Civic News & Info
Taxpayers are Footing the Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 02 August 2010 13:36

A tide of rising uncertainty is swelling among Iowans who worry the federal government is overstepping its authority.  Whether overspending tax dollars or overreaching Constitutional boundaries, taxpayers, property owners, farmers and small business owners are asking when is enough, enough?  In the last two years, Washington has dramatically accelerated public spending and expanded the size and scope of the federal government.

Just consider what it will take to implement the vast, new health care and financial reform laws.  Countless layers of an already bloated federal bureaucracy will influence how consumers receive and pay for medical care and qualify for school, business and home loans.  With Washington’s lackluster track record for transparency and accountability, Iowans have reason to worry about footing the tab and wonder if bureaucratic red tape will affect their access to the latest medical breakthrough or line of credit at the bank.

Churning out federal regulations has expanded the federal workforce.  One estimate says the federal government employs a quarter of a million people responsible for writing and enforcing the regulations.  The total number of federal employees has increased by 273,000 since 2008.

The new regulations can create controversy and unnecessary confusion.  Consider one small business owner who wrote to me about the new federal tax credit created to help small businesses offer insurance coverage for their employees.  After reading the fine print, he said the rules are “ridiculously complicated for a small business owner to understand and implement” and “Congress is over-selling/over-promising the benefits.”  And this one rule is just the tip of the iceberg. The major pieces of the health care reform law will not take effect until 2014.

Concerns about unprecedented public spending are very unsettling to many Iowans who wonder how in the world Washington will square entitlement obligations with ballooning payments on the national debt.  The new health care law itself will cost nearly $2.6 trillion over a decade when it is fully implemented.  It will expand Medicaid by 16 million people (even though the states are struggling with enormous shortfalls to finance those currently enrolled in the program); carve $529 billion out of Medicare; and, create new taxes on health plans and individual investment income.  Unlike the safety net created under FDR, when 77 Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate approved Social Security, or in 1965 when Medicare passed with generous bipartisan support, the largest new entitlement adopted in 45 years was passed without achieving bipartisan consensus.

How much government are taxpayers able and willing to pay for?  In addition to the revenue needed to keep standard government services open for business, such as USDA meat inspectors, FDA drug safety scientists, FAA air traffic controllers, and ICE border patrol agents, taxpayers also are paying for bail-outs for Wall Street and Detroit, stimulus spending, and interest on the national debt.  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now estimates the U.S. national debt could hit 60 percent of our national income by year’s end.

Taxpayers are wondering how far this runaway spending train will go before it derails.  As a U.S. senator, I work to protect the integrity of the public purse.  With hard-earned tax dollars sent to Washington, I track the federal pipeline trying to ensure these dollars are protected from waste, fraud and abuse.  Sticking my nose in the federal bureaucracy’s business helps look out for the people’s business.  That’s why I have demanded a full accounting of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to find out how Wall Street banks are using the money intended to shore up the financial system (including the unconscionable pay-out of extravagant severance packages and retention bonuses); requested an audit of the administrative costs for the Cash-for-Clunkers program; and, called into question missteps by General Motors which received $49.5 billion under TARP.

As Eastern Iowans struggle to rebuild and recover from the devastating floods this summer, I will keep working to hold Washington accountable to the people.  That includes putting the brakes on runaway spending and replacing “ridiculously complicated” rules; in other words, substituting Washington nonsense with Midwestern common sense.  From rooting out waste, fraud and abuse, to championing whistleblowers and fighting for the independence of agency-appointed auditors, I am not afraid to do whatever it takes to fix wrongdoing and mismanagement so that the federal government fits the bill when the taxpaying public is footing the bill.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA

Friday, July 30, 2010

 
Scott County Board of Health announces Director appointment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Denise Coiner   
Monday, 02 August 2010 12:11
Denise Coiner, Scott County Board of Health Chair and Dee F. Bruemmer, Scott County Administrator jointly announce that Edward Rivers has accepted an offer of employment as Scott County Health Director. The appointment was approved by the Board of Health at their meeting today. Mr. Rivers will start work on August 30, 2010.

