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  • Friday, November 15, 2019
    Amid wide federal corruption probe, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton announces retirement
    Governor (44) , Retirement (70) Brady, Bill--State Senate, 44 , Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6
    Senate President John Cullerton announced his retirement Thursday as the General Assembly wrapped up its last session day of the year, and the FBI continued its investigation into alleged political corruption in the senate and other elements of Illinois government.

    Following the final day of fall legislative session Thursday, the senate president’s spokesman confirmed the Chicago Democra...   read more >

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  • Friday, November 15, 2019
    Ethics commission, watered down disclosure bill head to governor
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Pay to Play, Corruption Castro, Christina -- State Senate, 22 , Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Durkin, Jim--State House, 82 , Harris, Gregory--State House, 13 , Wehrli, Grant--State House, 41

    While most House Republicans voted in favor of a resolution creating an ethics reform commission, w...   read more >

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  • Friday, November 15, 2019
    Counting Chickens Before They’re Hatched: Will Illinois Botch Pension Consolidation?
    Fire Marshal, fire, fire fighters (84) , Governor (44) , Local Government (60) , Pensions (70) , Police (28) Barickman, Jason--State House, 105 , Righter, Dale--State Senate, 55
    Not much more than a month ago, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s task force read more >
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  • Friday, November 15, 2019
    Marijuana trailer bill clarifies allowable public use
    Recreational Marijuana Steans, Heather--State Senate, 7 , Villanueva, Celina--State House, 21

    SPRINGFIELD – A cleanup bill written to ensure a smooth rollout of the legalization of adult-use marijuana in January passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly on Thursday.

    Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored both the original legalization bill and the follow-up Senate Bill 1557 in the Senate, made clear that public consumption of cannabis will be all...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 14, 2019
    'Cannabis Use Disorder' Up in States That Legalized Recreational Pot
    Recreational Marijuana
    States that legalized recreational marijuana have seen an increase in problematic pot use among teens and adults aged 26 and older, a new study finds.

    The researchers compared marijuana use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon -- the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana -- before and after legalization. The investigators also compared trends in those states with states th...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 14, 2019
    Chicago casino bill stalls, some not happy with state’s smaller cut
    Chicago Mayor (16) , Gambling, Gaming Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Syverson, Dave--State Senate, 35
    In the moments before it was to be called for a vote, state lawmakers put the brakes on a change to Illinois’ gambling tax rates that would have delivered Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot a big win.

    A spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton said late Wednesday that he “remains optimistic” lawmakers can come to an agreement on the legislation. 

    An amended Senate...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 14, 2019
    Ethylene oxide ban attempt fails, sponsor plans to try again next year
    Environment (41) , EPA (41) Curran, John--State Senate, 41
    A measure that would have phased out the use of ethylene oxide failed to advance Wednesday, but sponsors of the legislation to ban the use of the cancer-causing chemical plan start fresh in 2020. 

    House Bill 3888 would have phased out the use of ethylene oxide in sterilization facilit...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 14, 2019
    Op-Ed: Illinois voters will have to force change at all levels of government to reduce property taxes
    Legislature (56) , Taxes, property (87)
    The 88-member Property Tax Relief Task Force charged with coming up with a plan to reduce property taxes was supposed to deliver an initial report to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the General Assembly on Halloween. 

    That didn't happen. There was no treat for the state's overtaxed homeowners this year. Just crickets.

    That Oct. 31 deadline was enshrined in the very law that created the tas...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 14, 2019
    Some consider proposed changes to recreational cannabis law minor, others say substantive
    Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) , Recreational Marijuana Bryant, Terri--State House, 115
    Lawmakers are considering a number of changes to the state recreational cannabis law, some said the changes are minor, while others said they would be substantive and require further study.

    Lawmakers passed adult-use recreational cannabis legislation in the Spring session. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill. Legal sales are set to begin Jan. 1.

