Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gov Quinn's Statement on Resolving Pension Reform Impasse

SPRINGFIELD – May 31, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today released a statement regarding the status of pension reform in Illinois.
“While this has been a productive legislative session, our work is not done for the people of Illinois.

“Many members rose to the occasion to take difficult votes to save our Medicaid system from collapse, enact retiree healthcare reform and abolish the oft-abused legislative scholarship program. But we have not finished our work to reform Illinois’ pension system, which is drowning in an ocean of unfunded liability.
“As I have repeatedly made clear, inaction on pension reform is not a choice. We must fundamentally reform our pension system and we must enact bold reform that eliminates the unfunded liability.

“We have made great headway on stabilizing our pension system and we are very close to a solution, but we are not there yet. Therefore, I will convene a meeting with President Cullerton, Leader Radogno, Speaker Madigan, and Leader Cross in the coming week so we can forge a pension reform agreement as soon as possible and return to Springfield to enact it into law.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Grab-Bag of Last Minute Legislation Awaits Passage on the Legislature's Final Day

Thanks to Our Friend Ryan Keith for this rundown....

Transportation funding -- The Transportation for Illinois Coalition is concerned that the House-approved budget includes no new bond authorization, which means hundreds of millions of dollars in new construction project funding would not move forward. There is a Senate Appropriations I Committee hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow in 212 of the Capitol where this issue will be discussed with IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider. We'll know more after that.

Eavesdropping -- HB1237 remains in Senate Criminal Law Committee. HB1263 is out of that committee and on the Senate floor.

Pensions -- SB1673, sans school cost shift, is back in House Personnel and Pensions Committee at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Enterprise zones -- SB3616 was approved without opposition tonight by the House Revenue Committee. We're expecting House and Senate votes Thursday.

Plastic bags -- SB3442 passed the House tonight and is expected to get a positive Senate vote tomorrow. The IMA and Illinois Retail Merchants Association are good sources.

Online lottery -- SB3497 passed the Senate today and is now on to the governor.

Voices for Illinois Children Announces New President, as Kathy Ryg Steps Down

CHICAGO – Voices for Illinois Children announced today that Gaylord Gieseke has been named the organization’s new president, effective June 1. Ms. Gieseke is currently Voices’ vice president. Kathy Ryg, Voices’ president for the last three years, is stepping down after more than 20 years in public service to spend more time with her family, including new grandchildren.

“Everyone at Voices is grateful for Kathy’s enthusiastic and effective leadership,” said Sue Irion, Voices board chair. “Kathy and Voices share a deeply held conviction to make Illinois a better state for kids. We wish her well as she embarks on new, personal adventures that allow her to continue to promote the values of Voices for Illinois Children.”

“Gaylord has played a key leadership role as vice president and is extremely well-positioned to step in as president,” Irion said. “She will seamlessly continue Voices’ important work of ensuring that all Illinois children are healthy, happy, loved, and well-educated.”

Gieseke has been with Voices for 23 years and has long served as vice president and chief operating and financial officer, in addition to previously serving as interim president. She has a state and nationwide reputation for her work on early care, education, and home visiting services for at-risk infants and toddlers. Gieseke is also known for her work on strengthening mental health supports for children.

During Gieseke’s tenure at Voices, the organization has achieved a number of important policy victories including: ensuring children access to quality health insurance and care; dramatically increasing funding for quality early childhood programs; establishing Preschool for All; and enacting the state Earned Income Tax Credit.

“I am honored that the Board has expressed its confidence in me,” said Gieseke. “I am committed to continuing Voices’ tradition of promoting sound public policies that make a difference in the lives of children and their families, and I look forward to working more closely with Voices’ committed Board and talented staff to make us an even stronger voice for children.”

“I would like to thank Kathy for her leadership. Throughout her career in public service, she has been a tireless advocate for children,” Gieseke said.

Under Ryg’s leadership, Voices successfully navigated the devastating economic downturn and remained a forceful advocate for investing in our children. She forged strategic partnerships that have strengthened and empowered the child advocacy network throughout Illinois. Ryg leaves the organization well-prepared to continue its advocacy on behalf of children and families.

