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We believe people should have a say in how much they are taxed

The Taxpayers Can Win if We Vote March 15th   To early vote Call Will County Clerk 815-740-4626 and ask for a ballot to be mailed or online at  http://www.thewillcountyclerk.com/elections/voter-services/vote-by-mail/

me Dec 2014

My name is Steve Balich. I have been advocating for elected officials to treat taxpayer money as it was their own for many years without many positive results. I hear people on Boards say their  tax increase is just a little money or people won’t mind because we are giving them something. They forget these Boards are giving you something using your money without asking you if you want it. In our Representative Democracy citizens are elected to represent the “people”. The “will” of the people is reinforced when there is a vote by referendum on a specific issue.

The Homer Township Tax Referendum on the March 15th 2015 Ballot says we believe people in Homer Township should have a say in how much they are taxed. (The Question on the Ballot: Shall each taxing body located partially or wholly within Homer Township be required to seek voter approval by referendum prior to increasing its annual total property tax Levy? Yes or No). This is not a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian issue. It is a citizen and Business issue.

Although this is an Advisory Referendum, meaning the taxing Bodies can ignore the will of the people, it is the strongest statement citizens can make to elected officials, clearly stating what the citizen’s want.  This is your opportunity to make a difference and make your voice heard. If a person on a Board goes contrary to the will of the people, that person needs to be voted out. Names of those defying the will of the people need to be made Public in Newspapers and Social Media at the time of their vote and when they are up for election or appointment.

The point is; in this time of hopelessness when people feel helpless in getting a voice in their government, taking back some control can be accomplished.  In a time when many people don’t vote because they feel their vote doesn’t matter; they will see, when enough people work together, what seemed impossible can be grasped.

Once this is approved by the voters this March, other Townships will take up the call to get control their Property Taxes. We in Homer Township which includes Homer Glen and half the City of Lockport will need to hold our elected officials accountable to the will of the people. We need to demand this directive by the voters be obeyed. If elected officials do contrary, our Representative Democracy demands they be voted out of office. This is the strongest statement we voters can make.

This is your opportunity to make a difference. Please Vote!

Steve Balich  815 557-7196

Source: Will County News

Life after Speaker Madigan

When the alpha dog leaves the House: Life after Speaker Madigan

House Speaker Michael Madigan and his defenders often bristle at the suggestion that he is responsible for the condition of Illinois. They dispute the notion thatMadigan is the superpower of state government.

With the election season squarely upon us, Madigan’s members who are running for re-election tiptoe on slabs of shifting ice. They don’t want to acknowledge his power. They don’t want to offend him. They don’t want to defend him. They want to appear independent.

They can’t have it all ways.

Besides, his superpowers are in writing.

To fully grasp the influence of one person over state government, look no further than the 129 pages of House rules — the day-to-day rules that govern how and when bills get introduced and passed.

I’ll sum it up for you: Everything is up to the speaker.

Over the years, the House rules have been tweaked and massaged to accommodate his top-down approach toward governing. The House rules are now Madigan’s personal handbook on how to control the process.

Every bill, including spending and borrowing legislation, goes straight to Madigan’s Rules Committee. It’s nearly impossible to discharge a bill unless he agrees. If a bill gets assigned to a committee, it’s a committee Madigan has chosen. He picks the majority of members, committee chairmen and vice chairmen. And he’ll often swap out committee members if he wants to manipulate an outcome. He also approves if and when committees should meet.

“Subject to approval by the Speaker” is a phrase sprinkled throughout the rules book, along with accommodations for the speaker to suspend the rules or change the order of business at virtually any time. There’s little opportunity, if any, for members of the minority party to fight back with bills of their own.

New additions to House rules include a provision allowing the House to rebuke gubernatorial executive orders. Gee, I wonder where that came from.

The Senate’s rules are half as long, and Senate President John Cullerton’s leadership style is to collaborate more with his members anyway.

So how much is Madigan to blame for the state’s dismal condition? Based on House rules alone, a lot. Nothing gets to the governor’s desk in this state without his imprint. Nothing.

