Archive for the ‘Springfield’ Category

RLD 100

Richard L. Duchossois

The following resolution was filed by Rep. Martin McLaughlin on 2021-09-29:

Congratulations Richard L. Duchossois on the occasion of his 100th birthday


—–WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of Representatives are pleased to congratulate Richard L. Duchossois of Barrington Hills on the occasion of his 100th birthday; and

—–WHEREAS, Richard L. Duchossois was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 7, 1921; he was raised in Beverly and attended Morgan Park Military Academy, where he graduated in 1940; he attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Kentucky; and

—–WHEREAS, In 1942, Richard L. Duchossois was given orders to report to training at the U.S. Army’s Tank Destroyer unit; he later became the commander of Company C of the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion and landed on Utah Beach in Normandy while serving under the 80th Division of General George Patton’s Third Army; his company fought through central France and east across to the Moselle River; in a German counterattack, he was shot and temporarily paralyzed but soon returned to lead his battalion in the Battle of the Bulge; and

—–WHEREAS, When World War II formally ended, Richard J. Duchossois served as the military governor of Kreis Eichstadt in Germany and eventually rose to the rank of major; he was released from active service in 1946 and was awarded the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars; and

—–WHEREAS, Richard L Duchossois joined the Thrall Car Manufacturing Company, becoming CEO and president; he subsequently purchased the Chamberlain Manufacturing Corp, later renamed Duchossois Industries, and became its chairman; and

—–WHEREAS, In 1967, Richard L. Duchossois purchased and developed Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm in Barrington Hills in McHenry County; it became one of Illinois’ top Thoroughbred breeding farms; in 1983, he purchased Arlington Park Race Track, which later merged with Churchill Downs Incorporated in 2000; and

—–WHEREAS, Richard L. Duchossois, affectionately known as “Mr. D”, developed Arlington Park International Race Track into one of the most beautiful and renowned horse racing facilities in the world; he has been awarded the American Jockey Club’s Gold Medal and the Joe Palmer Award for Meritorious Service to Racing from the National Turf Writers Association and was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame; he was also inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and named one of their Pillars of the Turf; and

—–WHEREAS, Richard L. Duchossois established the Duchossois Family Foundation (DFF), which has made donations in excess of $137 million to the University of Chicago Medical Center; these donations culminated in the establishment of the Duchossois Family Institute; through other philanthropic grants, the DFF has made substantial impacts upon dozens of charitable organizations benefiting thousands of people in Illinois and across the United States; and

—–WHEREAS, Richard L. Duchossois received the Sword of Loyola Award from Loyola University in Chicago in 2014; he became a director of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans so he could continue his dedication to his country and to the mission of educating current and future generations that freedom and independence are not free; therefore, be it

—–RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED SECOND GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we wish Richard L. Duchossois, “Mr. D”, a very happy 100th birthday and many more happy and healthy years; and be it further

—–RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to Richard L. Duchossois as an expression of our good wishes.

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Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for nearly double the debt burden of just 12 years ago. That’s according to a new report on the fiscal state of the state.

Truth In Accounting (TIA) has been evaluating state governments for how much debt the state has versus how much they bring in. Their Financial State of the States 2021 published Tuesday.

For all 50 states, the total amount of state government debt taxpayers must pay back is $1.5 trillion at the end of fiscal year 2020.

For Illinois, TIA Research Director Bill Bergman said the amount owed per taxpayer went from about $30,000 in 2009 to $57,000 in the most recent report.

“In other words, it’s almost doubled since 2009,” Bergman said. “That’s significant for a few reasons, including the beginning of that period was in the middle of the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression and Illinois has only deteriorated since then despite the massive recovery in financial markets since 2009. That’s scary.”

Only two other states were in worse financial condition than Illinois. New Jersey’s taxpayer burden is at $58,300 and Connecticut’s burden is at $62,500 per taxpayer. Only 11 states had taxpayer surpluses. The rest are considered “Sinkhole States” by TIA.

Read more here.

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DL App

Services such as behind-the-wheel driving tests and standard driver’s licenses now require appointments at certain Illinois Secretary of State facilities.

Questions such as “do you have an appointment?”, and the occasional letdown, “all our appointments are full,” circulated Friday outside the driver services facility in Lombard.

That’s because the Illinois Secretary of State’s office this month is retooling a variety of procedures to avoid crowds and lines at DMVs caused by COVID-19 backlogs.

What that means is, as of Monday, many Illinoisans will need to make appointments for services such as behind-the-wheel road tests, REAL IDs, standard driver’s licenses, and ID cards at certain locations. The change was rolled out earlier at some sites.

Appointments for those services are required at the following locations: Aurora, Bridgeview, Des Plaines, Joliet, Lake Zurich, Lombard, Melrose Park, Midlothian, Naperville, Plano, Schaumburg, Waukegan and Woodstock, plus three Chicago offices.

Scheduling can be done online at ilsos.gov or by phone at (844) 817-4649.