“I am proud of Voices’ accomplishments during the last three years. It has been exciting and rewarding to work with such an experienced team of experts in policy, advocacy, communications, and community engagement,” Ryg said. “With Gaylord’s unmatched commitment to the well-being of children, I know Voices is in good hands.”

“While this has been a very difficult decision for me to make, I felt it was the right time both for me and Voices. I am looking forward to meeting the needs of my own family but will continue to be an advocate for Illinois children and families,” Ryg said.

As Voices celebrates its 25th anniversary, Gieseke and Ryg have worked closely with the Board and staff to ensure a smooth transition. From its strong foundation, Voices looks forward to another 25 years of accomplishments for children and families in Illinois.

# # #

Sen Radogno Comments Weds Evening on Developments in Passing Pension Reforms

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont)

“We continue to push for the opportunity to vote in the next 24 hours on meaningful pension reform that does not result in a multi-billion dollar burden on downstate and suburban property taxpayers and schools

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gov Quinn Condemns Passage of SB-1849, the Gaming Bill

SPRINGFIELD – May 23, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement regarding the House’s passage of SB 1849.
“It’s ironic that on the very day that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced his resignation, the Illinois House would pass a gambling bill that continues to have major ethical shortcomings.
“This new bill falls well short of the ethics standards I proposed in my framework last October. Most importantly, it does not include a ban on campaign contributions as lawmakers in other states have done to keep corruption out of the gambling industry and out of Illinois. Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and bordering states like Iowa, Michigan and Indiana have all approved such bans.

"It does not provide the Illinois Gaming Board with sufficient time to make critical licensing and regulatory decisions. This bill also does not provide adequate oversight of the procurement process. It does not ensure clear oversight of the proposed Chicago casino.

“As long as I’m governor, I will not support a gambling bill that falls well short of protecting the people of Illinois. It is clear that this gaming bill still needs significant improvement.
"Finally, Illinois cannot gamble its way out of our fiscal challenges. I urge the members of the Illinois House and Senate to pay close attention to the most pressing issues that we must address by next Thursday, May 31 –pension reform and Medicaid restructuring."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

President Obama's Remarks to Joplin's Class of 2012, on the One-Year Anniversary of the Joplin F5 Tornado

THE PRESIDENT: Superintendent Huff. (Applause.) Principal Sachetta. (Applause.) To the faculty, the parents, the family, friends, the people of Joplin, and most of all the class of 2012. (Applause.) Congratulations on your graduation, and thank you for allowing me the honor of playing a small part in this special day. Now, the job of a commencement speaker primarily is to keep it short. Chloe, they’ve given me more than two minutes. (Laughter.) But the other job is to inspire. But as I look out at this class, and across this city, what’s clear is that you’re the source of inspiration today.

To me. To this state. To this country. And to people all over the world. Last year, the road that led you here took a turn that no one could’ve imagined. Just hours after the Class of 2011 walked across this stage, the most powerful tornado in six decades tore a path of devastation through Joplin that was nearly a mile wide and 13 long.

In just 32 minutes, it took thousands of homes, and hundreds of businesses, and 161 of your neighbors, friends and family. It took a classmate Will Norton, who had just left this auditorium with a diploma in his hand. It took Lantz Hare, who should’ve received his diploma next year.

 By now, I expect that most of you have probably relived those 32 minutes again and again. Where you were. What you saw. When you knew for sure that it was over. The first contact, the first phone call you had with somebody you loved, the first day that you woke up in a world that would never be the same.

And yet, the story of Joplin isn’t just what happened that day. It’s the story of what happened the next day. And the day after that. And all the days and weeks and months that followed. As your city manager, Mark Rohr, has said, the people here chose to define the tragedy “not by what happened to us, but by how we responded.” Class of 2012, that story is yours. It’s part of you now. As others have mentioned, you’ve had to grow up quickly over the last year.

You’ve learned at a younger age than most of us that we can’t always predict what life has in store. No matter how we might try to avoid it, life surely can bring some heartache, and life involves struggle. And at some point life will bring loss. But here in Joplin, you’ve also learned that we have the power to grow from these experiences. We can define our lives not by what happens to us, but by how we respond. We can choose to carry on. We can choose to make a difference in the world. And in doing so, we can make true what’s written in Scripture -– that “tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.” Of all that’s come from this tragedy, let this be the central lesson that guides us, let it be the lesson that sustains you through whatever challenges lie ahead.

