* Press release…
The Illinois House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee today advanced legislation State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) is sponsoring to ban red light cameras in non-home rule communities in Illinois. House Bill 322 would prohibit non-home rule units of government from enacting or enforcing red light camera ordinances. McSweeney passed the same bill in the House in 2015 and it was killed by former Senator Martin Sandoval.
Rep. McSweeney has long been a proponent of banning red light cameras. He believes that red light cameras are more about revenue than public safety. He said the bribery charges against former State Senator Martin Sandoval provide even more evidence of the need to ban red light cameras.
“These cameras are nothing more than a get rich scheme for the companies that install the cameras and the politicians who profit from protecting the companies behind this scam,” McSweeney said. “It is time to end this corruption once and for all.”
More than $1 billion in fines have been collected from red light cameras and multiple people have been indicted for crimes connected to the red light camera industry.
“It is time to end this madness,” McSweeney said. “These cameras are not about making communities safer. They are about producing more revenue for local governments and padding the pockets of political insiders. It is another example of the culture of corruption in Illinois. My legislation is big step forward in fighting Illinois corruption.”
The committee approved the measure by a vote of 11-0. House Bill 322 now advances to the House floor for further consideration.
Looks like it may have some wings. We shall see.
* This bill may not sprout wings, however. HB4484 is sponsored by Republican Rep. Deanne Mazzochi of suburban Elmhurst…
Creates the End Aldermanic Privilege Law in the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that, in the City of Chicago, a property owner, or a developer or contractor having the written permission of the property owner, shall not have any approvals under the Zoning Division denied because of an aldermanic hold, objection, extra-judicial or extra-legal request, or for any law or ordinance enacted or adopted after the date on which the property owner, developer, or contractor: (1) participated in a concept meeting for construction with representatives from the City of Chicago regarding the subject property; (2) filed a building permit application with the City of Chicago for the subject property; (3) presented a proposed development plan to a city council for the subject property; (4) substantially invested resources in the preparation of building plans, concept drawings, or securing building contracts for a preceding period of one year for the subject property; or (5) otherwise gave sufficient notice of an intent to develop to the pertinent regulatory authorities for the subject property. Allows suit against the State or the City of Chicago that seeks to enforce or impose a more restrictive law, regulation, ordinance, or resolution against the property owner, developer, or contractor and allows for a $5,000 civil penalty and other damages if the property owner’s, developer’s, or contractor’s claim is successful. Limits home rule powers.
* Press release…
More than 100 hospital workers and community health advocates joined Illinois lawmakers Wednesday morning at the Capitol to show support for new legislation HB 4533 and SB 3010 that would fix the broken Medicaid Assessment funding formulas to make them equitable for community hospitals.
In introducing the legislation, Senator Omar Aquino and Rep. Chris Welch, the bill’s chief sponsors, raised concerns that urban and rural communities with the lowest levels of life expectancy have far more limited access to healthcare services and good paying jobs.
“Despite a distance of just nine miles, residents of two Chicago neighborhoods – Englewood and Streeterville – experience a 30-year difference in life expectancy,” said Representative Chris Welch. “The African-American community has been denied equitable resources for healthcare. As representatives of the community, we cannot stand by and let this inequity persist. We demand fair funding now.”
Hospital workers from around the state joined the lawmakers to show their support, holding signs that read “Fair Funding for Community Hospitals” and “We Are Worth More.”
“We want to stop the suffering in our neighborhoods and in the hospitals where we work—the suffering caused by unfair funding,” said Wellington Thomas, an ER tech at Loretto Hospital. “Community hospitals are closing because they don’t have the funding they need. I can tell you that the difference between a four-minute ride to a hospital and an eight-minute ride can be the difference between life and death.”
“It is my job to take care of patients and make sure they recover,” said Kim Smith, a patient care tech at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “But sadly, Northwestern doesn’t always seem to put patients’ care first, saving the money it gets from property tax exemptions for managements’ paychecks instead of putting it back in community care. I know this isn’t how we should treat the patients who come to us in times of need, and that’s why we’re calling on the state legislature to adopt this new bill as soon as possible.”
Workers said they hoped to draw attention to the process through which hospitals in Illinois are allocated federal Medicaid dollars meant to compensate them for treating low-income and under or uninsured patients. The new legislation would make a $1 billion investment in payments specifically to hospitals dependent on Medicaid, private hospitals in high-need communities, and rural critical access hospitals.
Specifically, the bill would establish a changed Fair Provider Tax, reversing the current problem of small and community hospitals being taxed at a higher rate than wealthy, high volume medical facilities, call for a Larger and More Effective Transformation Fund allowing hospitals serving high-need populations to better serve their communities, provide for Well-Targeted Payments to ensure funding goes where it is most needed and allow for Transitioning of Supplemental Payments when Federal regulations phase out payments to reduce impact on smaller community hospitals.
“Currently the laws in Illinois benefit the big and rich hospitals at the expense of the community and safety net hospitals,” said Kathrine Jones of South Austin Community Coalition. “It’s the safety net hospitals that provide care to those most in need but get the least support. I’m happy to be speaking out today with all others throughout Chicago who are fighting to end this offensive system.”