PEORIA - Tweeting from the Illinois News Broadcaster Association's Spring Convention in Peoria Saturday, Northern Public Radio's Sue Stephens reported that Republican State Comptroller Judy Baar-Topinka isn't as excited about the term limit idea as her GOP colleague gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is. Rauner is footing the bill for a petition drive to get a term limit referendum on the November 2014 ballot.
As a matter of fact, Stephens reports, Baar-Topinka told broadcasters the term limits idea is "stupid."
And, the comptroller must be concerned about that mounting pile of unpaid Medicaid bills on her desk. She said she thinks the 2011 tax hike should be rolled back slowly, not allowed to return to the 3.25% level as scheduled to happen on January 2015.
Stephens, who covers Rockford City Council meetings, passed along several interesting comments from the comptroller:
AURORA - State Rep. LInda Chapa Lavia has friends in the teachers union ranks - some of which have written her checks pushing nearly $40k. She's also leading an aggressive attack on Illinois' charter schools, deemed as job competitors by teachers unions.
The Aurora Democrat introduced 10 bills this session the Illinois Charter School Network opposes for shrinking charter school options, raising obstacles for new charters and unplugging the state's charter school governing committee.
Why is Rep. Chapa Lavia - who is especially influential as the chairman of the House Elementary and Secondary Committee - so adamant in her efforts to stifle charter schools?
"Her campaign to cripple charter schools is entirely logical. In fact, there are at least 14,000 reasons why the Aurora Democrat is determined to cripple charter schools," Paul Kersey of the Illinois Policy Institute says. "It’s just that none of those 14,000 reasons is a kid."
Chapa LaVia’s legislative agenda includes bills that would
By John F. Di Leo -
Definitions of Words and Idioms that Mean Something Else in Illinois; posted as a public service for the consumers of news
City Council: A rectangular block of rubber, affixed to a rounded wooden handle. Ordinarily used in conjunction with an ink pad. (Alternate definition: a justification for tax increases).
City Jobs: Political jobs. (Alternate definition: Bitter people who thought they were getting one of those cool ghost-payrolling jobs, but were surprised to find that they didn't).
Collective Bargaining: The union boss talks; you listen. There’s nothing collective about it, and there’s no bargaining either. (Alternate definition: a justification for tax increases).
Here's what happened in my nightmare:
On Tuesday, Barack Obama, POTUS (aka "Preezy of the United Steezy") told lies about women getting paid less than men for the same work, something that has been illegal in the United States of America since 1963. Seriously. He also said a bunch of untrue stuff about some woman named Lilly Ledbetter and her equal pay lawsuit, something I think I remember from an earlier nightmare.
On Thursday, the President of the United States went to Fort Hood, Texas, to attend a memorial service for some American heroes who were murdered, apparently by a mentally-disturbed fellow serviceman (or should I say "corpsman?"), but bugged out early. He spent less time at Fort Hood then he did collecting big checks from his wealthy campaign contributors later that same day. Weird, right?
Even more disturbing, the president refused a request for ten minutes of his time while he was at Fort Hood on Thursday from a survivor of Major Hassan's jihadi killing spree, Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford (ret.) . He was shot 7 times in November 2009, but Barack Obama didn't have time for him.
Technorati Tags: Al Sharpton, Barack Obama, Black Skin Privilege, conservatism, Election 2014, Equal Pay, Fort Hood, Lilly LedbetterObamacare, Maj. Hassan, Media, Michelle Obama, National Action Network, Paycheck Fairness Act, Race Card, Radio, Reagan conservatism, Reparations, Rush Limbaugh, Russia, Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, Tawana Brawley, Television, Terrorism, The Myth of Perpetual Black Victimhood, The Teri O'Brien Show, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Voting Rights Act, WLS
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By Brady Cremeens -
About 2,000 people rallied at the Capitol this week in support of charter schools.
The students and their parents feel the charter school movement is threatened because of several bills introduced this year, including one to eliminate the state’s charter school commission.
Charter schools receive public funding but operate with more independence than other public schools. Students may be drawn from across a district rather than a specific neighborhood. Faculty at charter schools can join unions but often choose not to.
The latter point displeases teacher unions and has resulted in both the unions and their legislative allies lobbying hard for the measures.
