Coffee Break 11-1-17: Illinois Update

The Illinois “ick(y)” factor


We recognize that we cannot undo generations worth of sexism, power dynamics, norms and attitudes about sex and women in one week or in one letter or in one piece of legislation. These are institutional barriers that have oppressed women in the workplace for longer than most of us have been alive. We can say however, that before last week, the silence regarding this issue was deafening. Now, we can’t stop talking about it. This is only the beginning. There are no best practices in other states for how governments handle sexual harassment within their own backyards. Illinois has the opportunity to be at the forefront of change in culture and setting the precedent for the rest of the country. We take this challenge very seriously, and we hope our elected leaders do too.”

Katelynd Duncan, testifying before the Illinois House on 10-31-17 Continue reading “Coffee Break 11-1-17: Illinois Update”


Coffee Break 10-12-17: Illinois Update

Illinois’s political dysfunction as America’s political dysfunction

One thing that’s crystal clear about Rauner is that he is a true believer in pro-business fiscal policies. A free-market conservative, he wants lower taxes, less spending, less government interference in private business, and more business in government. His belief in the superiority of charter schools to Chicago’s public schools, his antipathy toward the Chicago Teachers Union, and his support of vouchers are real and deeply felt.”

–Carol Felsenthal, “Will the Real Bruce Rauner Please Stand Up?” Chicago Magazine, Sept. 15, 2014 

Ah, Illinois. If you’re not a native of the 5th-largest state (and 5th-largest economy – Illinois is a financial services and agricultural powerhouse), you probably won’t understand why natives like DSO feel so disheartened by the latest shenanigans in Chicago (the state’s de facto capital) and Springfield (the state’s de jure capital).

Below the fold, a primer … Continue reading “Coffee Break 10-12-17: Illinois Update”

HEJE Overview 10-11-17: Justice

Decimating Public Employee Unions: Janus v. AFSCME


“The Supreme Court’s decision to take Janus’ case has generated headlines across the country, with union leaders asserting that a decision in Janus’ favor will hurt government-worker unions. But that’s a distortion of what the case is about. Janus is about restoring First Amendment rights to government workers, giving them a choice whether to support a union. It’s about ensuring their ability to exercise the same rights as every other person in this country. And it does not mean the end of government-worker unions in Illinois.”

–Mailee Smith, “Janus v. AFSCME could mean more freedom for Illinois’ government workers,” Illinois Policy Institute (October 9, 2017)

Two words to watch out for in the title: “freedom” and “government”.  They have different meanings from those we were taught. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 10-11-17: Justice”

Coffee Break 9-10-17: Illinois Update


There’s a road I’d like to tell you about, lives in my home town
Lake Shore Drive the road is called and it’ll take you up or down
From rags on up to riches fifteen minutes you can fly
Pretty blue lights along the way, help you right on by
And the blue lights shining with a heavenly grace, help you right on by.”

–Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, “Lake Shore Drive” (1971)

Amazon’s building HQ2—and we think it’s coming to Chicago

Below we explain why. Continue reading “Coffee Break 9-10-17: Illinois Update”

HEJE Overview 8-30-17: Justice/Injustice

On the docket:
Today we glance at a range of legislation, provisions, and court cases of interest, including the ERA (remember that?), an administration decision not to require employers to track pay by gender, race, and ethnicity (rescinding a new provision of the Obama administration), an 11th District case involving an Alabama community bound and determined to secede from … its own school district (for the sake of the children …), the Wisconsin redistricting case headed for SCOTUS this fall, and two developments in Illinois: AVR (Automatic Voter Registration) and a case filed by the IL AG in the 7th District to compel the CPD to do what the DOJ won’t compel the department to do.  Continue reading “HEJE Overview 8-30-17: Justice/Injustice”

HEJE Overview 8-29-17: Environment + Illinois Update (Ed bill, Senate vote)

First reports on imminent pollution/toxic materials waste from Texas + Illinois Update (SB 1947 goes to the Illinois Senate for a vote) Continue reading “HEJE Overview 8-29-17: Environment + Illinois Update (Ed bill, Senate vote)”

HEJE Overview 8-28-17: Education + Illinois Education Update (Updated)

It’s v-day in Illinois: the vote on the evidence-based model for school funding + a sleeper back-door voucher (aka, “scholarship tax credit”) provision is set to go before the Illinois House. Twenty years of discussion, three-four yeas of detail work by ed policy specialists, a year of actually whacking out the wording, and a sleeper bill.

Hey, welcome to Illinois politics! Continue reading “HEJE Overview 8-28-17: Education + Illinois Education Update (Updated)”