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As Catholics and mothers, we support abortion rights bill
Chicago Sun Times
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Letter to Editor  |   State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-24th Former State Rep. Kathy Ryg, D-59th
Abortion (1)

As mothers and grandmothers, we care deeply about the future of Illinois, which is what first drove us into public office. We are committed to the women and children of our state — because we know they often bear the heaviest burden when bad policies hurt working families. As Catholics, we share an abiding commitment to social justice, which includes ensuring that all Illinois residents have equal protection under the law.

 

That is why we were part of the coalition that sponsored and supported House Bill 40, which protects the legal right and access to abortion in our state. HB 40 ensures that low-income women have insurance coverage, including through Medicaid, for comprehensive reproductive healthcare that includes abortion services.

 

We are called upon by our faith to care for the marginalized, give voice to the voiceless and lift up the vulnerable. We are called upon as Catholics to walk in the shoes of our neighbors and consider the hardships they face. We will never forget the indescribable joy we felt when we became mothers. But we also acknowledge the moments in our lives when we knew we could not afford to have children. We were both fortunate to have the means and support networks to choose when, how and if to form a family.

 

Not everyone is so fortunate. In our state, 1 in every 8 residents lives below the poverty line. For children that number goes up to 1 in every 5; and for African American and Latino children, those figures are much higher.

 

We know that when women are not fully empowered to make their own choices about having children, they can fall deeper into a poverty trap, unable to make ends meet for them and their families.

 

By ensuring that all Illinois women have the same access to reproductive healthcare — including those who rely on Medicaid — we can avoid discriminatory practices in our state that would unfairly target the poor and deny them the same rights enjoyed by the wealthy.

We know we are not alone in this position. Many Catholics have been guided by their faith to uphold these principles of social justice and moral autonomy. Sixty percent of Catholic voters nationwide believe having an abortion can be a moral decision and a majority support expanding women’s access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion services, regardless of their income level. Our state legislature reflected the will of the people when they passed HB 40 guaranteeing the right of all women in our state to access an abortion.

 

We urge Governor Bruce Rauner to follow this lead and honor his campaign commitment and sign this important legislation. It is the moral thing to do and it is the right thing for Illinois.

 

State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-24th

 

Former State Rep. Kathy Ryg, D-59th


: Lisa Madigan’s bailing out may have had more to do with father
Chicago Sun Times
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Column  |   Michael Sneed
Attorney General (6) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

The Madigan pullout . . .

 

Sneed is told Lisa Madigan’s decision to call it a day as Illinois attorney general was not just motivated by her ability to make big money in the private sector.

 

It also had to do with dad.

 

Top Dem sources claim Madigan’s pullout was also motivated by fears her poll numbers would be affected by the plummeting popularity of her father, powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan, because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s million-dollar anti-Mike media blitz.

 

“She actually decided to get out months ago,” said a top source.

 

“Lisa is a pragmatist,” the source said.

 

“She could probably have won, but why go up against all that for the same job she has had for 16 years?

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“The time had come. It was enough.”

 

Over and out.

 

The Kwame ascendancy . . .

 

He’s the man!

 

State Sen. Kwame Raoul has not only emerged as the Dem frontrunner for attorney general, but Sneed hears Senate President John Cullerton not only pitched him his support on the phone Friday — but “I’m helping him put together a team,” said Cullerton.

 

“The guy is a star,” he said.

 

“Just watch.”

 

We’re watching.

 

All in the family . . .

 

Like father, like son.

 

It’s no secret powerful Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has a knack for hilarity and is great at stand-up comedy, but now comes word his 29-year-old son, Leland “Kyle” Cullerton, just won the Chicago competition of the 48 Hour Film project, an international short film competition allowing him to compete in March in Paris for the top prize. And his film, shot within a 48-hour period, is a “parody of an action film,” said Kyle.

 

“It’s a seven-minute comedy short,” he added.

 

Ald. Edward Burke (14th) will take Josephine Regnier to the Oct. 11 City Council meeting, where she will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. | Provided photo

 

Burke’s law . . .

 

Watch for Ald. Edward Burke to pull out all the stops for Josephine Regnier, a 95-year-old victim of assault, robbery and home invasion at the next City Council meeting on Oct. 11.

Regnier, who was 94 at the time of the crime and is a World War II naval vet, was attacked in her 14th ward doorway last year by Olajuwon Claiborne, who was just given a 20-year sentence by Cook County Judge Alfredo Maldonado.

 

“It had a biblical aspect,” said Burke. “The assailant cried in court Thursday and apologized to Josephine, who also cried in her wheelchair and told him she forgave him,” said the 14th ward alderman, who is planning to have Regnier lead the City Council in the Pledge of Allegiance — after he picks her up in a limo and transports her to City Hall by police escort!

 

“She was knocked into the vestibule of her home by the assailant and broke three ribs while he stole her purse,” added Burke. “Local business people had a video of the attack and posted a $5,000 bond for the identity of the assailant, leading to his arrest. That prompted a person to come forward. It was amazing,” he said.

