Gov. Pat Quinn today signed four consumer-protection laws banning false phone charges known as “cramming,” lowering utility costs, and helping resolve billing and credit issues.
“When everyday people work together for the common good, we can improve our state,” Quinn said. “We need to keep fighting for consumer rights in Illinois and ensure those rights are protected from those who would take advantage of them.”
The Illinois State Treasurer says lawmakers need to make some progress toward fixing the state’s budget woes, or he says the crisis will get worse. Republican Dan Rutherford was in DeKalb Tuesday to host a roundtable discussion about the state’s finances. He says he doesn’t expect much progress before the November election, although the state’s bond rating is suffering:
More than two dozen Illinois counties have received disaster designations because of the ongoing drought. And the state’s stepping in to help deal with the loss of crops. Governor Pat Quinn toured a farm in Jefferson County in Southern Illinois on Monday. It’ been hit hard by a lack of rain.
"They’ve never seen anything like this. We were trying to find an ear of corn. We finally found one. It was about four inches long and it looked like something you’d put in a salad." - Governor Pat Quinn
State and federal prosecutors are working together to fight a rise in heroin trafficking. Jack Riley is a special agent in charge of the field division of the Drug Enforcement Agency in Chicago. He tells WNIJ, communities like DeKalb and Rockford aren't immune to the spread of the drug, especially its use among teens. He adds it’s not just a problem in the city of Chicago:
As of June 24th, cigarette packs cost an extra dollar. Lawmakers decided the money should be used to help fund Medicaid, the state's program of healthcare for the poor, disabled, and elderly. The Department of Revenue limited distributors from stocking up on cigarettes before the tax went into effect. A judge eventually told thestate it couldn't do that, but one retailer says the damage was done. Taffy Robbins is with Discount Tobacco, which has 19 stores across Illinois. She says the state's limit was bad for business and customers:
State officials have confirmed that the Rockford west-side driver services facility will close once the lease expires July 29, and a new facility will open in September more than 15 miles away at 4752 Baxter Road along I-39 near the southern Winnebago County line.
Beth Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, said negotiations with the landlord over maintenance and repairs fell through.
Five retired state employees are suing over a new law that allows Illinois to begin charging some state retirees for health insurance.
The plaintiffs are members of the State Employees Retirement System who all put in at least 20 years of state service. Such retirees had been entitled to premium-free state health insurance, but Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law last month that does away with that benefit.
Rock, Green, Dane and Walworth counties in southern Wisconsin are among 42 counties where Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency due to drought or abnormally dry conditions from a brutal heat wave and lack of rain.
It's the first time such a declaration has been made since 2009.
"The lack of rainfall since May in the southern half of the state has hit hard in a crucial part of the growing season," Walker said in a statement.