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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018

* Seems like a pretty good idea

If a child disappears, an Amber Alert is issued. It’s a Silver Alert if the person is elderly. But, what about those who are disabled?

Right now, there’s no alert system to find those with intellectual disabilities, but that could soon change thanks to some work at the Capitol. Lawmakers are filing legislation hoping to give many families peace of mind.

Greg O’Connor is the director of Sparcs. The nonprofit helps those with disabilities lead productive lives. He says he doesn’t think it’s extremely common, but admits these people are extremely vulnerable and it could be a major help if they get lost.

The bill would change the Missing Persons Act and include those living with developmental and intellectual disabilities under the high-risk label. That way, caretakers and loved ones can request an alert to help locate them.

* These caseworker jobs are far more dangerous than most people realize

Following the brutal beating and eventual death of a Department of Children and Family Services caseworker who was trying to take a child into protective custody, efforts are in motion to protect child welfare workers going out on potentially dangerous visits.

The measures are happening at both the agency rulemaking level, as well as in the state Legislature, where a pair of bills have been proposed to help thwart future attacks.

DCFS caseworker Pamela Knight was at the Carroll County home of Andrew Sucher’s parents on Sept. 29 when Sucher allegedly kicked her in the head with such force that she suffered a fractured skull. Knight, 59, died Feb. 8. Sucher, 25, was indicted last week on first-degree murder charges.

The attack, along with a November report in The Chicago Tribune that found more than a dozen attacks against DCFS workers since 2013, have officials pursuing changes.

Senate Bill 2272, introduced by state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, and co-sponsored by Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, would give DCFS case workers the same protected status as police officers and firefighters harmed while performing official duties.

* Hmm

Some Illinois lawmakers want to allow residents to bypass federal caps to state and local tax deductions by creating a program that could turn people away from the new private school scholarship plan.

Initially, lawmakers wanted to create the “Illinois Excellence Fund,” a public charity that would allow a 100 percent state tax rebate and a deduction on federal taxes. This would, in theory, subvert the $10,000 cap on the SALT deduction in the federal tax overhaul, according to a University of Chicago professor.

State Rep. Jonathan Carroll amended the plan to call it the Illinois Education Excellence Fund. It would send money to local public schools for a 100 percent deduction on state taxes, more than the 75 percent deduction from the Invest in Kids program that helps students go to private schools. The Invest in Kids program was created last year as part of a partisan compromise that that also sent hundreds of millions of more state tax dollars to Chicago Public Schools.

Carroll said the change was made to be “more specific.” The program could take donors – and dollars – from the Invest in Kids program because it would create a 25 percent more lucrative incentive for Illinois residents looking for state tax credits.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - Perrid - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 10:28 am:

    Support public schools and get a full right off, or support private (and no matter what the facts are I can not say that word without thinking about rich snobs) schools at 75%? Yeah I can see why people who despise public schools would be worried.


  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    >The attack, along with a November report in The Chicago Tribune that found more than a dozen attacks against DCFS workers since 2013, have officials pursuing changes.

    From the Ives post:
    >And the Daily Herald has been covering the hiring of Durkin’s sister-in-law Laura for an $80,000 job in the engineering department at the Illinois Tollway, a traditional patronage dumping ground. Durkin’s sister-in-law last worked in 2001 selling office furniture.

    Two incredibly contrasting images of what a state employee is.


  3. - Earnest - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    Sorry, Anonymous 10:30 am was me.


  4. - Conn Smythe - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 10:32 am:

    I dunno. Seems like weak sauce for the INN to be an outlet for whining over the competition to the tuition tax credit. That bill allows people to workaround the SALT limitation - it’s an apples to oranges comparison.


  5. - Whatever - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    ==The program could take donors – and dollars – from the Invest in Kids program because it would create a 25 percent more lucrative incentive for Illinois residents looking for state tax credits.==

    Also, you can’t take the Invest in Kids credit if you claim a federal tax deduction for the contribution.


  6. - Union thug - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 12:30 pm:

    The two stories on state employees is a good example of the image problem. Most workers do hard work to improve the state and protect people. Weather guards, caseworkers what have you. Then you have the political appointee who gets over paid and may not even qualify for the job. You know who gets attention in the press. Thus we have a disconnect between perception and reality


  7. - dbk - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    Re: the PJStar story on DCFS caseworkers: in addition to ensuring the same protected status as police officers and firemen when harmed (SB2272), there’s a second bill (SB3105) that would require law enforcement to accompany an investigator who requested such backup.

    At the time of the September attack, I think I recall a mention that because DCFS was short-staffed, investigators were going out on house visits alone, even if they felt they needed a colleague with them.

    AFSCME 31 is working with legislators and DCFS to enhance prevention and safety of personnel.

    My favorite line in the article:

    “Repeated attempts to contact DCFS for this story have gone unanswered.”

    AFSCME Council 31 … think I’ve heard of that local somewhere recently.


  8. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    ===more than a dozen attacks against DCFS workers since 2013===

    I’m surprised the number isn’t higher given the circumstances. I’m not sure giving case workers protected status is going to make much of a difference. Hiring more staff and/or having law enforcement accompany investigators on every visit would be more effective in reducing the number of staff assaults.


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