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Top Cops Praise Rauner; Homeschooling Up 50%; Durkin Pushes Term Limits

Top Cops Praise Rauner; Homeschooling Up 50%; Durkin Pushes Term Limits

(Chicago) – Governor Bruce Rauner on Friday signed bi-partisan legislation, SB 2407, that ensures that the Teen REACH after-school program will have a “statutory home” in state law. The measure aims to provide “clarity of intent and purpose for a program that is proven to boost graduation rates and significantly reduce crime,” according to state law enforcement officials.

“I am delighted that the Governor has embraced this vital investment in Illinois’ kids,” Peoria County Sheriff Michael McCoy said. “We have five Teen REACH sites here in my county, and I’ve seen first-hand the effect it has had on public safety. Instead of being out on the street during the after-school hours, exposed to drugs and criminal activity, teens are learning life skills in a safe place.”

McCoy was one of 119 Illinois law enforcement leaders who signed a letter to Rauner in support of the bill.

“Teen REACH is an asset to communities around the state,” said the letter, “and there is no doubt our law enforcement jobs would be even more difficult if not for after-school programs. If we don’t preserve and invest in these strategies, we’re pulling the rug out from under vulnerable kids. And taxpayers will pick up the tab later through the far more expensive criminal justice system.”

The new measure will help create a specific line item for Teen REACH in the state’s annual budget. In addition, it establishes the outcomes the program must address, such as educational performance; life skills; parental education; recreation, sports, cultural, and artistic activities; service learning opportunities; and development of positive adult mentors.

Despite the year-long budget impasse and the lack of a full-year FY2017 state budget, Quincy Chief of Police Robert Copley welcomed the six-month, stopgap budget deal approved by Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly.

“We are glad the stopgap budget has given us some relief,” said Copley, who also signed the letter to the governor. “The Quincy Teen REACH hadn’t received any state money for more than a year, and we had to patch together funding from other sources.”

The stopgap measure provides $13.1 million for Teen REACH for FY2016 and the first six months of FY2017. But law enforcement leaders want consistent, full-year funding to repair the “damage” done by the state’s budget impasse. During the budget stalemate, Teen REACH providers were forced to curtail their programming or close entirely. At least one out of every eight youths recently helped by Teen REACH lost access to the program.

“We’ve got to give these proven programs the kind of consistent support that they – and our communities – deserve,” Copley said.

The legislation signed by the governor was sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria).

HOMESCHOOLING IN ILLINOIS UP 50%: Jenna Morton, WQAD-TV… “Illinois – School districts across Illinois have been forced to cut programs and lay off staff. For weeks, some needed to figure out how they’d keep their doors open.  Our ongoing look at building better schools has some parents looking at an alternative, homeschooling.

[…]

Illinois has seen a 50 percent increase in homeschooling over the last five years. About 80,000 Illinois families now choose to homeschool their kids.” … Read more here…

DURKIN PUSHES TERM LIMITS, REDISTRICTING REFORM: Mike Mallory, The Herald News… “State legislators representing Grundy County held Tuesday morning a press conference in Minooka with Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Westchester, in a push to enact term limits for state House and Senate seats and to fairly map legislative districts.

Durkin was joined by state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris; state Rep. David Welter, R-Morris; Jerry Long – who is running in the 76th House District against state Rep. Andy Skoog, D-La Salle; and Lindsay Parkhurst – who is running in the 79th House District against state Rep. Kate Cloonen, D-Kankakee.

The group said that House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has rigged the election system along with Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.” … Read more here…

MADIGAN: LONG TENURE EMPOWERS HIM TO RESIST RAUNER: Amanda Vinicky, WSIU… “While leading Democrats were in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention last week … Republican Governor Bruce Rauner was holding press conferences exalting term limits.

“We need fresh ideas, new people, new thinking.  Term limits will get it done,” he said.

But the state’s longest-serving legislator — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan — says his lengthy tenure is beneficial.  It put him in position to serve as a check against Rauner’s controversial agenda.

”The ideas of reducing wages and the standard of living, hurting the vulnerable in our society. These are all extreme ideas. They have no place in a state like Illinois. There may be other states in the nation where they would welcome things like this; Rauner ought to go there,” Madigan said. … Read more here…

GOP CANDIDATE DENOUNCES REPUBLICAN MAIL PIECE: David Giuliani, The Times…Jerry Long, a Republican state representative candidate, is denouncing his party’s latest mailer that attacks his Democratic opponent, Rep. Andy Skoog.

“I am expressing my vehement disapproval to the party about this because the people of our district don’t enjoy negative mailers,” Long, of Streator, said in a statement Monday. “If it doesn’t say it came from me or my committee, then it didn’t come from me or my committee. I will continue to work hard locally and run a strong, clean campaign based on the truth.”

The Illinois Republican Party’s latest mailer depicts a grim-looking House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, moving a pawn featuring Skoog’s smiling face.” … Read more here…

BIGGER FINES LOOM FOR ILLEGAL GATE CROSSING: Progressive Railroading… “Illinois motorists who attempt to drive through a grade crossing when the gate is down or lights are flashing will see fines doubled under legislation signed last week by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Sponsored by Illinois State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) and Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), the bipartisan legislation was drafted to deter drivers who ignore signals and gates when trains are approaching a crossing, the lawmakers said in a press release.

The new law calls for fines to be doubled to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses of failing to stop at least 15 feet from the closest rail when an electric or mechanical signal device is activated or a crossing gate has been lowered, or when an approaching train is plainly visible.” … Read more here…

FRERICHS: MONEY LOST IN BUDGET IMPASSE: Kelsey Gibbs, WCIA-TV… “The state could have cashed in on millions of dollars, but instead, lost out on opportunities because of the lack of a full budget.

Treasurer Michael Frerichs is urging lawmakers to return in November to get it done. Despite the six-month budget plan signed June 30, $31 million remains the projection for missed earnings for 2016.

Frerichs said it’s money which could have gone to programs in need.” … Read more here…

CAUGHT IN THE NET…

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