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Reposted from Willinois by JGibson

Illinois State Senator Andy Manar is getting pushback from constituents after introducing a bill to help the heavily subsidized state coal mining industry.

A coal industry lobbyist with Foresight Energy joined Manar and other legislators at a press conference for a bill to give Illinois coal an advantage over imports. Roughly 90% of coal burned in Illinois is imported from other states because power plant operators are too cheap to install better pollution controls.

Their press release claims Manar and Senator John Bradley introduced the bill to ensure coal is part of the discussion in negotiations over state energy policy. How sweet of them to look out for poor, overlooked Foresight Energy after it donated only $185,600 to Illinois politicians this year!

Coal is already king of corporate welfare in Illinois. Mining equipment is exempt from the state sales tax, it's heavily subsidized by the Coal Development Office, and it doesn't pay an excise tax levied in other coal producing states. Despite all the extra help, Foresight Energy is still worried their Illinois mines can't compete in a competitive market.

Montgomery county resident Mary Ellen DeClue sent me a copy of a letter she wrote to Senator Manar in response to his coal bill. It's so good I asked permission to share it online.

Dear Senator Manar:
Your interest and concerns about the citizens in central and southern Illinois are appreciated.  As you have acknowledged, our citizens deserve community development and an economic improvement plan.  Observing the aftermath of coal extraction across the world, the U S, West Virginia, and especially Saline County, Illinois, coal is not the progressive sustainable solution for Illinois counties.

The proposed legislation to jump start the Illinois coal industry is misguided and counterproductive. The coal industry in Illinois needs no promotion or development. The coal industry in Illinois is already entrenched in the political system.  This is not due to the positive connections to communities, citizens, and economic benefits, but rather to undue influence of corporate funding and favoritism of Illinois agencies.

The state of Illinois has lost revenue from coal mining. The benefits bestowed on the coal industry have increased profits and liberties to coal entrepreneurs. The quality of life in coal communities is compromised by polluted air and water, damaged farmland, lower property values, higher taxes, unhealthy exposure to coal dust, and inundation and leakage from high hazard coal slurry impoundments.

Coal mining adversely affects communities by extracting more than just coal from them.  The citizens realize they have no more control over their daily lives.  When a government’s public policy establishes corporate profits over the rights of citizens, the spirit of a community is lost. Communities deserve better.

There are presently 8000 coal jobs and 130,000 jobs in renewable energy in Illinois.  If coal miners had a choice of jobs that were not hazardous and did not expose them to black lung disease, don’t you think they would prefer not risking their lives in order to earn a living?  Why aren’t there more efforts to increase job choices in central and southern Illinois?

The negative aspects of coal mining have been enhanced by the tragic actions of the Illinois Office of Mines and Minerals. The mismanagement of Shay 1 indicates just how vulnerable citizens in a community really are. The current status of Shay 1 must be a disappointment to you. Off mine-site contamination has progressed over a decade while more coal waste disposal continues.  There is no additional monitoring to document contamination from the unknown amounts of imported coal ash and underground injection of coal slurry. West Virginia has a moratorium on coal slurry injection in mine voids because of ground water contamination. Illinois has not only approved underground coal slurry injection at Shay 1, but subsidizes the process. DCEO awarded Foresight Reserves LP, associate of Foresight Energy, a grant of $1,022,602 to use for coal slurry injection, a conveyor train, and safety equipment at Shay 1 starting in 3/1/2014 and ending in 2/28/2016. The state is actually funding ongoing pollution and the regulatory agencies continue to legalize pollution by approving permits that compromise the safety of communities.

Deer Run Mine is a poster example of how a community is blighted by coal with full approval of IOMM and IEPA. The careless disregard for the health and safety of thousands of residents through government actions is very troubling. The community has no recourse to coal dust, contaminated water discharges, threatening inundation from 2 impoundments, permanently placed high hazard impoundments, subsided farmland, destroyed water resources, etc. IOMM never hesitated approving the location of the coal processing plant next to the hospital or the placement of the 318-acre impoundment where upon failure would destroy life and property of several communities. This second impoundment is 200 feet away from the first 80 foot high 140-acre impoundment and both remain forever in Hillsboro. There are no air monitors to document fugitive coal dust so residents do not know what they are breathing. The mine discharges are analyzed for pH, chloride, and sulfate only, so citizens have no idea of what chemicals or what quantities are contaminating their surface waters. The higher conductance of surface waters around the mine does speak to an increase in contaminants. It is unacceptable that the most harmful chemicals found in coal are not monitored, yet are allowed to permeate the community.

