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Illinois House gives PANDAS-PANS a code

Thomas Clatterbuck

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In its last day of veto session, the Illinois House voted to give a code to cover PANDA-PANS.  Despite its cute sounding name, PANDAS-PANS is no joke.  PANDAS, or Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, is a potential side effect of a normal strep throat infection.  During a strep infection, the body’s natural defenses hunt down the strep bacteria, which can mimic normal cells.  Sometimes, when strep mimics brain cells, that can cause the body to attack healthy brain cells by mistake.  The result is a sudden onset of conditions such as ODC or anxiety disorders.  PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) describes the same effect, but from any source, not just strep.

In July, HB 2721, better known as “Charlie’s Law,” required insurance companies in Illinois to cover the disorders.  Illinois was the first state to make such a requirement.  There was only one problem: PANDAS-PANS are relatively new disorders.  As such, there is no code for either disorder, so there was no way to bill for it or record that someone had it.  To fix this problem, HB 1277 allows PANDAS-PANS to be coded as autoimmune encephalitis until the disorders get unique codes.

Technical bills like HB 1277 often get ignored as boring or unimportant.  HB 1277 is only three sentences long.  But when it comes to keeping our state’s medial system on the cutting edge, small changes can be critical.

To learn more about PANDAS-PANS, visit the PANDAS Network.

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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Sports

Illinois bicentennial voters pick Wrigley Field as state’s best building

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Cubs fans win again.

Illinois’ bicentennial voters have picked Wrigley Field as the state’s best building over the past 200 years.

Wrigley has been open for nearly half of the state’s life, and the Cubs were lovable losers for about that long, too.

Chris Wills of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said people may be surprised that the Willis Tower or the John Hancock Center didn’t get second.

“Wrigley Filed was followed by the Dana Thomas House in Springfield,” Wills said. “But that’s not the only [Frank Lloyd] Wright house on the list. Voters selected the Roby House up in Springfield at No. 5.”

Wills said the rest of the top buildings were an eclectic mix.

“We had the Baha’i House of Worship up in Wilmette coming in at No. 3. That’s just a magnificent building that maybe not enough people know about, ” Wills said. “The Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, is near the top of the list. It came in at No. 4.”

Illinois is putting together a Top 200 list of the best people, places, and things in the state’s history.

Voters are choosing the best historic spots in the state this week.

People can vote and see the winners at IllinoisTop200.com

 

Article by ILNews.org

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Illinois Govt

Task force on sexual harassment gets heated as lawmakers grapple with process accuser says is corrupt

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Denise Rotheimer, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, and state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, talk about the legislative inspector general - Image by Illinois News Network

A shouting match broke out at the statehouse Thursday when a Chicago Democrat told a woman whose harassment complaint against a state Senator last fall was sent to an empty office that the woman didn’t do enough to make her voice heard.

Denise Rotheimer’s public outing of allegations against state Sen. Ira Silverstein revealed the vacancy of the Legislative Inspector General. She accused Silverstein of using the power of his position to harass her.

Rotheimer said the inspector general position has been undermined by lawmakers.

Julie Porter was named to the post, but her term is expected to end this summer. Rotheimer said by not having named a replacement, the Legislative Ethics Commission is violating the law.

“The Legislative Inspector General, required by law, shall be appointed in a joint resolution in the House and Senate,” Rotheimer said. “That has not happened.”

The vacancy was revealed after Rotheimer testified last fall that she filed a complaint against Silverstein to Senate President John Cullerton’s office.

Cullerton’s office forwarded the complaint to the LIG’s office, but the complaint sat dormant for nearly a year because there was no one in the office. Rotheimer’s case was one of 27 cases that sat until Porter was tapped to be the special LIG.

Porter found Silverstein’s behavior was unbecoming of a legislator, but said that he didn’t abuse his power.

Republicans said they’ve brought forward names for the LIG post, but those candidates haven’t gone anywhere.

House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, who sits on the Legislative Ethics Commission, called it a distraction.

“When there’s someone that’s suitable to the four legislative leaders I’m quite certain that we’ll be able to move forward,” Lang said. “But this is a red herring.”

Lang said Porter is catching up on dormant cases from when there was no inspector, and that Porter will take new complaints until a replacement is appointed. Lang expects that could happen in the next few months.

Rotheimer made her point during a House task force on sexual harassment and discrimination Thursday, where she also said she was told by Porter that accusers have no rights in the process.

The hearing got heated.

During Rotheimer’s testimony alongside state Rep. Jeanne Ives at Thursday’s task force hearing, Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, said Rotheimer did not do enough to bring her case to lawmakers before going public.

“If you wanted to come and complain about the text messages and the exchanges that you were having with the Senator, you could have done so,” Flowers said.

Denise Rotheimer responds to Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, during a House task force hearing
While task force chairwoman, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, tried to restore order to the hearing, Rotheimer and Flowers shouted over each other.

“I’m not going to be told by that Representative that I could have done something, she doesn’t know my situation,” Rotheimer said. “I never got a hearing.”

Rotheimer said she’s tired of victim blaming by legislators.

