UC Ingalls Addiction ad 728x90px 102621 1
CAPITOL RECAP: Major action expected in veto session's second week

CAPITOL RECAP: Major action expected in veto session’s second week

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS

SPRINGFIELD – The legislative action was light during the General Assembly’s first week of fall session, and lawmakers in both chambers left town a day early after leadership canceled the Thursday session.

That means bigger items, such as a vote on congressional maps and potential changes to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act and a repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, will have to wait until next week for substantive action.

Republicans used the light legislative days to make a case against one of the main Democratic agenda items and to push for some of their own – including public safety reforms and checks on the governor’s power – in a series of news conferences.

Parental Notice of Abortion: On Tuesday, the four women in the Senate Republican Caucus made clear their opposition to repealing the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which requires that a physician give 48 hours notice to a parent or guardian of a person under the age of 18 who intends to get an abortion.

The law does not require the guardian to give consent, and doesn’t apply if an adult family member waives the notice in writing. Additionally, there are exceptions for minors who are victims of physical or sexual abuse or neglect by an adult family member, if the minor is married or emancipated, or if the provider determines there is a medical emergency. A judge can also waive the requirement.

Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, characterized the issue as one of parents’ rights that is independent of “the typical pro-life vs. pro-choice debate.” Parents should have a right to know when their child is going to undergo a major medical procedure such as an abortion, the GOP senators argued.

Sen. Sally Turner, R-Beason, said repealing the parental notice requirement “will not help the minor but may harm the minor.” She said a repeal would “make it easier for sexual predators and sex traffickers to abuse our children.”

The ACLU of Illinois countered that claim Wednesday in a news release, circulating a letter cosigned by several groups that aid sexual assault victims, such as the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

They said the Republican claims “rely on an erroneous belief that parents and/or social networks are always safe and healthy individuals in a young person’s life and that, if notified, they would assist in an intervention to help the young person.”

“However, what we know is that victims are often lured into a trafficking or exploitative situation because they lack parental and/or familial support,” they wrote in the letter. “Traffickers often come along to fill such a void in the young person’s life. In fact, traffickers can be and often are the young person’s parents or family members.”

Sen. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, however, argued that the existing exceptions in the law are protection enough for minors who have been abused.

Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, who carries the repeal bill in the House, told Capitol News Illinois she still hopes to call it for a vote next week, although she did not indicate whether she had enough votes lined up in support of the repeal.

Public safety push: There’s been no indication that the majority party Democrats will take up the other two matters pushed by Republicans this week – checks on executive authority and public safety reforms.

Republicans from both chambers gathered outside of the Illinois Police Officers Memorial on the Capitol Grounds Wednesday to push for a reform package spearheaded by former prosecutor and current state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet.

That package includes a bill that would appropriate $100 million to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board to fund grants to local departments for gang violence, carjacking and motor vehicle theft prevention, as well as officer staffing.

Another bill would eliminate good time sentence reductions for someone who brought a weapon to a penal institution or attacked a law officer. Another would require a prosecutor to provide a written explanation if a weapons offense is plea bargained to a lesser sentence.

Rose also touted a “10 and life” provision, requiring a minimum 10-year sentence for aggravated discharge of a firearm, use of a stolen or illegally acquired firearm in an offense, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, armed habitual criminal offenses or aggravated hijacking or carjacking. A second such offense would come with a life sentence.

“We’re not talking about the so called low-level nonviolent offender,” Rose said. “We’re talking about violent offenders who are walking our streets, gun traffickers, carjackers. …The brunt of our effort is to take the violent criminals, the gun traffickers the carjackers, the shooters, off the streets.”

Governor authority: House Republicans held their own news conference Wednesday to push for the passage of House Bill 843, which would limit the governor’s ability to issue consecutive disaster proclamations.

Pritzker has issued successive proclamations due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. In the future, the bill would limit the governor to one 30-day declaration, and if it is extended it would need written approval from three legislative leaders or an affirmative resolution from the General Assembly.

