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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, June 29, 2017.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday welcomed Chicago Cubs players, coaches, and team executives for a second World Series championship celebration at the White House (Barack Obama hosted the champs in January prior to Trump's inauguration). "This is a great team," Trump said. "They were actually here [at the White House previously], but they wanted to be here with Trump." The president, however, wasn't entirely positive about the somewhat struggling Cubs, who were in D.C. for a four-game series with the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. "Your team's doing OK," he said. "But you're going to do great starting now, right?" [Tribune]
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke testified Wednesday about the events that occurred after he shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to death in 2014. Van Dyke, who is charged with first-degree murder, official misconduct, and 16 counts of aggravated battery, testified for approximately half an hour about statements he made to his superiors and other officers after the shooting. At the request of Van Dyke's attorney Daniel Herbert, videotaping of the hearing was prohibited, but reporters were allowed to record audio. One of the points at issue is whether Van Dyke's statements were "compelled"—meaning that he was required to make them at risk of losing his job—in which case, based on a 1967 Supreme Court ruling, they might be ruled inadmissible in a criminal trial. "It was my understanding that you had to speak to the [highest-ranking officer] about what happened—otherwise I would be fired," Van Dyke maintained. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Governor Bruce Rauner has vowed to keep state lawmakers in a special session if they do not reach a budget deal before the Friday deadline. Republican state rep Dan Brady argues that both Rauner and house speaker Michael Madigan need to step aside if there's to be a chance of resolving the two-year-long budget impasse. Brady charges that Madigan undermined the progress of negotiators by introducing the house Democrats' spending plan on Tuesday, just a few days before the cutoff. "I'd like to say to both of them, 'Just sit on the sidelines, because there's key people that can get it done,'" the Bloomington-based legislator said in an interview. [Illinois Radio Network via WJBC Radio]
Chicago aldermen passed an ordinance on Wednesday allowing the public the chance to speak at meetings of the full City Council. Under the measure there will be 30 minutes per session allotted for comments of up to three minutes on topics on the council's agenda; spots will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Previously citizens had been allowed to speak at committee meetings, but not at sessions of the full council, which a judge last year ruled violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Activist Andy Thayer, a coplaintiff in the winning lawsuit, called the 30-minute block "totally inadequate" and questioned provisions in the ordinance that prohibit "disruptive language" and restrict remarks to items on the agenda. [Tribune]
After a fatal shooting in the area earlier this month, the Ohio Street underpass leading to Ohio Street Beach will be locked between midnight and 5 AM through October as a result of a direct agreement between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly. "This is the right course of action," Reilly said. "This will help the police stretch their resources." The deal avoided what might have been a contentious City Council vote; Ninth Ward alderman Anthony Beale, for one, had charged the city with overreaching and overreacting "because someone got murdered Downtown, and officials need to be seen as, 'oh, we are doing something.'" [DNAinfo Chicago]
The Washington Post had a bit of fun with Chicagoans' taste in television after ABC7 Chicago pushed back an episode of The Bachelorette in favor of Tuesday night's game between the Cubs and the Nationals. Despite a cliffhanger on the reality show the preceding night, the station carried the match between the Cubs' Jake Arrieta and the Nats' Max Scherzer, sparking an outcry on social media. Irate tweets included "ABC is playing a Cubs game instead of the Bachelorette, IS THIS A SICK JOKE?!?!," "ABC is showing the Cubs Game instead of the bachelorette tonight. This is why women have trust issues," and "ABC is showing the Cubs on night two of the Bachelorette. BASEBALL DOESN'T EVEN MATTER AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON!" The episode finally aired at 1:07 AM and will be repeated Monday, July 3, at 7 PM; meanwhile the Cubs lost 6-1 as the Nats stole seven bases. [Washington Post]