Happy Friday, Illinois. Remember when Michael Jordan didn’t get involved in politics? He just donated $2.5 million to fight voter suppression (h/t CNN).
House Speaker Michael Madigan announced last night he has no intention of stepping down from his leadership spot or his position as head of the state Democratic Party.
“I understand that the last couple of weeks have been difficult for our caucus and party, and I have had many candid conversations with members of the Democratic caucus on this matter,” Madigan said in a statement, referring to a federal investigation that links him to — though does not charge him in — influence peddling by ComEd.
“The feedback is positive and demonstrates continued support for me and my leadership roles. I have no plans to resign. I have never made a legislative decision with improper motives and any claim otherwise is unfounded.”
The unusual, late-night statement indicates Madigan, a master at counting votes, has the support of at least 60 House members. That’s what he would need to keep his speaker position, which comes up again in January.
Before his announcement, seven Democratic lawmakers had called on the speaker to step down from his leadership roles rather than work under a cloud of suspicion. And he had spent the day calling caucus members to gauge their support.
Reps. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago, Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn, Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego, and Anne Stava-Murray of Naperville called for his resignation as speaker. So too did Sens. Melinda Bush of Grayslake, and Heather Steans and Iris Martinez of Chicago.
That it’s women in the caucus calling for Madigan’s exit isn’t lost on lawmakers. The sexual harassment complaints that dogged some of his aides in 2018 still haunt. Madigan fired his top lieutenants and now counts a woman as his chief of staff. But a “bullying environment” persists in Springfield, Martinez told Playbook.
House and Senate Minority leaders Jim Durkin and Bill Brady also called for Madigan to resign, which plays well with conservatives.
Madigan’s announcement came after a week of working the phones. Last week, his calls sought to assure lawmakers he had done nothing improper. ComEd pleaded guilty to attempting to “influence and reward” Public Official A, who’s been identified as Madigan.
On Thursday, Madigan was on the phone again with lawmakers. “He wanted to know if I was going to be calling for his resignation,” state Rep. La Shawn Ford told Playbook. “I said, ‘If you can affirm that you’re innocent and that you believe the investigation is not something that will lead to an indictment and conviction, then I’m with you.’”
Others in the Black Caucus also stand by Madigan, and there’s good reason: The 22-member group is pulling together a “Black agenda,” a package of legislation being crafted after the police killing of George Floyd, much of which Madigan has endorsed. The members would likely prefer a trusted ally in the driver’s seat over a new speaker who may not help push through their agenda items.
Playbook also reached out to a dozen of the 35 members of the Democratic Central Committee, which would vote on whether Madigan could stay on as head of the party. Only two responded, including Iris Martinez, who’s worried the scandal will cloud the party’s work as it approaches next month’s Democratic National Convention. Another state committee member who spoke on condition their name not be used said it was just “too early” to jump to a conclusion on Madigan.
Chicago aldermen tee off on ComEd officials for bribery scheme during hearing on utility’s annual report: “As ComEd’s utility deal with the city of Chicago is about to end, aldermen on Thursday ripped the utility over its participation in a yearslong bribery scheme,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.
SCOOP: Watch for State Rep. La Shawn Ford and Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty to announce a new initiative to end U.S. history classes in schools until alternative programming can be developed that gives a full telling of how the United States came to be.
“What’s being taught is inaccurate,” Ford told Playbook, pointing to Blacks being “wrongly” depicted only as slaves during the birth of the nation and women not being portrayed much at all. The debate over history classes is a national one too. Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) set off a firestorm when he introduced legislation to bar federal funding for schools that use The New York Times’ 1619 Project in their discussions of slavery, calling the effort "debunked" and a "racially divisive and revisionist account of history that threatens the integrity of the Union by denying the true principles on which it was founded." Its creator told WBUR last week that the way "history is taught in American schools is highly politicized."
Ford, Hagerty and advocates for women and Black, Latino, Asian, Jewish, LGBTQ communities and other groups are meeting Sunday to address contributions that have been “overlooked” by history books for decades.
Instead of teaching “inaccuracies,” said Ford, teachers would do better to focus on civics. This country could use it.
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No official public events.
At New Life Community Church in Chicago at 11 a.m. for a juvenile justice announcement. Then at the Red Roof Inn in Downers Grove at 1 p.m. for a tour of a local food drive. Watch live
Touring the Harrison Square Food Hall at newly renovated Old Cook County Hospital—now a hotel—at 11: 30 a.m.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 18 additional deaths to coronavirus Thursday and 1,772 new confirmed cases. That’s a total of 7,478 deaths and 176,896 cases in Illinois The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from July 23 to 29 is 3.8 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is 5.9 percent, same as the previous day.
