* Illinois Press Association/Foundation convention coverage last week…
Just as he did with Welch, Jeff Rogers, director of the Illinois Press Foundation, asked Harmon for his thoughts on the bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, which would create a local media task force. It passed through the Senate, but must now make its way through the House Labor Committee. Before letting Harmon answer, Rogers first offered his take, which stems from a career of tracking such legislation.
“I know one of the things people think about when they hear ‘task force’ is something that goes somewhere to die, in terms of recommendations,” Rogers said. “But how do you think this particular task force could help newspapers, and what do you think the prospects are for it to pass this legislative session?”
“I think it’s a great bill, and I was happy to see it passed through the Senate without opposition,” Harmon said. “I certainly want to see local news thrive. Obviously this is a starting point, and I hope it would give important stakeholders the opportunity to share their ideas for keeping local news vibrant, and I hope it would give you all the opportunity to weigh in, as well. I would imagine the House would be happy to take it up.”
And yet some people still wonder why the foundation’s media outlet isn’t allowed into the press boxes.
To the bill…
Establishment. The Local Journalism Task Force is established to: (1) conduct a comprehensive, nonbinding study relative to communities underserved by local journalism in Illinois; and (2) review all aspects of local journalism including, but not limited to, the adequacy of press coverage of communities, the ratio of residents to media outlets, the history of local news in Illinois, print and digital business models for media outlets, the impact of social media on local news, strategies to improve local news access, and public policy solutions to improve the sustainability of local press business models and private and nonprofit solutions. […]
The Task Force shall meet a minimum of 5 times to review, study, and analyze existing literature as well as quantitative and qualitative data on the status of journalism in the State of Illinois.
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall provide administrative and other support to the Task Force.
So, basically the state is paying for a market research report for the news industry.
* In case you were still wondering why a bill to ban mass balloon releases was a government overreach…
The power is back on for around 14-hundred City Water Light and Power customers whose lights went out Friday morning… because of mylar balloons.
Crews responded to the outage around 14th and Clay around 9am and found power lines burned and down on the ground. They had apparently been struck by mylar balloons, which have a metallic coating which conducts electricity, and which can cause substantial damage when they come in contact with power lines.
* More stuff…
* Man says he lost his job in southwest IL because he was ‘supported by Republicans’: According to the complaint, which was filed Madison County Circuit Court, Irby said he was provided no notice that he would be replaced or a chance to defend his job during the same meeting at which current Executive Director Rick Fancher was appointed. The board had just come under Democratic control due to new state law.
* Tax credit considered by state lawmakers to spur more construction of affordable housing
* Senate passes Medicare, tax zone legislation
* Lawmakers propose election reform bill to increase voters’ trust in process
* Where suburban lawmakers hold sway under the state Capitol dome
* Illinois House Republicans argue lawmakers are “wasting time” in Springfield as session winds down