House and Senate Republicans claimed during budget-related floor debate last week that the super-majority Democrats had masked the true size of their plan by delaying the start of some spending until the second half of the upcoming fiscal year. Yes and no. Republicans pointed to the $317 million cost of increasing Medicaid provider reimbursement rates, including for hospitals. But that new spending doesn’t begin until January 1, the halfway point in the 2024 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

From Illinois law: “No unit of local government shall levy any tax on stock, commodity, or options transactions.” That statute has long been targeted for elimination by the Chicago Teachers Union and its allies. The CTU reliably shuns any proposal to increase property taxes across the board, instead pushing often-times “magical” solutions as alternatives. It’s one way the union has maintained its popularity among Chicago voters.

A few weeks ago, Senator Robert Peters posted a tweet that he knew would generate backlash. What he didn’t know was that it would go national. The tweet was in response to teens converging on downtown Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reported three teenagers were wounded in two shootings and 16 were arrested during the violence: “I would look at the behavior of young people as a political act and statement. It’s a mass protest against poverty and segregation.”

The Illinois Senate debated and passed several bills last Thursday dealing with what the news media likes to call “culture war” issues. Perhaps the least controversial (there was almost no debate) was House Bill 1591, which deletes some anti-miscegenation laws still on the books since 1915. Even so, nine Republicans voted against the bill.

We’re going to talk some history today. According to testimony at the federal ComEd Four trial, then-House Speaker Michael Madigan’s former 13th Ward Alderperson Frank Olivo was brought on as a subcontractor under then-ComEd Chairman and CEO Frank Clark.

The now-notorious violent youth riot in downtown Chicago during a recent weekend got me to thinking of a press conference way back in 2010. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley voiced frustration about what he said were large groups of suburban kids causing trouble on Chicago’s lakefront, even though plenty of Chicago kids were also participating, including six teens who brutally attacked an 18-year-old suburban woman. Mayor Daley complained that the youths would text each other to organize their mayhem.

A couple of Chicago mayoral race polling results from last month have been stuck in my head ever since they were released.

If you’re getting a strong and unpleasant sense of déjà vu about the new U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates for counties, including Cook County, you’re not alone. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8) is feeling it as well. Krishnamoorthi, who sits on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, has been trying to force the Census Bureau to retool its population estimates because they have been so awfully inaccurate going back years and years.

Could the 2022 massacre during Highland Park’s July 4th parade have been prevented with a small change to state law?

ComEd has long been a source of political patronage. The company’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with federal prosecutors even references how former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s “old-fashioned patronage system” obtained ComEd meter-reader jobs for its precinct workers.