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SPRINGFIELD - Friday, Illinois lawmakers from all over the state expressed their dismay with the Illinois Supreme Court Democrat majority's decision to block voters from expressing their opinion on a proposed November referendum.
IL Justices Burke, Kilbride, Freeman, Garman, Thomas, Karmeier & Theis
SPRINGFIELD - In a 4 to 3 vote between Democrat- and Republican-funded justices, Thursday the Illinois Supreme Court denied Illinois voters a voice in how the state draws its legislative districts.
“Today's ruling is a harsh reminder that the political system in Illinois is in need of major reforms," Governor Bruce Rauner said in a statement. "I hope the decision to deny voters the chance to consider the Independent Map redistricting referendum is appealed and reversed."
The Court's ruling may be disappointing to the Governor, but the majority's ruling is no surprise because the four justices that ruled in Speaker Mike Madigan's favor were heavily funded by the Illinois Democrat Party faitful - of which Speaker Madigan is the longtime state chairman.
CHICAGO - "On Monday, August 29th, CTU members—teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians—will report to their schools and classrooms. They will be returning to work without a labor agreement amidst severe budget cuts and threats to their profession, income and benefits," Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told reporters at an August 9th press conference.
President Lewis' key, but easily overlooked, phrase? "CTU members - teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians ..."
Karen Lewis is the president of the Chicago Teachers Union. It's her job to look out for her union members - not the taxpayers, not the students - the union members. Keep that in mind. The more members, the more powerful a union is.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) is very concerned about the rate hikes the Illinois Department of Insurance announced Wednesday.
"Families living in Illinois and getting insurance through the federal exchange will be shocked by what they will pay out of pocket next year after already enduring the liquidation of the Land of Lincoln co-op and Aetna’s announcement that it was leaving the state market," a release from the Congressman's office said.
Hultgren is calling for Congress to take immediate action on a bill he has proposed that would provide relief to families and individuals in the federal health care exchange.
As it has done for more than two decades, CPS will boost its regular property tax levy to the maximum amount allowed by law. The district also will collect again on a capital improvement property tax enacted last year to finance borrowing for school infrastructure projects.
But the biggest jump will come from a new tax expected to generate $250 million to help cover the district's massive teacher pension obligations. CPS officials say the district's total tax increases would cost the owner of a $250,000 home an extra $245.
The CPS tax hikes represent the latest financial pain city government has inflicted. Homeowners this month started feeling the effect of last year's record city property tax hike to shore up police and fire pensions, a $554 annual increase for the owner of a $250,000 home that's being phased in over four years.
Conservative students are vastly outnumbered on campus, and their beliefs and values are often ridiculed by other students, professors and administrators. So, how can conservatives survive and thrive in college, while also making a difference? Matthew Woessner, a political science professor at Penn State Harrisburg, offers some tips.
Mercatus researcher Brian Blase found a stunning update in the federal government's annual report on Medicaid’s finances: Medicaid expansion enrollees are turning out to be a lot more expensive than the government predicted.
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Insurance said Wednesday that Illinois families' can expect a double digit increase in health insurance premiums next year.
Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) said the news confirms what Illinois families already know.
“Obamacare is a failure. Illinois families are paying more money for fewer and fewer benefits. Now, they can expect a double digit increase in their health insurance premiums for 2017. The Administration continues to tout the success of the President’s signature healthcare law, but the facts are the facts," Roskam said in a statement.
"Average premiums in job-based coverage increased by $3,775. Co-ops are failing. Just last month, the Land of Lincoln became the 16th co-op to collapse, leaving 49,000 Illinoisans without healthcare coverage.”
LA GRANGE - Illinois has some of the nation's highest property taxes that is causing a growing number of homeowners to consider abandoning the debt-ridden state. However, Chicago voters think even higher taxes is okay, a poll released by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute says.
"Two out of three voters support additional taxes to pay for more police officers and a majority are willing to pay more to maintain roads, expand educational programs, build schools, and provide other neighborhood services," a press release from IEPI said Wednesday morning.
Additionally, 61 percent support the municipal pension agreement reached between Mayor Emanuel and city workers.
JOLIET - Republican Tonia Khouri isn't waiting for mainstream media to tell 11th CD voters that she's up to the task to get federal help for bridges and highways in her district.
"Infrastructure plays a critical role in our local economies, especially here in the 11th District," she says in a new video posted online earlier this week.
Khouri says Interstate 80, particularly over Houboult Road in Joliet, has been an issue for some time for Will County's local economy. The Democrat incumbent Bill Foster has not fought for reliable infrastructure during his time in Washington, she says.
CHICAGO - "Wel-come to the fourth grade, so happy to meet you," sings first year teacher Dwayne Reed - and says he'll be making up songs to help his students learn.
