Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gambling Expansion Still on Agenda

There are a number of issues that will get attention from the General Assembly as the session moves on -- gambling expansion is one them.  Even though it did not gain much support in the last session, Representative Robert Rita (D-28th), who is sponsoring the gambling expansion package, said this is a way to raise more money for the state, which is facing a projected $6 billion dollar budget deficit next fiscal year.



“The state needs a revenue stream.  We’re faced with a budget gap…so I believe this could be part of the solution,” Rita said.  The package consists of two bills.  The first bill would add a casino in Chicago.  The second bill would add a Chicago casino and five others throughout the state, also slot machines at racetracks. 

Rita said he is optimistic this package will have more support, as compared to previous years, because Illinois has a new governor.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

How Usable is Illinois' Freedom of Information Act? The Fact & Friction of FOIA

Illinois Could Expand Number of Illnesses Treated by Cannabis


Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board
                      Reviewing 14 Additional Conditions or Diseases

                      First hearing scheduled for May 4, 2015

                      SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory
                      Board (board) is reviewing 22 petitions requesting 14
                      medical conditions or diseases be added to the
                      Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
                      Act.  After its review, the board will hold a hearing
                      on May 4, 2015 at the James R. Thompson Center in
                      Chicago to discuss and listen to technical evidence
                      concerning those 14 medical conditions or diseases.
                      The board will then make a recommendation to the
                      director of the Illinois Department of Public Health
                      about those debilitating conditions or diseases that
                      would benefit from the medical use of cannabis and
                      should be considered for addition to the program.

                      The 14 conditions or diseases for which petitions
                      will be considered are:

                      • Anorexia Nervosa
                      • Anxiety
                      • Chronic Post Operative Pain
                      • Diabetes
                      • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
                      • Essential Thrombcythemia with a JAK 2 mutation
                      • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
                      • Migraine
                      • Neuro-Behcet’s Autoimmune disease
                      • Neuropathy
                      • Osteoarthritis
                      • Polycystic kidney disease
                      • Posttraumatic stress disorder
                      • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome


                      Individuals who want to present technical evidence
                      about a petition being reviewed on May 4, 2015 are
                      required to file a statement of intent in writing no
                      later than 15 days prior to the date of the hearing,
                      or by April 18, 2015, with the Division of Medical
                      Cannabis.

                      Citizens can submit petitions to IDPH twice annually
                      – January 1-January 31 and July 1-July 31.  The board
                      will meet twice a year to consider those petitions.

                      The following are members of the board and the
                      experience they bring.

                      • Chairperson – Leslie Mendoza Temple - family
                      medicine
                      • Vice Chairperson – Michael Fine - registered
                      qualifying patient
                      • Marissa Arevalo – parent of a registered patient
                      under age 18
                      • Paul Bachmann – registered qualifying patient
                      • James Champion – registered qualifying patient,
                      veteran
                      • Eric Christoff – internal medicine
                      • John Knaus – Medical oncology
                      • Jacqueline Leskovec – Nurse
                      • David McCurdy – medical ethics
                      • Theresa Miller – Nurse
                      • Jyotin Parikh – pharmacy
                      • Nestor Ramirez - pediatrics
                      • Allison Weathers – neurology

Attorney General Madigan assigns teams to monitor Municipal Elections on Tuesday


Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced today that 170 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators from her office will be monitoring elections throughout Illinois on Tuesday, April 7, to ensure that voters’ rights are protected and polling places are accessible.
Madigan urged voters to call her office if they encounter suspected improper or illegal activity.
Chicago voters can call 1-866-536-3496 (TTY 1-800-964-3013).
Downstate voters can call 1-866-559-6812 (TTY 1-877-844-5461).
Attorney General Madigan reminded voters of some of their basic voting rights:
  • Voters have the right to vote if they are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m. or at any other time between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day (10 ILCS 5/17-1).
  • If a voter makes a mistake or “spoils” a paper ballot and the voter has not cast the ballot, the voter has the right to receive a replacement ballot (10 ILCS 5/17-11).
  • If a voter cannot read, has trouble understanding English, or has a disability, that voter has the right to request assistance from anyone other than his or her employer, an agent of his or her employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union (10 ILCS 5/17-14).
  • Voters have the right to take unpaid time from work to vote, but no more than two successive hours, as long as they have applied with their employer before Election Day. The employer may set the time of day (10 ILCS 5/17-15).
  • No one is allowed to try to influence a voter within 100 feet of the polling place (10 ILCS 5/17-29).

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