Coroner’s Office Has Busy Day

From the McHenry County Cororner:

Motorcyclist Dies after Being Rear-ended by Drunk Driver

McHenry County Coroner, Dr. Michael Rein, announced that his office was contacted on July 15, 2021 to investigate the death of Kenneth Jackson, age 27 of Antioch, involved in a motorcycle accident at Rt. 120 and Chapel Hill Rd.

Mr. Jackson was transported to Northwestern McHenry where he was pronounced deceased.

An autopsy was performed on July 16, 2021. Preliminary findings show blunt force trauma as the cause of death. Toxicology is currently pending.

The Coroner’s Office is continuing to work collaboratively with the Antioch PD during this investigation.

Crystal Lake Man Found Lying on Grass Identifed

McHenry County Coroner, Dr. Michael Rein, announced that his office was contacted on July 18, 2021 regarding a subject lying face down in a grassy area near the intersection of N. Oak St. and Shipland Dr. in Crystal Lake.

Local police and EMS responded pronouncing the subject deceased at the scene.

The subject was not identified right away because of no ID or cell phone on the decedent.

After further investigation it was determined that the person has been identified as Jeremy Ochal, age 34 of Crystal Lake.

An autopsy was performed today, July 19, 2021.

Toxicology is currently pending.

The Coroner’s Office is continuing to work collaboratively with Crystal Lake PD during this investigation.

Jiffy Lube Death

McHenry County Coroner, Dr. Michael Rein, announced that his office was contacted on July 16, 2021 by McHenry PD to investigate the death of Joseph Majko, age 29, of Crystal Lake.

Mr. Majko was struck by a vehicle at his place of employment, Jiffy Lube on N. Richmond Rd. in McHenry.

He was transported to Northwestern Hospital McHenry where he was pronounced deceased.

An autopsy was performed today, July 19, 2021. Preliminary findings show blunt force trauma as the cause of death. Toxicology is currently pending.

The Coroner’s Office is continuing to work collaboratively with McHenry PD during this investigation.

Crystal Lake Police Investigate Man’s Death

From the Crystal Lake Police:

Crystal Lake Police Investigate Death of Adult Male

Crystal Lake, IL- On July 18, 2021, at 8:29 am the Crystal Lake Police Department and the Crystal Lake Fire Department were called to the area of Oaks Street, south of Shipland Drive for a report of an unconscious male subject.

Oak Street at Shipman in Crystal Lake.

Upon arrival, police located male subject, approximately 35 years of age, with no obvious signs of injury.

Crystal Lake Fire Department personnel quickly determined the adult male subject was a deceased.

The McHenry Coroner was called to the scene to assist.

This case is considered an active investigation

While we are still gathering evidence, we are sure there is no danger to the public as a result of this incident.

We encourage anyone who may have information relating to this incident to contact the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620.

In addition, anyone with a cell phone can send an anonymous tip to the Crystal Lake Police Department by texting the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411). Normal text messaging rates do apply.

Pritzker Running for Re-Election

Since this is a political blog, it ought to pass on the news that Governor JB Pritzker is running for re-election.

The announcement’s newsworthiness is reflected in its being placed on page 3 of the Chicago Tribune:

Gary Rabine’s Reaction:

Gary Rabine: Illinois can’t afford four more years of JB Pritzker

Woodstock, IL – Gary Rabine, a candidate for Governor, is issuing the following statement on JB Pritzker’s announcement that he is running for re-election.

“The last two and a half years have been a disaster for Illinois on JB Pritzker’s watch. Governor Pritzker has raised taxes, increased spending, and signed into law some of the most radical, far-left legislation in the nation. When Pritzker didn’t get his income tax increase, he raised taxes and regulations at a record pace to dominate the highest taxed citizens in America. All this isn’t enough as Pritzker threatens to pursue higher income tax again if elected to a second term.

JB Pritzker doesn’t mention in his announcement his leadership in outmigration or that Illinois has the worst credit rating of all 50 states, even with the billions in federal bailouts.

Under Pritzker, our state has become one of the most violent in America with 385 homicides and 1,897 shootings midway through 2021. A great leader would not sleep until this tragic environment was changed.

The people of Illinois cannot afford four more years of JB Pritzker. I am confident, that in 2022, we will reject him and his radical agenda that is driving our state into unacceptable insolvency and violence.”

