Around Illinois – May 25

May 25, 2012
  • A different memorial for holiday weekend
  • Illinois Senate approves strip club fee
  • Gambling backers looking for support
  • Bag recycling bill will need recycling

Fraternity to honor long-missing founder in Rockford

Thanks to the work of a Chicago police detective, a long-missing founder of the first African-American fraternity at Indiana University will have a marker on his unmarked grave in Rockford’s Greenwood Ceremony.

The Rockford Register Star reports that Kevin Scott, historian for Kappa Alpha Psi’s North Central Province and Chicago Alumni Chapter, undertook a search for Paul Waymond Caine -- one of 10 founders of the organization 101 years ago.

Fraternity leaders had identified the burial sites of the nine other founders, but it took two years of extensive research by Scott to find Caine. He found Caine’s unmarked grave in 2010 and asked the fraternity’s national leadership to create a headstone for him. The request was granted, and Kappa Alpha Psi members will visit Rockford this weekend to honor their long-lost founder.

“Skin tax” would aid rape crisis centers

Proceeds from a new tax on strip clubs being pushed in Springfield would go to rape crisis centers throughout the state.

The so-called "skin tax" would require customers at strip clubs to pay an extra $3 at the door, unless the club pays a flat fee instead of collecting from patrons.

"I don't know whether we can get to a point in our society where we can just make it go away,” said sponsor Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, “and we can understand that violence against women at any point in time, is something that's an issue for all of us, it's not just a women's issue."

Hutchinson says the money raised would go to 32 centers ... 29 of which are downstate.

The measure was widely mocked when first introduced. But Hutchinson negotiated a compromise, and it passed the Senate 53-0. It now goes to the House.

Gaming supporters seek veto override votes

Even before the plan is debated by the Illinois Senate, some supporters of the gambling expansion bill are counting votes in case Gov. Pat Quinn vetoes the measure.

“I would predict that we'll have the votes to override the veto,” said state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie. The plan passed the House on Wednesday with 69 yes votes, two shy of the minimum required for an override.

Despite the governor’s harsh statement blasting lawmakers over gambling, state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan,  told theDaily Herald on Thursday that he'd still like to think Quinn could be persuaded to sign the plan into law if it makes it to his desk.

The plan still has to make it through the Illinois Senate in the coming days, and lawmakers would have a shot at overriding Quinn if the governor vetoed the proposal. It would allow for 1,200 slot machines at the Arlington Heights track, as well as new casinos in Rockford, Lake County, Chicago, the south suburbs, and Danville.

But Link and Lang said they still hope to have Quinn approve the plan.

“I'd like to put this bill in front of the governor and have him sign it,” Lang said. “I'm not looking to have an argument with the governor over this.”

Link plans to introduce the proposal for a vote early next week. “We're seeing more of a will to vote for this than we've ever seen,” he said.

Bag recycling plan has environmentalists concerned

You might think a plan to do something with all those plastic bags consumers bring home from stores would make environmentalists happy, but a bill to create a state-wide program for recycling plastic bags is drawing criticism from environmental groups.

Max Muller, Director of Environment Illinois, says he doesn't think the legislation – which narrowly failed Thursday in the Illinois House -- will help people recycle. The statewide standards would take away the right of most cities to place fees on bags.

Muller says there already are places in the state that accept plastic bags for recycling, and the proposed measure actually could make it harder for people to do the environmentally friendly thing.

"This bill is kind of a wolf in sheep's clothing,” Muller said. “It's billed as a bill to increase recycling rates, but it's being pushed by the plastic bag industry -- people who make money by selling plastic bags."

Retailers who use the bags and the bag manufacturers prefer statewide rules rather than a patchwork of fees across the state. While some cities in other states have voted to ban the bags altogether, this plan would force the plastic bag industry to create recycling centers throughout Illinois.

If it’s going to succeed, the legislation will have to be recycled.