Thursday, December 18, 2014


GOV QUINN CALLS FOR SPECIAL SESSION ON JAN 8th, to consider legislation that would require a new election to replace Comptroller Topinka

Here's my best guess of what this would mean...
It means instead of Gov Rauner being able to appoint someone for four years, if the legislature knocks out a new law that would call for a special election to fill the Comptroller's office for the remainder of the term -- then Gov Quinn could sign it into law prior to his leaving office on Jan 12.   I would suspect this as yet unproposed law, would have Gov Rauner appoint a Comptroller to serve until a special election to fill that seat, which would likely be held on Nov 2016.  As JBT's term would have run through to Jan 2019, that special election would be for just a two year term.  

At that point, the candidates for Comptroller would run for a full FOUR YEAR term in the election of Nov 2018.  -- UNLESS -- the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer are combined, which would require a Constitutional Amendment.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Portion of Gov-Elect Rauner's Press Conf of December 16, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

President Obama Reacts to the Passing of Judy Baar Topinka

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama on the Death of Judy Baar Topinka
"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.  Judy was an institution in Illinois politics. Her public service spanned more than 30 years, including her tenure in the State Legislature and as Chair of the Illinois Republican Party. Judy was a fierce advocate for her constituents, which I got to see firsthand when she was State Treasurer – the first woman to hold that office. She was blunt, pragmatic, unfailingly cheerful and energetic, and always willing to put politics aside to find commonsense solutions that made a difference for the people of Illinois.  She will be greatly missed.  Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathies to Judy’s family, friends and constituents today."

Illinois Channel Board Member, Katy Lawrence Remembers Judy Baar Topinka

Illinois Channel Board Member
December 10, 2014

Today belongs to Judy Baar Topinka. To her family, her friends, her devoted staff both current and former, and the fortunate taxpayers of this state who had a true advocate - my deepest sympathies for this devastating and shocking loss.

I first met Judy in 1989 as a nineteen year old kid in the Illinois State Senate. I was a Page, and while this position is not one that is considered prestigious, it is a necessary part of keeping the legislative process moving. Can you imagine if every Senator on the floor went off and grabbed their own lunch? Nothing would get done! Just about every morning, she would put her light on (which would indicate she needed something) and I would go over to her desk on the Senate floor and ask what she needed.

 "Kid, I need a cup of coffee - and I don't want one of those little Dixie cup size coffee cups, I want the biggest one they have down in the cafeteria - and I want it full-leaded, no froo froo stuff in it".

 I bring this story up because Judy treated me with the same amount of respect as she did her Senate colleagues (sadly, this was not the case with everyone). Her kindness was welcomed and appreciated given there were not a lot of women lawmakers back then. I looked up to her then, and still do to this day.

 Being on the Senate floor everyday during session affords one the amazing experience of seeing the process at work. Legislation that impacts the citizens of Illinois being debated right before your eyes. It didn't take long to notice that Judy was a respected and trusted ally to the Republican caucus - and had the same respect from those on the other side of the isle. She was truly remarkable that way. Her devotion, work ethic and genuine desire to do what was best for ALL Illinoisans is what sets her apart. She was a trailblazer.

 Her unwavering and tireless efforts on behalf of our citizens is something to be envied by other elected officials. Her public service is legendary. Her ability to work with everyone - also legendary. Her sense of humor, kindness and depth of understanding of people from all different walks of life made it literally impossible not to love her. In fact, I do not believe I have ever heard a negative word about her.

I could go on and on regarding her achievements, but I would rather focus on Judy as a person. I have close friends who work for her, and know first hand on what an incredible woman she is (I can't write "was" yet). You will not find a more devoted staff - and there is a reason for it. Judy not only treated anyone who worked for her well, she treated them like family. She knew when their birthdays were, she knew the names of their pets, she remembered important milestones in their lives and when she lost her bid for Governor, and was no longer Treasurer, her only concern was her staff who would be out of jobs because of her loss. I remember having a conversation with her and that was the only thing she talked about. Not the negative campaign unfairly waged against her, not the fact that she lost (many would have a bitter or bruised ego), but her "family". She is an example for all employers on how you should treat your staff. Her entire staff - both present and past - would run through a brick wall for her without questioning why. . . . find me an employer that every single person who worked for you would do that.

