Archive for the ‘Village Government’ Category


Gov. Pritzker signs a law to prevent his policies from being overturned in court. |PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER DILTS/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Progressives are on the march in Illinois, and they want to make sure their new policies can’t be overturned in state court. Solution: Pass a law that requires any constitutional challenge to a state law, rule or executive order to be filed in only two counties.

Yes, that’s really happening, thanks to Illinois Democratic Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s brainstorm. Democrats in Springfield passed it, and on Tuesday Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it. The bill means any constitutional challenge to the Democratic agenda can only be heard in Cook and Sangamon counties. Cook includes Chicago, and Sangamon surrounds the capital of Springfield.

The measure’s proponents were transparent in saying the change is meant to prevent conservative “venue shopping,” a tool pioneered by progressives and trial lawyers when seeking venues favorable to jackpot justice. In the case of conservatives, any choice of where to file would be to seek judicial brakes on the Democrats’ legislative steamroller.

Mr. Raoul’s spokesman says the change is appropriate because “inconsistent court decisions about important public issues have repeatedly caused confusion.” Yes, but that’s how the judicial system is meant to work. Conflicting lower-court decisions are resolved through appeals.

Mr. Pritzker’s infamous plan to end cash bail was rejected by Kankakee County Judge Thomas Cunnington, who ruled the law unconstitutional in December. It’s now on appeal at the state Supreme Court. Mr. Pritzker is expected to sign more than 500 bills this summer, according to Capitol News Illinois, and he wants to neuter the courts.

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:

  • 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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July 1 race


“Start your Independence Day holiday weekend with a run through the Hills!…or walk, if you prefer!

The Village of Barrington Hills, together with Cuba Township, is hosting its 3rd annual Land We Love Run   on Saturday, July 1st! The 10K run, 5K run/walk or the 2-mile walk will begin at 7:30 AM.

Register today to take advantage of the early bird rate!

Race proceeds will benefit Folds of Honor and the Cuba Township Food Pantry.

Finishers’ medals will be awarded to seven age groups for the 5K and 10K. Additional awards include Best Costume and Most Donated Items for the Food Pantry.” – From the VBH Website

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Despite statehouse corruption on full display with guilty verdicts against four individuals in the “ComEd Four” bribery trial, Illinois legislators left Springfield without sweeping ethics reforms.

A former Commonwealth Edison executive and three lobbyists, one being a close confidant of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, were convicted last month. The scheme involved giving do-nothing jobs to Madigan associates in exchange for favorable legislation for the utility. Madgian has pleaded not guilty and faces trial next spring.

Early Saturday morning just before the budget was approved, state Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said it’s “crazy” to leave town without addressing the issue.

“Four convictions all swirling around the person that presided at this rostrum, at this dias, for 38 years and we as a legislature are adjourning without doing anything on the topic of ethics reforms,” Spain said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said prosecutors have the tools they need to catch corrupt actors.

“Everybody that’s been tried and now convicted is being tried and convicted with laws that are already on the books,” Pritzker said during an unrelated event last week.

More can be done though, he conceded.

“And I think that there is as I have seen an effort to address red-light camera contributions,” Pritzker said.

House Bill 3903 will establish ethical parameters and guidelines for how the technology can be used and how the industry interacts with state and local elected officials. Among other regulations, one element prohibits contractors for such technology from making political donations.

More here.

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After failing to sell conventionally for a decade, the palatial mansion in Barrington Hills that was featured in the TV show “Empire” is going up for auction. Unlike a Winnetka mansion that is being auctioned by a lender that took over the property, the Barrington Hills property is not in distress, Cook County records show, and is being auctioned by its longtime owners. “The auction establishes a date-certain sale for the sellers,” said Randy Haddaway, CEO of Elite Auctions. Elite, based in Naples, Fla., plans to hold a live auction in the mansion July 15 if the sellers, seeing bidders’ proposed opening offers in advance, decide to go ahead. If the opening bids seem too low, they might back away. If they go ahead, Haddaway said, “the house will sell to the winning bidder.”  Details of the auction are on Elite’s website.

More here.

Related: “Empire’ mansion in Barrington Hills finds buyer after 50% price cut,” “‘Empire’ mansion owner slashes $2 million from asking price, placing 5-bedroom Barrington Hills home at $7.5 million,” “They’re finally marketing the ‘Empire’ mansion as the ‘Empire’ mansion

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Illinois is infamous for political corruption and has a bad reputation for fiscal malfeasance.

Backers of a new state budget say they’re turning that around with a balanced plan crafted in cooperation. Republicans, however, say the measure that passed the state House of Representatives around 2:30 a.m. Friday — while most Illinois residents were kicking off a sunny holiday weekend — largely ignores their input and sets the state up for obligations it won’t be able to meet.

The spending plan doesn’t increase taxes, but it will cost people $10 more for a new car title. That means come July, it will cost $165 for a certificate of title, with the additional funds to be used to update the Illinois secretary of state’s IT infrastructure, which an external assessment found to be very outdated. The secretary of state’s office said the increase “won’t come close” to raising the $200 million needed to overhaul the “archaic” system “to better protect personal information, increase cybersecurity and prevent outages … but is a decision the GA (General Assembly) made to help generate more for modernization.”