Mr. Rivers has 24 years experience in Public Health. Mr. Rivers has spent the majority of his career in Catawba County, North Carolina. He currently serves as the Environmental Health Administrator for the county. Mr. Rivers was the recipient of the Best Leadership Project award by the Southeast Public Health Leadership Institute in 2009. He has a Master’s in Public Health Administration from the University of North Carolina. The selection committee was impressed by the similarity of issues in the
communities and Mr. Rivers knowledge of Scott County. Ms. Coiner indicated that the selection panel and Board were pleased with Mr. River’s recent work focus and projects involving program standards, quality assurance, public health accreditation, and the use of technology to increase program efficiency and improve customer service. They are confident that he will develop strong relationships with local leaders which will assure that the County maintains its quality services and regional leadership role.

Mr. Rivers was selected from a field of 24 applicants following a national search. He was the unanimous recommendation of an interview panel of 7 members representing the Board of Health, County Administration, staff and contractor of the Health Department.

The opening is created by the announced retirement of Lawrence Barker, Health Director in September

Additional questions can be directed to Edward Rivers at 828-320-3068 or Denise Coiner at 563-324-4384.

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New Iowa Laws Aimed at Driver Distractions, Teen Safety PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Tony Dorsey   
Thursday, 29 July 2010 13:49

(Washington DC) -- Two new laws that took effect in Iowa this month are designed to make travel on that state’s 114,000 miles of roads a whole lot safer. While one change affects all drivers, both laws specifically target young drivers who are most at risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle crash.


The first law prohibits all drivers, regardless of age or license type, from texting while driving. Additionally, this law makes it illegal for teens holding a restricted driver’s license to use any electronic entertainment or communication device (not built into the vehicle) while driving; this includes, but is not limited to, cell phones and iPods.


Iowa’s teen restricted driver’s license types are a graduated driver’s license (GDL) instruction permit, GDL intermediate license, minor school license, and special restricted license.


The second new law requires persons under age 18 to wear a safety belt or harness, or use a safety restraint system, while seated in the front or back seat of a moving vehicle. This new law is in addition to the previous Iowa laws that require all drivers and front-seat passengers, regardless of age, to wear a seat belt.


In a new Two Minute State DOT Update video, Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Director Nancy Richardson tells Transportation TV that her department supports the new laws because, “Every injury inflicted or life taken in a vehicle crash is someone’s child, mother, father, sister or brother. No one should be injured or killed because he or she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt or because someone was texting or otherwise distracted while driving.”


(Watch it now: http://www.transportationtv.org/statetostate.html)


In the video, Richardson discusses the importance and specifics of the new driver safety laws that the Iowa DOT and their safety partners had been working for years to implement. “Law enforcement officials in Iowa now have two more tools to make Iowans a whole lot safer,” Richardson said. “We’re seeing the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities decline in Iowa, but we’re still not satisfied. We have a goal to reduce fatalities by 10 percent over a 10-year period and these laws will help. The bottom line is that - One Death is One Too Many.

Iowa is making the issue of driver safety a top priority. While the campaign against distracted driving is leading the charge, the Iowa DOT has also implemented projects to improve driver behavior through effective safety education programs.


“We know distracted driving is an important challenge for Iowa drivers because last year more than 6,000 people nationally died in accidents related to it,” Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said at a press conference rolling out the new laws. “Law enforcement will be offering warnings this year, but every Iowa driver should know there are real penalties in this law because keeping drivers safe on the roads is a priority of this administration.”

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2011-2012 CDBG & Gaming Application Release PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Alan Carmen   
Thursday, 29 July 2010 08:08

The Cityof Rock Island will make available applications for CDBG and Gaming funds on Monday, August 2, 2010. Agencies interested in applying for funds should complete an application and return it to the City of Rock Island Planning and Redevelopment Division by 5:00 pm. Thursday, September 2, 2010. Please note that late applications will not be accepted. Applications from individual households are also not accepted.