Democrats have shown no indication that they were willing to provide such a check on the governor’s disaster authority, instead allowing him to continue under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act without intervention.

“Tacit approval is not appropriate in this situation,” Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, who sponsors HB843, said at the news conference. “That does not allow for public hearing and debate that the people of the state get to see and hear and know that their viewpoints are being considered and heard by the people making decisions. It’s still just allowing one person to rule and not allowing the people to have their voice heard.”

* * *

VACCINE BOOSTERS: Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday, Oct. 19, urged eligible Illinoisans to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and called on skilled nursing facilities to make booster shots available to patients and staff by Thanksgiving.

Currently anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine and is over 65 years of age or at higher risk of COVID-19 because of their jobs, living conditions or underlying medical condition should get a booster shot of the same vaccine.

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to rule on the same recommendation for people in those age and risk groups who received the Moderna vaccine.

For those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is recommending a second dose for all age and risk groups at least two months after the first shot was received. The CDC could officially accept those recommendations this week as well.

More information on where to obtain a vaccine can be found at vaccines.gov.

From June to September, Pritzker said, citing a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, “approximately 90,000 COVID-19 deaths among U.S. adults likely would have been prevented if they had chosen to get vaccinated.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health is partnering with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Department on Aging to promote boosters and support skilled nursing facilities in administering them.

The administration encouraged all skilled nursing facilities to host a vaccine booster clinic by Thanksgiving, and said IEMA can, with a request for assistance, mobilize its community partners vaccination program to support those efforts. IEMA has hosted more than 4,000 vaccine clinics through the community partners program since vaccines became available.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said IDPH is currently working on additional training for COVID-19 vaccine providers that will cover booster doses by type, as well as planning for upcoming vaccination for the children under the age of 12.

An FDA panel is set to review data on authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 12 on Oct. 26, while the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the CDC review is scheduled for Nov. 2-3.

* * *

INITIAL MAPS REJECTED: A three-judge federal court panel in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the legislative redistricting plan that Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law in June – before official 2020 U.S. Census numbers were available – was unconstitutional because the population variances among districts violated the “one-person, one-vote” doctrine.

But the court did not, as Republican officials had hoped, order that a bipartisan redistricting commission be formed to redraw the maps. Instead, it declared the second set of maps that Pritzker signed in September to be a “starting point” in developing a new map, and it invited plaintiffs in two cases challenging the redistricting process to propose their own solutions.

Those rejected June maps were based on population estimates from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey because official data from the 2020 census had been delayed until August 2021.

Democrats argued that they needed to move forward because the Illinois Constitution gives the General Assembly until only June 30 in the year following a decennial census to approve a redistricting plan. After June 30, the state constitution requires the formation of a bipartisan legislative commission to draw new maps, a process in which either party would have a 50-50 chance of controlling the outcome.

One of two lawsuits challenging the initial maps was filed by Republican leaders of the General Assembly, Sen. Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, and Rep. Jim Durkin, of Western Springs.

They urged the court to declare the maps unconstitutional and order the formation of the bipartisan commission required under the Illinois Constitution.

The second lawsuit was filed by a group of Hispanic voters in the Chicago area who were represented by attorneys from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF. They had asked the court to declare the maps unconstitutional and for the court itself to order a remedy.

But defendants in the case – who included House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, the Illinois State Board of Elections and its individual members – argued that because lawmakers had come back in the summer to pass a second set of maps, any challenge to the first set of maps should be considered “moot.”

The court, however, rejected that argument, noting that even though lawmakers had passed a second set of maps, they never specifically repealed the first set.

But it also rejected the Republicans’ request to order formation of a bipartisan commission.

Both the Republicans and the MALDEF plaintiffs have argued that the second set of maps is unconstitutional as well, in part because they reduce the number of Latino-majority districts in both the House and Senate, even though the Latino population grew substantially between 2010 and 2020.