If the speakership changed hands, rewriting House rules would be one of the first orders of business. It happened in 2002 when Republicans revolted against their leader, Lee Daniels, and it would most assuredly be part of the process if Democrats did the same. Life after Madigan would be more inclusive.

Of course, Madigan has no intention of leaving — at least not until the next gubernatorial election, when his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, might jump in the race. She said in 2013 she would not run for governor unless her father retired from office. The only other avenue for a post-Madigan General Assembly would be if he loses his House race in the 22nd District. He has a real opponent this time, Jason Gonzales.

Madigan is drenched in power and his members tolerate it, even to their own detriment. The stringent House rules have allowed Madigan to block popular, progressive legislation that would qualify as “core Democratic principles,” the phrase he often cites as justification for blocking Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda. Madigan has ignored legislation to raise the minimum wage, pass a progressive income tax, institute term limits, reform the redistricting process, allow for an elected school board in Chicago and end the city’s red-light camera program.

He recently announced a task force to explore the unjust school funding formula after years of downplaying that problem, too. Madigan once told me he stopped reading Phil Kadner’s column in the Daily Southtown because Kadner wrote repeatedly about the unfairness of the formula. More recently, Madigan couldn’t be bothered to appoint House members to a school funding task force that, under Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, did yeoman’s work trying to recalibrate the $30 billion spent on public schools annually.

Now, suddenly, the speaker is interested in school funding.

Democratic lawmakers and Springfield insiders try to spread the blame for the state’s condition. Complacent Republicans are to blame. The Great Recession that ended in June 2009 is to blame. Rauner is to blame. It’s not the longtime speaker’s fault, they say.

But that’s malarkey. It’s in writing.

Source: Will County News

When voluntary is no longer voluntary/Wellness Programs

Man talking with female doctoEmployers can now force employees to take work-sponsored health assessments and biometric screenings against their will, a federal judge in Madison, Wisconsin has ruled.

The ruling in the case of Dale Arnold, an employee for plastics maker Flambeau, overturned a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which had previously determined Flambeau’s wellness program did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s just the latest in a series of losses in federal court by employees who can now be penalized under the color of law for desiring to keep their privacy and individual sovereignty and for what they choose to do on their own time.

Language in the ADA limits companies from requiring medical exams or personal health information from workers. But in a fascist and oligarchic system where government controls the insurance and medical cartels and seeks to control all aspect of the people’s lives, the “law” is of little consequence when the government sees an opportunity to grasp more power.

Arnold took his case to the EEOC after Flambeau revoked his health insurance coverage when he refused to participated in the company’s “voluntary” work-sponsored health assessment and biometric screen. Flambeau uses its “voluntary” employee wellness program to cut insurance costs by encouraging healthy employee habits. To participate, employees submitted to on-site tests of blood pressure, body mass and cholesterol. That information was then stored in a database used by the insurance company and employer.

Companies are devising wellness programs in a self-defense move designed at curbing rising health insurance costs. Obamacare requires an extensive database of health information to be collected to be used to determine what treatments and drugs it will approve and the payment schedule it will use. Obamacare and other federal and state regulations on health coverage have driven insurance premiums and deductibles through the roof.

And with Obamacare regulations requiring everyone to carry some type of insurance, employees who are dropped from their employer-based coverage are forced into hyper-expensive COBRA plans or onto expensive, inadequate and/or limited choice Obamacare plans.

That government control of health insurance is destroying privacy rights and individual liberty is no surprise to many of us. In fact, I warned this was coming three years ago in “CVS demonstrates your future under Obamacare.” I wrote:

Now, legal drug pusher CVS Caremark pharmacy is telling its employees they must report specific personal health information or pay an extra $600 per year for their health insurance coverage.

Among the measures employees are required to report are their weight, body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Employees must also be tobacco-free or enroll in an addiction program.

“These changes aren’t just about costs, they’re about us, each of us taking personal accountability for our own health,” said Lisa Bissacia, CVS senior vice president and chief human resources officer, in a recorded video released by the company.

The irony that a company that peddles to an unsuspecting public pharmaceuticals with a list of side effects as long as your arm and responsible for millions of adverse reaction events and 106,000 deaths annually would actually be concerned about their employees’ health is no doubt lost on Bissacia. On top of that, such a policy is an egregious violation of the employees’ rights.