Three-term Circuit Judge John Noverini of Carpentersville Launches Campaign for Illinois Supreme Court

John Noverini

The open Illinois Supreme Court 2nd District race could be one of the most expensive open seat Supreme Court races ever

Those who remember the 2000 Republican primary for the 2nd District between then-appointed Justice S. Louis Rathje, then DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Bonnie Wheaton and winner, former Chicago Bears place kicker Bob Thomas, know how brutal an open seat Supreme Court primary can be.

And with the later primary election plus a competitive race General Election in a new district and only 4 months to raise money and campaign and possible control of the Illinois Supreme Court at stake, 2000 will seem like a spring shower opposed to the storm of 2022 for the 2nd District.

With that backdrop, Kane County Circuit Judge John A. Noverini (D, Carpentersville) launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination.

The 62 year old Noverini was retained for a 3rd term as Circuit Judge last November. Currently, Noverini presides over the Probate Court.

Noverini has never lost an election:

  • Elected Carpentersville village trustee in 1999
  • Unseated two-term Kane County Board Member in 2002, and won reelection in 2006
  • Unseated appointed circuit judge in 2008

According to a Sunday article in Center for Illinois Politics, Judge Noverini loaned himself $95K.

His website has launched and Noverini is running on:

  • Experience
  • Integrity
  • Independence
Judge John Noverini and wife Saray Rodriguez

Noverini has strong ties into the Hispanic community through his wife, Saray Rodriguez, a former Information Technology small business owner. In his bio, he highlights the need for more diversity on the bench, not only ethnicity, but legal experience.

Judge Noverini’s website with complete bio can be viewed here.

Local Paper Finds Liberal Rally Saturday, But Not Conservative Demonstration

Maybe it was because the liberals gathered closer to Shaw Media’s Northwest Herald building.

Maybe it was because Congressman Sean Casten showed up.

Maybe it was because the left wing group calling itself “Indivisible NWIL” told the Northwest Herald of its event and the conservatives didn’t tell the NWH of its impromptu (one day notice) demonstration.

In any event, a Shaw publication called “The Citizen” had an article with no byline (but with the name NWH reporter “Cassie Buchman/Woodstock” at the event), as you can see from the screen shot below (no link could be found to the article):

Claiming thirty showed up at the event organized by Woodstock’s Eveej Malone, the event promoted the Democrats’ nationalization of voting rules.

Prior to the night “vigil,” near Target, conservatives gathered near the intersection or Route 176 and Valley View Road in Prairie Grove to protest a $200 fine for Gianelli’s Drive Thru restaurant.

Early attendees at the demonstration included Algonquin Township Clerk Maureen Huff, Algonquin Township
Trustee Theresa Fronczak and Tina Paskey.

Freewill donations garnered $200 to pay the fine.

IL-16: Groypers Officially Enter Republican Primary as Congressman Paul Gosar Endorses Jack Lombardi

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Paul Gosar
Jack Lombardi

Endorsement brings to light the two main sides of “America First”, the traditional/mainstream vs. the “populist”/fringe and Lombardi backed by latter

Back in April when Freelancer Gabriella Hoffman interviewed Republican IL-16 candidate Catalina Lauf, an exchange about the “hijacking” of the America First movement was discussed, with Hoffman describing the “traditional conservatism” opposed to “populism”, pointing out there are areas of overlap.

With Friday’s tweets of 5-term Congressman Paul Gosar (R, AZ-04) backing IL-16 candidate Jack Lombardi, the lines between “populism” America First, backed by the likes of Gosar, ex Congressman Steve King (R, IA-04) and activist Nick Fuentes, and traditional America First can no longer be blurred.

In a June 28 comment on an IL-16 article, Lombardi himself said the following:

“[Catalina Lauf ]…will have to spend 4 to 1 to match the populist

Jack Lombardi, emphasis added 6/28/21 comment


So Lombardi in his own words embraced the “populist” label of America First, which ties him to the Groypers who are backed by Congressman Gosar, ex Congressman King and Nick Fuentes.

Since 2019, the Groypers under Nick Fuentes’ leadership broke away from more traditional America First supporters like the American Conservative Union, who hosts “Conservative Political Action Conference” (CPAC) each year. Indeed, under Fuentes’ “America First Foundation” non-partisan, non-profit, Fuentes and others launched a rival “America First Political Action Conference” (AFPAC), which would hold its meetings at the same time as the annual CPAC in February.