CHICAGO - Saturday, activists held life-affirming signs on the bridges, streets and sidewalks surrounding the Family Planning Associates Medical Group, located at 659 W. Washington in Chicago.
"Know all your options," one sign on a bus challenged women considering aborting their babies up to 23.5 weeks at the facility, which opened in 1988.
MADISON WI - Illinois political insiders were irked by the effect super PACs had on the Republican primaries in March, leading GOP Minority Leader Jim Durkin to suggest to reporters that legislation should be considered to rein in independent expenditure groups.
Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions opened the way for unlimited campaign contributions, placing money and power in the hands of well-heeled individuals outside political circles.
And although illegal, coordinating with super PACs can be a temptation too great for even the most experienced and informed politicians, Project Veritas' undercover investigator James O'Keefe revealed last week.
In O'Keefe's video, Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis is caught sounding as if he was making plans to set up a super PAC and coordinate efforts to attack his Democrat challenger - a potential violation of Wisconsin's election code.
"I'm putting together my own super PAC," Ellis is heard saying,“My brother Dave is going to be in charge of it. We’re going to have $500,000. I don’t need to kiss anybody’s ass.”
CHICAGO - Illinois' 1st Congressional District wasn't represented in Congress for months last year as Congressman Bobby Rush took time off to care for his ailing wife, but now the 1st CD's Congressman is facing an ethics investigation.
The congressional probe comes after a Sun-Times/Better Government Association investigation reported Rush used campaign funds for the Beloved Community Christian Church where he is a minister and that he did not report any rent payments for his campaign office, both possible violations of House ethics rules.
The Sun-Times/BGA report also questioned what had become of a $1 million grant that Rush helped secure from telecommunications firm SBC to launch a tech center in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Though Rush launched the project in 2000, no tech center has since materialized and it's unclear where the money went. The congressman claims "every penny of that money went toward programs for the Englewood community," but said he did not have records of how the money was spent specifically.
Congressman Rush is being challenged in November by the son of former Chicago alderman Dorothy Tillman, Republican Jimmy Tillman II.
CHICAGO - A South Side religious leader admitted Friday that he broke the law when he agreed a $3.4 million deal to lobby Chicago politicians to lift sanctions against the regime of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.
Prince Asiel Ben Israel, 72, pleaded guilty to failing to register as an agent of the controversial Mugabe, on whose behalf he tried to enlist four Chicago lawmakers to open a “back channel” to President Barack Obama and have the sanctions overturned.
He faces up to five years behind bars but, under the terms of his plea deal with prosecutors, is free to argue for probation at a sentencing hearing later this year.
Israel, affiliated with the African-American Israelites, speaks of his beliefs and background in an interview in which he says "The Bible is not a religious book, it's a history of God's people."
UPDATE x3: Sheriff brokered a deal Saturday; feds packed up and left Bundy Ranch. Protesters declare victory.
UPDATE x2: Chicago area talk show host Joe Walsh is headed for Nevada to cover the story.
Interstate 15 is closed in both directions about seven miles south of Mesquite because protesters have blocked the freeway, according to Nevada Highway Patrol, KLAS-TV reported. The protesters have gathered in support of rancher Bundy, and nearly two dozen police officers and a SWAT unit are on scene, KLAS added.
UPDATE x1: Saturday morning, the Bureau of Land Management has announced it will stop the roundup of cattle owned by rancher Cliven Bundy. The BLM says the animals have been illegally grazing on public lands for 20 years. The agency says it is concerned about the safety of its employees and the public. Reports are that the crowd protesters in nearing 2000.
OVERTON, NEV - Emotions surrounding a property rights dispute in Nevada continue to heat up as the state's Bureau of Land Management rounds up a local rancher's cattle. The BLM says Cliven Bundy's cattle are grazing on public lands and Bundy refuses to pay grazing fees, claiming his family has managed the land for generations.
Las Vegas TV news covered the 5-day confrontation, filling in details for those who've not been following the story about cowboys, endangered tortoises, federal agents and western ranchers.
WASHINGTON - While requesting an additional $1 billion for the U.S. Department of Education's $67 billion budget in the upcoming year, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan backed away slightly from his support for the Common Core standards this week in congressional testimony.
"I'm just a big proponent of high standards. Whether they're common or not is secondary," he told members of the House appropriations subcommittee that works on health, education, and other related issues.