The state energy policies do indeed need to be addressed, but I fear the wrong direction for public policy will be endorsed.  The photo-op of legislators with Foresight Energy’s lead lobbyist sends a message that investment in Foresight Energy will earn favors in Illinois coal permits. The known contributions of Foresight Energy to Illinois lawmakers are published and part of the public record.“Pay to play” or the perception of such must be addressed by citizens and legislators so that Illinois can climb out of the lack of trust hole.

Most importantly, the citizens of central and southern Illinois need job availability other than the polluting, unhealthful effects of coal production as a new direction for livelihoods and community development.

Mary Ellen DeClue

Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) greets supporters Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 at the Disabled American Veterans Headquarters after being sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)  B582622945Z.1  ....OUTSIDE TRIBUNE CO.- NO MAGS,  NO SALES, NO INTERNET, NO TV, CHICAGO OUT, NO DIGITAL MANIPULATION...
Received this e-mail today from Rep. Tammy Duckworth's (D. IL) U.S. Senate campaign:
Abusive lenders have long preyed on military families. They surround bases with misleading advertisements and charge heavy interest payments, causing unmanageable debt.

The good news is that the Department of Defense is working to prevent predatory lenders from targeting military families with high-cost loans. But banking industry lobbyists are trying to delay important new protections.

I introduced an amendment last Wednesday to immediately protect our service members from predatory loans, and it passed the House Armed Services Committee. Now, we need to ensure that members of the Senate stand strong against banking industry lobbying too.

Join me and VoteVets: tell the Senate we should protect military families from predatory lending without delay:

Predatory lending doesn’t just hurt military families - it threatens military readiness by affecting security clearances and even forcing experienced service members to leave the military.

When our troops work to protect our nation, they should not have to shoulder the additional burden of worrying about a bad credit report or the threat of potential foreclosure.

Thank you for speaking up for military families,


Click here to add your name:

Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Received this e-mail today from Rep. Tammy Duckworth's (D. IL) U.S. Senate campaign on behalf of herself and California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D. CA) and Rep. Donna Edwards' (D. MD) U.S. Senate campaigns:
During my Army service, I always earned equal pay for equal work. The military's policy of fairness has not only created opportunities for women, but also contributes to making our military the best in the world.

Every woman in America deserves the same treatment. But we're not there yet. Today is Equal Pay Day, the date that marks how far into the year women must work, on average, to earn what their male counterparts earned the previous year.

So today, I'm joining Kamala Harris and Donna Edwards - fellow Democratic women running for Senate - to demand that Congress take action on equal pay. Add your name too:

Illinois women can earn an average of nearly $12,000 less than men annually. This isn't just a matter of equality - it's an economic problem that's making it hard for women in our state to support themselves and their families.

Today is an important opportunity to remind Congress that women everywhere are calling for an end to the wage gap, once and for all.

Thank you for adding your voice,


Click here to add your name:

And click here to donate and/or get involved with Duckworth, Harris and Edwards' campaigns:
7/8/14 2:18:05 PM -- Washington, DC, U.S.A  -- Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., is interviewed by USA TODAY Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page for a Capital Download segment. --    Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY staff ORG XMIT:  JG 131093 CAPDOWN EDWARDS 7/8/2014 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
Reposted from nolandforcongress by JGibson

Earlier this week I wrote a guest piece for Howie Klein's Down With Tyranny blog, if you missed it you can read it here by clicking here, about why we need campaign finance reform and what I've done to help advance reforms in the Illinois State Senate.

Yesterday, my bill, Illinois Clean Election Act, passed out of the State Senate's Election Law subcommittee.

This bill will create a system of public financing for statewide and legislative campaigns. Over a dozen states already have public financing in place and this would be a huge step in limiting the role outside money plays in our elections.

I am asking friends and progressive allies to sign our petition, that we will share with our Republican Governor and the legislative leaders to help urge passage of this bill.

