WHAT IS EXPECTED?
DOC will screen inmates over the next two to four weeks.
Those inmates who are released early will have electronic monitoring bracelets. Parole agents and others will be notified if they move outside of their approved residence or day-program areas, including daytime drug abuse programs.
Violators can be returned to a correctional facility and charged with escaping prison.
The early release proposal comes at the same time that DOC has plans to layoff hundreds of workers at Illinois correctional facilities, due to the state’s current fiscal crisis.
DECISION BEING CHALLENGED BY AFSCME
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union is challenging the proposed layoffs in court—set to take place on September 30—due to safety and administrative concerns. The Quinn administration insists that the governor can proceed with layoffs, noting that without the cuts other areas of state government will see the chopping block.
Circuit Court Judge Todd Lambert is reviewing testimony related to the case, and is expected to make his decision in the coming days on whether to block Quinn’s proposed layoffs.
COMMISSION CHAIR URGES MAJOR REFORMS
Also this week, the Senate Redistricting Committee held its third hearing, centered on proposals to reform Illinois’ broken system of drawing legislative districts.
During the redistricting hearing September 22 in Peoria, former federal prosecutor and Illinois Reform Commission chairman Patrick Collins urged lawmakers to accept major reforms designed to end partisan political gerrymandering in Illinois. Collins said that the system is not transparent, doesn’t encourage public participation, and Illinois citizens do not believe that districts are drawn fairly.
Collins was joined by Commission member Brad McMillan, who is Executive Director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University, in support of Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 69 (SJRCA 69).
Many members of the Senate Republican Caucus support SJRCA 69, which incorporates the redistricting suggestions advanced by the Commission. The amendment advocates for the redistricting process to be conducted by an independent panel. Unlike the current system, the mapmaking process would be taken away from lawmakers, and the voters’ political preferences or the incumbent lawmaker’s address would not be taken into account.
‘THE STATUS QUO IS UNACCEPTABLE’
McMillan, Collins and Republican lawmakers agree that the proposal could be altered, and other ideas incorporated. McMillan noted that the Commission doesn’t have a “lock” on the solution to gerrymandering in Illinois, but stressed that lawmakers should take advantage of this opportunity for reform to show Illinois citizens that “the status quo is unacceptable.”
Kudos to the Little Jewels Learning Center in Bloomington for receiving an Employ Illinois: Child Care loan.
Child-care providers use the Employ Illinois interest rate reduction for real estate acquisition, construction or to purchase equipment that will lead to the creation of more spaces to enroll additional children.
The Little Jewels Learning Center is expected to save $235,299.17 over five years.