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  • Friday, March 24, 2017
    Illinois lawmaker files legislation allowing delay of legislator pay after court ruling says politicians must be paid
    Comptroller (21) , Legislature (56) McConchie, Dan--State Senate 26
    An Illinois lawmaker filed an amendment to legislation March 23 to prioritize other state spending obligations over lawmaker pay, immediately following a ruling from a Cook County judge saying that politicians must be paid even without a state budget.

    State Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorne Woods, filed an amendment to Senate Bill 989 to allow greater discretion for issuing salary pa...   read more >
  • Friday, March 24, 2017
    House committee votes against bill that would protect state workers from having their SS numbers shared with unions
    Labor (55) , Unions, labor (55) Hoffman, Jay--State House, 113
    Illinois Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) recently voted against a bill aimed at protecting state workers from having their social security numbers automatically shared with union reps.

    Hoffman was one of 15 members of the House Labor and Commerce Committee voting against the bill on Feb. 23.

    According to the Illinois Policy Institute, currently state workers re...   read more >
  • Friday, March 24, 2017
    One St. Louis-area Republican's shuttle diplomacy in the health-care quicksand
    Candidates--Federal (13) , Obamacare, Affordable Care Act
    WASHINGTON • Rep. Rodney Davis thought he was about to cast a long-anticipated vote to begin repealing and replacing Obamacare on Thursday.

    Instead, he took another trip to the White House, part of the extraordinary and sometimes confusing shuttle diplomacy that was going on inside the Republican Party on health care reform this week.

    Davis, R-Taylorville, and Rep....   read more >
  • Friday, March 24, 2017
    Nicklaus: States' economic handouts are poorly targeted
    Economic Development (35) , Economy (34)
    When taxpayers subsidize private companies, we’d like to think there’s some rhyme or reason to who gets how much.

    There isn’t, according to a new study that provides the most comprehensive look yet at economic development incentives. The author, Timothy Bartik of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, calculates that state and local governments handed out $...   read more >
  • Thursday, March 23, 2017
    Illinois lawmaker introduces bill to make marijuana legal — but there’s a catch
    Drugs (32) Cassidy, Kelly--State House, 14 , Steans, Heather--State Senate, 7
    An Illinois state senator introduced legislation Wednesday that could legalize possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use.

    The bill, introduced by Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, would make it legal for Illinois residents 21 years of age and older to have up to 28 grams — one ounce — of marijuana. Out-of-state residents will be able to have up to 14 gr...   read more >
  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017
    Court ruling clears path for U.S. Supreme Court to hear lawsuit to end mandatory union fees
    Unions, labor (55)
    CHICAGO – An Illinois lawsuit challenging mandatory union fees paid by government workers could soon make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court as a result of an appellate court ruling issued this afternoon.

    The plaintiffs in the case, Janus v. AFSCME, are two employees of Illinois government who are required to pay mandatory union fees to the American Federation of State, County...   read more >
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017
    Madison County Citizens for Educational Sustainability: Vote 'no' on sales tax increase
    Education Funding (36a) , Metro East (65) , Taxes, property (87) , Taxes, sales (88)
    To the Editor:

    On April 4, your sales tax may go up another 1 percent - and never come down.

    School boards representing at least 51 percent of the student population in Madison County voted to put a proposed tax increase on the April 4 ballot. Edwardsville District 7 and Collinsville District 10 oppose this new tax. We all want what is best for the children in our count...   read more >
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017
    Poll: Illinois voters want budget that reforms pensions, consolidates government and freezes property tax
    Budget--State (8) , Pensions (70) , Taxes, property (87)
    Illinois voters are ready to reform the way the state does business, according to a new poll released by the Illinois Policy Institute.

    A survey conducted of 600 likely voters between Feb. 28 and March 1, showed that most people favor a property tax freeze, government consolidation and pension reform.

    John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, said in a release ...   read more >
  • Monday, March 20, 2017
    Hoping we get someone in Springfield to turn around
    Budget--State (8) , Governor (44) , Pensions (70) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Durkin, Jim--State House, 82 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22 , Radogno, Christine--State Senate, 41
    The programming out of Springfield feels a lot like a television singing contest: Just when you think you are about to see something happen... they take a commercial break.

    You sit there feeling fooled again.

    Pieces of the Grand Bargain are actually being voted on and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner stops the music over too many taxes with too little reform. Progress is appar...   read more >
  • Wednesday, March 15, 2017
    Rep. Greenwood introduces bill that would turn military experience into college credit
    Education--Higher (37) Greenwood, LaToya--State House, 114
    State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, has introduced a bill that would allow veterans to receive college credit for military experience.

    A release from her office stated that while House Bill 3701 would require colleges to comply, it would allow those higher education institutions to implement their own policies outlining which military training courses qualifies for acade...   read more >
  • Monday, March 13, 2017
    Bet a bunch of new casino fees could balance Illinois’ budget
    Budget--State (8) , Gambling, Gaming
    Illinois is again betting on gambling, but it appears the goal is not to win the pot but just to collect the buy-in.

    State lawmakers are proposing six new casinos, which they expect will generate $1 billion in setup fees. The license fee is $100,000 for the Chicago-area casinos with an extra $30,000 for each slot machine or seat at a blackjack table.

    Hmmm. We’ve go...   read more >
  • Monday, March 13, 2017
    Lawsuit alleges Illinois lottery contractor cheated players, vendors
    Lottery (61)
    EAST ST. LOUIS • A company hired to manage the Illinois Lottery cheated players and lottery vendors by misrepresenting the odds of winning scratch-off games, a class-action lawsuit in federal court alleges.