Last year, the City received $1,265,462 in CDBG funding. The City anticipates receiving a similar amount of funding for FY 2011-2012. The actual amount available will not be known until the Fall of 2010. Applicants seeking funding to support housing, neighborhood, and economic development activities are encouraged to apply.

This year the City is also allocating $50,000 in gaming funds to support non-City social service agencies providing services to Rock Island residents. This is in response to the continuing reduction in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to Rock Island, where we have seen annual allocation decline from nearly $1.6 million in fiscal year 2000-01 to $1.265 million expected in FY 2011-12.

A listing of the CAC Meetings / Public Hearing Schedule accompanies this notice. Please note that all CAC Meetings will be held in the City Council
Chambers, City Hall, 3rd Floor, 1528 3rd Avenue, Rock Island, Illinois 61201.

All CDBG and Gaming–related information including applications, Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting times, and allocation policies may be obtained on the City website at www.rigov.org under “Important Links” starting August 2nd. Applications will be available online in WORD and PDF format. Agencies wishing to receive a hard copy of the application or those with questions about the CDBG or Gaming process, may contact Trisha Griffin or Alan Carmen at 732-2900.

Completed applications should be returned to the attention of the City of Rock Island Planning and Redevelopment Division, 1528 Third Avenue, Rock Island, Illinois, 61201.

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Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action **Monday, July 26, 2010** PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by William Palmisano   
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 12:28

CHICAGO – July 26, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:

Bill No.: HB 3998

Allows Grundy County to establish an Economic Development Project Area through passage of an ordinance.

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 4821

Restores requirements that were deleted from the Election Code by 2009’s campaign finance reform law, allows the State Board to send certain notices electronically, and expands duties of the State Board of Elections.

An Act Concerning: Elections

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 4879

Prohibits ISBE from deducting pre-k students from the total number of students for purposes of transportation reimbursement, as long as the pre-k students are transported at the same time as other students.

An Act Concerning: Education

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 5006

Grants the Illinois Department of Corrections the authority to issue arrest warrants for any inmate who escapes from a correctional facility.

An Act Concerning: Corrections

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5154

Prohibits the disclosure of a public employee’s performance evaluations under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Action: Amendatory Veto

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5398

Expands the membership of the Veterans Advisory Council.

An Act Concerning: Veterans

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5444

Makes technical changes to the Criminal Code to ensure uniformity with the Illinois Vehicle Code as it pertains to vehicle forfeiture.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5838

Removes the explanation of Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) protocol and responsibility at an outdoor physical fitness facility when there is no building within 300 feet of the facility, but an AED is still required onsite.

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 5871

Requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to consider how gender impacts a prescription drug’s effect when the Department makes the determination to require a pharmacy to request approval for Medicaid reimbursement prior to dispensing a drug.

An Act Concerning: State Government

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5891

Codifies the expansion of the Breast and Cervical Cancer program.

An Act Concerning: Public Aid

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 5914

Instructs the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission to report on juvenile parole and clarifies the Prisoner Review Board’s authority to continue a juvenile on parole even if the terms of parole have been violated.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 5927

Eliminates a three-month waiting period for re-enrollment for insurance coverage under the All Kids program or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

An Act Concerning: Insurance

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 5931

Prohibits a law enforcement officer, State’s Attorney or other official from asking or requiring an alleged rape victim, adult or child, to submit to a polygraph examination or any other type of lie detector test.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 5969

Removes a requirement that a county pay for the issuance of a vehicle title if the vehicle is forfeited to a county under the Criminal Code.

An Act Concerning: Forfeiture

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 6006

Permits nursing home and assisted living facilities to request to renew a facility license for one year instead of requiring facilities to renew for two years.

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 6038

Extends the credit for affordable housing donations through the end of 2016.

