Category Archives: Statewide Update

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.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 17, 2011

SouthtownStarOrland fire district hires lobbyist, consultant, “They’ve vowed to clamp down on the district’s free-spending ways, but new Orland Fire Protection District trustees have committed the district to paying nearly $160,000 over the next two years for a lobbyist and consultant. Cheryl Axley, a former state senator, will receive $132,000 over two years to lobby on the district’s behalf, while a former district trustee will be paid $26,000 over the coming 12 months to serve as a consultant, according to copies of their contracts obtained by the SouthtownStar under the state’s Freedom of Information law.”

  • Chicago TribuneFew arrests, convictions in campus sex assault cases, “Women who report sexual violence on college campuses seldom see their accused attackers arrested and almost never see them convicted, according to a Tribune survey of several Midwestern universities. The survey of six schools in Illinois and Indiana found that police investigated 171 reported sex crimes since fall 2005, with 12 resulting in arrests and four in convictions. Only one of the convictions stemmed from a student-on-student attack, the most common type of assault.”
  • Peoria Journal StarRockford Catholic Charities to transfer cases, “Rockford’s Catholic Charities opted out of state-funded foster care and adoption placements rather than comply with the new civil unions law when it took effect June 1.”
  • Northwest HeraldTweaks to FOIA law go to Gov. Quinn, “Within weeks of the new FOIA taking effect in 2010, lawmakers began filing a slew of bills aimed at scaling back the reforms they had months prior approved with only one no vote. At least 30 changes to the law were proposed in both spring legislative sessions since, according to Josh Sharp, government relations director for the Illinois Press Association.”
  • (AP) State Journal-RegisterIllinois Supreme Court limits taking prisoners’ savings, “The Illinois Supreme Court calls it “absurd” to let inmates earn money in prison and then take it away to pay the cost of keeping them behind bars. The court dismissed a lawsuit in which the Department of Corrections tried to take $11,000 from the savings of convicted murderer Kensley Hawkins. He saved the money working at a furniture-assembly job at a Joliet prison.”
  • Daily HeraldGrayslake D46 boss cleared in email complaint, “An internal investigation has found Grayslake Elementary District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll didn’t commit ethics violations, as alleged in a complaint that accused her of sending political emails supporting two board candidates.”
  • Bloomington PantagraphTreatment delay keeps mentally ill woman in county jail, “Marsha Davenport’s mental illness is so severe a judge found her not guilty by reason of insanity in her retail theft and drug cases last month, but she remains in the McLean County jail, a victim of delays in the state’s mental health system.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 16, 2011

flickr-http2007

Daily HeraldGaming board head blasts expansion bill, “The top Illinois gambling regulator is criticizing legislation to expand wagering as poorly written and difficult to enforce. Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe said at a public meeting Tuesday that the board’s staff would have to be doubled to enforce laws governing five new casinos, slot machines at horse racing tracks and other provisions in the bill awaiting action by Gov. Pat Quinn. ‘You can’t make perfume out of a pile of garbage,’ Jaffe said.”

  • Chicago TribuneCook County to set performance standards, “Cook County will start using benchmarks such as wait times at hospitals and employee sick time as part of a plan to set performance standards.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesIG: Minority, female share of city contracts ‘grossly overstated’, “Chicago’s Public Building Commission was accused Wednesday of shortchanging minority contractors by ‘grossly overstating’ participation, inadequately policing the set-aside program and stonewalling the city inspector general’s requests for documentation.”
  • Peoria Journal StarLawmakers likely to return to Springfield, “Gov. Pat Quinn and the four legislative leaders met Wednesday in Chicago and agreed to try to convince rank-and-file members to approve a capital bill that does not include money to restore spending cuts made to state programs. The target date for returning to Springfield is Wednesday.”
  • State Journal-RegisterTax breaks to end for 100 Illinois companies, “Tax-break deals with 107 companies will expire in 2012, 2013 and 2014, according to records obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request. Those deals, worth more than $100 million, run out at a time when other states view Illinois as a prime target for poaching after this year’s tax increases stirred unhappiness in the state’s business community. “

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 15, 2011

Chicago Sun-TimesCHA chief resigns amid questionable use of credit card, “A recent Better Government Association/Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 news investigation found the CHA under Jordan was the worst abuser…The card issued to Jordan himself had been used to pay for numerous pricey meals at expensive restaurants like Carmine’s and Gibsons. The investigation also found CHA credit cards were used to buy thousands of dollars worth of flowers, cakes and holiday gifts for employees, a suite at the United Center and for payment of red-light camera tickets.”