Employment lawyers predicted that CVS’s wellness program would not stand legal scrutiny. But at the time I wrote:

With government running healthcare, expect programs like this to expand and the information to be used to force behavior modifications for everyone forced to buy into Obamacare.

Now we are there. Next step is a corporate/government mandate to “treat” all diseases and conditions found through the “voluntary” wellness screening with drugs and surgeries under penalties of loss of insurance, loss of work, fines and/or imprisonment. Never mind that orthodox medicine in the U.S. kills more than 200,000 people each year.

Health insurance is and always has been a scam anyway, and Big Insurance and government interference in the medical market combined to drive the prices of health insurance and health services up to stratospheric levels.

None of this would be a problem without government meddling. People should be buying medical services they need straight from doctors and hospitals at market prices, not through a third party insurer or — especially — through government.

If health insurance is necessary, it should be sold in a free market, across state lines, without onerous government coverage mandates, and insurers should be free to tailor plans for individuals and families.

Source: Will County News

The Left is Pushing Hard Against Privacy Bills

The Left is Pushing Hard Against Privacy Bills

The Left is Pushing Hard Against Privacy Bills
Written By Laurie Higgins
The Leftist effort to sever objective immutable sex differences from both meaning and cultural recognition and to promote the fiction that one’s sex can change marches on. Within hours of the filing of the Pupil Physical Privacy Act (HB 4474) in Springfield, which would prohibit students in public schools from using restrooms and locker rooms designated for the opposite sex, Equality Illinois, an organization dedicated to the normalization of sexual perversion and confusion, flew into a paroxysm of deceit:.

HB4474…would stigmatize transgender and gender non-conforming youth by requiring them to use separate restrooms and locker rooms.

This bill is an attack on the well-being and dignity of transgender and gender non-conforming students. It says to them that they are not respected and valued in the very spaces where they should be safe and affirmed.

The only fair option is to ensure transgender students have access to the facilities that correspond to their gender identity.

Despite the demagogic rhetoric of Equality Illinois, policies and practices that acknowledge and respect objective, immutable, and important sex differences do not “stigmatize” or “attack the well-being” or “dignity” of gender-dysphoric students. Respect and valuation of humans does not require affirmation of all their feelings, beliefs, desires, or actions. In fact, sometimes respect and valuation of humans includes not affirming some of their feelings, beliefs, desires, or actions. Many would argue that allowing a boy or girl to deny the meaning and import of their sex through cross-dressing, rendering themselves sterile through the use of cross-sex hormones, and mutilating their healthy bodies is profoundly disrespectful—an egregious denial of their dignity.

The Left believes—sort of—that all reality is determined by the subjective feelings and desires of each individual. So a person’s maleness or femaleness is determined by their feelings not by their, well, maleness or femaleness.

But, it’s a horse of a different color, when other people “feel” that maleness and femaleness is inextricably linked to objective, immutable sex, or when they believe that it’s wrong to pretend people are the sex they are not, or that treating others with dignity requires affirming their wholeness. In such cases Leftists, who with alacrity and regularity violate the law of non-contradiction, claim their subjective feelings (and assumptions) should be considered immutable, absolute, objective truth—you know, unlike each person’s sex.

Certainly boys whom parents and schools foolishly permit to cross-dress at school are at risk for bullying in (and out) of restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their actual sex, which is why the Pupil Physical Privacy Act specifically allows schools to accommodate the disordered desires and behavior of gender-dysphoric students. The bill allows schools to provide single-occupancy facilities to gender-dysphoric students.

What government schools must never be permitted to do is affirm or espouse to students that compassion or respect for gender-dysphoric students requires society to pretend that their desire to be the opposite sex is more important than their actual sex. Government schools must never be permitted to allow students who don’t like their bodies to use opposite-sex restrooms or locker rooms. And government schools must never mandate that faculty, staff, or students lie by using opposite-sex pronouns. When administrators, teachers, and school board members no longer recognize something as fundamental as the immutable reality and meaning of sex differences, schools have lost the ethical right to teach. And people of faith must stop excusing, tolerating, and accommodating such ignorance and immorality.

