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Friday, Apr 27, 2012

* The Damn Quails are out of Norman, OK and they do a lot of shows in Texas, but for some strange reason they’re coming to Freeport and Sterling in July, so a road trip could very well be in order.

I heard the studio version of this song on 88.3 the other night as I was driving home and just went crazy for it

So keep your glass, give me the bottle
I’m headed towards empty moving full throttle
Should you catch yourself worrying about me
Go on and ease your mind know that I’ll be fine
Just me and the whiskey

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

* I’ve been meaning to post stories on some complicated topics, but it’s Friday, it was a long week and I’m distracted as heck by something else, so let’s go with a story about Michelle Obama instead

“Are you as big of a White Sox fan as your husband?” a 10-year-old boy asked the first lady, in reference to the president’s well-known support of the South Siders. The child followed up with a query of whether she had congratulated Sox pitcher Philip Humber on his perfect game last weekend against the Seattle Mariners.

The first lady acted quickly to set the record straight.

“Oh, gosh,” she said. “OK, the … no, I’m not as big a fan because I grew up a Cubs fan. We’re a mixed marriage.”

Obama went on to explain, as she has in the past, that her father was a Cubs fan, despite the fact her family lived on the South Side.

I know a lot of South Side African-American Cub fans. Back in the day, the Sox weren’t perceived as all that, um “black friendly.”

* The Question: How does your family deal with divided baseball loyalties? Tell us your story.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      


Today’s must-read: “The Human Toll”

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

* Rep. Greg Harris sent out a “Springfield Update” yesterday which is an absolute must-read for everyone who visits my website…

Yesterday, I watched the faces and listened to the voices of my House colleagues from both sides of the aisle in a closed-door briefing as the implication of each of the Governor’s proposed cuts in Medicaid was explained. If 180,000 seniors lose prescription drug assistance, what were their options? If we eliminate combination therapy for 4,500 people with HIV/AIDS, what would the impact be?

If admissions to supportive living facilities or community care for seniors or people with disabilities was halted, wouldn’t that just drive costs up in nursing homes, hospitals or other more expensive treatment/living options? If the state stops paying for preventive care, aren’t we just shifting costs to ER visits, acute care and hospitals and increased costs for private insurance? And on down the list of pages and pages of charts and fine print.

Outside of that closed room, we were besieged by earnest board members from Catholic Charities, worried about budget cuts in the Homeless Prevention programs that would mean turning away nearly 16,000 families in distress.

Leaders of the Safer Foundation passed out fact sheets showing in the next 12 months how many of the adult population in Illinois prisons will be returning to the community. Their statistics show that the recidivism rate is around 50% for those that get no transition assistance, but only 31% for those that get substance abuse, job-placement and other reentry services at Adult Transition Centers. The proposed budget eliminates most of those.

Then came the hospice nurses with their fact sheets about the impact of the proposed cuts to the hospice program. They compared the costs of home hospice care to hospital stays for people at the end of life: $150-$650 per day to die at home versus $1,948 per day to die in the hospital.

When I got back to my office there were piles of reports. The Families USA report showed that the proposed Medicaid changes would cost Illinois 25,615 jobs. CeaseFire reduced shootings and killings 16% and 28%. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce had a Medicaid proposal and the Illinois Hospital Association had another. The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability research brief indicated that over the last several years the cuts to human service providers had eliminated over 18,000 jobs and $2.14 billion in private economic activity. The minutes of the COGFA hearings on state facilities closures told of job loss and economic harm in communities across Illinois where the facilities are major employers, and the fears of families of those in the facilities for what a closure might mean to a loved one.

The numbers say that we must pay our bills and live within our means. The numbers say that we have to pay debts; we have to cut over $1 billion from last year’s expenses, plus cut another $2.7 billion from Medicaid and further reform our pension systems. That’s what the numbers say. You can read the reports, and see the studies and say what must be done must be done. And at the end of the day we will pass a budget that may make some of these cuts, or may close some tax loopholes, or may “transform”, “modernize” or “right-size” government or “give everyone a haircut” or whatever the consultants and commentators cheerfully call it.

