The Illinois House of Representatives has created a new committee to address inequalities in the state’s criminal justice system, while the chairman of the new committee faces his own legal problems.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford is the chairman of the new Restorative Justice Committee.
He’s also been indicted for bank fraud.
Hey, this is Illinois, people.
* But there does seem to be a legit reason to create the committee…
Ford’s fellow Democratic committee members also expressed a desire to use the committee to discuss the variety of issues that relate to the criminal justice system.
“We’ve seen in the debate after the terrible shooting incident in Connecticut how issues of criminal law and mental health and, you know, other different categories sort of intersect,” said State. Rep. Greg Harris. “And I think we need to take a holistic look at all of those things.” […]
“I think often in government, things tend to go in silos where you look at things based on the source who uses the funds and there’s a lot of interrelationships between levels of education and levels of job preparedness and the availability of jobs in the community along with mental health issues and substance abuse and crime,” he said. “So to look at them just in a - isolate the little box may not give you the whole picture.”
It’s actually an interesting concept. Go read the whole thing.
After figuring out that she had gotten on the wrong South Side bus last March 9, Cook County Judge Cynthia Brim got off somewhere on 47th Street and “marched for justice towards downtown.”
It was one in a bizarre series of events in a day that ended with her arrest on battery charges after allegedly shoving a sheriff’s deputy outside the Daley Center court complex. That story was told in the testimony that Judge Liam Brennan heard at Brim’s trial Monday at the Daley Center. He decided that Brim — who has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type — was not guilty by reason of insanity. […]
Brim, 54, didn’t talk with reporters after the verdict, but her attorney, James D. Montgomery Sr., said she was eager to get back to work.
Cook County Board President did a robocall for Brim and other judges last year to urge their retentiion.
* I’m not as averse to pork projects as some are. The debilitated, deadlocked US Congress is an example of what happens when you remove pork projects from the legislative give and take. It’s a long tradition, and it works…
An emergency spending proposal being debated in the Capitol this week isn’t just about building new roads and protecting vulnerable children.
Rather, tucked into what could become a package worth more than $1.3 billion is $115,000 to help launch a high school basketball hall of fame in Danville.
The 92-page spending blueprint also contains $1 million to help build a new children’s museum in downtown Springfield, despite the failure of a similar facility just blocks away several years ago.
And, it has $167,148 for a museum in the Southern Illinois town of Rosiclare dedicated to the region’s fluorspar miners.
In a vote Monday, a House panel endorsed the added spending, which is designed to patch holes in the state budget in the second half of the state’s fiscal year. It includes $675 million for various transportation projects, $25 million for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and $12 million for community mental health programs.
* Meanwhile, some state parks have no money to take camping reservations…
Walnut Point State Park north of Oakland and Lincoln Trail State Park south of Marshall have temporarily stopped taking reservations for camp sites due to a staffing shortage but are otherwise open for use.
The two state parks stopped taking reservations about a week ago, said Tom Hintz, who is site superintendent for both Walnut Point and Lincoln Trail. Hintz said he does not have the staffing available at this time time to handle reservations, adding that he is the only full-time employee available for both sites. Hintz said reservations made before last week are still being honored, adding that Walnut Point already has some camp site reservations for the spring. He said Lincoln Trail does not have an reservations in place.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris McCloud said Walnut Point and Lincoln Trail, like other state parks, have been affected by the DNR’s land staff being reduced by 50 percent during the last 10 years due to state budget cuts.
McCloud said staffing, facility maintenance, and other needs at Illinois state parks will receive a financial lift later in 2013 when the state starts to collect proceeds from a $2 increase in license plate fees that will generate an estimated $18 million to $22 million for natural resources usage.