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Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action Friday, June 29, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:26

CHICAGO – June 29, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today acted on the following bills.

 

Bill No.: HB 1084

An Act Concerning: State government

Changes the Ethics Act in regards to appointees with expired terms, and requires that all Workers’ Compensation arbitrators be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 1390

An Act Concerning: Local government

Prohibits the adoption of municipal ordinances or resolutions restricting the placement, screening or height of antennas or antenna support structures used for amateur radio communications unless specific conditions are met.

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 1882

An Act Concerning: State government

Creates the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois to require the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to conduct surveys of businesses, and to develop a program between private businesses and universities to develop the skills of engineering students; also requires DCEO to post information on its website regarding the recapture of funds from recipients; and amends the Energy Assistance Act to revise eligibility guidelines.

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: HB 4139

An Act Concerning: Finance

Allows for the State Surplus Property Revolving Fund to retain $1 million instead of $500,000.

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

Bill No.: SB 2494

An Act Concerning: Transportation

Provides that the Secretary of State shall issue Gold Star license plates to all siblings of a person who has lost his or her life while serving in the Armed Forces (instead of to only one surviving sibling in the absence of a surviving parent).

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Jan. 1

 

Bill No.: SB 3385

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Allows additional time to submit applications to the Department of Professional Regulation, under a grandfather provision for licensure under the Electrologist Licensing Act (Act).

Action: Signed

Effective Date: Immediately

 

 

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Protecting ATF whistleblowers from retaliation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 02 July 2012 10:22

Friday, June 29, 2012

Grassley, Issa work to protect whistleblowers from retaliation at the ATF

Lawmakers ask Inspector General to take immediate action in response to job placement

WASHINGTON –Senator Chuck Grassley and Chairman Darrell Issa today asked the Inspector General for the Department of Justice to immediately investigate whether steps have been taken to prevent retaliation against whistleblowers in the Fast and Furious case by senior management of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in light of inflammatory comments by ATF personnel reported to the lawmakers’ offices.

In a letter sent this afternoon to Michael E. Horowitz, Grassley and Issa detailed hostile and extremely negative comments that were made last year about two of the main whistleblowers who testified before Congress, according to a direct eyewitness account.  Grassley and Issa said they have just learned that the two whistleblowers have been placed under the supervision of the ATF official who reportedly made the comments, Scot Thomasson.

Grassley and Issa said the fact that these alleged comments have been in public documents since May, and since the Inspector General should be “a firm, independent voice within the Department to protect whistleblowers from retaliation,” they’re asking the Inspector General to investigate how the ATF official has been admonished, how the ATF official was elevated and given such supervisory duties, and what steps are being taken to protect the whistleblowers from the campaign of retaliation the ATF official expressed a desire to conduct in his comments.

Click here to read the letter of request from Grassley and Issa.

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Grassley challenges U.S. Attorney to act independently, meet responsibilities in contempt case PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 02 July 2012 10:07

Grassley asks US Attorney Machen about independence in handling contempt citation

Senator says Deputy AG response is invalid without review of executive privilege claim

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley is asking U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. to explain whether he has had the opportunity to demonstrate the independence required of his position in handling the contempt resolution adopted yesterday by the House of Representatives, given that there has been no determination that every single document sought by the House subpoena is protected by the President’s claim of executive privilege.  Ignoring the contempt citation before even seeing it or reviewing the particular circumstances of this case would be a sharp contrast to the independence and integrity for which Machen has been praised by many in his assignment to investigate national security leaks that may have been politically motivated.

Grassley raised these issues and asked for responses to specific questions in a letter this afternoon to Machen.  Grassley’s inquiry follows last night’s letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives from the Deputy Attorney General stating that the Department of Justice would take no action in response to the House resolution.

“The Deputy Attorney General’s letter has put the cart before the horse,” Grassley wrote today.  Grassley also said that without a particularized description of the documents being withheld or a description of the documents over which executive privilege has been asserted, the U.S. Attorney cannot reasonably make an intelligent judgment as to the validity of any privilege claim and his duty to present the citation to a grand jury.

Last week, Grassley wrote to President Obama asking for a description of the scope of the executive privilege claim he made for documents in the congressional investigation of the Fast and Furious program.  He has not received a response.

Urging independence by the U.S. Attorney as the law and accountability in government demand, Grassley also wrote, “Your independence and integrity were cited as the reason that there was supposedly no necessity to appoint a special prosecutor.  This matter [the congressional contempt citation] gives you an opportunity to live up to that high praise and prove your independence.”

Click here to read the letter from Grassley to Machen.


 
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation Reducing Legislators' Compensation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 02 July 2012 10:02

Law instates furlough days, prohibits cost-of-living adjustments

CHICAGO – June 29, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law to help close Illinois’ budget deficit by reducing state legislators' compensation. HB 3188 will instate furlough days and prohibit cost of living adjustments for legislators. Governor Quinn cut his own budget by nine percent this year. This is the fourth consecutive year the Illinois General Assembly has voted to cut its own salaries.ll

“We must continue our work to restore fiscal stability to Illinois," Governor Quinn said. "Members of the General Assembly made the right decision to cut their own paycheck and share some of the burden that working families are facing around the state."

HB 3188, sponsored by Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Mount Prospect), was introduced to the General Assembly as a cost saving measure. Under this law, legislators will have 12 furlough days a year, forfeiting one day of compensation each month during the first 6 months and second 6 months of the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012. These furloughs are equivalent to a nearly five percent pay cut, which is just over $3,000.

“This eliminates an unnecessary perk for politicians when everybody else in the state of Illinois has had to tighten their belts and do more with less,” said Sen. Kotowski. “Thank you Governor Quinn for signing this legislation and taking another important step to changing business as usual in Springfield.”

“As we hear from our constituents, people are struggling to do more with less,” said Rep. Gabel. “And I feel it is important for the legislature to do the same.”

The law also prohibits a fiscal year 2013 cost-of-living adjustment for lawmakers. This means that legislators’ salaries for the upcoming fiscal year will not be increased to offset the effects of inflation.

After inheriting a budget deficit from decades of fiscal mismanagement by previous governors and legislatures, Governor Quinn has taken many key steps to restore fiscal stability to Illinois. The governor has reduced discretionary spending to below FY 2008 levels, and recently implemented new laws to reduce the Medicaid liability by $2.7B and save the program from collapse. HB 3188 is yet another cost-cutting measure that is projected to save the state around $1 million.

The law is effective immediately.

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Braley Statement on House Vote to Hold Attorney General in Contempt of Congress PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 29 June 2012 10:17

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement after the US House voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress:

“I opposed the contempt of Congress resolution today because I don’t want political games or partisan politics to stand in the way of a serious effort to find the truth.

“The best place to resolve this dispute isn’t on the floor of the House in an election year, but in a federal court where both sides can present their cases and the debate won’t turn into a political circus.

“I’ve been disappointed by the failure of both House Republicans and the Justice Department to find a practical way to get the American people the full details of this tragedy without compromising existing court orders and other national security concerns.  An American was murdered and we owe it to his family and the public to get to the bottom of what happened.”

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