And, some financial experts were questioning the economic sense of the Governor’s plan to borrow more than $8 billion, which would not only be used to pay old bills, but also to finance increased government spending next year. The Associated Press interviewed an investment firm director, a University of Illinois budget specialist and the chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago. All three expressed doubts about the borrowing scheme.
CENSUS FIGURES SHOW NEED TO REDRAW DISTRICTS
Detailed population numbers needed for redrawing state Senate and House districts, as well as Congressional seats, were made public last week. The new census figures show large drops in Chicago’s population, some significant gains in the outer suburban rings of the Chicago region and a generally stable population in downstate Illinois.
New population numbers will require that each state Senate district will have about 217,450 persons. Thirty-six out of 59 state Senate districts (27 currently held by Democrats and nine currently held by Republicans) were under that target number, while 23 districts (eight held by Democrats and 15 held by Republicans) had more persons than required.
Lines will have to be redrawn in order to equalize the population. Although reform groups and Republican legislators had sought to remove redistricting from the hands of politicians, those efforts were blocked last year. As a result, Democrat leaders will be in control of the mapmaking process with virtually no opportunity for the public to influence the results.
CRACKING DOWN ON RETAIL CRIME
In legislative action, Quinn signed into law a measure designed to crack down on organized retail crime.
House Bill 6460 will allow prosecutors to seek forfeiture of assets of those convicted of organized retail crime. The law is aimed in part at gangs and others who steal large quantities of merchandise, often from warehouses or shipping facilities, and then sell the merchandise to retail stores at cut-rate prices.
One of the risks of such crimes is that stores can end up stocking stolen merchandise, such as over-the-counter medication and baby formula, whose product temperatures and caretaking needs have not been satisfied.
BRADY NAMED TO LEGISLATIVE AUDIT COMMISSION
I have been appointed to serve on the Legislative Audit Commission.
The Legislative Audit Commission is responsible for the oversight of the State Audit Program, review of the stewardship of public funds, and the monitoring action to correct weaknesses disclosed by the audits of state agencies.
The Commission consists of 12 legislators appointed by the General Assembly leadership and is equally apportioned between the two houses and political parties.