“Submitted Reports”: There’s No Such Thing as “Bad Press”?

Skillicorn Submitted ReportIn today’s Northwest Herald, Editor John Styf wrote an article describing how readers can submit news items for publication. However, he failed to tell us another way in which stories can find their way into the paper.

I’m speaking of the recent uptick in the number of stories that are printed under the byline of “Submitted Report”. These stories, written to look like news, are usually meant to describe the exploits of this or that public figure who has done something he/she wants the public to know about. It could be anything, but in most cases it consists of general chest-thumping.

Now it may be said that I’m simply engaging in sour grapes, since my name rarely appears in my county paper of record. It’s not for lack of trying. It’s not like I haven’t been submitting press releases to the Northwest Herald. For instance:

  • My appointment to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (July 17);
  • Legislation I’ve sponsored to deny pension benefits to teachers found to have sexually abused children (July 10);
  • Returning a check I received from the State for late payment of per-diem expenses (May 9);

I could go on, but you get the picture. To be honest, I don’t think the third item above rises to the level of news, but the first two should be of interest to people who’d like to know just what it is I do as State Representative. You’d think that the paper, having been given the press release and thus having been relieved of actually sending a reporter out to find out what’s going on, would appreciate it. I guess not.

I’ve asked multiple times what it takes to “submit” a “report” for publication, and have never received an answer. I guess they’re of the opinion that if I have to ask the price, I can’t afford it.

That’s fine, because the one thing I won’t do as a State Representative is spend money publishing self-flattering screeds under a fake byline and call it “news”.

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Jeanne, Don’t Be Remembered For That Label

The Army You HaveJeanne Ives’ primary campaign for Governor brought to light the anger that was just under the surface in the Republican base. Without her willingness to confront Governor Rauner over such things as signing the “Sanctuary State” bill and H.B. 40, he’d have gone into the November election assuming that the base would come out and support him no matter what. She lanced a boil that needed lancing, and Republicans statewide should be grateful. The Governor is now on notice that he can’t take the base for granted.

Heading toward November, it’s time to focus on what it means if there’s a change in the Governor’s office.  Among those things:

  • The Map. With the 2020 census coming up, nothing determines the composition of the General Assembly more than the electoral map. While the General Assembly is tasked with drawing the electoral boundaries, the Governor can veto the map that comes out of the legislature, forcing both parties to the table to negotiate on a more equal footing. Illinois can’t survive another decade of undisputed Democratic control in Springfield. If you don’t want Mike Madigan’s map being rubber-stamped by a Democratic Governor, this is reason enough to vote for Governor Rauner. The map is everything.
  • There have been a lot of anti-growth, anti-business and anti-taxpayer bills that have made it through the Legislature on less than veto-proof majorities. The Governor has shown a willingness to veto them. With a Democrat in the Governor’s office, we’re likely to end up with a Constitutional amendment to implement a progressive income tax and more legislation that will further drive businesses and productive citizens out of the State, legislation that a Democrat will sign.

Jeanne has said that she ran to hold Governor Rauner responsible for the policy decisions he’s made since 2015. Mission accomplished. But she’s also said that she won’t endorse the Governor for re-election. Her unwillingness to do so now will only make inevitable the very things she ran against in the primary. That’s not the type of legacy anyone should want to leave.

Every day that we move closer to the election, it’s becoming ever more obvious that this race is far from over, but in order to avoid the total meltdown of Illinois, we need to grow or at least maintain our numbers in the House and we need to retain the Governorship.

Jeanne, don’t leave your colleagues in the House facing that which you have within your power to help to avoid. Don’t leave the people of Illinois with a state government that will be hell-bent on leading us faster in our race to the bottom. If it’s your intention to carry on the fight beyond this election, do so by leaving something standing that’s worth fighting for.

You need to join the battle, and you can only do that by stepping onto the battlefield as it now exists. If you don’t, you run the risk of being remembered by the label that was pinned upon you during the campaign:

Madigan’s Favorite Republican.

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First it was the story of how the Chicago Public School system delayed and denied services to special education students, leading to the appointment of a state monitor to oversee CPS’s compliance with state and Federal law.

Now, in today’s Chicago Tribune, there’s a front page story that describes systematic sexual abuse of students by teachers and employees of CPS, abuse that was reportedly ignored or covered up by teachers, administrators and any number of others whose job it is to make sure that such things don’t happen. Read the entire article; it will turn your stomach.