Previously, Duncan energetically defended the Obama Administration's Common Core curriculum, which parents and teachers nationwide are lambasting. Indiana pulled out of the Common Core national program in March and other states are following suit.
Education Week reports Duncan, who was head of Chicago Public Schools before joining the Obama Administration, also maintained to the committee that there are "zero" federal grants tied to the common core.
CHICAGO - A Chicago Cubs fan paid dearly for the opportunity to go to the Cincinnati Reds game next Friday - and for three seats, the bill came to over $234. Chicago and Cook County amusement taxes and other fees amounted to over $38. That's before paying gas tax to get to Wrigley Field, any tollway charges, car license fees, property taxes, incomes taxes and all others.
H/T Jeffrey Crane
SPRINGFIELD – Cracking down on narcotics trafficking across county or state lines is the intent of legislation cosponsored by State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) to address the growing heroin problem plaguing many suburban communities.
Senate Bill 3469 will allow a judge to consider as a factor in sentencing, a defendant’s transportation of controlled substances from one Illinois county to another, or from another state into Illinois.
“The legislation is an initiative of DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin to crack down on the source of heroin that has resulted in so many overdose deaths in suburban communities. The drugs are not originating in the collar counties; rather, they are coming in from Cook County,” Connelly said. “This legislation targets the dealers who are bringing narcotics from Chicago into our communities and selling them to our young people.”
CHICAGO - In the first appearance with both Governor Pat Quinn and GOP candidate Bruce Rauner, union teachers cheered, hissed, booed and yelled responses to those on stage in a jovial but terse hour of exchange. The two candidates answered questions before the Illinois Education Association's 1100 member convention at the Chicago Hilton Friday afternoon.
At one point, IEA president Cinda Klickna asked Bruce Rauner, "Who are those 'union bosses' you refer to?"
Rauner hesitated purposely, and then said, "Uh ... well you're one," and went on to list SEIU's Henry Bayer and AFSCME president Ed Keller. Klickna smiled and said, "Well, I'm proud of that," and the audience burst into applause.
Rauner told the teachers he did not want to restrict collective bargaining rights for teachers, and he said that despite a Chicago Sun-Times op ed he wrote saying state workers were overpaid, he was not referring to teachers. Then Rauner said workers should have the right to decide whether or not they wanted to be in a union - another way of advocating the "right to work" position.
Again and again Rauner referred to his family's personal fortune which has been donated to advancing education in Illinois, from providing funds for teachers that excelled and received national accreditation to his wife's ongoing work with early childhood education.
SPRINGFIELD - The future of Illinois charter schools was a topic in the State Capitol rotunda, state lawmakers offices and on the House floor this week.
The Illinois Network of Charter Schools organized a rally of an estimated 1500 supporters Tuesday, then encouraged the rally attendees to lobby their lawmakers to urge more taxpayer support for charter schools.
The charter school crowd consisted of blacks, Hispanics, Caucasians, Democrats, Republicans and independents, children, parents and grandparents - all demanding more choice among Chicago public schools.
The next day on the Illinois House floor, controversy erupted during a debate led by State Rep. Linda Chapa Lavia (D-Aurora) concerning legislation eliminating the independent Illinois Charter School Commission.
While pleading her bill, Chapa Lavia erupted into a side discussion on lack of racial diversity on the Republican side of the aisle. When reminded of State Rep. John Anthony - a black Repubican from Plano - Chapa Lavia said "Oh they have a half, a half.." an assumed reference to Anthony's biracial ethnicity. The Aurora representative apologized twice after making the comment, but it was noticed beyond the Capitol - to national media.
By State Rep. Jeanne Ives -
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s partial city pension overhaul passed in the General Assembly on Tuesday. The bill that passed merely scratches at the surface of the problem.
In October 2013, Barron’s shed some light on the severity of Chicago’s pension problem in an article that ranked the 20 most populous cities in the US based on their debt as a percentage of government revenue.
Detroit, currently bankrupt, ranked 12th at 372 percent. Chicago, ranked 20th – last place, at 683 percent. The article exposes that it would require ALL of Chicago’s government revenue for the next seven years to finally pay off the city’s debt and unfunded liabilities for worker pensions and healthcare.
