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AG Madigan opposes Exelon, ComEd “bailout”

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Press release…

Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued the following statement today in opposition to Senate Bill 1585. Exelon and its subsidiary ComEd are pushing the legislation that would rack up billions of dollars in spending and profit paid for by consumers.

“It’s outrageous that Exelon and ComEd are again requesting a bailout when they are both profitable companies. This proposal would force consumers to pay more only to boost the companies’ profits further. The legislature has more important matters to address than padding ComEd and Exelon’s profits.”

Madigan’s office was opposed to the Exelon bailout when it was originally introduced last year because of its negative impact on consumers. While packaged slightly differently, the legislation is still harmful to consumers and simply generates more revenue for Exelon and ComEd.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Chamber turns thumbs down on AFL-CIO demand

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Earlier today, Illinois AFL-CIO President Mike Carrigan said any changes to the workers’ comp system have to go through the formal agreed bill process. Illinois Chamber President Todd Maisch says he opposes that idea…

“The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is disappointed that organized labor wants any workers’ compensation reform proposal to go through the agreed bill process. Illinois is a state that desperately needs course correction, and passing workers’ compensation reform is critical to that end.”

“The agreed bill process is a long, drawn-out one, and insisting on that process is the same thing as demanding no change at all.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* If you work around the Statehouse, you know that the fantasy sports people and Rivers Casino have hired just about every lobbyist in town. Look past the inflammatory rhetoric here, but this is the heart of the matter

Yes, it’s well-documented that fantasy sports have a number of advocates in Springfield trying to pass a bill. Casual fans, small Illinois-based businesses, and major fantasy sports companies alike have all come together to speak out in favor of the industry. But guess what? The need for advocates has been driven by the enormity of the efforts by Rivers Casino, who have hired an army of lobbyists in a hypocritical and self-serving effort to block fantasy sports legislation needed to protect consumers and provide needed revenue for the state. […]

So here is the real motive: Rivers wants a bill to allow them to offer their casino games via the internet, so they would have the ability to reach customers without ever having them step foot in their casino. The Rivers political strategy is to attach internet gambling to a fantasy sports bill. They have not been successful, so they are working back-room politics to kill the fantasy sports bill, unless they get what they want.

* The Question: Should Illinois casinos be allowed into the Internet gaming business? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

bike trails

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Ammons feels the Bern

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Bernie Sanders has been criticized for not doing much of anything to help the bottom of the ticket. He addressed that today in a fundraising e-mail to his supporters…

No president, not Bernie Sanders, not the greatest president you could possibly imagine, can take on the billionaire class alone. And that’s because change never happens from the top down, it always occurs from the bottom up.

That’s why today I am announcing my support for eight progressive state legislative candidates who embody the spirit of our political revolution.

Today, they are state representatives running for re-election or challenging to win their first race. Tomorrow, they’ll be progressives running for Congress and maybe even the presidency. And in 2020, they’ll help determine how congressional districts are drawn for the remainder of the next decade — a key to Democrats taking back and holding the House of Representatives for the decade to come.

It’s up to us to transform the future of the Democratic Party, and that’s why I am proud to ask:

Can I count on you to split a $100 contribution to our campaign and a great slate of progressive state legislative candidates as a way of saying we are going to fight to transform our country, and the Democratic Party, from the bottom up? […]

Carol Ammons became the first African-American woman to win election in her district of the Illinois State Legislature, scoring an upset election victory against a well-funded establishment opponent. She’s fighting for progressive issues and candidates and deserves our support.

So, he wants to split a hundred bucks with a legislator in a solidly Democratic district with no current Republican opponent?

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

Carrigan: Agreed bill process or nothing

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Illinois AFL-CIO President Mike Carrigan just told reporters that he was not interested in changing the workers’ compensation program in conjunction with a budget deal. I contacted Carrigan and he said he wasn’t nixing all talks, but that they had to be part of a formalized agreed bill process. That process is usually very time-consuming.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

Rivers Casino Needs to Drop its Unsavory Political Tactics Against Fantasy Sports

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Illinoisans who enjoy fantasy sports deserve to know what’s transpiring behind the scenes in Springfield, and where the single largest threat to the passage of fantasy sports regulation is coming from: it’s Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

Rivers says it’s all about protecting their turf, but there is no evidence that players spend less time or money at casinos because they participate in fantasy sports contests. The Rivers political strategy is to attach internet gambling to a fantasy sports bill. They have not been successful, so they are working back-room politics to kill the fantasy sports bill, unless they get what they want.

