State Roundup: Cleanup continues following tornadoes

From Illinois News Network
ilnews.org

Hundreds of volunteers are converging on areas of the state hard hit by strong storms last week.

The devastation led Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to declare DeKalb and Ogle counties disaster areas saying the state will do everything it can to help the affected families and communities. The disaster declaration opens up a myriad of state resources for the areas impacted by the storms.

A line of storms raked much of the state last Thursday evening bringing straight line winds, including multiple reports of tornadoes touching the ground.

State police say the tornado was on the ground for nearly a half hour with hardest hit areas being Rochelle and Fairdale. More than 50 of the 120 damaged structures were completely destroyed.

Meanwhile numerous vehicles were blown from the interstates.

ISP reports two deaths, eleven serious injuries and numerous people recovering from minor injuries.

Deal on fair share could speed things up

A deal to give the state’s public employee unions the fair share dues that were withheld by an executive order could speed up an ultimate decision.

The Associated Press reports a county judge ordered state agencies to give the fair share money to unions for mandatory dues.

That’s the money that Governor Bruce Rauner wanted held pending an ultimate hearing on the constitutionality of forced unionism. Rauner says the compulsory dues are a First Amendment violation because it forces employees to pay a union that conducts political deals with the government. Several state employees joined Rauner’s side of the lawsuit.

Unions say the fair share fee is fair because it pays for costs associated with collective bargaining. More than 20 unions sued the Governor.

Rauner has said people can opt in to a union but it shouldn’t be a condition of employment. The Governor wants the U.S. Supreme Court to make the final call.

Lawmakers back to Springfield after spring break

With spring break over, lawmakers will be back in Springfield this week. However, Senators in the Appropriations committee Monday in Champaign will hear about the budgets for the University of Illinois, and central Illinois healtchare and social service providers. They will also hear from various local governments.

Then Tuesday morning in Springfield there will be budget testimony from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. There will also be information about grant suspensions for the Departments of Human Service and Public Health.

The subject matter will specifically look into the suspension of funding for autism programs by DHS. That meeting is Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Springfield.

AP: Governor wants repeal of increasing pay for jurors citing financial strain

The Associated Press reports Illinois’ Governor is interested in repealing a recently passed law that increased pay for jurors. The previous General Assembly passed the law that boosts the pay from $4 to $10 a day beginning June 1.

Critics of the measure said it would add extra financial burden to some counties that are already strapped for money. Another aspect of the law would reduce the number of jurors serving in civil cases. Currently 12 serve, but the law bumps that down to six.

The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association opposes repealing the laws because they lobbied for passage in the previous general assembly.

BGA: Pension pick-ups gives supt. average $23K raise

Several school districts in the Chicago suburbs are picking up the entire pension tab for their employees raising the question of how many other school districts in the state are paying pension pick-ups.

A Chicago Sun Times article from the Better Government Association says of ten Chicago suburb school districts they surveyed all 10 pay their employees’ pension contributions for superintendents.

The BGA says five districts covered at least nine percent of the employees’ pay for pensions, which included teachers and administrators.

The average share for superintendents from the BGA’s sample was nearly $23,000 in extra compensation.

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