Cost of Chaos Rising
As the state nears its two-year mark without a budget, the impact of Governor Bruce Rauner's mismanagement is becoming more obvious and far-reaching each day.
HIV/AIDS treatment and cancer screenings
Senator Mattie Hunter, Chicago, criticized the Illinois Department of Public Health for proposing cuts to programs and services that would disproportionately affect minority communities, citing proposed cuts to HIV/AIDS treatment and prostate, cervical and breast cancer screenings.
The Senate Appropriations I Committee heard testimony last week from Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner's budget.
"Minority communities are disproportionately experiencing higher rates of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer," Hunter said. "Unfortunately, the budget impasse has only made matters worse. Proposing cuts that will affect the areas with the greatest needs will only cost the state more money."
Domestic violence shelter funding
For many abused women, domestic violence shelters are the last refuge from which they can begin to rebuild their lives. Those shelters are now on the verge of closure due to the state’s ongoing budget impasse. Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign, says the lack of funding for domestic violence programs is unconscionable.
“We cannot hope to prevent domestic abuse if we do not adequately fund the facilities and services that actively work with victims,” Bennett said. “While we sit in Springfield debating our business climate, very real people are suffering beyond belief.”
$2.4 million (for a $750,000 warehouse)
The Rauner administration signed a five-year, $2.4 million lease for warehouse space in Springfield that it could have purchased for $750,000, a key Senate budget committee learned this week.
“There is a cost associated with failing to budget and with planning on the fly like this,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and one of the Senate’s two appropriations committee chairmen. “This contract is a perfect example of how all Illinois taxpayers and their children eventually will pay a hefty price for Gov. Rauner’s inability to manage the state of Illinois in a reasonable, responsible manner.”
Illinois Trust Act gains support
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said police across Illinois already have a hard enough job to do without trying to double as federal immigration officers. Cullerton is sponsoring SB 31, known as the Trust Act, to clarify the limited circumstances in which law enforcement in Illinois would check immigration status. That legislation won the support of the Senate Executive Committee last week.The proposal is designed to foster trust between police and immigrant communities and refocus resources on fighting priority crimes.
"Police in Illinois have enough responsibilities without also trying to serve as immigration officers," Cullerton said in a statement. "If there's a warrant and legitimate criminal activity, by all means, we want the police involved. What we don't want is people targeted because of their appearance or culture."
Raoul measure targets repeat gun offenders
State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) secured passage last week of legislation aimed at taking a comprehensive approach to criminal justice reform and reducing the unacceptable gun violence in Chicago and across the state.
"The step we took today is a continuation of my record of criminal justice reform efforts focusing on individualized treatment of offenders," Raoul said. "It is vital that we distinguish between repeat offenders and those who just picked up a gun for the first time."
In case you missed it
Sen. Scott Bennett, Champaign: Victims of domestic abuse suffering without a state budget (Fox 55)
Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Thumbs up, thumbs down (The Herald News)
Sen. Daniel Biss, Evanston: Illinois state senators push immigrant protection bill (Our Quad Cities)
Sen. Tom Cullerton, Villa Park: Cullerton honored for protecting mental health funding (Chicago Daily Herald)
Sen. Don Harmon, Oak Park: Finger pointing over lack of state budget continues (CBS Chicago)
Sen. Linda Holmes, Aurora: Contract disputes could lead to nurses losing benefits (Columbia Chronicle)
Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Olympia Fields: Illinois Issues: The case for partial legalization (Peoria Public Radio)
Sen. Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: 17 Illinois school districts suing state over funding (Herald and Review – AP)
Sen. Iris Martinez, Chicago: Martinez supports plan to protect immigrant communities (Lawndale News)
Sen. Pat McGuire, Joliet: Protestors demand funding for adult ed (Illinois Times)
Sen. John Mulroe, Chicago: Mulroe bill seeks to ease impact of closing of emissions test stations (Chicago Tribune)
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