The court gave the plaintiffs until Nov. 8 to submit their proposed revisions to the second set of maps, along with a statement explaining how those revisions would cure any constitutional defects. Defendants then have until Nov. 18 to respond to those proposed revisions.

* * *

VACCINE MANDATES: Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday, Oct. 18, that his administration has reached agreement with multiple trade unions requiring certain state workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but it is extending the deadline for workers to get their first shot to Oct. 26 while negotiations continue with the state’s largest public employees union.

Pritzker issued executive orders in late August and early September that apply to state employees, contractors and vendors who work in congregate facilities, as well as certain heath care workers, school personnel and higher education employees. Congregate facilities include those operated by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.

The original deadline for a first dose was set for Oct. 4, but has been extended several times.

The order also directed the Department of Central Management Services Labor Relations team to negotiate how to implement the mandate. While four unions have entered agreements with the state, negotiations continue with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, which is the largest public employee union in Illinois.

The order allows for exemptions for medical or religious reasons, but those who take the exemption will be subject to additional testing requirements. Those who remain unvaccinated and are not granted an exemption will be subject to progressive disciplinary actions that could ultimately lead to being fired, the administration said in a news release.

The agreements reached so far cover about 1,990 employees throughout the state. In addition to the trade unions, which represent about 470 employees at various facilities, other agreements include VR-704, which represents 260 supervisory workers at the Department of Corrections and Department of Juvenile Justice; the Illinois Nurses Association, representing about 1,100 nurses at state facilities; and the Illinois Federation of Public Employees, with about 160 workers.

But the administration still has not reached such an agreement with AFSCME, which, according to a union spokesman, represents 39,000 state workers – including more than 20,000 in facilities covered by the executive order.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Madelyn and Zachary Rodrigues are proud to hold an annual toy drive benefiting patients at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago. (Supplied photos)

Teen helps others despite brittle bone disease

Family toy drive benefits Comer Children’s Hospital By Kelly White Early on in her life, Madelyn Rodrigues was diagnosed with Osteogeneis Imperfects, a brittle bone disease that has already resulted in more than 70 bone fractures in her 14 years of life. As a freshman at Illinois Lutheran High School in Crete, Madelyn’s inner strength…

Peggy Zabicki

Thankful for the man who gave us Peanuts

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Did you know that Charles M. Schulz, author of the Peanuts cartoon series, was born on Nov. 26, 1922? I’m thankful and grateful for his creativity, which has endured the test of time. His cartoon movie, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, was first…

Kathy Headley

Marquette Bank wants your opinions

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 So after eating the big Thanksgiving meal and maybe planning some weekend shopping, if you are a Marquette Bank customer, you might want to take the 2021 Customer Survey before it’s too late. The deadline is Nov. 30.…

Karen Sala

There are many Jewels, but ours shines brightest

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park (773) 471-1429 • [email protected] Turkey Day is over, and now it’s time for leftovers! I enjoy leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner more than the original. Even though I went by my son’s, I still made my own turkey and sides. That way I have leftovers. I was watching TV…

Mary Stanek

The best is what’s left over

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 I hope everyone’s tummies are full of all that Thanksgiving goodness. In the words of actor and comedian Kevin James, “Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants!” Now the best part about Thanksgiving being…

The late CPD Officer Ella French.

‘They tried to taint Ella’s legacy’

Aldermen furious with mayor, COPA chief By Tim Hadac The three aldermen representing Clearing and Garfield Ridge are among 20 City Council members opposing the appointment of Andrea Kersten as the next Chief Administrator of Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Kersten, the current interim chief of COPA, came under fire recently for releasing a report…

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 4.30.36 PM

Roadrunners are state volleyball champs

Snack With Santa is an event founded by longtime Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Dybala near 40 years ago. It offers a bit of Christmas cheer for children and underscores the local business community’s commitment to the neighborhood. --File photo

