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Recent Kotowski law will prevent further grant fraud

Published: Friday, December 19, 2014 02:50 PM

0914a034xRSPRINGFIELD – Thanks to legislation passed this year by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), Illinois taxpayers don’t have to worry about a repeat of Leon and Karen Dingle, who embezzled millions of dollars in grant money designed to help minority communities fight AIDS.

“Because of the U.S. attorney, we were able to catch these criminals who stole millions of taxpayer dollars. However, we shouldn’t have to depend on federal prosecutors to protect the people’s money. We need stronger protections in place, and that’s what the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act will do,” Kotowski said.

Under this new law, Illinois will adopt much stricter guidelines for grant management and oversight, which will be monitored by the governor’s budget office. Additionally, organizations that have board members and employees with conflicts of interest or criminal histories will be barred from receiving state grants. The law also prevents wasteful spending by creating a list of organization deemed unworthy of future state investment.

Cunningham attempts to get idling trains moving on local railroad lines

Published: Friday, December 19, 2014 01:16 PM

cunningham-trainSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Cunningham is proposing legislation designed to protect homeowners from smoke and noise pollution produced by idling trains on two local railroad lines.
 
Cunningham's proposal was filed after he and other local elected officials received numerous complaints from constituents who live along the CSX Railroad's Blue Island and Elsdon rail lines about air and noise pollution from trains that are often stopped and idling for hours, dozens of feet their from homes.

Stadelman directs grant to Rockford senior center

Published: Thursday, December 18, 2014 11:22 AM

State Senator Steve Stadelman listens to Lifescape Community Services Inc. Executive Director Carol Green during a tour of the facility Wednesday. Stadelman helped Lifescape get a $45,000 state grant for a new freezer, which will improve the services Lifescape provides.ROCKFORD – Thanks to the efforts of Senator Steve Stadelman, Lifescape Community Services Inc. is announcing that they have been awarded a $45,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to purchase a new blast freezer. The new freezer will allow Lifescape, which delivers more than 20,000 meals annually through the Meals on Wheels program, to freeze its own meals instead of having to go through a third party to have them frozen. This will allow the agency to save money and keep seniors living independently in their own homes.

The state also looks to save substantial dollars thanks to the new freezer. On average, Illinois spends $48,000 annually for every person who lives in a nursing facility, as compared to only $12,000 for every person who receives in-home services.

"We are grateful to the state of Illinois, especially Senator Stadelman," said Lifescape Executive Director Carol Green. "The savings we will realize with this blast freezer will allow us to better serve our clients."
The freezer couldn't come at a better time, as Lifescape expects the demand for frozen meals on weekends and holidays to rise by nearly 20,000 this year and state funding becomes scarcer.

"It's becoming more difficult to find state funding for local projects, but keeping our seniors healthy and comfortable in their own homes is important work," Stadelman said. "Lifescape Community Services is a well-respected agency, and I'm confident this grant is a great investment."

Lifescape Community Services is Illinois' top source in Winnebago, Boone, Ogle and Lee counties for providing services to older adults, allowing them to independently remain in their own homes.

Morrison announces Illinois Sports Facilities Authority reform plan

Published: Thursday, December 11, 2014 02:12 PM

US CellularRSPRINGFIELD – After outgoing Governor Pat Quinn appointed a new executive director at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority with little more than a month left in his term in office, State Senator Julie Morrison decided to find a way to prevent such appointments by future governors.

“The executive director of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is among the highest paid state employees,” Morrison said. “A governor who’s leaving office shouldn’t be able to use the position as a cushy landing spot.”

The executive director of the Sports Facilities Authority is paid $160,000 per year.

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