Category Archives: Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 29, 2011

Gov. Pat Quinn (illinois.gov)

Rockford Register StarQuinn makes no commitment to casino bill during Rockford visit, “Quinn was noncommittal about signing the gambling expansion bill that lawmakers passed earlier this month. He said he planned to give the bill an extensive review, listen to the supporters and critics, gather information and make a decision.”

  • Wheaton Patch—FOIA Change Could Affect Segment of Public, “Not even two years after sweeping changes streamlined and simplified parts of the state’s rules for obtaining public information, a bill that some think throws a wrench in the system awaits a decision by Gov. Pat Quinn.”
  • Chicago TribuneDecades after Council Wars, Burke’s bodyguards questioned, “Twenty-five years later, the issue resurfaced in a new context: Rahm Emanuel’s campaign for mayor. During a debate, Emanuel said that “shared sacrifice” in tough economic times could lead to a cut in Burke’s security detail.”
  • Crain’sGaming Board shorted state’s school aid fund, report finds, “The Illinois Gaming Board underfunded the state’s Educational Assistance Fund by as much as $9.3 million in the previous fiscal year, according to an Illinois Auditor General report released Tuesday. Also, the report said, none of the money transferred in the year that ended last June 30 matched reports prepared by the Gaming Board, which is appointed by the governor to administer the regulatory and tax collection system for the state’s riverboat gambling.”
  • Belleville News Democrat (AP)Quinn spokeswoman gets big salary boost, “Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget office spokeswoman will be making nearly 50 percent more money after receiving an additional job title this spring.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesEditorial: The family pays for corrupt pol’s crimes, “How poignant and sad it was that Lura Lynn Ryan, the wife of imprisoned former Gov. George Ryan, died on the same day a jury convicted another former governor, Rod Blagojevich, of federal crimes.”

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Statewide update—June 28, 2011

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Wikimedia)

Chicago TribuneWhy Blagojevich case hasn’t transformed Illinois’ political culture or campaign laws, “Lawmakers quickly enacted the state’s first-ever limits on campaign donations, updated access to public records and changed purchasing laws, but each of the reforms fell short of the recommendations from a commission composed of leading good-government advocates. Likewise, the state’s partisan landscape hasn’t changed significantly since Blagojevich was kicked out of office a month after his arrest.”

  • Southtown StarCountry Club Hills eliminates city-issued credit cards, “Walker was one of many irate citizens who turned out for Monday’s city council meeting to voice their displeasure over allegations of Mayor Dwight Welch’s misuse of his city credit card, which he has been accused of using excessively for personal expenses.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesNext up for feds: Powerbroker Bill Cellini, “William F. Cellini — a Springfield insider who’s been called “the pope” of Illinois politics — is expected to be the next to stand trial in Operation Board Games, the federal corruption case that will send former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to prison.”
  • Chicago TribuneEditorial: Illinois after Blagojevich, “Until the rest of us start showing as much courage as our jurors do, though, that sweet piety will remain unpreachable heresy in Illinois’ sanctuaries of power.”
  • Rockford Register StarPat Quinn to sign workers’ comp reform, visit Rockford, “The changes include a 30 percent reduction in medical payments. Other reforms include letting payments for carpal tunnel syndrome last only 28 1/2 weeks, instead of 40. New guidelines also will make it harder for intoxicated workers to win claims.”

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Statewide update—June 27, 2011

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Chicago News CooperativeCasino Bill’s True Believer Enters the Final Stretch, “It took 20 years for State Representative Lou Lang, one of Illinois’ most outspoken politicians, to convince his colleagues to support more gambling in Illinois. Now he faces a tougher challenge: convincing Gov. Pat Quinn, who campaigned against any large-scale expansion of gambling.”

>>>Want to learn more? Come to the BGA’s panel discussion, Chicago Casinos—A Safe Bet?, this Wed, June 29, in downtown Chicago. RSVP here.

