I welcomed Sandra Figueroa of Chicago to the Illinois Senate April 14. A junior at Illinois State University majoring in public relations and fashion merchandising, Sandra works as a legislative intern in my district office in Bloomington.
ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER SCHOLARSHIPS
Students who will be attending summer school at a state university in Illinois and are interested in applying for the General Assembly Scholarship program must submit their applications to my office by May 2.
Students whose permanent addresses are located within the 44th District are eligible. Three tuition waivers for summer 2011 are available to undergraduate or graduate students who will be attending state universities, with scholarships specifically designated for nursing, agriculture, and a veteran or the child of a veteran.
A panel of community and education leaders will evaluate applications and select scholarship recipients. I will not be involved in the decision-making process.
Information about the program and applications is available on my legislative Web site at http://brady.senategop.net/scholarship-program. All materials should be mailed to my office, 2203 Eastland Drive, Suite 3, Bloomington, IL 61704 (309/664-4440).
General Assembly Scholarships are presented by all Illinois lawmakers to college students across the state. Selection is based upon merit of the applicants.
PLAN AHEAD FOR FUTURE POWER NEEDS
I am sponsoring legislation that plans ahead for Illinois’ future power.
Senate Bill 1765 would require the Illinois Power Agency to do a summary report about electric power generation in Illinois.
Illinois’ economic future depends solely on the creation of jobs. As we work to restore confidence in our state’s business climate, we must plan ahead. We need to determine if our state has sufficient energy resources to support future growth or if we need to build more power generation plants.
My legislation will study power generation in Illinois to give us a better idea about our generation capacity and help us determine if we are going to have enough electric power in Illinois in the future. That information will also have a bearing on electric prices.
Passed by a vote of 58-1 on April 14, Senate Bill 1765 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT IN REDISTRICTING
Citizens, grassroots organizations, and special interest groups are encouraged to offer their suggestions and insights on the legislative redistricting process.
More information on redistricting hearings scheduled around the state can be found at http://www.ilsenateredistricting.com/.
Staff, computers and software will be available to community activists, organizations and people interested in drawing legislative district boundaries. The census data that is used to draw the maps will also be on hand, and members of the public will be able to save their maps and take them home.
A map drawing room is available weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, or by appointment (312-814-2053) on the 16th Floor of the James R. Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph in Chicago.
A public viewing station is also available weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Room 401 of the Stratton Office Building, directly west of the Capitol in Springfield. Interested parties should contact 217-558-3036 to access each public workstation.
AUDIT: PROBLEMS CONTINUE WITH ‘ALL KIDS’
A recent audit of the state’s “All Kids” children’s health insurance program indicates the program is still fraught with problems.
According to the report released April 14 by the Illinois Auditor General, classification errors relating to both documented and undocumented immigrants participating in “All Kids” were prevalent. The misclassification of these enrollees not only resulted in data errors, but in the loss of federal matching funds for eligible, documented enrollees.
Additionally, while the “All Kids” program requires that state residency be verified, the “All Kids” application did not require applicants to prove residency, according to the report. The audit also noted that auditors could not identify any routine process used by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) or the Department of Human Services (DHS) to verify residency, though a new law take takes effect July 1 requires residency to be confirmed.
Auditors also found that the “All Kids” application does not require birth or identity documents be provided by undocumented immigrants. The report questioned how, lacking this information, the Departments are able to verify age or identity information.
The audit also noted that only one pay stub is required of most applicants in order to establish 12-month eligibility for “All Kids.” Auditors noted that one pay stub does not necessarily reflect the entire month’s income. However, the report pointed out that on July 1, a new law will take effect requiring a month’s income be provided in order to determine eligibility.
Similarly, while self-employed applicants are required to provide a month’s worth of detailed business records, auditors found that often applicants did not provide these detailed records. As a result, DHFS and DHS could not confirm the income or expenses reported, nor could the Departments conclude the expenses were used only for business purposes.
Once again, the audit highlighted the “passive” redetermination process used by DHFS. Currently, “All Kids” enrollees are allowed to simply submit an annual renewal form, and that is only if they need to report a change in information. DHFS does not go to any additional lengths to ensure that enrollees are still eligible for the program. The audit noted that, “As a result, enrollees could remain eligible for ‘passive’ redetermination until they turned 19 years of age without ever having more than one actual eligibility determination.”
Additional problems include failure to discontinue “All Kids” coverage even if the enrollee did not pay the required premiums on time. The audit also determined that DHFS and DHS did not have a satisfactory system in place to guarantee that “All Kids” participants’ eligibility be terminated once they turn 18.