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Davis sponsors bill to reclaim unspent funds

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Authorizing spending is one of the chief powers of the legislature. The so called “power of the purse” lets Congress appropriate money to be spent by various agencies. These agencies then dutifully spend as much money as they are allowed. When there is a spending issue, it is normally that projects have overspent. But what happens in those cases when there is money left over? Where does the money go?

The answer is typically nowhere. Unspent money just sits waiting to be used. If the spending authority expires, then the money cannot be spent at all. HR 3 has identified over $15 billion in funds that either cannot be spent, or are not being spent.

Congressman Rodney Davis (R-13) said, “It’s just common sense that we rescind billions of taxpayer dollars that have gone years without being spent and in many cases can no longer be used because the authorizing authority has expired. An example of this is $523 million in energy loan guarantees program authorized as part of President Obama’s 800-billion-dollar stimulus bill that were not used and lapsed seven years ago.”

Sponsors of the bill stressed that it only impacts older appropriations and programs. It would not impact any funding authorized in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus bill. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated that the bill would not affect CHIP payments to states over the 2018-2028 period.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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UIS to co-host special Star Party viewing of the Perseid meteor shower

Francisco Saravia

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WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield Astronomy-Physics Program, Lincoln Memorial Garden, and the Sangamon Astronomical Society will host a special Star Party to view the annual Perseid meteor shower.

WHEN: Monday, August 13, 2018, from 8:30 to 11 p.m.

WHERE: Lincoln Memorial Garden, 2301 East Lake Shore Drive, Springfield

DETAILS: The Perseid meteor shower takes place annually in the beginning of August when the Earth passes through a stream of debris crossing the Earth’s orbit from the Swift-Tuttle. The 2018 shower is predicted to peak between August 13 and August 14.

The Perseid meteor show is known for producing more fireball type meteors than any other meteor shower. In a dark location on any given night, between 3 and 5 meteors per hour can be spotted. During the peak of a shower like the Perseids there could be up to 60 meteors per hour.

People attending the event at Lincoln Memorial Garden should park in the spaces just off East Lake Shore Drive. Observing will be done in Crawley Meadow across the street from the nature center. Attendees are encouraged to wear bug repellant, dress appropriately for the weather and bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

The meteor viewing may be canceled for cloudy weather. Questions about suitable weather viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 after 7 p.m. on August 13. Updates will also be posted on the UIS Observatory Twitter feed (@UISObservatory).

For more information on UIS Star Parties, contact John Martin, UIS associate professor of astronomy-physics, at 217/206-8342 or jmart5@uis.edu.

 

Source: http://events.uis.edu/2018/08/special-star-party-viewing-for-perseid.html

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Illinois Supreme Court rules city liable in trip-and-fall accident, could cause more suits statewide

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The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a central Illinois city is liable for a woman injured on its uneven sidewalks, a precedent that could affect cities across the state.

The state’s high court said the city of Danville wasn’t immune from a lawsuit a woman filed after she tripped on an uneven seam in a sidewalk there.

Barbara Monson tripped on the sidewalk in 2012 and sued the city for not fixing it. Lower courts ruled that the city wasn’t liable but the Illinois Supreme Court disagreed, saying laws that give Illinois municipalities immunity weren’t as important as the common law requirement for them to keep their property in working order. The Supreme Court said in its ruling that it is “the common-law duty of a local public entity to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition.”

Typically, state law grants cities a certain level of immunity from getting sued, which the two lower courts agreed with, but the Supreme Court said the common law responsibility for a city to maintain its structures was more important.

“I’m very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch Director Travis Akin, who says this ruling could open the floodgates to people seeking paydays via lawsuits with cities.

“This could expose cities across the state of Illinois to unnecessary and absolutely ridiculous litigation moving forward,” he said. “These communities could be nickeled and dimed with these small claims that may be more beneficial to just settle than to pursue in court.”

Akin said that this could affect an Illinois municipality regardless of whether or not they face a lawsuit or not. Cities that carry liability insurance could see higher costs of underwriting since this poses a new risk for a claim.

The opinion said that the city may have been OK had they marked the spot in the sidewalk as damaged.

The court sent the case back to the lower court to be decided.

Officials with the City of Danville had left town for a conference and were not made available to comment on the ruling.

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org 

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11th Street extension finally open

Thomas Clatterbuck

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It may have taken decades, but the 11th Street corridor is open for business. Reaching from downtown to the UIS and Lincoln Land campuses, the road is expected to make those schools better connected to the Springfield community. The corridor is much more than just a road. With bike lanes and sidewalks for pedestrians, it is open to various modes of travel.

The project had many supporters over the years. Senator Dick Durbin, State Representative Tim Butler, Mayor Langfelder, and UIS Chancellor Susan Koch were just some of the current leaders who attended today’s ribbon cutting event.

The corridor was initially proposed in the 1970s. Several speakers mentioned that the project took far longer than anyone anticipated, but no one offered a concrete reason as to why. Back then, UIS was still Sangamon State University and was outside of town. As both UIS and Springfield have grown, the perceived need for the corridor only increased. Fortunately, a long timeline did not mean a huge bill for the city. Overall, the city only paid for a small portion of the corridor. The federal government picked up $5.7 million of the seven million dollar price tag.

You can watch the full ceremony in the player below.

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