But for those of us who will cast a vote for it, and for those of you who have to deal with the consequences to your family, your town or your business, there are no good choices. We will pick winners and losers and there will be a human toll.

* Rep. Harris also included a list of recent studies…

· Governor’s Medicaid Proposal

· Governor’s Pension Reform Proposal

· Illinois Chamber of Commerce Medicaid Proposal

· Illinois Hospital Association Medicaid Proposal

· Families USA Medicaid Study

· Center for Tax and Budget Accountability Study on Human Service Cuts

· Illinois Policy Institute Medicaid Proposal

· Testimony and Studies on Facility Closures

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


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Friday, Apr 27, 2012

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Your Money, Up In Smoke

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The proposed Taylorville Energy Center coal plant would leave Illinois families and businesses paying nine times today’s market price for electricity every year for the next 30 years. That’s a cost increase to customers of $400 million every year, which would add up to $12 billion over the lifetime of this project.

Illinois already produces 30% more electricity than its residents use, meaning consumers would be forced to pay more for power we don’t even need.

In 2010 the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) concluded, “The TEC facility features high costs to ratepayers with uncertain future benefits, and uncertainties that potentially add to already-significant costs.” What’s more, natural gas and electricity prices have sharply decreased since the ICC’s study, meaning the Taylorville Energy Center has grown even more costly relative to alternatives.

As a result of the Taylorville Energy Center:

    • Local governments and vital service providers would face huge new costs at a time when budgets are already strapped;

    • Illinois employers and job-creators would be subject to nearly limitless financial risk from cost overruns and construction delays; and

    • Illinois residents would battle more pollution due to the lax emissions limits project developer Tenaska has pursued.

The bottom line: the Taylorville Energy Center would send your hard earned money up in smoke for power that we don’t need. Tell your legislator to oppose SB 678 or any legislation that supports this unnecessary project.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


“Mayor 1 Percent” inspires bankster protest song

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

* The Occupy Chicago folks have taken to calling Rahm Emanuel “Mayor 1 Percent” for his policies that favor the wealthy and powerful. But the former investment banker has a leftier side. Rolling Stone interviewed Todd Snider recently about his new album and Rahm came up in the conversation

Q: Your new album has a song called “New York Banker,” where the chorus is, “Good things happen to bad people.” Is it true Rahm Emanuel gave you the idea for that song?

A: Yeah. Before this show in Chicago, I was working on a song about the military industrial complex or some [stuff]. Rahm, who’s a fan, came backstage, and I was telling him about it. He said that bankers were a bigger threat to normal people than the military, and that if Woody Guthrie was looking for a song, he’d probably be going after those bankers. And I said, “Well, I’ll give it a try.”

* I love Todd Snider, and his new album is killer. This is the only version of “New York Banker” that I could find on YouTube, and the quality isn’t great

* From the lyrics

All these years, Arkansas, teachin’ at the high school
How was I to know by retirement day
I’d learn a lesson so cruel?
I came to the day I had waited on
Just to find out all the money in our pension was gone
We invested in somethin’ called the Abacus Bond
Sold to us by a New York banker

Good things happen to bad people, bad people, bad people

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Johnson throws Clarke under the bus

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

* Jerry Clarke has taken a ton of flak for being too close to Congressman Tim Johnson. Clarke was once Johnson’s chief of staff and there has been a nagging suspicion among many that Johnson dropped out of his campaign to help his old friend.

Johnson ain’t exactly the most popular guy among Republican political leaders in the 13th Congressional District these days. The GOP big dogs are furious that he would pull a stunt like this, so Clarke’s close ties to Johnson have hurt him with some. And the fact that Clarke reserved a campaign website address almost two months before Johnson’s retirement announcement has only further damaged him with the county party chairmen. Even if Clarke is telling the truth that he was just preparing for a run two years down the line, it sure looks fishy and people don’t like to be lied to, especially people who are about to hand out one of the greatest plums available.

