SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Death penalty bill advances, open primary setback, seniors may no longer ride free

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010

* Legislation to abolish the death penalty in Illinois just passed a House committee 4-3.

* The Tribune recently editorialized in favor of the legislation

The last prisoner executed by the state of Illinois was Andrew Kokoraleis, who died by lethal injection at the Tamms Correctional Center in March 1999. The next year, then-Gov. George Ryan declared a moratorium on executions, concerned that a deeply flawed system had sent innocent people to death row. Three years later he commuted the sentences of 167 condemned inmates and pardoned four others.

A lot of Illinoisans apparently believe that was the end of it. Only 39 percent of voters responding to a recent poll answered (correctly) that Illinois still has the death penalty. The others said it does not (33 percent) or that they didn’t know (28 percent).

No, the death penalty hasn’t been abolished in Illinois. It hasn’t been fixed either.

Those poll results show to me that people don’t really care all that much. Whether they will care if the bill passes is the big question, however.

* Unsurprisingly, another sweeping amendatory veto went down to defeat yesterday in the House

A bill that would shield voters’ political party preferences from the public record has been killed in the Illinois House.

Gov. Pat Quinn had rewritten House Bill 4842 so voters would not have to publicly declare their parties when voting in a primary election. The bill originally instructed the State Board of Elections to publish a voters guide on the Internet during primary elections.

However, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said the amendatory veto was unconstitutional.

“He created a wholly different bill,” Currie said. “That was not what was contemplated by the people who drafted and the people who supported the 1970 Constitution.”

Lots of people support the governor’s idea, but not so much in the General Assembly. Plus, legislators don’t take too kindly to a governor attempting to legislate with an amendatory veto.

* A case in point is the seniors ride free bill. That one was such a political hot potato that the General Assembly decided to go along with Rod Blagojevich’s AV. But opponents have persisted and another vote to get rid of it appears likely

On Monday, a House committee approved legislation that would scale back the free-rides program by setting income limits for seniors to qualify.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch or a free ride,” Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said.

Gov. Pat Quinn has previously said he would veto legislation limiting free rides, but Currie said she is confident the proposal will have enough support for lawmakers to override a veto.

When the Majority Leader is on board, that usually means the Speaker is on board, and that usually means that the bill will pass.

* But not everybody is ready to vote for it

State Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, was among lawmakers hesitating to take the perk away. He said it might be difficult for seniors to adjust to the change.

* Keep in mind, however, that a federal law requires seniors to get a 50 percent mass transit discount, so they still won’t pay the full freight

On Monday, a House committee approved limiting free bus and train rides to seniors who make less than $27,600 a year. More affluent seniors would pay the federally mandated half price for rides.

…Adding… From the RTA…

Saw your blog post on the RTA’s senior ride free bill today. Thanks. Just a small note: the bill doesn’t eliminate seniors riding free. It means test it so that seniors who are in the Circuit Breaker Program ride free and all others half off. It works the same way our current People with Disabilities Ride Free Program works which was created by the General Assembly a few months after the Seniors program was created.

* Roundup…

* House Dems elect Madigan again

* ComEd fights Ill. on conservation

* Stimulus program helping 26,000 Illinoisans may expire

* Lawmakers, advocates, opponents hash out reform for Medicaid, workers’ comp

* A big push to end capital punishment - Death penalty abolitionists say now is the time

* Broken Beyond Repair

* The dollars and cents of medical marijuana in Illinois

* Waste in state government? Don’t blame auditor general

* Keep Illinois casinos smoke free

* Bill would reduce police, fire pension benefits

* The other pension crisis

* The gambling balancing act

* Quinn: Come down from North Pole

* Smokers may get to light up in casinos

* Taylorville coal plant bill advances; support lacking in full House

* Tensaka Supporters: Time To Act

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:24 am:

    So, you take something that costs the State nothing (free rides), and then you “fix” the problem by making every senior who wants free rides go through a state-run income verification process each year.

    That’s going to require the hiring of countless new state employees or temps, new phone lines to handle a gigantic influx of calls, and not to mention that every new senior who comes in for the free rides will also get a nice healthy property tax grant from state coffers (and other benefits).

    If you want to reduce the size of government, stop adding layers upon layers of bureaucracy.

  2. - amalia - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:30 am:

    the murder of a Chicago Police Officer and a retired CHA officer by a person out on parole, who should have been in on an attempted murder, cries out for the death penalty. in fact, the man upon whom the attempt murder was committed says that he hopes the guy gets the death penalty. Law enforcement, time to contact Springfield!