 As you begin the next stage in your journey, wherever you’re going, whatever you’re doing, it’s safe to say you will encounter greed and selfishness, and ignorance and cruelty, sometimes just bad luck. You’ll meet people who try to build themselves up by tearing others down. You’ll meet people who believe that looking after others is only for suckers. But you’re from Joplin. So you will remember, you will know, just how many people there are who see life differently; those who are guided by kindness and generosity and quiet service.

You’ll remember that in a town of 50,000 people, nearly 50,000 more came in to help the weeks after the tornado -– perfect strangers who’ve never met you and didn't ask for anything in return. One of them was Mark Carr, who drove 600 miles from Rocky Ford, Colorado with a couple of chainsaws and his three little children. One man traveled all the way from Japan, because he remembered that Americans were there for his country after last year’s tsunami, and he wanted the chance, he said, “to pay it forward.”

There were AmeriCorps volunteers who have chosen to leave their homes and stay here in Joplin till the work is done. And then there was the day that Mizzou’s football team rolled into town with an 18-wheeler full of donated supplies. And of all places, they were assigned to help out on Kansas Avenue. (Laughter and applause.) I don't know who set that up. (Laughter.) And while they hauled away washing machines and refrigerators from the debris, they met a woman named Carol Mann, who had just lost the house she lived in for 18 years. And Carol didn't have a lot. She works part-time at McDonald’s. She struggles with seizures, and she told the players that she had even lost the change purse that held her lunch money. So one of them, one of the players, went back to the house, dug through the rubble, and returned with the purse with $5 inside.

As Carol’s sister said, “So much of the news that you hear is so negative. But these boys renewed my faith that there are so many good people in the world.” That’s what you’ll remember. Because you’re from Joplin. You will remember the half million dollar donation that came from Angelina Jolie and some up-and-coming actor named Brad Pitt. (Laughter.) But you’ll also remember the $360 that was delivered by a nine-year-old boy who organized his own car wash. You’ll remember the school supplies donated by your neighboring towns, but maybe you’ll also remember the brand new laptops that were sent from the United Arab Emirates -– a tiny country on the other side of the world.

When it came time for your prom, make-up artist Melissa Blayton organized an effort that collected over a 1,000 donated prom dresses, FedEx kicked in for the corsages, and Joplin’s own Liz Easton, who had lost her home and her bakery in the tornado, made a hundred -- or 1,500 cupcakes for the occasion. They were good cupcakes. (Laughter.) There are so many good people in the world. There is such a decency, a bigness of spirit, in this country of ours. And so, Class of 2012, you’ve got to remember that. Remember what people did here. And like that man who came all the way from Japan to Joplin, make sure in your own life that you pay it forward.

Now, just as you’ve learned the goodness of people, you’ve also learned the power of community. And you’ve heard from some of the other speakers how powerful that is. And as you take on the roles of co-worker and business owner -- neighbor, citizen -- you’ll encounter all kinds of divisions between groups, divisions of race and religion and ideology. You’ll meet people who like to disagree just for the sake of being disagreeable. (Laughter.) You’ll meet people who prefer to play up their differences instead of focusing on what they have in common, where they can cooperate.

But you’re from Joplin. So you will always know that it’s always possible for a community to come together when it matters most. After all, a lot of you could’ve spent your senior year scattered throughout different schools, far from home. But Dr. Huff asked everybody to pitch in so that school started on time, right here in Joplin. He understood the power of this community, and he understood the power of place. So these teachers worked extra hours; coaches put in extra time.

That mall was turned into a classroom. The food court became a cafeteria, which maybe some of you thought was an improvement. (Laughter.) And, yes, the arrangements might have been a little noisy and a little improvised, but you hunkered down. You made it work together. You made it work together. That’s the power of community. Together, you decided that this city wasn’t about to spend the next year arguing over every detail of the recovery effort. At the very first meeting, the first town meeting, every citizen was handed a Post-It note and asked to write down their goals and their hopes for Joplin’s future.

