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From Sen. Bill Brady

[SEPT. 23, 2006]  The following is a column provided by state Sen. Bill Brady, District 44:

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.

[Column from Sen. Bill Brady]


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