My career and my colleagues’ careers rely on the fantasy sports industry. We need legal clarity and certainty to grow and expand our business – that’s exactly what this bill offers. It reflects thoughtful and appropriate regulation, and the level of consumer protections are among the safest in the country. Rivers Casino needs to drop its unsavory political tactics and allow the bill to have a clean vote.

(Read the entire commentary in Reboot Illinois)

Jay Correia
CEO, DreamCo Design
Author of book Daily Fantasy Sports

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Better late than never, I suppose

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* From a January 12th press release

The Illinois Republican Party today called on State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) to identify which specific reforms proposed by the Governor she would support as part of a bipartisan agreement to balance the state budget.

In a news report by the Illinois News Network, Rep. Nekritz said “the fix must include several things: reforms, cuts and revenues,” but in the same breath “criticized the governor and Democratic leaders for digging in their heels” — as if she is somehow independent from “Democratic leaders” and not a part of the impasse.

“In Northbrook Rep. Nekritz pretends to be independent from Mike Madigan, but in Springfield she’s one his top lieutenants,” ILGOP Executive Director Nick Klitzing said. “She can’t have it both ways, claiming she supports non-specific reforms while blaming the abstract ‘Democratic leaders’ for digging in their heels. She votes to elect Mike Madigan speaker, so unless and until she publicly identifies the specific reforms she could support, she is equally responsible for gridlock and decline as Mike Madigan. If Elaine Nekritz is truly independent, now’s her chance to stand up to her ‘Democratic leaders’ and publicly outline which of the reforms proposed by the governor she believes are ‘the levers that have to be pulled in order to get out of this.’”

* Apparently, there’s been a change of heart at Message Control Central

“The exciting thing is, Democrats in the General Assembly, in private, many of them — not all — many of them agree with the reforms,” Rauner said.

Asked to name one or two such Democrats, Rauner said most “are unwilling to say much publicly because they don’t want to get retribution.” But the governor did name Northbrook Democrat Elaine Nekritz, who he contends publicly declared support for his ideas months ago. […]

But now, Rauner is using the quote as evidence that Democrats are moving his way. Nekritz said that’s a leap.

“I’ve been saying this exact same thing since 2009, since the Great Recession, that the only way we’re going to get out of the depth of the problems is revenue, cuts and reforms,” Nekritz said. “My message has not changed in seven years. It’s not because I woke up and decided I needed to be in the governor’s camp.”

Yep. That was a truly dumb move to attack her in January. I mean, you got one person willing to stick her neck out and you chop it off? And now you praise her for heroics?

The learning curve has been steep at times.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session Coverage

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Watch the weirdness with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Good investments, but not for the city

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* The Daley legacy in a nutshell

Chicago’s parking-meter system took in $121.7 million last year, while four underground city-owned garages reaped another $34.7 million — with not a penny of that money going to the cash-strapped city government.

Instead, the $156.3 million pot of parking cash went to private investors who control the meters and garages under deals cut by former Mayor Richard M. Daley and rubber-stamped by the City Council. […]

In the seven years since, the meter company has reported a total of $778.6 million in revenues. It’s on pace to make back what it paid the city by 2020, with more than 60 years of meter money still to come. […]

Two years before the meter deal, the city gave Chicago Loop Parking — another entity led by Morgan Stanley — the rights to four parking garages under Millennium Park and Grant Park for 99 years. In return, the city received $563 million.

Last year, the garages produced $34.7 million in revenue, the highest annual total since 2008, audits show. After expenses, their net operating income was $8.4 million. Over the nine years of the deal, the facilities have generated $292.6 million in revenue for their private operators.

And, of course, all the money from both deals was squandered to avoid a tax hike.

* Related…

* City reaches new pension deal with laborers: The bad news is that city taxpayers will have to chip in an additional $70 million or so to start, and some of that money will be diverted from a different pension fund covering other employees. Potentially worse, the deal will have to be approved by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has balked at signing other pro-Chicago legislation until Mayor Rahm Emanuel convinces other Democrats to back the pro-business, union-weakening structural changes the governor wants.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Fantasy Sports Is Internet Gaming

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The daily fantasy sports gambling industry is pressuring officials to pass a bailout that actually costs taxpayers. According to COGFA these Internet gaming giants would each pay just $900,000 in state taxes, but they could afford $500 million in television ads last year.

