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House lawmakers could vote Tuesday on a controversial bill that would expand the availability of taxpayer-funded abortions in Illinois -- the same day as the Illinois Women's March on Springfield.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, would allow women to use Medicaid coverage and state employee health insurance for abortions. Supporters say the bill also would help ensure abortion remains legal in Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court by removing a so-called trigger provision in current law.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has vowed to veto the bill, despite pledging in 2014 to work for legislation that would lift restrictions on Medicaid- and state employee insurance-covered abortions. The governor’s office told Feigenholtz he could support the bill if she removes that portion, but she declined.
“I am not leaving women who are insured by the state of Illinois, whether you’re an employee or Medicaid is your insurer, I am not leaving them in the dust,” Feigenholtz said. “I’ll let Gov. Rauner do that. That’s what it looks like he’s doing.”
Last week, Rauner said that "expanding taxpayer funding is a very divisive issue" and that lawmakers should focus on jobs, reducing property taxes and education funding, among other things.
The planned vote comes as advocates prepare to descend on the state Capitol to push for policies that tackle women’s rights, labor issues, immigration and more.
Tuesday's Illinois Women March on Springfield aims to echo similar marches that occurred around the world in January following the election of President Donald Trump. Co-chair Tracy Baim said the march is a dual response to the state’s budget impasse and perceived efforts at the federal level to roll back certain rights.
The event kicks off with a noon rally featuring Comptroller Susana Mendoza, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a slate of Democratic lawmakers. Democratic candidates for governor J.B. Pritzker, state Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston and Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar will appear at a second rally inside the Capitol following the march and lobbying by advocates.
Meanwhile, House lawmakers are also set to consider a bill backed by women’s rights advocates that would prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their wage or salary history, among other provisions. (Haley BeMiller)
What's on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will appear in Woodlawn to announce Jewel-Osco is building a store at 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp will be out at the intersection at 6 a.m. to talk about the announcement with the morning TV news, per the mayor's press shop.
*Gov. Rauner's schedule wasn't available.
*The Illinois House and Senate meet.
*U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth is set to give her first floor speech about 1:30 p.m.
From the notebook
*A Ferris Bueller moment for Kennedy ... Kennedy ... Kennedy: DuPage County Democrats held their annual gala Sunday night in Lombard, the largest fundraiser of the year for the organization.
The keynote speaker was Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a backer of Bernie Sanders’ unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and an unsuccessful candidate to chair the Democratic National Committee.
While several hundred people attended, there was one Ferris Bueller moment when the Democratic candidates for governor were invited to speak. When Chicago businessman Chris Kennedy’s name was called -- repeatedly -- the candidate was nowhere to be found.
Kennedy aides said the candidate attended the DuPage event earlier but had to leave before the speaking portion. Kennedy posted pictures from the Sunday event on his campaign’s Facebook page but was campaigning Monday in southwestern Illinois’ Metro East area near St. Louis.
From Kennedy’s Facebook post: “I had to leave earlier than I expected -- I promise to come back so we can meet again!” (Rick Pearson)
*Blago flashback: Federally appointed monitor Noelle Brennan’s lengthy final report on Illinois Department of Transportation staff assistant patronage hiring under then-Gov. Pat Quinn also contained a flashback to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The report cited two major state inspector general investigations that the Tribune revealed years ago, one of which ended up being used against Blagojevich in the Illinois House impeachment proceedings.
A September 2004 report by Zaldwaynaka “Z.” Scott, then the state’s executive inspector general, issued a searing confidential rebuke that called Blagojevich’s patronage office “the real machine driving hiring” in the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The investigation concluded that the “governor’s office improperly exercised a great deal, if not all, control over the hiring” at that agency since shortly after Blagojevich took office in early 2003.
Scott maintained the Blagojevich administration subverted state laws that gave veterans a preference in hiring and a ban on political considerations for most state jobs. She said the Blagojevich administration’s effort reflected “not merely an ignorance of the law, but complete and utter contempt for the law.” That came up during Blagojevich’s January 2009 impeachment.
A second 2004 inspector general investigation that was cited in Brennan’s Monday report and first reported by the Tribune revealed how House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, directly called a Department of Corrections official. Madigan urged that former Democratic state Rep. James Phelan be hired, according to the inspector general investigation. There was no indication in the IG report that Madigan did anything improper.
