Government

Government and Legislature

Landmarks Illinois

Two northern Illinois structures have made the Landmarks Illinois 2012 list of Ten Most Endangered Places. They are the Freeport City Hall in Freeport and the Fox River Country Day School in Elgin.

The list, now in its 18th year, calls attention to threatened historic resources in need of assistance in the form of responsible stewardship and/or creative reuse plans. The economic downturn, public deficits and a lack of available financing continue to challenge historic sites throughout Illinois.

An emerging car market presents governmental bodies with the potential need to provide the necessary infrastructure.  But, is there enough demand yet for public investment of charging stations? 

  • ... plus a link on the benefits of hindsight

It’s been a week since Dixon’s comptroller was arrested and charged with misappropriating 3.2 million dollars from the city since last fall. A federal complaint also accuses Rita Crundwell of stealing more than 30-million since 2006. One Northern Illinois University accountancy professor says there’s a lot the city could have done to prevent the alleged theft. 

The City of Dixon has fired its comptroller. City Council members voted unanimously today to fire Rita Crundwell, retroactive to the day she was arrested on federal wire fraud charges.

  • MetLife settles questionable practice investigation
  • A new way to train for alcohol awareness
  • Why aren't day-care facilities being inspected?
  • Moving forward on passenger rail service
  • Will expressway finally live up to its name?
  • How can regional agencies improve transportation funding?
  • What's happening to Illinois influence in Congress?

The city of Dixon garnered the world’s attention this week with the arrest of the city’s comptroller. Rita Crundwell was charged in federal court with wire fraud, related to more than 3 million dollars missing from the city’s coffers since last Fall. Federal investigators also accuse her of embezzling more than 30-million dollars from the city over the past six years. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens has been following the story all week. She spoke with Jenna Dooley about the case and what she learned about the 58-year-old Dixon native while talking to people who know her.

Republican lawmakers have criticized parts of Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to close a $2.7 billion gap in Illinois' Medicaid program, which includes a $1 per pack increase in Illinois’ cigarette tax. 

And doctors say Quinn's proposed cuts to reimbursement rates for medical services would be devastating.  Laura Shea, president of the Sangamon County Medical Society, says doctors already get less money from the state for treating public aid patients than they do for patients with private insurance.

What did Gov. Pat Quinn propose to do about Medicaid?

How did home sales perform in March?

Where does Illinois rank in creating clean jobs?

Why is Sheila Simon looking for volunteers?

All that -- plus links to more information -- follows ...

Illinois House Approves Constitutional Amendment

Apr 19, 2012

 

A proposed constitutional amendment on pension laws continues to advance in the Illinois legislature. 

www.discoverdixon.org

Dixon Mayor James Burke held a news conference Wednesday morning in Dixon, Ill., to address several issues regarding the arrest of City Comptroller Rita A. Crundwell on a federal charge of misappropriating $3.2 million in city funds.

Burke thanked the FBI for its efforts and ann0unced that Crundwell is suspended without pay pending resolution of the charges against her. He said he "literally became sick to my stomach" while meeting with agents on the case.

The mayor declined to answer any questions from reporters in attendance, including WNIJ's Susan Stephens. Here is the text of Mayor Burke's statement:

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Read an interesting twist on this case at www.theatlanticcities.com

DIXON — Rita A. Crundwell, the Dixon city comptroller who was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge of defrauding the City of Dixon of more than $3.2 million in public funds since last fall, was released from federal custody Wednesday. Her freedom while she awaits trial, however, rests on a number of conditions agreed upon by her attorneys, federal prosecutors, and federal magistrate P. Michael Mahoney.

WNIJ

The head of the Illinois' largest organization for lawyers says the group supports allowing cameras in courtrooms. Illinois has been one of only 14 states where cameras were limited or prohibited in trial courtrooms. The Illinois Supreme Court approved a pilot program allowing media coverage in January.  John Locallo is President of the Illinois State Bar Association.  Speaking in Freeport, he says the new policy is another step toward transparency/

Tax Filing Deadline Approaches

Apr 14, 2012

Taxpayers have some extra time this year to file their state and federal tax returns. The annual April 15th deadline falls on a Sunday. The following day, Monday, April 16th is a holiday in the District of Columbia. That means this year's deadline falls on Tuesday, April 17th. Officials say more people are filing online. You can file your state income tax return for free at www.tax.Illinois.gov 

Illinois' Township Governments Make Their Case

Apr 11, 2012

 

The performance of township governments in Illinois was on display Tuesday night.

State Audit Finds Problems with FOID Program

Apr 6, 2012

Illinois' Firearm Owners Identification program has a heap of problems. That's according to an audit released this week. The state Auditor General says some of those problems put public safety at risk. The report says too often state police don't know when they grant FOID cards if the applicant has a disqualifying mental health condition. The audit also found 70% of revoked registration cards never get back to police. The Illinois State Police says the number of requests for FOID cards has steadily increased over the past few years, but its resources are limited.

 

It looks like Illinois will keep most of its regional offices of education. A commission charged with reviewing the need for the offices and the position of Regional Superintendent released its recommendation today: it proposed cutting the number of offices from 44 to 35. 

Along with the broad array of candidates seeking their party nomination to political office, a number of other issues will be presented for voters’ decisions. The most popular issue is electrical aggregation. This issue has been supported by government officials at all levels and by business and community leaders.

Governor Pat Quinn delivered his State Budget Address Wednesday, announcing “today, our rendezvous with reality has arrived.”

Local Governments Increase Collection Efforts

Feb 21, 2012

 

Local governments in Illinois are stepping up their efforts to collect unpaid fines. 

Since last July, dozens of DeKalb County businesses and organizations have shown interest in being part of an organized Art Council.  What is missing is someone to take charge. Pat Vary chairs the county’s Economic Development Committee.  She says there are many advantages to formalizing an Art Council. For example, the group could pool resources to rent or buy office space to store props and hold activities. Critics say the government body should stay out of the art business and focus on other priorities.

State of the State Reaction

Feb 2, 2012

Governor Pat Quinn used his State of the State address to outline proposals he says would boost Illinois' economy.  The governor's plan includes various tax cuts.  He also proposed an increase in education spending.

Illinois Lawmakers Go Back To Work

Jan 30, 2012

Budget issues are expected to top the agenda as Illinois lawmakers get ready for the spring session.

President's State-of-the-Union Address

Jan 23, 2012

On Tuesday evening, President Obama delivers his State of the Union address.  Facing into an election year, the President is expected to continue pushing Congress on his economic agenda.  The GOP response will be given by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.  WNIJ will have live coverage of the President's address, beginning at 8pm.  NPR's Melissa Block will host.  She'll be joined in the studio by NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson.

Investigation Completed

Nov 10, 2011

An Illinois watchdog is done investigating legislative approval of a utility rate hike.

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