 

“Regnier served in the U.S. Navy stationed in Brooklyn, where she processed soldiers when they came home from war,” added Burke. “It’s time we honored her.”


Rauner plays it safe on likely doomed GOP Senate Obamacare bill
Chicago Sun Times
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Lynn Sweet
Obamacare, Affordable Care Act , Rauner, Bruce

The potential for Senate Republicans to unravel Obamacare this week diminished on Sunday, when two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Ted Cruz of Texas said their support was unlikely.

 

Even though the bill drafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. and Bill Cassidy R-La., is on the verge of failure — and may not even get a vote by the end of the month — as long as Republicans control the House, Senate and the White House, attempts may continue to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature health insurance plan.

 

AMONG THE REASONS THIS MATTERS TO YOU: If Graham and Cassidy’s measure became law, the state of Illinois, already struggling with dysfunction and fiscal distress, would get the power to determine your coverage for pre-existing conditions and related cost caps and your essential health benefits package.

 

Moreover, Illinois would have to devise a plan for creating a stable insurance market without sticking you with skyrocketing premiums.

 

At this point in time, do you want your health insurance coverage overhaul in the hands of GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan?

 

Another big issue: The entire structure of Medicaid in Illinois would be transformed under Graham/Cassidy. A lot of people in Illinois could well face the loss of health benefits.

 

So don’t think of this as just repealing Obamacare. And yes, Obamacare has many flaws, especially if you’ve been hit with a higher deductible, a premium hike or fewer insurance purchase options. These problems are potentially fixable if Democrats and Republicans in Congress work together.

 

Under Graham/Cassidy, Illinois would have more control over Medicaid because the money will be sent from Washington to Springfield in a block grant. But over time Washington will send hundreds of millions of dollars less to Illinois.

 

If you think this federal/state program is only for poor people, consider this: More than half of the residents in Illinois nursing homes have their care paid for by Medicaid.

 

You may be one of those poor people one day if you end up in a nursing home or needing long-term care.

Nationally, Medicaid covers 60 percent of nursing home patients, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

 

Today, you may have the income, savings and investments to count yourself in the middle class. After a few years of paying for a nursing home, you may run through your money – and after a lifetime of working and thrift you may end up a low-income senior in desperate need of the Medicaid safety net to pay your long-term care expenses.

 

“Illinois cannot absorb additional financial burdens that would be imposed on the state and would be forced to reduce eligibility, covered services and payments to providers,” the Illinois Health and Hospital Association said in statement. “The magnitude of these cuts and changes to Medicaid is staggering.”

 

The group represents about 200 hospitals and about 50 health care systems in Illinois.

 

WHAT HAPPENED ON SUNDAY: Under Senate rules, Republicans only have until Sept. 30 to pass Graham/Cassidy with 51 votes. After that it will take 60 votes. The Senate has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. GOP Vice President Michael Pence gets to vote if there is a tie. No Democrat will support this legislation. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said they are no votes.

 

Graham/Cassidy will be shut down with just one more no vote. Collins all but put herself in the no column on Sunday.

 

Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union” “it’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario” where “I would end up voting for this bill.”

 

Cruz said at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, “right now, they don’t have my vote.”

 

Graham, on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” said, “We’re moving forward. And we’ll see what happens next week.”

 

WHERE DOES RAUNER STAND? “I have expressed my concerns to members of Congress and members of the administration” about the “very significant negative impacts it can have upon the people in Illinois,” Rauner said at a press conference last week.

 

Rauner, by refusing to engage, delivers fodder to Democrats out to defeat his re-election bid. Rauner’s political calculation is this: Why say more if Graham/Cassidy is doomed in the Senate?


Rein in facial recognition technology to protect privacy
Chicago Sun Times
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Editorial  |   Editorial Board

Celebrities have long bemoaned their lost ability to disappear into a crowd. The rest of us are on the brink of sharing that dismal feeling — without the glittery benefits of stardom — because of rapidly advancing facial recognition technology.

 

To avoid a world in which scanners constantly identify us and report on wherever we go — a political rally, an airport, a medical clinic, a counseling center — we must insist on strict legal protections. Illinois has imposed some good rules, but on a federal level there is almost nothing.

 

Already, apart from facial recognition technology, giant data brokers are assembling and selling dossiers that reveal where we live and work, what we buy, where we go, what we eat and which party’s ballot we take in primary elections.

 

“Biometric identifiers,” such as thumbprints, retina or iris scans and facial recognition, can whip up all this information about you in real time. Moreover, facial recognition technology can do it surreptitiously from a distance. Hypothetically, anybody around you — including potential stalkers — could snap an image of your face and summon up your entire electronic profile. Your protective anonymity is gone.

 

The gazillions of personal photos users tag and upload to Facebook every day have created an enormous photo library that enables “deep learning” software to perfect facial recognition technology. The technology will only get better, and the secretive photo databases of individuals will only get larger. The information can be quietly sold to third parties, including foreign governments, whose intentions might be murky.