  3. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:31 am:

    ==make less than $27,600==

    One line of thinking we have to get away from is giving handouts based soley on income. Most Seniors make less than $27,600.00 per year because they are on fixed incomes and when the economy goes south, investments do not yeild. But if you live in a $1.5 million house and have 3$3million in the bank, do you need a free ride more than the single mom of 3 making $28,000 per year.

  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:32 am:

    amalia, the abudction, rape and murder of a young girl in DuPage County also cried out for the death penalty. I mean, if anything ought to be punished by death, it would be that combination of crimes.

    Turns out, the thrice convicted men were not guilty.

  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:33 am:

    –So, you take something that costs the State nothing (free rides), –

    How so? The state kicks in plenty to mass transit. So do taxpayers in other ways besides their support of state revenues.

    If the state didn’t have any skin in the game, mandating free rides would be even worse.

  6. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:33 am:

    Um, even if the death penalty was reinstated, that teen wouldn’t have gotten the death penalty for an armed robbery conviction, and he would still have done this.

  7. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:35 am:

    word -

    The free rides cost the State of Illinois nothing. They may cost the transit agencies, but the State doesn’t reimburse the transit agencies for the rides.

  8. - amalia - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    Rich, I believe the punishment should be available. I believe it is just to give the punishment in certain cases. The real question is, if you knew, with certainty, that a person committed a murder, would you be in favor of the death penalty? and remember, even Rolando Cruz thinks the guy should go down out in DuPage!

  9. - cassandra - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:44 am:

    This is such low hanging fiscal reform fruit, but it could be stickier to implement than expected, and thus incur the wrath of those seniors who arrive at the station and find that their cards don’t work. Maybe they could convert the free cards to 50 percent fare cards and initiate an expensive advertising campaign (contract to a Democratic contributor ) to tell folks what to do about adding payment to those cards. Or maybe everybody will have to apply all over again. . And many seniors would legitimately find trooping down to some state office and waiting around to reapply exhausting, Could be messy.

    I wonder if this is what we have to look forward to with respect to the Illinois budget crisis. Piecemeal reforms targeting specific groups (but never unionized state employees) but no comprehensive strategy and definitely no shared sacrifice.

  10. - Chicago Bars - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    Between free rides, the lack of any income taxes on retirement income, medicare expenses, and the impending baby boomer demographic bubble hitting 65 isn’t doing everything possible to drive seniors away the unpleasant but pragmatic thing for Illinois to be doing?

    Free rides seem to be just the tip of this geriatric government program iceberg that will hit Illinois over the next decade.

    I don’t have any idea on what the net revenue flow on Illinois senior citizens is now, or will be in a few years, but with all the baby boomers hitting it seems like those program expenses should inevitably skyrocket.

    But I’m a beer and bar booster not an actuary so I freely admit I may be wrong.

  11. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    It is time to do away with the death penalty. Until we reach the point where our system of criminal justice is infallible, we have no business applying the death penalty to anyone.

  12. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:06 am:

    I have a friend whose father implemented his personal senior half price discount. He uses his senior free ride card for half of a trip on the CTA, then pays full fare for the other half of the trip.

  13. - Transit Supporter - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    Jo - the state already verifies income through the Circuit Breaker program - which is why it was picked. And yes, the state does reimburse reduced fare programs.

  14. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    Serious question:
    The vote for Madigan was unanimous? Did I miss something? Did those Dems who claimed that they would not support him all lose in November?

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:21 am:

    ===Did those Dems who claimed that they would not support him all lose in November? ===


    One person said that and he lost. Big.

  16. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    Thanks. I knew of one. I thought there were others. My bad.

  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:27 am:

    –The free rides cost the State of Illinois nothing. They may cost the transit agencies, but the State doesn’t reimburse the transit agencies for the rides. –

    I really can’t follow your logic. The state provides transit agencies hundreds of millions a year. By your logic, why doesn’t the state just mandate free rides for everyone, since it doesn’t cost anything?

  18. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 11:54 am:

    Transit - yes, the state verifies income through Circuit Breaker, and that’s why the dimwitted legislators chose it. Problem is - there are about 150,000 seniors enrolled in the Circuit Breaker program, and more than 300,000 seniors enrolled for free rides (and most at the circuit breaker income levels). I am sure you can figure out what is going to happen there. Legislators assume that since they create a program, or a program exists, that all people eligible for that program automatically and without effort get all the benefits. They don’t realize that you have to find some way to get all those people to enroll.

    Also, the state has been reimbursing for reduced fare rides for a long time. Not the free rides. The reduced fare reimbursement today is the same as it always has been. If you put it back to reduced fare rides only, you don’t save any money.

  19. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:03 pm:

    word -

    The only state General Revenue Fund money that goes to transit agencies is the $35 million reduced fare reimbursement.

    If the State mandated free rides for everyone (and they could), it would not cost the State anything.