In February of this year, when CPAC met in Orlando, AFPAC2 met in Orlando on same weekend.

When CPAC met in Dallas earlier this month, Fuentes had a rival conference across the street from the CPAC hotel venue, and Fuentes sporting his Pit Viper shades tried to crash CPAC. Here’s the short 2-minute, relatively tame video, including Fuentes’ speaking:

From the desk of John Lopez: Am I making this stuff up of Gosar ties to Fuentes? Nope, you can read about it from late last month here, and feel free to Google the fallout articles and read for yourself.

As for the hour-plus long speech Fuentes made in Dallas after the above video was shot, feel free to Google/YouTube search for it.

Back to Gosar backing Lombardi, here is how the tweets went down on Friday:

That was basically it, nothing formally in writing, nor a joint appearance (not even virtual joint appearance), just a tweet, as fundraising for Q2 reports had finished being posted.

Late yesterday, the Daily Herald picked up the Gosar-Lombardi story and published it yesterday evening online, and appeared in today’s print edition. POLITICO‘s “Illinois Playbook” column published a blurb from the Herald‘s story this morning.

Will this really help Lombardi? Probably not, as his real pain point for his campaign is fundraising. We saw Lombardi’s boast about Catalina Lauf needing to spend 4 times more against the self-described “populist”.

Using the cash receipts/expenses chart for all Kinzinger’s challengers who reported fundraising last week, looks like Lauf has spent over 10 times Lombardi, and for the year, raised over 10 times Lombardi (reminder, the below chart excludes in-kind receipts and expenses):

Where does QAnon/WWG1WGA fit into all this? QAnon is a discredited conspiracy theory that is shrouded in some overlapping truth. One will likely find QAnon believers to a certain degree in both America First camps.

External references to both sides of America First are below:

  • Traditional/mainstream America First, through the America First Policy Institute can be viewed here
  • Populist/Groyper America First, through America First Foundation can be viewed here

If you’re going to be involved in Republican politics during the 2022 election cycle, please learn what will be at stake from resources above.

Just think, I didn’t even cover Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s (R, IL-16) “Country First” views, yet.

UPDATED IL-16: Final Q2 FEC Filings and Adam Kinzinger with $3 Million in Bank

Adam Kinzinger

Here is the final (with Democrat Marsha Williams data added) tote board for the candidates who filed Federal Election Commission (FEC) campaign disclosure reports for Q2

Update: Late Friday night, Democrat IL-16 candidate Marsha Williams posted her FEC Q2 report. Her numbers added to the tote board.

Of Williams’ total receipts, $5,100 was from contributions (not loans) from herself.

Per comment in previous article, the Q2 Burn Rate column was added. The metric is simply the Q2 Expenses column divided by Q2 Receipts.

In-Kind Contributions

Please note, Jack Lombardi’s Q2 numbers for receipts and expenses are inflated because he counted “in-kind” contribution of $10K from himself, and two in-kind contributions totaling $5.8K, bringing the total to $15.8K. The entire $15.8K were offset by in-kind expenses of $10K to Lombardi himself, plus $2.9K of in-kind expenses to two volunteers.

The in-kind receipts and expenses should be subtracted from the receipts and expenses columns to show the total cash receipts and cash expenses.

Applying the math, Lombardi’s cash numbers are:

  • Receipts: $25,357.06
  • Expenses: $13,752.69
  • Cash on hand remains the same at $11,605.37

Both Lombardi and Catalina Lauf (in Q1) had significant amounts of in-kinds. Lombardi’s $10K candidate in-kind, while legal, is a head-scratcher, since he could have simply expensed whatever the spend was for and the name of the vendor would have been fully disclosed.

For the Kinzinger challengers, I will be doing a separate cash receipts/expenditures spreadsheet, excluding all in-kinds. Lauf’s Q1 in-kind totaled just under $18K, and no candidate in-kinds.

Williams’ in-kind totaled $300.

“FD” is Financial Disclosure statement filfile

Messages of the Day — Cobra Kai Season 4, Jeff Ward and IL-16

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“Extreme situations require extreme measures.”

“Now the real pain begins.”

In the aftermath of the Capitol Riots on January 6th, I shared the back story of how I became a fan of the Cobra Kai series on Netflix, thanks to Red State blog’s Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar.

