* The Rauner administration says this legislation will cost $300 million…
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and others on Wednesday delivered thousands of postcards to Gov. Bruce Rauner in support of legislation that would raise the minimum wage for workers who care for patients with developmental disabilities.
Last year, Rauner vetoed increasing the wage to $15 an hour because he said the state didn’t have the money. Direct support providers now make $8.35, 10 cents higher than Illinois’ minimum wage. […]
By a 36-20 vote Wednesday, the Illinois Senate approved Senate Bill 955, which increases the caregivers’ wage to $15 an hour. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, now goes to the House. A similar bill sponsored by Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, is in a House committee. […]
Dykstra argued that because of low pay, a third of his available jobs are vacant.
“In my entire 50 years of working in this field, I have never experienced such a staffing crisis. Providers cannot hire sufficient numbers of direct support staff primarily because of the low entry level (wage),” Dykstra said. “Direct support staff is the backbone of our organizations. At Trinity Services, we should have 539 direct support staff. Today, we have 172 staff vacancies. We’re starting to discharge individuals because we don’t simply have enough staff.”
* We’ve discussed before how the administration will sit on invoices for months, then submit them to the comptroller and almost immediate complain to the media that the comptroller’s office is holding up payment. This isn’t new. It’s something that governors do when they’re trying to avoid responsibility. So, this is a good idea…
[Comptroller Susana Mendoza] is pushing legislation, which has passed the state House of Representatives, that would require state agencies to provide monthly reports to the comptroller on the amount of bills being held, the liabilities for which there are appropriations and liabilities subject to prompt-payment penalties. […]
Mendoza’s office said the intent of the legislation would be to reveal any potential financial liabilities and to identify late interest penalties that maybe adding up.
“Agencies are sitting on bills that we don’t know exist,” Mendoza told the BND editorial board.
Some are bills that could be sent and agencies sit on them; some bills are for services that haven’t yet had money appropriated for the work by the General Assembly, but agencies still entered into contracts for the service, said Jamey Dunn, the deputy director of communications for the comptroller’s office. […]
Presently, agencies are only required to report pending bills on Oct. 1 of each year for the total amount of bills being held as of the previous June 30.
* Just legalize it and get it over with already…
The Illinois medical marijuana law should be expanded to help curb opioid addiction in the state, advocates told a Senate panel Wednesday.
Illinois patients must have one of about 40 qualifying conditions to purchase medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary, ranging from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder. The law requires doctors to certify that a patient has one of these conditions without recommending marijuana.
Charles Bush-Joseph, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center, told senators there are thousands of patients who could either come off narcotics or reduce their dosage if granted access to medical marijuana.
A Senate committee didn’t discuss a specific proposal to expand Illinois’ marijuana law, so it’s not set to happen soon. Lawmakers fought for years before approving the state’s program in the first place and have debated expanding it before too.