To my knowledge, Equality Illinois has not explained why restrooms and locker rooms should correspond to students’ feelings about their sex rather than their actual sex. Equality Illinois has not explained why students who are gender dysphoric should not be compelled to use restrooms and locker rooms with those whose “gender identity” they don’t share while non-gender-dysphoric students (i.e., normal students) should be compelled to use restrooms and locker rooms with those whose sex they don’t share.

Conservatives need to be intellectually equipped to respond to the lies used to promote the utterly irrational and destructive effort of Leftists to redefine reality. Conservatives need to commit unwaveringly to speaking and acting in ways that comport with truth, including in even seemingly small things, because it is through acquiescence in seemingly small things that incrementalism changes culture. And they need to prepare to endure the persecution that is upon us.

Teachers in public schools: Tell your administrations that pronouns denote and correspond to objective biological sex, that you cannot lie, and that, therefore, you cannot refer to students by opposite-sex pronouns. Tell them too that you will not use newly coined pronouns (e.g., “zie,” “zim,” “zir”), because they embody false beliefs about sex.

Parents: Tell the teachers of your elementary and middle school-age children that under no circumstances are your children to be exposed to resources or activities that address gender dysphoria. Tell the teachers of your high school students that your children are not to be exposed to any resources or activities that address gender-dysphoria unless equal time is spent with resources that espouse dissenting views on the nature of gender dysphoria and the proper way to address it.

Parents: Teach your middle and high school students about gender dysphoria. Teach them about the immutability and goodness of objective, immutable sex differences. Teach them never to use opposite-sex pronouns when referring to gender-dysphoric persons.

People of faith: Ask your church, synagogue, or mosque leaders to teach on this issue.

Those who out of cowardice are predisposed to accommodation, know this, the Left does not seek merely the “right” of a few gender-dysphoric teens to use private stalls in restrooms and locker rooms. No siree, Leftists seek the “right” of any gender-dysphoric person of any age to have unrestricted access to any opposite-sex restroom, locker room, shower, or dressing room in any context. Leftists will not be satisfied until they have forced all society to treat gender-dysphoric persons as if they are in reality the sex they wish they were.

Leftists will oppose this common-sense bill to protect the privacy, dignity, and safety of students with the vigor, tenacity, demagoguery, and deceit with which they promote efforts to normalize deviance. Conservatives should support it with the same vigor and tenacity but without the demagoguery and deceit. Fortunately, we’ve got reality on our side.

Citizens of Illinois:  Take ACTION:  If your state representative is not yet a co-sponsor of HB 4474, click HERE  https://www.votervoice.net/ILFI/campaigns/44180/respond

Source: Will County News

Changes to the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015

U.S. State Department Announce Changes to the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015

28 January 2016

Reed Smith Client Alerts

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Source: Will County News

Homer 33C kindergartners explore science

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J.Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

 

For Immediate Release:

Feb. 3, 2016

 

Homer 33C kindergartners explore science

 

Ask a few kindergartners what their favorite subject is at Schilling School and you’ll probably get the same answer each time — science.

 

“Our little 5 and 6 year olds love being able to get down on the floor to explore and experiment,” said kindergarten teacher Michele Lane. “It’s our favorite part of the day.”

 

Science is a recent addition to the kindergarten curriculum in Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C.

In the past, teachers focused on reading, phonics and math because that’s all they could accommodate in a half-day kindergarten program. This year, Homer 33C introduced a full-day kindergarten program, giving students and teachers time to explore science, social studies, physical education, journal writing and music/library/computer readiness — on top of reading, phonics and math.

 

“We know how important it is to our community that we prepare students for a globally changing world,” said Superintendent Kara Coglianese. “Our full-day kindergarten program is going to help achieve that.”

Kindergartners recently completed a unit on weather and are now focusing on the physics of Push, Pull, Go.

“It’s amazing to me to hear my students talk about ‘force,’ `observations’ and ‘predictions,’” said Lane, who had students put their “scientist glasses” on and discover what would happen when they lined a row of Dominoes up at various distances and formations.

 

Sometimes the Dominoes would fall over when they touched the first tile; sometimes they would not.

