Disgraced Former Illinois House Speaker Madigan Granted Extension In Up Coming Trial 

By Gary Parker, The Chicago Times

August 3, 2022

CHICAGO – Disgraced former Democrat Illinois House Speaker Michael “Apples” Madigan and co-defendant Michael McClain were granted an extension in their racketeering trail until next year to allow defense attorneys to review evidence disclosed by prosecutors.

US District Judge Robert Blakey set a February 1 deadline for the filing of pretrial motions in an attempt to limit the number of times Madigan’s defense team would need to ask for extensions.  A status hearing is set for January 9.

In March, Madigan, 79, was charged along with McClain, 74, in a 22-count indictment in which they allegedly conspired in an array of bribery and extortion schemes from 2011-2019.  The most notable scheme involved an alleged scam to divert payments from ComEd to a member of Madigan’s political cronies for influence.  Madigan and McClain have pleaded not guilty.

Pritzker To Face Bailey In Fight For Illinois Governorship

By Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

June 28, 2022

CHICAGO — Illinois voters have chosen incumbent Governor J. B. Pritzker and Republican State Senator Darren Bailey to battle for the Illinois governorship in November.

Pritzker trampled unknown Democrat challenger, Beverly Miles, paving the way for his fight for a second term.

Bailey won the nomination in lighting speed Tuesday over five other Republican challengers.

The wealthy Pritzker, born in California and heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune amassed by previous generations, is estimated to be worth 3.5 billion.  In 2017, Pritzker was caught on a 2008 FBI wiretap in conversation with disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) discussing campaign contributions and “options” for Pritzker to be appointed to statewide office.  The FBI described Pritzker as a “businessman with political ambitions”.  The tapes caught Blagojevich asking Pritzker if he would like to be appointed state treasurer.  Pritzker, co-founder of the Pritzker Group Private Capital, responded to Blagojevich “Yeah, that’s the one I would want.”

Bailey, born in Louisville, Illinois, is a farmer from Xenia and holds a degree in Agricultural Production from Lake Land College.  In 2018, Bailey defeated Illinois State Representative David Reis in the Republican primary for the Illinois House of Representatives District 109 and went on to defeat Democrat candidate Cynthia Given.  In 2019, Bailey announced his run for the Illinois Senate.  In a rematch for higher office, Bailey defeated Democrat challenger Cynthia Given in the general election.

“We’re going to send a message to the Republican establishment that we will not be bullied into sacrificing our principles to elect their candidates.” Bailey said in a statement.

“I feel great about our prospects in November,” Pritzker said in a statement.  “I’ll face anybody on the other side of the aisle and we’ll win.”

PRITZKER TO CALL SPECIAL SESSION AFTER SCOTUS ABORTION RULING

By Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

June 25, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Governor J.B. Pritzker to call a special session of the General Assembly to focus on legislation to strengthen abortion laws in Illinois.

Pritzker announced Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 abortion rights case Roe v. Wade.  However, Illinois has laws on the books protecting access to abortion.

Some law makers have questioned the need for the special session since Friday’s SCOTUS decision will have absolutely no effect on current Illinois abortion laws.  In the ruling, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, pointed out that states with pro-abortion laws will be unaffected by the decision.

Comedian Trevor Noah Will To Headline Illinois State Fair Lottery Grandstand

By The Chicago Times Staff

June 20, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Trevor Noah, Emmy Award-winning host of the “The Daily Show”, will bring his stand-up comedy to the Illinois Lottery Grandstand stage on Friday, August 19.

Noah has written, produced, and starred in 11 comedy specials, including his most recent “Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia” on Netflix.

“To be able to secure a big name in comedy to round out our 2022 grandstand lineup is something we are really excited about.  This is one of our most diverse lineups in years with multiple music genres represented, a popular comedian and harness racing to kick it all off. We cannot wait to welcome fairgoers in August.” said Illinois State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark.

Tickets for Trevor Noah will go on sale Thursday, June 23 at 10am at the Illinois State Fair Box Office and online at ticketmaster.com.  Ticketmaster is the only authorized ticket broker for the Illinois State Fair. All other websites and offers may be fraudulent and buyers should beware.

