* From Restore Justice…
Hello Rich -
I’m the communications manager for a criminal justice reform organization focused on youth who receive extreme sentences. Tomorrow at 9 a.m. the Judiciary-Criminal Law Committee is holding a hearing about HB1615, which would amend Illinois’s felony-murder statutue. Illinois has one of the broadest laws in the country.
It was used in Lake County this summer. My co-worker served decades for a felony-murder conviction. (He received a life sentence but SCOTUS rulings overturned that.)
HB 1615 (Rep. Slaughter, with an identical Senate bill from Sen. Peters) would bring Illinois into line with the majority of states that have felony-murder statutues. In most states, you can only be charged with deaths you or your co-defendants cause, not deaths caused by third-parties. (You can still be charged with the underlying crimes.)
We have a press release about the hearing here. We have info about the law and the history of felony-murder laws here.
* Hannah Meisel…
Proponents of pension consolidation argue that pooling investments will lead to larger returns. The Pritzker administration claims that during the next five years, the two consolidated pension funds could net additional investment returns between $820 million to $2.5 billion. That would be significant, as the 649 funds had a combined $11 billion in unfunded pension liabilities as of the 2017 fiscal year, according to a report published by the Commission for Government Forecasting and Accountability this summer.
The additional investment returns would be achieved by making riskier investments, as larger pools of money are able to absorb greater risk. Currently, the smallest of Illinois’ public safety pension funds have investment strategies as modest as certificate of deposit funds in a bank.
But greater risk comes with greater volatility. Though the laws that govern Illinois’ police and fire funds demand what’s known as “pension smoothing” — a way to spread out increases in actuarial demand for pension funding, in most cases in Illinois over five years — it won’t prevent extreme volatility from affecting individual municipalities’ budgets.
Amanda Kass, the associate director of the Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told The Daily Line Monday that pension smoothing “won’t negate [investment volatility] completely.”
Kass said the big picture of higher investment returns is likely to come true, but it could have some unintended consequences.
“While [increased returns on investment] might be true in the aggregate if you’re looking at a 20-year time period, it comes at the expense of greater volatility,” Kass said.
* Shaw Media…
Several bills were introduced during the first week of the veto session in Springfield to institute a statewide ban on flavored nicotine products, which many see as deliberate attempts to market to minors.
State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris), whose district includes La Salle County, filed legislations aimed at reducing underage individuals’ access to vapor products.
Senate Bill 2288 prohibits the sale of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products within 100 feet of a school. Retailers who violate this provision would be subject to penalties.
“The alarming trend of teenagers using vapor products should scare any parent wanting to ensure the safety of their children,” Rezin said in a press statement. “While this bill alone won’t end this epidemic, the goal is to make it more difficult for children to get their hands on these products, reducing the likelihood of them getting hooked.”
* There’s also a retirement party for Michael tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 at Saputo’s…
* Comeback of the week…