Civic News & Info
Weekly Video Address: Cameras Provide Public Access and Accountability to Federal Courtrooms PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:32

Advisory for Iowa Reporters and Editors

Friday, December 9, 2011

During his weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley discusses a bill he introduced requiring the Supreme Court to broadcast and televise court proceedings.  By allowing cameras in the Supreme Court, the American people would have access to a court that few have the opportunity to see in person. In addition, access to the Supreme Court through audio and video coverage would help provide the public with an educational experience about our federal judicial system and the laws that are debated before the court. Grassley is also the author of legislation to grant federal judges the authority to allow cameras in other federal courtrooms.

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of the address:

This week a Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing about public access to the Supreme Court.  In conjunction with the hearing, I introduced a bill requiring the Supreme Court to broadcast and televise court proceedings.

This new bill goes with legislation I’ve sponsored for more than 10 years to grant federal judges the authority to allow cameras in other federal courtrooms.  That sunshine legislation has been passed many times by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it’s passed with bipartisan support.

The Judiciary Committee also has supported broadcast coverage of the Supreme Court.  The bill I introduced this week was previously sponsored by former Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.  Just last year, the Supreme Court started releasing audio recordings of its proceedings at the end of every week, a step in the right direction.

In 1947, the Supreme Court said that what transpires in the courtroom is public property.  So, it shouldn’t be limited to the 200 people who can fit inside the chamber.

In Iowa, we’ve had broadcast coverage of the courts for more than 30 years.  The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court testified at the Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday about the success and value of this access.  He said that “cameras expose the courts to what they are – a proud institution of justice.”  In fact, for the Iowa Supreme Court, expanded media coverage includes not only traditional broadcast but also live and archived streams of all oral arguments.

I will work for passage of both pieces of legislation and complete access to the Supreme Court and the federal courts based on what President Lincoln said, that our government is of, by and for the people.  Today, the best way to make sure government accountable to the people is to establish access and transparency.

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Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Nafia Khan   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:18

**Friday, November 18, 2011**

CHICAGO – November 18, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:

Bill No.: SB 72

An Act Concerning: Insurance

Allows the state to issue revenue bonds to strengthen the Illinois Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF), avoiding federal penalties for businesses. Also provides for an average 16 percent unemployment insurance tax reduction for companies that have not laid off workers, and provides for increased unemployment fraud prevention.

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

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Grassley, Harkin urge Corps to factor in damaged levees in its water release plans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:52
WASHINGTON --- Led by Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, a group of 10 U.S. senators today called on a top official for the Army Corps of Engineers to carefully consider the weakened level of flood protection caused by damaged levees and other river infrastructure when deciding on water releases this winter and next spring.

In a letter to the Corps commander responsible for the Northwestern division, the senators said the Corps plans for an aggressive approach with winter and spring releases is encouraging, but that infrastructure damage also must be a major factor in the Corps management decisions because repairs will not be completed before possibly high water flows in 2012.    The reality of damaged levees means that water releases before March need to be above normal levels and that reservoir reserves need to be maximized, the senators said, noting the risk to communities and farmland.

Click here to read today’s letter.

Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Kent Conrad and John Hoeven of North Dakota, and John Thune and Tim Johnson of South Dakota signed the letter, along with Harkin and Grassley.

The Iowa senators are active participants in a Missouri River Working Group, which is comprised of the senators representing states along the river from Montana to Missouri.  Yesterday, the working group asked the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office for a formal review of the 2011 Missouri River flood and the actions taken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as recommendations for improving flood control operations along the river system.

In yesterday’s letter to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the senators detailed the record flooding that occurred this summer.  “There are varying viewpoints surrounding the recent flooding of the Missouri River. Various parties have suggested that more water than necessary was being held back in the upstream reservoirs.  Corps officials, on the other hand, contend that the unprecedented amount of rain changed their picture completely, forcing them to release record levels of water through the system.  Given the varying viewpoints on this issue, we are requesting that GAO examine key issues related to the Missouri River Flood of 2011,” the letter said.

Click here to read yesterday’s letter.

 
MADIGAN SUES AUTO PARTS COMPANY FOR DEFRAUDING CONSUMERS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Maura Possley   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:48

Springfield Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against a central Illinois company for selling consumers aftermarket auto parts online that were damaged, the wrong parts or never shipped at all.

Madigan filed the lawsuit in Macon County Circuit Court against Pershing Auto Body Parts, and co-owners Kevin W. Sliney and Matthew W. Sliney, all of Warrensburg, Ill.

“Anyone can set up shop on the Internet,” Madigan said. “That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’re working with a reputable company. Check to see if any complaints have been filed against the company with my office’s Consumer Fraud Bureau or the Better Business Bureau before making any significant purchasing decisions.”

Madigan said Pershing Auto Body sold car parts on third-party bidding sites, such as eBay, to consumers for prices ranging from $50 to $1,000. Her lawsuit alleges consumers who received wrong or broken parts never received refunds. In some instances, consumers never received their orders at all.

Nearly 40 consumers nationwide, including Illinois consumers living in Cook, Cumberland, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Kankakee, Kane, Macon, McHenry and Rock Island counties, filed complaints with Madigan’s office against Pershing Auto Body. In addition, the Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois has received 92 complaints. In total, consumers reported losing more than $14,000, Madigan said.

Madigan is asking the court to ban the defendants from the business of selling auto parts online. The suit also seeks to cancel pending contracts with consumers, obtain restitution for affected consumers and impose civil penalties on the defendants.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Van Hise is handling the case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

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HOTEL BLACKHAWK IS PRESERVATION SUCCESS STORY AWARD WINNER PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Glenn Kass   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:28

Historic Hotels of America recognizes “creative rehabilitation efforts”

Davenport, IA – Hotel Blackhawk has just been named a Preservation Success Story Award Honorable Mention winner by the Historic Hotels of America – a part of the National Trust For Historic Preservation. The award was officially announced Dec. 1st.

According to organization Executive Director Thierry Roch, the award exemplifies “creative rehabilitation efforts undertaken to recapture, promote and glorify the property’s original use in a preservation sensitive manner.”

This caps a year of recognition for Hotel Blackhawk. It earned a “Smart Meetings” Platinum Choice Award for 2011 marking excellence in service and amenities among meeting facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Then, management was informed it would be featured as a must-see destination in a book from The New York Times entitled “36 Hours, 150 weekends in the USA and Canada.”

“It’s thrilling to see the vision of Amrit and Amy Gill of Restoration Saint Louis and the City of Davenport rewarded by Historic Hotels of America, Smart Meetings and The New York Times,” said General Manager Tim Heim. “It was the vision of restoring a jewel which has been realized by me and my staff. It provides great satisfaction that preservationists, industry observers, guests and clients have recognized this gift as well.”

Hotel Blackhawk re-opened December 15th, 2010. The hotel retains its 95-year-old historic character while featuring modern conveniences throughout the 130 guestrooms and extended-stay suites, eight meeting rooms and up to 300-person banquet capacity in the signature Gold Room.

Other features include wireless internet, a fitness center, business center, swimming pool, hot tub, Spa Luce (lu-CHAY), Milan Flower Shop, the Bix Bistro restaurant, the Beignet (been-YAY) Done That coffee shop and Blackhawk Bowl & Martini Lounge. The hotel is part of the Summit Hotels & Resorts group (www.summithotels.com) and the Historic Hotels of America network (www.historichotels.org).

For more, visit www.hotelblackhawk.com or find us on www.facebook.com (Search: Hotel Blackhawk).

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