Friday, August 12: Sam Hunt with Sean Stemaly and Shelby Darrall

Tier 3 – $53 / Tier 2 – $58 / Tier 1 – $65 / SRO Track – $65 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $120

Saturday, August 13: Demi Lovato with TBD

Tier 3 – $45 / Tier 2 – $50 / Tier 1 – $57 / SRO Track – $57 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $112

Sunday, August 14: Brooks & Dunn with Kendell Marvel

Tier 3 – $53 / Tier 2 – $58 / Tier 1 – $65 / SRO Track – $65 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $120

Tuesday, August 16: Willie Nelson & Family with Elle King

Tier 3- $38/ Tier 2- $43/ Tier 1 -$50 / SRO Track – $50 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $105

Wednesday, August 17: Shaggy & TLC

Tier 3- $24/ Tier 2- $29/ Tier 1 -$36 / SRO Track – $36 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $91

Thursday, August 18: Jon Pardi with Lainey Wilson and Chapel Hart

Tier 3 – $33 / Tier 2 – $38 / Tier 1 – $45 / SRO Track – $45 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $100

Friday, August 19: Trevor Noah

Tier 3 – $43 / Tier 2 – $48 / Tier 1 – $55 / Track Seats 1200 Avail. – $65 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $110

Saturday, August 20: Disturbed with Nita Strauss

Tier 3 – $44 / Tier 2 – $49 / Tier 1 – $56 / SRO Track – $56 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $111

Sunday, August 21: Sammy Hagar & The Circle with Ann Wilson of Heart

Tier 3 – $43 / Tier 2 – $48 / Tier 1 – $55 / SRO Track – $55 / Blue Ribbon Zone – $110

*A $30 Stage Side Party ticket is offered as an additional upgrade for all paid concerts. All Stage Side Party tickets purchased before July 15 will include a free state fair parking pass for the day of the concert.

Mark your calendars for the 2022 Illinois State Fair, August 11 through 21, in Springfield. Stay up to date with all the latest news and announcements from the Illinois State Fair by connecting with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Pritzker Signs Legislation Increasing Mental Health Workforce In Illinois

By Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

June 12, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 3617 on Friday which is hoped to address the shortage of mental health professionals in Illinois and increase access to high-quality mental health services across the State.

According to the Governor’s Office “The bill temporarily allows professional licensees out of practice for less than five years to reactivate their license with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The bill also seeks to expand behavioral health training, incentivizes the hiring of individuals in recovery from substance use disorder or mental illness, and makes it easier for advanced practice registered nurses to treat patients.”

“We need a mental healthcare workforce that is robust enough to get people help when they need it—not after months on a waiting list.  I am proud to sign this mental health omnibus bill—training, expanding, and diversifying our behavioral health workforce—into law. This legislation invests in mental health infrastructure—and that infrastructure is people. Our therapists. Our social workers. Our crisis counselors. There is nothing more important than investing in the people who support the health and wellbeing of Illinoisans.” Pritzker said in a statement.

The bill will eliminate barriers to those wishing to re-enter the mental health workforce, such as continuing education credit completion, passing additional examinations, and fee payments.  However, former license holder must be in good standing to have their licenses reactivated. Mental health professionals out of practice for less than five years may restore their license with IDFPR.  The bill enables advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physicians to conduct any required psychiatric visits to patients in Special Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities.

The Recovery and Mental Health Tax Credit is also created under the bill which creates a program to provide tax incentives to qualified employers who employ eligible individuals who are in recovery from a substance use disorder or mental illness.

“The past couple of years have strained our health professions and underscored the incredible need for a strong mental health workforce to meet increased demand.  We want residents of all ages and of all backgrounds to receive the care and help they deserve, and we can only do that if we have enough qualified professionals able to assist. This measure removes bureaucratic hurdles and will help bring trained professionals back to the field right when we need them the most.”  said Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Elmhurst), sponsor of the bill.

Pritzker Signs Bill to Expand Use of Expressway Cameras for Law Enforcement Investigations

by Frank Conklin, The Chicago Times

June 4, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Governor J. B. Pritzker signed two pieces of legislation on Friday that expand the use of expressway cameras for law enforcement agencies to investigate criminal activities along expressways and State highways.  This legislation is effective immediately.

“There is nothing more important than keeping Illinoisans safe—in our schools, in our parks, and on our expressways.  The tragic incidences of gun violence on our highways requires aggressive and intentional action. By signing this bill, law enforcement agencies will have the tools to respond to criminal activity in a timely and efficient manner—ensuring the safety and security of our residents, while holding perpetrators accountable.” Pritzker said in a statement.

“Automated license plate readers play a growing, critical role in ISP investigations and arrests in the Chicagoland area.  ISP now routinely uses this technology to track down expressway shootings and carjacking suspects, so the expansion of this technology across Illinois expands our ability to protect our interstates and bring violent criminals to justice.” ,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.

According to a press release “The Illinois State Police (ISP), working with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Chicago Department of Transportation, has installed more than 150 Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) on Chicago expressways with plans to install approximately 150 more throughout the summer. These ALPRs cover the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94), I-90, I-290, I-55, and I-57.”

As of June 2022, there have been 69 expressway shootings reported on expressways in Cook County.  During June of 2021 there were a total of 90 expressway shootings which included 45 shootings resulting in injuries and eight fatalities.  Earlier this month, Pritzker signed laws strengthening the Violent Crime Witness Protection Act, which is hoped to combat carjackings and vehicle thefts.