Statewide update—May 17, 2011

Belleville News-DemocratState pension fight: In one corner, unions; in the other, business, “In one corner is a coalition of labor unions, which is running a public-relations campaign called ‘We Are One Illinois.’ It features teachers, firefighters health-care workers and other public employees, asking that their pensions not be touched. In the other corner is the Commercial Club of Chicago, a business group that is running a campaign called ‘Illinois is Broke,’ which features an empty-pocketed image of Abraham Lincoln and claims state government pensions are bankrupting the state.”

  • SouthtownStarBoard member: SD 206 jobs going to politically connected, “A job with the school district for the board president’s wife and the hiring of a law firm with political connections are among the changes coming to Bloom Township High School District 206, according to a board member.”
  • Bloomington PantagraphSenate panel approves furlough days for legislators, “A Senate committee approved legislation Monday that would once again require lawmakers and state officers to take 12 furlough days… The proposal also again limits cost of living increases for legislators and continues previous reductions for lodging and meal costs while lawmakers stay in Springfield.”
  • Chicago TribuneState legislators push for more open government meetings, “[L]egislation pending in Springfield would seek greater transparency from units of local government by requiring that villages and park districts provide greater specificity in their agendas and mandating that meeting agendas be continuously available to the public for at least 48 hours before a meeting.”
  • (AP) Peoria Journal StarState exploring private partners for new roads, “A bill moving through the Legislature would allow the state to form partnerships with private companies that would share construction costs and any revenues, such as tolls…Under the bill, private companies would bid or submit proposals for new transportation projects. They would partially or entirely fund projects in exchange for revenues.”
  • The SouthernReformers want more input on redistricting, “Representatives of the area’s three major news outlets – television station WSIL, public radio station WSIU, and The Southern Illinoisan – heard a presentation from Maryam Judar, of the Citizen Advocacy Center, on the history of redistricting and why it should matter to residents.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesRahm Emanuel sworn in as mayor, “In a multicultural, ecumenical inaugural pageant that featured performances by Chicago’s children, Emanuel pledged to better educate them and keep them safer.”
  • State Journal-RegisterEditorial: Borrow to get state bills paid quickly, “[W]e believe it is important that, as budget negotiations heat up over the next three weeks, lawmakers and the public must be aware of the damage to the state economy as businesses and other entities struggle while waiting for money they are owed by the state.”
  • Daily HeraldPanel reveals high cost, low workload for Kane Animal Control, “The first meeting of Kane County’s Animal Control Task Force raised a series of questions about what benefit taxpayers actually see for the $692,000 the department spend…[The] relatively low workload raised the question of why the county paid an administrator more than $92,000 a year to run the department while also contracting out all the veterinarian services for an additional cost.”
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