Archive for the ‘New Normal?’ Category


Those in Illinois who choose to identify by a gender different than what’s on their birth certificate can now change their birth certificate without a medical note. However, some believe the state is going too far.

House Bill 9 was first filed in 2021 and was amended and passed earlier this year before the 102nd General Assembly adjourned in January to make way for the 103rd General Assembly. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the law in February with an enactment date of July 1.

“Here in Illinois, we recognize that gender transition is a personal journey that doesn’t always follow a prescriptive medical path, but still deserves to be honored legally,” Pritzker said in a statement announcing the bill being signed. “In a time of increasing violence and hateful rhetoric against the trans, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming community, it is more important than ever to reaffirm our state’s commitment to recognizing the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ Illinoisans.”

The law allows individuals born in Illinois to self-identify for gender marker corrections on their birth certificate, without requiring medical treatment or gender surgery.

Equality Illinois, a group that promotes civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender Illinoisans, supported the measure.

“Many states across the country are advancing hateful, harmful, and discriminatory anti-trans policies,” Director of Communications Myles Brady Davis said in a statement. “But this law, which advances the state’s commitment to equality and inclusion, reduces barriers, and will help trans and gender-expansive people be safer as their authentic selves.”

Pritzker said the law supports those who seek to affirm how they feel while using government documentation.

“Following this year’s Pride Month, I couldn’t be happier that we are making it easier for Illinoisans to change the gender listed on their birth certificate,” said Pritzker. “Our trans, nonbinary, gender non-conforming and intersex neighbors deserve to have documentation that affirms their identity without having to jump over dozens of bureaucratic hurdles. After all, this is the Land of Lincoln and Obama, and here, we welcome members of the LGBTQ+ community as they are.”

Read more here.

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220 Admin

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Second Reading of Board Policy
  • Consideration to Approve Intergovernmental Agreement with the Village of Barrington for Fuel Purchases, and
  • Consideration to Approve Project Change Order for Doors at Station

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. The meeting will be live-streamed on the district YouTube channel.

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The insurance code for Pap smears and prostate exams will soon be gender neutral as a result of a new law.

Instead of men receiving prostate exams and women receiving Pap smears, it would be “individuals” receiving the exams. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 2350 last week. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2025.

Former state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, said the bill was conceived because transgender and gender non-conforming people have historically struggled with accessing health care.

“So many people born male may not identify as male, and the same for people born female who need certain tests but no longer identify as such,” said Pacione-Zayas.

During debate, state Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, called the legislation bizarre.

“I cannot get a prostate exam in the state of Illinois. I can’t. It doesn’t exist for me. My colleagues that are male can’t get a Pap exam. It’s just the way it is,” Tracy said.

She added that she is for inclusivity and folks getting proper care, but wondered why the bill was being prioritized over more important bills that are stuck in committee.

State Sen. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, said this type of legislation confuses kids.

“Biological males cannot get Pap smears, it’s not possible, it is physically and anatomically impossible,” Chesney said. “It’s not even following science.”

More here.

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220 Admin

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Consideration to Approve BHS Athletic Program Donation Agreement
  • Consideration to Approve Strategic Plan, and
  • Consideration to Approve BSEO Job Reclassification

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.

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Newly seated Board of Education member Diana Clopton and Nate Rouse, 220 Director of Equity, Race & Cultural Diversity Initiatives

As seen in our May 4th post, New Board of Education sworn into office, a recent FOIA has brought to light a series of emails between Nate Rouse (D220 Director of Equity, Race, and Cultural Diversity Initiatives), Melissa Atteberry (D220 5th Grade teacher and President of the D220 teacher’s union, BEA), and Diana Clopton, newly elected Board of Education (“BOE”) member, which took place in the months leading up to the recent school board election.

On the recommendation of current BOE member, Erin Chan Ding, Rouse reached out via his Barrington220 issued email address to recruit Clopton to run for BOE: “As you are aware we’ve got some political craziness going on and we are anticipating some strong opposition to equity work moving forward in the district without the support of a sound board of education.”

