Madigan investigation halted until after election
Earlier this week I updated you on the developments in the House Special Investigating Committee's inquiry into the conduct of Speaker Michael Madigan. Just a few hours later I was shocked to learn that the committee chairman has decided to postpone any further investigation until after Election Day. This is a grave disappointment to those of us who thought that Illinois might finally be turning a corner and making some progress on much-needed ethics reform.
This latest sad chapter began back in July when the electric utility ComEd entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney in a bribery scheme which implicated Speaker Madigan. The Speaker has not been criminally charged, but the House of Representatives began holding hearings into the matter, separate from the U.S. Attorney's ongoing investigation. After a couple of hearings and requests for documents, this week the committee chairman announced that the committee would conduct no further business until after the election. Speaker Madigan has not been called to testify in front of the committee.
The need for real ethics reform in Illinois is now clearer than ever.
October is Women's Small Business Month
This month is Women's Small Business Month and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is marking the occasion with a series of webinars to showcase the resources available for women-owned businesses. In partnership with the Illinois Manufacturers Association, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce and many others, DCEO is seeking to use this month to highlight ways for women small business owners to connect with both public and private sector programs to help their businesses grow, even during the pandemic.
Click here for more information.
Department of Labor reminds about grain bin safety
It is the time of year when Illinois farmers are working around grain bins, and the Illinois Department of Labor is once again reminding Illinoisans to exercise safety in these dangerous work environments. The agency reported that there were 23 people killed in 38 grain entrapment incidents last year, three of which occurred in Illinois. Already this year there have been 11 entrapments reported in Illinois with four resulting in deaths.
The Department of Labor is encouraging farmers to remember safety measures when working around a grain bin. For example, if it is necessary to enter the grain bin, first shut off all powered equipment and ensure that it stays off as long as someone is inside. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that anyone entering a bin have a body harness and a lifeline, and that someone should be outside to summon help in an emergency. Read more by clicking here.
How much do we owe?
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $8,368,091,960 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $6.3 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $137 billion.
More news from around the state
Latest Department of Public Health update includes deaths in Livingston and Vermilion counties
State Fire Marshal encourages safety in the kitchen during Fire Prevention Week
Heartland Community College continues recovery from cyberattack
Mating season means more Illinois auto crashes with deer
Food insecurity increases in Central Illinois
Community Action Agencies offering assistance in everything from rent, to utilities to shelter
For additional helpful resources, click here.
For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: coronavirus.illinois.gov or my website at repbennett.com and click on COVID-19 Info. Persons with coronavirus questions or concerns should call the statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also submit questions via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).