President Nixon visits the Apollo 11 crew as they sit
in quarantine after returning to Earth, 1969. 
Three weeks after their historic mission to the moon, the three astronauts of Apollo 11 were honored with a ticker tape parade through Chicago attended by as many as two million people. They were formally welcomed by Mayor Richard J. Daley with a celebration in a jam-packed Civic Center Plaza.

It was part of a day that began with a similar parade in New York, and ended with a dinner in Los Angeles hosted by President Richard Nixon, at which they were each presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

For two of the Apollo 11 astronauts, it was also a homecoming of sorts.

Neil Armstrong had first set foot on the moon at 8:56 p.m. central time on July 20, 1969. It was the culmination of a career in flight which had started in the Midwest, and included some time in Illinois.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens appointed to serve as 20th District State Rep. At a public meeting on June 29, local, city and suburban leaders across the 20th legislative district unanimously selected Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens to serve as their state representative. On June 17th, longtime State Representative Michael McAuliffe announced his resignation, initiating a process set by state law that requires the appointment of a successor within thirty days to fill out the remainder of the term. State Representative Brad Stephens was surrounded by his family, friends and supporters and was sworn into office by former Democratic state senator now Cook County Judge John Mulroe.
Illinois State Capitol under construction in 1871
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
Illinois has had six capitol buildings in three cities. The first three capitols met untimely fates. Our first capitol building, in Kaskaskia, was lost to the shifting course of the Mississippi River, which has taken most of our first capital city over the past two centuries. Illinois’ second statehouse; the first one to stand in Vandalia; did not last long. On the night of December 9, 1823, the building was destroyed by fire. The third statehouse was torn down by desperate local citizens who thought they could retain the seat of government in their city if they built a more stately-looking building.

Those civic boosters in Vandalia failed, but the structure they ultimately built; our fourth capitol; still stands today. So does our fifth capitol: at 6th and Adams in Springfield. It was replaced starting in 1868 by the sixth and current Capitol building at 2nd and Monroe. But on one summer afternoon in 1933, it seemed the run of bad luck for statehouses in Illinois might claim another victim.

CAPITAL PLAN
Gov. Pritzker Signs Historic Bipartisan $45 Billion Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan. By Fixing Crumbling Roads and Bridges, Plan Will Support and Create an Estimated 540,000 Jobs in Every Corner of the State.

Surrounded by lawmakers of both parties and representatives from the business community and labor movement, Governor JB Pritzker signed Rebuild Illinois into law, the most robust capital plan in Illinois history and the first in nearly a decade.
Photo from the National WWII Museum
Earlier this month America and the world celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the morning that thousands of Allied soldiers splashed ashore in Normandy to liberate occupied Western Europe from Nazi Germany. Countless tales of heroism, ingenuity, sacrifice and bravery have been told from the events around June 6, 1944. But one story that has not gotten as much attention involves the development of an item that would save innumerable lives on D-Day and virtually every day after.

And it hinges on a Peoria market’s moldy cantaloupe.
Through highly targeted student assistance programs, Illinois is helping college graduates minimize student debt while at the same time addressing the critical shortage of teachers, nurses and public defenders. Designed to meet specific needs in our state, these programs invest in college graduates who promise to work in Illinois in these areas of need.

College students who plan to enter one of the targeted fields or graduates who are working in one of these fields should take a look at these specialized repayments programs designed to keep them working and thriving in Illinois.

Learn more about the programs below:
Iroquois Theater, 1903
In the days before television and the many opportunities Americans have for entertainment in the modern age, an afternoon or an evening at the theater was a prime diversion for many. Whether it was a lecture by a famed orator, an orchestra concert or a theatrical presentation, an audience could find a few hours amusement at the theater.