Instead of legislation that recognizes the severity of Chicago’s fiscal condition, we were, yet again, handed a bill by those who helped create the problem, and told it was our only hope. But, the bill hides the true nature of the problem and the proper remedy.
Title: Dear Life, You Suck I Author: Scott Blagden I Publisher: Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt
Young Adult literature is defined by the American Library Association as fiction that would be appropriate for children between the ages of 12 to 18. A branch of the American Library Association known as the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) offers the following synopsis for Dear Life, You Suck:
Cricket's life is wrought with pain and his future looks bleak. Should he become a professional fighter, a drug dealer, or just end it all?
Actual Plot Summary: Cricket Cherpin is a seventeen year old boy who was taken from his abusive, drug addicted parents by social workers and then rescued by social workers from his sexually abusive, prostituting, crack addicted foster mother when he was around eight years old. He has been living at the Naskeag House of Redemption ever since. The home is an orphanage run by the Catholic Church. (That's right. The Catholic Church…so buckle up, buttercup. We're in for a bumpy ride.)
WASHINGTON - Thursday, during a U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-4) blasted criticism at former IRS head Lois Lerner's 5th Amendment plea:
CHICAGO - The weak spot in 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady's campaign was the Chicago suburbs. Female voters in Chicago's wealthy northern suburbs supported Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk that year, but couldn't bring themselves to vote for the socially conservative Brady.
Rauner may not be as strong in central and southern Illinois as Brady was in 2010, so his campaign advisors are focused on grabbing those votes Brady didn't - those female voters and independents in Chicago's suburbs.
The Rauner campaign is now featuring Mrs. Rauner - "a lifelong Democrat" as she describes herself. The campaign introduced her with her husband in their last TV ad. In a new one released Friday, Mrs. Rauner talks to fellow women voters about her husband with an impetus on Illinois future - avoiding the sticky topic of social issues.
"Bruce doesn't have a social agenda, he has an economic and education agenda," Mrs. Rauner says in the ad. "He'll be a warrior for our children and taxpayers."
FINDLAY - This week, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved allowing an Indiana-based golf course management firm to maintain and operate the Eagle Creek Golf Course on Lake Shelbyville in downstate Findlay.
That choice didn't set well with Republican State House candidate from Kankakee Mark Ekhoff, who is concerned why the IDNR couldn't find an Illinois firm to do the job.
"Again those who are in charge of making decisions for Illinois just hired an Indiana firm to run a state-owned golf course," Ekhoff told Illinois Review. "Come on, no Illinois firm could do this? Not to mention the other courses they operate in Illinois. This is why we are in trouble. We do not take care of our own."
The Indiana-based firm is Green Golf Partners manages courses in Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and five others in Illinois: Quail Creek in Robinson, University of Illinois Golf Course in Savoy, The Legends Golf Course in Champaign, Danville Country Club in Danville and Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer.
With Rauner being outspoken in his opposition to public sector "union bosses" and clearly opposed to the way Illinois' state employee pension is set up, observers were curious about how he would appeal to those that endorsed and financially backed his GOP primary opponent Kirk Dillard.
The Rauner campaign provided insight as to the points Rauner will make as he appears before teachers at Friday's meeting in Chicago. For one, the campaign says, Rauner is committed to strengthening education with more taxpayer funding.
"Bruce has pledged to increase education funding as governor. He believes education is the most important thing we do as a community and should be the top priority in Illinois," a campaign statement says.
By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O'Neil -
School teachers all over the nation are quitting their profession, often due to being forced to abandon what they considered an excellent education system and change to one they consider inferior. The faulty system they refer to is the new and highly controversial Common Core. Susan Sluyter recently provided her reason for resigning after 25 years of teaching. She stated "I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths, to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them.”
One theory for developing Common Core, touted by those who initiated the experimental program, is the advantage of creating a common set of standards for all the states. However, opponents say that this one-size-fits-all approach to education is flawed and robs states of their individuality. Opponents also state that it isn’t just the standards that are being criticized. The bigger problem is the curriculum that supports the standards that has parents, teachers, and concerned citizens forming pockets of protests throughout America.
Proponents of Common Core like to portray the opposition movement as one being driven by Tea Party members. While that group may oppose it, the reality is that the firestorm of opposition sweeping through the states is largely being fueled by parents of school children. These are people who had been busy raising their families, without the time or inclination to become involved in politics. Common Core turned them into political activists.