    That would cost a lot for transit agencies, and they would have to try and raise sales taxes, mft, or find other revenue to pay for it.

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    Jo - My husband actually works for a transit system in this state. You have no idea how much those free rides actually cost them. Additionally, the free ride card is being used by non-seniors, etc. Who is supposed to police that? The bus drivers???? Of course there should be a verification process and of course, the cheating is costing the state in the form of reimbursement for illegal use.

  21. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:19 pm:

    Anonymous - I am not making a comment on how much free rides cost the transit agencies. But make no mistake - it is costing only the transit agencies, not the state’s general fund.

    Additionally, the reduced fare reimbursement paid out of the State GRF is a fixed amount that has been the same for a number of years.

    Also, there is a verification process to prove you are a senior already in place. The change would be to add an INCOME verification, which is one of the most costly things to do.

  22. - cassandra - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 12:49 pm:

    Not low-hanging fruit but irrelevant to the state’s fiscal crisis.

    Just what one would expect from our current state political leadership-lots of noise and no beef.
    A useless lot.

  23. - Fed up - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 1:00 pm:

    I just cant see why letting the dead ride the bus for free is a big deal, they get to vote and keep their property tax exemptions so why shouldnt the dead get to ride the bus for free.

  24. - Great Caesar's Ghost! - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 2:11 pm:

    All Quinn has to do with the free ride bill is wait until the GA adjourns sine die and then veto it. There would be no chance for an override vote so the bill would be dead.

  25. - Conservative Veteran - Tuesday, Nov 30, 10 @ 3:29 pm:

    I know a rich 84 year-old man who uses the free rides because he can, although he can easily afford to pay for the rides. I know some poor young people who can barely pay for their rent and food, and they have to pay the full price, on trains and buses.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Sign of the times?
* Question of the day
* Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction
* Today's number: 60
* No imminent power shut-offs
* Chamber all-in on impasse
* COGFA: State receipts down almost a billion dollars in first quarter
* Two racetracks will likely close
* "How many babies have to die?"
* Report: "A billion-dollar giveaway rife with failure"
* Frerichs warns of impasse consequences
* Quinn touring the state
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

    * iPhone 6s, Samsung Gear S2, Nexus 6P comments & more – Pocketnow Daily Recap
    * Jetpack Joyride brings you Back to the Future theme for October
    * Viber: “heart” messages, more characters, forward public chats
    * Samsung Galaxy Active Neo coming to Japan
    * Top 5 Android games of September 2015
    * Escape from the dark in Dim Light, now out on Android
    * Bounce the ball around shapes in Geometry Bounce

    * Garcia gives White Sox walk-off win vs. Tigers
    * White Sox relish in walk-off as season nears end
    * Alexei takes in possible final games with Sox
    * Montas takes hill for Sox 2015 finale
    * Garcia gives White Sox walk-off win vs. Tigers
    * Albers holds scoreless streak as free agency nears
    * Alexei takes in possible final games with Sox


    Main Menu
    Pundit rankings
    Subscriber Content
    Blagojevich Trial
    Updated Posts

    October 2015
    September 2015
    August 2015
    July 2015
    June 2015
    May 2015
    April 2015
    March 2015
    February 2015
    January 2015
    December 2014
    November 2014
    October 2014
    September 2014
    August 2014
    July 2014
    June 2014
    May 2014
    April 2014
    March 2014
    February 2014
    January 2014
    December 2013
    November 2013
    October 2013
    September 2013
    August 2013
    July 2013
    June 2013
    May 2013
    April 2013
    March 2013
    February 2013
    January 2013
    December 2012
    November 2012
    October 2012
    September 2012
    August 2012
    July 2012
    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012
    March 2012
    February 2012
    January 2012
    December 2011
    November 2011
    October 2011
    September 2011
    August 2011
    July 2011
    June 2011
    May 2011
    April 2011
    March 2011
    February 2011
    January 2011
    December 2010
    November 2010
    October 2010
    September 2010
    August 2010
    July 2010
    June 2010
    May 2010
    April 2010
    March 2010
    February 2010
    January 2010
    December 2009
    November 2009
    October 2009
    September 2009
    August 2009
    July 2009
    June 2009
    May 2009
    April 2009
    March 2009
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    October 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    April 2008
    March 2008
    February 2008
    January 2008
    December 2007
    November 2007
    October 2007
    September 2007
    August 2007
    July 2007
    June 2007
    May 2007
    April 2007
    March 2007
    February 2007
    January 2007
    December 2006
    November 2006
    October 2006
    September 2006
    August 2006
    July 2006
    June 2006
    May 2006
    April 2006
    March 2006
    February 2006
    January 2006
    December 2005
    April 2005
    March 2005
    February 2005
    January 2005
    December 2004
    November 2004
    October 2004

