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It’s just a bill

Thursday, May 11, 2017

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Rogue Roni - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    The prohibition of cannabis is as idiotic, if not more so, than the prohibition of alcohol was in the 20’s

  2. - Saluki - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    Legalized marijuana for recreational use does nothing to strengthen society.

  3. - HangingOn - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    ==does nothing to strengthen society==

    Neither does alcohol or Reality TV. What’s your point?

  4. - Ratso Rizzo - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    If we banned everything bad for you there’d be no bars, fast food joints, or cigar shops. Stop trying to b the nanny state all the time.

  5. - Shake - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    Where Does Rauner Get His Numbers? 300 Million??

  6. - Henry Francis - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    Whoa. Is the Rauner administraton telling us it costs money to take care of a developmentally disabled people? We can’t turn a profit off of it?

    Then why is the state of Illinois in the business of taking care of such people? /s

  7. - frisbee - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    Saluki what in your mind does strengthen society? Recreational cannabis use is just that, recreational and just because you don’t find the jazz cabbage to be enjoyable doesn’t mean you should rain on the parade of those who do. Stop being the fun police and start offering solutions.

  8. - Ron - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    The prohibitionists running this state are hurting it. Illinois would likely take in $400-500Million/year from marijuana legalization.

    That’s a nice pension payment.

  9. - Mama - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    I feel medical marijuana law should be greatly expanded.

  10. - walker - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    Criminalizing marijuana sale and use has done serious harm to our society for decades.

  11. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 11, 17 @ 8:17 pm:

    Colorado just set another marijuana sales record, $131 or $132 million in March. We would sell much more because our population is more than twice as big.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
* A rough idea of what they're looking at
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* Rauner was wrong about "record levels" of unionization
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
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* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* Yesterday's stories

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