 

We’re heading toward a world in which facial recognition technology will identify you the moment you arrive at an airport or ring a doorbell. It will decide as you walk into a store whether you are a known shoplifter — a particular burden for African Americans, who get many more false positives. It has been used to see who shows up for church on Sunday. Baltimore police used facial recognition to identify who attended protests after the death of

Freddy Gray in 2015. The Chicago Police Department has the ability to run facial recognition on mug shots, and the FBI can scan Illinois driver’s license records to get your photo.

 

Fortunately, Illinois is one of three states that has protections against the commercial misuse of the technology. The 2008 Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act says companies can’t gather and keep biometric records without prior notification and written permission. But federal laws are the only real solution. A Springfield law can’t protect an Illinoisan who travels out of state.

 

Safeguards in the use of the technology also need to be extended to police, who should be required to get a search warrant if they want to use facial recognition technology to identify an individual. Judges would permit them to use it to make arrests for serious crimes, but not to let a mayor know who is meeting with local journalists.

 

The recent massive Equifax leak reminds us how easily data can be stolen once it is collected and stored, and biometric information, which is reduced to code, is no exception. Last year in Cook County, L.A. Tan Enterprises agreed to pay $1.5 million after it allegedly sold to a software vendor in another state the fingerprint scans customers used to check in.

 

That biometric information will live on in a digital space, and the owners can’t control it, nor can they change their faces, short of plastic surgery. Once the data are online, they can be linked up with other leaked data, such as, for example, the home addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, ethnicity and political and religious leanings of 198 million citizens unwittingly exposed in June by a Republican National Committee marketing firm.

 

Facial recognition technology has obvious benefits. It can help you prove you are who you say you are. People have fun tagging photos on Facebook. Maybe you like the way it starts up the new iPhones without requiring a password. It could prove to be an enormously useful tool — legitimately.

 

But, as a matter of protecting our constitutional rights to privacy, Congress must establish limits and controls before all Americans become hapless cogs in a vast facial recognition system that watches, names and labels everyone.


Lawmakers to send Rauner controversial bill to expand abortion coverage
Chicago Tribune
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Rick Pearson
Abortion (1)

A Democratic state senator said he will lift his procedural hold on a bill that would expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions for women who have Medicaid or state employee health insurance coverage, sending the measure to a Republican governor who's offered mixed signals on the issue.

 

Sen. Don Harmon's move Monday means Gov. Bruce Rauner will have 60 days to decide what to do with House Bill 40. The legislation has become the focus of abortion rights groups that contend the re-election-seeking Rauner won his first term by saying he had no social agenda and noting his prior financial support of organizations that back women's reproductive health rights.

 

Harmon said he had not received any assurances that Rauner would sign the measure after the governor's prior veto pledge, but said he believed it was time to officially send the measure to Rauner's desk.

 

"I believe the work that the advocates have been doing over the last several months has had an effect on the governor," said Harmon, of Oak Park. "I would like to focus on the substance of the bill and not the political gamesmanship. I'm hopeful the governor will sign the bill as it has passed the General Assembly."

 

Abortion rights advocacy groups had said they did not want to see the measure go to Rauner's desk until the governor had committed to sign it as is. Harmon said he expected the groups would strengthen their current campaign pushing the governor to sign the bill after it reaches his desk.

 

As lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly considered the legislation in April, Rauner threatened a veto, contending the concept of taxpayer-funded abortions was too divisive in Illinois. The bill received final passage in the Senate on May 10, but Harmon put a hold on it.

 

Rauner's veto threat came despite his response to an April 2014 governor candidate questionnaire from the abortion rights political action committee Personal PAC in which he pledged to support the goals of the legislation.

"I dislike the Illinois law that restricts abortion coverage under the state Medicaid plan and state employees' health insurance because I believe it unfairly restricts access based on income," Rauner's response on that survey said. "I would support a legislative effort to reverse that law."

 

For months, the field of Democrats angling to take on Rauner in next year's general election repeatedly attacked Rauner over his veto threat.

 

Last week, Rauner declined to take a position on the bill when reporters asked him about it. That contrasted with Rauner's veto pledge, which had been considered a key demand for the loyalty from some conservative Republican lawmakers going into the 2018 election campaign.

 

Rauner said he had been meeting with those on both sides of the issue and "listening to their points of view."

 

Harmon said he was "encouraged the governor has moved (on the legislation) from supporting, to threatening to veto, to now moving to an undecided position. I think he's coming back in the right direction."

 

The legislation also would prevent a trigger in current Illinois law that abortion rights supporters contend would make the procedure illegal in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Rauner previously had indicated he would support lifting the "trigger" provision while opposing expansion of taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

 

Harmon, however, said if Rauner decides to do anything beyond signing the bill in its original form, it would be dead. A veto override or a vote on accepting written changes in an amendatory veto would not be considered by lawmakers.

