask the questions and how you present them.

* For instance, here’s a poll of 600 registered Illinois voters taken Mar 7-10 by the Tarrance Group

How concerned would you say you are that the government is taking away too many rights from parents and preventing parents from raising their children in an appropriate way?

Would you say this issue is extremely, very, somewhat, or not at all important to you?

    Extremely 26%
    Very 19%
    Somewhat 22%
    Not At All 28%
    UNSURE (DNR) 5%

[…] Do you consider yourself to be

    Pro-life/strongly 31%
    Pro-life 6%
    UNSURE/REFUSED (DNR) 4%
    NEITHER (DNR) 4%
    Pro-choice 11%
    Pro-choice/strongly 44%

If a minor under age 18 is seeking an abortion, do you think the law should require her parent or guardian to be notified before the procedure?

    Yes/strongly 56%
    Yes 16%
    UNSURE (DNR) 6%
    No 6%
    No/strongly 16%

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Arlington Heights forbids restrictive covenant on racecourse sale as new track bidder emerges

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Daily Herald

The [Arlington Heights] village board Monday night unanimously approved an ordinance banning owner Churchill Downs Inc. from placing a restrictive covenant tied to horse racing and gambling on the land — as part of the municipality’s effort to preserve the option of those things under new property ownership.

The board also took initial steps on future zoning changes that would prohibit certain types of uses on the land. The 23-item list includes adult businesses, car washes, currency exchanges, kiddie parks, funeral parlors and wholesale offices, including warehouses and storerooms.

The votes come amid a June 15 deadline for developers to submit proposals to Churchill, which put the property up for sale in February. Village officials say they’ve been working with the Louisville-based corporation and its Chicago-based commercial real estate broker CBRE. […]

The restrictive covenant ban will prevent Churchill from seeking language in any potential land deal that bars the continued operation of horse racing at the track, or addition of other forms of gambling. Churchill might have been inclined to ink such a deal, in an effort to thwart any competition with its other property, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

* Paulick Report

Roy Arnold, who served as president and CEO of Arlington Park from 2006-10, announced his intention on behalf of a group of investors to purchase the Arlington Heights, Ill., racetrack in a letter to the village’s board of trustees prior to their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night at which Arlington’s future was on the agenda.

Arnold, who currently heads the Endeavor Hotel Group, is aligned with Mike Campbell, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in an effort to continue live racing at the suburban Chicago racetrack after owner Churchill Downs Inc. said in 2019 it would not seek a casino license and now has the property listed for sale.

Arlington Park opened for live racing on April 30 and is scheduled to run through Sept. 25 in what many assume will be its final meeting.

I wouldn’t get my hopes up. As we’ve seen with the pending Tribune sale, the current owners will do what they want to do. And, in this case, the owners don’t want a gaming site anywhere near their Des Plaines casino.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Support Police Accountability

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]



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Caption contest!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* WSPY

Oswego Republican State Representative Keith Wheeler says Democratic Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch stopped by an open house at his North Aurora Office of Friday in a gesture of bipartisanship.

Wheeler says it’s the first time in decades that anyone can recall that a Democratic House Speaker attended a Republican colleague’s event. Wheeler says the visit is not just symbolic and that he and Speaker Welch have worked together to pass legislation already. Previously, Wheeler has told WSPY news that he has a good working relationship with Welch, something he did not have with former Speaker Mike Madigan.

* Leader Durkin was also there. Accompanying pic

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Open thread

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* What say you?

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* Today’s post is sponsored by AAU. Follow along with ScribbleLive


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« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** "We need a futile gesture at this stage"
* Dick Kay
* CDC eases up on the fully vaxed, Pritzker to revise executive orders, Sox and Cubs reserve seating for the vaccinated
* It's just a bill
* 1,918 new confirmed and probable cases; 35 additional deaths; 1,765 hospitalized; 465 in ICU; 2.7 percent average case positivity rate; 3.2 percent average test positivity rate; 76,082 average daily doses
* New unemployment applications remain low here, drop nationally
* Time Is Running Out To Hold Utilities Accountable
* Bridge Phase will begin tomorrow as scheduled
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Always read the bill, including the amendments
* Rodney Davis claims he missed the Cheney vote
* Springfield: Restricting PBM Tools Will Raise Costs for Consumers, Employers + the State
* *** UPDATED x1 - 50,000 free Six Flags tickets offered *** Vaccine roundup
* Mendoza argues for state credit upgrade
* Today's must-read
* *** UPDATED x1 *** US House dismisses Oberweis' election challenge
* *** UPDATED x1 - GOMB also revises projections upward *** More positive fiscal news as COGFA readjusts its forecast
* Another day, another lawsuit
* Secretary of state candidate warned about using official aldermanic Facebook page for his campaign
* Open thread
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