It wasn’t all that long ago that being a congressional staffer was a good route up the ladder. Mark Kirk, Ray LaHood and plenty of others moved up that way. Times have changed, though, particularly in the GOP.

Johnson can be an odd duck, so I’m not sure whether he might’ve thought issuing a statement saying Clarke shouldn’t be considered as a ballot replacement could actually help Jerry, but I really doubt it’s gonna help him. It’s also possible that Johnson just wants to disassociate himself from this entire mess

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson said Thursday he doesn’t think former staff members should be among those considered to replace him on the November ballot in the new 13th Congressional District. […]

“At my retirement announcement, I let people know that no one in my family or on my staff would be a candidate for the nomination,” Johnson added. “The exclusion of those individuals should also extend to my former staff as the Republican Party moves forward in the most open and honest way possible.

“Several highly qualified individuals have expressed interest in succeeding me. I believe a number of them can be successful in the general election,” he said.

Clarke’s spokesman said his candidate is staying in the race. I’m not sure whether that’ll actually happen, though. This has become a circus, and that bodes very ill for Jerry. And, really, that’s too bad because I think Jerry would make a heckuva congressman.

* Related…

* Dan Brady decides not to seek Johnson ballot spot

* Watson not seeking 13th nomination: State Representative Jim Watson told the Jacksonville Journal Courier he is not interested in replacing U. S. Representative Tim Johnson.

* Press Release: Plummer Advances to NRCC ‘Contender’

* Gender gap persists among political donors: Two examples of women in Congress who have been able to raise substantial amounts from other women: Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. About 46% of the $10.5 million Boxer raised from individual contributions came from women, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Schakowsky raised about $722,000 from individuals and about 64% came from women.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Quinn’s “new and muscular course”

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

* My Chicago Sun-Times column

Gov. Pat Quinn’s job-approval ratings have at times fallen as low as 23 percent. And polls taken so far this year have pegged his rating at between 30 and 36 percent.

He barely won his 2010 election, beating a weak, socially conservative Republican challenger by fewer than 32,000 votes. Quinn had to spend a fortune to eke out that win, partly because his job-approval rating was measured at just 32 percent a few days before 2010’s election day.

In other words, this is not a popular governor. His approval peaked not long after he was sworn into office, in the wake of Rod Blagojevich’s impeachment. But his numbers went straight downhill not long after, when the reality of the state’s horrible fiscal health and the horrors of the “Great Recession” began to infuriate voters.

Quinn hasn’t made it any easier on himself. He has trouble focusing his mind, he has trouble making up his mind, he has trouble following through when he does make up his mind, he has trouble sticking to his word, he has trouble articulating his words, he has trouble getting anybody to go along with his plans.

Some truly important things have been accomplished since Quinn took office. But the governor didn’t really have much to do with any of it, so he didn’t get any of the credit. He’s taken the brunt of blame for the accomplishments that the public hasn’t liked, including the income tax hike, though he never could’ve passed that stuff on his own.

But things have started to change, although the public hasn’t really noticed yet.

Last November, Quinn hired Gary Hannig to run his legislative operation. Hannig is an old Springfield hand. He was one of the most trusted members of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership team before becoming the state’s secretary of transportation. He’s respected by pretty much everyone at the Statehouse.

Hannig brought some of the “Madigan way” with him to the governor’s office. Madigan and his team bat around all possible angles before they do anything. And they may be “yes men” once they’re in public, but that’s only after they have robust debates on how to proceed when they’re behind closed doors.

Quinn, for his part, has actually listened to Hannig. He doesn’t do that often or with many people outside his family. As a result, the ship has slowly, almost imperceptibly started righting itself over the past six months. Those of us who follow Quinn closely have noticed.

Until last week, almost nobody else did.

