Good Monday morning, Illinois. It seems like Groundhog Day as House Democrats spend another January reviewing impeachment charges against Donald Trump.
Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan failed to win the 60 votes needed among fellow Democrats for his reelection bid to lead the state House, putting him in a precarious position to keep hold of a gavel he’s wielded for nearly four decades.
Madigan secured 51 votes in a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting Sunday night, an effort to sort out leadership ahead of the formal floor vote this Wednesday. It was a voice vote. Rep. Ann Williams got 18 votes and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, 3. Rep. Kathleen Willis dropped out before balloting began. Two incoming House Democrats, Denyse Wang Stoneback and Suzanne Ness, also voted against Madigan. Rep. Kelly Cassidy voted present, telling the Sun-Times she did so “to show respect to these women who made this bold choice at this time.”
This means Madigan is down nine votes — not just six, as previously thought — making his challenge to flip support even more difficult. Though the Black and Latino caucuses back Madigan, the 19 Democrats who weeks ago went public opposing him reiterated Sunday they’re not backing down. In a statement, they said they won’t support Madigan “at any stage of the voting process.”
Any more defections and Madigan’s chances of turning it around in the caucus seem doomed, which must have him and his donors sweating. We’re waiting to hear about plan B — in which he finds a trusted ally for his 51 supporters.
Williams, meanwhile, issued a statement after Sunday’s ballot, saying “Today’s vote makes clear the House Democratic Caucus is ready for a change in leadership.” She also hailed “this journey to elect Illinois’ first woman speaker.”
The next ballot (or two) will be held today. If Democrats can’t decide by Wednesday, the vote will go to the full House floor, where it will play out with Republicans in the mix.
Madigan has one edge: A voice vote means lawmakers must decide whether they’ll risk being targeted by unions in 2022 that are backing Madigan.
Madigan’s experience still has sway: “You have two people who have a track record of doing stuff that they like to do. But the speaker’s job is about doing stuff for other people,” one lawmaker told Playbook.
Drama before the ballot: During the candidate forum leading up to the vote, Rep. Anna Stava-Murray questioned Madigan on his religious beliefs (he’s Catholic, and so is she) and whether his beliefs have hindered a more progressive agenda. The line of questioning angered some Democrats in the room who saw it as badgering. The forum is supposed to be informative, not divisive, say lawmakers. They’re all Democrats after all.
— CAPITOL RECAP by Capitol News Illinois: Sweeping police reform bill faces opposition: House lawmakers debated a massive criminal justice omnibus bill Sunday that would transform policing practices in the state. “A 611-page amendment to House Bill 163 would heavily revamp use-of-force guidelines, mandate body cameras for every law enforcement agency, end cash bail, remove some qualified immunity protections, and strip collective bargaining rights relating to discipline from police unions. Further language could be added in a future amendment as well. The legislation, which is the culmination of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus agenda to end systemic racism, faces opposition from law enforcement groups and Republican lawmakers.”
— Pushing the Black Agenda: “State Rep. Curtis Tarver, D-Chicago, publicly expressed his frustration with the lack of support from organized labor during debate on an unrelated bill that had the support of the AFL-CIO. ‘Is this the same AFL-CIO that came out and opposed the Black agenda, the criminal justice pillar?’ Tarver asked. ‘We don’t have the right to walk down the street,’ Tarver continued. ‘We’ve not been extended that courtesy for them to support our bill while they give lip service and feign support to Black people.’ The bill was pulled before a vote could be taken,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney.
— Debating an elected school board: “Community groups are urging Illinois Senate President Don Harmon to allow that chamber to vote during this week’s lame-duck session on a bill to do away with an appointed school board,” by Sun-Times’ Clare Proctor.
— Pritzker proposes quashing tax breaks for businesses: “Illinois’ $3.9 billion budget shortfall was expected to take a back seat during the General Assembly’s six-day lame-duck session, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker thrust the state’s finances into the spotlight on Friday with a proposal his office says would prevent the state from losing $500 million in tax revenue from businesses. Pritzker wants to block a change to the federal tax code, approved by Congress last year as part of its coronavirus relief plan, from applying to state tax bills. The change temporarily allows some taxpayers to deduct certain business losses immediately from their 2020 taxes rather than spreading deductions out over several years. Pritzker is asking lawmakers to ‘decouple’ state tax law from that provision,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Jamie Munks.
— REP. DARREN BAILEY, a downstate Republican who will be moving to the state Senate after the lame duck session, was hospitalized overnight at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield after he collapsed during the legislative session Sunday. Bailey passed out and hit his head during meetings at the Bank of Springfield Center. He was taken out on a stretcher. A spokesman said Bailey was well enough to text within an hour of being taken out by stretcher, but he was being hospitalized for observation and additional tests, according to a statement. Bailey and his wife are halfway through a 21-day religious fast. On Jan. 1, they started drinking liquids all day and eating a healthy meal in the evenings “because our nation needs prayer and it needs prayer now,” he said during one of his recent Facebook devotionals. According to the statement, he tested negative for Covid-19.
Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller, an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, is perpetuating suspect theories that antifa might have been part of the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol last week.
In an interview with the conservative “American Thought Leaders” podcast, Miller described the fear of being in the Capitol when it came under attack. But she declined to address who caused it, despite the weeks Trump spent spinning tales of the election being stolen from him and urging his base — and Vice President Mike Pence — to stop the election certification process. “We shouldn’t rush to conclusions. One side is saying it’s Trump the other side is saying antifa… I’ll be slow in making a statement. I’m sure it’s under investigation and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was both.”
Miller also tried to explain her controversial comments last week, when she said “Hitler was right about one thing. He said ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”
During the American Thought Leaders interview, Miller said she “was trying to warn people not to be passive” in explaining to children the difference between good and evil.
Separately, Miller issued a statement Friday, saying, "I sincerely apologize for any harm my words caused" and she "[regrets] using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history."
Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is Jewish, found Miller’s statement lacking. “She’s been on this earth long enough to know that invoking the beliefs of Hitler as being right in any respect is inappropriate and wrong. It’s wrong enough that she should not be in Congress,” Schakowsky told me.
In the fallout over Miller’s Hitler comments, William Nesbitt, director of Miller’s northern regional office, resigned. “Congresswoman Miller’s comments are unfortunate and serious,” Nesbitt, who previously was director of the Danville Election Commission, said in a statement. “They do not belong in our political discourse and they do not represent my beliefs and values. And, for that reason, I resigned.”
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At Dawes Elementary School for CPS’ return to in-person learning.
At the state Capitol for the 2:30 p.m. Covid update.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 81 additional deaths and 4,711 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 17,574 fatalities and 1,028,750 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 3 through 9 is 7.9 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 10.3 percent.
— Tensions grow on Biden’s team over odds of making vaccination goal: “President-elect Joe Biden has grown frustrated with the team in charge of plotting his coronavirus response, amid rising concerns that his administration will fall short of its promise of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days, according to people familiar with the conversations,” by POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn and Tyler Pager.
— Joe Biden is scheduled to receive the second dose of his vaccine today, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were inoculated with round one of the vaccine on Saturday.
— Black scientist who helped develop vaccine attends inoculation of Rev. Jesse Jackson: “Viral immunologist Dr. Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett helped lead the National Institutes of Health team that developed Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. Friday, she was there as the Rev. Jesse Jackson was vaccinated, part of an effort to combat Black community distrust,” by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.
— Lightfoot extends stay-at-home order until Jan. 22: “That means a stay-at-home advisory will be in effect for 12 days after the first Chicago Public Schools students go back to in-person class. Lightfoot announced a 30-day stay-at-home advisory on Nov. 12, saying that Chicago was facing a sustained and dire second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The advisory took effect on Nov. 16,” reports WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Chicago using Covid-19 tests that FDA warns may give false negatives: “The Curative tests have been used since last spring at city testing sites, where Chicagoans who aren’t showing coronavirus symptoms can get tested,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Pelosi to move forward with impeachment if Pence doesn’t act to remove Trump: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued Vice President Mike Pence an ultimatum on Sunday night — invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump in the coming days or Democrats will proceed this week with impeaching the president for an unprecedented second time,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Kyle Cheney.
— After rejecting election results, petitioners call for expelling Rep. Mike Bost: “The petition on [Moveon.org] says Bost has ‘consistently ignored feedback from constituents in Illinois District 12, and voted along partisan lines with the Trump administration.’ The petition adds that Bost’s decision to support rejecting election results ‘further demonstrates how out of touch he is with the will of the people in this district,’” via WSIL’s Danny Valle.
— Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared: “Under battle flags bearing Donald Trump’s name, the Capitol’s attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. They mortally wounded another officer with a blunt weapon and body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd. ‘Hang Mike Pence!’ the insurrectionists chanted as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts, too,” by the AP.
— Republican Jeanne Ives to return campaign cash from CEO charged in Capitol riot: “Longtime executive Bradley Rukstales of Inverness contributed a total of $2,250 to Ives’ unsuccessful campaign for Congress last year, with three contributions in August, September and October, according to federal campaign-finance reports. Wednesday, Rukstales was arrested on the upper level of the Capitol, near the U.S. House of Representatives, during the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump, court records show. Prosecutors in Washington announced federal criminal charges against Rukstales and a dozen other people on Friday,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.
— PGA Championship leaving Trump National in ’22 tournament: “The prestigious tourney was to be played at Trump’s course in New Jersey,” by the AP.