Walk-ins are still allowed for people seeking vehicle titles, or for renewing license plate stickers — but please don’t, officials say, since stickers are easily obtainable online. Customers can also order duplicate licenses and driving records on the ilsos.gov website.

At the same time, Secretary of State Jesse White is introducing a new program estimated to allow thousands of safe drivers to renew their licenses or ID cards remotely.

Read more here.

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The committee didn’t make a final determination about a statue of Reagan. State Rep. Mary Flowers said the panel she chairs is not at the decision-making stage yet and is focused on listening to “what everyone has to say.”

Reagan 86

President Ronald Reagan attends the Illinois State Fair in Springfield in 1986 with Gov. James Thompson. Reagan is holding a 4-day-old goat belonging to Carry Marshall, 16, of Decatur. – Nancy Stuenkel/Sun-Times file

As statues of controversial figures are being torn down across the nation, an Illinois House panel on Wednesday discussed putting a new one up in Springfield of Ronald Reagan, the Illinois native who went on to become the nation’s 40th president.

House members on the Statue and Monument Review Task Force debated the pros and cons of “The Gipper’s” legacy, and the propriety of memorializing him on the Capitol grounds, but didn’t come to a decision.

The South Side Democrat who chairs the panel said in weighing the former president’s flaws with his legacy there has to be a recognition that “whether we agree with his policies or not … he had a profound impact on the direction of this country.”

Reagan spent his early years in northwestern Illinois — born in Tampico and raised in Dixon — before heading west to launch his acting career in Hollywood, playing Notre Dame football player George Gipp and others, and eventually his political career as governor of California.

He died in 2004 at the age of 93.

Josem Diaz, the vice president for Institutional Advancement at Reagan’s alma mater Eureka College in the Illinois city of the same name, would like to see a statue of a young Reagan on the state capitol grounds.

Read more here.

State Rep. Mary Flowers’ contact information can be found here.

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Labor Day

A new analysis puts Illinois near the bottom of the hardest working states in the country.

The personal finance website WalletHub looked at more than 10 indicators from average work week hours to the share of workers with multiple jobs to determine the rankings. Illinois was ranked as the 43rd hardest-working state in the nation. Alaska and North Dakota took the top two spots as the hardest working states. New Mexico came in at No. 50.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez said workers in downstate Illinois likely helped the state’s ranking.

“That is where we see a leveling of the work week,” Gonzalez said. “In Chicago, we typically are seeing a shorter work week, and places where they are heavily relying on agriculture, we see a longer work week.”

Americans put in an average of 1,767 hours per year as of 2021, according to the World Economic Forum. That is 435 hours per year more than Germans work, but 357 fewer than Mexicans do.

Alaska has the longest hours worked per week at 42, which is 14% longer than in Utah, the state with the shortest week at 37 hours.

The category that pushed Illinois down in the rankings was the lowest annual volunteer hours per resident, in which Illinois ranked 47th in the country.

Read on here.

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CD Arlington

Craig Duchossois talks to the Daily Herald during at Arlington Park Saturday August 14, 2021 in Arlington Heights. (Brian Hill | Staff Photographer)

Amid the pageantry of the final Arlington Million Day — a day to honor Dick Duchossois and his family for their contributions to horse racing — Duchossois’ son blamed not Arlington Park owner Churchill Downs Inc. but Illinois politicians for the planned destruction of the grand racing palace his father built.

Craig Duchossois, his father’s longtime right-hand man in family business matters, called Saturday’s tributes at the racetrack bittersweet and emotional after what he said has been the family’s “enjoyable but challenging” journey in Illinois racing and politics. His father, Arlington Park’s 99-year-old chairman emeritus, was at his Barrington Hills home, where he’s spent most of his time since the onset of the pandemic.

“I have no faith in our government in Illinois at all, including Gov. (J.B.) Pritzker. Springfield is a bigger swamp than Washington, if that’s possible,” Craig Duchossois said during an exclusive interview with the Daily Herald from his family’s grandstand suite.

Duchossois said Pritzker’s 2019 massive gambling expansion that awarded long-sought slots and table games to racetracks like Arlington came “too late.”

By then, Churchill Downs had already acquired a majority interest in nearby Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, and it soon declined to apply for the gambling positions at Arlington, which could have helped boost purse accounts for horse races.

“If they would’ve gotten their head out of the sand and done it 5 or 10 years earlier, whole different ballgame,” Duchossois said. “Who knows what would have happened then. But at least we would’ve been given the chance to compete fairly, and they didn’t allow that. And now they’re saying Churchill is at fault? That just doesn’t make any sense.”

Read more here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his reelection bid on July 19 with the key pillar of his campaign being his record on “protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people of Illinois.” Look at the “livelihoods” in Illinois, and that quickly looks like a poor campaign decision.

While COVID-19 and the public health responses to the crisis caused racial employment gaps to increase everywhere, the gap widened more in Illinois when compared to Illinois’ border states and the rest of the country. Job seekers’ education and other observable characteristics can explain little of the employment differences between racial and ethnic groups.

