The Commission’s suggested reforms for the current redistricting process would abolish the current system and appoint a non-partisan outside contractor to draw House, Senate and federal Congressional districts without considering election results, party affiliation of voters or the incumbents’ residences.
SENATE ADVANCES GOVERNMENT ‘TRANSPARENCY’ MEASURES
The Senate this week unanimously approved legislation seeking to increase government transparency.
Senate Bill 189 was introduced in response to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s abuse of the executive appointment process, which included leveraging appointments to the state’s pension and investment boards, the Teachers Retirement System Board and the Health Facilities Planning Board in return for campaign cash and favors.
The measure requires the Governor’s office to establish and maintain a searchable online database of appointed board and commission members, their powers, qualifications and responsibilities; current board vacancies; information on how to apply for an appointment; and a link to the Secretary of State’s Web site where Statements of Economic Interest can be obtained by the public.
Another measure, unanimously approved by the Senate Executive Committee, creates an Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal Web site. House Bill 35 requires Central Management Services to establish a public Web site that has information about state expenditures, tax credits, state employee salaries and state contract details.
SEN. BRADY CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF I.H.F.P.B. OFFICIALS, MEMBERS
I am calling for the removal of Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board officials and Board members, as the first steps toward restoring integrity to the process used to site hospitals and other healthcare facilities throughout Illinois.
In the months since Rod Blagojevich has been impeached and removed from office, state leaders have thrown open the doors and windows, and are taking a hard look at the way government works. A lot of housecleaning has been done already and more is needed. For that reason – and for the same reason that the Executive Director resigned from the Teachers Retirement System last month – we think it is necessary to remove the leaders and the members of the Health Facilities Planning Board. We need to distance ourselves from that era of corruption and controversy.
I have drafted legislation to remove the Deputy Director of the Office of Policy, Planning and Statistics of the Illinois Department of Public Health; and the Executive Secretary of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, effective July 1, 2009. The legislation also calls for the immediate termination of the Board members, but allows them to serve until they are replaced by the Governor, up to an additional 60 days.
While neither the officials nor the current board members have been accused of wrongdoing, they are associated with the scandals connected to ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Four years ago, the General Assembly purged every board member from the Health Facilities Planning Board, regardless of their ties to the corrupting influences of convicted insider Tony Rezko and others, but the Board’s executive leadership remained in place.
There is still too much status quo at the Board for us to say we have finished our job. This Board has been at the center of corrupt influence peddling by those convicted of seeking to enrich themselves at the public expense. I am not suggesting any wrongdoing by the Board’s staff or current members, but we must be ever vigilant and continue to look at measures to restore the public’s confidence in the Board’s actions and activities. The citizens of Illinois need and deserve reasonable access to quality healthcare facilities in their communities.
SENATOR BRADY SPONSORS ‘44TH DISTRICT DAY’ IN SPRINGFIELD
Thank you to the central Illinois residents who came to Springfield April 22 for “44th District Day.”
A variety of activities was planned for participants, including lunch at the Governor’s Mansion with welcoming comments by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and Senate President John Cullerton, and a presentation by Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
After lunch, participants had an opportunity to view Senate and House committee or floor action; a presentation by Dan Long, Executive Director of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability; a discussion by Tom Johnson, President of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois; and a talk by State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Wrapping up the day was an early-evening reception at the Illinois State Library.