Decision time in Springfield
(Excerpt of an op-ed by Senate President John J. Cullerton, published in the May 12th State Journal-Register)
Just days ago, the Senate completed hearings for the budget that Governor Quinn presented in light of expiring temporary tax rates. What we learned is that the impact of our scheduled loss of revenue will be dramatic for citizens across the state and debilitating for the state agencies that serve them.
Now, it's decision time in Springfield. As we approach the end of session, stark contrasts and difficult choices have been outlined for members of the General Assembly.
Do we continue our commitment to schools or do we decimate classrooms with cuts?
Will we maintain a basic safety net or do we magnify hardship by unraveling basic services for senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities?
Do we still value providing financial aid for needy students or do we renege and narrow opportunities for our future leaders?
While the choices are clear, still there are too many lawmakers unwilling to match their stated values with funding priorities and commitments.
Ensuring safety with ridesharing rules
Many people living in metropolitan areas are familiar with ridesharing companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar. While these companies are often cheaper and more convenient than traditional taxicabs, their operations have been called into question in recent months because, while they have grown in popularity, they are completely unregulated businesses.
For those who are less familiar with the concept, ridesharing is as simple as downloading an app to a smartphone. Riders can request rides any hour of the day. They simply tap a button for pickup and the app will auto-locate them and then track a driver's route and estimated time of arrival.
Setting stronger discipline for professionals
Professionals in Illinois who break the rules of their licenses could face steeper penalties. The Illinois Senate approved a plan giving regulators more flexibility when disciplining severe breaches of professional conduct.
Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) sponsored the plan following a court case where a doctor was only given a 6-month suspension after having sex with and giving alcohol and
marijuana to a 20 year-old patient.
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