    The case, originally filed last month in St. Clair County Court, was removed last week to federal court in the Southern District of Illinois. The lead plaintiffs are Raqqa...   read more >
  • Friday, March 10, 2017
    Illinois Senate Democrats decry lack of help on budget cuts
    Budget--State (8) , Governor (44) Barickman, Jason--State House, 105 , Syverson, Dave--State Senate, 35

    Illinois Senate Democrats are critiquing the budget-cutting prowess of Gov. Bruce Rauner's cabinet.

    Committee chairmen decried Thursday the performance of agency heads who declined to specify in committee hearings this week where they could cut spending to balance the budget.

    In a state Capitol news conference, the Democrats flashed a board e...   read more >
  • Friday, March 10, 2017
    Illinois official's pay was tied to health fund
    Budget--State (8) , Governor (44)
    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration had arranged to pay a new deputy governor out of an employee health care account that is more than $4 billion behind on its bills due to the state's budget crisis, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

    After the AP reported Thursday that half of Leslie Munger's $138,000 salary was schedule...   read more >
  • Saturday, March 4, 2017
    AFSCME pitting members against taxpayers in possible strike, think tank attorney says
    Governor (44) , Labor (55) , Unions, labor (55)
    CHICAGO – The largest public employee union in Illinois is exaggerating its support and pitting members against taxpayers in its announced willingness to strike, a conservative think tank attorney said during a recent interview.

    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) doesn't have as much member support as union officials claim, Illinois Poli...   read more >
  • Thursday, March 2, 2017
    Conference on school funding legislation set for Carbondale
    Education Funding (36a) , Governor (44)
    CARBONDALE – For those with questions about the state's new school funding legislation, there will be a conference on March 10 with answers.

    The Illinois School Funding Fairness Conference was planned by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute to look at a recent report from the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. It will be held in the student center at Southern Illino...   read more >
  • Thursday, March 2, 2017
    Medicaid block grants would be a disaster. One Missouri senator can't wait
    Medicaid, Managed Care
    House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., long has wanted to change the way the federal government allocates money to Medicaid, the federal-state health program for children, the disabled, the poor and nursing home patients. Instead of paying for everyone who’s eligible, Ryan wants to give states block grants and let politicians decide how to spend them.

    Now that there’s a Repub...   read more >
  • Wednesday, March 1, 2017
    Let's review the review boards and get rid of some
    Budget--State (8) , Governor (44)
    In his ongoing efforts to reform state government in Wisconsin and get costs under control, Gov. Scott Walker has proposed eliminating an independent review board that handles workers' compensation cases.

    Defunding of Wisconsin's Labor and Industry Review Commission is projected to save $3 million as part of a $600 million package of tax and fee cuts Walker has proposed in a two-ye...   read more >
  • Wednesday, March 1, 2017
    Dispelling AFSCME’s myths about contract negotiations with the state of Illinois
    Budget--State (8) , Governor (44) , Labor (55) , Unions, labor (55)
    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees recently conducted a strike authorization vote. Only 80 percent of eligible workers voted, and of that group 81 percent voted to authorize a strike if the union’s bargaining committee issues the call.

    Unfortunately, many members may have voted to authorize a strike based on skewed information provided by the uni...   read more >
  • Wednesday, March 1, 2017
    Illinois spends the most per student of any state in the Midwest
    Education Funding (36a)

     illinois education spending

    Illinois spends the most per student of any state in the Midwest.

    On average, Illinois schools spend $13,077 per student.

    Nearly half of the money Illi...   read more >
  • Wednesday, March 1, 2017
    Useless committees provide political pay raises for state lawmakers
    Budget--State (8) , Legislature (56) Currie, Barbara Flynn--State House, 25 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
    In Illinois, bloat doesn’t discriminate.

    It’s not just government agencies that stick taxpayers with the bill for inefficient operations. It’s state lawmakers, too. Yes, the same ones who haven’t passed a balanced budget in over a decade.

    Illinois lawmakers take home the fifth-highest base salary in the nation for what is technically part-time wor...   read more >
  • Monday, February 27, 2017
    Gauen: Metro East official wading into battle among millionaires for governor
    Candidates--Statewide (12) , Governor (44)
    Illinois, in arguably the worst financial condition of any state, will select nominees for governor in less than 13 months. I have to wonder whether the contenders should — as my parents’ generation used to say — have their heads examined.

    I set off to Edwardsville a few days ago to examine one of those heads. It belongs to a familiar Metro East official who seems...   read more >
  • Sunday, February 26, 2017
    Highest pay in nation not good enough for Illinois workers
    Governor (44) , Unions, labor (55)

     Should you be taxed more so state workers can be boosted more than double what you earn? Heck no.read more >

  • Friday, February 24, 2017
    100 Illinois deaths from U-47700? Nope. But it is still a danger
    Children, Teens (19) , Drugs (32) McCarter, Kyle--State Senate, 54

    Recently there was a death near Marion linke...   read more >
  • Friday, February 24, 2017
    Menard Correctional Center still on lockdown after ‘incident’ on prison yard
    The Menard Correctional Center in Randolph County was still on full lockdown Friday morning after an “incident” on Thursday.

    Officials placed the prison on lockdown Thursday afternoon. Illinois Department of Corrections Spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said no further details were immediately available.

    “Menard Correctional Center is on lockdown as the IDOC in...   read more >