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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2019

* Rebecca Anzel at Capitol News Illinois

McHenry County is the sole subject of legislation giving its voters an option to dissolve township government. It is an effort by a state lawmaker to cut residents’ property taxes by eliminating what he calls “unnecessary” levels of government.

If the experiment goes well there, in the sixth most populous county in the state, Rep. David McSweeney said the next step would be to give the rest of Illinois the ability to get rid of township governments. […]

But the measure is contentious even in McHenry County, where some officials expressed frustration McSweeney did not ask if such a provision was needed. Others said they worry what the impacts would be if McSweeney’s bill becomes law — there has not been a recent study providing a clear analysis. […]

“There are hypocrites on the Republican side who support lower property taxes but not consolidation of unnecessary units of government. It’s a real eye-opener,” McSweeney said. “I’m glad to have bipartisan support, though.”

His Republican colleague, Rep. Steven Reick, disagreed with that assessment. From Woodstock, Reick is the only representative whose district falls completely within the boundaries of McHenry County. He voted against the legislation.

“If I’m a hypocrite, I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Reick said. “I believe in cutting property taxes, but the fact is, this bill does not do that.”

Go read the whole thing. It’s a very good deep-dive.

Illinois, by the way, has 1,428 townships.

* Illinois’ new Tobacco 21 law might be having a national impact

Facing criticism for selling tobacco to minors, Walgreens announced Tuesday that it will now sell tobacco products only to customers age 21 and older.

The new policy will go into effect Sept. 1 across the Deerfield-based chain’s more than 9,500 stores.

The announcement comes about two months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Walgreens had the worst track record among all pharmacies when it comes to selling tobacco products to minors. About 22 percent of the more than 6,300 Walgreens stores the FDA inspected since 2010 had illegally sold the products to young people, the agency said at the time.

* Some of these apps are just ridiculously invasive

Is that smart device listening to your children? A measure advancing through the Illinois legislature would require companies to let consumers know.

Public Interest Research Group Director Abe Scarr said the Keep Internet Devices Safe Act that passed the Senate is simple: Parents and consumers need to know when their smart devices are listening.

“We know some level of this activity is happening and we think that families and parents deserve to know if they’re being listened to and that’s all that the bill does,” Scarr said.

Senate sponsor state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, said there are a few things to hammer out with the tech companies opposed to the measure.

“We’re trying to kind of meet and trying to accomplish in making sure that consumers are aware in how their information is going to be used, but also make sure that the business community and the internet providers understand and it’s very clear,” Castro said.

Both Scarr and Castro shared a story about a professional basketball team using a smartphone application that turned individual cell phone microphones on to let the app know where at the stadium the user was.

“They may not even be listening to your conversation per se, they’re listening for signals in the department store or in the arena to know where you are so they can send you push notifications,” Scarr said. “There’s been some documented apps that are listening to what you are watching on your television so they can have a sense of where you are, your consumer demographic so they can better sell advertisements to you.”

I finally figured out how to turn off the notification from Walgreens that set off an alarm on my phone when I drove by one of their stores.

* Other bills…

* House bill could grant both SIU student trustees a vote

- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - Former State Worker - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 10:34 am:

    “His Republican colleague, Rep. Steven Reick, disagreed with that assessment. From Woodstock, Reick is the only representative whose district falls completely within the boundaries of McHenry County. He voted against the legislation.”

    The state of IL GOP right now. Short/non-existent on ideas but quick to strike down any potential solutions to the problems we face.


  2. - Nanker Phelge - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    Serious question: What is the purpose of a township?

    I know a township has certain powers and responsibilities (though I have little idea of what they actually are), but could they be transferred to a municipality or a county without any degradation of services and without harming citizens in any way?


  3. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    If phones are smart enough to know where you and they are then they are smart enough to know when they are in a moving vehicle and should shut off until vehicle is turned off


  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    –The announcement comes about two months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Walgreens had the worst track record among all pharmacies when it comes to selling tobacco products to minors. –

    The irony here is that about five years ago Walgreen’s corporate in Deerfield was deep into internal planning to end all tobacco sales at its stores. They’d already pulled cigarettes from the in-house store at corporate hq.

    When their “minority partners,” the Europeans from Boots outmaneuvered management and took over, the initiative was killed.

    CVS got the glory and good p.r. for being the “healthy” corner pharmacy.


  5. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    Thanks to CaptFax for serving up another chance to use the term GovJunk.
    the SIU student trustee bill passed before but GovJunk use his “wisdom” to veto — after having Beth Purvis stir up some “concern”
    BTW many are hoping the resurgence of Slip&Sue will offer many more chances to cite GovJunk going forward. Every mention helps remind most GOPies how dumb they were to back the guy.


  6. - SaulGoodman - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    **If phones are smart enough to know where you and they are then they are smart enough to know when they are in a moving vehicle and should shut off until vehicle is turned off**

    So… I shouldn’t be able to use my Google Maps app while driving? I shouldn’t be able to use my phone while someone else is driving? Or my kids shouldn’t be able to use their phones while I’m driving?

    Solutions to problems are rarely as simple as you want them to be.


  7. - Huh? - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    The claim that elimination of township government will lower property taxes is specious. Those functions of the township must be taken over by some other unit of government. As a result, while the township tax levee will disappear from the property tax bill, those costs will reappear elsewhere.

    For instance, the township highway commissioner duties and associated costs will be transferred to the county DOT. The DOT will need more people and equipment to handle the increased work load.

    McHenry County has 522 miles of county roads and 846 miles of township roads. Transferring township roads to the county will more than double the DOT’s workload. The idea that the McHenry DOT could maintain 1,368 miles of road with the budget for 523 miles is ludicrous.


  8. - City Zen - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    ==Serious question: What is the purpose of a township?==

    To cordon off resources locally that would otherwise be distributed at a county level.


  9. - njt - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    ===I know a township has certain powers and responsibilities (though I have little idea of what they actually are), but could they be transferred to a municipality or a county without any degradation of services and without harming citizens in any way?===

    Reading the article would be a good start. Thanks for linking Rich very informative.


  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    https://www.toi.org/about-us/History/ Township Officials of Illinois. “Beyond the three mandated services, Township Government provides other vital services to the people next door. This may include senior citizens programs, youth programs, assistance to the disabled, parks and recreational facilities, health services and cemetery maintenance. In this regard, township government serves its neighbors from the cradle to the grave.”


  11. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    –The claim that elimination of township government will lower property taxes is specious. Those functions of the township must be taken over by some other unit of government. As a result, while the township tax levee will disappear from the property tax bill, those costs will reappear elsewhere.–

    Could be true, in many cases.

    I’ve always thought it could make more sense — and savings — for the GA to consolidate many Illinois counties.

    Moses didn’t bring down a third tablet mandating 102 counties, they’re creations of the state in the 19th Century. Fifteen have fewer than 10,000 people. Another 30 have fewer than 20,000 people.
    Certainly there could be savings by consolidation of the offices of sheriff, clerk, assessor, recorder, coroner, auditor…


  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    ===the GA to consolidate many Illinois counties===

    Agreed.

    These seven (7) counties at the southern tip of Illinois have a combined population of just 69,000 people.


  13. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    = It is an effort by a state lawmaker to cut residents’ property taxes by eliminating what he calls “unnecessary” levels of government.=

    So is McSweeney saying that McHenry County will perform all township services without additional cost and free to taxpayers? Nice./s

    Here is a man who is either totally full of it or just not intelligent enough to understand how “things” are paid for.


  14. - jim - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    the idea of township consolidation didn’t start with McSweeney. All the mossbacks want to maintain the status quo in which thousands of units of local government are layered on top of each other. but it’s unaffordable and just plain foolish. Township officials want to maintain their political perches, but that’s just blatant self-interest.


  15. - Union thug - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    Done right consolidation can save money. It’s hardly the panacea Republicans are claiming.


  16. - Nonbeleiver - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    RE: House bill to give two votes to students at SIU.

    If students have a vote the faculty should have one also. That is never talked about. And it seems after some of the bad administration and even illegal meetings by Board members (at WIU) this is long overdue.

    Another voice to be heard would be good.


  17. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    =I’ve always thought it could make more sense — and savings — for the GA to consolidate many Illinois counties.=

    Yes x 1000


  18. - Lurker - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    –If students have a vote the faculty should have one also–

    LOL. Students pay money - often way more they can afford - to attend. Faculty are paid money to provide a service.

    Please, let’s have a reasonable policy debate about the merits of “shared governance” but this is a laughably false equivalence.


  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    Here is a thought….maybe the property tax savings in consolidating townships into the counties isn’t in the day to day operations…but rather in the consistent application of assessing methods in valuing real estate. Maybe just maybe, a true and consistent valuation model could correctly value properties and lower the required tax levy. Couple that with the creation of county wide school districts and maybe…just maybe you could make a little headway and start dealing with the rising property tax paradigm.


  20. - The Bashful Raconteur - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    Every mention helps remind most GOPies how dumb they were to back the guy.
    And speaking of dumb, it’s a pleasure to see Dem voters cringe when reminded they elected Blago - twice. Since it’s clear Illinois’ was truely run aground starting then. We all have our crosses to bear.


  21. - cover - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    = These seven (7) counties at the southern tip of Illinois have a combined population of just 69,000 people. =

    Merge them but retain the Union County name, just to rile any secessionists there…


  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 23, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    Township trustee here. We have 27 miles of township roads and can only afford to oil and chip three of them a year. We have unpaved roads. Yet we maintain a town hall, maintenance shed, and road equipment. When it is time to buy road oil there are no bids because only one company will mess with such a small job. We can’t even choose the day they do the work; they tell us when they will be here.

    Efficient? No. But if we put consolidation to a vote (bless their hearts, I do like my neighbors) it would be defeated because, you know–big government is bad.


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