 

Holding onto the bill had allowed Democrats to use it as a political tool to put the governor in a tricky position as he seeks re-election. Rauner needs to appeal to his conservative base, which opposes the bill, especially in the run-up to the March primary. So far, Rauner does not have a primary opponent, but signing the abortion bill means he could draw one.

 

Vetoing the bill, however, risks angering suburban moderates, a crucial voting bloc for the fall 2018 general election.


Morning Spin: Pritzker boasts of Poshard backing, but they're a political odd couple
Chicago Tribune
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Editorial  |   Editorial Board
Candidates--Statewide (12)

Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker has received the backing of Glenn Poshard, a former congressman and unsuccessful governor candidate.

 

The retired president of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale remains a popular figure to some Downstate voters and potentially could help Pritzker among more socially conservative Democrats. At the same time, Pritzker has been defending his progressive credentials in a primary field where he and his rivals are trying to out-progressive each other.

 

In aligning with Poshard, Pritzker is trying to thread a needle. Poshard’s socially conservative views likely were a factor in costing him the 1998 election against Republican George Ryan. Given their views, Pritzker and Poshard are quite the political odd couple.

 

In a new endorsement video, Poshard lauds Pritzker’s support of early childhood education and plans for “equal educational opportunities.” Contrast that with Poshard’s governor campaign where he advocated for the right of local school districts to seek waivers of the state law that banned spanking in schools.

 

“It's certainly not something that I would choose to use. But I don't think that the state should be mandating the use of it or the non-use of it to local school districts,” Poshard, a former teacher, said at the time.

 

Pritzker is backing a measure to expand taxpayer funding for abortion to women on Medicaid and covered by state employee health insurance. Poshard opposed abortion rights as a governor candidate and member of Congress.

 

Pritzker once served as chairman of the advisory board of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. As an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress in 1998 on the North Shore, he proposed a ban of the sale of handguns. Poshard was a gun rights advocate during his tenure in Congress, though as a candidate for governor he softened his staunch opposition to gun control by supporting a ban on some types of semi-automatic weapons.

 

Pritzker also has been a major and longtime supporter of gay rights, and last year chaired the anniversary gala for Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy group. Poshard opposed gay rights and as a candidate for governor, he told activists that some property owners should have the right to refuse to rent to people based on their sexual orientation.

 

“I am so proud to have the endorsement of a distinguished leader like Glenn Poshard,” Pritzker said in announcing the endorsement.

 

“He has served his community in so many different ways and changed the state for the better with his commitment to public service. As an elected official, an advocate for children and an educator, Glenn Poshard has always fought for what’s right,” Pritzker said. (Rick Pearson)

 

Pritzker gave Blagojevich campaign $100,000; Holocaust museum got $1M grant

 

 

What's on tap

 

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will speak at the groundbreaking for the Daley College Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing Center at Richard J. Daley College.

 

*Gov. Bruce Rauner will give remarks at the 20th Anniversary for the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.

 

*U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin will hold a morning event at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center to talk about the health care debate in the Senate.

 

*John Yonan, Cook County superintendent of transportation and highways, will speak to the City Club of Chicago.

 

*The City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate will meet.

 

*The week ahead: On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development will meet, and Democrat Fritz Kaegi launches his campaign for Cook County assessor. On Wednesday, the city Aviation Committee meets, as does the

Committee on Public Safety. And the City Club will host a panel discussion titled "Illinois State Finances: What's Next?"

 

Rauner-Madigan war leads to exodus of lawmakers from Springfield

 

 

From the notebook

 

*No AG bid for Nekritz: Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz has become the latest would-be candidate to succeed Attorney General Lisa Madigan to decide against a run.

 

"Spending time with my family as we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, we determined that this is not the right time in our lives to expend the energy required to serve as a statewide candidate and constitutional officer," the Northbrook lawmaker posted on Facebook.

 

Nekritz is leaving the Illinois House.

 

*Another lawmaker departure: Republican State Rep. Reggie Phillips of Charleston won't run for re-election next year, adding to the list of lawmakers departing Springfield.

 

Phillips was among the Republicans who voted for a tax hike and spending plan earlier this year despite Gov. Rauner's opposition.

 

Since Gov. Rauner was sworn into office in January 2015, at least 44 of 118 House seats and at least 15 of 59 Senate districts have already seen or will see changes by the time next year's elections are concluded. Here's an interactive list if you're keeping track.

 

*On the "Sunday Spin": Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests were Mike Gelatka, past president of Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association; Brad Cole, executive director of the Illinois Municipal League; and Democratic consultant Tom Bowen. The "Sunday Spin" airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720. Listen to the full show here.

 

Raoul launches bid to replace Lisa Madigan as attorney general

 

 

What we're writing

 

*Sen. Harmon to lift hold on abortion coverage expansion bill, sending it to Rauner, who's offered mixed signals.

 

*How Preckwinkle's pop tax backfired.

 

*Rauner's approach on Republican health care plan draws criticism from Democrats who want his office.