And more than a thousand notes covered an entire wall and became the blueprint that architects are following to this day. I’m thinking about trying this with Congress, give them some Post-It notes. (Laughter and applause.) Together, the businesses that were destroyed in the tornado decided that they weren’t about to walk away from the community that made their success possible -- even if it would’ve been easier, even if it would’ve been more profitable to go someplace else. And so today, more than half the stores that were damaged on the Range Line are up and running again. Eleven more are planning to join them. And every time a company reopens its doors, people cheer the cutting of a ribbon that bears the town’s new slogan: “Remember, rejoice, and rebuild.” That’s community. I’ve been told, Class of 2012, that before the tornado, many of you couldn’t wait to leave here once high school was finally over. So Student Council President Julia Lewis -- where is Julia? She’s out here somewhere. (Laughter.) She is too embarrassed to raise her hand. I’m quoting you, Julia. She said, “We never thought Joplin was anything special” -- now that’s typical with teenagers. They don’t think their parents are all that special either -- (laughter) -- “but seeing how we responded to something that tore our community apart has brought us together. Everyone has a lot more pride in our town.” So it’s no surprise, then, that many of you have decided to stick around and go to Missouri Southern or go to colleges or community colleges that aren’t too far away from home.

That’s the power of community. That’s the power of shared effort and shared memory. Some of life’s strongest bonds are the ones we forge when everything around us seems broken. And even though I expect that some of you will ultimately end up leaving Joplin, I’m pretty confident that Joplin will never leave you. The people who went through this with you, the people who you once thought of as simply neighbors or acquaintances, classmates -- the people in this auditorium tonight -- you’re family now. They’re your family. And so, my deepest hope for all of you is that as you begin this new chapter in your life, you’ll bring that spirit of Joplin to every place you travel, to everything you do. You can serve as a reminder that we’re not meant to walk this road alone, that we’re not expected to face down adversity by ourselves. We need God. We need each other.

We are important to each other and we’re stronger together than we are on our own. And that’s the spirit that has allowed all of you to rebuild this city, and that’s the same spirit we need right now to help rebuild America. And you, Class of 2012, you’re going to help lead this effort. You’re the ones who will help build an economy where every child can count on a good education. (Applause.) You’re the one that’s going to make sure this country is a place where everybody who is willing to put in the effort can find a job that supports a family. (Applause.) You’re the ones that will make sure we’re a country that controls our own energy future, where we lead the world in science and technology and innovation.

America only succeeds when we all pitch in and pull together, and I’m counting on you to be leaders in that effort, because you’re from Joplin and you’ve already defied the odds. Now, there are a lot of stories here in Joplin of unthinkable courage and resilience over the last year, but still there are some that stand out, especially on this day. And, by now, most of you know Joplin High’s senior Quinton Anderson -- look, he is already looking embarrassed. Somebody is talking about him again. But, Quinton, I’m going to talk about you anyway, because in a lot of ways, Quinton’s journey has been Joplin’s journey. When the tornado struck, Quinton was thrown across the street from his house. The young man who found Quinton couldn’t imagine that Quinton would survive his injuries. Quinton woke up in a hospital bed three days later. And it was then that his sister Grace told him that both their parents had been lost in the storm. So Quinton went on to face over five weeks of treatment, including emergency surgery. But he left that hospital determined to carry on, to live his life, to be there for his sister. And over the past year, he’s been a football captain who cheered from the sidelines when he couldn’t play. He worked that much harder so he could be ready for baseball in the spring. He won a national scholarship as a finalist for the High School Football Rudy Awards. He plans to study molecular biology at Harding University this fall. (Applause.)

Quinton has said that his motto in life is “always take that extra step.” And today, after a long and improbable journey for Quinton -- and for Joplin and for the entire class of 2012 -- that extra step is about to take you towards whatever future you hope for and whatever dreams you hold in your hearts. Yes, you will encounter obstacles along the way. I guarantee you will face setbacks and you will face disappointments. But you’re from Joplin and you’re from America. And no matter how tough times get, you’ll always be tougher. And no matter what life throws at you, you will be ready. You will not be defined by the difficulties you face, but by how you respond -- with grace and strength and a commitment to others.