You probably saw the three editorials this newspaper published over the past week praising the governor’s new Medicaid and pension reform plans. I can’t remember a time when the Sun-Times, or any editorial page for that matter, has praised this governor three times in just a few days. He just didn’t deserve it.

The Sun-Times isn’t alone. Other newspaper editorial pages throughout the state have recently heaped praise on the governor for setting a tough but wholly necessary course for Illinois’ short-term and long-term fiscal health.

The details of Quinn’s reforms probably won’t be popular, and the General Assembly will likely alter the final product. But Quinn has demanded action this spring, and legislators aren’t automatically brushing him off as they have in the past. The public may soon start to see that today’s Pat Quinn is quite different from the Pat Quinn they’ve come to expect.

Quinn talked about running for re-election the other day. If he can stay this new and muscular course, he might just pull it off.

* Including a new one today, the Sun-Times’ positive editorial count is now up to four. Here they are…

* Editorial: Time for statesmanship, not partisanship, for Illinois

* Editorial: Raising cigarette tax $1 makes sense for Illinois

* Editorial: Quinn’s pension reforms will defuse time bomb

* Editorial: Gov’s Medicaid cuts get to what’s morally right

* Related…

* Cancer Society supports tax hike

* Progressives Join Together Against Quinn Medicaid Cuts

* Zorn: Inquiring minds want to know about teacher pensions and Quinn’s reforms

* Pension presentation in Naperville draws hundreds of suburban teachers

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Gaming Solution a Winning Strategy for Illinois

Friday, Apr 27, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Can we raise desperately needed state revenue and create more private sector jobs – all without raising taxes? A new study says – Yes!

A gaming solution under SB 1849 will have a $2.16 billion net impact on the Illinois economy, create nearly 20,500 new jobs and a generate $200 million in increased annual state revenue.

The legislation will significantly boost our state finances and translate into the largest jobs creation program in modern history, according to a study by the respected Spectrum Gaming Group commissioned by the Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance (IRJA).

The legislation would allow for a Chicago-based casino, four additional riverboat casinos throughout the state, slot machines at existing racetracks and more slots at existing casinos. Economic benefits include:

    • 20,451 more total private sector jobs
    • $3.49 billion more in economic output (gross impact on Illinois economy)
    • $2.16 billion more in gross state product (net impact on Illinois economy)
    • $1.5 billion in personal income
    • Creation of $1.2 billion in new construction expenditures that would generate-
    o 4,583 construction jobs
    o $473 million in wages and benefits

For more information, visit IllinoisJobsAlliance.org, and follow us on Facebook/ILJobsNow and Twitter/ILJobsNow.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


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Friday, Apr 27, 2012

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Good for the goose…

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* Heh

The Illinois House today gave final passage to a bill that will prevent schools from conducting those brief first and last school days of the year and counting them as full days.

A short time later, the House adjourned for the week, having met for less than an hour. […]

Current Illinois law allows schools on first and last days of the year to ignore the standard rule that students must have at least five hours of class time to call it a school day, for purposes of state aid to the schools. […]

There’s no word on whether legislators will address a similar tradition in the General Assembly, in which they meet briefly on the first or last working day of the week, just long enough to qualify for their per diem payments. For example, the House convened at 11 a.m. today, and adjourned for the week before noon.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* Gov. Pat Quinn appeared on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” this week to talk about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Quinn told the host that he watches the show almost every night. Quinn’s appearance begins about six minutes into the video, which is here.

I’ve never watched more than a few minutes of that program. I despise cable news, and that’s one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen. Man, talk about shrill. And Quinn’s admission about being a loyal watcher sure tells us a lot about his partisan bent.

But, hey, some people dig that cable stuff, so…

* The Question: How often do you watch cable news programs? What do you watch the most? What do you dislike the most?

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      


Madigan on cigarette tax hike: “I don’t think it will pass”

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* Subscribers were told about this earlier today

Though he supports the move, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday he believes a plan to jack the state’s cigarette tax will have trouble passing.