So with season 4 of Cobra Kai wrapping production at the end of May, Netflix released the following tweets revealing what fans of the show had already figured would be a part of the 4th season, set to drop this fall — the return of Terry Silver (played by Thomas Ian Griffith), the main sadistic bad guy from Karate Kid, Part III in 1989 (but set in fall, 1985).

Two episodes of season 3 gave the back story of how Sensei John Kreese and Silver (nicknamed “Twig”) first met in Vietnam, and how Silver became indebted to Kreese for life.

In recognition of Cobra Kai‘s first major Emmy nomination, Best Comedy(?) Series last week and its parallels with recent events in the IL-16 Republican primary race, here is Silver’s reintroduction.

The Quick-Silver rules to teach a new generation of students of Cobra Kai.

From the desk of John Lopez: The Terry Silver character may have been introduced into the IL-16 Republican primary race in the past week in the form of Jeff Ward, who had his conviction of misdemeanor domestic battery overturned by the Illinois Appellate Court, 2nd District on July 9.

I used the backdrop of Ward’s overturning of the conviction in this article from last Wednesday.

Yesterday, Mr. Ward paid McHenry County Blog a visit, and posted this comment in last Wednesday’s article mid afternoon on Sunday concerning both IL-16 Republican candidate Catalina Lauf and former Kane County State’s Attorney, and now Metra Board Member Joe McMahon (R, Geneva):

Jeff Ward
Catalina Lauf

“First, I don’t give a flying [EXPLETIVE, DELETED] about what anyone thinks about me and I never will. If you don’t like me then get off your fat asses and build a base a reputation to compete with And the fact that some of you [EXPLETIVE, DELETED] can only manage to throw bombs at me anonymously says it all.

“And yes! I will succeed in a suit against Lauf because that Shaw Media column in question, which has been removed from the Net, made it VERY clear that I was going to appeal.

“And when you consider my track record in beating law enforcement, had I been in her shoes, I wouldn’t have said a [EXPLETIVE, DELETED] word until I knew it was gonna stick.

“She’ll simply settle any lawsuit because she has an IQ of 12 and I could destroy her on the stand pro se – which is generally how I proceeded with the appeal.

“I shoulda been an attorney!

“As far as my congenial persona, I’m sure you can understand what they’d do to me if I didn’t command fear because you’ve seen what’s they’ve done to me in spite of the fact that I am feared. How many journalist sue a state’s attorney and win.

“Joe McMahon is back in private practice, isn’t he? At least I’m will to take chances.

“What have some of you [EXPLETIVE, DELETED] done? Posted comments on a blog.

“Lastly, I appreciate the people here who’ve seen the truth.

“Jeff Ward”

Comment from Jeff Ward, 7/18/21, 2:21PM CDT


Ward is correct the Shaw Media story from June of 2018 was removed. I also confirm the Daily Herald story about Ward’s conviction was removed last Monday, though the headline still on the Net (but excludes Ward’s name).

Shortly after Noon CDT on Sunday, Ward posted this tweet directed at both Lauf and me:

So Ward states his targets, in this order are:

  • City of Geneva
  • Kane County State’s Attorney Office
  • Catalina Lauf

Knowing Jeff Ward, I know he usually follows through on his planned actions, and I will be watching the Kane County courts portal for new Causes of Action in the coming weeks from Ward.

And if Ward really does file suits, I see the Terry Silver character playing out in 2021, just as he will on Cobra Kai season 4 this fall (set in spring, 2019).

Few Pols on Parade at McHenry’s Fiesta Days Parade

As usual, I parked myself in front of Perry Moy’s Plum Garden restaurant for McHenry’s Fiesta Days Parade.

And, as usual, I went looking for local politicians.

I found Republican aspirant for Sheriff Robb Tadelman and asked where I could find the Republican contingent.

Robb Tadelman decided to work the crowds along the parade route.

He told me that the $450 entrance fee had led to the decision not to participate.

I did find some McHenry Aldermen and women.

Patrick Devine, Alderman for Ward 6, was caught on camera.

Representing Ward 7 is Sue Miller.

Sue Miller is on the right.

Ward 3’s Alderman Frank McClatchey was also in the parade.

Frank McClatchey (on the left) and supporter.

The first official elected as a partisan was State Rep. Tom Weber.

