GUN POLITICS Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel desperately wants mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes. Gov.
Pat Quinn wants a ban on high-capacity ammo magazines. But Quinn's pursuit of a
ban could undo a lot of careful lobbying by the Emanuel administration to bring
gun interests on board for mandatory minimum sentences. That would be
disastrous politically for Quinn, who only last week earned the support of
Emanuel in the 2014 election. Capitol Fax publisher Rich Miller breaks down the
delicate politics of gun control in Illinois as it prepares to become the last
state to allow concealed carry of firearms in a few months. Miller's column is here.
LEGACY OF SCARFACE When Chicago
became inhospitable to organized crime in mid-1920s, Al Capone set up shop in
Cicero. Capone is long gone, but Cicero's reputation for corruption
endures. "One recent town president, Betty Loren-Maltese, widow of
mid-level mobster and municipal official Frank Maltese, went to jail for her
role in a mobbed-up multi-million-dollar insurance scam," writes Better
Government Association president Andy Shaw. Shaw catches up with Loren-Maltese,
now out of prison, who shares her thoughts on why Cicero government is what it
is. Loren-Maltese describes Cicero government as "a government-funded
voter bribery system designed to keep 10 percent of the population under control."
Also, 6,000 voters control elections in a town of 90,000. You have to read this
one to believe it. Click here.
TOP 10: EXPENSIVE PLACES FOR SMOKERS If you don't
smoke, you're probably amazed whenever you see what cigarettes cost these days.
If you do smoke, you get reminded of the widely varying cost from city to city
and state to state every time you travel. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to
add 75 cents to the city's tax on a pack of cigarettes. This would make Chicago
the most expensive place in the country to smoke, surpassing New York. Find out
the other members of the Top 10 most expensive cities and
states for smokers in today's Top 10 list.
CHIEF JUSTICE CHANGE Rita Garman today becomes the Illinois Supreme Court's second female chief justice. He appointment is especially significant because it means she likely will be chief when the state's high court decides the fate of any pension reform bill passed by the General Assembly. That's a decision that effectively will determine the state's financial future. Important stuff. Yet most people know next to nothing about the membership and workings of the court -- which is a highly politicized entity. Find out what you need to know about the justices and the court in our Illinois Supreme Court infographic.
AROUND THE STATE Here are the top headlines as we start another week:5. The second female Illinois Supreme Court chief justice will be installed today. (Associated Press)
4. The unfunded liability grew 7 percent for Illinois teachers’ pensions during the last fiscal year. (Reuters)
3. Opinion: The new district report cards will be released by the Illinois State Board of Education on Thursday. They won’t be pretty but they will be realistic. (Pantagraph)
2. Overtime pay for the state’s prison guards jumped 34 percent last year. (Associated Press)
1. Pat Quinn is asking state lawmakers to approve an additional $221 million in spending to finish out the fiscal year. (Herald & Review)