The Statehouse was abuzz yesterday with word that Senate President Emil Jones had been seen walking into House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office. What could the two antagonists be discussing, people wondered.
It turns out, Jones wanted to see Madigan about the supplemental appropriations bill that Madigan had been holding up for weeks. The Pantagraph has more…
Illinois lawmakers approved billions in new spending Wednesday, including cash for their own pay raises and a windfall for hospitals.
Last year, lawmakers decided not to block a measure that awarded themselves and some state executives about 15 percent in pay raises. But the cash to pay them had never been approved.
A House panel voted 4-2 Wednesday to pay about $1.5 million for those raises and billions more for other programs.
The spending measure included a key provision that gives about $2.4 billion to the state’s hospitals in order to leverage billions of federal money. The state has to pay for the federal government to give its full amount.
Meanwhile, in another budget-related matter, DHS is stonewalling reporters who want the agency to back up its claims about the “Pajama Scandal.”
The state Department of Human Services refuses to turn over records to back up its claim that two highly paid aides had other duties besides chauffeuring their bosses.
Department officials said the decision to keep the documents secret was supported by the state’s top lawyer, Attorney General Lisa Madigan. But Madigan’s office disputed that Wednesday, calling the claim “completely inaccurate.”
Human Services Secretary Carol Adams has told lawmakers that Carlos Estes and Eugene Davis were not mere drivers. Their job descriptions also say they wrote articles to educate the public, delivered speeches and press briefings, conducted special studies and research, and handled agency correspondence.
But in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for such records from The Associated Press, DHS said the documents could be kept secret under the law because they were “drafts” meant for internal decision-making.
I spoke to an organization yesterday that gets much of its funding through DHS. I told them that lawmakers may be unwilling to give a lot more money to an agency when they don’t trust the director. This story won’t help matters much.