In order to facilitate Clopton’s placement on the BOE, Rouse offered to put Clopton in contact with “people that are very interested in getting behind/supporting good candidates and putting them in contact with the right people.”

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It is no secret that Rouse works closely with Jessica Green, founder of Courageous Community, an organization listed as a Community Partner on Rouse’s Equity220 website. Green hosted a “Meet the Candidate” fundraiser, exclusive to candidates  Clopton, Altschuler, and Collister-Lazzari, 3 of the 7 running for BOE in the recent election. Green is also a member of the Equity Committee run by Rouse, but closed to the D220 community, as only “those who support the mission” are allowed to participate. So much for Rouse’s DEI initiative “We Belong to Each Other” ~ it clearly should come with a disclaimer: We Belong to Each Other… but only if you’re the ‘right people.’2 Pic


Rouse took his support of Clopton running for BOE even further by connecting her with Melissa Atteberry. Atteberry is the current President of the Barrington Education Association (BEA), the D220 teacher’s union. Atteberry was very eager to meet with Clopton, “I would love to meet with you and learn more about your motivations, as well as goals for the district.”

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Clopton will be called upon to vote on the BEA Union contract. What influence does Atteberry hold over her in that regard. We know that Chan Ding took political donations from, as well as the endorsement of, the BEA two years ago when she ran for BOE.  This subjected her to much criticism. It appears from this election cycle that the BEA has found other ways to influence the BOE elections other than by making public endorsements and donations.

Rouse also took time away from his DEI work to meet Clopton for an extended lunch in Deer Park, where they apparently discussed her ability to combat the “political craziness” going on and the “strong opposition” to the equity work no one other than those deemed privileged enough by Rouse to serve on his private DEI Equity Committee Team know anything about.

Equity Team

Each of the meetings Rouse scheduled with Clopton were conducted on D220 time, on D220 email, and many on D220’s Zoom platform. As seen above, Rouse further orchestrated and participated in meetings between Clopton and BOE incumbent candidate Collister-Lazzari.

Collister-Lazarri and Superintendent Hunt made it very clear at the BOE meeting of September 20, 2022, that only people who “support the mission” would be welcome to participate on Rouses’s DEI Equity Team. The first Equity Committee meeting was reported on at this BOE meeting starting at 48:55, wherein Collister-Lazzari advised the meetings are “not open to the public” because, similar to the Safety & Security Committee, “there’s things that maybe the whole public shouldn’t be aware of.” When pushed as to how one might get involved, Chan Ding advised that administrators (i.e. Rouse) ask parents to be involved based on the ‘fit’ for that specific committee, to which Hunt reiterated, “you want people who support the mission of the work, obviously…” Those people are:


It is clear from these communications that we have a D220 Administrator actively seeking candidates for BOE that support his taxpayer paid position. A position that is closed off from public scrutiny and only available for his “District Equity Team” to be part of. He then puts said candidate in contact with the head of the BEA Teacher’s Union, on whose contract said candidate will soon be voting, as the BOE is currently involved in contract negotiations with the BEA. He then takes it one step further by offering to put said candidate in contact with community members that directly support his paid, closed to the public, District position.

Now, this may all be well and fine if Rouse and BEA President Atteberry offered to meet with all candidates running for BOE so they could share their goals for the District and what constitutes a “sound” BOE. However, Rouse was directly contacted by another candidate prior to the recent election, Leonard Munson, who requested a meeting with Rouse to learn more from him about the DEI programs and initiatives. Rouse refused to meet with Munson, stating his “admin team” has been advised to let D220 Superintendent Hunt know if any requests to meet are made from candidates and to refer requests to Hunt’s office as it was Hunt’s job to meet with candidates to discuss the District’s programs, “including our equity work.”


This should come as no surprise as Rouse has already decided that there are parents who are and who are not on the D220 “District Equity Team” and he has said so publicly, in BOE meetings and on his Twitter feed. Rouse clearly does not believe Munson “supports the mission” as he was denied any meeting with Rouse. Yet, the District emails indicate Rouse not only recruited Clopton, but met with her multiple times on the taxpayer’s dime. Is this Rouse’s idea of “equity”? The BOE candidates, parents and taxpayers of D220 deserve better.