— Pritzker warns ‘we’re at a danger point’ as Illinois sees largest single day caseload since May: “The rise is part of a disturbing trend that’s seen July’s daily case average shoot up to more than 1,100, compared to 764 per day last month. In the last nine days alone, more than 13,000 new cases have been reported,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
— Q&A: Chicago schools chief Janice Jackson on her high-stakes decision: How to educate children safely in a pandemic: “Chalkbeat caught up with Jackson to talk about the lessons from the district’s foray into virtual learning this past spring and some of the fine print on the district’s fall plans,” writes Chalkbeat Chicago’s Mila Koumpilova.
— Coronavirus-stricken woman gets lung transplants after mother travels to Chicago to say ‘goodbye’: “Northwestern Memorial Hospital patients Mayra Ramirez and Brian Kuhns were the first coronavirus-inflicted people in the country to receive double-lung transplants,” reports Sun-Times’ Stefano Espositio.
— Wonder why your sick with other ailments? “Strict social distancing isn’t in place,” by Tribune’s.
— ENTERPRISE: Bill Barr has done this before. “As violent crime continued to climb … Attorney General William P. Barr announced that the U.S. Department of Justice was mobilizing to help: Dozens of federal agents would be sent to work with local police to combat gangs and illegal guns. ‘Our message to gangs, gang leaders and gang members is this: When we throw the federal book at you, it will be a knockout blow,’ Barr said. That was in 1992,” writes ProPublica’s Mick Dumke.
… 4 perspectives on Columbus statues: ProPublica’s Logan Jaffe talked to four people with four different views on the debate about statues and whether to remove them or not.
— Homeland Security has seized $200M from travelers at O’Hare Airport since 2000, report finds: “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has seized more than $203 million in cash from travelers at O’Hare International Airport since 2000 – more than any other airport in the country, according to a report released Thursday,” reports WBEZ’s Elliott Ramos.
— As violence surges, Chicago police try a new version of an old solution. Can it work? “Hot spots policing can ease violence, at least temporarily…The teams are also potentially a politically savvy tactic in that they allow [Superintendent Daivd] Brown to send officers to tough neighborhoods without reallocating beat cops from safer wards whose aldermen might object to losing police,” by Tribune’s Dan Hinkel and Jeremy Gorner.
— Bird, Lime, Spin to offer scooters during Chicago’s second pilot program, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone
— Chicago elections board office closes after employee tests positive for Covid-19, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Art Institute reopens — and returning visitors finally get an art fix, by Tribune’s Steve Johnson
— Police shootings in suburbs seldom scrutinized or punished: “The debate over police actions, tactics and discipline may seem like a big-city problem, but in the Cook County suburbs high-profile cases show a pattern of no discipline or criminal charges for officers,” by Better Government Association’s Jared Rutecki.
— County Board passes resolution to ‘redirect funds from policing and incarceration to public services’: “Commissioner Brandon Johnson, D-Chicago, who sponsored the measure, said, ‘We’re spending almost $5 million a day policing alone, and that hasn’t solved any of our systemic problems,’” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Beachgoers ripped for displaying Confederate flag in Evanston: ‘That flag right there is my swastika’: “A protest is planned for Friday after LaShandra Smith-Rayfield confronted the group with the flag at Lighthouse Beach earlier this week,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— Longtime Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar steps down today: The Republican who served since 1986 famously hosted a fundraiser in 2016 for then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Bolingbrook Golf Club, by Tribune’s Alicia Fabbre.
— Churchill Downs CEO floats possible sale of Arlington Park: “As Hawthorne Race Course moved forward with plans for a sportsbook and ‘racino,’ the corporate owner of the Chicago area’s other racetrack cast its future further in doubt,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— TWO YEARS AGO: Disgraced state Rep. Nick Sauer resigned two years ago on Aug. 1 after our story in POLITICO revealed a former girlfriend had filed an official complaint accusing the first-term Republican of creating a fake Instagram account and populating it with nude photos of her to lure men into “graphic” discussions. Another victim would later emerge and the case has wended its way through the court system ever since. Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim told Playbook Thursday his office is ready for the case to go to trial, which is set for Nov. 16.
— Suspected serial killer charged with 1997 Lake County murder: “Samuel William Legg III is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old Julie A. Konkol. His DNA has been matched to two killings in Ohio,” by Sun-Times’ Luke Wilusz.
— SCOOP ON TRANSIT CHECKS: State Sen. Ram Villivalam, who serves as the Senate’s Transportation chair, is asking Chicago Transit Authority and other transit districts across the state to report back on efforts to keep passengers safe as Chicagoans continue to use transportation during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter to CTA President Dorval Carter, for example, Villivalam, Republican Sen. Donald DeWitte, and other lawmakers ask for an outline of CTA’s efforts to protect employees and passengers. Among other things, the lawmakers want to know about testing, tracing, temperature checks and masks. “Public transit is essential to many people’s lives and livelihoods, so its continued availability is vital to our state’s reopening plan and to the personal finances of many people — especially low-income residents and seniors,” the letter states.
— Online education was a mess in the spring. Will it get better this fall? “Though some districts have pledged to return to in-person classes, most appear headed to full-time online instruction or a hybrid approach, ensuring that education by internet will remain a staple in Illinois,” by Tribune’s John Keilman.