 

*State approves red light cameras for intersections that were already safe.

 

*Illinois Lottery selects new private manager.

 

*Feds: Ex-Teamsters boss' extortion of Chicago film studio grows to $325,000 and began 2 years earlier.

 

*McHenry County still not following new immigration law, defense attorneys say.

 

*Rauner vetoes geolocation privacy bill aimed at protecting smartphone users.

 

*Chicago police union files labor complaint over new use-of-force changes.

 

*90 years later, an upgraded South Shore rail line is on track.

 

*Defiant Mel Reynolds to go on trial Monday on misdemeanor tax charges.

 

 

What we're reading

 

*Chicago to host tennis' Laver Cup, an all-star team tournament, in 2018.

 

*Wheaton College at first stood by players accused of hazing, letter shows.

 

*Pretty hot story, here.

 

 

Follow the money

 

*The Democratic Party of Illinois reported $73,000 in contributions.

 

*The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform tracks the week's big donations.

 

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

Beyond Chicago

 

*NFL vs. Trump this weekend.

 

*Pentagon tests lasters and nets to use against ISIS drones.

 

*GOP health care plan finds another Republican detractor.

 

*Germany's Merkel wins fourth term.


Rauner vetoes geolocation privacy bill aimed at protecting smartphone users
Chicago Tribune
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Robert Channick
Cell towers, cell phones, texting (94a) , Rauner, Bruce

Groundbreaking Illinois legislation meant to protect mobile phone users from having their location information trafficked by companies without their permission is going nowhere, at least for now.

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the proposed Geolocation Privacy Protection Act on Friday, leaving it to the legislature to consider a possible override vote.

 

“This bill would result in job loss across the state without materially improving privacy protections for Illinoisans or making devices and their apps safer for children,” Rauner said in a statement. “The addition of this policy to Illinois’ existing burden of red tape will hurt Illinois’ growing reputation as a destination for innovation-based job creation.”

 

The bill, which was hailed by privacy advocates and opposed by online trade associations, sought to require businesses and other private entities to get express consent from consumers before collecting, using, storing or disclosing geolocation information from mobile apps.

“The bill is not overreaching,” said Chris McCloud, a spokesman for the Digital Privacy Alliance, a Chicago-based nonprofit advocating for state-level privacy legislation. “It is merely saying, ‘If you’re going to sell my personal geolocation data, then just tell me upfront that’s what you are going to do so I can make a decision as to whether I want to download this app or not.’ ”

 

The Federal Trade Commission has issued general guidance, and there are a variety of industry self-regulatory codes of conduct, from automakers to online advertisers, but federal law does not provide clear geolocation privacy protection.

 

Both the Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems require apps and websites to get permission before accessing your location. Once that permission is granted, the user is subject to the publisher’s “terms, privacy policies, and practices,” according to the latest iOS privacy and location services statement issued this week by Apple.

 

The General Assembly sent the bill to Rauner on July 26.

 

If he’d signed it, Illinois would have been the first state to enact such protections, with similar legislation under consideration in a handful of other states.

 

Joseph Jerome, policy counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization focused on online privacy protection, said Illinois was in a position to lead the way on geolocation legislation.

 

“It’s our contention it would be great to have these things codified in law,” Jerome said. “That’s why the Illinois bill is so important.”

 

The national debate over internet privacy legislation shifted to the state level after Congress voted in March to undo the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules.

 

Adopted last fall under the Obama administration and originally set to go into effect this year, the FCC protections would have required internet service providers to disclose what personal information they collect and share and would have required consent from consumers before sharing more sensitive information.

 

President Donald Trump signed the measure repealing the broadband privacy rules in April.

 

In May, the Illinois Senate approved the proposed Right to Know Act, a related measure that would require online companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon to disclose to consumers what data about them has been collected and shared with third parties. That bill stalled in the House and remains in legislative limbo.

 

Downers Grove-based CompTIA — the Computing Technology Industry Association — supported the decision to repeal the FCC broadband privacy rules and in July joined with three other trade organizations and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in urging Rauner to veto the geolocation bill.

 

“We appreciate Governor Rauner’s veto of the bill and look forward to working closely with legislators to find a solution that is easy to understand and implement for consumers

while preserving all of the benefits that geolocation services offer,” Alexi Madon, director of state government affairs for CompTIA, said in a statement.

 

The online advertising industry increasingly depends on tracking consumers to serve up lucrative and effective targeted ads. Data collection enables advertisers to learn everything from your search habits and recent purchases to where you travel, often in real time.

 

Digital advertising revenue is projected to reach $83 billion in the U.S. this year, a 15.9 percent increase that catapults it past television as the largest advertising medium, according to data released Thursday by research firm eMarketer. Mobile advertising accounts for nearly 69 percent of digital ad revenue, a share that is projected to continue growing in the coming years.

 

“Geolocation information is very sensitive and can quickly identify individual people,” said Jerome, of the Center for Democracy & Technology. “There’s a lot of industry innovation going on in location. It’s our position that asking people for consent to that should not be a hard thing to do.”