Time for a Cook County GOP Chairman vote, next Wednesday.
I have had the privilege of working with both Aaron Del Mar and Chris Cleveland. Both are dedicated, both are running. One must lose.
Were I 'king of the party,' I would thank Aaron for his service and give the nod to Cleveland. Chris Cleveland is sharp as a tack and personally committed to recruiting candidates, filling out the ballot, strengthening ballot integrity and ballot security, and raising money for statutory generic party activities to give Bruce Rauner the extra percent or two that will put him over the top.
Aaron, who strikes me as a good guy who wants to help, has had middling success after 23 months on the job. Our ballot is empty. Fundraising is weak. There is no money for generic party activities. Ballot integrity/security are ineffective.
But Aaron has a big distinction Chris cannot match. He is backed by Bruce Rauner.
CHICAGO - Not "in a galaxy far, far away," but in right in northern Illinois is where Star Wars fans may end their search for "The Force." The Windy City is in competition with San Francisco to be home to Star Wars creator George Lucas' art and memorabilia collection.
After the site Lucas was seeking in the San Francisco area was rejected by park authorities, Chicago tourism reps approached the filmmaker and began actively searching for just the right location to display Lucas $1 Billion Star Wars collection.
“The mayor’s office has said, 'We are very interested in finding a possible site for you in Chicago.’ George is very excited that Chicago understands the educational and philanthropic gift this museum represents. This is a gift of philanthropy worth well over $1 billion considering the art, warehouse, museum and future endowment heretofore made by Carnegie, Mellon, Rockefeller and Smithson. We are looking for Chicago to tell us where they would like us to be," Chicago media reports.
Lucas married Chicago businesswoman Mellody Hobson last year, and Chicago has become Lucas' second home.
Charles Krauthammer is one of America's most interesting writers. He takes on the rise of the Left-Wing Thought Police in his April 10 column for The Washington Post.
If you are an intellectually honest liberal or like to call yourself a "progressive," this might be a good time to take a hard look in the mirror to see if the values you originally thought you stood for have been devalued by extreme radicals who reject rational argument in favor of screaming to deny other people their rights of free speech.
The idea of "thought police" first appeared in print in the George Orwell novel 1984. Orwell also warned about the crime of "wrong think." There is nothing liberal or progressive about the idea of "wrong think" unless you love the methods of a totalitarian state.
SASKATCHEWAN - Canadian Border Services Agency officers detained a traditional marriage activist from Illinois from entry at the Regina International Airport Thursday night. He will face a Canadian authorities at noon today to determine whether or not they will allow entry to speak at a pro-life conference in Saskatchewan.
Peter LaBarbera, head of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) and former executive director of Illinois Family Institute, was stopped and searched by upon entry. He is being accused of violating Canada's "hate propaganda" law. He will face Canadian bortder authorities at noon Friday to determine whether or not they will allow LaBarbera entry to speak at a pro-life conference in Saskatchewan.
LaBarbera, who has been placed into custody of the pastor that invited LaBarbera to speak, tweeted his experience thus far:
More below the fold ...
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois employers will need to accommodate the needs of pregnant employees, or be guilty of violating civil rights if State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) HB 8 becomes law.
Rep. Flowers passionately argued the need for the legislation, saying on the House floor that the bill is about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The bill, which moves now to the Senate, requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, if so requested, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the business' ordinary operation.
SPRINGFIELD - Not only did the House pass a ban on cyberbullying, Thursday afternoon the Illinois House voted 64 to 43 to pass legislation that reinforces Illinois' bullying ban. The bill duplicates Illinois' Bullying Prevention Task Force displayed on the Illinois State Board of Education's website.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy's (D-Chicago) efforts in HB 5707 raised questions from Illinois Family Institute that remain unanswered.
Rep. Cassidy said that the ban on bullying was needed because of students with disabilities being "tortured" and biracial students being "attacked." Cassidy said, as she called for the House floor vote, that she was bullied as a student, not because of being a gay student, but because she held strong religious convictions.
"The fact that the bill's sponsors and the ACLU have refused to ensure the rights of students and school employees to opt-out of 'programming' and 'training' that promote ideas that conflict with their personal and/or religious beliefs reveals the real goal," Illinois Family Institute said in a statement issued after the bill passed.