    But Senior Advisor to the Governor o...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 14, 2019
    Still no movement on ethics reforms despite more bills being filed by Republicans
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Pay to Play, Corruption Barickman, Jason--State House, 105 , Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Cullerton, Thomas--State Senate, 23 , McConchie, Dan--State Senate, 26 , Sandoval, Martin--State Senate, 11
    While the number of ethics reforms filed by Republicans in the Illinois statehouse continue to stack up, the clock is running out for anything to pass by the end of the week.

    Thursday is the last day of session this year. While Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said it’s possible for some reforms to pass in one day, he wants more time to review the proposals.

    “I&#...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019
    Local pension consolidation proposal passes committee despite objections to changes
    Fire Marshal, fire, fire fighters (84) , Local Government (60) , Pensions (70) , Police (28) Batinick, Mark--State House, 97 , Hoffman, Jay--State House, 113
    Four words – “A third party, including” – in two sections of a proposed amendment to the suburban and downstate police and fire pension consolidation bill could sink the effort, but lawmakers said the plan remains a work in progress.

      read more >

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  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019
    With clock ticking, ethics reforms remain elusive at statehouse
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Pay to Play, Corruption Arroyo, Luis--State House, 3 , Cullerton, Thomas--State Senate, 23 , Kifowit, Stephanie--State House, 84 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22 , Sandoval, Martin--State Senate, 11 , Spain, Ryan--State House, 73 , Wehrli, Grant--State House, 41

    Leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for more stringent ethics rules amid federal corruption probes involving state lawmakers, but it remained unclear what, if any, reform proposals would be tackled before legislators leave for the week.

    Three state lawmakers have come under federal scru...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019
    Loans may be only option left for Illinois residents recovering from flooding
    Floods (42) , Rivers (23)
    As hope for federal funding dwindles, residents and business owners affected by historic flooding in Southern Illinois’ options for relief are shrinking.

    read more >

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  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019
    How to plug big-time shortfalls in police and fire pension funds? Some cities are selling sewer systems for big bucks
    Fire Marshal, fire, fire fighters (84) , Local Government (60) , Pensions (70) , Police (28)

    In 2018, Alton’s pension funds for firefighters and police officers had about $117 million in unfunded liabilities -- the retirement money that will have to be paid to retirees.

    But in June, the city cut that shortfall nearly in half. How? They sold the city’s sewer system to a company, Illinois American Water, for $53.8 million.

    Godfrey also sold its wastewater syst...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019
    Secret medical data-mining project is more proof that Big Tech needs rules
    Health (49) , Internet, Social Media (98) , Technology (98)
    In a frightening illustration of how completely Americans today have lost control over their personal data, Google has partnered with Clayton-based health care giant Ascension to collect detailed medical information on millions of Americans — including patient identities and dates of birth — without notifying them or their doctors.

    The search-engine behemoth, trying to nose in on o...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
    Illinois businesses boost wages to attract workers as many jobs go unfilled
    Business (10) , Economy (34) , Employment, Jobs (40)
    Small businesses in Illinois and across the country can't find enough workers to fill open positions.

    That’s the word from a recent national survey from the National Federation of Independent Business in which nearly 90 percent of respondents reported few or no qualified applicants for job openings.

    “Even here in Illinois, where our unemployment rate has lagged behind the r...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
    Illinois lawmakers to hear popular aviation tax bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to veto
    Governor (44) , Taxes, sales (88)
    Illinois lawmakers face a political test of wills this week when they are expected to be asked to vote for an otherwise popular bill that Gov. J.B. Pritzker has vowed to veto. 

