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Thomas Clatterbuck

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Representative Rodney Davis (R-13) was back in Springfield today to visit the workers at the AT&T center in downtown Springfield. AT&T gave bonuses to its workers after the 2017 tax reform bill passed. Davis spoke with many of the workers who enjoyed both the $1,000 bonuses and the lower taxes they pay under the new system. Longtime workers said that this was one of the only times the company had given out bonuses on that scale.

After the facility tour, Davis spoke with the press about what we had seen, and how the tax bill fit into a larger strategy of economic growth. Currently, the tax relief for individuals is set to expire in 10 years, but Davis is pushing to make those tax cuts permanent. He defended the impact the tax cuts will have on the deficit, and pointed to his reforms in the 2014 Farm Bill that saved nearly four times as much money as the government analysts had initially projected. Reforms are necessary for social programs to survive, but Davis was also in favor of expanding efforts to teach job skills and assist with job placement as part of those reforms.

You can watch that full interview above.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

News

Libertarians hold Lobby day in Springfield

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Two Libertarian groups visited the Capitol yesterday to lobby against upcoming legislation. The Illinois Valley Libertarians were joined by the Tricounty Libertarians to speak out against several bills working their way through committee. These bills covered a wide range of topics, including additions to the Driver Education curriculum, the creation of a concussion awareness brochure, and the new measures impact the expansion of “5G” wireless infrastructure. All of the bills passed out of committee.

Libertarian candidate Craig Barnstable spoke with me after the day’s committee hearings. He explained that the Libertarian opposition to these bills was not based on the bills’ stated objectives, but rather the use of law to achieve them. For Libertarians, state action should be a tool of last resort.

Barnstable is running for the Illinois House in the 95th District. He would be facing off against Republican incumbent Avery Bourne and Democratic challenger Dillon Clark.

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Sports

Illinois bicentennial voters pick Wrigley Field as state’s best building

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Cubs fans win again.

Illinois’ bicentennial voters have picked Wrigley Field as the state’s best building over the past 200 years.

Wrigley has been open for nearly half of the state’s life, and the Cubs were lovable losers for about that long, too.

Chris Wills of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said people may be surprised that the Willis Tower or the John Hancock Center didn’t get second.

“Wrigley Filed was followed by the Dana Thomas House in Springfield,” Wills said. “But that’s not the only [Frank Lloyd] Wright house on the list. Voters selected the Roby House up in Springfield at No. 5.”

Wills said the rest of the top buildings were an eclectic mix.

“We had the Baha’i House of Worship up in Wilmette coming in at No. 3. That’s just a magnificent building that maybe not enough people know about, ” Wills said. “The Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, is near the top of the list. It came in at No. 4.”

Illinois is putting together a Top 200 list of the best people, places, and things in the state’s history.

Voters are choosing the best historic spots in the state this week.

People can vote and see the winners at IllinoisTop200.com

 

Article by ILNews.org

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Illinois Govt

Task force on sexual harassment gets heated as lawmakers grapple with process accuser says is corrupt

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Denise Rotheimer, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, and state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, talk about the legislative inspector general - Image by Illinois News Network

A shouting match broke out at the statehouse Thursday when a Chicago Democrat told a woman whose harassment complaint against a state Senator last fall was sent to an empty office that the woman didn’t do enough to make her voice heard.

Denise Rotheimer’s public outing of allegations against state Sen. Ira Silverstein revealed the vacancy of the Legislative Inspector General. She accused Silverstein of using the power of his position to harass her.

Rotheimer said the inspector general position has been undermined by lawmakers.

Julie Porter was named to the post, but her term is expected to end this summer. Rotheimer said by not having named a replacement, the Legislative Ethics Commission is violating the law.

“The Legislative Inspector General, required by law, shall be appointed in a joint resolution in the House and Senate,” Rotheimer said. “That has not happened.”

The vacancy was revealed after Rotheimer testified last fall that she filed a complaint against Silverstein to Senate President John Cullerton’s office.

Cullerton’s office forwarded the complaint to the LIG’s office, but the complaint sat dormant for nearly a year because there was no one in the office. Rotheimer’s case was one of 27 cases that sat until Porter was tapped to be the special LIG.

Porter found Silverstein’s behavior was unbecoming of a legislator, but said that he didn’t abuse his power.

Republicans said they’ve brought forward names for the LIG post, but those candidates haven’t gone anywhere.

House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, who sits on the Legislative Ethics Commission, called it a distraction.

“When there’s someone that’s suitable to the four legislative leaders I’m quite certain that we’ll be able to move forward,” Lang said. “But this is a red herring.”

Lang said Porter is catching up on dormant cases from when there was no inspector, and that Porter will take new complaints until a replacement is appointed. Lang expects that could happen in the next few months.

Rotheimer made her point during a House task force on sexual harassment and discrimination Thursday, where she also said she was told by Porter that accusers have no rights in the process.

The hearing got heated.

During Rotheimer’s testimony alongside state Rep. Jeanne Ives at Thursday’s task force hearing, Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, said Rotheimer did not do enough to bring her case to lawmakers before going public.

“If you wanted to come and complain about the text messages and the exchanges that you were having with the Senator, you could have done so,” Flowers said.

Denise Rotheimer responds to Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, during a House task force hearing
While task force chairwoman, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, tried to restore order to the hearing, Rotheimer and Flowers shouted over each other.

“I’m not going to be told by that Representative that I could have done something, she doesn’t know my situation,” Rotheimer said. “I never got a hearing.”

Rotheimer said she’s tired of victim blaming by legislators.

Ives, R-Wheaton, said the fact of the matter remains, accusers have no rights in the process.

“You have no right to even be heard,” Ives said. “You have not right to even know that your complaint was filed correctly. It’s outrageous and this is Illinois corruption at its core.”

Ives’ bill to give complainants certain rights in any filing to an inspector general overseeing any state office was tabled last week, despite several Representatives on Thursday asking to be co-sponsors of the measure.

Lang defended the status quo, saying ethics complaints shouldn’t be handled as if it’s in a court of law.

The task force also heard from James Stamps, director of the Center For Public Safety and Justice. He focused on fairness, giving complainants more of a voice and making the process more transparent.

Polly Poskin, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told the task force that more study was needed. She also said a helpline created last year should be available around the clock, instead of only during business hours on weekdays. Poskin also pushed for more resources through the Illinois Department of Human Rights to field such cases.

Task force leaders said they’re taking all of the recommendations into account before advancing legislation to reform how complaints are dealt with.

Ives has concerns.

“I have no confidence that this task force comes out with real legislation with teeth in it that protects citizens from their government,” Ives said.

Rotheimer has said she wouldn’t recommend anyone file a complaint with an inspector general because the process does not include giving complainants rights. She said people should find other avenues, including making accusations public, instead.

Denise Rotheimer, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, and state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, talk about the legislative inspector general – Video and Article by Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network – ILNews.org

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