* Doug Finke reports on a recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing which looked at the House’s cuts to the human services budget…
Things like phones and travel also took hits. Cutting those things plays well back home, especially travel. Everyone knows that when you talk about state travel, it means public employees going off on junkets to resort areas, right?
Well, members of the state guardian’s office testified about what those cuts mean to their operations. Cut travel? That means cutting the money for staff to make the home visits required by state law. Cut telecommunications? Most of that money is used for staff to access computer files on clients.
It all falls under the general category of unintended consequences. Expect a whole lot of those stories in the days and weeks after the General Assembly adopts a new state budget that lawmakers from both parties vow will cut state spending.
* The House passed a bill yesterday which cracked down on sex offenders…
The latest bill would add conspiracy, “luring,” unauthorized videotaping and other offenses to the range of crimes that can land a person on the registry. It would also expand the minimum time on the list for misdemeanor offenders from 10 to 15 years.
Bills to expand the reach and restrictions of the registry are practically an annual requirement in Illinois for any lawmaker who wants to look tough on crime. “If it was your son or your daughter walking to school, you’d want to know who was trying to lure them,” said Dennis Reboletti, R-Addison, speaking in favor of Saturday’s bill.
But Kevin McDermott quoted legislators who had some serious concerns about what is usually a very popular category of Statehouse legislation…
“We’re making it impossible for them to live anywhere, we’re making it impossible for them to work anywhere, we’re making it impossible for them to go anywhere,” said Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Des Plaines. “We need to take a step back.”
Nekritz is a liberal Democrat, but concern about this latest expansion wasn’t limited to that wing.
“You’re making this more and more onerous for people to comply” with the registration list, warned Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Sycamore, a conservative stalwart.
Another, Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, R-Park Ridge, acknowledged that “most of us will vote for it because it looks bad if you don’t,” but she expressed concern about the annual proliferation of “layers” of new laws regarding the list.
Pritchard and Mulligan both ended up voting “yes,” and the bill is now on its way back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. It will almost certainly pass, but the issue is clearly becoming less cut-and-dried than it used to be.
* I’m pretty sure that this Tribune headline was intended to have a very specific consequence…
Lawmakers take holiday break with big issues left to tackle
They adjourned yesterday afternoon and are back this afternoon. That’s not much of a “holiday break.” Sheesh.
* Backseat passengers need to buckle seat belts under bill sent to governor: “In the last year … 38 folks died unfortunately because they weren’t wearing their seat belt,” said Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), the bill’s chief Senate sponsor. “This bill is going to definitely save lives.”
* Catching suburban texting drivers can be difficult
* Parents of disabled children giving up on Illinois - Families move to other states as Illinois’ social service funding shrinks
* IL lawmaker references own drug addiction to argue against immunity bill