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It’s just a bill

Monday, Apr 22, 2019

* If you only read this AP story, you’d never know that townships never had state legal authority to regulate wind farms. A couple of townships tried to unilaterally seize regulatory authority and this new law stops them

Gov. J.B. Pritzker predicts growth in wind-energy development after signing a law streamlining zoning rules.

The Democrat signed legislation Friday that allows only counties and municipalities to establish standards for developing wind farms. Townships will no longer have authority in the process.

Pritzker says the law will spur investment in rural areas, create jobs and pour tens of millions of dollars into the pockets of landowners and farmers and into government accounts in the form of property taxes.

* This bill passed the House with 73 votes

In recent years, many Illinois consumers were socked with steep price increases when buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchange.

A bill that’s gaining traction in Springfield, however, could prevent that. The bill would give the Illinois Department of Insurance the power to say no to certain sky-high price increases proposed by insurance companies for plans sold to individuals and small businesses. The bill wouldn’t apply to plans offered by large employers.

It’s a change proponents say could help protect consumers, while opponents of the bill say it does nothing to address the rising prices of health care that can lead to higher insurance prices, and it could limit the types of plans insurers are able to offer.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Highwood, would allow the Department of Insurance to reject rate increase proposals, for individual and small group plans, that are “unreasonable,” meaning they’re excessive, unjustified or unfairly discriminatory, as defined by the federal government. Now, Illinois reviews rates and may try to negotiate with insurers to bring them down, but the state generally can’t reject or change rates that are actuarially sound.

* The leagues want in on the action

Professional sports teams historically have taken an arm’s-length approach to gambling, but after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year overturned a prohibition on state-sanctioned sports betting, the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks are ready to embrace it — if their respective leagues get a piece of the action.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is counting on $200 million in licensing revenue from sports betting to help fill an estimated $3.2 billion hole for the budget year that begins July 1. With a lengthy agenda awaiting them when they return to Springfield on April 30 from a two-week break, lawmakers are still wrangling over what legal sports betting would look like in Illinois.

All of Chicago’s major franchises — with the exception, so far, of the Bears — are backing a plan pushed by Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the PGA that would give professional leagues 25 cents of every $100 bet on their sports in the state. Among other arguments, the leagues say the fee would be fair compensation for the millions of dollars generated by wagering on their games.

But opponents, including the casinos and horse tracks that in early legislative proposals would be shelling out upward of $10 million for each sportsbook license, say the leagues should be left to negotiate with sportsbook operators if they want a cut.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    Another hand in the cookie jar for gaming. This bill is going to have so many people wanting a piece there won’t be a cookie left for the state.

  2. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===none of the six states that have recently legalized gambling provide a dime to sports leagues, nor does longtime gambling haven Nevada===
    Let’s not be the first.

  3. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    The teams and leagues should all get a piece of gambling action after they pay back any subsidies granted them by the cities and states

  4. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Black Sox.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    –All of Chicago’s major franchises — with the exception, so far, of the Bears — are backing a plan pushed by Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the PGA that would give professional leagues 25 cents of every $100 bet on their sports in the state. –

    The NFL has been noticeably silent on this movement all around the country.

    I’m guessing they’re cooking up their own deal. The league is 36% of all sports betting in Nevada.

  6. - Amalia - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    I never tire of reading the Edgar County guys and anything on townships. Certain townships give the government division a very bad name. Like this wind issue. Like Maine Township (watch those board meetings). Does the township legislation have any other legal ramifications? (thinking like Luking)

  7. - Anon221 - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    Amalia, how far should a industrial size wind turbine be from either a property line or a house foundation? Start there before going the “rogue” township route. This bill wasn’t about Edgar County (or their Watchdogs), it was about Douglas County and outdated ordinances. Whether or not you think the townships should have taken this route with zoning of their own, at least they succeeded in raising the health and safety issues in their County and in the State, if people would take the time to research and not automatically label them NIMBYs.

  8. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    ==A couple of townships tried to unilaterally seize regulatory authority and this new law stops them…==

    Can you blame them? Their president did just tell them all a couple weeks ago that noise from wind turbines cause cancer. It’s no wonder they want the authority to regulate these death-dealing constructs

  9. - Put the fun in unfunded - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    “the state generally can’t reject or change rates that are actuarially sound”. Clearly we need to change that, to bring the insurance market in line with the state’s pension contribution history…

  10. - Anon221 - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    Lester Holt’s Mustache- I’m not a “Trumper”, and his comment actually does just as much damage to an intelligent discussion of proper siting for WECS as the legislator who claimed these were “rogue” townships. Turbines being proposed and installed in the US today are now the height of the St. Louis Arch and the width of a 747 Jumbo Jet. So, would you be comfortable with a 1000 foot setback from the foundation of your home?

  11. - Amalia - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    Anon221, spend your energy on the bill.

  12. - Anon221 - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    Amalia, please explain, and I’m not being snarky.

    I have been trying to get the word out, as have many others. I have sent letters, signed witness slips, testified, and posted here on problems with proceeding too quickly just to either score political points or to feel good about going green. HB2988 was a done deal because a powerful foreign company wanted it that way.

    I have nothing against green energy, but I do have sincere and valid concerns about safety and health issues with siting. In my county, we had to update the ordinances to get some measures of protection, and that was an uphill battle for a couple of years. In 2014, then Senator John Sullivan wanted to strip that right of siting from counties. Could that be the next step? It almost happened before-

  13. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    It’s interesting that we use the term “wind farm” as if we were just simply growing and harvesting wind. In reality it’s much more like a wind factory in that we have to engage in a an industrial set of tasks to convert wind energy into electrical energy. So what is really happening is that we are placing massive, industrial generating complexes across our countryside and framing it as “farming”. If anything local municipalities should have primary say in the siting process. Leave state regulators the final word in common windmill design and connectivity to the electric grid.

  14. - Wide left - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 4:51 pm:

    Townships don’t have authority to do much of anything

  15. - Amalia - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 5:03 pm:

    Anon221 sounds like you are doing what you need to do.

  16. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 5:32 pm:

    ==So, would you be comfortable with a 1000 foot setback from the foundation of your home?==

    To be honest, I don’t really care. Whatever you want it at is fine with me. 1,000 foot, 10,000 foot, 1,000 miles. You get the petition together, I’ll sign it

  17. - Anon221 - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 5:47 pm:

    Petitions don’t solve the issue. Counties have ignored these and kept insufficient ordinances despite overwhelming public input. And, since elections don’t happen overnight, plus the “we’ll sue you” threats of the wind companies with very deep pockets, that’s how some counties end up with unsafe ordinances. Even the turbine manufacturers have stricter danger zones than some counties. It’s OK for little kids to play on Grandpa’s farm within 1000 feet of a turbine, but workers are supposed to stay at least a quarter mile back or further until it shut off. That’s some crazy logic.

  18. - Anon221 - Monday, Apr 22, 19 @ 5:52 pm:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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