To say I will miss her would be an understatement. I love her, and will never forget her. I am grateful to have known her all of these years. Today belongs to Judy Baar Topinka.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Turning Corner After the Elections

Author Patrick Rice: Vanishing School Boards

We talk with Patrick Rice, PhD, about his book "Vanishing School Boards" which concerns the growing intrusion of State and Federal governments into the management of local schools, that are supposed to be run by a local school board.

Pharma Security: Requiring Combination Locks on Pill Containers

We talk with Rep Mike Zalewski, who is considering a bill that would require certain pharmaceuticals could only be sold in a container that comes with a combination lock built into the cap.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gov. Edgar on What to Expect from Gov. Elect Rauner

Vision 20/20 Education Initiative, and the Difficulties Managing School Budgets with Less Money, Increased Mandates

Cong Rodney Davis Statement on Gov-Elect Rauner's Meeting with the Illinois Congressional Delegation

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), along with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, today met with Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
"I appreciate Governor-elect Rauner continuing to reach out to legislators and his willingness to travel to Washington to meet with us, an important step in building a strong, working relationship between his office and the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation. While collectively we won't agree on every issue, there are certainly a number of areas, such as transportation, agriculture and research, where I'm confident that we'll be able to work together and make a positive difference for Illinois families. I hope that today's bipartisan, bicameral meeting was the first of many to come over the next two years so that we can show our constituents that we are ready and willing to govern and work together."


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Difficulty Managing School Budgets in Poor Economy - Michael Jacoby of I...

Gov-Elect Rauner Says Transition Team Has Discovered $1.4 Billion in Deficit Spending that was Hidden by Phony Revenue & "Budget Booby Traps"

During the Veto Session of the Legislature, Gov-Elect Rauner announced his Transition Team had thus far discovered the state budget is out of balance by some $1.4 Billion.   Rauner's team put out a list that showed some $600 million of bills for Fiscal Year 2015 [ ending this June], were put into the FY 2014 budget, thus making the state budget spending for 2015 look to be less than it really was.

They also site the borrowing of money from designated funds, and then counting this borrowed money as "revenue" when in fact it had to be paid back to the funds from which it was taken.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Brad Demuzio, Director of the Illinois Secretary of State Police, Dies at 50

We are shocked and saddend to learn of the death of Illinois Secretary of State Police Director Brad Demuzio, who was only 50 years old.  Brad died Sunday at his home in Springfield.  His father was former Senator Vince Demuzio, who passed away in April, 2004.   Brad's mother, Deanna, replaced her husband Vince in the Illinois Senate and is now the mayor of Carlinville.

Gov Quinn today said, "His dedication to duty has made the citizens of Illinois safer and his legacy is a model for all public servants."

The Illinois Channel Board of Directors extends our deepest sympathy to his family.

Gov Quinn Picks Board to Oversee Establishment and Certification of Community Health Workers

CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
                      Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck announced today the
                      appointment of a 15-member Illinois Community Health
                      Worker (CHW) Advisory Board.  Recently selected by
                      Governor Pat Quinn, the board will advise the
                      Governor, IDPH and the legislature on all matters
                      impacting the effective work of Community Health Workers across the
                      state, including the training and certification

                      Signed into law in August of 2014, the CHW Advisory
                      Board is composed of eight CHWs from across the
                      state.  The remaining seven members consist of
                      individuals representing healthcare and social
                      services, health workforce policy and institutions of
                      higher education.  Board members include the

                      Mary Ann Abate, MS LSW
                      Vice President Public Policy, Rosecrane Health

