Statewide update—April 27, 2012

Scott Steward~Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-TimesCicero library board members get pricey perk: free health care for life, “Former library board members in Cicero, though, get something worth a whole lot more, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. They get excellent health insurance, currently a BlueCross BlueShield PPO plan. For life. For free. Their spouses and kids, until they turn 19, are covered, too, for free. What if the trustee dies? Not to worry. The family inherits the benefit, according to a legal analysis obtained by the Sun-Times. The former trustees don’t even have to serve their full six-year terms on the library board to get the benefit, once they leave.”

  • Chicago TribuneCourt: Parents of disabled woman can sue Chicago police for neglect, “More than two years after getting the case, a federal appeals court today ruled that a mentally ill California woman can sue the Chicago Police Department for releasing her into a violent neighborhood where she was raped and nearly killed… The city’s appeal had asked the court to dismiss the case against 10 police officers accused of negligence, arguing the police had no responsibility to take care of Eilman, a 21-year-old former UCLA student who had been arrested after creating a disturbance at Midway Airport.”
  • Chicago TribuneTollway: Employee was suspended for misuse of agency vehicle, “An Illinois Tollway employee was suspended for two days and ordered to pay $581 in restitution for using a tollway-owned vehicle for personal business, officials said Thursday. The discipline was disclosed in an internal audit, which concluded that the tollway could improve how it tracks employee vehicle use and recommended steps to better document the practice.”
  • Washington PostIs Rahm’s plan to rebuild Chicago brilliant—or disastrous? “The big question, however, is why Chicago would do things this way. An infrastructure bank, after all, is just another form of borrowing.. But here’s the problem. For this to work reasonably well, a city has to be smart about how it structures its contracts with private investors. Otherwise, there’s a real possibility that Chicago could pay too much for its infrastructure and, essentially, get fleeced by shrewd investors like Citibank and J.P. Morgan.”
  • State Journal-RegisterIllinois lawmaker asked to limit bribery probe, “Federal prosecutors aren’t making things easy for Illinois lawmakers who are looking into bribery allegations against a House member. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told the legislative panel that he can’t reveal details of the case against Democratic Rep. Derrick Smith of Chicago. He also asked lawmakers not to conduct their own investigation because it might interfere with the criminal case. But Fitzgerald did say he has no objection to lawmakers asking Smith to testify.”
  • Daily HeraldSenate approves measure regulating ‘fracking’, “The Illinois Senate unanimously signed off on a measure Thursday that would regulate debated technology used to reach previously inaccessible natural gas reserves deep underground, a method that worries some environmentalists because of possible pollution from mixtures of water, sand and chemicals. The Senate’s 54-0 passage of the bill addressing hydraulic fracturing — commonly called fracking — comes amid reports that energy companies are in a torrid push to explore possible drilling sites in southern Illinois, long known for its rich below-ground coal and oil reserves.”
  • The SouthernSenate Oks enterprise zone extensions, “The Illinois Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday designed to extend a long-running business tax incentive program… The legislation is being pushed because some of the zones are scheduled to expire next year, including Decatur, Rockford and Peoria. With the tax incentives in limbo, city officials say they aren’t able to offer businesses long-term investment packages. Enterprise zones give state and local tax exemptions to businesses locating in the area. One of the more popular incentives provides a sales tax exemption on materials used in construction of business facilities.”
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