The report noted that Phelan had left a business card reflecting his connection to then-U.S. Rep. Bill Lipiniski, a Southwest Side powerhouse and Madigan ally.
If prison officials had checked with City Hall, they would have found Phelan had been fired from a job as a ward superintendent for the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation. According to court documents, Phelan’s superiors said he wasn’t managing his ward correctly.
A second person cited in the inspector general report was Manuel Acevedo, the brother of then-Rep. Eddie Acevedo, D-Chicago.
Both Phelan and Manuel Acevedo scored well on their state exams, but neither was a military veteran. The IG report said neither was technically eligible for the Chicago area jobs they sought because of a state law that gives absolute hiring preference to veterans.
Both Phelan and Acevedo applied for jobs during the waning days of the tenure of then-Republican Gov. George Ryan, who is now out of prison for unrelated corruption.
But Blaogjevich’s then-chief of staff, Alonzo Monk, who also served prison time as part of the Blagojevich scandal, and the governor’s top patronage chief, Joe Cini, eventually helped both with jobs. They gave final approval to a job transfer for Phelan and signed off on the promotion of Manuel Acevedo.
Reached on Monday, former Rep. Acevedo said he had no idea what the Blagojevich administration was doing with job categories.
“I had nothing to do with that,” the former lawmaker said. “Not even close.”
He noted his brother “had 30-some years in the (Chicago) police department.”
“However he got hired, he did it on his own,” Acevedo said. (Ray Long)
*Six-figure war chests: Former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who was vastly outspent in his failed re-election bid last year, started April with just over $195,000 still in the bank, a new report to the Federal Election Committee shows.
Sen. Duckworth, who replaced Kirk on Jan. 3, began the month with nearly $275,000 in her war chest, an FEC report shows.
Duckworth spent $16.7 million to Kirk’s nearly $10.4 million in the 2016 Senate race, according to the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute in Washington.
Some $3.6 million in outside money was dropped on the contest, with Kirk capturing the bulk, $2.1 million, the institute said.
Duckworth had receipts of nearly $288,000 in the first quarter, her FEC report said.
Kirk did little fundraising during the first three months of the year and refunded nearly $76,000 in contributions in the period, his report said.
While he left office, he hasn’t completely left politics. Kirk cut a $10,000 check on March 15 to the Illinois Republican Party. (Katherine Skiba)
*End of the ride: The Chicago taxi industry’s legal challenge to ride-sharing came to a final end Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case. That left standing an earlier appellate court rejection of claims that Mayor Emanuel’s City Hall had stacked the regulatory deck in favor of app-based operations like Uber and Lyft. (Hal Dardick)
*How they voted: Illinois' two U.S. senators both voted to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be secretary of agriculture.
U.S. Sens. Duckworth and Dick Durbin have often voted the same way on President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees. Perdue cleared the confirmation by a comfortable margin, via a 87-11 vote.
What we're writing
*Court watchdog details how top Democrats got friends, relatives hired at Quinn’s IDOT.
*Obama lifts lid on post-presidency career with civic engagement forum at U. of C.
*Aviation cop: "minimal but necessary force" used to remove passenger from United flight.
*Chicago envisions 911 system that could receive texts, photos, videos during emergencies.
*Illinois Tollway unveils $4B plan to widen Tri-State from Balmoral (Rosemont) to 95th Street (Bridgeview).
*Chicago's Trump Tower has a 'glut' of condos for sale.
*New leaders start at Chicago State University.
*CPS proposes school year dates for 2017-18.
*CTA, city plan renovation of Cottage Grove Green Line station.
What we're reading
*'Remix' or plagiarism? Artists battle over South Side mural of Michelle Obama.
*From AP: Rauner tech chief's memberships cost $208K.
*Lucas Museum president takes a loss on Lincoln Park mansion's sale. It was not the house he was looking for.
Follow the money
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.
*Border wall, health care jeopardize spending bill days from shutdown.
*Trump seeks 15 percent corporate tax rate.
*Prosecutors: Inmate's water cut off for 7 days before his death in the Milwaukee County Jail.
*The French presidential candidates move toward the runoff.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.
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