Text Size
Login
config

Plainfield Park District Board reform plan moves forward

JBT051514State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed a proposal out of the Senate Executive Committee yesterday that seeks to restore justice and accountability to the Plainfield Park District Board.

Currently, the Plainfield Park District Board is in disarray. There have been numerous labor relations act violations, ongoing criminal investigations and allegations of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.

“This is a difficult proposal for me to present but our community needs it,” Senator Bertino-Tarrant said.

The proposal would change the makeup of the board by adding two members that will be appointed by the General Assembly for a single two-year term. The appointments will then expire and all board members will all be up for election.

Senator Bertino-Tarrant testified before the Executive Committee with Plainfield township trustee Ernie Knight and Plainfield township resident Mike Kelly, who implored the members of the committee to assist them with their community’s plight.

“Damage is being done to our community by this board,” Kelly said. “It seems like the only way to get our park district back is to make changes to the makeup of the board in order to fix our community’s problem.”

“This measure is necessary to remedy injustice,” Knight said. “It will help us restore the public trust.”

“I represent the residents of Plainfield, and this issue is of great concern to them,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

The legislation, House Bill 5593, passed the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 9-5.  It will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.

Stadelman helps local schools gain funding for safety

051314 js 0695SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois School and Campus Safety Grant Program awarded funding to Winnebago County schools and colleges to improve school safety and security. Local schools are set to receive more than $48,000 for the projects.

"This is an excellent opportunity to improve local schools and the safety of our children," Stadelman said. "The safety grants are possible because of the work we have done to ensure that students in K-12 deserve a safe learning environment just like those in higher education."

Earlier this year, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) sponsored a measure that allows the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to make grants for safety and security improvements to various public K-12 school districts and area vocation centers as well as colleges and universities.

Martinez backs plan to save Illinois Poison Center

Martinez051414State Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) lent her support last week to a plan to save the chronically underfunded Illinois Poison Center. The IPC has informed the General Assembly that the $1.3 million it currently receives from the state annually will not be enough to keep it open next year. It has lost a quarter of its state funding during the past few years.

“The Illinois Poison Center is an essential public health resource that prevents an estimated 35,000 unnecessary emergency room visits each year by reassuring parents and caretakers over the phone when a substance a child has ingested is not, in fact, dangerous,” Martinez said. “In the past, the IPC has been forced to rely on fund sweeps and surpluses that change every year. Now we’re working to sustain it into the future with its own funding stream.”

The IPC is Illinois’ only poison control information and treatment center and maintains a hotline that handles 82,000 calls per year, almost half of them pertaining to children five years of age or younger.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2674, also increases the amount set aside for local 911 services and guarantees a specific allocation to rural, sparsely populated counties. The funding for both the IPC and local 911 services comes from an existing surcharge on cell phone plans, prepaid calling cards and other wireless telecommunications services. If passed, the legislation will only change the way the revenue from this surcharge is distributed, not the amount of the tax; wireless customers will not see an increase on their monthly bills.

SB 2674 secured Senate approval last week and will next be considered by the House of Representatives. 

Haine introduces insurance fraud protection

050714CM0426SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) introduced a plan last week creating protections against a new type of health insurance fraud caused by the Affordable Care Act.

Under the ACA, a person who is not covered by a group insurance plan can apply for and receive health insurance from multiple companies. If that person then gets medical treatment, the hospital bills all of the insurers and each company is required to cover the cost of the treatment. The hospital – having received too much money for the treatment – then gives the extra money to the individual.

The plan allows health insurance companies that all cover the same person to coordinate with each other on how medical expenses are handled.

“People could abuse the system because of changes from the Affordable Care Act. We are preventing fraud and reducing the costly waste associated with this type of abuse,” Haine said.

The proposal is supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Department of Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield and several other insurance providers.

"It's imperative that we continue to keep healthcare costs low for the business community and consumers. This bill prevents an unnecessary increase in costs as a result of a fraud on the system," said Jennifer Hammer, executive director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Council.

The plan is contained in an amendment to House Bill 3784. The Senate’s Insurance Committee will hear the amendment during a meeting on Wednesday.

For additional information from the Chamber of Commerce:
     Jennifer Hammer 217-522-5512
     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     Associate Vice President and Legal Counsel, Government Affairs
     Executive Director, Healthcare Council
     Illinois Chamber of Commerce