An Act Concerning: Revenue

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 6041

Allows for the creation, re-creation, increase, and abatement of working cash funds and revises the regulations regarding how working cash funds can operate.

An Act Concerning: Education

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 6047

Expands the eligibility of the Alternate Fuels Rebate program to include conversion rebates for hybrid vehicles.

An Act Concerning: Safety

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 6153

Allows the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish a grant program to provide incentives for the dissemination of new energy technologies to certain entities.

An Act Concerning: State Government

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 6178

Authorizes arresting agencies to only pay an arrestee’s qualified medical expenses incurred prior to the transfer of custody to the county sheriff.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 6206

Expands the definition of an eligible institution where College Illinois! benefits may be used.

An Act Concerning: Education

Action: Signed

Effective Date: July 1, 2010

Bill No.: HB 6380

Expands the board of the Joliet Regional Port District by adding one member appointed by the Village of Romeoville.

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: HB 6450

Helps unemployed individuals whose driver’s licenses have been suspended for failure to pay child support by allowing these individuals to obtain family financial responsibility driving permits in order to find a job.

An Act Concerning: Transportation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: HB 6459

Bans synthetic cannabis, commonly referred to as “K2”, which is increasing in popularity among youth.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: SB 387

Requires the six constitutional officers, public universities, community colleges, and the Toll Highway Authority to annually report to the legislature the progress of efforts to hire and promote Hispanics and bilingual persons at the supervisory and managerial levels of State government.

An Act Concerning: State Government

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: SB 735

Increases the Fairmount Race Track and its affiliated OTBs state tax rate from 0.25 percent to 0.75 percent of the daily pari-mutuel handle.

An Act Concerning: Gaming

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 2350

Amends the property tax code to clarify the eligibility for the returning veterans’ homestead exemption.

An Act Concerning: Revenue

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 3029

Makes technical changes to the Criminal Code to ensure uniformity with the Illinois Vehicle Code.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: SB 3037

Changes the name of the "Ticket For The Cure Fund" to the "Carolyn Adams Ticket For The Cure Grant Fund."

An Act Concerning: State Government

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 3091

Ensures additional funds for snowmobile trails by raising snowmobile registration fees and mandates liability insurance coverage for snowmobiles with limited exceptions.

An Act Concerning: Transportation

Action: Signed

Effective Date: April 1, 2011

Bill No.: SB 3097

Requires smoke detectors installed after Jan. 1, 2011 which are hard wired into the building’s AC power line to have a battery or generator back-up.

An Act Concerning: Safety

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: SB 3222

Caps an Illinois-resident student’s undergraduate tuition in their 5th and 6th years at a public university at the amount paid by the class that enrolled one year after the student first enrolled.

An Act Concerning: Education

Action: Signed

Effective Date: July 1, 2010

Bill No.: SB 3305

Adds to the offenses which are considered “violent offenses against youth” under Illinois law and which require registration with law enforcement entities.

An Act Concerning: Violent Offenders Against Youth

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 3446

Delays the date after which tax year 2010 property taxes in Cook County will be deemed delinquent from March 1 to April 1, 2011.

An Act Concerning: Revenue

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 3666

Ensures that disabled veterans who qualify for the disabled veterans’ property tax exemption continue to receive it if they move into a nursing facility.

An Act Concerning: Revenue

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

Bill No.: SB 3699

Creates the Community College Transfer Grant Program Act to give grants to students transitioning from community colleges to 4-year universities.

An Act Concerning: Education

Action: Signed

Effective Date: July 1, 2010

Bill No.: SB 3705

Extends and expands – subject to appropriation – the College and Career Readiness Pilot Program for an additional 3 years to an additional 7 sites.

An Act Concerning: Education

Action: Signed

Effective Date: July 1, 2010

Bill No.: SB 3797

Amends the Criminal Code to increase the thresholds of various types of theft for which higher penalties can be imposed.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2011

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