SPRINGFIELD - One day after Democrat State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia directed racially-insensitive remarks at an African-American colleague, the Illinois House passed another anti-bullying bill. The intention of this law is to protect students from bullying initiated on computers not owned by or located on school property with a bill that passed in the Illinois House Thursday.
The prohibition on "bullying" and "cyber-bullying" would include communications directed towards a student or students that causes reasonable fear of harm to a student's person or property, detrimentally effects physical or mental health, or their academic performance, among other negative effects.
HB 4207 requires elementary and secondary schools to set policies that prohibit cyberbullying, but does not mandate punishment for ignoring or purposefully disobeying the ban.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois voters will see at least one constitutional amendment on the November General Election. Both chambers passed with a 3/5 majority a measure that would change the Section 8 of the Illinois Constitution to say:
No person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or income. While the Illinois Senate passed the measure unanimously Thursday, five House members opposed HJRCA 52 earlier this week.
One of those opposing the measure was State Representative David Reis (R-Ste. Marie).
“We all agree that every legal, eligible citizen in Illinois should have the unequivocal right to vote,” stated Reis. “But putting a measure on the fall ballot to simply codify federal election laws while giving up any opportunity to pass photo ID requirements in the future just goes too far.”
SPRINGFIELD - State Rep. Linda Chapa Lavia (D-Aurora) apologized once again Thursday morning for racial references she made on the House floor during a debate Wednesday on authority over charter schools. House Minority Leader Durkin admonished Chapa Lavia while accepting her apology.
Chapa Lavia's racially-charged comments during floor debate have drawn national attention.
"Listen to me minorities, I'm over here on this side, we're all over here [Democrat side], right?" she said. Then pointing to the Republicans, and presumably referencing Republican State Rep. John Anthony (an African-American), said "We have a half, we have a half" [minority] on that side."
WARREN TOWNSHIP - Three Republicans are vying for the chairmanship of the Lake County Republican Central Committe - Keith Brin, Robert Cook and Mike Amrozowicz. Amrozowicz, chairman of the Warren Township GOP, says he has a three point plan for what he'd do if elected next Tuesday during the Lake County GOP Convention:
1. Turn the Lake County headquarters from a monthly social gathering site into a command/control center. We will have phone systems and precinct walk sheets available for the effort. There will be a list of vote targets for each precinct and township in Lake County.
2. Focus on vote getting. Every month we will determine where we are producing vote results and where we are not, and adjust accordingly.
3. Offer a place for new volunteers to get productively involved. Too often good people come to volunteer because they want to make a difference but end up being lost because they experience an organization adrift due to lack of focus and purpose. Our single-minded focus on get out the vote will provide these new people with task and purpose and, in turn, a pool of talent to create committeemen.
As Warren Township Chairman, Amronzowicz boasts six years of political progress:
The idea would raise the state's minimum wage for workers 26 and older from the current $8.25 to $9.00 in 2015 and 50 cents per hour higher in 2016 and again in 2017. It would also prohibit local municipalities from raising the wage over the state's minimum wage level.
“As a long-time business owner, I have seen first-hand the impact of across-the-board minimum wage increases. As a lawmaker, I know how divisive this issue is, both across party lines and within party caucuses,” Oberweis said. “I am offering a compromise.”
SPRINGFIELD - With solid opposition from the 47 member House Republican caucus, two Democrats with no stomach for hiking taxes on millionaires shot down House Speaker Mike Madigan's attempt to amend the Illinois Constitution Wednesday.
Democrats Reps. Scott Drury and Jack Franks voted against the Speaker's proposal to hike state income taxes on those making a million or more annually, shorting the needed super-majority vote to get HJCRA 51 on the November ballot - a step required in amending the state's constitution.
Americans for Prosperity-Illinois' State Director David From, who led a public campaign against the Speaker's proposal, congratulated Drury and Franks for their votes.
“Rep. Drury and Rep. Franks should be commended for siding with taxpayers and small businesses by taking a courageous stand against this proposal,” said From. “Illinois resident aren’t fooled by the false promises of Springfield politicians, and through this effort they communicated directly with legislators in their district.”