Holiday warmth is straight ahead

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to it because it’s all about family, whether it’s family of blood or heart or both. People actually slow down and catch up with each other. It’s not about…

GSWNH_CityLeadersVax_111921

Pushback over ‘conscience’ law change

Measure would close vax loophole By Peter Hancock Capitol News Illinois and Tim Hadac A number of Southwest Siders are pushing back against a new state law designed to clear the way for employers to enforce vaccination, testing and other mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The measure, Senate Bill 1169, amends the Illinois…

GSWNH_BFEDM2_111921

Back in their dancing shoes

  After the pandemic forced them off the stage for more than 20 months, the boys and girls of Ballet Folklórico Estrella del Mar donned their costumes and dancing shoes last week and performed for Big Shoulders Fund representatives visiting St. Mary Star of the Sea School in West Lawn. Founded in 2015 at the…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
USALiquidators WebAd
Madelyn and Zachary Rodrigues are proud to hold an annual toy drive benefiting patients at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago. (Supplied photos)

Teen helps others despite brittle bone disease

Family toy drive benefits Comer Children’s Hospital By Kelly White Early on in her life, Madelyn Rodrigues was diagnosed with Osteogeneis Imperfects, a brittle bone disease that has already resulted in more than 70 bone fractures in her 14 years of life. As a freshman at Illinois Lutheran High School in Crete, Madelyn’s inner strength…

Peggy Zabicki

Thankful for the man who gave us Peanuts

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Did you know that Charles M. Schulz, author of the Peanuts cartoon series, was born on Nov. 26, 1922? I’m thankful and grateful for his creativity, which has endured the test of time. His cartoon movie, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, was first…

Kathy Headley

Marquette Bank wants your opinions

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 So after eating the big Thanksgiving meal and maybe planning some weekend shopping, if you are a Marquette Bank customer, you might want to take the 2021 Customer Survey before it’s too late. The deadline is Nov. 30.…

Karen Sala

There are many Jewels, but ours shines brightest

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park (773) 471-1429 • [email protected] Turkey Day is over, and now it’s time for leftovers! I enjoy leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner more than the original. Even though I went by my son’s, I still made my own turkey and sides. That way I have leftovers. I was watching TV…

Mary Stanek

The best is what’s left over

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 I hope everyone’s tummies are full of all that Thanksgiving goodness. In the words of actor and comedian Kevin James, “Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants!” Now the best part about Thanksgiving being…

The late CPD Officer Ella French.

‘They tried to taint Ella’s legacy’

Aldermen furious with mayor, COPA chief By Tim Hadac The three aldermen representing Clearing and Garfield Ridge are among 20 City Council members opposing the appointment of Andrea Kersten as the next Chief Administrator of Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Kersten, the current interim chief of COPA, came under fire recently for releasing a report…

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 4.30.36 PM

Roadrunners are state volleyball champs

Snack With Santa is an event founded by longtime Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Dybala near 40 years ago. It offers a bit of Christmas cheer for children and underscores the local business community’s commitment to the neighborhood. --File photo

Holiday warmth is straight ahead

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to it because it’s all about family, whether it’s family of blood or heart or both. People actually slow down and catch up with each other. It’s not about…

GSWNH_CityLeadersVax_111921

Pushback over ‘conscience’ law change

Measure would close vax loophole By Peter Hancock Capitol News Illinois and Tim Hadac A number of Southwest Siders are pushing back against a new state law designed to clear the way for employers to enforce vaccination, testing and other mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The measure, Senate Bill 1169, amends the Illinois…

GSWNH_BFEDM2_111921

Back in their dancing shoes

  After the pandemic forced them off the stage for more than 20 months, the boys and girls of Ballet Folklórico Estrella del Mar donned their costumes and dancing shoes last week and performed for Big Shoulders Fund representatives visiting St. Mary Star of the Sea School in West Lawn. Founded in 2015 at the…

CRR NH Prusak Roofing House Ad
CRR NH Les Brothers Restaurant House Ad