Taxpayers may actually have to subsidize regulating online sports wagering. The Illinois Gaming Board doesn’t know how much it will cost to oversee this new form of online gaming.

The state is facing an unprecedented budget crisis, but two out-of-state companies, which the Attorney General said broke law, want you to give them valuable Internet gaming licenses.

Everyone but paid fantasy sports operators agree, it’s gambling:

Proponents are telling elected officials a fantasy, but the budget crisis is real. Don’t make it worse and pass a fantasy sports bailout that actually costs the state money.

Click here to read the COGFA revenue estimate.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Baricevic hit over fundraising

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* The first round of fundraising for new candidates is the people on their personal contact lists. So, this isn’t too surprising. And since it’s St. Clair County, it ain’t a surprise on another level, either

Illinois U.S. House 12th District candidate C.J. Baricevic has gotten most of his campaign funding from attorneys who work in the Belleville-based court system headed by his father, according to a newspaper’s recent analysis.

The Democratic candidate, whose father is 20th Judicial Circuit Chief John Baricevic, has received more than $246,000 from lawyers and others associated with more than 70 law firms, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. One of those firms has donated more than $37,000 through its lawyers and employees, including secretaries who gave the top allowable contribution of $2,700 each.

“It is clear that C.J. Baricevic has far more support in the trial lawyer community than he does among the majority of 12th District voters,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Zach Hunter said in statement.

While Republicans raise concerns about a conflict of interest, C.J. Baricevic said the support from lawyers comes from him being a partner in the Belleville law firm Chatham and Baricevic.

* More

His father, Judge Baricevic, vehemently disputed any connection between his position as chief judge and his son’s strong support from attorneys. He said the chief judge’s official authority to assign cases to other judges was in practice carried out by people under him.

“Call any lawyer, call any judge. I do not interfere with the normal process” of assigning cases to other judges, he said last week. “You won’t find one lawyer who will make that accusation, because it’s unfounded.”

No one has alleged that Judge Baricevic has improperly meddled in case assignments. But critics say the lawyer-donors’ unusual generosity toward his son raises the question of whether those attorneys feel pressure to give.

“Common sense would tell you if you give money to the chief judge’s son, he’s going to like you, and if you don’t, he won’t,” said Belleville City Clerk Dallas Cook, a Republican who is running for 20th Judicial Circuit clerk and is suing to get Judge Baricevic removed from a judicial ballot this year in an unrelated election dispute.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Simple answers to simple questions

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* SJ-R

Republican lawmakers are not confident that legislation to create a private organization to raise repair funds for the Illinois State Fairgrounds will pass this session.

Sen. Bill Brady, who is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that would establish the foundation, said he lacks support from Democrats.

“Predominantly, I understand it has to do with some unions who are opposed to waiving some of the procurement requirements,” the Bloomington Republican said. “Because it is private money, we don’t think it should be subject to state procurement, and we know we’ll have a better chance of raising more money if it’s not subject to that.”

Brady’s legislation was voted out of committee in April and received a deadline extension to be called for a final vote. The spring session is scheduled to end May 31.

“I’ve had some discussions with the laborers’ unions who have voiced some objections to this legislation, but I’m not quite sure exactly why, because this is very similar to legislation we used to enact the Conservation Foundation and others,” said Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, who is sponsoring a similar House bill that is yet to be assigned to committee.

“I’m not quite sure exactly why.” Because Rauner wants it, that’s why.

The last Ag Director under Pat Quinn would sometimes privately complain about all the hoops he had to jump through to get things done on the fairgrounds. This is a decent idea in concept, but, like everything else, it’s on the funeral pyre because one side may want too much and the other side doesn’t want to give an inch. Normally, they’d find a way to work it out, but these ain’t normal times.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

Talking past each other

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Finke

[Sean Stott, director of governmental affairs for the Laborers International Union] again criticized insurance carriers who did not reduce premiums after workers’ compensation costs were reduced several years ago during a previous round of reforms.

However, Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said Illinois’ workers’ comp costs are significantly higher even for large corporations that self-insure against those costs.

“That (Stott’s argument) is just an old, tired excuse for baking in the status quo,” Maisch said.

They’re both right. And there should be room for compromise here. We need more assurances that insurance companies are passing along savings and we need more savings in the workers’ comp program.

If people would stop talking past each other, this stuff wouldn’t be so darned difficult.