PEORIA - Last month, Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock raised a record $15.1 million at the NRCC annual fundraising dinner, where he said: "Our success ... is not owed to the greatness of government, but to the goodness of our people – people who love freedom and are willing to fight for it, vote for it, and yes, even attend dinners like tonight for it..."
This week, in a less serious mode, he appeared among country music fans and stars like Carrie Underwood in the dance pit at the Academy of County Music Awards ceremony in Las Vegas:
HUNTLEY - Taxpayers in Illinois are unhappy with the idea of the Illinois legislature making the 2011 temporary income tax hike permanent, and the Huntley Area Tea Party plans to remind lawmakers at their first Tea Party rally on April 12 in front of the Rt.47 Culver's.
The organization plans to rally from 1 to 3 PM, and are asking people to "bring posters, flags in all sizes, chairs for resting, and to dress in your finest patriotic garb."
Once upon a time there were two conservative leaders in Indiana. One was a solid movement conservative named John Ryan who once served as a member of the Postal Rates Commsission. The other better known Hoosier is the author and former editor of the Indianapolis News, M. Stanton Evans, who is pictured at right. Evans has written many books on conservative thought and was a former commentator for CBS Radio.
The 22 percent of respondents who are undecided is high, and means Rauner still does not have the name recognition as the governor, said Doug Kaplan, the president of Gravis Marketing.
In response to the poll, Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf told to Human Events this week that he is not surprised by the poll results, and that focus is key to the Rauner campaign.
“Bruce is completely focused on four major issues that unite Republicans, Democrats and Independents,” he said. “He wants to bring a booming economy back to Illinois, deliver value for tax dollars, ensure world class schools and enact term limits on the career politicians in Springfield.”
Kaplan told Human Events that respondents were also asked: “If the 2016 election for U.S. Senate were held today, and the candidates are Sen. Mark Kirk and First Lady Michelle Obama, who would you vote for?”
Obama was the choice of 47 percent against the GOP incumbent Kirk’s 42 percent.
via Human Events
SPRINGFIELD - Wednesday, Democrat State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia made some inflammatory remarks during floor discussion on charter schools when she referenced the racial composition of the Democrat majority versus the Republican minority in the Illinois House.
"Listen to me minorities, I'm over here on this side, we're all over here [Democrat side], right?" she said. Then pointing to the Republicans, and presumably referencing Republican State Rep. John Anthony (an African-American), said "We have a half, we have a half" [minority] on that side.
State Rep. Dennis Reboletti took exception to Chapa LaVia's comments. (video below)
WAUKEGAN – There’s apparently a stalemate in teachers union contact talks in the Waukegan Public Schools district, and the union is talking strike.
There’s nothing unusual about that, particularly in Illinois, where teacher strikes are practically a way of life.
We stand by what we’ve repeated many times about teacher strikes – they should not be tolerated under any circumstance. Children across the nation have an absolute right to a publicly funded education, uninterrupted by adult disagreements over money and power.
But the situation in Waukegan is particularly troubling because of the union’s “bottom-line offer to avoid a strike.”
The union is apparently willing to scale back its salary demands, if the district is willing to shorten the school year by three days, according to a report from SunTimes.com.
That plan is completely unacceptable.
CHAMPAIGN - The University of Illinois at Champaign will be spending $1.5 million per year to purchase 2 percent of their electricity from a field of solar panels that officials hope will begin to go up later this year.
The Champaign News-Gazette reports the nearly 21-acre "solar farm'' is part of the university's renewable energy efforts. The project had been delayed because of concerns from state officials who questioned the public-private partnership between the school and Phoenix Solar Inc.
But state procurement officers have signed off on the complex financial arrangement in Phoenix Solar will design, build and operate the farm for the first 10 years. After that, it will be turned over to the school.
There is no information on how this investment will impact increasing student tuition.
By refusing to hear an appeal from Elaine Photography on Monday, The United States Supreme Court unleashed a frightening reality: we now live in a country where the government can force a photographer to take pictures against his or her will. A free people cannot in good conscience obey such a law. It's time to actively resist.
Elaine Photography in New Mexico was sued in 2006 for refusing to photograph a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony. The Christian photographers argued in court that compelling them to take pictures violated their free speech rights and forced them to be a party to something that went against their religious beliefs. They also said that the First Amendment gave them the right to decide what pictures to take or abstain from taking.
