Plummer joins with Senate Republicans to push for anti-corruption legislative package
In response to the continued issues of corruption and ethics violations by lawmakers, State Senator Jason Plummer is joining together with members of the Senate Republican Caucus to introduce a package of bills seeking to root out government corruption among members of the General Assembly.
While Illinois already has some strong anti-corruption laws in place, Senate Republicans say many of them are rendered toothless because the appropriate authorities aren’t given adequate ability to investigate wrongdoing.
To address these shortcomings, the legislative package proposes the following enhancements:
- Senate Bill 4012: Allows the Attorney General to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict and prosecute bribery and misconduct by members of the General Assembly.
- Senate Bill 4013: Provides states attorneys with wiretap authority.
- Senate Bill 4014: Grants the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate members of the General Assembly without first receiving approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, and changes the composition of the Legislative Ethics Commission to make them all members of the general public rather than legislators.
Within the last year, a number of legislators have been indicted, and another is currently under investigation. During that same time period, the General Assembly hasn’t had a single ethics reform bill passed into law.
The Senate Republican anti-corruption legislative package also includes measures to ensure that legislators serve the public’s interest and not their own pocketbooks.
- Senate Bill 4015: Bans legislators from lobbying other branches of state government or units of local government for compensation.
- Senate Bill 4016: Creates a revolving door legislator-to-lobbyist prohibition for one year after leaving office, or until the end of the current term, whichever is longer.
- Senate Bill 4017: Prohibits a legislator from leaving office and continuing to use their campaign fund to support lobbying activities. Also prevents an appointee to a board or commission that is confirmed by the Senate from fundraising for or donating from their campaign committee while serving as an appointed public official
- Senate Bill 4018: Updates the Statement of Economic Interests to enhance the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.
Senate Republicans hope that the legislative package will achieve two main objectives: enhancing investigative authority within existing laws and ensuring legislators are serving the public’s interest.
Halloween Guidance issued by IDPH
As residents begin preparations for the holiday season, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has issued their guidance on Halloween festivities.
In phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, trick-or-treating will be permitted.
IDPH recommends those who decide to participate in trick-or-treating this year to follow these recommendations:
– Anyone participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy, should maintain 6-feet of social distance and wear proper face coverings.
– Consider leaving individually wrapped candy (spaced apart) on a table in driveways or in front of walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space where 6-feet of distance can be maintained.
– A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Ensure that breathing is not impaired if a cloth mask is worn under a costume mask. If so, discard the costume mask.
– Trick-or-treat in groups with household members only.
– Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be eaten until after handwashing.
Pumpkin patches and orchards are permitted to operate during this time, with IDPH reminding attendees to follow mask and social distancing requirements. Meanwhile, hayrides are permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity under safe social distancing guidelines. Haunted houses will not be permitted to operate under Phase 4 guidance of the Restore Illinois plan.
Click here to see IDPH’s Halloween guidelines.
Motorists reminded to watch for deer
As Illinois enters into the peak season for deer-vehicle crashes, motorists are reminded to be on the lookout for deer on the roadways.
In 2019, a total of 16,213 crashes involved deer in Illinois with more than 40 percent of crashes occurring in October, November and December.
The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are encouraging drivers to be aware of the uptick in deer and encouraging motorists to follow these steps:
• Be aware of your surroundings, especially in areas with deer crossing signs.
• Scan the sides of the road for eye shine – the reflection of headlights in their eyes.
• Slow down if you see a deer. They travel in groups, so more are likely nearby.
• Prepare for the unexpected. Deer may stop in the middle of the road or double back.
• Deer are adaptable and can flourish in rural, suburban and urban environments.
• If a collision is inevitable, try to glance your vehicle off the deer and avoid swerving into opposite lanes of traffic.
If you hit a deer, pull off to the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights and call 911 to report the accident. Drivers should not exit the vehicle to check on an injured deer or pull it from the road.
Livestock, poultry producers able to receive COVID-19 funding assistance
$5 million in business recovery funding is available for livestock producers and small meat and poultry plants suffering interruptions as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This funding if part of the state’s Business Interruption Grants program.
Online applications are available now through October 31, 2020 and can be found here.
Financial assistance will be made available through three programs administered by IDOA:
- Swine Depopulation Program: Covers the costs and expenses of swine producers associated with the depopulation and disposal of livestock due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency on or after April 15, 2020. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
- Agriculture Business Interruption Program: Covers monetary losses and expenses of livestock producers due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency during the period of April 15-May 15, 2020. Eligible expenses are costs associated with holding livestock (swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, lambs, poultry and meat goats) and livestock-related products for an extended period of time. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
- Meat and Poultry Capacity Program: Covers costs for operations and costs associated with facility improvements necessary to decrease or eliminate COVID-19 related slowdowns and mitigate capacity reductions. Businesses must have no more than 60 employees. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $25,000 for eligible expenses.
Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness month, dedicated to raising awareness about safe sleeping environments for children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is a term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation.
Each year, approximately 3,500 infant fatalities are attributed to SUID, with unsafe sleep being the leading cause of death for children one year old and younger.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is reminding parents and caregivers to follow the ABCs of Safe Sleep to help promote a safe sleeping environment:
· Alone—Babies should sleep alone in their own bed.
· Back – Babies should be placed to sleep on their backs.
· Crib – Babies should be placed in a safety-approved crib.