                      Teresa Berumen (CHW)
                      Community Health Promoter, Enlace Chicago

                      Leticia Boughton, BA (CHW)
                      Network Coordinator, Chicago Community Health Worker
                      Local Network

                      Monica Dillon, RN
                      Community/Public Health Nurse Project Manager, Loyola
                      University School of Nursing

                      Christopher Garcia (CHW)
                      Advocate/Benefits Case Manager, Champaign County
                      Health Care Consumers

                      Melissa Gutierrez Kapheim, MS
                      Project Director/Epidemiologist 2, Sinai Urban Health
                      IDPH Announces CHW Advisory Board/ Page 2

                      Geraldine Hardy (CHW)
                      Team Lead/Program Clerk, Southern Illinois Healthcare

                      Janel Hughes-Jones (CHW)
                      Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Will County Health
                      Estela Lazo (CHW)
                      Outreach Specialist, Will County Health Dept

                      Hong Liu, PhD
                      Executive Director, Midwest Asian Health Coalition

                      Molly Martin, MD MAPP
                      Associate Professor, Pediatrics and the Institute for
                      Health Research and Policy,
                      University of Illinois at Chicago

                      Lizette Martinez (CHW)
                      Peers for Progress Coordinator, Alivio Medical Center

                      Tamela Milan, BA (CHW)
                      Maternal & Child Health Outreach, Access Community

                      Amy Sagen, BA
                      Assistant Director for Health Policy & Strategy,
                      University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences

                      Jeffery Waddy, DrPHc, MsEd, MCHES
                      Dean of Allied Health and Sciences, South Suburban

                      Within a year of its first meeting, the CHW Advisory
                      Board will develop a report with its recommendations
                      regarding the certification process of community
                      health workers, best practices and reimbursement
                      options.  The report will also include proposed
                      curriculums, ensuring that the content, methodology,
                      development and delivery are appropriately based on
                      cultural and geographic needs and reflect relevant
                      responsibilities for CHWs.

                      “Illinois falls well below the national median in its
                      use of non-physician providers. If workforce
                      shortages are not addressed, it could limit access to
                      services and quality health care for all Illinoisans.
                      Community health workers can help fill this void and
                      increase the health of the state,” said Dr.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gov-Elect Rauner Names More to his Transition Team

 Below are members of the Transition Team to help Gov-Elect Rauner's team, as they move toward a new administration.   The list included notable Democrats, like Bill Daley, Glenn Poshard, and Rev James Meeks, in addition to notable Republicans, as fmr Gov Jim Edgar. 
  Governor Jim Edgar
  Bill Daley – Managing Partner and head of U.S. operations, Argentiere Capital LP, former White House Chief of   Staff
  Glenn Poshard – Former President, Southern Illinois University; former U.S. Congressman
  Rev. James Meeks – Founder and Senior Pastor, Salem Baptist Church of Chicago; former Illinois State    Senator
  Manny Sanchez – Founder and Managing Partner, Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP; Co-Chair, Latinos for      Obama
 Doug Oberhelman – CEO and Chairman, Caterpillar Inc.
 State Representative Jill Tracy – 94th District, Illinois House of Representatives
 Ron Huberman – Operating Executive, Prairie Capital; former Superintendent and CEO, Chicago Public  Schools
 Phyllis Wise – Chancellor, University of Illinois
 Jim Alexander – President, Illinois State Police Command Officer’s Association (ISPCOA)
 Congressman Aaron Schock – Representative, 18th Congressional District of Illinois
 Arabel Alva Rosales – President, AAR & Assocs., LTD
.Ron Gidwitz – Partner, GCG Partners
 John Gates – Chairman and CEO, PortaeCo, LLC.
 Pastor Corey Brooks – Founder, New Beginnings Church of Chicago
 Rob Funderburg – Chairman and owner, Alpine Bank
 Mark Cozzi- Managing Partner, Lincoln Park Capital Group
 Tony Anderson – Retired Vice Chairman and Midwest Managing, Partner Ernst & Young
  Sarah Frey-Talley – President, CEO Frey Farms
  Gloria Cardenas Cudia – President and Founder, Salsa Business Network
Jim Schultz – Founder of Open Prairie and Managing Director of Open Prairie Ventures I and II
Dr. Willie Wilson – Chairman, Chicago Baptist Institute International (CBII)
 Eleni Bousis – Board Chair for the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre, Entrepreneur of Frontida  (CARE) Institution supporting and assisting women and families in need and Board Member for Leadership 100  and the Little City Foundation.
 Ryan Ruskin- President and COO, Ruskin Group
 Beth Christie – Founder and CEO, Avent America
 Ed McMillan – Principal and CEO, McMillan L.L.C
 Andrea Brown – Member of the Illinois State Board of Education, former Regional Superintendent, teacher and  administrator

