Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Monday, July 10, 2017.
The Illinois General Assembly ended the more than two-year state budget stalemate last week by passing a spending plan and $5 billion income tax hike, despite Governor Bruce Rauner's vetoes. The long nightmare may be over, but Illinois's financial woes are not, according to the Associated Press. Moody's Investor Service is still considering downgrading Illinois's bond rating to junk, and the state has to start paying $14.7 billion in overdue bills on top of covering its pension obligations: "The tax increase also does nothing to directly address the haunting $130 billion shortfall in pension obligations to retired and current state workers," AP reported. [Associated Press via the Washington Post]
A handful of Republican members of the Illinois house went against Governor Bruce Rauner and voted for the Democrats' spending plan and income tax hike last week. Fifteen GOP representatives voted for the plan the first time, and ten voted to override Rauner's veto of the bills Thursday. The Rauner-funded Illinois Republican Party quickly issued a statement slamming the legislators, who said they were listening to their constituents' wishes for a budget plan. "After all we have accomplished together, it is astonishing that these legislators would now turn their backs on taxpayers across the state," GOP chairman Tim Schneider said in a statement. "I am confident voters will hold those politicians accountable for choosing Mike Madigan over the people of Illinois." Repubican rep Michael Unes of East Peoria voted for the bills both times and is expecting the GOP to challenge him in the primary. "For me right here today, right here, right now, this is the sword that I'm willing to die on," he said after the first vote. "And if it costs me my seat, so be it." [Tribune]
Former Chicago Police Department superintendent Garry McCarthy lost his job in the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald scandal in late 2015, but that hasn't stopped him from speaking out or being considered for other high-profile jobs. McCarthy was reportedly a finalist for the head of London's Metropolitan Police Service, and turned down an offer from President Donald Trump to be Chicago's U.S. marshal. A 2019 mayoral run has also been rumored. Drafting a security plan for controversial River North bar Bottled Blonde was of the most unlikely gigs he's had. "They wouldn't implement the security plan, so we wouldn't work for them," former cop Richard Simon, who's been working with McCarthy, said. [Sun-Times]
Tracy and Jen VanHoutan have been fighting an uphill battle with pharmaceutical companies and the Federal Drug Administration for years, but their hard work has paid off. Two of the VanHoutan's four children, Noah and Laine, were diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, CLN2 Batten disease. There was no treatment or cure for the terminal disease—which slowly takes away children's ability to see, walk, communicate, or swallow—when Noah and Laine were diagnosed a few years ago. About a year after Noah passed away, the FDA approved Brineura, the groundbreaking drug to treat CLN2 Batten that the VanHoutans led the fight for. [Tribune]
Chicago Public Schools special education teacher Sarah Chambers was beloved by students and parents at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy in Little Village before she was fired by CPS in May. Chambers has filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education "alleging that the board retaliated against her activism by firing her," according to DNAinfo Chicago. "The board's reasons for firing Ms. Chambers are pretexts to hide its true, retaliatory motive," Chicago Teachers Union attorney Josiah Groff said. "We look forward to proving this in court." [DNAinfo Chicago]
Bow Truss Coffee owner Phil Tadros is suing Crain's Chicago Business for defamation regarding a story it published about him in 2016. Tadros is asking for $38 million, alleging that the publication "had personal motive to harm" his business. "Overall, defendants not only knowingly misrepresented the facts about Mr. Tadros and his business in the defamatory article [but it also] intentionally refused to publish any positive facts about Mr. Tadros," the lawsuit states. [Eater Chicago]