* Press release…
U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on President Biden’s Gun Crime Prevention Strategy:
“Too many Chicagoans endure the daily stress and fear of gunfire, and too many Monday mornings start with devastating news headlines of the weekend’s toll of shootings in our streets and neighborhoods. This violence is heartbreaking, traumatic, and impacting innocent families and children. Addressing the gun violence epidemic will take community-based efforts and stricter enforcement of gun laws. I agree with President Biden’s approach.
“I’ve asked Governor Pritzker to use American Rescue Plan funds to support targeted violence intervention efforts. The Senate Judiciary Committee will also continue to examine proposals to reduce the unacceptably high levels of shootings, and work to confirm the President’s nominee to lead ATF and enforce the gun laws on the books.
“Senseless violence, and the trauma it leaves behind, fuels the cycle of gun crime in our cities. Congress has to invest in community-based prevention efforts and pass common sense bills that help our cities heal, get illegal guns off the streets, and keep our kids and grandkids safe.”
On Tuesday, Durbin, along with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), sent a letter to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker urging him to consider a few key principles to help guide the State’s use of approximately $125 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan for violence prevention and youth employment programs.
The letter is here.
* Durbin’s press release was a bit puzzling to me because I told subscribers about the governor’s plans for spending that very money several days ago. It’s already in the state budget. So, I asked Pritzker’s spokesperson Jordan Abudayyeh for a comment on the Durbin release…
We did this.
Um, Senator, maybe pick up the phone before doing that again?
* Meanwhile, from the Kankakee Daily Journal…
[Kankakee] County administrator Anita Speckman reported 20 vacancies at Tuesday’s county board executive committee meeting at the county administration building. She said it’s an unheard of problem for the county. That list has been whittled down to nine after the county recently published an ad in the Daily Journal about the openings.
Todd Sirois, board vice chairman, blamed the lack of applicants on the state’s extension of unemployment benefits.
“It would be nice if [Gov. JB Pritzker] would rescind the extra unemployment benefit that is probably causing people not to seek employment because they can make more money by not working than they can by working,” Sirois said. […]
Speckman said her department does salary studies before a job is posted. The $30,000 salary for the grant writer was at the low end for someone with minimal experience.
$30K? Yeah, it’s definitely the governor’s fault.
* On to the Edgar County Watchdogs…
Shelby County Sheriff Don Koonce has submitted his resignation letter to the Shelby County Board Chairman with an effective date of June 25, 2021.
“Please allow this letter to serve as my official notification that I will be retiring and resigning my Office as Sheriff of Shelby County on June 25, 2021. This decision was not an easy one for me to make, but reaffirmed by the imminent change in police reform. It is my hope that Illinois legislators dive deep into this reform, and make sweeping changes. The safety of the public is at risk.”
Koonce cites police reform as his reaffirmation to retire, however, Koonce faced a criminal investigation by the Illinois State Police regarding illegal gun sales and alleged payroll fraud. That investigation was completed and turned over to the Attorney General for a charging decision in December of 2020.