QUOTE OF THE DAY
The Supreme Court has dealt a blow to public sector unions — ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois can’t be required to pay fees that help cover the union’s cost of collective bargaining.
It was a 5-to-4 ruling, split along ideological lines.
The justices said requiring those workers to pay the fees violates the First Amendment rights of non-members who disagree with the positions that unions take.
A group that mounted a $3 million effort to ask voters this fall to take politics out of the redrawing of legislative boundaries dropped its effort Friday, hours after a Cook County judge tossed the proposed constitutional amendment from the Nov. 4 ballot.
Judge Mary Mikva’s ruling proved to be the death blow to the drive by the Yes for Independent Maps organization, which already had been under pressure to prove to the State Board of Elections that it had obtained nearly 300,000 valid signatures from voters to secure a fall ballot spot.
“We have concluded that we are not going to proceed in this election cycle,” said Deborah Harrington, the group’s chair. “Instead, we will put the lessons learned in this campaign and from the judge’s ruling to good use.”
Sweeping Illinois election law changes likely to be in place this fall mean it’ll be easier to register, vote while away at college and cast an early ballot.
Democrats say the relaxed rules will allow more people to exercise a basic democratic right, but Republicans are leery the moves are aimed at pumping up the Democratic vote in what has been a decidedly blue state.
The changes are part of a measure lawmakers approved this spring that Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign into law this summer. The biggest one will allow same-day registration for the first time, meaning Illinois voters could register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day.
Looking to leave suburban Chicago in retirement, John and Janet Reed took scouting trips to Hilton Head, Savannah and Phoenix. John’s sales rep job was winding down, and Janet had retired from full-time teaching to consult for their local school district.
Back home in Naperville, Ill., they clicked on an online offer to visit Tellico Village in East Tennessee on a two-day Discovery Package. Now it’s home. How they got there is a roadmap for pre-retirees looking to cross state lines.
Do the math. The Reeds sat down with their financial advisor at Vanguard and ran a plan showing projections of how likely it was that their assets would carry them through a comfortable retirement. They got a disappointing answer: 60%. But by making the move to Tennessee, the chances of their money lasting jumped to 80%. The main reason: a lower cost of living. That knowledge helped move them forward in their decision to move out of state, and in particular to Tennessee.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday largely approved a 2015 state budget he has criticized as “incomplete” for not extending a temporary income tax increase, setting off another back-and-forth with his Republican rival over how best to fix Illinois’ huge financial problems.
The Chicago Democrat cut $250 million for renovations to the state Capitol from the $35.7 billion spending plan, saying Illinois can’t afford to move forward with improvements this year. He also said he has directed state agencies to make additional cuts, including selling half the state’s 21 airplanes.
“While legislators didn’t do their job on the budget, I will continue to do mine,” Quinn said in a statement.
A union representing Illinois home care workers is criticizing a Supreme Court ruling that found workers cannot be required to pay fees to help cover collective bargaining.
Flora Johnson is a home care provider from Chicago and chair of the Executive Board of Service Employees International Union’s Healthcare Illinois
She says the Monday decision attempts to divide membership and limit union power.
CARTOON OF THE DAY