A float drove into view for State Rep. Tom Weber.

Weber played music aimed at a younger audience than me and used his loud speaker to address the crowd.

Tom Weber talked to those watching the parade.

The only other partisan politician to make himself known was gubernatorial hopeful Gary Rabine, until recently from Johnsburg.

Gary Rabine banner uses slogan pointing to his background in asphalt: “Paving the Way to Stay.”
Gary Rabine’s campaign bus came next.

And that was it for politics.

Nothing from the Democrats.

Precious little from Republicans.

Lake County Associate Judge Running for Illinois Supreme Court as a Democrat

Elizabeth Rochford

It’s a big leap from Associate Judge to the Illinois Supreme Court, but Lake County Associate Judge Elizabeth Rochford wants to make it.

She filed papers last week to run in the Democratic Party primary with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

First appointed in 2012, she has handled divorce, probate, other civil and criminal cases.

Prior to her appointment she worked for the State’s Attorney’s Office before going out on her own.

She has served as President of the Lake County Bar Association.

Rochford is sixty years old.

McHenry County Farm Bureau Host Wilcox

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Wilcox attends McHenry County Farm Bureau meeting

Leaders of the McHenry County Farm Bureau with State Senator Craig Wilcox.

Last week it was a pleasure to meet with my friends at the McHenry County Farm Bureau. I provided a brief legislative update, including a detailed discussion of my agritourism bill, Senate Bill 458.

As you may recall, this bill would remove liability from agritourism businesses when visitors choose to participate in on-site activities.

The bill did not get called for a final vote this spring, but I will be pushing for consideration of this important measure when the legislature reconvenes.

After the update, I listened intently as local farmers discussed challenges, including this summer’s drought, a possible fertilizer shortage, and issues that may arise during the upcoming fall harvest.

Legislation helps generational farmers

Recently signed legislation, which received bipartisan support in the General Assembly, will help farms and other family businesses navigate the often complicated process of estate planning. I was proud to support this bill.

Senate Bill 47 expands the use of the TODI (Transfer on Death Instrument), which allows for ownership of property to transfer upon the death of the owner.

Under current Illinois law, the use of a TODI is only allowed for residential real estate including at least one residential dwelling, but no more than four dwellings, and containing 40 acres or less of farm ground.

SB 47, however, allows a TODI to be used for all real estate, including farm ground.

The legislation was proposed as a way to help farmers who frequently face challenges when it comes to passing on their operations to the next generation.

Crystal Lake Teachers’ Union Members Attend Crystal Lake Biden Speech

From the Illinois Education Association:

IEA members attend President Joe Biden’s speech at McHenry County College

CRYSTAL LAKE – Two IEA members were special guests of President Joe Biden when he made his appearance at McHenry County College last week.

Karen Shuman, president of the McHenry County College Adjunct Faculty Association, and Mike Sayre, a member of the High School District 155 Education Association, were able to meet the President during his visit to Crystal Lake.

Sayre was invited by the President to attend after he wrote a letter to President Biden about how hard it is to find affordable childcare. President Biden addressed Sayre directly during his comments at the college. Shuman was a guest of IEA.

Biden Mike Sayre and children meet President Biden at MCC. From CLCHS Facebookl page.

Biden visited the community college to promote his “Build Back Better” plan, which offers free community college for first-time students, increases Pell Grants, builds an apprenticeship program, ensures access to free preschool, builds wraparound supports such as child care at community colleges, as well as other programs Biden has called an investment in the American people.

Sayre, a single father and high school teacher, wrote a three-sentence letter to the President on Sun., July 4, noting how difficult it is to find before-school care for his 9-year-old twins.

The White House reached out to him on Monday and asked him to attend President Biden’s appearance. Sayre and his twins were able to meet the President and speak with him briefly.

“He told me his story about being a single parent of young kids and said he really wants to help with childcare costs,” Sayre said.

“I’m going into my second year of being a single parent and doing this and it occurs to me how much this affects my students – how many don’t come to school because they are taking care of their siblings, making lunches, or holding their baby brother during Zoom calls and trying to do Math.”

Sayre said he thinks Biden truly believes in his plan and that he was encouraged about Biden’s plan to invest more money in school infrastructure, free community college and more dual credit classes.

“As an educator, I liked what he had to say,” Sayre said.