— Another Springfield business closes, how the PPP didn’t help all small businesses: “The coronavirus pandemic has hurt many small businesses. Jarred and Sarah McCormick, a Springfield couple who ran the catering business, have closed their doors after a quarter century of business,” by NPR Illinois’ Olivia Mitchell.
— Organizers expand ‘BlackOut Tuesday’ into a monthly event in Carbondale: “The first event held July 7 was in coordination with a national boycott against all businesses to demonstrate the economic power of Black people, and bring attention to institutional racism woven into government and business policies that are in need of reform,” writes Southern Illinoisan’s Molly Parker.
— Hawthorne becomes first horse racing track in Illinois to be granted Master Sports Wagering License: “The Illinois Gaming Board opted to move forward with its proposed rebranding rule for mobile and internet sports betting with a modification Thursday, and granted its eighth Master Sports Wagering license — this one going to Hawthorne Race Course, which will have PointsBet as its sportsbook operator,” by SportsHandle’s Chris Altruda.
Chicago State organizes statewide effort to boost college success for Illinois’ Black students: “Chicago State University, Illinois’ only predominantly Black university, announced Thursday it is forming a working group to increase opportunities for Black students to enroll and graduate from college and find good jobs,” by WBEZ’s Kate McGee.
South Side marijuana dispensary to reopen Friday after looting forced two-month closure: “Previously known as Mission South Shore, the dispensary will be renamed Mission South Chicago to accurately reflect its location and solidify its commitment to the neighborhood, said Kris Krane, president and co-founder of Phoenix-based 4Front Ventures, which owns the dispensary,” writes Tribune’s Abdiel Jimenez.
Democratic Party of Illinois has unveiled an updated website and branding. The goal is to make the website (and party) more accessible to voters who are looking for information about mail-in voting and information about Democratic initiatives, the party says in a release.
Trump revisits his playbook for disastrous news: An explosive spectacle: “Minutes after the government announced the worst economic contraction on record, the president upended a day in Washington with his suggestion of delaying the election,” by POLITICO’s Cory Bennett, Meredith McGraw and Tina Nguyen.
…Gov. J.B. Pritzker dismisses Trump in a series of tweets: “.@realDonaldTrump, Illinois will hold our election as required by law on November 3rd….The right to vote is essential, which is why I signed a law to expand vote by mail and make our elections safer than ever. The Board of Elections intends to take thorough precautions for those who want to vote in person….The President cannot move an election. We will not allow you to undermine the foundations of our democracy. Everyone: keep November 3 on your calendar.”
…Kinzinger among Republicans outright rejecting Trump’s suggestion: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an occasional Trump critic, tweeted: “Reminder: Election dates are set by Congress. And I will oppose any attempts to delay the #2020Election,” via POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio.
— Pritzker on why Duckworth should be VP: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he’s pushed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to pick Sen. Tammy Duckworth as his running mate, arguing that she would highlight President Trump’s successful attempts to avoid being drafted during the Vietnam War,” according to an interview in Yahoo News.
— John Lewis invokes Emmett Till in posthumous op-ed, by POLITICO’s Quint Forgey
— Obama calls for end of ‘Jim Crow relic’ filibuster if it blocks voting reforms, by POLITICO’s Max Cohen
— Senate stalemate means millions on the verge of losing $600 weekly federal benefit by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine, John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman
— State Democrats mount big comeback in 2020, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider, David Siders and Zach Montellaro
— Monica Gordon has been named director of government relations for Chicago State University. She starts Monday. Gordon was Legislative Black Caucus Foundation executive director and a former state Senate candidate.
— Brian Bernardoni has been named an executive committee member of the Midwest Region of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization focused on opposing anti-Semitism, discrimination, racism, bias, and hate. Bernardoni, founder of Aurelius Public Affairs, a lobbying firm, fills the seat held by the late Dominic DiFrisco. Like DiFrisco, Bernardoni will focus on bridging the Italian and Jewish communities.
Aug. 4: House Minority Jim Durkin headlines a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute virutual event. Details here
Today: State Board of Education Co-Director of Legislative Affairs Amanda Elliott, Durbin Legislative Aide James Floyd, Salvation Army Chicago public relations manager Katie Heinz; real estate attorney Langdon Neal; former state Rep. Helene Miller-Walsh; and investment adviser Claude Ohanesian.
Thursday: State Rep. Dan Swanson.
Saturday: Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Crawford, CTA comms director Steve Mayberry, Deputy chief of staff to Rep. Danny Davis Tumia Romero, and former Illinois Film Office head Brenda Sexton.
Sunday: Chicago Police Department Assistant comms director Luis Agostini, OpentheBooks.com founder Adam Andrzejewski, former state House Rep. Karen May, and Democratic campaign consultant Brendan O’Sullivan.
July 31, 2020 at 07:48AM