Langston Hughes, poet, civil rights activist who knew some tough times, he was born here in Joplin. In a poem called “Youth,” he wrote: We have tomorrow Bright before us Like a flame. Yesterday A night-gone thing, A sun-down name. And dawn-today. Broad arc above the road we came. We march. To the people of Joplin and the Class of 2012, the road has been hard and the day has been long. But we have tomorrow, so we march. We march together, and you’re leading the way, because you’re from Joplin.

Congratulations. May God bless you. May God bless the Class of 2012. May God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

President Obama's Remarks in Chicago at the NATO Summit Meeting on Afghan Security

FROM CHICAGO -- President Obama speaks to leaders of the 50 nations that make up the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan before a meeting to discuss the next step in the transition of power there—setting a goal for Afghan forces to take the lead for combat operations across the country in 2013 -- next year -- so that ISAF can move to a supporting role.

Governor Quinn Statement on House Vote to Abolish Legislative Scholarships

SPRINGFIELD – May 21, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement regarding the Illinois House’ concurrence with passage of HB 3810, which finally ends the troubled General Assembly tuition waiver program.

“Today is a good day for deserving students in financial need, and a good day for the taxpayers of Illinois.“There is no place for a political scholarship program in Illinois. As I have repeatedly advocated – scholarships, paid for by Illinois taxpayers – should be awarded only to those with merit who are in true financial need. Abolishing this program is the right thing to do.

“Thank you Leader Christine Radogno for your leadership on this issue. Thank you President John Cullerton for your move to abolish this program. And thank you, Speaker Michael Madigan, Leader Tom Cross and members of the House and Senate who voted to do the right thing and pass this long-overdue ethics reform. We need more bipartisan progress like this in the next 10 days to get big things done for the people of Illinois.
“I look forward to signing this legislation and focusing resources on programs that help needy, deserving students attend college.”

Gov Quinn Urges Swift Action to Fix Illinois' Medicaid and Pension Systems

Legislation Filed to Restructure Medicaid, with just 10 Days Left in Spring Session

SPRINGFIELD – May 21, 2012. With 10 days until the end of the spring legislative session, Governor Quinn today urged lawmakers to act to restructure the state’s Medicaid and pension systems. Today House Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 2840, also called the SMART Act, was filed to restructure the Medicaid system. The bill is based on the Governor’s proposal to save Medicaid, which is on the brink of collapse.
“If we do not address pensions and Medicaid now – before the spring session ends – our Medicaid system will collapse and leave thousands of our most vulnerable families without access to vital services,” Governor Quinn said. “There are 10 days left to do the right thing, and I urge legislators to act now in order to preserve both systems for years to come.”
The Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act is based on a comprehensive review of the Medicaid program conducted by the working group, which is comprised of members of both legislative caucuses and led by the governor’s office. House Amendment 3 to SB 2840, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), scales the program to fit existing appropriations through spending reductions, utilization controls and provider rate cuts.
Together, Medicaid and pensions account for 39 percent of state general revenue spending, putting a tremendous squeeze on the rest of the budget. Illinois is expected to end this fiscal year with almost $2 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills, caused in part by rising medical costs, increased enrollment during the economic recession and a deferral of $1.9 billion in last year’s bills to this fiscal year. Without immediate and fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid system, the non-partisan Civic Federation projects that Illinois’ unpaid bills will rise to $21 billion by 2017.
Illinois’ pension system is now under-funded by $83 billion due to decades of inadequate funding by past lawmakers and governors, and the promise of increased benefits without sufficient revenue to pay for those benefits.

Under Governor Quinn, as annual required contributions increased dramatically, the state paid exactly what the law required into the pension systems. The fiscal year 2013 payment of $5.2 billion, now makes up 15 percent of general revenue fund spending compared to 6 percent a few years ago.

Governor Quinn recently proposed a plan to fundamentally restructure the Medicaid system and save it from collapse by creating $2.7 billion in savings. The Governor’s Medicaid plan cuts waste, fraud and abuse; raises the price of cigarettes; and brings back dollar-for-dollar federal matching funds to help keep people healthier. The Governor also recently proposed a bold plan to stabilize the pension system, which is expected to save taxpayers $65 to $85 billion, eliminate the unfunded liability and allow public employees who have faithfully contributed to the system to continue to receive pension benefits.

