Apr 24
Thursday

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
Senator 26th District
105D Capitol Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-8010
 
 
District Office:
111 North Avenue
Suite 211
Barrington, IL  60010
(847) 277-7100
(847) 277-7101 FAX
Pension Reform Committee Meets

On Monday the Conference Committee on pension reform met in Springfield hoping to get a clearer picture from the Governor of his vision for pension reform.

Governor Quinn, however, declined to appear and sent his budget director instead, who followed a prepared script and further frustrated lawmakers by providing little in the way of clarity on what reform ideas the Governor supports.

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Red Light Cameras Still Generating Controversy

Red-light cameras and traffic cameras have been a hot topic in the legislature for years.  This spring a proposal emerged to equip school buses with the controversial cameras in order to issue citations to motor vehicles passing stopped buses.  

Concerns were raised at the time about the accuracy of such systems and the process of appealing the citations, as well as how the revenue would be dispersed.  Additional concerns were raised about recent scandals, like that involving Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc.

Now the issue is making news again in Chicago as Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that in order to preserve its “negotiating advantage” the city won’t release the competing bids currently under review to replace Redflex in administrating the city’s network of red-light cameras.  Seven bid proposals are quietly under review by City hall to replace Redflex.

Late in 2010 a number of Redflex executives were implicated in a bribery scandal in which it was revealed that a consultant employed by the company had been making improper payments to a Chicago transportation official who was responsible for overseeing the awarding of contracts for the installation and operation of the red-light camera system.  Further investigation revealed that Redflex allegedly paid $2.03 million in bribes to city officials and that not only did the company’s president have knowledge of this arrangement, he also lied to city officials about the extent of the wrongdoing.

In choosing a replacement for Redflex Mayor Emanuel’s administration is following Illinois law in which it is legal to withhold records related to bids until a contract decision is finalized.  Emanuel has been criticized for touting his administration’s commitment to transparency while adhering to a secretive bidding process.

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Duffy to Host Fraud Prevention Program June 18

State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) will be hosting a free fraud prevention program with representatives from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on June 18 in Cary.

Senator Duffy and representatives from the Attorney General’s office will be on hand to present information about how to protect your personal information from identity theft, and what to do if you become a victim.  Information on common fraud tactics like internet lotteries and mail fraud scams that are often used to target senior citizens will be provided.

Free refreshments and informational legislative brochures will also be available.

The event will be held 10:00 AM at the Cary Area Public Library at 1606 Three Oaks Rd. in Cary.

For more information about the seminar please contact Senator Duffy’s Office at 847-277-7100.

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Quinn Calls Special Session For Pensions

Even with overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton were unable to negotiate a compromise on pension reform during the spring legislative session, and after downgrades from two of the nation’s top rating agencies the Governor has called a June 19 special session.

Quinn called the legislature back to Springfield in an attempt to shift responsibility for inaction on pensions to legislators, despite his own lack of input and failure to advance any reform plan of his own.

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Fitch, Moody’s Downgrade IL

Last week Fitch Ratings lowered its rating on Illinois’ outstanding general obligations bonds from “A” to “A-“ with a negative outlook.  The negative outlook means that further reductions could be in Illinois’ future without action to reduce the state’s overwhelming pension burden.  Moody’s Investors Services followed suit on June 6 dropping their rating from A2 to A3 and also keeping a “negative watch.”

“We have been warned for months that downgrades were absolutely going to happen if the General Assembly failed to act on pension reform; these ratings shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone,” said Duffy.  “The Democrats in Springfield spent the whole spring session kicking the can down the road and as a result we adjourned without any sort of meaningful progress on stabilizing Illinois’ grossly overburdened pension system.  These downgrades are the logical consequence of inaction.”

Read more...
 
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