But over the centuries, theaters also were the scene of their share of problems. From the middle ages on, theaters were a prime source of disease outbreaks, and were often among the first facilities closed during the frequent epidemics of the Elizabethan age and onward. More recently; especially as theaters became larger and more complex; they were the scenes of terrible disasters caused by fires and large, panicked crowds rushing for the exits. Nowhere was this combination of factors more deadly than near the corner of Dearborn and Randolph in Chicago just a few days after Christmas in 1903.

This is the time of year when students are receiving college financial aid award letters. And the hard decision of which college to choose begins.

With the rising cost of college tuition; and the increased student debt load that can ultimately follow; it is more important than ever to make the right decision. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) provides a valuable free tool to help you compare financial aid awards and the total cost for up to three colleges.

Need additional assistance? Contact a local ISACorps Member to help you through the college planning process.
Excerpt from Beth Kobliner's story on the PBS News Hour.

Here are four tips to help you and your kid sort through the 7,000 or so U.S. colleges and universities and get the biggest bang for your higher ed buck.

1. Money is a Factor: Level with your kid about how much you can spend and warn her against taking on too much debt.  
  • Make sure any loans are low-interest federal ones (not private). Federal student loans are at a low 5.05 percent interest rate and cap out at $31,000 for five years of college—plus, your kid can choose from a variety of repayment plans after she graduates. 
  • Avoid borrowing on your child’s behalf. The number of parents taking out pricier Parent PLUS loans for their children’s college costs is soaring. Some are even borrowing against their retirement plans. Don’t. 
ABORTION
Governor Pritzker approves massive abortion expansion law. Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation Wednesday that will massively expand abortion access in Illinois.

Senate Bill 25, the so-called “Reproductive Health Act,” makes many sweeping changes to Illinois’ abortion laws, establishing abortion as a fundamental right in Illinois. It further provides that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law. It repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act, and the Abortion Performance Refusal Act, which specifies that a medical professional who declines to recommend or perform an abortion procedure cannot be held liable for damages. The new law contains intentionally vague definitions that will provide for a significant expansion of post viability abortions. Establishing abortion as a fundamental right means Illinois will not be able to enforce its parental notification law that requires parents of minor children to be notified if their daughter seeks and obtains an abortion.
Lieutenant Governor John W. Chapman signs a document
at Secretary of State Charles F. Carpentier's desk, 1953.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
They have names like Zadoc Casey, Stinson Anderson and Gustavus Koerner. Another was named John Smith. In all, the club has 48 members. Some aspired to join, some attained membership through fate. For some, it was the pinnacle of a career in public service, for others it was a stepping stone. The club got its first female member in 1999, and four of the five most recent to join have been women. It got its first African-American member just this year.

Some club members have been very active, some not. One even resigned from boredom. Eight of them ended up moving into the highest office in the state. These are the Lieutenant Governors of Illinois. Important figures in their time, some of them have been forgotten by history.

Ruth Hanna McCormick and fellow women’s suffragist 
Anna Howard Shaw, 1914.
State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) was a proud Chief Co-Sponsor this year of HR 96 which recognizes Illinois as a leader in the story of women’s suffrage in the United States, and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment’s ratification in Illinois on June 10, 2019.

“The 19th amendment forbids the states or the federal government from denying a person the right to vote on the basis of sex. This momentous act opened the door for women to vote for all offices,” stated Wehrli in a news release. “HR 96 commemorates granting women the right to vote with special attention to Illinois’ proud place in the effort. Illinois is home to storied women’s right advocates and suffragists like Jane Addams, Frances Willard, and Ruth Hanna McCormick.” Read the rest of the story in Positively Naperville.
BUDGET
Bipartisan, balanced budget passed after inclusion of House Republican-backed business reforms. As the General Assembly’s May 31 scheduled adjournment approached, intense negotiations took place in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to reach a deal on a balanced budget and capital infrastructure plan.