"Grow Illinois" Organization Applauds JCAR's Approval of Fracking Regulations


Members of the Growing Resources and Opportunity for the Workforce in Illinois (GROW-IL) coalition are appreciative that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) has passed the final hydraulic fracturing rules in Illinois, providing avenues for economic growth and energy stability across the state.

"We are pleased that JCAR is implementing - not expanding or narrowing - this long overdue law as enacted by the General Assembly with strong bipartisan support. We appreciate the thorough and professional review conducted by JCAR.  Today's unanimous vote will allow Illinois to finally begin issuing permits and developing an innovative energy sector. This exciting development will create much needed jobs and significant revenue for our state economy. Industry, labor and environmental groups worked together to include the strongest safeguards that will protect the environment while stimulating the economy," said Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and GROW-IL co/chair. 

new rules are equally beneficial for the job creators, working men and women, the energy industry, and Illinois citizens alike. Illinois will be able to capitalize on an already fast growing sector and produce more jobs for Illinois citizens, and the innovative access to new sources of energy will provide energy stability to ease the minds of Illinois residents. 

Southern Illinois - an area struggling with unemployment - will benefit most from these good-paying hydraulic fracturing jobs," Michael Carrigan, president of the AFL-CIO. "There are many men and women all over the state who are excited to get to work and will profit tremendously from the passage of the rules." 

We applaud JCAR for producing carefully crafted rules that resemble the legislation that was signed into law. We believe the extra time it took for the negotiation process will maintain the practical sensibilities that will allow hydraulic fracturing to create jobs and stimulate the Illinois economy. The labor, environmental and industry groups that worked together for three years to draft this legislation are excited to finally see the implementation of these rules and get the skilled workforce of Illinois working again," Brad Richards, executive vice president of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gov-Elect Rauner Starts Transition to Office

A day after he won election as the next governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner selected his Lt Gov, Evelyn Sanguinetti as the chair of his transition team.

 Rauner also named some to the transition team that had served on his campaign.  Also mentioned is long-time aide to Judy Topinka, Nancy Kimme, and Chip Englander who was his campaign manager. 
  • Mike Zolnierowicz, Transition Director
  • Chip Englander, Senior Advisor
  • Nancy Kimme, Transition Advisor
  • Mike Schrimpf, Communications Director

Monday, October 27, 2014

Public Health Director Issues Clarifications on Ebola Guidelines

                      CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
                      Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck today provided further
                      guidance on Illinois’ Ebola safety guidelines,
                      including mandatory home quarantines for individuals
                      who have a high-risk of exposure to the virus.

                      “The Ebola safety guidance IDPH issued on Friday was
                      designed to ensure that the public is protected
                      without discouraging our health care workers from
                      volunteering to fight this virus at its source,” Dr.
                      Hasbrouck said.  “These guidelines ensure that we
                      appropriately address the risks posed by workers who
                      have been directly exposed to the Ebola virus without
                      the necessary protective gear or procedures.  These
                      individuals have a higher probability of becoming ill
                      and a home quarantine is the most responsible way in
                      which to manage this situation.”

