QUINN COULD HAVE FUNDED M.A.P.
It is important to once again note that Governor Quinn has had the ability to fully finance MAP. Quinn was allocated $1.2 billion in discretionary funding, which he could have used to finance the program; however, to date he has opted not to use that revenue to finance MAP scholarships.
RECALL AMENDMENT APPROVED
The Senate approved a Constitutional amendment October 15 that would give Illinois voters the power to boot future governors who aren’t doing their job.
House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 31 has been approved by both legislative chambers and will now be presented to voters on the November 2010 ballot. If voters approve recall, it could then be initiated in the future.
To begin the recall process, a small number of state legislators would have to advance the initiative. Petitions in support of recall would then have to be signed by 15 percent of voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election. If the required number of signatures is collected, then an election would be held to determine the governor’s fate, which would then possibly be followed by an election for a successor governor.
A HIDDEN TAX?
Also this week, the Senate sent to the House of Representatives a measure to eliminate a little-noticed new tax on small businesses that had been buried in a state budget bill.
House Bill 2239 would correct a provision that was slipped into legislation last summer by the Senate President, who said he had been trying to close a tax “loophole.” In reality, the provision would have significantly increased taxes on partnerships in Illinois.
The last-minute inclusion of a major tax law change represents just one more example of why GOP senators have consistently pushed to open up the budget process and provide more opportunity for public scrutiny and debate before a state budget is approved.
MORE SUPPORT FOR REDISTRICTING REFORM
During an October 13 redistricting hearing in Carbondale, representatives from the Paul Simon Institute offered suggestions for changing the state’s process of drawing legislative districts. They noted that Illinois’ districts are seriously influenced by partisan political manipulation, which has led to what some critics say is “politicians picking their voters instead of voters picking their politicians.”
Lawmakers also allowed public testimony, during which citizens described the state’s redistricting process as “arcane,” “corrupt,” and “intended to protect incumbents.” The public response reflected testimony from Paul Simon Institute experts, who said that one significant consequence of Illinois’ system of redistricting is the loss of voter confidence in their government.
Expert witnesses were less direct in their criticism of the system, but presented compelling arguments for replacing the current system with a more open and equitable process for drawing legislative and congressional district boundaries.
The Paul Simon Institute is advocating for Illinois to “de-nest” legislative districts, so state representative districts are no longer contained within a state senate district. Experts from the institute are also pushing for an end to the state’s “luck-of-the-draw” system of determining who wins control of the redistricting process.
The American Lung Association has created a Web site to help citizens research and locate the flu vaccination clinic closest to their home. Flucliniclocator.org is an excellent utility to help us all prepare for the upcoming flu season.
The site provides information on regular flu vaccinations clinics.
For information on H1N1 flu vaccinations, the American Lung Association recommends visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site.