I mean, really, if the governor hadn’t initially staked out such a hardline, far right position, he could’ve passed lots of this stuff weeks after being sworn in. We’re in this mess past our eyeballs now, but the other side has to finally realize that Rauner’s position today is significantly different than it was in 2015. Did it take too long? Heck yes it did.

Is a goal achievable? As John Lennon said, “War is over, if you want it.” Well, maybe not over, but at least some peace can be attained if they want it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

The more things change…

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* May 22nd, 2015

Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said Friday that Democrats need to approve a series of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” bills before they will talk about adding taxes to plug a $6 billion budget hole.

Radogno, the chief sponsor of five bills representing Rauner’s agenda filed Friday in the Senate, said the proposed legislation reflects a compromise from the governor’s office that includes input from Democrats.

“People of this state have to really come to grips with the fact that we cannot continue down the road we’ve been going down,” Radogno said. “May 31 can come and go, but the problem is we have to change direction. That’s what this ‘Turnaround Agenda’ is about.”

Asked if the bills reflect the areas the governor insists must be changed before discussing a tax increase, Radogno said: “Yes, he has been very clear . . . reform before revenue. He has never said revenue is off the table.”

* May 23rd, 2016

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont flatly said Republican lawmakers will not support any revenue increases without reforms passing first.

“We will not accept any more tax increases until these things are dealt with,” Radogno said. […]

Radogno said members of the public still view the budget stalemate as a test of wills between Rauner and Madigan.

“This is not just a battle of wills,” she said. “We are fighting for the very soul of the state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - GOPs participated as well *** HDems move to shield social service contracts from immediate cancellation

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Tribune

As Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner continued his vague calls for compromise Monday, House Democrats approved a measure to require his administration to give 30 days’ notice before it could cancel contracts with service providers who care for the vulnerable.

The bill is designed to prevent a repeat of an April 2015 move in which Rauner tried to save money by abruptly canceling contracts with social service agencies. Opponents at the Capitol dubbed it the “Good Friday Massacre.” Rauner later restored the funding amid intense blowback. […]

“This doesn’t say that you can’t cancel a contract if there’s no money for it; it just says the person with a contract is deserving of notice,” said sponsoring Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago. “I think it’s unconscionable to say to human service providers without one day notice we’re just going to cancel you. What this does is give them 30 days so at least they know how to respond to that fiscal problem.”

Republicans shot back that the focus should instead be on crafting a full spending plan so agencies don’t have to choose which services get paid and which go without as cash flow remains tight.

* Tom Corfman on the legislation

Not to be suspicious, but does it seem like the Democrats are preparing for more budget deadlock instead of the “grand compromise” the governor so devoutly seeks?

It sure could be seen that way. After all, it’s been more than a year since those ignominious cuts.


*** UPDATE ***  If you look at the roll call, you’ll see that at least four Republicans also voted for the bill: Batinick, David Harris, Moffitt, Pritchard.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Brown: Democrats need a plan

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* Mark Brown

As much as I disagree with major elements of Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, if there is a Democratic plan to restore Illinois’ economy, I have not heard it articulated clearly enough to communicate to others.

This is a problem. It’s a political problem for Democrats heading into November, but more important, it’s a problem for our state in the here and now.

Publicly, at least, the Democrats keep pointing to the progress they’ve already made on things like workers’ comp. But who really thinks that’s enough?

* Back to Brown

If House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and the rest of the Democratic hierarchy think they can avoid taking part of the blame in the fall for that failure just because Donald Trump is leading the Republican ticket, they could be in for a rude awakening. […]

I deplore Rauner’s willingness to use people who rely on social services as hostages to enforce his will. If he were on this November’s ballot, he’d surely take his lumps. But he’s not.

In his absence, voters’ blame could fall most heavily on those who can be portrayed as beholden to Madigan, who is held in equally low esteem.

He’s right about Madigan, except that he’s held in far less esteem than Rauner by the general public.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

Durbin begs backers: “Cool it”

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* I told subscribers about this way back on January 11th. But the rumor has taken on a life of its own and just won’t die

It may be the worst-kept political secret in Springfield, and now the chatter has reached fever pitch.

Sources in the Democratic Party, progressive and labor circles are all buzzing about the possibility of Illinois’ senior U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin challenging Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018, with some saying it is more than innuendo and that the talk is emanating from Durbin’s Illinois office.

“It’s coming from his political staff,” said a state labor leader. “They’ve talked to me, asking questions like, ‘Would you be supportive?’ and just generally asking people’s opinions.”