 

Jerome said the Illinois geolocation bill has been the focus of intense lobbying activity on both sides of the issue, culminating, at least for now, in a victory for opponents.

 

“The strange opposition to this bill is frankly shocking, particularly in light of the fact that it doesn’t” allow individual consumers to sue over violations, Jerome said. “It’s a pretty limited bill.”


Nekritz bows out of crowded Illinois attorney general race
Daily Herald
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Kerry Lester
Candidates--Statewide (12)

Despite expressing interest in running for Illinois attorney general, outgoing state lawmaker Elaine Nekritz won't be seeking the position after all.

 

"I've decided against it, it was a family decision," Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, told the Daily Herald Sunday.

 

She said the move "simply wasn't the right time for my husband and family," and she dismissed questions of any political pressure placed on her to bow out of the race.

 

Nekritz's announcement slightly narrows the already crowded field to replace four-term officeholder Lisa Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.

 

Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago formally announced his candidacy last week, as did Democratic state Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood.

 

Other Democrats considering primary runs include McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, Chicago Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz and Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico.

 

On the Republican side, Erika Harold, an attorney and former Miss America, has announced a bid.

 

Nekritz announced her resignation from her House seat June 16, just days before lawmakers were due back in Springfield for a 10-day special session that ultimately resulted in a budget after a two-year impasse.

 

A key architect of a pension reform plan ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court, Nekritz said she knew it was time to leave her job of 15 years when she found herself without the energy to tackle intractable state problems and frustrated beyond the point of productivity by the budget battle.

 

She said she plans to spend the remainder of the election cycle helping out the gubernatorial campaign of state senator and friend Daniel Biss of Evanston.

 

The deadline to file nominating petitions is Dec. 4.


Changes in forfeiture law put burden on police
Jacksonville Journal-Courier
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Nick Draper
Police (28)

New legislation changing the burden of proof for civil assets forfeiture is expected to have minimal effect in the region, according to law enforcement authorities.

In the past, police could seize property suspected of being connected to a crime, even without a conviction. After such a seizure, the burden to prove that the property was not connected to a crime then fell to the property owner — and it could be a costly and time-consuming process.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 303 last week, effectively taking the burden of proof off the property owner and requiring the state to prove the property is subject to forfeiture. The proposal previously passed the state House by a vote of 100 to 1 and unanimously in the Senate.

New legislation changing the burden of proof for civil assets forfeiture is expected to have minimal effect in the region, according to law enforcement authorities.

In the past, police could seize property suspected of being connected to a crime, even without a conviction. After such a seizure, the burden to prove that the property was not connected to a crime then fell to the property owner — and it could be a costly and time-consuming process.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 303 last week, effectively taking the burden of proof off the property owner and requiring the state to prove the property is subject to forfeiture. The proposal previously passed the state House by a vote of 100 to 1 and unanimously in the Senate.


Evidence of invasive grass carp signals threat to Lake Erie
Joliet Herald News
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |  
Agriculture (2) , Rivers (23)

TOLEDO, Ohio – Researchers have fresh evidence that invasive grass carp are swimming and spawning near the mouth of a river that flows into Lake Erie.

Their next step is figuring out how to stop it from gaining a foothold and devouring wetland plants along the shoreline and underwater vegetation in the lake that shelters native fish.

Grass carp are one of four Asian carp species threatening the Great Lakes, but they’re not as worrisome as the bighead and silver carp, which could devastate fish populations in the lakes.

While environmental groups and scientists have put much of their attention on preventing the bighead and silver carp from reaching the lakes, the grass carp already have been found in Lakes Erie, Michigan and Ontario.

A look at the efforts to stop the grass carp:

What are grass carp?

Brought to the U.S. more than 50 years ago to control weed growth, they’re still sold to pond owners.

Some states now require that they be sterilized before being released. But recent surveys have found grass carp eggs in Great Lakes waterways. Some made their way into the lakes via rivers, while others were dumped into the waterways.

The fish feed on aquatic plants, eating up to 90 pounds a day and damaging areas used by spawning fish and migrating birds. What is not known is how many are in the lakes and where they’ve spread.

How big of a threat are they?

It’s believed there still are only a small number of grass carp in the lakes.

But a report released by U.S. and Canadian researchers warned this year that if effective steps aren’t taken, it’s likely that the invasive fish will be established in lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Ontario within 10 years.

Where are they being found?

The biggest concern is in Lake Erie, where grass carp have been found in tributary rivers and along the shoreline. Researchers have been closely watching the Sandusky River, between Cleveland and Toledo, since the discovery of grass carp eggs in 2015. More eggs were found this summer along with eight adults that were netted during a two-day search.

What have researchers learned?

It appears the grass carp spawn after heavy rains or when there’s high water on the Sandusky River, said Rich Carter, who oversees fish management and research for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The fish also seem to like long rivers. All of that is important to know, he said, to help find a potential way to control their populations.