                      The guidance on Friday was issued in light of the
                      need for direction to local health departments about
                      following up on passenger returning from Sierra
                      Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The Centers for Disease
                      Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to issue guidance
                      on this topic soon.

                      The IDPH guidance calls for a 21-day home quarantine
                      for any returning traveler who has had high-risk
                      exposures to Ebola.

                      High-risk in this context refers to anyone who:

                      • Had unprotected (percutaneous or mucous membrane)
                      contact with infectious blood or body fluids of an
                      Ebola patient.
                      • Made direct skin contact with blood or body fluids
                      of an Ebola patient without appropriate personal
                      protective equipment (PPE).
                      • Processed blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient
                      without appropriate equipment or standard biosafety
                      • Made direct contact with the dead body of an Ebola
                      patient without appropriate PPE.
                      • Lived with or shared a household with an Ebola
                      patient in an outbreak affected country.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hydraulic Fracturing Advocates Appreciate Intentionally Careful Process to Draft Proper Rules

CHICAGO - Members of the Growing Resources and Opportunity for the Workforce in Illinois (GROW-IL) coalition have released the following statement in response to the action taken by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) hearing on hydraulic fracturing today:

"The GROW coalition appreciates and understands JCAR's decision to delay the hydraulic fracturing rulemaking process until the end of this month. Lawmakers are wisely utilizing this review process and prudently asking the IDNR to carefully draft rules which resemble the negotiated legislation that was signed into law. What's at stake is the potential to jumpstart our state's economic recovery and create tens of thousands of new jobs-let's be sure we get this right," said Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and GROW-IL co/chair.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Congressman Rodney Davis (R) Statement on FAA Control Center Getting Back Online

Champaign, IL – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation, yesterday spoke with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to discuss the recent incident at the FAA air traffic control center in Aurora, the impact on local travel, and the FAA’s response.

“I had a very positive conversation with Administrator Huerta yesterday and am pleased with the FAA’s response to safely manage our skies after last week’s incident,” said Davis. “While it’s difficult to be prepared for these types of incidents, each passing day, the airports in the Chicago area are increasing their efficiency thanks to the FAA working closely with air traffic controllers and airlines. Regional airports in my district and the passengers they support were negatively impacted by this incident, so I look forward to the results of the FAA’s 30-day review plan and the long and short term fixes they will propose. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure to implement those fixes to make us better prepared for similar incidents in the future.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

With Karzai Gone, US - Afghanistan Quickly Sign Bi-lateral Security Agreement

Sept 30: 2014 - US Ambassador James Cunningham signs the Bi-lateral Security Agreement at the Presidential Palace. Behind him, the new unity government of President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah in their first full day in office doing what their predecessor refused to do: sign an agreement  between the Afghan people and the United States. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

US Attorney's Office gives the Thumbs Up for "Unrestricted Hearings" into NRI to Resume on October 8th

A Reliable source tells the Illinois Channel that James A Lewis, the US Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, has given the Legislative Audit Commission a verbal OK, for the Commission to hold "Unrestricted Hearings" into the handling of the NRI program, and that it is not an issue for those hearings to restart as scheduled on October 8th and 9th.

The Legislative Audit Commission held a hearing in Chicago on July 8th, but witnesses called to testify took the 5th Amendment. Another concern that was then voiced is whether the Legislative Audit Commission should delay its investigation until after the US Attorney's Office had completed its investigation, which was expected to be completed within 90 days.  

 After some six hours of wrangling over the question of whether to delay its investigation, the Commission decided to put off their investigation of the Quinn Administratioin's handling of the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative [NRI], until October 8th, giving the US Attorney's Office the time it requested to complete its investigation and to question the witnesses before they were called again before the Audit Commission.  

So as of this writing, September 29th, the Audit Commission will resume its work as scheduled on October 8th.   

