A Sangamon County judge today dismissed a lawsuit challenging a state law that eliminates the guarantee of free or reduced-cost health insurance for retirees of Illinois state government.
Senate President John J. Cullerton released the following statement after the court ruling:
“The real impact of this ruling is that it reinforces my position that a guarantee of health care access can be negotiated as part of a contractual change to protected pension benefits. Only the benefits found in the Illinois Pension Code are protected by the Pension Clause.
In an effort to create jobs and begin to alleviate Illinois’ financial crisis, some lawmakers have proposed Illinois join a number of states across the country and allow fracking, also known as hydraulic gracturing, but many believe the idea is not fully thought out. Senator Mattie Hunter proposed SB 1418 in an effort to ban fracking for two years while a task force examines the possible environmental risks relating to fracking.
“What’s the rush?” said Hunter. “We’ve made hasty decisions in the past here in Illinois, only to regret them later.”
A new study out of the University of Illinois School of Labor & Employment Relations shows that public sector workers in Illinois are paid less than Illinois workers in the private sector. The study is one of many over the years that demonstrate a trend across the nation in recent decades of streamlining government, reducing workforces and reducing the cost of government.
Many of these studies show that while benefits for state workers are better than average, the lower wages earned by state workers accounts for the difference. Authors of the U of I study, Robert Bruno and Frank Manzo IV, found that government workers earn an average of 13.5% less than comparable private sector workers.
Starting this summer, banks will be able to expedite foreclosures of abandoned homes through the courts, potentially allowing them to repossess properties in as little as 90 days. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Quinn last month.
Speeding up foreclosures of empty properties could enhance the local residential market as lenders focus on finding new owners for deserted homes instead of dragging through lengthy court proceedings. New legislation making its way through the 98th General Assembly also creates a property tax incentive to those who purchase and rehabilitate abandoned properties.
“Abandoned homes magnify the foreclosure crisis because they decrease the value of everyone’s homes,” said Senator Mulroe (D-10th), who aided in the passage of the foreclosure law last year. “Offering tax incentives to people willing to revitalize these properties will help maintain the property values in all of our neighborhoods.”
The Rockford area has long been known as a destination for amateur sports tourism in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. The area's Sportscore Complexes (one in Rockford, one in Loves Park) feature numerous playing fields for baseball, softball, soccer and other sports, and have been host to local, state and national tournaments since Sportscore One opened on the banks of the Rock River in 1983.
But as the level of competition rises among amateur sports teams, so does the competition among cities wanting to host tournaments. In recent years, the Rockford area has seen a decrease in the number of tournaments hosted there — and a resultant decrease in tourism dollars — blamed partially on this increased competition. But plans are in the works to reverse that trend.
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