— Loyalty oath: Democratic Rep. Karina Villa has introduced an amendment to Illinois’ Election Code to tweak the loyalty oath candidates sign when submitting petitions to get on the ballot. In the current oath, candidates swear they will not be part of any communist organization or group plotting to overthrow the government. Villa’s amendment adds white supremacist groups and hate groups to that list, according to a statement. “White supremacists have no business occupying positions of power in our government, at any level,” said Villa, who filed the amendment in wake of last week’s violent attack on the Capitol. Villa also cites spikes in hate crimes and white supremacist violence across the country as a reason for the amendment.
— With CPS students returning to schools starting today, parents weigh kids’ safety against educational needs: “The first in-person classes since CPS schools abruptly shut last March are due to happen on Monday for preschool and some special education students. But with the pandemic still surging — and many teachers refusing to report to in-person work because of fears of Covid-19 — parents remain divided, and in some cases conflicted, about sending their children back for some masked, socially distanced classes,” by Tribune’s Nara Schoenberg and Alice Yin.
… Vaughn High reopens after being first Chicago school to close due to Covid-19, by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney and Hannah Leone.
— Chicago Police union president says he’s ‘sorry’ for backing Capitol rioters: “I brought negative attention to our lodge, the FOP family and law enforcement in general,” John Catanzara wrote, by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell.
… FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: A group of Chicago aldermen — at least 36 so far — is calling for John Catanzara to resign as president of the FOP and for the Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs to investigate his actions.
— Magnificent Mile is ‘not invincible:’ “Water Tower Place faces its biggest challenge since the North Michigan Avenue mall opened,” by Tribune’s Ryan Ori and Lauren Zumbach.
— In videos ahead of citywide shooting spree, gunman says, ‘I’m going to blow up the whole community’: A relative Jason Nightengale “was fighting some demons. He had some problems,” by Sun-Times’ Clare Proctor, Jon Seidel, Frank Main, Sam Charles, and Madeline Kenney.
— Shot dead and dragged by a car, her friends in LGBTQ community fear it was a hate crime, by the Tribune’s Paige Fry
— Gary bishop calls for unity, prayer to bring healing after mob violence at Capitol: “Bishop Robert J. McClory said in an email interview that we live in a society of diverse people, with different opinions and political priorities, but we are called to love and respect each other,” by Post-Tribune’s Carrie Napoleon.
— Suburban police departments are being flooded with reports of fraudulent unemployment benefit claims: “In most cases, the target discovers the scam when their employer alerts them that a claim has been filed in their name despite still being employed. A letter then arrives from the state detailing the unemployment benefits, and oftentimes, a debit card is included in the mailing. The investigation into the spiraling number of fraudulent claims is being handled by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, a state agency already overwhelmed by a record number of legitimate unemployment compensation claims filed by workers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic,” by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta.
Gangster Disciples boss Sammy Armstead convinces judge to cut his drug sentence: “Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer told the Chicago gang leader to prove he deserved to get out early. More than a year later, she agreed he had and cut his 30-year term by five years,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Democrats to Biden: Go big on executive actions, even with Senate control, by POLITICO’s Laura Barron-Lopez and Holly Otterbein
— Kamala Harris gains prominent new role thanks to Democrats’ Senate majority, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago
— Trump allies warn him not to run in 2024, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar
— GOP prepares for battle with new archvillain: Social media, by POLITICO’s David Siders
Condo developer Nicholas Gouletas dies at 82: “He made a fortune converting apartments to condos but financial woes in the past decade landed him in personal bankruptcy court,” by Crain’s Alby Gallun.
— TRIBUNE EXITS: Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, is taking a buyout after 33 years at the paper. “From the horrors of 9/11 to the joy of Millennium Park, and from Frank Gehry to Jeanne Gang, I have never lacked for gripping subject matter," he said in a Twitter thread.
… Gary Marx, an award-winning investigative reporter for the Tribune who also spent years overseas as a foreign correspondent, is also taking a buyout. Last year, he worked to find a new owner for the Tribune. “It’s been an amazing run… I regret not being able to find a buyer for the newspaper but otherwise go out with my head high and my boots on,” he tweeted.
— Darbi Durham has been named director of comms and advocacy for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. She previously was assistant for business services and media.
— Arielle Maffei is VP of government relations-state at McGuireWoods Consulting. She previously was president of Young Democrats of Illinois.
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi for correctly answering that the first bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly stated that British common law was the rule of the state until lawmakers said otherwise.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who is credited with helping Democrats take control of the city of Chicago? Email your answer to [email protected].
Rep. Andrew Chesney, and Chicago attorney Rebecca Ford.
January 11, 2021 at 07:34AM