Ives, R-Wheaton, said the fact of the matter remains, accusers have no rights in the process.

“You have no right to even be heard,” Ives said. “You have not right to even know that your complaint was filed correctly. It’s outrageous and this is Illinois corruption at its core.”

Ives’ bill to give complainants certain rights in any filing to an inspector general overseeing any state office was tabled last week, despite several Representatives on Thursday asking to be co-sponsors of the measure.

Lang defended the status quo, saying ethics complaints shouldn’t be handled as if it’s in a court of law.

The task force also heard from James Stamps, director of the Center For Public Safety and Justice. He focused on fairness, giving complainants more of a voice and making the process more transparent.

Polly Poskin, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told the task force that more study was needed. She also said a helpline created last year should be available around the clock, instead of only during business hours on weekdays. Poskin also pushed for more resources through the Illinois Department of Human Rights to field such cases.

Task force leaders said they’re taking all of the recommendations into account before advancing legislation to reform how complaints are dealt with.

Ives has concerns.

“I have no confidence that this task force comes out with real legislation with teeth in it that protects citizens from their government,” Ives said.

Rotheimer has said she wouldn’t recommend anyone file a complaint with an inspector general because the process does not include giving complainants rights. She said people should find other avenues, including making accusations public, instead.

Denise Rotheimer, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, and state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, talk about the legislative inspector general – Video and Article by Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network – ILNews.org

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2018 Election

With union backing, McCann joins race for Illinois governor

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Sen. Sam McCann and Family in photo from his official YouTube page.

Illinois state Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, announced Thursday that he plans run as a third-party candidate for governor – a move that likely would siphon votes from incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The first-term governor is widely viewed as an underdog in the race for the state’s highest office against billionaire J.B. Pritzker. McCann’s campaign with the Conservative Party stands to draw votes away from Rauner, who has alienated many conservative voters. Rauner narrowly defeated state Rep. Jeanne Ives in the Republican primary last month.

“When I announced I was not going to run for Senate, I said the Republican Party under Rauner was unrecognizable to me,” McCann said in a statement. “Rauner has smeared the reputations of proven conservatives and abandoned the principles that millions of Illinois’ working families hold dear: economic liberty, traditional values, and law and order.”

McCann, first elected in 2010, is known for bucking his party and siding with Democrats. His state Senate campaign has accepted more than $100,000 from union groups in recent months. International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 gave the campaign $50,000 this week.

Rauner touts that he has never accepted union donations.

Local 150 has given money to Republicans in the past, but more commonly supports Democrats.

In a campaign video released Thursday morning, McCann blames Rauner and Chicago Democrats for high taxes and corruption in the state.

“As conservatives, we believe that you can’t spend money that you don’t have,” McCann said. “As your governor, I will work with the General Assembly to appeal Rauner’s tax increase.”

Rauner vetoed the $5 billion tax increase. A group of Republicans joined Democrats in 2017 to override Rauner’s veto. The move raised the state’s personal income tax rate to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent and the corporate rate to 7 percent from 5.25 percent.

Republicans, including Rauner’s campaign, are bashing McCann for using union donations to try and spoil the matchup between Pritzker and the incumbent Republican.

Rauner’s campaign dismissed McCann’s bid as self serving.

“Sam McCann is the worst kind of political opportunist who is only running for governor to line his own pockets,” Rauner campaign spokesman Will Allison said in a statement. “McCann’s unethical record speaks for itself: he failed to pay his taxes, racked up massive debts, lied about serving in the Marine Corps, and used his campaign account as a personal piggy bank, even buying himself an SUV. Public service should not be for personal gain and Sam McCann’s new ‘campaign’ is just a thinly veiled attempt to profit off of politics.”

Rauner is in Germany on a business-courting trip.

Pritzker welcomed McCann’s candidacy.

“I welcome another voice to the race for governor at this critical time for our state,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Bruce Rauner is a failed governor who has done untold damage to communities throughout Illinois, and people from across the political spectrum are ready for change.”

Pritzker is running on implementing a progressive income tax that could increase taxes on many Illinoisans. He’s not saying what rates he seeks to impose on which income brackets.

McCann also resigned from the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus.

McCann has sided with Democrats and public unions in attempts to grow the size of government several times, most notably in a 2016 attempt to override Rauner’s veto of a union-supported arbitration bill that would have placed labor negotiations between the state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, it’s largest public union, into the hands of an arbitrator. The veto was narrowly upheld in the House.

Rauner had fought the bill, saying it would have removed his ability to negotiate a better deal for taxpayers.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, disputed McCann’s conservative credentials.

“The Illinois Republican Party didn’t leave Sam McCann,” Brady said in a Tweet on Thursday. “He left the Republican Party with his lockstep votes to support Mike Madigan’s agenda of unbalanced budgets and putting the interests of public sector unions ahead of Illinois taxpayers.”

The Democratic Governors Association said Thursday in a release that voters who supported Rauner’s conservative primary challenger, Rep. Jeanne Ives, now have another conservative choice.

Ives declined to respond to the comment. The election is Nov. 6th

Article by the Illinois News Network, for more INN News visit ILnews.org

 

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