Black workers face comparatively higher risk of job loss at the first sign of economic weakness. As a result, a robust expansion has historically reduced disparities. Unfortunately, Illinois’ economy has persistently underperformed relative to the rest of the country. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois’ labor market under Pritzker suffered one of the worst first-year performances of any elected governor in recent history. In the time since, Illinois’ economy has continued to lag the rest of the nation, with both the gaps between Illinois and other states widening and the gaps between groups of Illinoisans continuing to widen.

COVID-19 exposed large racial disparities that existed well before the pandemic. Although large employment and wage disparities exist between whites and Blacks, they may not necessarily be tied to racist attitudes.  Statistical discrimination could arise from employers having little reliable information about Black workers, but that could not explain why employment gaps for similar workers are much larger in Illinois when compared to the rest of the country.

Despite consistent improvements over time, discrimination in the labor market remains a  problem in America today, especially among large employersResearch shows while most employers barely discriminate, a few discriminate heavily. That same research also shows while local demographics do not matter for discriminatory hiring decisions, local sentiment does. Racial discrimination is more severe in geographic locations with more prejudiced populations.

Read the full Illinois Policy piece here.

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Butter Cow

Gov. Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker unveil the Illinois State Fair’s 2021 butter cow.

SPRINGFIELD – The final preparation for the opening of the 2021 Illinois State Fair (which begins today) took place Wednesday with the traditional unveiling of the butter cow.

This year’s sculpture, which marks the 100th anniversary of the fair’s butter cow, is entitled “Embracing Tradition.” It features a dairy farmer embracing a cow. Hidden within the sculpture are 13 hearts, signifying the 13 essential nutrients found naturally in milk.

“After a year where the world stopped, I felt including an exhibitor embracing the cow signifies the joy our youth are experiencing as they return to the fair,” butter cow sculptor Sarah Pratt, of Iowa, said in a news release. “You only get one chance to celebrate the 100th anniversary and I hope this year’s Butter Cow will invoke those feelings of nostalgia people have experienced for generations.”

Gov. JB Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker took part in the ceremony along with Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II, Midwest Dairy Association board member Donald Mackinson, and this year’s Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Kelsi Kessler.

Read more here.

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At the last night’s 220 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Robert Hunt gave a presentation to the Board about the district’s COVID-19 mitigation guidelines for the 2021-22 school year. You can view the district’s mitigation guidelines in the graphic below:

COVID-19 mitigation

A video accompanied his presentation that can be viewed here.

District 220 has also provided FAQ’s on Quarantine/Contact Tracing seen here.

Next, they shared the spin on the IL school mask mandate:

“On August 4, 2021 Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order #85 which requires universal masking in all public and private K-12 schools. The district is developing a matrix to use to determine when students and staff are able to begin to phase out mitigation strategies. The work is ongoing and will not be utilized until after Governor Pritzker lifts the school mask mandate.

Data sources being considered include community transmission data from the Northwestern Medicine Dashboard and Lake County Health Department for ZIP codes 60010, 60110, 60021, & 60192.

According to the Northwestern Medicine dashboard, as of August 10, 2021 the total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days is at 101.9 for these four zip codes. Per the CDC, this is a high level of community transmission. Once the statewide school mask mandate is lifted and if the level of community transmission is moderate or low, the district is exploring the following data to consider when masks can be removed:

  • Vaccination rates
  • Person-to-person transmission rates per building as identified through contact tracing
  • Staff and students quarantined per building
  • Positive cases per building (SHIELD testing, BinaxNow, PCR)”

Finally, those wishing to visit 220’s “21-22 COVID-19 Information Hub,” will find it here and the YouTube recording of last night’s meeting can be witnessed here (video starts at the 28:00 mark, much to the chagrin of at least one AV geek no doubt).

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JB Mask

People working or visiting inside a state-run building will have to wear masks again, even if they’re fully vaccinated, following an order issued Thursday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The edict comes days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised anyone in counties experiencing substantial or high COVID-19 exposure risk to wear masks in public indoor settings.

The governor’s order is broader and covers all facilities, regardless of the virus’ transmissibility threat in those counties, “given that the majority of the state is experiencing substantial or high COVID-19 transmission as measured by the CDC,” Pritzker said.

The move comes the same day Cook County joined DuPage, McHenry and Will counties in the Chicago area as counties with a substantial transmission risk, which is any county experiencing 50 to 99 new cases per 100,000 residents over a week’s time, according to CDC standards. High risk is 100 or more new cases per 100,000 residents.

“The safety and well-being of state employees and residents remains top priority for the state and this decision supports our efforts to provide a safe environment for our workforce and the people we serve,” said Janel L. Forde, director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. “Masking up is a step that we all can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help ensure that state facilities can continue to operate safely.”

The Cook County Department of Public Health endorsed the CDC mask recommendaton and said it will issue new guidelines Friday.

Read more here.

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