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Righter appointed to lead major budget committee for Senate Republicans

Beginning in the fall veto session this November, State Sen. Dale Righter will serve as the newly-named Minority Spokesperson for the Appropriations I Committee.

Bicentennial commission, planning office established

A new Illinois Bicentennial Commission was created this week by Executive Order, as well as the Governor's Office of the Illinois Bicentennial, which will lead the planning for the celebration of the state's upcoming 200th anniversary.

Righter receives NFIB award of Guardian of Small Business

In recognition of their excellent pro-business voting records, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has awarded 17 Senate Republican members with their “Guardian of Small Business Award.”

School funding reform commission discusses hold harmless provision

The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission met this week as part of the ongoing effort to find ways to revamp the way the state funds schools. The Commission examined two central issues during this meeting: hold harmless provisions and education funding distribution models.

Departments of Correction and Human Services team up to help mentally ill

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) recently announced a joint effort to help deliver treatment services to mentally ill inmates. The two agencies have entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement that allows IDOC to use part of the Elgin Mental Health Center (EMHC) as an inpatient mental health treatment facility.

Supreme Court refuses to rehear redistricting referendum

After striking down a popular, citizen-driven referendum to change the way Illinois draws its political maps, the Illinois Supreme Court has denied a motion for rehearing the case.

Forbes rates Illinois 2nd worst for out-migration losses

As further evidence of the need for structural reforms in Illinois, a recent Forbes study shows Illinois as one of the biggest losers in terms of inter-state migration. The article quantifies the financial losses faced by states who are losing residents to other areas. Illinois is ranked as the second worst, trailing only New York. The magazine describes Illinois as a “high tax, high regulation” state and a “low growth disaster.”

Dept. of Natural Resources holding public meetings on Chronic Wasting Disease

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will be hosting three public meetings throughout the state to discuss the effect on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) on deer populations and how the agency is battling the disease.

Farmers heading back to the fields

Motorists are encouraged to be aware of potentially heavy farm equipment traffic on rural roads as farmers are beginning their 2016 harvest season.

Bill backlog, job loss underscore need for government reform

An announcement during the week that the state is investing $26 million in the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab (IBRL) at the University of Illinois underscored the importance of pursuing projects that will make Illinois a destination for employers as a way to help the state grow its way out of the current budget mess. Funding for the IBRL, which will help Illinois compete for up to 20,000 jobs in a new industry sector, was secured by the stopgap budget signed into law on June 30.

Proposal would expand services to help mentally ill, addicts

The state plans to pursue federal approval for a Medicaid waiver that would bring $2.7 billion in new federal dollars to help care for persons with mental illness and those battling substance abuse problems, benefiting as many as 800,000 Illinois residents with behavioral health issues. The waiver would not expand Medicaid eligibility, but would allow the state to provide health-care assistance to many individuals currently living without much-needed treatment or assistance. Twenty-five percent

Equitability topic of most recent Illinois School Funding Reform Commission

Members of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission met Sept. 7, as lawmakers and the Governor’s office attempt to get a handle on the challenges of changing the way schools are funded in Illinois. Defining equitability and what that means for Illinois students was the focus of the commission meeting.

Law requires insurance companies to locate beneficiaries

A recently signed law requires insurance companies to more quickly locate beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance policies and distribute amounts they are owed by the policy.

Illinois ranks 20 in personal freedom

The CATO Institute, an independent public policy organization, recently released its 2016 Freedom in the States report that ranks the American states based on how their policies promote freedom in the fiscal, regulatory and personal realms. While Illinois ranked 44 in the states, it ranked number 20 in personal freedoms.

Illinois prisons report drop in population

The Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) recently reported a reduction in the state’s inmate population of more than 4,200 since fiscal year 2014. The DOC reported a total prison population at 44,680 as of July 1, 2016, down from 48,921 in June 2014.