Under the leadership of House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Deputy Leader Tom Demmer, House Republicans insisted that key business reforms be included in the budget and capital plan. These reforms will make Illinois a better place to create jobs and grow capital investment and were strongly backed by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and other business groups.
Governor Green (back, left), Col. McCormick (back, right), and U.S. Senator
Brooks (front, left) leave the State House on Republican Day at the Illinois
State Fair. Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.
Illinois’ most famous criminal carried out a reign of violence and terror that gripped Chicago for years during Prohibition. Al Capone’s legend grew with each headline-grabbing murder, and his exploits remain well known today thanks to a series of movies and TV shows. While prosecutors could never definitively pin most of the murders or the bootlegging on him, they did finally trip him up over unpaid taxes on his ill-gotten gains.

It was an IRS attorney named Dwight H. Green who got the tax evasion indictment and eventual conviction that sent Al Capone to prison. Green became famous as a crime fighter, and less than a decade later was taking the oath of office as the 30th Governor of Illinois. But halfway through his second term in Springfield, a deadly scandal within his own administration would come to light and cut short his career at the moment it seemed destined for new heights.

Illinois House Speaker and Senate
President of  the 51st General Assembly.
The 101st Illinois General Assembly convened on January 9 of this year. On the 9th day of its existence, the 763rd House bill was introduced. In those nine days, the members of the Illinois House introduced the same number of bills as their predecessors did in the entire two-year term of the 51st General Assembly which convened 100 years ago.

The 2019 Senate took a little longer to reach the 1919 Senate’s output. This year’s Senate did not catch its predecessor’s output of 580 bills until January 31, the 23rd day after convening.

As Illinois began the first year of its second century of statehood, its 204 state legislators (51 Senators and 153 Representatives), representing its 6,485,280 people, had a lot to do. Appropriations for “hard roads,” working conditions for women, a proposed statewide police force, and even the legalization of ten-round boxing matches were some of the pieces of legislation on the agenda of the 51st General Assembly when it met in Springfield in January 1919.

TAXES
Democrats advance graduated tax hike legislation. On Monday evening, the Democrat majority passed a graduated income tax amendment out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, over Republican objections.

SJRCA 1 passed out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee on a partisan vote of 9-6, with all Republican members voting ‘No.’ The graduated income tax constitutional amendment now goes to the full House of Representatives for a final vote. If approved by the House, the constitutional amendment would be placed on the November 2020 general election ballot.
The 1953 Illinois Blue Book includes a list of seven Illinois cities likely to be targeted during a Soviet atomic attack. The next page features a terrifying photo of a hydrogen bomb blast with a city skyline; said to be Chicago; superimposed in front of it.

In the years following World War II, the optimistic belief that the threat of global war had perhaps been eliminated forever began to wane. Europe hardened into distinct eastern and western spheres, the Soviets blocked Berlin, civil war reignited in China, and American forces went into combat in Korea. All the while, weapons became more powerful and their delivery systems became faster and their ranges longer. By the early 1950s it seemed nowhere was safe, even the middle of North America.
Our guest today serves the residents of portions of Kankakee, Will, and Grundy Counties. She continues a family tradition of being committed to community volunteering and philanthropy and promoting community growth, and has dedicated her life to serving others as a mom, wife, daughter, aunt, and practicing attorney. She and her husband share a passion for family, friendships and food. Our guest is state representative Lindsay Parkhurst.


TAXES
House Republicans: A tax increase is not necessary to achieve a balanced FY20 budget. Illinois House Republicans held a press conference Thursday at the Capitol to reiterate the message that a tax increase is not necessary to achieve a balanced Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

House Republicans presented a document detailing $2.6 billion more in revenue than the House working groups had previously planned for. These new revenues clearly demonstrate that the General Assembly can pass a balanced budget without raising taxes on Illinois families and businesses.
The 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy.
Photo from the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
Sitting down at a desk at the Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois, Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower began composing his report. It was November 1919 and Eisenhower had just completed an arduous two-month drive across the United States with a column of Army trucks on the Lincoln Highway, the new transcontinental highway stretching from New York’s Times Square to San Francisco’s Lincoln Park.

At least, that’s the road which the Army thought it was going to use. In his report Eisenhower cleared up any misconception which the Army might have had about the Lincoln Highway being an actual road.
TAXES
Durkin: “We have the money to balance the budget without new taxes.” On Wednesday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, along with Deputy Leaders Dan Brady and Tom Demmer, held a press conference to reiterate the need for bipartisan negotiations to pass a balanced Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

In light of this week’s announcement that April revenues were up by $1.5 billion and that FY20 estimated revenues were revised upwards by $800 million, Leader Durkin announced that we have the money to balance the FY20 budget without new taxes. Durkin’s full remarks follow:
Woman stands with original steel plow at
the Smithsonian in the late 1930s
An Illinois farmer 200 years ago may have wondered if it would someday be possible for Illinois to be an agricultural powerhouse. It was conceivable that the state could one day be among the nation’s leaders in production of crops like corn and soybeans. With miles and miles of wide open prairies and a temperate climate, there was certainly the potential that Illinois might one day be known as one of the leading farm states in the young nation.

That is, if the farmers could just find a way to break through the ground.

In Illinois’ first 20 years of statehood, and for generations before, small subsistence farms had been the norm. Native Americans followed by settlers from the rocky Appalachians and the sandy eastern states had come into Illinois and worked their small plots, scraping out a living, but had not been able to farm huge plots of the prairie. Part of the blame went to their incorrect belief that the soil that produced the tallest trees had to be the most fertile, causing some to avoid the open prairies that cover most of the state. But there was another, larger problem that had stymied Illinois farmers for years.
TAXES
Senate Democrats Advance Massive Tax Increase. On Wednesday, May 1st, Illinois Senate Democrats passed a graduated tax package out of the Senate that would increase taxes by more than $3.5 billion per year.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement on the graduated tax package votes in the Senate:

“The Senate's votes today are a slap in the face to thousands of Illinois families and businesses - just another step towards handing a blank check over to the Democrats and their reckless spending habits.”
Lincoln Home in Springfield draped in mourning, 1865
The crowd gathered in the morning chill on 8th Street in Springfield eagerly awaited the appearance of their triumphant friend and neighbor. Three months earlier, the man they had so often greeted in passing on this dusty street had been elected President of the United States. On that exciting night, Abraham Lincoln had rushed the five blocks from the state capitol building and burst through the door of his family’s house at the corner of 8th and Jackson, shouting to his wife, “Mary! We are elected!”
TAXES
House Republicans continue pushback against Pritzker tax hike. The graduated income tax proposed by Governor JB Pritzker would enable future governors of Illinois and Illinois General Assemblies to enact any tax rate they want upon any specific slice of Illinois taxpayers. The authors of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 included specific ironclad language in that document that requires all income taxes imposed upon individuals to be at a single, flat, fixed rate. It is this provision of the Constitution that the proposal would repeal.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
Illinois exports $8.2 billion in agricultural commodities overseas, roughly six percent of all the agricultural exports of the United States. We are #2 in the nation in exporting soybeans and feed grains, and our state has ranked first in the nation in soybean production in the recent past, while standing in second place in corn production. We rank among the top ten states in the nation in dozens of agricultural categories, from sweet corn production to the total value of our state’s farm real estate.
Ruins of the Longfellow School in Murphysboro
A mid-March day in Illinois which features temperatures in the mid-60s would usually be considered quite pleasant, even though some rain was falling. Such was the case early in the afternoon on March 18, 1925, as unseasonably warm weather was recorded throughout the southern part of the state. But this day was different. Those warm temperatures and the rainfall were among the few warning signs of the storm that was coming. The state of Illinois was about to endure one of the most tragic hours in its history.

Today, meteorologists would have filled the air with warnings about this storm, likely many hours in advance and with increasing specificity as the storm grew nearer. Modern communications and construction technology would prevent much of the horror that tore across Illinois that day. But in the early days of radio, without television, cell phones, weather satellites or tornado sirens, with wooden and masonry structures, without safe rooms or many storm cellars, the scene was set for disaster.

TAXES
Democrats advance tax hike in state Senate. Language to amend the state Constitution and enable a $3.4-billion tax hike on middle-income families and businesses was approved by Democratic state senators in a committee hearing on Wednesday, April 10. SJRCA 1 will allow the State to levy graduated income taxes on all income levels within Illinois. The graduated income tax constitutional amendment has been moved to the Order of 3rdReading before a full vote by the Illinois Senate.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin reiterated his caucus’ unanimous opposition to the Pritzker tax hike.
Mary Lincoln in mourning attire, 1865
At first, many in the audience might have thought it was part of the show. The famed actor had leapt onto the Ford’s Theater stage, shouted a line and then disappeared backstage. Some audience members must have tried to figure out what the line had been, while others wondered if John Wilkes Booth’s sudden appearance had been a surprise cameo in the evening’s play.

But a split second later, Mary Lincoln’s scream from the box overlooking the Ford’s Theater stage made clear that this was not part of the show. Instead, it was an unspeakable crime which would devastate a nation that had just begun to rediscover some happiness at the end of four years of civil war. For Mary Lincoln it was a deep personal tragedy which she would mourn every day for the rest of her life.
TAXES
House Republicans Renew Opposition to Pritzker’s Tax Hike. In a Capitol press conference on Tuesday, State Representatives Grant Wehrli, Mark Batinick and Jeff Keicher renewed their opposition to Illinois Democrats’ latest attempt to raise taxes on Illinois families and businesses. This latest tax hike proposal, spearheaded by Governor JB Pritzker, calls for removing the flat rate income tax guarantee from the Illinois Constitution.

The Battle of Shiloh
On an April morning a year after Fort Sumter, a large group of Illinois soldiers suddenly received their baptism by fire in a fight that would eclipse every battle the United States had ever fought before it.

Illinois had been among the most enthusiastic of the states in answering President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops at the outset of the Civil War. Thousands of Illinoisans had joined small military units in their home towns and counties. The company or battalion-sized units had been organized into regiments, units of roughly 1000 soldiers. These regiments were then joined with other Illinois regiments (typically four or so) into brigades, which were themselves attached to larger divisions made up of three or four brigades from other western states. This force formed the western army of the United States.
CHICAGO
McAuliffe Files Legislation Prohibiting Film Tax Credit for Employers of Jussie Smollett. In response to the surprising decision by prosecutors to drop the case against Chicago actor Jussie Smollett, State Representative Michael McAuliffe has filed legislation to prohibit any production using the actor from receiving Illinois Film Tax Credits.

“A lot of valuable Chicago Police Department (CPD) man hours and resources were wasted chasing down a bogus crime arranged by Smollett,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Hate crimes are serious and so is the time and effort of the CPD. He has cost Chicago a lot more than a $10,000 bond. Smollett should not be able to get anything more from the City of Chicago or Illinois.”
This spring marks the 150th anniversary of professional baseball in the United States. The celebration will include the arc of baseball history: Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance, Shoeless Joe, the Gas House Gang, Jackie Robinson, the Go-Go Sox, Brock-for-Broglio, McGwire vs. Sosa, the end of “the Curse” in 2016 and so much more.
DOWNSTATE
Push to reopen minimum-security unit within Tamms Correctional Center. The 700-bed facility, which contains a minimum-security work camp, used to support hundreds of jobs in economically-challenged Alexander County in far southern Illinois. Shut down during the budget crisis of the early 2010s, the facility has burdened the Department of Corrections ever since, as the Department has to expend funds to maintain the building complex and keep up its infrastructure.
After 30 years in the corporate world then stints as the Frankfort Township Clerk and a Will County board member, our guest decided to take her experience and talents to Springfield. Even so, she still finds time for kayaking, backpacking, and her passion for quilting.

Our guest is 37th District State Representative Margo McDermed.

Ruth Hanna McCormick and fellow women’s suffragist
Anna Howard Shaw, 1914.
When the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became law in 1920 it might have extended voting rights to women, but it certainly did not mark the beginning of women’s involvement in American politics. For decades, women had been prominent leaders in the movements for abolition, social welfare, temperance and suffrage, just to name a few. In 1913 Ruth Hanna McCormick had helped lead the fight for the first women’s suffrage law in Illinois.
TAXES
Tax Foundation finds Pritzker tax proposal would have devastating effect on Illinois economy. Illinois, which is already one of the highest-taxed states in the nation in terms of sales taxes and local property taxes, would add income taxes to this dismal list of rankings. Under Gov. Pritzker’s proposed Illinois tax rates on individual and corporate income – rates that could be subject to revision – corporate income would be taxed at 10.45%, the third-highest rate among the 50 states. Pass-through business income used by a wide variety of farmers and small businesses would be taxed at 9.45%, the fourth-highest rate for pass-through small-business income among the 50 states.
Illinois state legislators Katherine Hancock Goode, Florence Fifer Bohrer,
Rena Elrod, and Lottie Holman O’Neill pictured in Springfield in 1925.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.
One hundred years ago, Illinois became the first state in the nation to ratify the 19th Amendment, extending equal voting rights to women. It took another year for 35 more states to follow suit, but the Amendment was eventually ratified in August 1920. It did not take long for a pair of Illinois trailblazers to start on their way to becoming the first women elected to the Illinois General Assembly.
At just over 40, our guest today has already served on the city council of two northern Illinois communities and has been advocating for residents of the Rock River Valley in the Illinois House since 2011.

In our conversation he gives credit to a high school teacher for his interest in the political system and answers questions about a particular suit he wore to Arlington Raceway.

We talk issues under the dome with 69th District State Representative Joe Sosnowski.

TAXES
Gov. Pritzker proposes a $3.4 billion tax hike on Illinois families and businesses. On Thursday, March 7, Governor J.B. Pritzker finally unveiled his plan for a graduated income tax in Illinois. Pritzker’s proposed rates would result in a $3.4 billion tax hike on Illinois families and businesses.

The Governor’s proposal would move Illinois from a flat income tax rate of 4.95% to a graduated income tax with six tax brackets. Families and small businesses with income between $250,000-$500,000 would pay a state tax rate of 7.75%, while the highest rate of 7.95% would apply to all income over $1,000,000. As many small business owners file their tax returns as individuals, Pritzker’s tax hike would hit Illinois small businesses especially hard.
Two members of the National Woman’s Party being arrested
as they picket in front of the White House, 1917
When Dr. Anna Howard Shaw arrived in Springfield in the spring of 1919, her accomplishments in the cause of women’s suffrage were well known. A close friend of Susan B. Anthony, Dr. Shaw had been a leader in the fight for equal voting rights since the late 1880s. Even before then she was a trailblazer, as the first woman to become a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church and a powerful voice for the temperance movement. She also picked up a medical degree along the way.
TAXES
House Republicans File Resolution Opposing Gov. Pritzker’s Unfair Tax. This week,Illinois House Republicans filed House Resolution 153, which states unified opposition to Governor Pritzker’s plan to tax small businesses and middle-class families out of the state through the implementation of a graduated income tax - an “Unfair Tax”.

“Illinoisans cannot afford another income tax increase and we cannot afford a system that allows politicians to play with rates and brackets just to fill budget holes,” said Assistant Republican Leader Avery Bourne. “A graduated income tax will inevitably bring a tax increase on a majority of Illinoisans and will hurt small businesses - making us even less competitive with our surrounding states. I’m proud to stand in opposition to Governor Pritzker’s proposed tax increase.”
Ulysses S. Grant standing alongside his famous war horse,
“Cincinnati” – 1864
When Illinois attained statehood in 1818, it had the smallest population of any state on the day it entered the union – a distinction we still hold today. Most of Illinois was unsettled, and Chicago was just a few cabins around an old fort.

But fifty years after statehood, Illinois’ population had raced beyond one million, we were the nation’s fourth-largest state and Chicago was already its ninth-largest city. In that 50th-birthday year, a second Illinoisan was elected to the White House. It was 150 years ago next week that Ulysses S. Grant of Galena, Illinois, took the oath of office as the 18th President of the United States.
He’s a central Illinois farmer who has traveled the world representing the agricultural industry but has also found time to serve as the chairman of the Vermilion County Board.

For relaxation he participates as a saddle bronc rider in rodeos. Our guest is State Representative Mike Marron.

BUDGET
Gov. Pritzker’s Tax, Borrow & Spend Budget More of the Same Failed Democratic Playbook. Governor J.B. Pritzker delivered his first Budget and State of the State Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield on Wednesday, February 20th.

The Governor’s introduced Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal estimates general funds revenue at $38.9 billion and proposes $38.7 billion in general funds spending. To help close a $3.2 billion budget deficit, the Governor is proposing pension savings through a ramp extension, new revenues through taxes on new and existing services, and closing so-called “corporate loopholes.” Altogether, the Pritzker Administration estimates a $1.5 billion increase in revenue over FY19.
Butch O'Hare seated in the cockpit  of his Grumman
F4F "Wildcat" fighter, circa Spring 1942.
Two months after the disaster at Pearl Harbor, America needed some good news.

The nation had been shocked by the crushing defeat suffered in the surprise Japanese attack on Hawaii on December 7, 1941. And it seemed like there had been nothing but bad news since. General Douglas MacArthur’s forces in the Philippines had been driven into retreat, and the capital city of Manila had fallen. Japanese troops had captured Hong Kong and Singapore. German armies stood within sight of Moscow, while their submarines prowled the U.S. east coast close enough to observe the lights of Atlantic City and Coney Island. Things were bad all around.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Representative Bourne leads appointment of new Legislative Inspector General. Rep. Avery Bourne led a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators in the selection of a person with trusted legal experience to take on the duty of examining allegations of misconduct within the General Assembly. Significant allegations of misconduct, including allegations of sexual harassment, were made against General Assembly members and senior members of legislative staff during the 100thGeneral Assembly (January 2017 – January 2019). Under state law, allegations of these types must be referred to the office of an independent Legislative Inspector General for scrutiny and possible referrals for discipline. This includes, in rare cases, referral of an allegation to law enforcement.
Rep. John W.E. Thomas, Rep. Adelbert Roberts,
and Congressman Oscar Stanton DePriest
As the 30th General Assembly convened in January 1877 it was an exciting time for Illinois. The post-Civil War economic boom had come to Illinois at full speed, and the state was now among the fastest-growing in the nation. Legislators were meeting for the first time in the new State Capitol building at 2nd and Monroe in Springfield.

And one of the 153 men taking the oath of office in the House of Representatives was making history that day.

John W.E. Thomas had been born into slavery in Alabama in 1847. He discovered the joy of reading and writing at an early age. In his youth he would courageously defy the local authorities by teaching other African-Americans to read, and the desire to be an educator stayed with him his entire life. Together with his wife Maria and their daughter Hester he came to Chicago just after the Civil War.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Illinois House committees hold first hearings of new session. Much of the session work of this week was spent in organizing the 39 standing committees of the Illinois House of Representatives. These are the panels that will hear almost all of the legislation introduced in the House through January 2021. Many of the committees, such as the House Committee on Labor and Commerce and the House Committee on Personnel and Pensions, took prompt action to set up subcommittees from the members appointed to their membership.
Congressman-Elect Abraham Lincoln
Presidential experience comes in many forms. Washington and Eisenhower commanded armies which changed the course of world history. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and was Vice President. Franklin Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and later Governor of the nation’s largest state. Other Presidents were Governors, Senators, generals, businessmen and farmers. John Quincy Adams perhaps holds the record, having devoted 70 years of his life to public service.