  • Southtown StarCouncil may cancel Welch’s credit card, “The council’s move to revoke Welch’s card comes after the SouthtownStar reported the mayor and former city manager Henrietta Turner charged more than $75,000 at restaurants and at least $2,000 worth of movie tickets in 2010.”
  • State Journal-RegisterEmployee salary shortfall looms in state budget, “There’s another potential problem with the operations budget state lawmakers approved last month: Not enough money to pay all employee salaries for the full year that begins July 1.”
  • Southtown StarEditorial: It’s good to be King Welch, “Government has been his personal piggy bank for so long that he has completely lost track of why elected officials owe integrity to their employers, the people.”
  • State Journal-Register (AP)Quinn OKs new congressional districts; GOP vows to sue, “The lines draw five GOP congressmen – including four first-term members, who are traditionally vulnerable in their first tries at re-election – into districts where they must run against other incumbents in 2012 if they want to stay on Capitol Hill.”
  • Bloomington PantagraphErickson: Quinn appointment raises questions, “Recently, Quinn appointed former state Rep. Mike Smith to a $94,000-per-year seat on the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. The appointment drew howls of protest because Smith was among those lame duck Democrats who voted in favor of the January income tax hike after he’d lost his bid for re-election.”
  • The Journal-StandardFirst in Print: Attorney General asks for FOIA review, “The Office of the Attorney General has asked Township Supervisor Sheila Hooper to address a series of questions about her recent denial of a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request filed by Township Assessor Cynthia Petta Worster.”

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Statewide update—June 24, 2011

Photo by ChrisEaves.com/Flickr

State Journal-RegisterQuinn: Gambling decision weeks away, “Quinn said Thursday in Chicago that it would take weeks before he makes any decisions regarding the legislation. He plans to continue meeting with supporters and opponents. ‘It’s a very complicated piece of legislation, and it deserves scrutiny from top to bottom and that’s what I intend to give it,’ Quinn said.”

  • Bloomington Pantagraph—State lawmakers to review business tax structure, “Some high-profile griping by Illinois CEOs has triggered a special legislative review of the state’s business tax structure. In a joint statement issued Thursday, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan announced that members of a joint House-Senate committee would hold hearings to investigate how to make the state more business friendly.”
  • Daily Herald—Editorial: End this sugary perk for lawmakers, “[T]he state’s Reciprocal Act allows some [lawmakers] to combine their previous years of public service with legislative service to maximize retirement payouts, basing it on the more generous pension plan, which usually is the one for state legislators. This should not be. Nobody, no matter how excellent a teacher, no matter how influential a lawmaker — a part-time position, we might add — deserves such a benefit from taxpayers.”
  • Naperville SunCOD, Glen Ellyn may try to resolve differences, “State’s Attorney Robert Berlin’s office became involved when the COD Board of Trustees voted unanimously May 23 to rescind an intergovernmental agreement with the village, effectively beginning the de-annexation proceedings from the village. But Glen Ellyn resident Rinda Allison challenged the vote as a violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act because the reason for the vote wasn’t posted on the meeting agenda.”

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Statewide update—June 23, 2011

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Chicago Sun-TimesBlock on Chicago casino bill could stay in place through fall, “A parliamentary hold Senate President John Cullerton placed on legislation that would authorize a Chicago casino could stay in place through the fall, the top Senate Democrat said Wednesday… Cullerton’s move is aimed at buying time for negotiations with Quinn on a follow-up bill designed to narrow the scope of the gambling package that passed in May with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s backing.”

>>>Want to learn more? Come to the BGA’s panel discussion, Chicago Casinos—A Safe Bet?, on Wed, June 29 in downtown Chicago. RSVP here.

