Statewide update—April 13, 2011

(Illinois Statehouse News) The SouthernPublic records law could see restrictions, “Charging more to reproduce public records and expanding the definition of what is off limits are both included under Senate Bill 2203. But what especially concerns opponents of the measure is the creation of ‘vexatious’ FOIA requests.  Simply put, the legislation would make it harder for people who are deemed annoying for the sake of being annoying, to get records.”

  • Chicago TribuneAttorney general probing Hanover Township food charity after welfare director’s arrest, “A few months before she pleaded guilty to stealing $25,000 from the state as a welfare case manager, good fortune shined on Aurea Picasso. She landed a new job — a better one.  Hanover Township hired her as director of its Welfare Services Department. In that role, Picasso was given access to the bank accounts of a charity set up to feed the township’s needy.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesPolice resist release of Venecko lineup photos in Koschman case, “Now, the police are asking Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office — where one of the two retired detectives who supervised those lineups now works — to ensure that those pictures, as well as some other records, aren’t made public.”
  • Daily HeraldRTA could introduce universal pay system, “Suburban users of public transportation could have easier transit connections in the future after the Illinois House approved a measure for Metra, Pace and the Chicago Transit Authority to implement a regional fare payment system by 2015. The system would allow commuters to use either a credit card or prepaid RTA card to move from buses to trains by paying a transfer fee and fare.”
  • Southtown StarBill would undo rules established after cemetery scandal, “To the chagrin of state regulators, extensive cemetery reforms enacted in the wake of the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal could be erased under a measure pending before the Illinois Senate. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Emil Jones III (D-Chicago), would eliminate many of the regulations imposed on cemeteries that were ushered in as part of the Cemetery Oversight Act just last year. If approved, only large, for-profit cemeteries would face the stiffer regulations enacted in the wake of scandal.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesIllinois House Oks studying cost of ID photos on food stamp cards, “Designed to combat fraud, the legislation, which passed 64-48 and now moves to the Senate, would give the Department of Human Services six months to report back to the Legislature with an estimate and to figure out how caregivers could buy groceries for their clients with so-called Link cards bearing the clients’ photos.”

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