 

Next door, kindergarten teacher Jennifer VanHeest had students build miniature slides from a kit and predict how far rubber balls would travel when they were launched from the top of the slide and from the middle of the slide.

“Did the balls stop at the same point?” she asked students, after explaining how the balls are pulled down by gravity, gaining energy and speed as they travel down the slide.

 

“No,” they replied in unison.

 

“Why did the one that started on top go further?” she asked.

 

“It got a lot of speed,” replied a boy.

 

The district’s full-day kindergarten program has been a dynamic addition, enabling teachers to delve deeper into subject matter and integrate themes across the curriculum, said Kathleen Robinson, assistant superintendent for instruction.

 

“Providing time for our youngest learners to explore and collaborate will strengthen their ability to solve problems and communicate with their peers,” she added.

 

Source: Will County News

Illinois Board of Elections declares Cruz a natural-born citizen/New Hampshire also ruled in favor of Cruz

Illinois Board of Elections declares Cruz a natural-born citizen

POSTED AT 8:51 AM ON FEBRUARY 3, 2016 BY ED MORRISSEY  from Hot Air

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I know, I know … what does Illinois know, anyway? As the Washington Examiner points out, the Board of Elections decision isn’t the first ruling on this matter, but it may be the strongest yet in debunking claims that Ted Cruz is ineligible for the presidency. The board rejected a challenge to Cruz’ inclusion in the March 15th primary in no uncertain terms (via Instapundit):

“The Candidate is a natural born citizen by virtue of being born in Canada to his mother who was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth,” the board said, explaining Cruz met the criteria because he “did not have to take any steps or go through a naturalization process at some point after birth.”

That explanation has formed the basis of a broad consensus ever since Cruz’ status was first challenged. He was born a US citizen by virtue of his mother regardless of where the birth took place. (The same would have been true of Barack Obama, too, although the state of Hawaii has made it clear on multiple occasions that he was born there.) While the phrase “natural born citizen” did not get a clear definition by the framers of the Constitution, that has been the accepted definition in legal circles for more than a century.

The board emphasized that it’s not interested in entertaining any further challenges, either:

A ballot commission in New Hampshire also ruled in favor of Cruz in January, but the language in Monday’s decision by the Illinois board took a stronger tone than the previous ruling, warning other skeptics, “Further discussion on this issue is unnecessary.”

That’s what they think. Never underestimate the power of conspiratorial thinking, nor the impulse to go to court over it. And don’t expect Donald Trump to stop harping on this, although it hardly did him any good in Iowa, and probably won’t do much better in New Hampshire either. It’s a low-cost zinger that guarantees a cheer line at rallies among the faithful, and right now Trump needs to rally them more than ever.

Source: Will County News

Madigan’s restoring the 2011 income-tax rates would give Illinois the highest tax burden in the Midwest

 

Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Mike Madigan has spent the last year selling Illinoisans on a tax-hike Band-Aid for a gaping financial wound.

It’s the same failed approach former Gov. Pat Quinn took – evidently, Democratic leaders have failed to learn from the state’s past mistakes. Madigan has focused on an additional tax hike even though a recent study from the Tax Foundation shows that Illinois’ 2011 income-tax hike saddled Illinoisans with the fifth-highest tax burden among the 50 states, and the second-highest tax burden in the Midwest. Even worse, Madigan’s idea of restoring the 2011 income-tax rates would likely impose on Illinoisans the highest tax burden in the Midwest and fourth-highest in the country.

The major drivers of Illinois’ budget problems are an underperforming economymassive taxpayer out-migration, and unaffordable spending promises. But to hear Madigan talk about it, Illinois has gone without a state budget for seven months because Illinoisans don’t pay enough taxes. And the speaker’s fix is all too familiar in Illinois: another big tax hike without any economic or spending reforms.

According to Madigan, the conversation about Illinois’ income tax should begin at the 5% rate that Illinoisans paid from 2011 through 2014. Madigan’s budget necessitates that the average Illinois household pay an additional $800 per year in income taxes.