About Mike Noland
Mike is an Illinois State Senator, first elected in 2006. He has been one of the most progressive members of the Senate and is exploring a run for Congress in IL-8 as a populist Democrat focused on economic recovery, ethics reform, and fighting for universal health care. You can follow him on Twitter @noland4congress and Facebook at

Reposted from David Nir by poopdogcomedy
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Michael Rogers (L) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) attend the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington March 11, 2014. The hearing is for Rogers' nomination to be Director of the National Secur
Sen. Mark Kirk (at right)
Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois is one of the most vulnerable Republicans seeking re-election next year. He just made his odds of winning a second term that much tougher with these jaw-dropping comments highlighted by the Huffington Post:
I want to make sure we have elected people constantly looking at helping the African-American community. With this state and all of its resources, we could sponsor a whole new class of potential innovators like George Washington Carver and eventually have a class of African-American billionaires. That would really adjust income differentials and make the diversity and outcome of the state much better so that the black community is not the one we drive faster through.
What can we possibly even say? It's not the first time Kirk's said something intemperate this year that he'll have to walk back. But he's supposedly one of the more "moderate" members of his party, so if even Kirk's going to spout offensive garbage like this, it's just one more sign that the GOP "makeover" is nothing but an ongoing disaster.
Reposted from nolandforcongress by JGibson

Thanks to Howie Klein at for allowing me to share my views on campaign finance reform.

Continuing the Fight for Campaign Finance Reform
by Illinois State Senator Mike Noland

Our Congress is deadlocked; Washington is in a constant rut unable to pass even the smallest pieces of meaningful legislation. I believe that the root cause of this gridlock is our unregulated system of campaign financing. This current system makes candidates work for the highest bidder who can support their next campaign and not the voters who send them to Washington.

When I was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 2006 there were NO LIMITS on how much could be donated to a candidate running for office.

My first campaign for the State Senate was one of the most expensive contests during that cycle. As the race heated up, both sides began to dump hundreds-of-thousands of dollars worth of mail, television advertising, and unregulated cash into my race. While I was happy to accept the cash from the Senate President, I knew that there would be strings attached, down the road.

It did not take me long to, realize how damaging Illinois’ unregulated campaign finance system was to our elected representatives, so I stood up and began to work to fix it.

You can read the whole blog by clicking here.

About Mike Noland
Mike is an Illinois State Senator, first elected in 2006. He has been one of the most progressive members of the Senate and is exploring a run for Congress in IL-8 as a populist Democrat focused on economic recovery, ethics reform, and fighting for universal health care. You can follow him on Twitter @noland4congress and Facebook at

Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Wanted to pass this e-mail along from one of my favorite U.S. Senators in support of these three great candidates:
Our Midwest Values PAC supports candidates who will work for a stronger middle class -- and let me tell you, we’ve got a pretty solid team. With spring training wrapping up, I figure it’s time to introduce you to some of the new members of our lineup.

Here are a few of our 2015-2016 MVPs -- show them some love by making a $10 contribution.


    Awarded the Purple Heart for service to our country
    Steadfast fighter against Citizens United

Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran, a brand new mom, and an outstanding Congresswoman from Illinois. This year, Tammy is taking her work to the next level -- running for U.S. Senate. Can you pitch in $5 or more to help her out?


    Youngest statewide elected official in the country (33)
    Rooted out political corruption on two continents

Jason has a solid record of fighting corruption, in Afghanistan, as an army intelligence officer, and in his time in the Missouri legislature. He’s balanced budgets, cut wasteful spending, and protected Missouri families for years. Help out Jason’s campaign for Senate by chipping in a few dollars.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland poses behind his desk in his office in the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, January 3, 2008.  (Chris Stephens/The Plain Dealer)

    Son of a steelworker; former Ohio governor (2006-2010)
    Hit a home run in helping defeat anti-worker legislation in Ohio in 2011

In Ohio, Ted Strickland is a veteran of the Democratic team. As a former Congressman and Governor, Ted’s record of supporting working families, children, and veterans is rock-solid. Ted’s ready to continue that work in the Senate -- click here to chip in $5 or more to help.

With their record of accomplishment for the middle class, these three MVPs can suit up for my team any time.

But as we know from experience, it’s going to take a huge grassroots effort to get them and all our other MVPs elected. We all need to step up. Contribute $5, $10, or more today.

Thanks for all of your help.


Click here to donate to these Democratic candidates campaigns:

Reposted from Laura Clawson by JGibson
Republican candidate for governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner prepares to speak at a public forum at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois March 4, 2014. Wealthy venture capitalist Rauner has used $6 million of his own money to help catapult him pas
Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL)
Some Republicans elected to govern a blue state like Illinois would think about re-election and ease off the vicious cuts a little. Not Bruce Rauner, though. It's almost like he's trying to call attention to what he's doing and how stupid it is. Take the elimination of an autism program:
The Autism Project says Gov. Bruce Rauner confirmed the decision to cut funding for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year Thursday - on World Autism Day.
That's attention-getting. But wait, there's more:
Advocates say for every dollar Illinois spends on its best-in-the-nation autism assistance programs, $7 are either earned or saved. So they say cutting well-honed programs that are doing right by their clients is at best misguided - if not plain cruel.
Some fiscal responsibility there, Gov. Rauner.