As a reminder, the Commission's investigation follows a report issued by the Illinois Auditor-General in which he noted numerous faults with the handling of some $50 Million that was spent by Gov Quinn  for the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a programs the Governor said was intended to fight the growing violence in a number of Chicago neighborhoods.  

The NRI program was started in late-summer and fall of 2010, just as the last gubernatorial election was being held.  Some Republicans have raised the issue of whether some of the funds intended to fight violence, were spent instead to help Gov Quinn win the 2010 election.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Is there a Hippo Loose in the Chicago River?

A video posted on YouTube shows an animal clearly visible in the Chicago River.  The animal was visible enough that the driver of a boat diverts his craft to avoid the animal, which some think may be a hippopotamus.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Reforming Illinois Criminal Laws to Increase Safety and Decrease the Cost of Incarcerations

Establishing Automatic Retirement Accounts in Illinois

Illinois Chief Justice Rita Garman on Women in the Law, Her Initiatives as Chief, and Funding of the Courts

Funding & Operations of Illinois' Locks and Dams

IHSA Cries Foul Over Timing of New legislative Committee Hearing Looking Into IHSA Operations

From the Illinois High School Association.. objecting to the scheduling of a hearing next Friday afternoon at 4 pm, when many of their principals, and Athletic Directors and parents cannot attend to voice their concerns at the legislative hearing into the IHSA operations. 


Four quick updates regarding the hearing:

1)      As of the time of this email, 508 individuals, mostly from constituents at IHSA member high schools, have cast online witness slips on opposing the hearing taking place. 14 individuals have cast votes as proponents of the hearing, however, 12 of those individuals have reached out to the IHSA to inform us they did so accidently and have since cast opposing votes.

2)      Committee member Barb Wheeler issued a press release (linked here) saying the timing of the hearing is “political shenanigans”.

3)      Mike Clark also wrote a column in the Chicago Sun Times (linked here) questioning the timing and motive of the hearing, saying “It speaks to the dysfunction of Springfield.”

4)      Finally, the Illinois Athletic Directors Association (IADA) has also echoed those sentiments, sending out the letter below yesterday to committee members:

September 25, 2014
Dear Member of the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee, 

The Illinois Athletic Directors Association (IADA) is reaching out to you today, asking that you give consideration to rescheduling the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) hearing that has been scheduled for Friday, October 3 at 4:00 p.m. at South Shore International High School in Chicago.

Many members of our organization traveled to Springfield to show support for the IHSA at the first hearing and many more would like to attend the second hearing in the same capacity. However, the timing of the hearing will make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for many constituents (on both sides of the issue) to be able to attend.

Weekends are very busy for our schools as we host and compete in a variety of activities. That begins with Friday night football games, which tend to be “all hands on deck” affairs for our coaches and staffs, who work the contests in a variety of roles. Additionally, many of our staff enjoy traveling to the games when our team is on the road or simply enjoy their time off. With many JV games kicking off by or before 5:00 p.m. and varsity by 7:00 p.m., we are left in a precarious position to choose between not providing support on an issue we feel very strongly about (supporting the IHSA) or being able to properly facilitate a safe game environment for the student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans who will attend these contests.

The IADA fundamentally opposes these hearings and hopes the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee will heed the voices of the educators who work with the IHSA every day. At very least, we believe we should be extended the courtesy of a meeting that is more readily accessible to Principals and Athletic Administrators and  of member schools as a whole.

Thank you for your consideration.


Mike Morris     Charlie Lochenour      John Woods           Steve Rockrohr
Mike Morris               Charlie Lochenour                    John Woods                       Steve Rockrohr
Ex. Director                President                                     President-Elect                 Past-President

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

IFT President on Pension Reform, Mandates on Education

Sen Cullerton issues a statement on the FY15 Budget

Sept 16, 2014, from Sen Cullerton's office:

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D) issued the following statement regarding the FY15 budget sent to Governor Pat Quinn:

 “This maintenance budget allows us to provide level funding for key priorities and services. The effect of the budget is to avert doomsday cuts by deferrals, borrowing and increasing our backlog of bills.