As of fiscal year 2012, Illinois’ tax burden was the second-highest in the Midwest, just behind Wisconsin, and the fifth-highest in the country, behind New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Wisconsin. But that was before Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker enacted a series of tax cuts in the Badger State.
Since fiscal year 2012, Wisconsin has cut more than $1 billion per year in state and local taxes. In January 2015, Illinois’ tax relief came in the form of a partial sunsetting of the rates imposed by the 2011 income-tax hike: to 3.75% from 5%. This is the very tax hike Madigan wants to reinstate.

Local governments in Illinois have been busy raising taxes, too.

Take Chicago and Cook County, for example. In 2015 alone, the tax bill for the average Chicago household went up by $1,100 per year just from city and county tax hikes. And after all that, Chicago aldermen are discussing the possibility of another property-tax hike of a few hundred million dollars per year in 2016. A state income-tax hike on top of these added local tax increases would create a dramatically higher overall tax burden.

Increased economic growth is the best way to raise revenues. But out-of-control taxing and spending have driven Illinois into a fiscal black hole, and have contributed to the state’s lack of competitiveness for new jobs and opportunities. Yet Madigan acts as if the only way Illinois can balance its budget is if Illinois taxes even more and becomes the most tax-burdened state west of New York. This is not a thoughtful approach to public policy, and it ignores the plentiful opportunities for spending reform. Here are some of them:

Years of reckless policies have put Illinois in the nation’s biggest fiscal hole, and it’s time politicians stopped digging the state further into debt. Illinois needs spending reform to correct the policy mistakes that have put Illinois in such dire straits.

Illinois’ tax-burden ranking was as low as No. 34 in 1998, but it shot up to No. 5 as of fiscal year 2012. An income-tax hike would make Illinois the most heavily tax-burdened state in the Midwest and among the top four most tax-burdened states in the U.S.


Michael Lucci 

Vice President of Policy

Source: Will County News

He who has got used to unreason is ready for unkindness “Dan Proft”

He who has got used to unreason is ready for unkindness

 

“Illinois Lives Matter”. That is the theme of this year’s Speak Out.

It turns out that is an aspirational statement rather than one that reflects the reality on the ground here.

While the incidence of abortion continues to decline—down another 6% last year and Thank God for that—Illinois still retains its title as the abortion dumping ground of the Midwest.

Chicago has a higher murder per capita rate than New York and Los Angeles combined.

Illinois ranks 47th in the nation in providing services for developmentally disabled persons

The divide is widening between those who believe they are their brother’s keeper and a government that acts only as the keeper of their brother’s money.

Now I am not going to overstate the case as to the State of the State of Illinois because there is no need. The problems we have here exist everywhere because man exists everywhere. There is no utopia on our mortal coil just outside Illinois’ borders.

However, the problems endemic to the human condition are particularly pronounced in Illinois. Someone always serves as the bad example and this is the role Illinois has chosen to play for the United States.

And there is a reason. It is because we have given in to unreason.

As the great Christian apologist (and convert to Catholicism…a little shout out for my faith tradition) G.K. Chesterton observed in a column in the Illustrated London News during the darkness of The Great Depression, “He who has got used to unreason is ready for unkindness.”

When we get used to injustice—particularly institutionalized injustice—we are ready to usher in unkindness, even barbarism.

Do you remember five years ago when the State of Illinois cancelled its 92-year-long adoption contract with Catholic Charities soon after the passing of civil unions? Robyn Zeigler, a spokesman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, said at the time in explanation of the decision, “Our focus remains on doing what is best for the care and welfare of children in the foster care system in Illinois.”

For 92 years the state said it was renewing the contract because it was in the best interest of children to do so. Then, overnight, Lisa Madigan cancelled the contract because it was doing what was in the best interests of children. The only problem is, Catholic Charities’ policies didn’t change from 24 hours earlier when the state said it was operating in the best interests of children. Likewise, nothing changed about the child’s best interest.

But something changed for the thousands of children in Catholic Charities foster care and the thousands of children Catholic Charities placed in loving adoptive homes. Their interests were sacrificed on the pyre of intolerance masquerading as tolerance.

He who has got used to unreason is ready for unkindness.

+++

Speaking of adoption, you may know because you’ve probably seen them on the roads that 29 states have the “Choose Life” license plates.

