SPRINGFIELD – A law to prevent future governors from engaging in last-minute patronage takes effect today.
State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) introduced the proposal after former Gov. Pat Quinn appointed a political operative to a $160,000-per-year state job at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority a month after he lost his election last year.
Her plan affects any director appointed to a governor-controlled board or commission after the governor loses an election. They will be limited to 60 days in the position, allowing the newly elected governor to find the best person for the position. Morrison’s legislation extends beyond the ISFA to include similar government organizations.
“People are sick and tired of Illinois public officials abusing their positions,” Morrison said. “We shouldn’t need this law, but Gov. Quinn made it clear that we do. Fortunately, now this loophole is closed forever.”
The Illinois Sports Finance Authority – a government entity – owns U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, and provided the majority of the financing for the renovation of the Bears’ Soldier Field. It receives subsidies from the state and the city of Chicago, income from the White Sox rental agreement, and revenue from a 2 percent tax on all hotel rentals in Chicago.
The legislation was originally House Bill 4078.
SPRINGFIELD- Illinois high school graduates will now have a better understanding of state government. State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative that would require a semester of civics to graduate high school was signed into law today. Illinois has joined 40 other states in requiring at least one civics course as a graduation requirement for high school graduates. Illinois high school students are already required to complete two years of social studies. The high school curriculum will change starting with the freshman class of 2016-2017 to simply require one semester of the existing two year requirement to include a civics course. “This is a big step toward engaging more people in the democratic process. Our goal is to give our young people the tools to make informed decisions and take an active role in government at all levels,” said Cullerton. The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education recommended that Illinois should require a civic education course for all high schools in Illinois. The class would focus on government institutions, current issues and discussions and simulations of the democratic process. Private funding will be provided to cover the costs associated with the implementation of the civics courses, such as professional development and other school needs. “We need to give our young people the tools to be civically responsible,” said Cullerton. “Our children are the future of our state and nation, we need them make sure they are involved in order to ensure this world a better place.” House Bill 4025 was signed into law on August 21 and goes into effect on January 1, 2016.