Administration tries to take control from local school boards
The Blagojevich administration tried again to wrest control from
local education officials on the kinds of food available to students
in Illinois schools
At the Sept. 12 meeting of the Legislature's Joint Committee on
Administrative Rules, representatives from the Blagojevich
administration tried to revisit their proposal to limit the kinds of
food available to Illinois schoolchildren, despite the committee's
decision in April to prohibit the regulations.
The state should not mandate the kinds of food that schools sell
in their vending machines but should allow local school boards to
make these kinds of decisions.
Because the issue was not on the Sept. 12 agenda, committee
members referred the matter to the next meeting in October.
Final public hearing about tollway lease
A proposal to lease the state's toll highway system had its final
hearing Sept. 13 in Chicago, with mixed reviews on its future.
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The Senate Appropriations II Committee conducted seven hearings
this summer across the state to hear public comment about a proposal
to lease all or part of the state's toll highway system to
private-sector investors and what effects -- good or bad -- such a
lease might have on Illinois citizens.
Proponents say the lease will provide a huge financial windfall
to ease budget shortfalls. Opponents are concerned about how the
money will actually be spent and say drivers who use the tollway
system could be hit with higher tolls.
Retirement systems make progress in hiring
The Senate Pensions and Investment Committee conducted hearings
Sept. 13 and 14 in Chicago to assess the progress of state and local
retirement systems in hiring minority-owned and women-owned
investment managers and brokers.
Nearly all systems had higher minority- and female-owned
participation than one year ago, and all have recorded increases
since hearings began four years ago. The largest system, Teachers
Retirement System, now has more than 11 percent of its assets
managed by minority- and women-owned firms.
Sen. Bill Brady]