  • Daily HeraldTowns pay big for retirees’ unused sick days, “Critics complain towns with such policies are out of touch with current private business practices, where such perks are increasingly rare, notes Elgin Mayor David Kaptain. Others question whether towns — and taxpayers — can afford the expense.”
  • The Journal-Standard (Freeport, IL)Attorney General to stay silent on Hooper case, “Over the past month, a flood of questions has been aimed at the fiscal practices of [Buckeye] Township Supervisor Sheila Hooper… Hooper has admitted that she and other township employees have received salary advances. The timing of this particular advance, however, has raised additional questions about the legality of the practice.”
  • Chicago TribunePreckwinkle defends hiring two former lawmakers, “Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ran for the job as a reformer, but on Tuesday she found herself defending a decision to put two former southwest suburban state lawmakers on the county payroll.”
  • Daily HeraldEditorial: End county pension perks, governor, “It’s time to end this county retirement program. We urge Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn to sign into law a plan on his desk that would abolish this special pension program. Unfortunately, even that action won’t cancel payments for dozens of former and current county officials who still will qualify for the pension payments for years to come.”
  • SouthtownStarHorsemen urged to tell Quinn to OK slots at tracks, “In light of Quinn’s expected veto of at least some parts of the bill, some legislators have begun looking at possible changes to make it more acceptable to the governor. But changes could threaten the legislation, which was carefully crafted to offer something to a variety of interests.”
  • State Journal-RegisterLawmakers OK 90-day health insurance plans for state workers, “State employees, retirees and dependents would be able to keep their current managed-care plans — including Health Alliance and Humana – beyond July 1 under short-term contracts state officials will try to negotiate.”
  • Bloomington PantagraphRegional superintendant hospitalized, ticketed with DUI following crash, “Mark Jontry, 42, who remains hospitalized at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and improper lane usage following a single-vehicle accident Monday night on Bloomington’s southwest side.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 14, 2011

Chicago Sun-TimesChicago, county to share services, “The city of Chicago and Cook County could save up to $140 million a year — not including health care consolidation — by joining forces on everything from purchasing to revenue collection to elections to 311 service, according to a new report. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and county board President Toni Preckwinkle embraced the report they commissioned and said it’s full speed ahead on implementing its recommendations.”

  • (AP) State Journal-RegisterReport: New Menard prison workers’ comp cases pile up, “New workers’ compensation claims have continued to pile up this year at Menard Correctional Center despite ongoing probes by federal authorities, a newspaper reported Sunday…Some claims involve alleged assaults by prisoners, but almost half allege repetitive strain injuries similar to previous cases under investigation, the News-Democrat reported.”
  • Bloomington PantagraphRecords: Suspended deputy started relationship after police call, “A McLean County sheriff’s deputy used his position as a law enforcement officer to initiate a relationship with a woman he met during a police call, according to disciplinary records related to the deputy’s suspension. The records, obtained by The Pantagraph through a Freedom of Information Act request, show Deputy Cory Wills was placed on paid leave in October for allegedly violating department policies for on- and off-duty conduct.”
  • Northwest HeraldPrivate meeting not illegal, but ill-advised, “A private gathering in which two McHenry County Board members rotated out to avoid Illinois Open Meetings Act requirements did not violate the law, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. But had Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Rein been asked for her opinion beforehand, she said Monday she would have advised against it.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 13, 2011

Chicago Sun-TimesMitchell: CHA officials should be ashamed, “Chicago Housing Authority officials ought to be embarrassed. Last week, a Better Government Association/Fox Chicago investigation found that city workers were using credit cards to pay for expensive dinners and whatnot.”

  •  Chicago TribuneQuinn to sign education overhaul package, “Gov. Pat Quinn today is expected to sign a major education reform package that could increase the time Chicago schoolchildren spend in the classroom, give school districts new powers to dump incompetent teachers and make it harder for teachers to strike.”
  • Peoria Journal StarGambling package hinges on Quinn decision, “Under the Illinois Constitution, the governor could use his amendatory veto powers to strike provisions from it. A majority of lawmakers then would have to agree for Quinn’s version to become law. A three-fifths majority would have to vote to override Quinn in order for the bill to become law as it was originally approved.”
  • Rockford Register StarRockford School Board could approve option to shorten public comment time, “The district’s Operations Committee considered the amendment earlier this week, and General Counsel Lori Hoadley said the new policy would allow the board to compress the number of speakers, hear from the community and still have time to get to board business.”
  • The News-GazetteProposed gambling expansion has proponents, opponents in Danville, “Some tout the benefits — more jobs, more local revenue. Others warn of the costs — addiction, crime, bankruptcies. As the state awaits Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision on a gaming expansion bill that includes a riverboat casino for Danville, the only sure bet is that opinions are split on the issue.”
  • Naperville SunWheatland Township building proposal remains in spotlight, “At a town meeting last month, residents voted to stop all expenditures of money on the project; directed the township to provide detailed estimates of money already expended, construction and operating costs; formed a space needs committee of trustees and citizens to study space needs in both the short and long term for the township; and prohibited any action on the property already owned by the township until the space committee makes its final report.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 10, 2011

Chicago Sun-TimesTransit agencies spend big on lobbying at state level, study finds, “The Regional Transportation Authority and its service boards, including the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace, made up a sizeable chunk of the $7.5 million total — spending just under $1.03 million on lobbyists. The CTA accounted for more than $370,000 of that transit total. Using the state’s open-records law, the organization obtained lobbying contracts from 141 local governments for work performed by 77 lobbying entities between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.”

