Friday, May 27, 2016

McHenry County Rep Franks votes “present”







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Over 10,000 Rally in Illinois, Demanding Governor Rauner Stop His Hostage-Taking



Over 10,000 Rally in Illinois, Demanding Governor Rauner Stop His Hostage-Taking

by David Kreisman  |  May 26, 2016

Over 10,000 Rally in Illinois, Demanding Governor Rauner Stop His Hostage-Taking Ten thousand rally in Springfield, demand Governor Rauner stop hurting Illinois. (Photo by David Kreisman)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – More than 10,000 Illinoisans representing 38 unions and some 20 community organizations rallied at the State Capitol to demand Gov. Bruce Rauner drop his harmful demands, and make Illinois work for all.

Illinois is quickly approaching a full year without a state budget because the governor refuses to approve any budget unless legislators enact his anti-worker agenda.  Although an education funding bill has kept K-12 schools open, human services and state universities have been hard hit because of Governor Rauner’s refusal to stray from his extreme agenda.

In addition, construction projects have stalled, child support payments are in jeopardy, and businesses are owed millions for goods and services provided to the state. 

Low-income college students are struggling to stay in school as funding for state student assistance under the Monetary Award Program (MAP) is no longer flowing. More than half of all African-American and Latino college students in Illinois receive MAP funding, with 57 percent of grant recipients being first-generation college students.

With the state not paying its bills, local governments across Illinois are feeling the pinch. In Will County, the health department is laying off dozens of employees (members of AFSCME Local 1028) and cutting programs that are dependent on  state grants.

“Every day I see firsthand the harm the governor is causing,” said JoAnn Washington-Murry, a child welfare specialist from Chicago and AFSCME Local 2081 member. “Because the governor is holding up the budget, treatment programs have had to scale back or shut down. That hurts children and families, because if parents can’t get help to turn their lives around, my only choice is to keep that child in foster care.”

Governor Rauner is taking the same my-way-or-the-highway approach to a new union contract for state employees. Claiming an impasse, he broke off negotiations with AFSCME Council 31 and is asking the state Labor Board to allow him to impose his demands, which include doubling health insurance costs for state workers and a four-year wage freeze.

“We have a message for Governor Rauner: What you’re doing is wrong,” Washington-Murry added. “It’s wrong to destroy social services in order to force lawmakers to do your bidding. It’s wrong to refuse to negotiate and walk away. It’s wrong to hold a state of 13 million people hostage to your political agenda.”

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Ill. First Lady’s Charity Joins Budget Suit Against Governor



An education nonprofit headed by Diana Rauner, the wife of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, has joined a coalition of charities suing her husband’s administration over failure to pay off state human-service contracts, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. Ms. Rauner is the president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, which focuses on early-childhood learning and is one of 18 new plaintiffs listed in an amended complaint filed Wednesday by Pay Now Illinois.

More than 60 Illinois human-service nonprofits were already part the coalition when it filed suit in early May. Pay Now Illinois says its members are collectively owed $130 million for programs and services they have provided under contracts that the state has enforced despite Mr. Rauner’s veto of spending bills to fund them. The Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature have been embroiled in a nearly yearlong fight over the state budget. A first hearing on the suit is scheduled for September 1.

Ounce of Prevention received $15.3 million from the state in fiscal year 2015, about 22 percent of its budget.

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Koch-Backed Group Drops $3 Million Against Democrat In PA Senate Race



by Leigh Ann Caldwell

The Charles and David Koch backed super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund has purchased a $3 million advertising buy targeting the Pennsylvania Senate race. It's a large investment in a Senate race six months before Election Day, signaling that the group is going to aggressively play in races where they are ideologically aligned with the candidate.

Freedom Partners, the main political organization of the conservative billionaire political activists, have indicated they will not get involved in the presidential election this cycle because of their dislike of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Instead, the group said it would focus its monetary heft on key Senate races.

This Pennsylvania ad, which attacks Democrat candidate Katie McGinty, who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, comes less than two weeks after a $2 million ad purchase in Ohio. which is another state with a highly contested Senate race as Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman is trying to hold on to his seat.

With this Pennsylvania purchase, it brings the Koch network's spending in Senate races to $15.4 million, and they are in the process of reserving nearly $30 million worth of advertising, mostly in August and September. In addition to Ohio and Pennsylvania, the group plans to also back Republican candidates in Nevada, Wisconsin and possibly Florida.

But still, the $42 million being allocated is far less than the more than couple hundreds of million the group had budgeted to spend if it engaged in the presidential cycle.

"If a candidate were able to garner support from the public with a positive message in support of the issues we care about, and did not engage in personal attacks and mudslinging, we would consider potentially getting involved. That hasn't happened yet and there is no indication that this will happen given the current tone and tenor of the campaign," Mark Holden, Chairman of the Board of Freedom Partners said in a recent statement.

The ad, titled "Whose Job," charges that McGinty, as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection sought subsidies for companies that later paid her after her role in the government ended.

McGinty's Communications Director Sarbina Singh responded to the ad, calling it "desperate."

"Toomey - the best Senator Wall Street and the Koch Brothers ever had - is going to need all the help he can get to hide his abysmal record of putting his special interest allies ahead of Pennsylvania's middle class families," Singh said in a statement.

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