The week that was in Illinois politics and government (August 20-24).
Chicago and Cook County News
The major news in Chicago this week is that the Chicago Teachers Union may be on the verge of its first strike since 1987.
CTU President Karen Lewis said Friday morning that the union would not issue a ten-day strike notice today or tomorrow meaning that classes would start as scheduled September 4.
But the CTU House of Delegates gave Lewis the go ahead Wednesday to give a ten-day notice when the union president sees fit. Meanwhile, the Board of Education unveiled a contingency plan Wednesday in the event of a strike.
PI reported on “informational pickets” that CTU is having throughout upcoming weeks to raise awareness about issues important to the union such as smaller class sizes.
The city did reach contract deals with two smaller unions, SEIU Local 73 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represent a collective 2,500 workers.
The Chicago Transit Authority announced a proposal Wednesday to discontinue at least 12 bus routes amid concerns about how the plan would impact disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel rolled out a $2.5 million homeless services program Thursday that includes outsourcing the city’s overnight emergency transport services to Catholic Charities.
The Chicago Tribune reported Friday that Emanuel is sitting on a surplus of millions from privately donated money that was intended for the NATO summit. The city says that Emanuel has the sole authority on how to spend this money.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle caused a flap Tuesday when she said Ronald Reagan deserved a “special place in hell” for his role in the War on Drugs. Preckwinkle quickly apologized for her remark ,but defended her larger point that the drug war has been a devastating failure.
We learned Monday that Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers had his half-brother on the county payroll for more than four years. Rogers is running unopposed for re-election to the tax review board by brandishing his credentials a committed reformer.
Gov. Pat Quinn has until Tuesday to sign, veto or partially veto a major expansion of state gambling and it appears the governor will wait until next week to issue a decision. Quinn said Wednesday that the bill was a "complicated measure" that is "thick as a Chicago phonebook" and requires some line-by-line weekend reading.
Quinn signed a law Monday that makes payday lenders obtain a state license or face a felony charge.
A new law Quinn signed Saturday will use a tax on strip clubs to help the state fund rape crisis centers.
A General Assembly special session convened by Quinn last Friday to address major pension legislation went nowhere. We looked at an interesting gambit the governor has decided to do in response, a “grassroots campaign” to explain Illinois’ unfunded pension liability. Thus far the main grassroots campaign on pensions has been waged by the We Are One coalition of unions. The coalition argues it is unfair and contractually illegal to pay off state pension liabilities by reducing employee benefits.
We reported Wednesday that in an effort to keep their jobs in Freeport from being outsourced, employees of Sensata Technologies delivered a petition with more than 35,000 signatures to Evanston’s Bain Capital offices . U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) voiced her support for the employees, who have been able to make the layoffs a national issue by pointing out that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney founded Bain.
A group of Illinois unions announced their support Wednesday for a class action lawsuit against SB1313, a law that takes away guaranteed state-subsidized health care to public employee retirees.
Recent remarks made by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MissourI) regarding abortion in which he used the term "legitimate rape" have impacted political races nationally including the 8th congressional district tilt between U.S. Rep Joe Walsh (R-McHenry) and Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth.
PI reported Thursday that Duckworth joined a rally at the Illinois headquarters of UAW to protest efforts by Republican lawmakers, such as Akin and Walsh, to defund Planned Parenthood.
Walsh said he found Akin’s remark “insulting” and “wrong” – Akin claimed that a woman’s body somehow prevents pregnancy in instances of rape. However, in another instance of straying from the Republican Party, Walsh said he was upset the GOP did not stand up for Akin.
Romney’s selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) as his running mate has propelled the popular Medicare program into the center of the 17th congressional district race between U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) and Democratic challenger Cheri Busto. PI reported Tuesday that both camps are making strong claims about competing Medicare plans, but that the Bustos campaign is sticking closer to the truth.
We looked at an infographic Monday from TakePart.com that provides the demographic data of who actually votes in America.