Nate Tweet

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There’s no indicator quite as damning of a state’s failure to govern than the flight of its residents to other states. In Illinois’ case, the state is doubly damned as IRS migration data shows there’s not a single group of people that the state attracts more than it repels.

Everyone is leaving Illinois. Old and young, rich and poor, it doesn’t matter.

The latest data from the IRS shows Illinois lost a net 105,000 people to other states in 2020 due to out-migration. 53,000 of those leavers were the tax filers and the other 52,000 were their dependents.

Outmigration-deniers say the state’s losses are due to retirees seeking better weather. But the data shows the urge to leave is universal. Illinois lost tax filers from every age and income group in 2020.

Notably the biggest losses of residents were two that should be a big cause for concern: the prime-working-years age bracket of 26 to 35 (-13,448 filers) and the higher-income-class bracket of $100 to $200K (-12,915 filers). Illinois is losing its mobile young and its wealthy cohorts more than any other groups.Illinois-lost-53000-tax-filers-to-out-migration-in-2020

The IRS report provides hard, indisputable data on the movement of Americans between states. The department reviews tax returns annually to track when and where tax filers and their dependents move. The IRS has also broken out the ages and income brackets of filers since 2011.

This year’s report is based on tax returns filed in 2020 and 2021, covering taxpayers and their dependents who moved from one state to another between 2019 and 2020 (See appendix for changes in Wirepoints’ reporting methodology).

Read more here.

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Harvord JB

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker at a forum Monday, hosted by Harvard Kennedy School

According to one Republican leader, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s comments on winning in politics show his lack of willingness to work with the other side.

Pritzker attended a forum at the Harvard Institute of Politics Monday, and discussed the state of politics in Illinois and beyond.

Pritzker was asked by an audience member what could be done to improve government in the United States.

“When I think of the federal government, it is like it is stymied. It is not getting the things done that really protect people,” Pritzker said. “In the end, how do we break through all of that? We need to win, we meaning Democrats have to win.”

Pritzker went on to say that there is no other way to fix government than by electing Democrats.

“I mean, we have to go win in the Congress, in the House and the Senate. I don’t know how to say it in any other way,” Pritzker said. “There is no other way to break through. What would I change about the federal government? We have to win in order to get the policies we believe in.”

Illinois House Assistant Republican Leader Mike Marron, R-Fithian, said the governor’s comments have reaffirmed what some have felt when trying to work with Pritzker on specific issues.

“His words just confirm what I have felt all along that I guess Republican voices in this state are just not important. I guess he just doesn’t care,” Marron told The Center Square. “He is just going to write off all of the people we represent. It’s very sad.”

More here.

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Barry Altshuler and Leah Collister- Lazzari share a quiet moment together as they reflect on the apparent campaign violations they’ve gotten away with so far…

District 220 voters elected Barry Altshuler (BA) and Leah Collister-Lazzari (LCL) to the Board of Education (BOE) in 2019.  Despite their lack of experience, and one other vastly more qualified Board member, he was appointed Secretary of the Board and she to Vice President in 2021. Within months, they began displaying symptoms of delusions of grandeur, especially when their race for re-coronation began.

Some examples of their campaign violations include:

First: As we reported on February 10, BA failed to complete necessary paperwork required by the Illinois State Board of Elections  (ISBE) by naming a Treasurer to his Campaign Committee. Yet, even though this publication has repeatedly pointed this failure to follow rules out to him, he ignored them until only recently.

BA Privacy

LCL waited until last month to file her committee details (seen here), which revealed that she and BA share a common Committee Treasurer.

Second: Three weeks ago, BA sent campaign solicitation letters to, “… all the Dr’s in Barrington asking for their support for BOE.” It remains unclear how he obtained his solicitation mailing list, but his actions swiftly prompted the Patient Services President of Advocate Good Shepard Hospital to send the following message to area physicians:

Advocate Letter

Third: It came to our attention recently that BA is censoring comments made to his campaign Facebook page.  This, despite the fact that courts have ruled that public officials cannot block critics from commenting on their Facebook page associated with their political office (see, “Court Rules Public Officials Can’t Block Critics on Facebook”). Yet this was revealed when people try to comment on his site:BA Blocks

BA is a practicing pediatrician.  As such, with that level of education, he cannot in good conscience claim ignorance of these rules and laws.