“I would support an increase in the cigarette tax, especially for the Medicaid program,'’ Madigan said. “The Republican position to date is against, so I don’t think it will pass.”

That’s pretty much that, unless Madigan can be convinced to twist some arms. I don’t see it happening right now, though.

* Background

House Republicans have been hesitant to support a cigarette tax increase, instead urging Quinn to make good on his initial call for $2.7 billion in spending cuts to Medicaid. Republican Rep. Patti Bellock of Hinsdale, who worked on a Medicaid cut panel, said she does not support the hike and does not see “a lot of support” among House Republicans.

The Senate has passed cigarette tax increases twice in recent years, only to see the proposals stall in the House, where some Democrats joined Republicans in opposition.

Democrats who control the General Assembly face potential backlash from voters for increasing the personal income tax rate 67 percent last year. In turn, GOP lawmakers largely have staked out opposition to tax hikes, and they have called for more cuts in the Medicaid program before increasing any taxes.

Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson called the governor’s cigarette tax hike a responsible way to stave off the collapse of the state’s Medicaid program. Anderson said failing to straighten out the program would be “disastrous.”

“Hesitant” is a charitable word usage. “Adamantly opposed” would be more like it.

* And Gov. Quinn continued to defend his Medicaid plan

Gov. Pat Quinn defended his proposed Medicaid cuts Wednesday, even in the face of a new report that claims more than 25,000 jobs will be lost if his plan is enacted.

In an appearance before the editorial board of The State Journal-Register, Quinn also said he will be “reminding” some lawmakers of their previous votes in favor of cigarette tax increases.

Quinn repeated that a $2.7 billion hole in the Medicaid program must be plugged this spring in order to keep the program that provides health care to the poor operating.

“It is on the verge of collapse,” Quinn said.

* Related…

* Study: Medicaid cuts would hurt IL economy

* Editorial: Quinn in the lead on big issues

* VIDEO: Gov. Quinn on the benefits of a $1 cigarette tax increase

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Koch brothers group: Ban AFSCME from contributing to Quinn

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* After the Rod Blagojevich scandal, Illinois banned campaign contributions to constitutional officers from businesses and people who have state contracts of higher than $50,000 with those officers. Today, Sen. Matt Murphy held a press conference to demand action on his bill to ban public employee unions with state contracts of higher than $50,000. From his press release…

The legislation, SB 2988, sponsored by State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), was developed in conjunction with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, a free-market advocacy group.

It will apply the same restrictions on donations that were enacted two years ago for private companies that do business with state agencies. A vendor that does over $50,000 of business with the state is now prohibited from donating any funds to a candidate who may oversee that company’s contract. However, a loophole was left in the 2010 bill to allow government unions that negotiate employee contracts worth hundreds of millions to continue to donate huge amounts to politicians in charge of those contracts.

The bill would mean that Gov. Quinn could not receive contributions from AFSCME and other public employee unions. Other constitutionals who have union contracts would also be barred from receiving contributions.

* A representative from the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity was also at today’s press conference. Here’s that group’s press release…

Today Americans for Prosperity – Illinois (AFP-IL) announced its support for SB 2988, legislation which will prohibit government unions from contributing campaign funds to the state constitutional officers with whom they negotiate their collective bargaining contracts. At a press conference with Senator Matt Murphy and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, AFP-IL State Director David From explained his support for the bill:

“Taxpayers should always take precedence over the demands of special interests – whether they be corporations or unions. Unfortunately, a loophole allows state officials to take large campaign contributions from the very government unions they sit across from at the negotiating table supposedly representing the interests of the taxpayers.”

A few years ago, in the wake of the Blagojevich scandals, state legislators and Gov. Quinn saw fit to put an end to “pay to play” deals by banning contractors with over $50,000 in state business from contributing to the state constitutional officer who oversees their contract.