What’s being done?

Plans are being developed to make a more intensive effort to capture and remove the carp from the Sandusky River, where more than 100 have been found since 2012, Carter said. There’s also ongoing work to follow grass carp that have been tagged to determine where they spawn and where they can be found, said Mark Gaikowski, a research director with the U.S. Geological Survey.


Abortion rights bill on way to Rauner
State Journal Register
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Doug Fink
Abortion (1)

A controversial abortion rights bill is going to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

On Monday, Sen. Don Harmon, D-Chicago, withdrew a procedural hold on the bill that has stopped it from going to the governor since it passed the legislature in May.

Harmon said he wanted to give Rauner time to change his mind about his threat to veto the legislation. Harmon could not immediately be reached Monday.

Now that the hold has been lifted, the bill will be sent to Rauner, who must act on it within 60 days. Abortion rights activists are demanding that Rauner sign the bill to live up to promises he made about pro-choice positions during the 2014 campaign for governor.

Pro-life proponents are demanding that Rauner veto the bill to comply with a vow he made in April to veto the legislation should it reach his desk. At the time, Rauner cited concerns over a provision in the legislation to have Medicaid and state employee health insurance pay for abortions.

The other major provision in the bill removes the so-called “trigger” language currently in state law. That language would make most abortions in the state illegal in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Whatever Rauner decides to do with the bill could cost him support in his upcoming bid for reelection. By signing the bill, he would alienate social conservatives that are part of the Republican Party base. If he vetoes it, Rauner could risk support among pro-choice Republicans.

This story will be updated.

Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr


Blackburn College offers free tuition for some Macoupin County students
State Journal Register
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   John Reynolds
Education--Higher (37)

Blackburn College unveiled a new program Tuesday that will enable qualifying Macoupin County students to attend the college free of charge.

The new program, called Macoupin Promise, is open to students from any high school in Macoupin County as long as they meet the school’s normal admission requirements, participate in the school’s work program and their family’s household income is less than $60,000.

Peter Oswald, director of marketing and public relations at Blackburn, said the new tuition-free program recognizes the potential of area students and is also a way for the school to thank the community for the support it has offered over the years. Blackburn, a four-year, liberal arts college, was founded in 1837.

“If you look at a pin map of our alumni base, there is going to be a solid cluster in Macoupin County,” Oswald said. “So, it was only natural that we extend this to the local students and create an opportunity that they may not get anywhere else.”

Blackburn officials hope that many of the local students will stay in Macoupin County after they graduate.

“This is a chance for Blackburn to give back to our local community and help develop the future leaders and employees of the county,” Blackburn President John Comerford said in a press release.

Patrick Drew, principal of Carlinville High School, agreed that retaining college graduates is an issue that rural communities across the country face.

“If students see an opportunity to gain a high-quality education and degree locally, that just increases the chance of them remaining in the area and contributing to our local economy,” Drew said.

The Carlinville School District already works with Blackburn College through its teacher education program. Blackburn students observe Carlinville teachers in the classroom and they are also student teachers.

“A good number of our teachers on staff are Blackburn graduates,” Drew said. “They had the experience here through their pre-student teaching observation, they were placed here as student teachers and they chose to remain here when offered them a position.”

In addition to the Macoupin Promise program, college officials also announced a second new program called the Blackburn Promise, which is for any student in the United States. Through this program, the college will meet 100 percent of each student’s financial need.

When students file the Fee Application for Federal Student Aid, they are informed of their Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Blackburn will now recognize this EFC amount as the only cost required from the student.

Oswald said that when students apply to most schools, their financial aid packages and the EFC amount might not cover all of the costs. That means the students have to make up the difference.

Under Blackburn’s new plan, there will be no additional costs.

“Simply put, if a student applies to Blackburn and is accepted, whatever their EFC, that is what they will pay,” Oswald said. “We will put together a financial aid package to cover the balance.”

– Contact John Reynolds: john.reynolds@sj-r.com, 788-1524, twitter.com/JohnReynoldsSJR.


Scramble begins in Illinois attorney general race
State Journal Register
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Sophia Tareen
Candidates--Statewide (12)

The race to become Illinois’ next chief legal officer is off to a furious start after Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s sudden announcement that she wouldn’t seek a fifth term.

A Republican former Miss America’s campaign has been reinvigorated. Two Democratic state lawmakers have stepped forward. And so many others are contemplating runs that news outlets are posting online trackers of who’s in and out. The mad dash for the only open race for statewide office next year means there could be a crowded primary ballot, at least on the Democratic side.

“It’s going to be a very vigorous race,” said Republican Erika Harold of Urbana, who declared her candidacy last month. “My message will remain the same. I’ve been focused on putting the people before the powerful.”

The Illinois Republican Party has contributed roughly $34,000 to her campaign. Since Madigan made her surprising announcement about a week ago, Harold has tried to solidify her GOP establishment backing. She’s collected endorsements from 45 Republican lawmakers, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. He used a Chicago speech last week to praise the Harvard University-educated lawyer, who was crowned Miss America in 2003 and made an unsuccessful primary bid for Congress in 2014.

