* Champaign Co. Clerk on new state election bill
* Rep. Fritchey: You gotta keep ‘em separated
The moral of today’s stories is that like it or not, if they are sincere in trying to accomplish the goals that they claim to be seeking, both the Administration and the proponents of damage caps are going to have to find legal and constitutional means to reach those goals.
* ‘Tort reform’ law struck down
* Jury award law called unconstitutional
* Illinois caps on some malpractice awards declared unconstitutional
* Judge strikes down malpractice caps
* Bethany Jaeger: Med Mal returns
* Illinois law shielding doctors is rejected
Doctors and insurers blamed lawyers, particularly the active plaintiffs’ bar in the Metro East area, saying lawsuits drove up rates. Lawyers said the courthouse was becoming a scapegoat as the insurance industry chased profits.
But dozens of doctors retired or left the area rather than pay continually rising insurance rates, and in some instances hospitals and patients were left scrambling to find a physician. The issue became a political firestorm as hundreds attended meetings around the state to complain. President George W. Bush came to Collinsville in January 2005 and told an audience of doctors that medical litigation was tilted in favor of plaintiffs’ lawyers.
* Expanding casinos a gamble for Joliet
This could be the year that the state really does put a casino in Chicago. But at what expense to Joliet casinos?
State legislators at least broach the subject of a Chicago casino almost annually. But talk has seldom been as intense as it is this year, with legislators and the governor looking at a casino in Chicago and at least one other undetermined location to fund future roads, bridges and other infrastructure work.
* Editorial: Hasty state construction plan could hurt more than help
This state has a long enough history of construction programs with catchy names that broke the bank, from Jim Thompson’s Build Illinois to George Ryan’s Illinois FIRST. We don’t need another one with wastefulness similar to those.
Instead, the state needs a plan that helps finance projects based on need, not political favoritism or vote-trading.
State Sen. Dan Rutherford has outlined three elements that must be part of the capital bill and we agree: Any plan must identify a reliable revenue stream to pay for it; include a list of projects on which the money will spent, not a lump sum allotment to leaders; and specify when money would be released.
* Chicago Public Radio: Mayor tightlipped over casino locale
* Legislators thwart Blagojevich’s health care end run
* State group votes down health plan expansion
* Governor’s ‘emergency’ health care rule is rejected
* Panel derails governor’s ‘end run’ to expand health insurance
State Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa, who also voted against the change, said a significant expansion of health care might be a laudable goal, but it shouldn’t be put in place without more debate from the legislative branch.
“Yeah, but go through the process,” Rutherford said.
The governor’s proposed emergency rule would provide discounted health care benefits to about 147,000 Illinois residents with incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty level.
State Sen. Brad Burzynski, R-Clare, said the change could mean a family of four that has a family income of at least $80,000 would be getting health care from the state.
That’s not an emergency, Burzynski said.
* Panel kills health care move
“Should those 20,000 people find themselves without health coverage, it would be because of the inaction of the administration, not the actions of [this committee],” Fritchey said.
Ottenhoff said the administration is “working on ways to make sure the 20,000 parents do not lose coverage,” but she did not offer details.
* Tribune Editorial: Another vote, another ‘No’
Blagojevich may portray this as another “up” for his agenda. He’s evidently trying to convince people that he’s a man of compassion who won’t let stingy legislators stop him from giving taxpayer-funded health coverage to middle-income families. He says he’s “simply doing my job and setting the right priorities.”
But the people of Illinois, through their elected representatives, are talking back. They’re unequivocally, and repeatedly, saying to Blagojevich: Don’t write a blank check and create debts that will come due for generations.
So what now? Well, the governor can attempt another end run. Or he could sue.
* Wisconsin supporting Illinois for FutureGen plant
Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky have also backed Illinois’ bid. But it’s unknown what influence other states will have on the final decision.
Both Illinois and Texas have offered substantial financial incentives to help try to charm decision-makers. And Illinois officials have gone has far to spend more than $300,000 on a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm.
* Quinn calls for assistance to veterans laid off from state jobs
* Editorial: Teen advice good, but licensing rules are working
There is hope, however. The American Academy of Pediatrics last year cited a study of graduated licensing programs in 13 states that found the programs reduced crashes by as much as 41 percent. Illinois recently toughened its graduated licensing by lengthening the learner’s permit period to a minimum of nine months from three months; moving up curfew; and making teens wait a full year until they can have more than one nonfamily teen passenger in their car. The waiting period is now six months.
* Illinois math and science scores compare favorably with the world
“Most states are performing about as well or better than most foreign countries,” said Gary Phillips, who wrote the report. “We’re kind of in the middle of the pack. However, our highest-achieving states are significantly below the highest-achieving countries. There was no state that did as well as the highest-achieving countries.”
* Schools look at power by wind
* McCain picks delegate candidates for primary