But inexplicably this does not apply to government unions negotiating millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts each year. In fact, right now the Governor’s Office is negotiating a massive contract with the AFSCME, the largest union representing Illinois state workers, and one of Gov. Quinn’s largest campaign contributors.

“The largest campaign contributors to many of Illinois’ statewide officials are the powerful government unions like SEIU, AFSCME, IEA and others. This loophole in our state’s finance laws allows these powerful special interests to be the largest campaign contributors to the very person who negotiates their contracts,” From continued.

* Via our friends at BlueRoomStream.com, the press conference video

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - Fitz won’t cooperate - More delays *** LIVE VIDEO: House Special Investigating Committee

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* The House committee charged with looking into the allegations against indicted Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) is meeting today at 10:30. Here’s the live video feed

[The hearing is over, so the embed has been removed]

* Related…

* Committee may take action against Rep. Derrick Smith

* Illinois House panel to consider case against Rep. Derrick Smith this week

*** UPDATE 1 *** US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wrote a letter to the committee telling them that he would not release any information about Smith beyond what has already been released. Fitzgerald also said that basically any investigatory action beyond subpoenaing Smith’s testimony would be considered interference with the federal investigation.

The committee has voted 6-0 to send a letter to Smith asking him to testify. If he refuses to appear, then the committee might consider issuing a subpoena.

“It’s my feeling that the committee can’t wait forever,” said committee chair Rep. Elaine Nekritz. But it looks like there will be more delays as they wait for events to unfold, including Smith’s Monday arraignment. The committee is recessed to the call of the chair.

Smith was not at today’s hearing and neither was his attorney. Smith did, however, show up at the House vs. Senate softball game last night.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Fitzgerald’s letter to the committee has now been posted on the GA’s website. From the letter

We appreciate the Committee’s recognition of the sensitivity of our ongoing criminal investigation, and its forebearance in not engaging in any active investigation that would interfere with the federal criminal process. We also appreciate the Committee’s constitutional obligation to conduct its inquiry of the allegations against Representative Smith in a timely manner.

However, it is our view that, at present, the requirements of the federal criminal process cannot be reconciled with a public disclosure of the government’s evidence to the Committee or with a separate, but necessarily parallel, investigation by the Committee. […]

(I)t is our strongly held believe that any disclosure of the government’s evidence or active inquiry conducted by the Committee into the allegations of the federal indictment will likely interfere with our pending case and ongoing investigation. […]

We do not, however, believe that an interview of Representative Smith by the Committee will create any issues with the pending indictment or continuing federal investigation.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Apparently, it’s time for another workers’ comp reform bill

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* Oy

Illinois’ troubled system for compensating injured state workers hands out money too readily, sometimes without medical evidence to back up a claim and occasionally paying benefits the hurt employee didn’t even seek, according to an audit released Wednesday.

Auditor General William Holland is suggesting awmakers follow up last year’s overhaul of the workers’ compensation system with further improvements in a report that found information about the process “incomplete, inaccurate, and inconsistent.”

State workers claiming injury at work received $295 million on more than 26,000 claims from 2007 through 2010, the report found.

Holland’s report found overworked claims adjustors carrying caseloads several times larger than is practical and negotiating settlements with workers’ lawyers, a job the attorney general should do. They sometimes approved temporary disability payments while a case was under way, even though the worker hadn’t asked for it.

Files on some claims paid were missing medical evidence for the injury. Arbitrators deciding contested cases had no guidelines for deciding compensation and issued wildly inconsistent awards for the same injuries. Some had conflicts of interest in the cases they presided over.

* Oh, man

Between 2007 and 2010, state workers filed 26,101 workers’ compensation claims with more than half from the state Departments of Human Services and Corrections:

    1,180 claims — the highest number from any state agency — from Chester Mental Health Center,

    869 claims from Menard Correctional Center in Chester — the most of any corrections facility.

The state paid out a total of more than $295 million during that time frame. Sprains and contusions accounted for three-quarters of all injuries.

