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Morning Shorts

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

* “Request Denied” Series:

* Survey shows no improvement in FOIA compliance

* Governor criticized for concealing information

* One man’s expensive struggle for information

* Reporter: Journalists need to use FOIA more

* Loves Park city council votes unanimous to voice opposition to the GRT

* Panel OKs abortion notification changes

* McQueary: I’ve got pension envy

Almost every pension system in Illinois faces a frighteningly high unfunded liability, which I will be paying off until I’m old and creaky. And yet lawmakers tend to cave to special interests and beef up benefits year after year.

* Editorial: Gun access and the mentally ill

* Material on tax return not hazardous

* Local lawmakers back Giuliani

* Editorial: Unfair Illinois-Indiana tollway price disparity

* Committee backs bill protecting teachers from internet threats

* House votes for campaign finance reform

* House targets contractor donations

* House backs ban on contractor ban

* House approves bill targeting ‘pay-for-play’

“Our local newspapers would be much, much thinner but for stories of scandal and corruption in our state,” Fritchey said. “This is aimed at eliminating those stories.

* Illinois House cuts links between contracts and contributors

* Phil Kadner: Stephens’ miracle, a riverboat without a river

* Chicago school leaders seek to limit local council power

* Sun-Times Editorial: New system holds hope for transit riders

* Daily Show preparing spoof on Chief Illiniwek

* Aldermen: city should have cut off Rezko

* Clout lives on in hiring?

- Posted by Paul Richardson        

  1. - anon - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 9:36 am:

    Does the pay to play bill go far enough? Why are legislators exempt from this bill? Dont some of the companies that have contracts with the state also contribute to the legislators?

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    House targets campaign finance reform ? This is a joke. If the companies are not allowed to give directly to the candidate there are many loopholes. For instance: They tell the company to donate to the Democratic or Republican organizations. The politicians and the organizations keep track of what company gives and what politicians gets credit. The organization keeps a percentage and writes a check to the politician.
    Another loophole: the politician ask the company to write a check to another politician who has nothing to do with contracts. The second politician then writes a check to the first politician who is connected to contracts. There are many, many ways to game the system.
    It all stinks but we are probably better off keeping it the way it is now. At least we know where the correct source of the money came from.

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 9:51 am:

    Been reading the SJ-R thing on FOIA. The cloak of secrecy in government in this State is frightening, particularly in ISP, Gov’s office, and most of local government. What can be done at the grassroots level to get some “teeth” into this law to get compliance from those who thumb their nose at requests for information in the public domain?

  4. - General Starry Eyes - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 10:44 am:

    Bet this puts screws up Blago plans to drain Illiniois taxpayers and hope this ends this Gross Revenue Tax

