Is Saving Money and Jobs “Pay-to-play”?

Republican candidate Bill Brady has been creating a bit of controversy this week claiming that the recent no-layoff deal with AFSCME Council 31 is “pay-to-play” politics.

The deal, which you can read about here, was reached after fourteen months of negotiations. It saves the state 70 million dollars and thousands of jobs. That’s a 7 with seven zeros behind it. In return, there will be no lay-offs or facility closures through June 30, 2012. Exactly how much did Council 31 pay to Quinn for this? Zero.

How is this “pay-to-play”? Would Mr. Brady prefer to lay-off the new staff we desperately need or cancel the upcoming training academy class?  Would he prefer to keep paying $70,000,000 instead of saving it? Would he prefer to close the institution putting you, me, and all our co-workers out of jobs?

It’s NOT “pay-to-play”. For Brady it’s election year “politics as usual”. Give the media and general public a scapegoat to Illinois’ budget problem, which as a member of the state legislature he helped create.

Brady knows about pay-to-play politics. According to Illinois Statehouse News in 2005, Sen. Bill Brady received a campaign contribution from J.D. Stelle worth $10,000. Two years later, Brady awarded a scholarship to Stelle’s daughter.

Brady told members of the Civic Federation that the Governor should immediately reveal any campaign contributions received by the union. Let me help Mr. Brady out with this. You can find Governor Quinn’s campaign donations here. You can find Mr. Brady’s campaign donations here.  The differences between the two are clear. Quinn’s contributors include unions that represent average, middle-class people. Brady’s contributors include finance and insurance firms and Wal-mart.

Politics as usual.

Quinn extends no-layoff pact with union

Gov. Pat Quinn is poised to sign off on a pact barring him — or his successor if he loses on Nov. 2 — from shuttering state facilities or laying off unionized state workers for nearly two more years.

The agreement is an extension of a deal Quinn made with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 after the union won a lawsuit last year stopping the governor from moving forward with a series of cost-cutting maneuvers.

Nearly 50,000 AFSCME employees, ranging from state prison guards to mental health workers, are affected by the pact.

Read More: Quinn extends no-layoff pact with union.

As legislator, Bill Brady’s record is poor – AFSCME Council 31

With votes in favor of privatization and in opposition to workers’ rights and a decent minimum wage, as well as attempts to eliminate secure pension benefits for public employees, state Sen. Bill Brady’s 36 percent AFSCME voting record makes clear which side he’s on.

Though he’s been in the General Assembly since 1993, the Republican candidate for governor is not well known among AFSCME members outside his Senate district. On the other hand, Gov. Pat Quinn, Brady’s better-known Democratic opponent, has made himself well-known, if not widely popular, to the voters in general and AFSCME members in particular.

Quinn put distance between himself and public employees by signing a bill, which Brady voted for, that cut pension benefits and raised the retirement age for newly hired state and local government workers.

That makes a closer look at Brady important for union members, as they wrestle with the decision on who to vote for come November.

Read More:  As legislator, Bill Brady’s record is poor – AFSCME Council 31.

Union official: Quinn agrees to freeze retiree health costs – Springfield, IL – The State Journal-Register

Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged to not to increase retiree health care costs for the duration of the state’s contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to a memo by a union official.

The contract doesn’t end until June 30, 2012, 18 months after the next governor takes office,

But Quinn’s pledge is not in writing, nor is it linked with a controversial no-layoff deal the governor plans to sign with the AFSCME.

It is also not part of a Sept. 13 agreement under which the union has agreed to reduce health care costs by $70 million in exchange for the administration not re-opening the health care portion of AFSCME’s collective bargaining agreement, administration and AFSCME officials said Tuesday.

Read more: Union official: Quinn agrees to freeze retiree health costs – Springfield, IL – The State Journal-Register.

Behind The AFSCME Layoff Deal VIDEO | Progress Illinois

During his years in public service, Gov. Pat Quinn has generally kept his nose out of such shady dealings. But with a tight election a mere six weeks away, critics of the administration — including GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady — are crying foul over a deal the governor struck with AFSCME Council 31, the union that represents roughly 50,000 state employees. Do Brady and his cohorts have a case? Let’s look at the specifics:

Read More: Behind The AFSCME Layoff Deal VIDEO | Progress Illinois.

Beloit Daily News – Few women on death row

For the first time in about nine years, a case will be prosecuted in Winnebago County that could result in the death penalty.

But a death penalty sentence can be a tricky matter with unclear results.

Prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty for Katie Stockton, 29, of Rockton, who has been charged with 10 counts of first degree murder. Stockton is accused of killing her infant child referred to as “Baby Crystal.” The baby’s body was found in a garbage bag along a rural road in Rockton Township in 2004.

Stockton has not been charged in the death of two other infants, whose skeletons were discovered last summer in the trunk of her car. DNA testing has confirmed the babies were Stockton’s daughters.

The car had been impounded in South Beloit after Stockton was pulled over for a traffic violation.

Read the full article here: Beloit Daily News – your source for news, entertainment, sports, opinion, events, community, shopping and more > News > Local News.

One Small Patch Of Gubernatorial Common Ground | Progress Illinois

If there is one broad issue on which Bill Brady and Pat Quinn don’t hold totally incompatible views, it’s probably electoral and government reform. The two gubernatorial candidates filled out the CHANGE! Illinois candidate questionnaire and the coalition posted the results yesterday. Most notably, both support tighter lobbying rules, stiffer campaign contribution restrictions, and comprehensive redistricting reforms.

Still, they do differ on a few issues particularly important to progressive reformers. The Republican, for example, is undecided about whether the General Assembly should change where prison inmates are registered to vote. He also does not back public financing of elections in any capacity. Same-day voter registration, which is set to boost turnout by approximately 7 percent, isn’t on his radar, either. You can find the full results here.

via One Small Patch Of Gubernatorial Common Ground | Progress Illinois.

Earning Less With “Right-To-Work” | Progress Illinois

Right-to-work laws, on the books in 22 states, negate a provision in the federal Taft-Hartley Act that requires all new employees to join an established union after a minimum period of time following their hire. They also drive down wages. In 2009, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that wages for all workers were roughly 11 percent higher in union-friendly states.

Read full article here: Earning Less With “Right-To-Work” | Progress Illinois.

Stephen F. Eisenman, “The Scandal That Wasn’t or How Not to Reform the Prison System in Illinois”

As if Illinois didn’t have enough real scandals, the state’s political and journalist classes — Democratic and Republican — created another one out of whole cloth, and it’s a whopper. It has led to the firing of a respected chair of the Prisoner Review Board, the forced resignation of a newly appointed and progressive director of the Department of Corrections, increased sentences for thousands of prisoners convicted of minor crimes, postponement of needed reforms, greater prison overcrowding, and a further rise in the state’s already catastrophic flood of red ink. And to top it all, the ersatz scandal might actually determine who will become the state’s next governor!

Read the full article here:  Stephen F. Eisenman, “The Scandal That Wasn’t or How Not to Reform the Prison System in Illinois”.

People @ Illinois Springfield: Criminal Justice assistant professor researches prison recidivism among women

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Criminal Justice assistant professor researches prison recidivism among women

Why do some women return to a life of crime after leaving prison and why is there so little research on female offenders? Those are just some of the questions University of Illinois Springfield Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Juanita Ortiz is trying to answer.

Ortiz has been researching female recidivism rates in Oklahoma, which has the highest number of women behind bars in the United States. Now she plans to explore the trend in Illinois to see if women are ending up in prison for the same reasons.

Read full article: People @ Illinois Springfield: Criminal Justice assistant professor researches prison recidivism among women.