The audit identified problems within the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the state’s Central Management Service, or CMS, both of which oversee the workers’ compensation program. Among the findings:

    The commission failed to review arbitrators’ performance annually and had no guidelines for how arbitrators were to award compensation for particular injuries, causing inconsistencies.

    CMS negotiated settlements with injured employees’ attorneys, made decisions about compensation without appropriate forms and had no policies to address conflicts of interest by those who handle workers’ compensation claims for the state.

Also, the review board that investigates complaints against arbitrators and commissioners did not meet for three and a half years.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


World Series trophy brought to the Statehouse

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* The trophy came to Springfield yesterday, but no players or coaches showed up

The St. Louis Cardinals’ 2011 World Series trophy made a stop at the Illinois Capitol Wednesday.

Members of the House and Senate – as well as aides and other Redbird fans — lined up to take pictures of the trophy, which is traveling around Cardinal territory.

None of the actual World Series players accompanied the trophy, which was brought into the building by handlers wearing special gloves. It’s not the first time a championship trophy has been paraded around the House and Senate chambers.

Ozzie showed up to town when the Sox won the World Series and spoke to both chambers.

Anyway, out of respect for the trophy, this will be a very rare St. Louis Cardinals open thread. Have at it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


*** LIVE SESSION COVERAGE ***

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

* BlackBerry users click here

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


Gaming Solution a Winning Strategy for Illinois

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Can we raise desperately needed state revenue and create more private sector jobs – all without raising taxes? A new study says – Yes!

A gaming solution under SB 1849 will have a $2.16 billion net impact on the Illinois economy, create nearly 20,500 new jobs and a generate $200 million in increased annual state revenue.

The legislation will significantly boost our state finances and translate into the largest jobs creation program in modern history, according to a study by the respected Spectrum Gaming Group commissioned by the Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance (IRJA).

The legislation would allow for a Chicago-based casino, four additional riverboat casinos throughout the state, slot machines at existing racetracks and more slots at existing casinos. Economic benefits include:

    • 20,451 more total private sector jobs
    • $3.49 billion more in economic output (gross impact on Illinois economy)
    • $2.16 billion more in gross state product (net impact on Illinois economy)
    • $1.5 billion in personal income
    • Creation of $1.2 billion in new construction expenditures that would generate-
    o 4,583 construction jobs
    o $473 million in wages and benefits

For more information, visit IllinoisJobsAlliance.org, and follow us on Facebook/ILJobsNow and Twitter/ILJobsNow.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


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Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

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        * White Sox 10, Rays 5: Indoor fireworks
        * Danks cruises with abundance of support
        * Rays add run after out at first overturned
        * Sale's final start to come Wednesday in Detroit
        * Danks tries to guide White Sox to series win
        * Franklin's two-run homer stands following review
        * Lack of offense nullifies Noesi's quality start


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        * Illinois Governor Candidate Wants To Auction Of.....
        * Veterans home set to open on Northwest Side..
        * Veteran home on NW Side to be Chicago's first..
        * Gov Pat Quinn..
        * Ground broken on new Chicago veterans' home..
        * Libertarian could help tip Illinois governor race..


        * Chicago Latinos optimistic about new archbishop
        * Court: Illinois inmate must pay prison costs
        * Ground broken on new Chicago veterans' home
        * CTA: Fewer people trespassing on train tracks
        * Libertarian could help tip Illinois governor race
        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Cicero man convicted in girlfriend's death
        * Alton's ConAgra plant gets new name, new sign
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Large freighter runs aground, gets stuck in Duluth

        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Court: Lincoln inmate must use $20K settlement to pay incarceration costs
        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy
        * More than $59M collected from state retirees; refunds coming eventually
        * Lawmaker wants pumpkin to be official Illinois pie
        * Quinn: No pension ‘Plan B’ before court ruling
        * Sangamon Co. judge: Libertarian candidate for governor can stay on ballot

