Aug 28
Thursday

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
Senator 26th District
108B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-8010
(217) 782-4243 FAX
 
District Office:
111 North Avenue
Suite 211
Barrington, IL  60010
(847) 277-7100
(847) 277-7101 FAX
Senate Week in Review: August 18-22, 2014

More than 125 new laws were signed in recent days, as the deadline for the Governor to act on legislation from the General Assembly’s spring session nears. The measures cover topics as wide ranging as smoking on campus to fur trapping to dangerous new “designer” drugs, according to State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington).

Audit hits ‘faulty’ bookkeeping

A federal audit has revealed that Illinois spent more than it was allowed under its federal Medicaid account, the Chicago Tribune reports.

An audit by the Inspector General at the United States Department of Health and Human Services cited Illinois for “faulty” and “imprecise” bookkeeping, revealing the state took out an average of $60 million more than it was entitled to each quarter between 2010 and 2012.

Read more...
 
Senate Week in Review: August 11-15, 2014

Motorists stopped for routine traffic offenses would no longer have to surrender their driver’s licenses as bail, rural residents could more easily improve their emergency response services, and permanently disabled veterans would no longer have to annually reapply for parking stickers, under new laws signed during the week, according to State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington).

Also during the week, new evidence emerged to contradict Gov. Pat Quinn’s claim that he shut down a failed and mismanaged Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI).

Senate and House of Representatives leaders and Legislative Audit Commission members are pointing to a last-minute $20 million lump sum allocation buried in the state’s Labor Department budget. They are calling for an accounting of what appears to be a virtually identical re-branding version of the scandal-plagued program.

As with the original Neighborhood Recovery program, administration of the new grant program was assigned to a state agency with no experience or expertise in grant management. The lawmakers are asking the Governor to provide a full accounting of how taxpayer money is being spent for the new program that purports to offer job training to at-risk youth.

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Senate Week in Review: August 4-8, 2014

Dozens of new laws were signed by the Governor during the week of Aug. 4-8, including a series of child-protection measures, as well as bills on topics as varied as off-road vehicles, search warrants, unmanned drones and animal welfare, according to State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington).

The flurry of bill signings was a run-up to the Illinois State Fair, which runs Aug. 8-17 at the Fairgrounds in Springfield. Governors have traditionally signed numerous pieces of legislation during the Fair, often themed to particular days at the Fair, such as Veterans Day (Aug. 10) or Senior Citizens Day (Aug. 11).

The Governor also issued his first amendatory veto of the year, expanding the scope of Senate Bill 1630. As passed by lawmakers, the bill spells out billing practices of “anatomic pathology services.” The Governor expanded the measure to impose greater restrictions and disciplinary action on doctors who improperly mark up a medical bill.

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Senate Week in Review: July 28 – August 1, 2014

Legislation that seeks to reduce the risk of serious allergic reactions is just one of a number of bills signed into law in recent days, according to State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington).

House Bill 5892 allows for anyone at a school who is trained in how to recognize and respond to severe allergic reactions to administer an epi-pen (epinephrine auto-injector), which is used to counteract allergic reactions. Previously, only nurses could administer the drug.

It will also allow schools to maintain a supply of epi-pens that are “undesignated” but available for use in an emergency, and allows students to carry an epi-pen as long at the parent or guardian grants permission and the school is given information on the prescription. 

Also among bills approved during the week was an advisory referendum for the November ballot that will ask if the Illinois Constitution should be amended to allow for a 3% additional tax on incomes over $1 million. The question authorized by House Bill 3816 is advisory only and would not actually amend the Constitution.

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Audit Commission hearing on Quinn’s NRI program to be held next week

State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) said the legislative panel examining a scandal-plagued grant program created by Governor Quinn will consider at its July 16 meeting an unusual request to place their investigation on temporary hold.

The Legislative Audit Commission is scheduled to hold hearings July 16-17 on the Governor’s controversial Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. Subpoenas have been approved seeking testimony from seven former Quinn administration officials. But, the Audit Commission also expects to consider a request from the U.S. Justice Department to wait 90 days before proceeding.  The U.S. Justice Department made the request to ensure that the Audit Commission’s investigation would not interfere with their investigation.

The co-chairman of the panel, Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said it should be up to the full panel of lawmakers on the Audit Commission to consider the request and decide if they should proceed. The request did not come from prosecutors, but rather from the Justice Department’s Legislative Affairs division. He pointed out that witnesses have already been subpoenaed and told to appear July 16.

In other news, another ongoing controversy was on display this week as a prominent anti-patronage crusader challenged Governor Quinn’s efforts to shield his administration’s hiring practices from the scrutiny of a federal monitor.

Michael Shakman, a prominent anti-patronage lawyer, filed a challenge in federal court July 8, declaring Quinn’s attempts to block the appointment of a monitor a “straw man” argument.

Shakman, who is best known for a 1972 anti-patronage court decree that bears his name, is seeking a federal monitor to review hiring at the state, following revelations of widespread political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation under Quinn and his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich.

 
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