"We'll study science, mathematics, English - keep it positive, that's the key," he sings.
The YouTube description says that Mr. Reed's song has a melody very similar to Michael Jackson's "I Will Be There."
"The artist did not intend to steal, rip, riff, or mimic Mr. Jackson's song, but apparently, powerful songs and their sounds can remain lodged in people's memory even decades after they've been released or heard," the video's director wrote on the YouTube page.
"As to avoid any controversy or issues, Mr. Reed has chosen not to sell his 'Welcome to the 4th Grade' song, opting only to use it as a fun way to connect with his students and start the school year with some excitement!"
We say, "Love the creativity and thinking outside the box, Mr. Reed. Your students will have a year they will always remember, for sure."
LAKE VILLA - Illinois' property taxes are some of the worst in the nation. Homeowners are being forced to look elsewhere to keep financially afloat.
Still, Illinois lawmakers - both Republican and Democrat - are toying with the idea of hiking income taxes after the November election, saying the problem is that the state needs more revenue. How much will finally be enough?
CHICAGO - Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded by a deranged gunman in 2011. Since that time, she and her astronaut husband became active in promoting gun control, setting up an organization that announced endorsements of several running for U.S. Senate this fall.
One of those "Americans for Responsible Solutions" announced this week is backing is Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, who is in an intense battle to retain his seat in November.
In a piece written for CNN, Giffords writes why she's crossing party lines to support Kirk's re-election:
Before 1994, election contests were usually seen as an effort to persuade voters who has not yet made up their minds about which candidate or party to support.
But starting with a congressional win for Republicans in 1994, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) advanced his theory that a more efficient use of campaign resources would be to concentrate on the heavy turnout of GOP base voters and Democrats were soon accepting the same idea.
Republicans in the U.S. House started to benefit from the turnout strategy and from catch up benefits that flowed from new winnable seats for the GOP created by re-apportionment and population shifts to blue states.
WINNETKA — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) endorsed Illinois' Ninth District Congressional GOP candidate Joan McCarthy Lasonde - who is challenging longtime radical Leftist Democrat Jan Schakowsky.
Ryan noted Lasonde's concern for the nation's vulnerable.
“Joan believes in finding solutions to our nation's problems, because she is results-oriented," Ryan said. "She has worked within her community to help those who are struggling – to positively impact people’s lives. Her willingness to bridge differences and bring people together has made her effective in her community. I am happy to endorse Joan McCarthy Lasonde for Illinois’ 9th Congressional District.”
Although the 1989 film, "Field of Dreams" (see film clip), as reviewed by Roger Ebert in the “Chicago Tribune” on April 29, 1989, had to do with a farmer standing in the middle of a cornfield hearing voices that tells him, "If you build it, he will come" (the voice seems to promise Joe Jackson will come and play on it), the same catch phrase from the movie reflects the Democrats' "economic" recovery plan. It you build roads and bridges, industry will respond by expanding and adding jobs. What baloney!
What about the stimulus packed signed into law by President in 2009? In the stimulus package was $30 billion designated for infrastructure spending that was handed over to the states for shovel ready jobs. It was thought that injecting money into transportation projects would not only put construction workers and contractors to work quickly, but it would also lay the groundwork for future economic growth and development. Obama predicted the transportation money alone would put hundreds of thousands of workers on the job.
This report found that states spent more than a third of the money on building new roads—rather than working on public transportation and fixing up existing roads and bridges. As a result, states missed out on potentially thousands of new jobs, and bridges, roads, and overpasses around the country are still crumbing.
"More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president " - thus opens a new AP report Tuesday.
Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence responded saying, The fact Hillary Clinton’s official schedule was full of meetings with Clinton Foundation donors is further evidence of the pay-to-play politics at her State Department. No one is above the law. The Clinton Foundation must be immediately shut down and an independent special prosecutor be appointed to determine if access to Hillary Clinton was for sale. It would be a dereliction of duty by President Obama and his Justice Department if they fail to act on these startling new facts right now."
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner signed four bills as part of Conservation Day at the Illinois State Fair last week. Each bill makes adjustments to the law to allow the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to more efficiently do their job of protecting Illinois’ lands and wildlife.
In addition, SB 2410 extends the youth licenses program to further invest in our young people who are passionate about the great outdoors.
“Investing in young hunters and fishers helps implant a great love for the outdoors that will continue through a lifetime,” said Governor Rauner. “As an avid hunter and fisherman, I believe in utilizing Illinois’ vast natural resources to enhance our quality of life while also protecting them for future generations to enjoy. Giving more opportunities to appreciate our resources to these young Illinoisans will ensure conservation of our lands for generations to come.”