SPRINGFIELD - The Sangamon County Republicans hosted IL GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner Tuesday night and the media honed in on two particular reception attendees whose names raised eyebrows - Former IL GOP National Committeeman Bob Kjellander and convicted felon Bill Cellini. Apparently were in attendance and seated in prominent places during Rauner's visit.
Kjellander - whose notorious arrogance and business as well as political ties to Cellini cast shadows on his Republican influence - had nice things to say about Rauner, as did Cellini.
Rauner "did an outstanding job" in his speech, Kjellander told SJ-R's Bernie Schoenberg. Rauner was "very impressive," Cellini - who was released from federal prison last November- told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Kjellander and Cellini - who've been big Republican players for decades - were unnoticed and unknown to Rauner, who has had little contact until lately with Republican Party head honchos.
“I don’t know,” Rauner told the Chicago Sun-Times Dave McKinney when asked about Cellini's praise. “I didn’t even know he was here. I don’t really know him. I can’t comment on that.”
SPRINGFIELD - Republicans in the Senate and the House differed dramatically in their response to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's city worker pension fix. Emanuel's effort would push two of the city's five pension funds to 90 percent by 2054. Those two funds alone are currently underfunded by $9.4 billion.
Republican Senate Leader Christine Radogno called on her caucus to oppose the Democrats proposal that was rushed through the legislature with little or no insight into how the fix will affect Chicago taxpayers. The proposal that swept through the House in the morning and through the Senate Tuesday afternoon left the Senate Republican leadership with many unanswered questions.
"We are concerned about the speed of the process. Where is the Governor? Will he sign the legislation or veto it? Is there a comprehensive plan that can and should be discussed with the legislature?" Patty Schuh, communication director told Illinois Review Wednesday.
"It is not in taxpayers' best interest to not see the whole picture. If they go to property taxpayers for these two smaller pension systems -- who are they going to go to when the big bills come due for their large pensions systems this summer? Are they looking for a bailout from taxpayers all over the state?
"We should not pretend these decisions are being made in a vacuum," Schuh said. "We want to help Chicago solve its problems but we want to protect taxpayers."
Senator Radogno called on her caucus to vote "no." Her comments -
The plan passed the Senate along party lines, except for State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-Aurora) who voted "yes" and State Senator Pamela Althoff who voted "present."
On the House side, Minority Leader Jim Durkin urged Republicans to support the plan. Twenty-two of Durkin's 46 House colleagues voted with him.
WASHINGTON - Congressman Peter Roskam told Fox News that the Congressional Ways and Means Committee is considering a criminal case against former IRS head Lois Lerner accusing her of: 1) violating constitutional rights of citizens applying for non-profit status, 2) impeding an investigation by releasing misleading information, and 3) releasing confidential information she had no authority to release.
MCHENRY - "Local control" is the typical mantra of the Republican Party, but in the case of farmer's markets and their requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables, State Rep. Mike Tryon (R-McHenry) is pushing for state coordinated standards. A bill to standardize those rules was approved by unanimous vote in the Illinois House Tuesday.
“Today in Illinois we have 102 counties and 100 health departments,” said Tryon. “Each department sets its own regulations for farmers markets, and for those vendors who wish to sell their goods in different counties, it is very difficult to ensure compliance.”
House Bill 5657 amends the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act by standardizing the regulations and fees associated with Farmers Markets in Illinois. With its unanimous adoption in the House, the bill now moves to the Senate, where Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) will serve as the bill’s Chief Senate Sponsor.
By Irene Starkehaus -
Hindsight is 20-20, I guess. Who could have known that Obamacare would be such an outright disaster?
Oh, right. Actually, Republicans did. To be accurate, conservatives simulated omniscience over the Left's hungry and leering advances upon the American health care system with eerie precision. Conservatives intuitively and intellectually understood then and understand now that the Affordable Care Act is a death sentence for the American dream that will reduce freedom loving people to the servitude of an out-of-control government and veritable one-party political system.
Bobby Jindal has, as we know, unveiled a new healthcare proposal called the Freedom and Empowerment Plan. It is meant to be "a prescription for conservative consumer-focused health reform."
Jindal's recommended plan works to expose the myth that there is no conservative alternative to Obamacare and provides practical solutions to the very real problems found within the American health care system.