Admittedly, this budget reverses some of the progress that we have made in recent years.  Since we passed the income tax increase in 2011, we have paid down $3.6 billion in old bills and fully funded our ballooning pension payments. We have paid off $8 billion in pension debt. We have saved billions with responsible budget cuts and that demonstrated that we can be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

 In order to return to this path of fiscal progress, we will have to bring revenues in line with our growing liabilities. While a vote on our tax rates has been deferred, rising costs and pressures will force the issue at a later date.”

Establishing Automatic Retirement Accounts in Illinois with the "Secure Choice Retirement Plan"

Sen Dan Biss (D) talks with the Illinois Channel about his legislation, the "Secure Choice Retirement Savings" program, that would create a 401-k style retirement account for every worker in Illinois. This automatic savings/investment plan would NOT be mandatory, but would require the employee to OPT OUT of participating, rather than opting in to a retirement plan.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Atty Aaron Maduff with Update on Lawsuit Over Pension Reform


Sheriff Jeffrey Boyd Forfeits Pension, Withdraws Candidacy on November Ballot Over
Attempted Official Misconduct Charge based on Attempted Cyberstalking
Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that Rock Island County Sheriff Jeffrey Boyd resigned and pled guilty today to attempted official misconduct based on attempted cyberstalking.
Boyd, 48, of Rock Island, pled guilty before Judge Jeffrey O’Connor earlier today to one count of attempted official misconduct based on attempted cyberstalking. As part of his guilty plea, Boyd resigned and has withdrawn his re-election candidacy in the November election. He has also forfeited the pension he earned during his term as Rock Island County Sheriff.
Madigan alleged Boyd used his position as sheriff to intimidate and threaten a woman he met at a Rock Island gym. Boyd pursued the woman, who is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, over repeated text messages. After the victim asked Boyd to stop and leave her alone, Boyd continued to pursue the woman, attempting to use his position in public office and as a law enforcement officer to intimidate and harass the victim. In June, Madigan said Boyd went further, leveling a threat against the victim in an anonymous text message, putting the victim in fear for her safety.
“Mr. Boyd was elected by the people of Rock Island County to serve as its top law enforcement officer, but unfortunately he attempted to use his position to intimidate and stalk his victim,” Madigan said. “My office sought his resignation and criminal conviction to ensure he can no longer abuse the power that the people of Rock Island County entrusted in him.”
Under today’s agreed sentence, Boyd is forbidden from contacting the victim.
Madigan’s Public Integrity Bureau prosecuted the case based on a referral from the Illinois State Police, which investigated the case.
Public Integrity Bureau Chief David Navarro and Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions and Trial Assistance Bureau Bill Elward handed the case for Madigan’s office.

Friday, August 29, 2014

IL Dpt of Natural Resources Issue Long-Awaited Rules on Fracking

SPRINGFIELD, Aug 29, 2014 – The Illinois Department of Natural
                      Resources (IDNR) today delivered revised rules to
                      implement the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act.
                      The revised rules were submitted to the Illinois
                      General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative
                      Rules (JCAR) for a required second public notice

                      Based on a record level of public participation
                      following release the first draft last fall, the IDNR
                      has substantially strengthened and clarified several
                      sections of the proposed rules.  Passage of the HFRA
                      and the subsequent rulemaking process generated an
                      unprecedented amount of feedback. Five public
                      hearings were held around the state, and the agency
                      received more than 31,000 comments amounting to
                      43,000 pages from members of the public, units of
                      local government, environmental organizations and
                      industry.  The annotated copy of the revised rules,
                      including comments and the agency’s responses to each
                      issue area, can be found at:

                      “As the agency charged with standing up a brand new
                      regulatory program, it was important that our staff
                      took the time needed to consider all the public
                      feedback and do the job right,” said IDNR Director
                      Marc Miller. “We believe the revised rules submitted
                      to JCAR today accurately reflect the intent of the
                      law, and take into account the concerns of our

