REPORTS INDICATE MAP HAS POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS
While detailed analysis was not immediately available, most news reports indicated that the map placed political advantage over all other considerations. The proposed map shifts current district lines, drawing a number of current GOP senators out of their current districts and into areas currently represented by other Senate Republican lawmakers. No Democrat lawmakers were drawn together in the same districts.
The proposed 44th District boundaries would shift slightly southwest, and include all or part of McLean, Tazewell, Logan, Menard and Sangamon counties.
The statewide map is also drawing close scrutiny from minority voting rights groups who want to determine if voting rights took a back seat to partisan political advantage and protection of incumbent politicians.
PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED
Two Senate redistricting hearings have been announced to allow public review of the proposed map. The first public hearing will be held in Chicago, scheduled for noon, May 21, in Room C-600 of the Michael A. Bilandic Building.
The second public hearing will be held in Springfield, scheduled for 9:00 a.m., May 24, in Room 114 of the State Capitol.
Live streaming of the hearings will be available online at www.ilsenateredistricting.com.
BRADY’S LEGISLATION PROHIBITS F.O.I.D. CARD DISCLOSURE
State and local governments would not be allowed to publicly release the names or personal information of FOID card holders or applicants, under legislation I cosponsored.
Passed by the Senate May 20, House Bill 3500 adds an exemption to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act protecting the names and information of Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card holders or applicants.
On February 28, the Attorney General’s office said it would allow the names of FOID card holders to be made public. The ruling came in response to an Associated Press Freedom of Information Act request for information about FOID card holders. The Illinois State Police refused to release that information, citing public safety and privacy concerns. The Attorney General’s opinion is currently being challenged in court.
We felt the Attorney General’s opinion was wrong, and that it was important to put in statute a measure to restrict public disclosure of the names and information of people who currently possess or who have applied for a FOID card.
Allowing public access to FOID card information could potentially be used by criminals to burglarize homes in search of firearms, or to target homes without firearms. It could possibly lead to more “straw purchases” of guns or total non-compliance with firearm registration requirements. Concerns have also been expressed that the information would be used by commercial solicitors.
Passed by the Senate May 20 and by the House of Representatives April 8, House Bill 3500 now moves to the Governor’s desk for further consideration. If signed by the Governor, the bill will become law immediately.
NO RESOLUTION YET ON WORKERS’ COMP
Despite rumors of a compromise earlier this week, action on workers’ compensation reform appears to have stalled.
Viewing reforms as critical to improving the state’s jobs climate, my Senate Republican colleagues and I have made workers’ compensation a top priority this session. I am asking employers to keep up the pressure for reform, asking job creators to continue communicating with state lawmakers and Gov. Quinn to take advantage of the opportunity for reform.
The momentum to pass reform prompted the CEO of Caterpillar last week to call on his fellow business leaders to put pressure on their local legislators.
Quoted in a story in Crain’s Chicago Business, Doug Oberhelman, head of Peoria-based Caterpillar, pointed out that “workman’s compensation is being discussed right now, today and tomorrow night.” According to the article, Mr. Oberhelman indicated workers’ compensation rates in Illinois are seven times as high as rates in neighboring Indiana.
In order to be meaningful, key components of workers’ compensation reforms should include requirements that injuries are actually the result of the job and the state should adopt clear medical standards for injuries, Mr. Oberhelman told the Tooling and Manufacturing Association in a meeting May 9 in Hoffman Estates.
Those and other reforms were included in major legislation that came before the Senate last month. That measure (SB 1349) failed when most Senate Democrats voted “present” rather than take a stand on the issue.
Kudos to Heartland Community College for offering a program for individuals interested in starting their own businesses.
Entrepreneur Essentials at Heartland Community College is a vocational training program that helps students prepare for the reasonable expectations, issues and responsibilities associated with organizational management and business ownership.
The program meets from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for 17 weeks beginning June 28. Enrollment is limited, so call (309) 268-8048 by June 20 to apply. Check out http://www.heartland.edu/news.jsp?newsID=2173 for more information.