“My kids are only nine now, but they’ll be college age one day and to get that springboard into the workforce would be amazing!”

For Shuman, an adjunct faculty member, she was able to make connections with politicians to help them understand some of the unique issues that adjuncts face, as well as meet the President.

“It was such an exciting experience. For me, it was like meeting the ultimate TV or movie star, I’m a political junkie,” Shuman said. “He was very sharp and very kind.”

She said she was touched by the fact that he mentioned years ago, people were blown away by the idea that students would one day have access to 12 years of free public education.

“Now, it’s the norm. So, expanding it to 14 by offering two years of free community college seems the logical next step.

“Civilization and cultures stop when they stop learning.

“Education is the cornerstone of strong economics, lower poverty, lower additions, lower self-harm, lower emotional distress, and he recognizes that and he highlighted it in his speech and all the contextual things around it – making sure people can get to school, afford child care as they return to school as adults.

“And, that’s how you build a great society,” Shuman said.

And, a key to that learning are adjunct faculty, who often have to string multiple jobs together to make the bare minimum salary.

“Not going to change anything for adjunction faculty in higher education until we can talk to politicians and help them understand.

“Adjuncts are treated unfairly in the culture of their schools and in the understanding of their community.” Shuman hopes connections made at the event will help their plight.

$200 Raised by Those Demonstrating Against Prairie Grove Fine for Business’ Flying American Flag

Glanetti’s restaurant.

On Route 176 in Prairie Grove is a restaurant called Glanetti’s.

Gianelli’s staff.
Some Saturday demonstrators.

A person attending wrote,

Terry Trobiani, owner of Giannelli‘s Restaurant Prairie Grove,, Illinois, was given a “hard time” for flying large American flags on the Fourth of July at his restaurant. 

Glenn Swanson, , Brian Rowe, Tonya Franklin, Pam Burris and Michelle Berlin

Sign and Banner Ordinances are meant to cut down on general clutter in a village.

Maureen Huff, Theresa Fronczak and Tina Paskey.

 I really don’t believe the size and number of American flags a person could show at their home or business was meant to be regulated.

Leigh Mersch and Michelle Berlin.

Please visit this small business which has always supported Police and First Responders.

There were at least two “Don’t Tread on Me “flags.

The food is excellent and is reasonably priced.  Some of Terry’s friends flew their American Flags for him today!

Karen Tirios of McHenry Gounty GOPac, standing with Frankie O’Sullivan, holds $200 raised from demonstrators to pay Prairie Grove’s fine.

Patriots raised money to pay his fine and will be going to speak out against the fine and harassment at the next board meeting. 

Other photos of the demonstrators follow:

Glen Swanson, Orv Brettman, Jeff Thorsen, Joe Tirio, Gary Daugherty and Liz Perkey.
Joe Tirio, David Hellyer, Owner of Gianelli’s Terry Trobiani  and Mary Heisler
Mike Pieroni, Karen Tirio and Karen Pieroni.
Cathy Klocek and Janness Abraham.
Monster Truck
Other side of the Monster Truck.

Not pictured: John & Kathy Pletz, Debbie Deddon, Franl Noel, Denise LaForest, Bill Weber, Diane Donnelly, Suzette & Dale McFarland, Beth Baeckelandt.

Eric Sheidler Tells of Conversation with Objector to Abortion Sign in Rockford

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Most people only know about the Pro-Life Action League other than the pictured of aborted babies he displays on busy streets.

Eric Scheidler was in Rockford last weekend and subsequently posted this video.

It provides a milder version of him than some might have.

Wilcox Bemoans Legislative Inspector General’s Resignation

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Legislative Inspector General announces resignation

Citing a lack of “true ethics reform,” Legislative Inspector General (LIG) Carol Pope offered her resignation to members of the Legislative Ethics Commission on July 14.

She offered her resignation immediately, until a replacement is chosen, or until her term ends in December.

I have been vocal about the ongoing issues of corruption and misconduct within state government, and this is just further evidence of the need to pass substantive ethics reforms in the legislature.

Earlier this year, lawmakers came together in a bipartisan effort to pass an ethics reform package that included a component to empower the LIG to investigate corruption allegations.

While it was a good step forward to begin addressing the ongoing ethical concerns in state government, there is still a lot to be done to ensure elected officials are held accountable for their actions and to address the longstanding history of legislator misconduct. 