                      Following the start of the second public notice
                      period, JCAR has 45 days to consider the proposed
                      regulations. JCAR can request an additional 45 days.
                      By delivering the revised rules in time for the next
                      scheduled JCAR meeting on Sept. 16, IDNR has insured
                      that JCAR has adequate time to complete its work.
                      Rules must be adopted within one year of first
                      notice, which for this rulemaking will be Nov. 15,

                      Key changes to the rules:

                      Public participation
                      • Strengthened public disclosure on water volumes and
                      fracking chemicals used.  245.210(a)(8)
                      • Clarified rules to protect ability for public to
                      comment during permit approval process. 245.260
                      • Clarified rules to ensure that public hearings are
                      held in the County where the proposed well site is
                      located. 245.270(b)(2)
                      • Strengthened rules regarding permit modifications
                      to ensure greater public notification and comment
                      opportunities. 245.330

                      • Improved transparency and public notification if
                      water pollution problems occur. 245.615
                      • Strengthened rules governing  chemical disclosure
                      and use of trade secrets 245.710 & 245.720
                      • Strengthened and clarified rules regarding trade
                      secret disclosure to health professionals to protect
                      public safety.  245.730
                      • Strengthened Well Site safety plans. 245.210
                      • Strengthened department oversight to identify water
                      pollution problems. 245.620
                      • Increased transparency and toughened enforcement
                      penalties for violations.       245.1120
                      • Clarified reporting requirements for annual flaring
                      reports. 245.930

                      Environmental protection
                      • Expanded rules to cover all types (non-water) of
                      fracturing technologies 245.100
                      • Required that drilling fluids, cuttings, and waste
                      be tested for radioactivity and be stored
                      appropriately 245.510
                      • Strengthened rules to protect fresh water zones
                      from hydraulic fracturing fluid contamination during
                      operations. 245.840
                      • Clarified rules to ensure that flowback materials
                      are not stored temporarily in open reserve pits for
                      more than seven days. 245.850(c)
                      • Raised threshold requirements for claims of
                      economic unreasonableness regarding flaring; required
                      the use of auto igniters, improved monitoring
                      requirements. 245.845 & 245.900
                      • Strengthened land restoration requirements.

Monday, August 25, 2014


SPRINGFIELD – People in northern California were jolted awake Sunday morning by a 6.0 earthquake that damaged buildings and injured at least 200 people. As officials in California deal with the quake’s aftermath, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) stressed the importance of earthquake preparedness in Illinois and encouraged people to take part in a worldwide earthquake drill set for Oct. 16.

 “The Napa Valley earthquake is a reminder that earthquakes happen without warning,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “With two major seismic zones here in the central U.S., we all need to be prepared to take quick actions to stay safe during an earthquake. The Great ShakeOut is a good way for schools, businesses, families and others to practice the life-saving ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ moves.” At 10:16 a.m. on Oct. 16, millions of people in 39 states, the District of Columbia and several countries around the globe are expected to participate in The Great ShakeOut. The drill is designed to raise awareness about earthquake risks and the ways people can stay safe when the ground starts shaking. Illinois has participated in ShakeOut drills for the past four years. In October 2013, more than 523,000 Illinoisans took part in the nationwide earthquake drill.

To date, more than 237,000 people in Illinois are registered for the October ShakeOut event. Monken noted that some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the U.S. happened a little more than 200 years ago in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which reaches into southern Illinois. That series of earthquakes lasted for several months and shaking was felt as far away as the East Coast. Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at

 Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness. While the international drill will take place on Oct. 16, individual drills can be conducted anytime within two weeks of that date. The drill focuses on the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” protective actions people should take when an earthquake begins: “Drop” down to the floor, take “Cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “Hold On” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops. Additional information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and steps to take before, during and after an earthquake is available at