* The good…
The beating death of a mentally disabled man living in a group home, and the disclosure that officials knew the home was unsafe, could lead to increased protection of people with disabilities.
The Illinois House voted, 115-0, on Wednesday to toughen oversight of group homes. Abuse allegations would trigger state reviews.
New managers could be brought in to run unsafe homes. Employees would undergo periodic background checks.
More inspection records and abuse reports would be available to the public.
Hopefully, the bill gets to the governor’s desk soon. We can’t have any more murders and torture by state-subsidized group home staff, particularly in group homes where a staffer had already killed somebody else. Ridiculous.
* Even more good…
The federal judge overseeing Tribune Co.’s bankruptcy case should reject both proposals to reorganize the media company’s finances because neither adequately protects Tribune Chairman Sam Zell from lawsuits, Zell’s attorney argued Wednesday.
Attorney David Bradford said such lawsuits threaten not only to injure Zell’s reputation, but also to waste the company’s assets. Bradford also said the reorganization proposals unfairly restrict Zell’s ability to have Tribune pay for his legal expenses if the lawsuits are allowed.
Pardon me if I don’t weep for Sam Zell.
* Long overdue good…
The Illinois House voted on Wednesday to bar legislative scholarships from going to family members of members of the General Assembly.
House Bill 1353, sponsored by Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinkley, forbids relatives – by blood or marriage – of legislators from receiving the scholarships.
“This is a first step – it doesn’t completely address a problem that’s been identified by media across the state where legislators awarded scholarships to employees, friends, contributors and others that weren’t selected because of objective criteria,” Pritchard said.
While he favors abolishing the scholarships completely, measures to do so have been unsuccessful so far, Pritchard said.
* The bad…
Despite public outrage and calls for his resignation, a west suburban school board president tied to a drug dealer and a motorcycle gang member, refused to step down on Wednesday night.
Jeff Pesek, president of Morton High School District 201, which serves thousands of students from Cicero and Berwyn, made a brief statement Wednesday to more than 150 parents, students and school employees, who attended a district board meeting, in which he denied any wrongdoing but refused to answer any questions. […]
“To infer that a grant of immunity raises questions that I did something wrong is simply not the case,” he said.
Pesek’s statement was met with scornful laughter and loud calls from parents and students for him to resign.
Pesek’s brother, who was also involved, is a member of the Republican State Central Committee. We haven’t heard word one from the state party since this story broke. From the IL GOP’s website…
By fighting to reform Illinois, we will regain the trust of the people of this state.
* And the ugly…
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich criticized prosecutors on Wednesday for trying to bar his lawyers from telling jurors that wiretaps admitted as evidence against him represent only a fraction of secret recordings made on the eve of his 2008 arrest.
Blagojevich faces a second trial next week on corruption charges.
In a five-minute appeal delivered in front of his northside home and carried live on local news, Blagojevich said prosecutors were sabotaging his efforts to defend himself by blocking his attorneys from informing jurors of the hours and hours of FBI tapes not admitted as evidence by the court.
Emphasis added to the ugly part. What the heck were those Chicago TV stations thinking? Sheesh.
* Other stuff…
* Marin: Illinois GOP has new energy for 2012
* Blagojevich pre-trial status hearing set for Thursday
* Anheuser-Busch takes beer battle to Springfield - Proposed bill would allow some craft brewers to self-distribute their products
* Zorn: Anti-abortion proposal in Springfield encourages women to view fetal ultrasounds of their babies
* House panel OKs curbs on using FOIA for commercial gain
* Link looks to consolidate local governments
* Proposed Laws Say Foreclosures Count—and Don’t Count
* Report Details Which Legislative Districts Are Seeing Latino Growth
* Cuts To High-Speed Rail In Federal Budget Deal Hurt Illinois Projects
* State Sen. Kwame Raoul new ‘it guy’ in Springfield
* Average Illinois gasoline price exceeds $4 for first time since ‘08
* VIDEO: Sen. David Koehler on gay adoption ban
* VIDEO: Hiram Grau ISP appointment Q&A
* VIDEO: Susana Mendoza Passes HB2193 Designed to Prevent Acid Attacks