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Firearm Restraining Order: Bipartisan Compromise in Illinois

Last week, a bill (H.B. 2354) was introduced in the Illinois House which creates a “Firearm Restraining Order”. It’s a bill that focuses on the intersection of mass shootings and the issue of mental health. Actually, what was filed was an amendment to a previous bill, an amendment which affirms the desire to keep firearms out of the hands of mentally troubled individuals while at the same time protecting civil liberties and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.

My interest in this bill was prompted by an article written by David French in National Review immediately after the Parkland shooting. In it the author lays out an argument that the means exist for crafting an order which would lessen the chances of troubled persons having the ability to commit such acts while protecting our liberties. French has written several other articles on the subject (here and here), and it was with these points in mind that I joined the negotiation over the current proposal. I would urge anyone interested in this issue to read these articles.

I contacted the sponsor of the bill and started a discussion which has led to the amendment which will be debated in committee when we return to Springfield in early May. These discussions resulted in the bill we now have, and I’ve signed on as a chief co-sponsor.

Here’s a chart showing where we started with this bill and where we ended up:

Comparison Chart FRO

As you can see, there’s been a great deal of movement toward the protection of civil liberties. There are several minor changes which have yet to be made to the bill, which will be offered in committee. It’s to the credit of the bill’s sponsor, Representative Kathleen Willis, that we’ve been able to craft a compromise that, if enacted, could serve as a model for legislation in other states. This is what bipartisanship is supposed to look like.

The NRA has come out in support of firearm restraining orders, and I urge anyone who cares about Second Amendment rights (and I place myself firmly in that camp) to consider this bill as one which strikes a reasonable balance between doing something to deter mass shootings while protecting our liberty. As David French recently wrote:

“If you’re concerned about confiscatory gun control, the real threat to the Second Amendment isn’t a measure like the GVRO, it’s the increase in mass shootings. Each shooting exacts a terrible toll in human life. Each shooting is a shock to our political system. It’s a shock that unites a nation in grief but also divides it in rage.”

I’ve recorded an episode of my periodic series of videos called “Riding Shotgun with Steve”, in which I further explain the bill:

H.B 2354 – Firearm Restraining Order

Watch this video on YouTube.
Posted in Gun Violence, Mental Health, Second Amendment | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Governor, Don’t Mangle the Only Chance You’ve Got

“Mendacity. What do you know about mendacity? I could write a book on it…Mendacity. Look at all the lies that I got to put up with. Pretenses. Hypocrisy…Boy, I’ve lived with mendacity. Now why can’t you live with it? You’ve got to live with it. There’s nothin’ to live with but mendacity. Is there?” – “Big Daddy” Pollitt, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The most mendacious thing said in a campaign filled with mendacity came last night when Bruce Rauner said: “I am honored and humbled by this victory.”

He should be humbled – he should’ve lost. Honor? Calling Jeanne Ives “Madigan’s favorite Republican” may have swayed enough people to put him over the top, but the smell it leaves behind is the smell of mendacity, and it will carry through to November.

A friend of mine observed early on that Bruce Rauner looks at the members of the General Assembly, especially the Republican members, as employees at a company he just bought that he wouldn’t have hired had he been in a position to do so in the first place. That pretty much sums it up.

So Governor, now that we’re stuck with you, here’s a little bit of advice. You need us more than we need you. The only way you can win in November is if Republican House candidates drag you across the finish line. But for that to happen, you’re going to have to check your ego at the door and accept the General Assembly as a co-equal branch of government and admit that we don’t work for you.

For a guy who made a fortune analyzing numbers, you’ve done a lousy job of understanding the rule of 60-30. You’ve been in office for almost four years and still haven’t figured out that the only way to get rid of Mike Madigan is for Republicans to pick up nine seats in November. The real action needs to happen in the House races, but can you set your ego aside long enough to let that happen? I’m afraid that what we’re going to get is seven months of you chanting Madigan! Madigan! and more Madigan! with the hope that repeating it often enough will make him disappear. Do that and you’ll let the only chance you have slip away, and with it the State of Illinois, because the last thing we need is another billionaire who thinks that Governor is an entry-level position.

Governor, you’ve managed to mangle pretty much everything you’ve touched since you got elected. If you want a second term, don’t mangle this.

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