    Does New Universal Health Care Plan Have a Chance?
    ABC News’ Dr. Tim Johnson Calls the Kennedy-Dingell Plan ‘Bold’ and ‘Politically Brilliant’
    April 26, 2007 — - Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., have introduced a new plan for universal health care coverage that would give every American access to health care within five years.
    Talking today to “Good Morning America,” ABC News medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson called the plan “bold” and “politically brilliant.”
    The plan tackles the problem of the more than 46 million uninsured Americans by giving the uninsured a choice to use Medicare or the federal employees’ health plan.
    Everyone with a social security number would be covered for their entire lives under this plan. People could also choose to stick with their employer’s health plan.
    “It’s politically brilliant because one of the options offered in the plan is to choose health coverage from the federal employees’ health program,” Johnson said.
    “Every member of Congress has it and loves it — even the president uses it. So, I think it’s very tough politically for Congress to say, ‘I have it and love it, but you can’t have it, too.’”
    Powerful Health Care Lobby Will Fight Plan
    The Kennedy-Dingell plan would be largely publicly financed by taxing payrolls.
    “It turns out that’s a much more effective way to collect money,” Johnson said. “For example, most companies spend 13 percent of all their payroll costs buying their employees health insurance. Under this system, the companies would pay a new 7 percent payroll tax. Health care costs for employers should be cut nearly in half, and the government will still have enough money to finance the new plan because of efficiencies and savings.”
    Companies that don’t provide health insurance would have to start paying into the pool with the 7 percent payroll tax. Johnson said the costs will be cheaper overall because the risks will be spread out over the entire population.
    Critics of the plan call it socialized medicine run by the government.
    But the health care system will remain private, Johnson said. Just as under the current Medicare program, doctors, hospitals and other providers will continue to operate as independent, private entities. The program will largely be administered by private carriers and intermediaries.
    “This is an extension of what we already have: Medicare, and the federal employees’ health program isn’t government medicine,” Johnson said. “You choose your own private doctors and hospitals, the financing is just provided for by the government.”
    A huge stumbling block for the the Kennedy-Dingell plan is the powerful health care industry’s opposition to it.
    The health care industry spent more than $412 million lobbying Congress last year, according to Congressional Quarterly. And a watchdog group, the Center for Public Integrity, found that the health care industry has employed 48 former members of Congress and a dozen former senators as lobbyists in recent years.
    Johnson said public support for a new health care system could help push the plan through if the political winds shift.
    “People are getting worried about their health coverage,” Johnson said. “It does have a chance. Probably not this year, but if a Democratic president is elected, and Congress stays Democratic, then it has a real chance of getting passed.”

  5. - anon - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 11:07 am:

    General, I doubt the governor would be upset if the federal government stepped up and did what he is trying to do on the state level. It is the issue that is important here. I believe that he cares enough about people’s health care that if the feds took the wind out of his initiative by implementing a working plan on that level, blagojevich would be thrilled.

  6. - General Starry Eyes - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 11:22 am:

    anon - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 11:07 am

    All that money from that GRT slipping away would certainly make the Governor sad.
    Don’t kid yourself! Governor Blago loves other people’s money.

  7. - The Weasel Factor - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 11:30 am:

    Release the federal subpoenas Blago!
    What’s to hide, if your as clean as a houndstooth, as you say?

  8. - Lula May - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 11:31 am:

    Anon is right here. Blago would not be happy. This was to be his legacy.

  9. - Rep. John Fritchey - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 11:49 am:

    Legislators are not covered by the pay to play bill because they do not award contracts. The bill amends the procurement code, prohibiting contributions to the officeholder in charge of awarding the contract.

    Is it going to stop every abuse? Unfortunately, no. Is it a big step toward stopping the biggest abuses? Absolutely.

  10. - Lula May - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    My mistake the general is right. This is all about Rod’s legacy. If he does something this big he’s hoping the historians will overlook the little corruption issue. It didn’t work for George Ryan.

  11. - The Weasel Factor - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 12:39 pm:

    Rep. John Fritchey - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 11:49

    Blago and Company have gotten rich off all the DEALS and still DO. 4+ years to late!

  12. - Lula May - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 1:23 pm:

    Fritchey is probably right. It will help. Some of those contributors may not feel comfortable going through the backdoor. Although characters like Resko will do anything to be seen with politicians. I actually feel sorry for Tony. All these politicians used him. He thought they were his friends.

  13. - Ka Ching - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 3:14 pm:

    Poor, Poor Antoine (BIG TONY) Rezko.
    Wonder how much singing he’ll do, once he figures out he’s been abandoned by all his pals.
    Thump, Thump, Thump Tony!

  14. - Honey - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 4:39 pm:

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the STATE will know peace!

  15. - Reddbyrd - Thursday, Apr 26, 07 @ 5:02 pm:

    Could it be that there are a grand total of 2 comments about the FOI series? That os what pops up when one hits the links.
    Could that mean this is a yawner topic?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
* A rough idea of what they're looking at
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Rauner was wrong about "record levels" of unionization
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
* Pritzker's inauguration ball tix will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation
* Rauner claims he's been too busy to reflect on his term
* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* Yesterday's stories

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