President Obama Nominates Atty Thomas Durkin to US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today announced that President Obama has nominated Thomas Durkin to fill a pending vacancy on the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois.

“Thomas Durkin will be an excellent judge for the Northern District Court of Illinois,” said a spokesperson for Senator Kirk. “Durkin's outstanding legal experience and proven community leadership will serve the Northern District well.” Durkin was one of Senator Kirk's judicial recommendations submitted to the White House in July 2011.
“Thomas Durkin is an outstanding candidate for a federal judgeship in the Northern District and I am pleased that President Obama has nominated him today. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated strong leadership in his community and a solid commitment to public service. I will be working with Senator Kirk to see his nomination approved by the Senate,” said Durbin. Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, forwarded Durkin’s name to President Obama in 2009 based on the recommendation of a bipartisan screening committee chaired by former federal judge and Illinois Congressman Abner Mikva.

Thomas M. Durkin
Thomas M. Durkin is a partner at the law firm of Mayer Brown LLP, where he handles a broad array of matters including complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense. He was the Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee for nearly a decade. Prior to joining the firm as a partner in 1993, Durkin served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for over a decade. During that time, he served in numerous leadership positions, including Chief of the Special Prosecutions Division, Chief of the Criminal Receiving and Appellate Division, and First Assistant United States Attorney.

From 1978 to 1980, Durkin served as a law clerk to the Honorable Stanley J. Roszkowski of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He has received the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement, and the John Marshall Award from the U.S. Department of Justice. Durkin received his J.D. with honors in 1978 from the DePaul University College of Law, where he has taught as an adjunct professor and his B.S. with honors in 1975 from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Durkin lives in Downers Grove, IL.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Atty-Gen Madigan Announces Illinois to Receive $20 Million in Nationwide Settlement with Abbot Labs

Abbott to Pay $1.6 Billion Over National Civil, Criminal Claims of Illegal Marketing of Depakote Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined her federal counterparts, 44 other states and the District of Columbia in announcing two national settlements with Abbott Laboratories, totaling $1.6 billion, over allegations of illegal off-label marketing of its Depakote drug. Madigan said Illinois will receive $20 million under the agreements. In the first settlement, Madigan and the states alleged in a civil complaint that Abbott engaged in deceptive practices to market Depakote, which is FDA-approved for treating seizure disorders, mania associated with bipolar disorder and prophylaxis of migraines. But Madigan alleged the company deliberately opted to bypass the regulatory approval process and instead promoted off-label uses, including as treatments for schizophrenia, dementia and autism, when medical studies failed to adequately prove the drug to be effective for these conditions. Off-label drug use occurs when a drug is used for certain treatments and conditions that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved. In a separate agreement with federal authorities, Madigan and the states alleged the company’s off-label marketing resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health care programs. Madigan said Abbott improperly marketed Depakote for off-label uses in nursing homes and illegally paid health care professionals and long-term care pharmacy providers to promote or prescribe the drug. “Abbott made a deliberate decision to circumvent the regulatory approval process, opting instead to deceptively market Depakote for treating seniors with dementia and mental health patients despite a lack of convincing medical evidence for such uses,” Attorney General Madigan said. In the civil complaint filed today along with the settlement, Madigan and the states detail how Abbott allegedly conducted off-label promotions through a variety of deceptive practices. The company distributed studies that showed Depakote could be used to treat off-label conditions and instructed its sales representatives to draw attention to the studies. In one such study, Abbott sought to determine Depakote’s effectiveness to treat schizophrenia. The final results showed the drug was mostly ineffective for treating schizophrenia, but the company allegedly delayed releasing the negative results while it continued to promote Depakote for treating the mental condition. As a part of the civil settlement, Abbott has agreed to significantly change how it markets Depakote and cease promoting off-label uses, in addition to a $100 million payment. Additionally, under the settlement, Abbott is prohibited from making false or misleading claims about Depakote, and the company is required to ensure financial incentives for sales of the drug do not promote off-label uses. Abbott also must restrict other specific practices it used to promote off-label uses of the drug. The second settlement with the states and federal government resolves false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health care programs. As a condition to that agreement, Abbott pled guilty this morning to a violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. As part of this settlement, Abbott has agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture of $700 million. Joining Madigan in today’s announcement were attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. -30-