These are so-called specialty plates where residents pay a premium for their license plate and a portion of the premium is distributed to organizations consistent with the mission of the plate sponsor. With “Choose Life” plates the benefiting organizations are crisis pregnancy centers and other such adoption service providers. Tens of millions of dollars have been raised through the voluntary purchase of these plates to support CPCs and adoption services providers

Illinois has more than 100 specialty license plates. For example, there’s a plate to support youth golf—for the youth that make it to golfing age in Illinois.

There is no “Choose Life” plate but it hasn’t been for lacking of trying dating back to 2003. The effort has been led by pro-life heroes Jim Finnegan, Joe & Carol Walsh, Jill Stanek, Tom Brejcha, Peter Breen and Tom Morrison—long before they were State Reps.—and many others.

But two leaders for the cause deserve special mention in a story not enough people have heard and not enough people remember: they are Rev. Scott & Janet Willis.

After losing 6 children in a horrific car accident involving another driver who had obtained his CDL license by bribing a Sec. of State’s office employee—the most egregious consequence of the George Ryan-era corruption—Scott & Janet Willis appeared at an African-American church on the south side of Chicago (I was there as well) and said this, “Eight and one-half years ago, Janet and I lost six of our children in a terrible van accident. The tragedy, as the people of Illinois now know, was partially due to a licensing system in Illinois that had been abused for political greed and power. The system of licensing is not bad. The abuse of the system is what has been so destructive. We believe that offering this ‘Choose Life’ specialty plate is one way this system can be cleaned up from its corrupt core and be used for good.”

A State Senator running for US Senator named Barack Obama called the “Choose Life” license plates, “contentious.”

Part of that effort early on included a meeting with House Speaker Mike Madigan, he was House Speaker then just as he is now just as he was when Illinois was incorporated in 1818.

Madigan spoke of his support for adoption because, you know, he told Rev. Scott & Janet Willis (I was at that meeting too), I adopted my daughter Lisa. I suggested to Madigan, that this was great news (though I already knew it) and, despite the suggestion he made that he is but one legislator, we all know him to be a very persuasive legislator and if he wants something voted up on the House floor, then that thing will get voted up on the House floor and we’ll go ahead and hold him to that standard of excellence he has set for himself.

That was the first and last time I was included in a face-to-face meeting with Madigan. Madigan bottled up the “Choose Life” plate legislation in committee and 13 years later the effort continues.

(Remind me to tell you the Emil Jones story).

The short of this is Rev. Scott & Janet Willis brought their grace to the General Assembly in support of a positive development from the incalculable tragedy they endured and at the hands of a government they financed no less. Their views were humored but not considered because voluntary support of adoption service providers through a forum the state has made available to speech (state license plate) was too “contentious.”

You know of the good work CPCs do for children and families alike. Think how many more children and families could have been served by those who live their lives for others with the resources this license plate would’ve unleashed.

He who has got used to unreason is ready for unkindness.

+++

In 2009, when I was running my ill-fated campaign for governor, I got an email from a friend asking if I had seen an executive order issued by ill-equipped Gov. Pat Quinn, also a Catholic (Chesterton, Pat Quinn…we’ve got a big tent…too big), that would allow the public sector unions to try and organize the state-contracted home health care workers.

I had seen something about it but I took to be another public sector union gambit and, at the time, didn’t fully appreciate the implications.

That changed after I met with a group of parents, including a woman named Pam Harris, who had children with developmental disabilities.

They explained how the state’s home health care worker program worked to me in its actual operation. The state provided a rather modest stipend to the home health care worker for a developmentally disabled child for that child’s care. The home health care worker most often turned out to be one or both of the child’s parents because, of course, who has a bigger stake in the care of a child then his parents.

This was the rare state program that was actually in alignment with the interests of Illinois families specifically and civilization generally.

Well, of course, this could not stand. What Quinn’s executive order would’ve allowed is to close the shop of home health care workers and herd parents into the Service Employees Union because SEIU is always looking for to force more dues-paying members into their ranks.

Think about this for a second, the parent would be (forcibly) represented by a union against their child. I’m sorry, Joey, you don’t get fed right now, I’m on one of my two 15-minute breaks.