Sources all speak favorably about Durbin’s chances against the wealthy incumbent, citing his statewide name recognition, fundraising ability, and the fact that his primary residence is in Springfield.

* But, as before, Durbin is dumping cold water on the rumor

“I don’t see anything in the Turnaround Agenda that really will help the economy of this state,” Durbin said.

Durbin, who toured a Logan Square neighborhood infant welfare program, agreed that the state’s economy is endangered by the stalemate.

He also dismissed reports that some Illinois Democrats want him to challenge Rauner in 2018.

“I have no aspirations for any other office and I would beg the people who are doing all the speculation to cool it,” Durbin said.


- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

Remap reformers declare victory

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

* From the folks at Independent Maps…

We just completed a week long review of a 5% (28,000) sample of our petitions at the Board of Elections. The verdict is in: our signatures passed with flying colors.

Board of Elections personnel validated 72.7% of the petition signature sample, which is head and shoulders above the 52% validation rate we needed. This is an incredible achievement and it is all thanks to your hard work and support! Thanks also to all the volunteers who came out to help with the review, including a strong contingent from the League of Women Voters. […]

Our next challenge is to defend the Independent Map Amendment in court from the lawsuit filed by entrenched political interests challenging its constitutionality.

…Adding… More details in the press release I just found in my inbox…

A state review of Independent Map Amendment petitions indicates the submitted petitions likely contain more than the minimum 290,216 valid signatures of registered voters required to place the proposed redistricting reform constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

On Monday, the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) staff completed the signature verification examination of a random sample of Independent Map Amendment petition signatures, and the ISBE review projected that nearly 73 percent of the 563,974 petition signatures appear to be genuine and match the signature of a registered voter living at the address printed on the petition. The staff checked 28,199 signatures selected at random by computerized sampling of 5 percent of petition signatures.

The sampling indicates a minimum of 382,355 and a maximum of 395,021 valid signatures were submitted to the state – well in excess of the 290,216 signatures required by law to place the amendment on the ballot. […]

Independent Maps staffers and volunteers were also impressed by the efficiency and professionalism of the Board of Elections employees.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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* AG Madigan opposes Exelon, ComEd "bailout"
* Chamber turns thumbs down on AFL-CIO demand
* Question of the day
* Ammons feels the Bern
* Carrigan: Agreed bill process or nothing
* Rivers Casino Needs to Drop its Unsavory Political Tactics Against Fantasy Sports
* Better late than never, I suppose
* *** LIVE *** Session Coverage
* Good investments, but not for the city
* Fantasy Sports Is Internet Gaming
* Baricevic hit over fundraising
* Simple answers to simple questions
* Talking past each other
* The more things change...
* *** UPDATED x1 - GOPs participated as well *** HDems move to shield social service contracts from immediate cancellation
* Brown: Democrats need a plan
* Durbin begs backers: "Cool it"
* Remap reformers declare victory
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
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* Trump says decision to seek donations followed GOP request
* Clinton, Sanders make all-out blitz in California primary
* VA chief: 'I deeply regret' wait-time comparison to Disney

* Softball: Huntley, St. Charles East open regionals with wins
* Buffalo Grove students win contest with idea born in laundry
* Illinois dismisses Nunn after domestic battery guilty plea
* Derby winner Nyquist is sick and won't run in Belmont
* Mom sentenced to prison for disabled daughter's death hospitalized

* 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

* Brown: Democrats' short list of gov candid......
* Time Is Running Out For The Senate To Fina......
* US Sen. Durbin cites problems with House P......

* Letter: Kirk's leadership encourages suppo......

* University of Illinois, SEIU pushing bills that grant subsidies for non-American higher ed students
* University of Illinois, SEIU pushing bills granting subsidies to non-American higher ed students
* Emanuel Unveils Proposal For Tackling Laborers Pension Fund
* First Hurdle Cleared For Ballot Question In Legislative Remapping Effort
* Undocumented Chicago Activist To Sue Federal Immigration Agency Over DACA Denial
* Illinoisans Sound Off On Exelon/ComEd Bill As Report Unveils Dangers At Their Local Nuclear Sites
* CTU To Protest In Solidarity With Fired Teachers In Mexico
* Rauner Approval Rating Hits All-Time Low
* Four more GOP Congressman speak out against IL GOP marriage plank change
* Chicago Alderman: Homeowners Who Install Security Cameras Should Get A Rebate

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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