    Should it be enacted, private jet maintenance companies in Illinois would be forgiven sales tax tabs from the last five years and would have an exemption extended to 2024. It passed nearly unanimously in the House ...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
    Police group gets behind proposed amendment to plan to consolidate Illinois 649 local pension funds
    Fire Marshal, fire, fire fighters (84) , Local Government (60) , Pensions (70) , Police (28) Batinick, Mark--State House, 97 , Martwick, Robert--State House, 19
    A police group that was the major hold out on a proposal to consolidate the state’s 649 local police and fire pension funds into two funds said it will support the legislation after a proposed change to the structure of the board that would oversee investment decisions for the consolidated funds.

    Senate Bill 616 would consolidate the state’s 649 suburban and downstate police and fi...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
    Lobbying by sitting Illinois lawmakers under scrutiny
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Lobbyists (12a) , Pay to Play, Corruption Andrade Jr., Jaime--State House, 40 , Arroyo, Luis--State House, 3 , Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Sims Jr., Elgie--State House, 34 , Zalewski, Michael--State House, 23
    SPRINGFIELD — A federal bribery charge against an Illinois state legislator has led to questions about whether lawmakers should be allowed to lobby other units of government.

    The federal bribery charge last month against former Rep. Luis Arroyo laid bare the potential ethics tangle. Most states allow lawmakers to lo...
      read more >
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  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
    It’s good to be disliked by all the wrong people
    Candidates--Judicial (27b) , Courts (27) , Legal System (27)
    When State Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier retires from the bench next December, there’ll be many ways to judge his 16-year career on the high court, including the quality of the decisions he made, the quality of the company he kept and the friends he made, and the quality of the enemies he accumulated.

    That attorneys Stephen Tillery, Robert Clifford, and Tom Keefe will be included ...   read more >

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  • Friday, November 8, 2019
    Illinois lawmakers push proposal to end automatic pay raises for legislators
    Legislature (56) , Pay Raises Batinick, Mark--State House, 97
    A group of state lawmakers has proposed legislation that would put an end automatic cost of living pay increases for Illinois legislators.

     State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, is one of the chief co-sponsors of House Bill 3910. He said state lawmakers are already paid enough. 

    “We need to be dialing back pay, not increasing pay for lawmakers,” he sai...   read more >

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  • Friday, November 8, 2019
    Illinois Republicans push for tighter ethics laws, reduced majority control over bills
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Governor (44) , Lobbyists (12a) , Pay to Play, Corruption Cullerton, Thomas--State Senate, 23 , Durkin, Jim--State House, 82 , Sandoval, Martin--State Senate, 11

    Illinois Republicans in the House want to use the ongoing federal investigations involving state lawmakers to push for a handful of new ethics proposals. 

    Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, was flanked by other House Republicans on Thursday in the James R. Thomson Center in Chicago to talk about legislation that he said was a direct response to the recent federal invest...   read more >

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  • Friday, November 8, 2019
    Progressive tax opponents say Gov. J.B. Pritzker went too far to push amendment
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Governor (44) , Taxes, Graduated/Progressive
    A state government budget projection that said Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive income tax proposal could solve most of the state's fiscal problems has opponents crying foul. 

    The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget released a statutorily required five-year projection last month that shows the state will have $19 billion in backlogged bills without additional revenue.&n...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 7, 2019
    Illinois Association of School Boards could revisit resolution regarding arming teachers
    Education--Elementary and Secondary (36) , Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46)
    The Illinois Association of School Boards could revisit a resolution that would give school districts the option to arm faculty.

    Although the legislation failed a year ago, school boards from various regions will vote again later in November at the organization's annual conference.

    Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director at IASB, said the delegates can re-engage in the discussion becaus...   read more >

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  • Thursday, November 7, 2019
    Illinois' municipal market penalty eases in $750 million bond sale
    Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating
    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois paid a smaller penalty for its financial woes on Wednesday, selling $750 million of general obligation (GO) bonds at tighter, but still hefty spreads.

    The deal benefited from aggressive bidding by investment banks and yield-hungry investors, according to Daniel Berger, senior market strategist at Municipal Market Data (MMD).

    The spread for Illinois bonds ...   read more >

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