A Republican governor eliminating a highly effective, and cost-effective, program that helps vulnerable people live productive lives? Not a surprise. Basically the Republican agenda, in fact. Attracting attention to the cuts by cutting an autism program on World Autism Day? Thanks, I guess? If horrible Republicans are going to be horrible, they might as well advertise it. But that doesn't help the people the Autism Project has served, unfortunately.

(Via Crooks & Liars)

Reposted from Willinois by Willinois

Illinois' largest public utility will now be overseen by a mayor who pledged to keep renewable energy as part of its energy mix.

Springfield's Democratic Mayor-elect Jim Langfelder deserves credit for talking about clean energy. Some candidates avoided the topic because it's controversial after a wind power contract became more costly than expected. With most local news outlets focused on utility finances and rate increases, Langfelder could have avoided taking a clear position on where our power comes from.

But voters were given a real choice between a modern energy mix with renewable energy or "we've always done it that way." Scare tactics about clean energy causing rate increases didn't work this time. Springfield is already a better clean energy leader than Chicago and now the progress can continue.

Coal was being mined in Springfield when Abraham Lincoln represented the city in the state legislature. But this year, a new clean energy future was a winning issue in a coal-country election.

Reposted from shaunking by DownstateDemocrat
Justus Howell - later shot dead in the back by police
Justus Howell, 17 years old, shot twice in the back by police
It never stops.
A teenager shot by a Zion police officer Saturday died of two gunshot wounds to the back, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd announced Monday.

Justus Howell, 17, was shot twice, with one bullet penetrating his heart, spleen and liver, and the other entering his right shoulder, according to a coroner's news release on the autopsy.

His mother spoke to the local CBS affiliate:
His mother, LaToya Howell, said Justus wanted to go to medical school to be a surgeon.

“Justus was a young man murdered by Zion police,” she said. “As he was fleeing from police, they killed my son. He couldn’t have been a threat if he was running.”

Two immediate witnesses who saw the shooting and the aftermath confirmed that the officer shot Justus in the back. Although police stated that they found a weapon at the scene, witnesses said no such weapon was produced.
Michael Dizzone and his wife live in a home directly across the street from where Howell was shot. Dizzone said his wife was looking out of her bedroom window when she saw and heard the officer shoot Howell twice.

“She saw him fall to the ground,” Dizzone said. He said his wife told police what she saw and that she did not see a gun on or around Howell. “She was really upset.”

Bobbie Vaughn, who lives nearby, said she heard two shots and began running toward the scene, following a police officer. When she arrived, she saw Howell on the ground.
“I heard the officer tell the other officer, ‘I shot him,’ ” she said. “They were shaking him, but he didn’t move. He was on his stomach, so they turned him over and the police officer I was with gave him CPR.”

Vaughn said that she remained on the scene for quite some time and did not see police uncover a weapon.

“I didn’t see a gun, no knife, nothing,” she said.

More details are forthcoming.
Reposted from Joan McCarter by JGibson
Illinois Sen, Mark Kirk talks on the telephone
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), perhaps still feeling the sting from being stupid enough to sign on to Sen. Tom Cotton's (R-AR) infamous Iran letter, seems to have suddenly remembered he's running for re-election in Illinois, a state that will most definitely be blue in 2016. Running on his own personal health issues (while simultaneously opposing Obamacare) isn't likely to do the trick, so now he's jumping on a culture issue and attacking Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over that state's "okay to discriminate" law to seem less like a Republican.
"I strongly oppose what Governor Pence did. We should not enshrine bigotry under the cover of religion. It's not just bad practice—it's un-American," Kirk said in a statement Wednesday.
Kirk has apparently decided that being right on LGBT issues is going to be his ticket to keeping his seat. He also voted for a budget resolution amendment last week to grant spousal Social Security and veterans' benefits to married same-sex couples and last month signed an amicus brief supporting marriage equality in the upcoming Supreme Court case. Clearly, Kirk is more worried about his general election than a potential primary challenge from tea party nutjob Joe Walsh.
Reposted from dupage leo by poopdogcomedy

U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is going to announce a 2016 Senate run on Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  She'll be challenging the incumbent GOP Sen. Mark Kirk. Kirk is seen as vulnerable -- the race is expected to be competitive. Tammy, a wounded Iraq war veteran, currently represents the 8th Congressional district which is located in northwest suburban Chicago.  Here's the story:

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