The week that was in Illinois politics and government (Juy 30-August 3).
Chicago and Cook County News
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Infrastructure Trust board held its first meeting yesterday amid continued questions about the initiative's oversight. Trust board member and former city Inspector General David Hoffman said that current Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson ought to have clear powers to investigate Trust activities and proposed projects.
The number of Chicago homicides in July 2012 was 49 or six less than the number of homicides in July 2011, the Chicago Police Department reported Wednesday. This relatively good news did not grab the front-page headlines like previous monthly reports have that indicated murders were on the rise.
We reported Wednesday that as part of a nationwide show of support for striking Houston janitors, members of Chicago’s SEIU Local 1 protested in front of the JP Morgan Chase building on Wednesday afternoon. The janitors in Houston have been on strike for almost four weeks, citing unfair labor practices by cleaning contractors employed by JP Morgan Chase and other Houston building owners.
Emanuel gave his initial budget forecast for next year Tuesday, and the mayor touts that the city faces only a $369 million budget gap, or about half of last year's projected $741 million budget deficit.
The SEIU Illinois State Council, which sponsors this web site, released Friday their endorsements for the upcoming November 6 general election, including selections for Congress and the General Assembly races.
We noted Friday that the Obama administration has classified 98 of 102 Illinois counties as federal disaster areas. But despite the dramatic sounding name, a disaster designation simply means that Illinois farmers devastated by the drought can apply for a few limited emergency loan programs.
PI reported Friday that despite an optimistic statement from Illinois Department of Transportation official Susan Shea, a third Chicago area airport is not slated for construction anytime soon. The airport to be located in Peotone has long been a pet issue of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Chicago), who has been on a leave of absence since June 9.
The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota released a statement last Friday that Jackson checked in to treat gastrointestinal issues and depression.
The AFSCME public employees union filed a lawsuit Thursday in Alexander County, home of Tamms supermax prison, to block Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to close the facility along with Dwight women's prison, two youth prisons, and two halfway houses.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Wednesday legislation that bans employers from requesting that workers and job applicants provide their passwords to social media sites such as Facebook.
Quinn amended legislation Tuesday to place a ban on assault weapons in the state. But while the move drew attention to state gun laws, there is more or less no chance the state legislature will agree to a ban.
On Monday, Quinn called a special state legislative session to be held on August 17 that will focus on pensions. But lawmakers are skeptical there’s any way that sweeping pension legislation will pass both the House and Senate.
We took an extended look Wednesday at the legacy of All Kids, a program launched by erstwhile Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2005 to provide health insurance for all Illinois children. While Blagojevich is behind bars, there is evidence that All Kids is one reason why 96 percent of Illinois children have health insurance.
On Monday, demonstrators organized by the Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment protested in downtown Chicago against the increasingly used oil and gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Protesters called for a fracking moratorium.
Motorola Mobility announced at the end of last week that it would move its company headquarters and 3,000 jobs from Libertyville to Chicago. PI reported that Motorola Mobility keeps its state tax break, even as the Google-owned company hardly seems in need of state aid.
The U.S. economy added 163,000 non-farm payroll jobs in July, but the unemployment rate inched upward to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.
PI looked at a study commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council that fuel efficiency for new cars sold in the U.S. reached a record high for the first half of 2012.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago) spoke confidently Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will successfully implement an Obama administration directive that will allow some undocumented immigrants under 30 to live in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Immigrants may start applying for the two-year deportation reprieve August 15.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) counseled Democrats Monday to not run away from the Affordable Care Act in this upcoming election, and that the party’s affiliation with the social safety net can be a “political winner.” Schakowsky noted that ACA could mitigate some of the state Medicaid cuts Quinn signed into law in June.
Schakowsky and state legislators joined protesters Tuesday at Daley Plaza who both celebrated the 47th anniversary of Medicaid and voiced anger over state Medicaid cuts.
We looked Monday at the 17th Congressional District race between U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) and Democratic challenger Cheri Bustos. The race is nationally watched not just because it’s a toss-up, but also because of several high-profile 17th District issues. These include the fate of the Thomson prison and the planned outsourcing of jobs to China at a Bain Capitol-owned Freeport technology plant.
According to a New York Times poll released Tuesday, President Barack Obama enjoys a six percent edge over Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, in Florida and Ohio. Obama has an 11 percent lead in Pennsylvania.
Members of the gay and lesbian community in Chicago, and nationally, have become central figures in President Barack Obama's campaign fundraising efforts, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday.