As Republicans Push for Subpoenas and Testimony, SIC Democrats Shut Down Madigan Investigation. House Democrats from the Special Investigating Committee (SIC) looking into the ethical conduct of Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan were successful in shutting down the committee’s work on Monday by refusing to call additional witnesses or to issue subpoenas to Madigan and others with intimate knowledge of a nine-year bribery scheme between Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and the Speaker. After truncating the committee’s work, Democrats voted that the Speaker did not engage in conduct unbecoming of a legislator which constituted a breach of the public trust. The federal investigation into political corruption and Michael J. Madigan continues. 
For many years Illinoisans and most other Americans have taken advantage of mail-order shopping, particularly around the holidays. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic making many of us shy about visiting retail establishments in person, the whole idea of being able to shop online or via catalog has taken on a whole new appeal.

But it isn’t a new idea. In fact, the concept of mail order shopping got a big boost right here in Illinois almost 150 years ago when a young man named Richard Sears found a unique way to promote his business selling watches.

Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission members share concerns with Governor Pritzker’s borrowing scheme. State Representatives Tom Bennett, Dan Caulkins, and Mike Murphy shared their concerns with Governor Pritzker’s controversial plan to borrow another $2 billion from the federal government.

“The State of Illinois borrowed $1.2 billion earlier this year to compensate for the federal government pushing back the income tax filing from April 15 to July 15,” said Rep. Caulkins. “The filing deadline has long since passed and the Pritzker administration failed to pay back the loan as promised. Now he wants to borrow from the federal government again? This is irresponsible. The governor’s solution to put the taxpayers deeper in debt is more borrowing and higher taxes with no path to pay back what has already been borrowed.” 

The history and the legends of the old American West are filled with tales of shootouts on dusty streets. Probably the most well-known of these is the famous Shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881. While it has gone down in history as a seminal moment of Old West lore, its most famed protagonist was not a southwesterner, but was born an Illinoisan, and first drew his gun in an Illinois town.

Last month voters resoundingly rejected Governor JB Pritzker's referendum for an overarching Democratic tax increase. 

Just a little over 30 days later, Mike Madigan ignored the will of the voters by promising House Democrats an income tax increase in exchange for their votes to retain him as Speaker for his 20th term.

Sign the petition to tell Mike Madigan Illinois cannot afford more taxes.

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement following Mike Madigan’s pitch for Speaker including an income tax increase on Illinoisans:

“Fresh off the indictment of his confidant and gatekeeper Mike McClain, Michael Madigan is selling his candidacy for Speaker with the promise of another tax increase. It was just over one month ago when Illinois taxpayers resoundingly rejected the graduated tax and sent a message that everyone heard but the Democratic Party. It is time for Governor Pritzker and Illinois Democrats to take a hint from the November election: don’t go back to the taxpayers and job creators to solve the self-inflicted troubles facing our state.”

Leader Durkin calls for Speaker Madigan’s resignation from the House. On Tuesday, the same day that Madigan insider Mike McClain was arraigned in federal court on charges related to Commonwealth Edison’s admitted bribery and influence peddling scheme, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin called for Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s resignation from the Illinois House of Representatives.
House Republicans to Pritzker: Stop Pointing Fingers and Start Providing Solutions

With identity fraud tied to unemployment claims in Illinois at an all-time high, Illinois State Representatives Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City), Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro), and Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) held a press conference Friday and said Governor Pritzker needs to stop pointing fingers and start proposing solutions.
What did you have for breakfast this morning? If, like a lot of Illinoisans, you consumed a bowl of cereal or a cup of coffee, you probably enjoyed a brand which got its start under an early 20th century Illinois businesswoman named Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Born in Springfield on March 15, 1887, Marjorie Merriweather Post inherited the Postum Cereal Company from her father at age 27 and proceeded to turn it into a global powerhouse. She had been involved in the company from an early age, one of the few women of her time to regularly participate in corporate board meetings.

Illinois House Republican members of the Illinois House Veterans’ Affairs Committee are demanding answers following news of frightening COVID-19 outbreaks at state-run veterans’ homes.

State Rep. Randy Frese, spokesperson for the Illinois House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding House members being excluded from today’s hastily planned hearing:


Madigan ally Mike McClain indicted. The federal indictment of Speaker Madigan ally and confidante Mike McClain, himself a former legislator, shows that the investigation into bribery and corruption within Speaker Madigan’s inner circle continues to ramp up. McClain was charged with bribery conspiracy, a federal felony, in connection with admissions by Commonwealth Edison that the utility giant attempted to buy influence with the Speaker. The indictment was handed down on Wednesday, November 18. 

This fall has seen a lot less football than we are used to in Illinois. The Bears took the field but our Big Ten season was delayed and high school teams did not hit the gridiron at all. Still, the first hints of crisp autumn weather automatically bring to mind thoughts of action on the football field.

Like all the great American sports lots of places can claim to be the birthplace of American football. Illinois can stake its own claim, being home to the game’s first legendary running back as well as some of football’s early innovators like A.E. Staley and George Halas.

Their work, however, built upon the creation of Illinois’ first eminent football mind: the great Amos Alonzo Stagg.


Leader Jim Durkin unanimously reelected to lead the House Republican Caucus in the 102nd General Assembly. The choice was finalized at a meeting of the Caucus held on Thursday, November 12.

“This evening, the House Republican Caucus reelected Leader Durkin by a unanimous voice vote. The caucus is united in continuing its fight to bring ethics reform and fiscal discipline to Illinois.”

Republican members of the Illinois House Veterans’ Affairs Committee sent a letter demanding the chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee convene a public hearing as soon as possible following recent reports detailing an outbreak of COVID-19 among employees and residents at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home.

“We must quickly investigate how and why a recent outbreak occurred and what steps are being taken by the Pritzker administration to stop the spread of COVID-19 at all State-run veterans’ homes and health care facilities,” said State Rep. Randy Frese, Republican Spokesperson for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Our veterans now depend on us, and we cannot let them down. We stand ready to get to work to assist in providing the highest quality healthcare for all Illinois veterans.” 

In the wake of a federal corruption investigation into longtime Speaker of the House Mike Madigan’s role in the ComEd bribery scandal, a handful of Democrat lawmakers have finally joined Republicans and called on their colleagues to reject Madigan. House Republicans support their efforts and urge all legislators to say no to Mike Madigan’s bid to retain his stranglehold on the Illinois General Assembly.

Sign the petition to urge House Democrats to stand up to corruption and vote against Mike Madigan for Speaker.

In 2018 Illinois enacted a law which would allow farmers to apply to the Illinois Department of Transportation to obtain a temporary weight-limit waiver during harvest season. It would allow them to load more of their crops onto trucks and deliver them to markets. It was the latest development in a 200-year-long struggle for Illinois farmers to get their crops to markets as efficiently as possible. Long before trucks started rolling along asphalt highways it was thought that this need could be met with small boats on a system of canals.

After learning that yet another meeting of the Special Investigating Committee (SIC) into the conduct of House Speaker Michael J. Madigan was canceled and work of the committee has been postponed indefinitely, Republicans serving on the bipartisan panel are demanding the committee get back to work.

All of Illinois now under enhanced mitigation; statewide positive case counts number more than 10,000 per day. The cases are only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of tests run on Illinois residents every day across the state, with the great majority of tests coming back negative. However, the positive case counts as a percentage of total tests run is now greater than 8% in all 11 public health regions of Illinois. Under a policy imposed by Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), all 11 regions are currently under enhanced mitigation restrictions.
One hundred fifty years ago, Illinois Governor John Palmer was getting frustrated.

A Civil War general, Palmer had been elected on a platform of government reform in 1868, but he had seen his efforts thwarted time and again in his first legislative session. Not only was he not making any progress on fixing the system, but things appeared to be getting steadily worse.

The bane of Palmer’s existence were the so-called “private bills,” and the state Constitution which kept him from doing anything about them. Private bills were legislation drafted for the benefit of one individual or corporation. The most frequent use of this tactic was for corporate charters, which the drafters of the Constitution then in effect (enacted in 1848) thought they had banned.

Illinois House Republicans demand full transparency regarding data that ties indoor restaurant seating to spike in COVID-19. On Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker announced that beginning Sunday, November 1, restaurants and bars in Illinois Region 3 will be closed to indoor dining/serving, and that other public gatherings will be limited to 25% capacity or 25 people, whichever is lower. In response to the Governor’s announcement, House Republicans who represent the communities in Region 3 are demanding to see concrete data that ties the recent spike in COVID-19 to indoor sit-down dining. 
Illinois workNet has partnered with the Illinois Department of Employment Security to hold a statewide multi-employer Virtual Job Fair. The event is slated to take place over four days the week of November 9-13, with the exception of Veteran's Day. Click here to learn more or to register for the free event.

The Farm Family Resource Initiative, a joint pilot program of SIU School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of Agriculture is leading the effort to build a statewide network of support and resources for Illinois farm families.

The purpose of the initiative is to provide a range of resources including a helpline to assist with farmer and farm-related issues that include mental and physical health needs. 

Additionally, the initiative will offer ongoing outreach, education and training to rural clients and partners working to improve the health and safety of farm families.
Photo from the McLean County Historical Society. 
On Tuesday—for the 51st time in our state’s history—Illinoisans will participate in deciding who will lead the nation for the next four years.

Over the years Illinois has had a fairly good record of ending up on the winning side in Presidential contests. In the state’s first 50 Presidential elections, the candidate who carried Illinois ultimately made it to the White House 42 times, an 84% victory rate.

New numbers show “second wave” of viral transmission in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has now reported results from more than 7.0 million coronavirus tests performed in Illinois as of Thursday, October 22. Slightly more than 5% of these tests have come back positive, with more than 360,000 confirmed cases reported.

On two separate days over the past seven-day period, on Friday, October 16 and again on Thursday, October 22, new positive cases have passed 4,500 per day. The count of positives cases was 4,554 on October 16, and was 4,942 on October 22. Both counts were records for a 24-hour period in Illinois. 
The Federal Aviation Administration assigns every airport in the country a three-letter identification code. This abbreviation is useful shorthand for flight scheduling and also for simpler conversation. Usually these codes are tied to the name of the city, like Miami’s MIA or Dallas-Fort Worth’s DFW. Sometimes cities with multiple airports have an abbreviation which helps distinguish one local airport from another, like New York’s JFK or Washington-Dulles’ IAD.
Rep. Mike Marron discusses legislative action from the 2019 and 2020 sessions, lays out his legislative priorities going forward, and reviews what he's learned in his first term as 104th District State Representative.

Rep. Marron is a native of rural Fithian, in Vermilion County, is a family farmer, and previously served as Vermilion County Board Chairman.
The Illinois General Assembly enacted new statutory provisions in an attempt to protect voters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Legislature amended the Election Code to expand access to mail-in voting and make other changes that are designed to ensure that Illinois voters do not have to choose between their health and their right to vote in the 2020 General Election. The Illinois Attorney General has put together the following information to answer questions and provide general guidance to Illinois voters:

As election approaches, taxpayer-funded ethics reform commission falls silent. The Illinois taxpayer money that funds the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform was used to hold hearings and gather evidence on the current state of pay-to-play politics in Illinois. The Commission, which is staffed by taxpayer-funded public sector employees, was created in the wake of serious allegations made against lobbyists and members of the General Assembly – including politicians who have resigned from office under federal indictment.
The Illinois Secretary of State has established a new email service available to members of the public who need information on reinstating driving privileges, obtaining driving relief or scheduling an administrative hearing. Individuals who have a driver’s license suspension or revocation or any other loss of driving privileges can send an email to

Once an email is received by the office, a response will be sent within three days. The response will include whether a hearing is necessary, the type of hearing needed and the documents that may be required at a future hearing. Administrative hearings are still required to be held in person.

For more information on the service, please visit
Illinois State Arsenal under construction, 1902.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
For as long as there have been armed forces there have been arsenals, facilities to store and secure weapons and ammunition. For obvious reasons these facilities are generally well-built and well-protected. A lucky hit on one of them by an enemy in battle could wreck an entire fort, or sink a powerful warship. Over the centuries, warring armies have expended enormous effort and tons of artillery or aerial bombs to destroy these high-value targets.

One Sunday night in February 1934 in Springfield all it took was a ten-year old with some matches and a paper bag.

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin Says Time’s Up for Democrats: Demand Answers from Madigan or Call for His Resignation. Charging that Democrats “pulled the plug” on the investigation of Mike Madigan for political motives, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin on Thursday called on Gov. JB Pritzker and House Democrats to “demand answers from the speaker or demand his resignation.” 
The scene at Chicago’s Dearborn Station on May 3, 1932, was not unlike that observed on most days. As a particular train readied to pull out of the station, bound for Nashville, Atlanta and ultimately Miami, a crowd of onlookers had gathered to bid goodbye to passengers on board. But on this occasion the departure was different in at least one sense. The scene included two men who, while enormously famous due in large part to each other, had just met in person for the first and only time.

Aboard the train, headed for the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, was the gangster Al Capone. Watching from the station was the U.S. Treasury agent who had put him there: Eliot Ness.
State Representative Tom Demmer who serves as the minority spokesperson on the Special Investigating Committee II, released the following statement:

“At last week’s meeting of the Special Investigating Committee, a motion to subpoena key witnesses was ruled out of order by Chairman Welch, and no vote of the committee was taken. After the meeting, we sent copies of the requested subpoenas to Chairman Welch for his review. Still now, a week later, he has not responded nor issued any subpoenas.
The suicide rate for farmers is higher than all other occupations. Rep. Norine Hammond and a group of lawmakers from around the country and Canada are working together to address issues directly impacting the agriculture community, including farmer suicide.

Rep. Hammond is passionate about supporting the agricultural community and discusses the issue of farmer suicide in this episode of Leading Voices.

Learn more about Rep. Hammond:
House Special Investigating Committee questions ComEd about Madigan bribery scheme; former ComEd VP pleads guilty in federal court. An executive from Commonwealth Edison, Chicago’s largest electric utility, testified to the Committee on Tuesday, September 29, on admissions that ComEd had engaged in a multi-year bribery scheme to influence Public Official A (Speaker Michael J. Madigan) with jobs and a board seat for Madigan associates.
In recognition of  National Women's Small Business Month, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) recently announced it will host a series of webinars to support the advancement of women-owned businesses. The discussions scheduled by DCEO and a host of industry partners, including Groupon, will offer support and insights for small businesses to grow, position themselves, and seek out resources that will help them overcome the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Granger Movement Promotional Poster, ca. 1873.
Library of Congress
Agriculture has been the backbone of Illinois’ economy from the very start. Whether it is farming itself, the manufacturing of farm equipment, or the transport, storage and sale of farm commodities, the agricultural sector has been a dominant part of Illinois’ economy for its entire history.

Just after the Civil War Illinois farmers were struggling. The farm economy had been hit with several challenges all at once. Soldiers returning from the war expected their jobs back, while new competition was coming from homesteaders arriving in the plains states west of the Mississippi. This all created new rivals for markets and eventually led to overproduction of corn and wheat. All the while, the post-war revolution in farm machinery compelled farmers to buy new equipment or risk falling behind.
Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Forensic Services (DFS) unveiled the online sexual assault tracking system, known as CheckPoint, to allow sexual assault survivors to monitor the progress of evidence taken in their cases. 

The CheckPoint system will allow survivors of sexual assault to monitor the status of their evidence throughout the entire process, from collection at the hospital, through law enforcement pick-up and submission to the forensic lab, and ultimately to the State’s Attorney’s office where final results are received. To ensure privacy, the system will use unique case numbers and passwords to limit access to survivors and law enforcement. 
Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 1, the northwestern most counties in Illinois, beginning Saturday, October 3, 2020. The region is seeing a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures in the region under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. This announcement follows last week’s warnings to local leaders that additional mitigation measures would be implemented if the region continued to see an increase in cases. Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

House Special Investigating Committee to hear from ComEd. The Chicago electric utility holding company is one of the focal points of the Committee’s investigation into allegations that House Speaker Michael J. Madigan allegedly took part in conduct worthy of potential disciplinary action. Commonwealth Edison has already agreed to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Office of the U.S. Attorney that includes the payment of $200 million. Announcement of the payment in July 2020 coincided with reports that ComEd was cooperating with federal prosecutors. Now, one or more ComEd executives will be called as witnesses by the Committee.
Illinois is known for Presidents and for debates. Specifically, the four Chief Executives who came from the Prairie State and made history in the Oval Office, and the most well-known series of debates in American history: the contests on the 1858 U.S. Senate campaign trail which launched Abraham Lincoln to national fame.

Where these two come together is also in Illinois: the most famous Presidential debate in American history happened right here in Illinois some 60 years ago this week.

U.S Attorney’s Office Sends Official Response to Parameters for Special Investigating Committee. The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District has responded to both letters from Rep. Demmer and Rep. Welch about the parameters of the Special Investigating Committee. Ron Safer, special counsel for the petitioner Leader Jim Durkin, released the following statement:

“The US Attorney’s Office has given the Special Investigating Committee the green light to pursue all avenues of the investigation, including testimony and documents, that were articulated in the petition. We are grateful that US Attorney John Lausch told the Committee that his office recognizes the SIC’s ‘separate and independent obligation to conduct its inquiry.’ We look forward to the Committee convening promptly to do this important work.” 
The early 1930s were a time of mixed emotions in Chicago. On one hand the agony of the Great Depression was continuing with no end in sight. But on the other hand there were reasons to be optimistic. Federal agents had finally caught up with Al Capone and ended the darkest days of the city’s “Beer Wars,” the city had been chosen to host the upcoming World’s Fair in 1933, and a brash and energetic new mayor had taken the helm in city hall.

House Special Investigating Committee meets for first time. The Illinois House of Representatives has named a Special Investigating Committee to look into allegations surrounding Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan. The Investigating Committee met for the first time on Thursday, September 10 to discuss their responsibilities and determine a path forward.
Every two years the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) releases the latest Illinois highway map, the most up-to-date illustration of the state’s motor vehicle transportation infrastructure. Most of the time a sharp-eyed observer can spot areas of progress on new or expanded highways in the state. In recent years, that might have included the progress of the Illinois 336/Chicago-Kansas City Expressway project in western Illinois, or the Interstate 255 extension in the Metro-East area.

Ever since the first plan for Illinois’ “hard roads” was introduced more than 100 years ago there have been revisions, additions and even some subtractions. For example, nowhere on that Illinois map will you find Interstate 53. Nor will you spot Interstate 66. Even if you turn the map over to the expanded view of the large cities of Illinois, you will not see a Crosstown Expressway in Chicago.

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin Files Petition to Form Special Investigating Committee on Speaker Madigan. On August 31, 2020, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin filed a petition to form a Special Investigating Committee. The subject of the petition is Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and surrounds information from the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into by ComEd and the United States Attorney’s Office. The petition was signed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Rep. Andrew Chesney and Rep. Ryan Spain.
Every four years Americans are united in their support of our Olympic athletes, cheering our nation’s best swimmers, fastest runners, most spectacular gymnasts and the many others who represent the red, white and blue. Unfortunately, this year’s Tokyo Olympics were among the many events cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but they have been rescheduled for next year.

Illinois has been home to its share of Olympic heroes, both summer and winter. Perhaps the greatest of these was a man whose heroics extended far beyond the athletic arena and who came from Ohio, but made Chicago his home later in life.
~ by Rep. Steven Reick

Joseph Wallace, Gizzell “Gizzy” Ford, Ja’hir Gibbons, Semaj Crosby, A.J. Freund. What do they have in common? All of them were murdered and before their deaths all of them were the subjects of investigation by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Now add to that list Kerrigan “Kerri” Rutherford, age 6 from Montgomery, Illinois. Her mother and stepfather have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with her July 2nd death, which Kendall County authorities allege was the result of the couple having given Kerri enough of a prescription drug, olanzapine, to kill her.