  • SouthtownStarWelch, aide spend freely on taxpayers’ dime, “The Country Club Hills mayor and his city manager spent thousands of dollars last year on restaurants, movie tickets and even Teddy bears, a review of city credit card statements shows. Mayor Dwight Welch and former city manager Henrietta Turner racked up a combined $75,000 in credit card charges at various restaurants alone and spent $2,000 for movie tickets.”
  • Daily HeraldOpinion: Quinn must stand for transparency, “Gov. Quinn, if you are as committed to open and transparent government as you claim, you will reaffirm your support for more open access to public information by rejecting HB 1716.”
  • Chicago TribuneIllinois lawmakers vote to cut own pay, “State lawmakers today voted to give themselves 12 unpaid days off during the next year and rejected 1.1 percent cost-of-living increases. One opponent, Sen. Tom Johnson, R-West Chicago, suggested the move is little more than a public relations stunt.”

 

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Statewide update—June 21, 2011

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Daily HeraldMetra directors exiting gradually under compromise, “There won’t be resignations en masse, but the majority of Metra board directors who served during former Executive Director Phil Pagano’s tenure are expected to be gone within a year. State senators who had pushed for sweeping out the entire board have reached a compromise with the county chairmen, Chicago mayor, and Cook County commissioners who have authority to appoint them.”

  • Chicago TribuneSome small taxing districts have little to do, “Taxpayer advocates for decades have tried to consolidate the state’s ballooning government, calling for counties and towns to absorb smaller units. Watchdog groups say the grim economy and shrinking revenues might have finally sparked some movement.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesJody Weis received $76,308 for unused vacation when he resigned, “Former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis walked out with a $76,308 check for accrued vacation days when he resigned his $310,000-a-year job on March 1 — a lump-sum payment for 64 unused days that’s raising eyebrows at City Hall.”
  • Peoria Journal StarToulon city worker in spat with mayor could lose job, “[Mayor] Collins, 63, insisted Monday that the planned change in Gerard’s status had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the past incident…[B]ut Collins acknowledged that Gerard is the only full-time person affected. The mayor maintained that the step is being taken strictly for budget reasons. But he had no estimate of what savings would result. Former longtime Toulon police Chief Bob Taylor was forced out of his full-time position by a similar step last year. He later became a Stark County deputy, and the city has relied on part-time police staffing since then.”
  • (AP) SouthtownStar—Post-Blagojevich scandal reforms are a mixed bag, “The reform campaign has had mixed results. Illinois imposed caps on political donations and fines for violating the Freedom of Information Act. Voters approved a constitutional amendment that allows them to recall a governor, though the process is complicated.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesEditorial: Don’t ignore DNA that might tell the truth, “Sometimes, law officers act as though DNA stands for ‘Don’t Notice the Alternatives.’ If they already have someone behind bars, authorities too often don’t want to consider new evidence pointing to someone else. Even if the new evidence is based on DNA, they often will just try to explain it away.”

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Statewide update—June 20, 2011

SouthtownStarAlderman: Mayoral aide made threats before Choi hearing, “Chicago Ald. ‘Proco’ Joe Moreno (1st) disclosed Friday that a top mayoral aide threatened to permanently cut off his access to Mayor Rahm Emanuel if he dared to question the appointment of the mayor’s new hiring chief.”

  • (AP) Chicago TribuneStudy: Wrongful convictions cost taxpayers #214 M, “A new investigation has found that the wrongful convictions of 85 people have cost Illinois taxpayers $214 million…While the BGA/CWC study revealed that almost all of the wrongful convictions were caused by multiple factors, the cause most commonly alleged was government error and misconduct by police, prosecutors, and forensic officials,’ the groups said in a report published on the BGA website.”
  • State Journal-RegisterGovernor to try again to exclude some state workers from unions, “Nearly 2,000 state employees could be ejected from unions representing them and another 1,700 would be prevented from joining collective bargaining units under a bill that could be called in the Illinois Senate next week.”
  • Chicago TribuneGovernor Quinn, veto this gambling bill, “Legislators frantic for new state revenue have passed a gambling expansion bill that, at more than 400 pages, deserves to fall over of its own weight… Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel should confer with legislative leaders to draft a leaner bill that has a chance of gaining public support.”

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