Fourth: BA and LCL’s campaign signs are printed with the District 220 logo front and center (below).  It’s unclear what, if any, permission(s) they sought or who, if anyone, granted it.  What we do know is last week District 220 Superintendent Dr. Robert Hunt announced as a result, the District will incur the expense of copyrighting District 220 logo’s to prevent its unauthorized use in the future.220 Logo

Fifth: LCL called in to vote on a controversial measure while working/vacationing in New Zealand in violation of the Open Meetings Act (OMA), prompting residents to bring OMA complaints to the State’s Attorney General’s office and the Policy Committee of the BOE to undertake review of the rules surrounding calling in to meetings while traveling.

Given all this, we strongly encourage voters to choose wisely at the polls. Consider the missteps of these incumbent candidates and how they have behaved (so far) in the 2023 District 220 election.

Related: “Two term District 220 Board of Education member Angela Wilcox endorses Katey Baldassano, Leonard Munson, and Matt Sheriff for 220 Board,” “Endorsements: Munson, Baldassano and Sheriff for CUSD 220 Board of Education,” “District 220 Board of Education candidates Katey Baldassono, Leonard Munson and Matt Sheriff share their vision,” “Parents at top-rated school expose pornographic books in IL school library (DISCRETION ADVISED),” “The District 220 Policy Committee has a lot on their plate tomorrow,” “Who’s minding Leah and Barry’s campaign finances,” “What 220 voters need to know continued, including our recommendations,” “What 220 voters need to know,” “220 Parents call BS!

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Illinois lawmakers are advancing a measure that would would allow certain bathrooms in the Land of Lincoln to be genderless.

State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, filed House Bill 1286. If passed, the bill would allow for any multiple-occupancy restroom to be identified as an all-gender multiple-occupancy restroom and designated for use by any person of any gender.

The measure follows a 2019 bill approved by Gov. J.B. Pritzker that made all single-occupancy bathrooms in Illinois into gender-neutral restrooms.

Stuart explained her measure on Wednesday in front of the House Human Services Committee, saying it is not a mandate.

“It creates the opportunity for places, businesses, universities, you name it, to create a multi-stall gender-neutral restroom,” Stuart said. “It lays out requirements for what is in that facility like locking mechanisms, privacy, disposal for menstrual products and all those types of things.”

Stuart said without the bill, places allowing gender-neutral multi-stall bathrooms are breaking the law and this measure would make it legal. The bill also would require any new single occupancy bathroom to be built a certain distance away from the gender-neutral bathroom.

Read more here.

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Amazon HQ

Amazon is instructing corporate staffers to spend at least three days a week in the office, CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a memo on Friday.

It marks a shift from Amazon’s previous policy, which left it up to individual managers to decide how often their employees would be required to work from the office.

Jassy said he and the S-team, a tight-knit group of senior executives from almost all areas of Amazon’s business, decided at a meeting earlier this week that employees should be in the office “the majority of the time (at least three days per week).” They made the decision after determining that it would benefit the company’s culture and workers’ ability to learn from and collaborate with one another.

Amazon plans to implement the change on May 1. There will be some exceptions to the rule, Jassy said, such as customer support roles, which have the option of working remotely.

“It’s not simple to bring many thousands of employees back to our offices around the world, so we’re going to give the teams that need to do that work some time to develop a plan,” Jassy said. “We know that it won’t be perfect at first, but the office experience will steadily improve over the coming months (and years) as our real estate and facilities teams smooth out the wrinkles, and ultimately keep evolving how we want our offices to be set up to capture the new ways we want to work.”

Other companies have recently called their employees back to the office either full time or several days a week as the Covid-19 pandemic has eased. Google and Apple have required some of their employees to return to the office since last year, while Disney in January began requiring hybrid employees to be in the office four days a week.

More here.

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