* I didn’t realize it when I wrote the subscriber edition, but around midnight last night this provision was removed from the cemetery regulation bill…
Strict new regulations would be placed on most Illinois cemeteries following the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal under legislation a House panel approved [yesterday] following heavy debate from Catholic officials. […]
Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, testified in opposition. Among other things, the legislation appears to be written so strictly that even the cardinal of the archdiocese of Chicago would need to get a license, he said.
Gilligan and Roman Szabelski, the executive director of Catholic Cemeteries appointed to oversee Burr Oak at the height of the scandal last summer, said they hoped changes could be made before lawmakers vote again on the issue.
Szabelski said he oversees 2.4 million graves and that data on the burials that would meet the legislation’s standards are only about 60 percent completed. They suggested a deadline for compliance for all records would be difficult and costly to meet within only a few months.
Those provisions were seen as a poison pill designed to kill the legislation, but they were taken out of the measure late last night.
* Meanwhile, the sponsor of a controversial bill has doubts that it can pass this time around…
One of the sponsors of a bill that would create sales tax revenue bonds in Illinois is not sure whether it can be passed at this point in the General Assembly.
Rep. Tom Holbrook, D-Belleville, said he and other supporters of bringing STAR bonds to the state were negotiating with Gov. Pat Quinn’s office Wednesday and will continue through the end of the veto session Friday. […]
Holbrook said Wednesday that if the measure passes during the current session, it will be as an entirely new bill. He said he expects to know for sure by today.
“We think there is an opportunity for this to be a huge economic development tool, but we’re not sure it will be,” Holbrook said.
* Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) says he’s now open to far more drastic school reform ideas…
We must also decide whether Mayor Daley should continue to preside over the Chicago schools. Since he assumed control of the district in 1995, the Blackhawks have had nine coaches, the Bulls have had eight coaches, the Cubs have had five managers and the White Sox have had three managers.
For the first time in my personal and political career, I am exploring the idea of vouchers and charter schools to help facilitate choice and enhance academic performance. Why should we continue to make investments in a system that is bankrupt and weighed down with bureaucracy?
We must begin making decisions that are in the best interest of children, such as mandatory teacher evaluations. Since the will to change the system is nonexistent, we should allow students the flexibility to attend schools outside their district. What once worked before, such as the local school councils, may have run its course in today’s competitive environment.
They say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. We can no longer afford to have the blood of every child on our hands.
* In other Statehouse news…
The state house executive committee [yesterday] decided, unanimously and without debate, to roll back the controversial senior free ride program so it only applies to low-income seniors. according to Diane Palmer, spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Authority.
Other committee action…
–Change to three-fifths the number of Cook County commissioners it would take to override the board president’s veto. Currently, a four-fifths vote is required. That margin has helped board President Todd Stroger fight off attempts to repeal his sales tax increase. It’s now before the full Senate.
–Require prison time for gang members caught on the streets with a loaded weapon. The action gave Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis a victory because current law allows for probation. Last summer, a gang member on probation in such a case allegedly shot and killed Chicago police Officer Alejandro Valadez. The bill goes to the full Senate.
* Lawmakers reconsider free rides for seniors
* Free bus rides for all seniors could end
* Quinn touts new lottery game that helps veterans