Senate Republican lawmakers sponsored several additional reforms proposed by the LIG that were never called before the Ethics Committee for a hearing. They include:

  • SB 551 (Tracy):Amends the law to include more disclosure on Quarterly Reports filed by the Legislative Inspector General. Adds that the reports will include the total number of founded reports (currently complaints) forwarded to the Attorney General. 
  • SB 1870 (Barickman):Amends the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to allow the Legislative Inspector General to conduct investigations and issue subpoenas without the prior advance approval of the Legislative Ethics Commission.
  • SB 2529 (Plummer):Amends the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act so that the Legislative Inspector General shall not initiate any investigation without giving notice of the allegations involved to each member of the Legislative Ethics Commission. The Legislative Inspector General does not require the advance approval of the Commission to initiate any investigation, but the Legislative Inspector General shall not investigate matters that are beyond the scope of, or are unrelated to, the initial complaint upon which the investigation was founded, without the advance approval of the Commission. 
  • SB 1350 (Curran): Amends the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to: 
  • Allowing the Attorney General to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict and prosecute bribery and misconduct by members of the General Assembly;
  • Authorizing state’s attorneys to use wiretaps to investigate crimes of public corruption;
  • Granting the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate members of the General Assembly without first receiving approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission;
  • Banning legislators from lobbying other branches of state government or units of local government for compensation;
  • Requiring legislators to wait one year after leaving office, or until the end of the current term (whichever is longer) before they can become a lobbyist;
  • Prohibiting a legislator from leaving office and continuing to use their campaign fund to support lobbying activities; and
  • Updating the Statement of Economic Interests to enhance the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.

Message of the Day – A Parade Entry

From Crystal Lake’s Independence Day Parade come this entry from Immanuel Lutheran Church:

Immanuel Lutheran Church of Crystal Lake banner.
Perhaps the theme of Vacation Bible School at Crystal Lake’s Immanuel Lutheran Church.
A closer look at the float entered by Crystal Lake’s Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Wilcox Reports

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Republicans push for state offices to resume operations

With the State of Illinois solidly in Phase 5 of the reopening plan, Senate Republicans continue their calls to have all state offices reopen, especially the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), which continues to remain closed.

These state agencies, especially IDES, provide critical services, and the prolonged closure of these agencies is becoming increasingly frustrating to Illinoisans.

This week I joined several of my Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Governor Pritzker, urging the reopening of all state offices.

While some state offices, such as the Illinois Secretary of State, have resumed full operations, others such as IDES remain inexplicably shuttered. This is creating confusion for residents and is adding unnecessary barriers to receiving state services.

IDES, which handles issues with unemployment benefits for employees throughout the state, has been closed for almost 500 days and continues to be criticized for fraud issues, the slow response time, and the backlog of unaddressed claims.

The entire private sector is back open for business. There is no excuse for state offices to not be fully opened and operational.

Wilcox hosts successful events, looks ahead to future events in 32nd District

I want to thank everyone who participated in my community outreach events last week.

We had a fabulous turnout for the blood drive I hosted at Skyline Cruise Night on Monday in McHenry, and about two dozen people participated in a webinar I co-hosted on Tuesday, that included information on the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s rental assistance program.

On Saturday, we had a good turnout area-wide for the annual DamYak challenge in McHenry, with more than 150 kayaks in the water and additional event supporters cheering from land.

The event raises awareness and funds for Kids In Need McHenry County, a non-profit organization created to identify and provide kids in need with important recourses to help them have a happy and healthy childhood.

Great fun was had by all at this annual event.

Enhanced Algonquin Independence Day Enforcement

From the Algonquin Police Department:

Algonquin Police releases Fourth of July enforcement numbers

(Algonquin, Illinois) – The Algonquin Police Department issued 19 seat belt citations during the Fourth of July “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click it or Ticket” campaigns.

  • One citation for child safety seat
  • 34 speeding citations
  • one distracted driving citation,
  • 7 other IVC violation citations and
  • one traffic arrest

also occurred during this campaign.

The Algonquin Police Department joined forces with more than 200 other local law enforcement agencies from June 17 through July 6 to get drunk and drugged drivers off our roads and encourage seat belt use. The effort featured high-visibility enforcement combined with a variety of outreach activities, including a media campaign.

The enforcement period was funded by federal traffic safety funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation as part of the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” programs.