That’s a small portion of the $50 billion spending plan approved by lawmakers and that Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign in advance of July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

One freshman lawmaker, Rep. John Egofske, R-Lemont, a former mayor and company CFO, said watching how the $50 billion plan was put together was “enlightening and frightening.”

Lawmakers behind the plan promised it contains no gimmicks, but Barrington Hills Republican Rep. Martin McLaughlin said “there’s more hiding, shifting, obfuscation of stuff that would make a three-card monte dealer blush,” and Rep. John Cabello, R-Rockford, said projected savings are “straight out of fantasy land.”

More here.

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Budget Protest

Illinois state lawmakers shorted pensions by $4.1 billion and killed scholarships for low-income students, but gave themselves pay raises and a new office building. Their budget leaves no room for error as revenue projections drop.

Illinois state lawmakers approved a record-high $50.6 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2024 at 2:30 a.m. on March 27, despite no Republican support and three Senate Democratic caucus members voting “no” on the bill.

Lawmakers had originally anticipated passing the state budget and adjourning their spring session by May 19 but were hung up amid reported revenue declines and higher-than-expected costs.

Despite repeated claims by elected leaders that the budget is balanced, that claim ignores a massive unpaid bill: state pensions.

Appropriations to the five statewide pension funds will fall $4.1 billion below what the plans’ own actuaries have determined is required to actually begin paying off the state’s pension debt.


While Gov. J.B. Pritzker has touted his administration’s handling of the state’s pension crisis – including making $200 million in additional pension contributions in the 2024 budget – state budgets continue to shortchange pensions by billions of dollars annually. The effects of year after year of paying in too little has resulted in massive growth in pension debt, which now stands at $140 billion, according to state estimates.

It is likely much worse: independent estimates put the figure at more than $300 billion, using assumptions that are more realistic than the state’s optimistic projections.  Refusal among elected leaders to consider constitutional pension reform or make full, actuarially determined contributions leaves the current budget inherently unbalanced and jeopardizes the ability of future budgets to deliver core services to Illinoisans.

Read more here.

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Classroom 1

Iowa teachers will be banned from raising gender identity and sexual orientation issues with students through grade six, and all books depicting sex acts will be removed from school libraries, under a bill Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Friday.

The new law is among similar measures that have been approved in other Republican-dominated statehouses around the country. As with many of those proposals, Iowa Republicans framed their action as a commonsense effort to ensure that parents can oversee what their children are learning in school and that teachers not delve into topics such as gender and sexuality.

Despite the opposition of all Democratic legislators, Republicans who hold large majorities in Iowa’s state House and Senate approved the measure in April and there was little doubt that Reynolds would sign it; she had made issues related to gender identity and sexuality a focal point of her legislative agenda this year.

“This legislative session, we secured transformational education reform that puts parents in the driver’s seat, eliminates burdensome regulations on public schools, provides flexibility to raise teacher salaries, and empowers teachers to prepare our kids for their future,” Reynolds said in a statement.

Under the new law, school administrators also would be required to notify parents if students asked to change their pronouns or names. Religious texts will be exempt from the library ban on books depicting sex acts.

Democrats and LGBTQ groups argued that the restrictions would hurt children by limiting their ability to be open with teachers about gender and sexuality issues and to see their lives reflected in books and other curriculum.

The law’s passage was not a surprise, said Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy at the LGBTQ equality group One Iowa. “But we are still very disappointed by it.”

Read more here.

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Brandon Johnson

The new mayor’s allies lay out their agenda: ‘First We Get the Money.’

Well, that didn’t take long. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson was inaugurated last week, and two days later his allies released a report with their agenda for the next four years. Title: “First We Get the Money.”

They mean your money. The report offers a flavor of the trend in Chicago politics and why the once-great city is struggling.

The report says a mere $12 billion in new spending will “make Chicago truly safe” by “addressing issues that underlie crime and poverty.” To get the cash, the mayor should collect $6.8 billion by “making the wealthy and corporations pay what they owe” and then cut spending on the Chicago Police Department.

Mr. Johnson has tried to distance himself from the report, but one gets the sense this is part of the choreography. The report’s creators, Action Center on Race & the Economy (Acre) and the People’s Unity Platform, helped Mr. Johnson win. Co-author Saqib Bhatti is on his transition team. Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates is on the Acre board.

The report suggests Mr. Johnson reinstate a “head tax” on business of $33 per employee. Chicago’s previous head tax of $4 per employee was ended in 2014 by the City Council under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a “job killer” and a deterrent to business hiring.

The mayor is also urged to raise the real-estate transfer tax on sales over $1 million by 1.9 percentage points from the current 0.75%. Progressives say most of the funds would come from “skyscrapers” and commercial properties. The Windy City has plenty of $1 million homeowners and it already has the second highest tax rates in the country on commercial properties worth $1 million, according to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Landlords with luxury apartments that are vacant should pay a fee to “encourage” them to “charge more affordable rents.” The authors want to raise the tax on jet fuel to force airlines to pay for “profiting from creating pollution in our city.” Then add a financial transactions tax for a cut of every trade at the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

Read more of the Wall Street Journal Op/Ed piece here.

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Z May 23

The Village Zoning Board of Appeals meets this evening at 6:30 PM.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

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