    Blog*Spot Archives
    November 2005
    October 2005
    September 2005
    August 2005
    July 2005
    June 2005
    May 2005


    RSS Feed 2.0
    Comments RSS 2.0


    * Number of Chicago heroin overdoses hits 74 in 3 days
    * Car crashes into northern Illinois church, injuring 6
    * University of Illinois opens center for wounded veterans
    * Opponents upset Chief Illiniwek merchandise available online
    * Chicago man charged in 20-month-old's death acquitted
    * Health officials in Lake County encourage flu shots
    * Alleged improprieties force out 2 parole board members
    * Suburban officer accused of using excessive force sentenced
    * Illinois tax break deals yield uncertain results for state
    * Rauner: Illinois budget standoff 'could go on for a while'

    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?
    * AP Exclusive: Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Gov. Rauner: Illinois budget standoff 'could go on for a while'
    * State revenues down by nearly $1 billion in first quarter
    * Former Gov. Quinn makes speech in Champaign, says he has no plans to run for office
    * Supporters of sexual assault, domestic violence programs warn of cuts due to budget impasse
    * University presidents urge end to Illinois budget stalemate
    * Illinois attorney general seeks details from Volkswagen
    * Home day care workers seek repayment of union dues

    * Property tax hike adds up to 'a lot of hot dogs'
    * This tech company is 'ugly and boring'—and booming
    * South Side hospital may reverse years of losses
    * Big boys to change Chicago's skyline
    * Big blunders by Rauner, Madigan leading to Springfield stalemate

    * 6 wounded in shootings since Saturday morning
    * 2 shot, including 15-year-old boy, since Friday night
    * 2 teen boys suspected in Logan Square armed robberies of cellphones
    * Flags tell winning story at Wrigley this season
    * 74 overdoses in 72 hours: Laced heroin may be to blame
    * Famous Naperville Halloween house goes dark
    * Motorist rescues 2 women being mauled by pack of dogs in Indiana
    * Man exposes himself, touches woman on Green Line platform
    * Woman charged with reckless homicide in I-294 death of off-duty officer
    * Wisconsin airman among 11 dead in Afghanistan plane crash

    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Bernard Schoenburg: An added loss for workers at Illinois State Museum
    * Angie Muhs: Comics, the 'Power of the Press' and more
    * Bernard Schoenburg: An added loss for workers at Illinois State Museum
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?
    * Jim Bordeaux-White: Help give lung cancer patients hope for a cure
    * Charles Krauthammer: Obama's Syria debacle
    * Gov. Rauner: Illinois budget standoff 'could go on for a while'
    * State revenues down by nearly $1 billion in first quarter

    * Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was
    * Tom Kacich: Could Springfield atmosphere affect selection of auditor general?
    * Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come
    * Ask 'Mimi,' Oct. 4, 2015
    * 'Ungifted' is nothing short of genius
    * Mike Pemberton/Voices: Newspaper, coffee and the way of the world in a hotel lobby
    * C-U haiku, Oct. 4, 2015
    * Esther Cepeda: Spare the talk of an 'Asian invasion'
    * John Frayne: Gunns mixed it up in an intimate setting
    * Ted Kooser: An American Life in Poetry, Oct. 4, 2015

    * Now it gets interesting: Cubs still alive to host WC playoff
    * Report: Des Plaines shrine rector removed from ministry for 'inappropriate relationship'
    * Sharp, Oduya come home
    * 'True fan' of 80+ years just misses Cubs' playoff season
    * South Alabama holds on to 24-18 win over Troy

    * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
    * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
    * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
    * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
    * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
    * CBD Oil, and politics
    * Simon considering state Senate bid
    * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
    * Shutdown? State may not notice
    * Rep. Bob Dold

    * Senators Introduce Landmark Bipartisan Sen......
    * Senators Introduce Landmark Bipartisan Sen......
    * Durbin cites health benefits in push to ra......

    * Committee Passage of Measure to Support Ju......
    * Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded ......

    * Meet Uptown's "Gangsters and Ghosts" On October 29th
    * You’re Invited – Illinois REbarcamp Powered by YPN!
    * Next 10 general admission registrants for Vertex 15 Conference get extras
    * Chicago chapter of NAREB collaborates to serve consumers
    * 6 things you need to remember about TRID before Oct. 3
    * Watch for Illinois REALTOR® story about Kinney scholarships
    * NAR honors Goodwin and four other Good Neighbor winners
    * Morning Minute: Signs show housing is shifting to a buyer’s market
    * Two Illinois REALTORS® to be honored with SRES Outstanding Service Award
    * New book offers REALTOR® safety tips for discount

      Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller