Statewide update—Feb. 3, 2012

legscholarshipsState Journal-RegisterEditorial: Legislative scholarships a perk we can’t afford, “It’s long past time for Illinois legislators to give up the legislative scholarship program that allows them to bestow two, four-year college scholarships a year for Illinois public colleges on the constituents of their choosing with no strings attached. (They also can be divided into two-year scholarships for four constituents.) We are sure this program was founded with good intentions. We’re more certain, though, that it has become an abused perk too easily and too often used to reward the connected.”

  • Chicago TribuneWrongful convictions spur State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to reform unit for controversial prosecutions, “After years of criticism from some legal circles for the way her office has handled wrongful conviction cases, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Thursday that she has formed a unit to review prosecutions that have come under question. Alvarez said the creation of the conviction integrity unit marks a ‘shift in philosophy’ and vowed that her office would “increase our focus and our openness about these cases.”
  • Chicago Sun-TimesEmanuel names Paula Wolff to head City Colleges board, “Determined to deliver on his ‘college-to-careers’ makeover of the Chicago City Colleges, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is bringing new leadership to the board that oversees the system for the third time in two years. Board member Paula Wolff, who spent eight years as president of Governor’s State University, will replace Martin Cabrera Jr. as board chairman.”
  • SouthtownStarEditorial: Illinois bets further on gambling, “Taxpayers have eased past the point of even well-intended squeamishness when it comes to gambling because it’s part of Illinois’ official DNA. One day we all may rue state government’s addiction to gambling money. But be concerned about this latest expansion? Sorry, it’s too late. Selling lottery tickets via the Internet and credit card payment is only the next pit stop on the Yellow Brick Road. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. The betting window opens this spring in a ‘pilot program’ that we wager is sure to become permanent.”
  • The SouthernUnion lobbies for pay raises, “Unionized state workers staged a protest outside of Gov. Pat Quinn’s office Thursday over the Chicago Democrat’s failure to pay wage hikes contained in their current contract. Armed with placards that read, ‘Gov. Quinn: Respect Worker Rights, an estimated 250 workers from around the state said the governor is being disingenuous when he criticizes anti-labor union policies being enacted in Indiana and Wisconsin at the same time he refuses to honor a collective bargaining agreement he helped put in place.”
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