        * Scramble is on for tenants to anchor a third office tower
        * A grandmother can be CEO — or president
        * Which Chicago startup will be next with an IPO?
        * When $400 million can't buy love
        * The bleeding has stopped, but Navistar is still struggling


        * Area Catholics optimistic about Cupich
        * Another sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Joliet Diocese
        * Editorial: Bishop a good fit for Chicago
        * Chicago’s next archbishop Blase Cupich calls for immigration reform, shows off his humor
        * Convicted rapist charged in 2004 murder, rape on South Side
        * Reports: Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane will be Cardinal Francis George successor
        * ‘Hello’ in Riverside ends up getting South Side man a DUI charge
        * 2 dead, 21 wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday night
        * Apple fans answer the iPhone’s call


        * Cops: Robbery suspect fatally stabbed by alleged victim
        * Veterans home set to open on Northwest Side
        * Appellate court: Inmate must pay $20K toward his incarceration
        * Glen Ellyn police searching for missing autistic woman
        * Inmate charged with 2004 sex assault, murder
        * United Airlines turning a corner with time and improved technology
        * Democrat Giannoulias backs Republican Cross for state treasurer
        * In the pews, Chicago-area Catholics embrace news of next archbishop
        * McDonald's expanding build-your-burger test in search of growth
        * Woman wounded in leg during Cragin shooting


        * Cupich to be next Chicago archbishop
        * Treasurer Candidate Tom Cross Says He Would Sue The Legislature To Force A Balanced Budget
        * Listen to State Week - September 19, 2014
        * Quinn Defends Public Education, Though He's A Product of Private Schools
        * Chris Mooney: More Evidence-Based Policymaking Needed
        * African Drumming At Southwind Park On Saturday
        * Investors gather in Chicago seeking cannabis businesses
        * Climate, Space Create Challenges For Local Food
        * Can A Governor Really Create Jobs?
        * How do you find high school dropouts?


        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Court: Lincoln inmate must use $20K settlement to pay incarceration costs
        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement
        * Our Opinion: Springfield needs Magro project
        * Angie Muhs: Open government is worth fighting for
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Bull flies in 13th Congressional race


        * UI Women's Soccer vs Purdue
        * Court: Illinois inmate must pay prison costs
        * Chicago Latinos optimistic about new archbishop
        * Mac falls to Westminster
        * PHOTOS: Decatur Train Fair
        * Success: Belleville grills 200-foot bratwurst to commemorate city's 200th birthday
        * Parkland Volleyball vs Johnson County
        * Davenport man charged in fatal crash
        * Janet Rayfield Postgame Purdue 9-21-2014
        * Father McGivney to break ground on new school building Monday


        * Tens of thousands march worldwide on climate change
        * Fest offers glimpse at decades of farm life in Lake County
        * Upper body injury sidelines Hawks' Teravainen
        * Elgin's Sainz Jr. earns PGA Tour card
        * Yemen government signs peace deal with Shiites

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
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        * Diplomats: Iran receptive to new nuke prop......
        * Diplomats: Iran open to softened US nuke p......

        * Some Concepts About College You Must Know
        * No More Trouble in Completing Difficult Writing Assignments
        * The Highland teachers strike. A great editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
        * Sunday reads.
        * Gov. Mike Huckabee Endorses Mike Bost for U.S. Congress
        * Rauner says he'll make administration picks based on qualifications, not favors
        * 'Suicide fanatics' facing demonstrators in Chicago
        * Eric Metaxas to Christians: As the world darkens, share the Truth
        * Callis releases new negative ad on Davis
        * LAUSD 2014 Professional Development.


        * Quinn still refusing to fire 20 political cronies
        * Illinois Chamber of Commerce Endorses Rauner for Governor
        * Rauner Web Ad: “Cut from the Same Cloth”
        * Illinois Department of Human Rights Commemorates International Day of Peace
        * Quinn Misleads Public on IDOT Again




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