Senate GOP Caucus criticizes governor

Claims disregard of important legislation

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[October 13, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Friday, the Illinois Republican Senate Caucus came out with a report highly critical report of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich. In the statement, several issues regarding the governor's actions or failure to act were brought up. Some of the most critical complaints by the caucus were the following.

Pharmacists stuck with bill for governor's failed health plan

The Blagojevich administration is forcing Illinois pharmacists to pick up the tab for medicine distributed under its embattled FamilyCare program.

The program has been struck down by two courts that ruled the governor overstepped his authority in advancing the program, which had previously been rejected by a bipartisan oversight committee. Despite failing to get the committee's approval, the governor went ahead with enrolling the plan's participants.

The courts warned that the administration's details on the program were disturbingly vague, and it couldn't identify which individuals had participated in the program and the status of the premiums that had been collected.

Following the rulings, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services began informing pharmacists that they must foot the bill for the medicine distributed under the FamilyCare program.

State parks, historic sites, still in limbo


On Oct. 7, the governor signed Senate Bill 790, a measure that included more than $200 million in fund sweeps intended to keep state parks, historic sites and human services up and running -- services and programs that had been slated for termination by the governor. However, he has yet to sign the legislation's companion bill, Senate Bill 1103, specifying how the funds should be spent. Both measures passed the General Assembly in late September.

Many lawmakers and government watchdog groups fear the governor's failure to sign the second measure is a sign he is playing political games with the funding generated in Senate Bill 790 and that he will try to use the money for his own pet projects, rather than the parks, historic sites and services lawmakers intended it to address.

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Bills hung up on petty squabbling

House Bill 5338 was passed unanimously by both the Senate and House to adopt standards and guidelines for school districts regarding the potential problems with Illinois children being susceptible to various food allergies. The goal is to protect these children from exposure to foods that can trigger a potentially deadly reaction.

Unfortunately, the measure got caught up in the three-way turf war that has consumed Illinois government under Blagojevich, Senate President Emil Jones and House Speaker Mike Madigan. It's one of more than 200 bills snuffed out in a fight over the governor's record of circumventing the legislature's rulemaking authority.

House Democrats insist on language designed to prevent the governor from overstepping his authority in creating rules to enforce the law. Senate Democrats have been equally insistent on giving the governor free rein. The result? More than 200 measures are locked in limbo because the party in control of state government is out of control.

Unfortunately, the fight affects real people with real problems, and in the case of this particular bill, it's the 93,000 children in Illinois who suffer from serious food allergies who are the real victims in the petty gamesmanship that preoccupies Blagojevich and his fellow Democrats.

[Text from file received from Illinois Senate Republican Caucus; LDN staff]


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