Hannah Meisel’s recent report for Capitol News Illinois included a line that jumped out at me: “Per state law - which hasn’t been updated since 1949 - only counties with 35,000 or more residents are required to set up offices of public defender.”

Among other things, sitting Illinois judges are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 4.1 from making “speeches on behalf of a political organization,” or “solicit funds” for a political organization or candidate, except when they’re up for election or retention. So, you might ask, what the heck was Illinois Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Rochford thinking when she decided to accept an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the Lake County Democratic Women annual fundraising gala on September 9?

The last two Chicago mayors took some news media heat for not sending their kids to public schools, as did Chicagoan Barack Obama when he pushed for education reforms. So, this particular issue is obviously not out of bounds in that city and nobody in public life there should expect otherwise. Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates has, in the past, pointed with pride to the fact that all three of her kids attended public schools. While others often chafed at reporters’ questions about their children, Davis Gates did just the opposite, centering her children as part of who she is as a progressive activist.

Governor JB Pritzker has taken some heat for vetoing legislation to eliminate the state’s decades-old moratorium on constructing new nuclear power reactors. Pritzker was asked about the topic again last week and he said he would sign a version of the bill if it limited new construction to only what are called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why Tim Mapes allowed himself to be put into this situation.

Serabi Medina’s family is currently raising money online to pay for her funeral. You’ve probably read or heard about how the nine-year-old girl was allegedly deliberately shot in the head and murdered by a neighbor in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood earlier this month. But the fundraising shouldn’t be necessary.

Republican U.S. Representative Mary Miller helped ignite a firestorm over the weekend of July 29 when she expressed her disgust on social media with Governor JB Pritzker. Representative Miller (no relation) claimed on Twitter that Governor Pritzker had signed a bill late on a Friday afternoon “to allow illegal immigrants to become police officers, giving non-citizens the power to arrest citizens in our state.”

Illinois Republicans have been saying ever since a state budget deal was announced by the majority Democrats that not enough money was appropriated for Fiscal Year 2024 to pay for the new AFSCME [American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees] Council 31 employee union contract. Some have even predicted that the contract plus other spending pressures, including health-care for undocumented immigrants, will eventually lead to a tax hike.

Both the majority and minority opinions in the Illinois Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the SAFE-T Act last week claimed the other side was ignoring the “plain language” of the Illinois Constitution. Each focused on a single, but different, word. As the all-Democrat majority noted, the judiciary must look at the “plain language used in its natural and popular meaning when the constitutional provision was adopted.” For the majority, the “plain language” in question was from the Illinois Constitution’s Bill of Rights: “All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for the following offenses where the proof is evident or the presumption great.”

The last time a sitting Illinois Republican congressperson faced a real primary challenge from a non-incumbent was more than seven years ago, when then-state Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) challenged US Representative John Shimkus (R-Collinsville). Even so, nobody really thought McCarter had much of a chance, and, as expected, he ended up losing to Shimkus by more than 20 points. We’ve seen reapportionment-related GOP primaries between congressional incumbents - the most recent being U.S. Representative Rodney Davis’s 2022 crushing loss to fellow U.S. Representative Mary Miller (no relation) - but serious challenges of sitting Republican US Representatives are otherwise fairly rare here.