Fewer endorsements have trickled in on the Democratic side where things are more complicated when it comes to party backing.

Madigan is the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest-serving speaker nationwide who’s also leader of the state Democratic Party. He said, through a spokesman, that he hasn’t taken a position on the attorney general’s race.

Still, candidates have had to factor in the influence of both of them.

Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul nodded to Lisa Madigan in his campaign rollout last week.

“She’s had an incredibly successful tenure. So she leaves a big void,” he said. “I’m calling everybody that I know in the party.”

He picked up an endorsement from longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago. Raoul, an attorney, was appointed to his Senate seat in Chicago to fill the vacancy left by then-state Sen. Barack Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, another Democratic legislator —state Rep. Scott Drury — exchanged his gubernatorial bid to seek the attorney general nomination. Drury was the sole Democrat to forgo support of Michael Madigan’s election to a 17th term as speaker.

“What Illinois needs is an attorney general who’s fiercely independent,” the former federal prosecutor from Highwood said.

Other Democrats contemplating runs include former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico and McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, a former state representative. Outgoing state Rep. Elaine Nekritz announced Sunday that she had decided against a run after discussing the matter with her family.

Madigan was elected Illinois’ first female attorney general in a tight 2002 race, going on to easily win the next three elections. Four years ago she briefly considered running for governor, but said Illinois wouldn’t be well served by having a House speaker and governor from the same family.

She’s declined most interview requests, including with The Associated Press. But she told a Chicago radio station she wasn’t running another campaign soon, ruling out a possible run for governor in 2018 or Chicago mayor the year after. Her term ends in January 2019.

“I’ve learned never to say never,” she told Chicago’s WBBM. “So I do not know what the future holds politically but at this point I’m not seeking re-election as attorney general, and I have no immediate plans to run for any other office.”


Scramble begins in Illinois attorney general race
State Journal Register
Monday, September 25, 2017  |   Article  |   Sophia Tareen
Candidates--Statewide (12)

The race to become Illinois’ next chief legal officer is off to a furious start after Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s sudden announcement that she wouldn’t seek a fifth term.

 

A Republican former Miss America’s campaign has been reinvigorated. Two Democratic state lawmakers have stepped forward. And so many others are contemplating runs that news outlets are posting online trackers of who’s in and out. The mad dash for the only open race for statewide office next year means there could be a crowded primary ballot, at least on the Democratic side.

 

“It’s going to be a very vigorous race,” said Republican Erika Harold of Urbana, who declared her candidacy last month. “My message will remain the same. I’ve been focused on putting the people before the powerful.”

 

The Illinois Republican Party has contributed roughly $34,000 to her campaign. Since Madigan made her surprising announcement about a week ago, Harold has tried to solidify her GOP establishment backing. She’s collected endorsements from 45 Republican lawmakers, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. He used a Chicago speech last week to praise the Harvard University-educated lawyer, who was crowned Miss America in 2003 and made an unsuccessful primary bid for Congress in 2014.

 

Fewer endorsements have trickled in on the Democratic side where things are more complicated when it comes to party backing.

 

Madigan is the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest-serving speaker nationwide who’s also leader of the state Democratic Party. He said, through a spokesman, that he hasn’t taken a position on the attorney general’s race.

 

Still, candidates have had to factor in the influence of both of them.

 

Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul nodded to Lisa Madigan in his campaign rollout last week.

 

“She’s had an incredibly successful tenure. So she leaves a big void,” he said. “I’m calling everybody that I know in the party.”

 

He picked up an endorsement from longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago. Raoul, an attorney, was appointed to his Senate seat in Chicago to fill the vacancy left by then-state Sen. Barack Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate.

 

Meanwhile, another Democratic legislator —state Rep. Scott Drury — exchanged his gubernatorial bid to seek the attorney general nomination. Drury was the sole Democrat to forgo support of Michael Madigan’s election to a 17th term as speaker.

 

“What Illinois needs is an attorney general who’s fiercely independent,” the former federal prosecutor from Highwood said.

 

Other Democrats contemplating runs include former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico and McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, a former state representative. Outgoing state Rep. Elaine Nekritz announced Sunday that she had decided against a run after discussing the matter with her family.

 

Madigan was elected Illinois’ first female attorney general in a tight 2002 race, going on to easily win the next three elections. Four years ago she briefly considered running for governor, but said Illinois wouldn’t be well served by having a House speaker and governor from the same family.

 

She’s declined most interview requests, including with The Associated Press. But she told a Chicago radio station she wasn’t running another campaign soon, ruling out a possible run for governor in 2018 or Chicago mayor the year after. Her term ends in January 2019.

 

“I’ve learned never to say never,” she told Chicago’s WBBM. “So I do not know what the future holds politically but at this point I’m not seeking re-election as attorney general, and I have no immediate plans to run for any other office.”