>>>See the full report here.
  • SouthtownStarKadner: 2 former state reps land county jobs, “They were only seat-fillers, some would say, since they had no intention of running last November for election to their House seats… There are some, such as Better Government Association executive director Andy Shaw, who imply the hirings were a political favor.”
  • Chicago TribuneJury begins deliberating on Blagojevich today, “How long the jury will take to reach a decision on the 20 criminal counts against Blagojevich is unknown, but the last jury to weigh Blagojevich’s fate took three weeks to find him guilty on only one count while deadlocking on the rest. The former governor is being tried this time on most of those remaining counts.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 9, 2011

flickr-http2007

Daily HeraldReport: Gambling revenue continues to decline, “The Illinois Gaming Board’s monthly revenue report for May shows a 4.3 percent drop in casino revenue statewide compared to the first five months of 2010, as recession-hampered gamblers decide more often to fold ‘em than hold ‘em.”

  • State Journal RegisterMadigan blocking merger of treasurer, comptroller’s offices, “A constitutional amendment to merge the offices of the state treasurer and comptroller is stalled in the Illinois House because of opposition by House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. The amendment unanimously passed the Illinois Senate, but is stuck in the House Rules Committee, which is tightly controlled by the speaker.”
  • Chicago TribuneNew CTA leader: ‘Bleak environment’ for funding, “Claypool, who has been on the job for three weeks, delivered the downbeat assessment in his first public remarks on the CTA’s financial challenges. Without mentioning any names, he criticized elected officials for abandoning transit over the years and, as a result, he said he will be forced to soon make tough decisions that won’t be popular.”
  • (AP) Peoria Journal StarChicago puts employee salary data on website, “Keeping with his campaign promise to make Chicago government more transparent, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday posted the salaries of more than 34,000 city employees online.”
  • Bloomington PantagraphUnions call on Quinn, legislators to resolve impasse, “Lawmakers will have to return to the statehouse in a special session to resolve the issue, and Quinn has warned that projects will stop June 17 unless the House and Senate come to an agreement.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 8, 2011

Chicago Sun-TimesFelon, fired cop land sweet school jobs in Cicero and Berwyn district, “Both men share something besides having the same employer and getting big raises at the district. Both are friends with the school district’s controversial board president — Jeff Pesek.”

  • Daily HeraldPart-time county board pensions go big-time, “Instead of the traditional IMRF pension payout that gives retirees 75 percent of a convoluted earnings formula if they put in 40 years of work, the special county program gives elected officials 80 percent of their final year’s salary after just 20 years.”
  • SouthtownStarOrland fire district trustees hire law firm, “The hiring of Ottosen, Britz, Kelly, Cooper & Gilbert could be a precursor to the district board bringing formal charges against Chief Bryant Krizik and Deputy Chief Joe Madden, board president James Hickey said.”
  • Chicago TribuneQuinn names Chico to head state education board, “The appointment brings a leader with political connections and education credentials to the state board at a time when public school funding faces deep reductions because of the state’s budget woes.”
  • Peoria Journal StarCatholic group files suit over gay adoptions issues, “Catholic Charities of Peoria, along with Catholic Charities of Springfield and Joliet, on Tuesday asked a judge not to require them to place children with non-married couples as required by a recent change in state law.”
  • Bloomington PantagraphACLU seeks probe of Illinois state police searches, “The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal complaint against the Illinois state police on Tuesday over a pattern of handling searches differently during traffic stops depending on whether the driver was white, black or Hispanic.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update

Statewide update—June 7, 2011

Photo by ChrisEaves.com/Flickr

Chicago Sun-TimesWith road projects in danger, Gov. Pat Quinn to call special session, “Facing the prospect that construction on roads statewide would have to be halted, Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday he will call Illinois legislators back to Springfield for a special session to approve spending for the state’s capital construction program.”

  • Daily HeraldEditorial: An object lesson for local campaigns, “District 30 teacher Mary Garcia — the District 46 school board president until she was unseated in April — is accused of, among other things, using her school email account to promote her candidacy in District 46.”
  • SouthtownStarOrland fire commissioner resists call for resignation, “After watching two of her colleagues on the Orland Fire Protection District’s board of commissioners get replaced in recent weeks, a third commissioner said Monday she will resist a call for her resignation.”
  • (AP) Rockford Register StarProsecutors to grill Rod Blagojevich when he takes stand for 7th day at corruption retrial, “Lead government attorney Reid Schar, who has shown only occasional signs of fatigue, repeatedly tried Monday to use Blagojevich’s own words against him. Schar would try to trap Blagojevich by first asking the ex-governor to deny a specific allegation, then would read from transcripts of FBI wiretaps in which Blagojevich’s words seemed to contradict that testimony.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Statewide Update