The courtesy and customer service of the DMV for the developmentally disabled.

He who has gotten use to unreason is ready for unkindness.

Pam Harris and other parents were having none of it. They were not going to let a SEIU business agent come between them and their children. Pam Harris took her case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and five years after Quinn’s executive order, Harris was victorious.

I’ve got to give you at least one “and they lived happily ever after” ending.

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Unfortunately, the news is generally not so happy as I mentioned at the outset with Illinois’ ignominious record of serving persons with developmental disabilities.

This week Lutheran Social Services announced they are laying off some 750 employees, nearly 43% of their staff, and shutting down a number of programs in the areas of senior services and addiction services because the state owes them $6 million for services already rendered and LSSI can’t afford to float the state any longer.

Catholic Charities is suggesting similar reductions because the state is in arrears to them for $16 million.

There are cries from social service providers to get a budget done, to raise taxes, to make funding social services a priority.

Let me close by informing the fact-free news reports you have likely seen recently on this matter.

$214 billion in debt. $30 billion in assets. 7:1 debt to total assets ratio.

That’s the State of Illinois.

You don’t rack up $214 billion in debt overnight. In fact, Illinois has not passed a constitutionally balanced budget in 14 years.

Illinois has the 5th highest total tax burden in the country according to the Tax Foundation and the worst credit rating in the country according to everyone.

So think through this with me and go help others to do similarly.

My legislative representatives and yours tell me they’re committed to helping the truly vulnerable, those who need temporary help and those who need long-term assistance and services through no fault of their own.

We have $214 billion in debt.

So after all of the taxing and spending and borrowing and spending, if the truly vulnerable was the priority how is it we’re 47th in providing services to the developmentally disabled and tens of millions in arrears to social services providing operating other laudatory programs?

How do you reconcile the contradiction?

They’re lying. That’s how.

Recalling the “Choose Life” license plate matter for comparison and emphasis: Illinois state government doesn’t spend the money it takes from you as they say the will while preventing you a channel to voluntarily spend your money for the benefit of others.

He who has got used to unreason is ready for unkindness.

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In close, the good news is that the antidote for unreason and unkindness are the reasoned people in this room who with a servant’s heart those within your circles of influence who are similarly disposed.

I’m not the mindless happy talk guy. So I have to tell you what I think is true, that Illinois has in many ways become a barbaric place to live.

But that need not be our destiny.

What you do matters. Your civic engagement. Your charitable work matters. The opinion leadership you provide within your circles of influence matters.

We need people who know better to share their knowledge, collectively demand better and labor for better.

I find myself going back to read passages from Whitaker Chambers’ “Witness” often to remind myself that the point is to put in the fight for what you think is right even if you think you’re going to lose. You never know. You may be wrong about the outcome.

Thank you.

Source: Will County News

The Illinois Opportunity Project (IOP) announced today that it is making a $500,000 donation to the campaign of State Representative Ken Dunkin, a Chicago Democrat

The Illinois Opportunity Project (IOP) announced today that it is making a $500,000 donation to the campaign of State Representative Ken Dunkin, a Chicago Democrat.

IOP promotes public policy solutions rooted in economic liberty and the leaders who advance such solutions. We are policy-focused and thus post-partisan.

As such, IOP decided that a substantial financial commitment is warranted to support State Rep. Ken Dunkin against the onslaught he is facing from House Speaker Mike Madigan and his public sector union allies in the March primary election.

Rep. Dunkin has consistently shown independent thinking and provided support in policy areas of critical importance including: (1) protecting honest, adversarial collective bargaining between the governor and public sector unions representing state employees, and (2) ending the discrimination against children based on their household income and address when it comes to the primary and secondary schools they may attend. Dunkin’s support for certain structural reforms well predate the election of Gov. Bruce Rauner. For example, in 2010, Dunkin voted for the school choice legislation (SB 2494) sponsored by then State Sen. James Meeks.

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We hope Rep. Dunkin’s example of acting in furtherance of his constituents rather than toeing the party line established by Speaker Madigan will be followed by more of his colleagues in the House.

In Liberty,

Matthew Besler
President
Illinois Opportunity Project

Source: Will County News