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Illinois taxpayers to wait a month for state tax refunds

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You can file your Illinois tax return now, but it’s going to be a while before you get your refund.

The state of Illinois started accepting tax returns on Monday, the same day as the federal government. But Terry Horstman with the Illinois Department of Revenue says it’s going to take some time for the state to start sending out any refunds.

“The Department of Revenue is continuing with its fraud prevention measures,” Horstman said. “We anticipate direct deposit refunds will be issued four weeks from the time that an error-free, electronically filed return was submitted.”

Horstman said “error-free” is the key phrase.

He said electronic tax returns will be processed faster. Most Illinois taxpayers file online, though some still use pen and paper.

“Eighty-four percent of state of Illinois taxpayers file electronically,” Horstman said. “So there are 16 percent of people out there who prefer the paper method. And the department does accept paper. It will take a longer processing time, as the department will have to individually handle each of those returns.”

If you will have to pay the government this year, taxes are due April 17.

 

Article By Benjamin Yount. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org 

Illinois News Network, publisher of ILNews.org, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media company dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility in the state of Illinois. INN is Illinois’ pioneering non-profit news brand, offering content from the statehouse and beyond to Illinoisans through their local media of choice and from their digital hub at ILNews.org. Springfield Daily was granted republishing permission by INN.

State

Former Madigan employee says House speaker covered up harassment complaint, retaliated against her

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The woman who made sexual harassment allegations against a high-ranking member of House Speaker Mike Madigan’s political organization is accusing the speaker of covering it up.

Alaina Hampton was employed with Madigan’s campaign committee and the Democratic Party of Illinois. She was supervised by Kevin Quinn, who has worked with Madigan’s political committees and state government office for two decades. Hampton alleges Quinn harassed her throughout the 2016 election cycle through a series of text messages. Hampton says she asked Quinn multiple times to stop making unwanted advances over many months, but he did not.

The text messages, shared with the Chicago Tribune, “detail a relentless series of entreaties” from Quinn asking Hampton to go out with him, the Tribune reported. In one text, he called her “smoking hot.”

At a Tuesday news conference in Chicago, Hampton said she filed a complaint about Kevin Quinn’s harassment with 13th Ward Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn, Kevin’s brother and one of Madigan’s top political lieutenants, in February 2017, but nothing was done.

In a statement, Marty Quinn said, “I immediately met with Kevin and told him to stop all communication with Ms. Hampton. I advised him that such behavior would not be tolerated, and that any further communication with Ms. Hampton would result in immediate termination. He was remorseful and acknowledged his poor judgment.”

But Kevin Quinn remained employed.

“Distressed by the Democratic Party’s lack of response to her complaint, and the prospect of having to continue to work with Kevin Quinn, she quit her employment with Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the Illinois Democratic Party in April 2017,” a statement released by Hampton and her attorneys says.

Hampton said she feels there was a cover up because she sent Madigan a private letter to his home in November 2017 about the issue after not getting any relief through other channels. But no action was taken on Kevin Quinn’s employment until Monday, a day after Hampton told the Chicago Tribune her story.

“It doesn’t take three months to read those text messages and know that that behavior was inappropriate,” Hampton said at a Tuesday news conference in Chicago. “It would take all of 20 minutes to know that that was sexual harassment.”

Hampton said she felt Madigan and others covered up her complaint and Kevin Quinn would still be in his job if she hadn’t gone to the media. Madigan’s Monday news release announcing his termination was “pre-emeptive,” she said, because the longtime House speaker knew the Tribune story was about to be published.

“They thought that I was too loyal to ever come forward,” she said.

Hampton’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin, said Tuesday that action should have been taken the second Hampton’s allegations became clear.

“At a minimum there should be an investigation by an independent party, usually an outside law firm, to investigate whether there’s any truth,” Kulwin said. “That’s what every credible organization does.”

Before resigning, Hampton said she still had hopes of working with the Democratic Party, and in particular on the House seat being vacated by state Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, who is running for lieutenant governor. But Hampton said she was told Democratic resources were not being sent to the seat.

“That same morning I had gotten a text message from a Democratic Party staffer that said a Democratic Party staffer was being sent to that race that very same day,” Hampton said. She said she felt she was being retaliated against for bringing her complaint forward.

Hampton also has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After an initial investigation, Hampton and her attorneys said they will seek to file a lawsuit against the Illinois Democratic Party and Friends of Mike Madigan, for whom Hampton worked.

Lorna Brett, former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women, is now advocating on Hampton’s behalf.

“Madigan simultaneously fast tracked legislation to eradicate sexual harassment in Illinois politics and killed the political career of Alaina Hampton for reporting sexual harassment in his own organization,” Brett said in a news release.

Madigan and other lawmakers late last year scrambled to address other sexual harassment allegations made in the wake of the nationwide #MeToo movement, including the revelation that more than two dozen complaints went un-investigated because the Legislative Inspector General position went unfilled for years.

Article by Greg Bishop & Dan McCaleb For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org

 

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Illinois Govt

Top Madigan political aide fired over sexual harassment allegations

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File image courtesy of BlueRoomStream

A high-ranking member of House Speaker Mike Madigan’s political organization has been fired after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations, Madigan said Monday.

Kevin Quinn, who’s worked with Madigan’s political committees for nearly 20 years and previously worked in the House speaker’s state government office, was let go for engaging in “inappropriate conduct.”

“In November, a courageous woman made me aware that a high-ranking individual within my political operation had previously made unwanted advances and sent her inappropriate text messages,” Madigan said in a prepared statement. “I immediately consulted with my attorney, Heather Wier Vaught, and directed her to conduct a thorough investigation. Ms. Wier Vaught conducted numerous interviews, reviewed the evidence, and recently came to the conclusion that the individual engaged in inappropriate conduct and failed to exercise the professional judgment I expect of those affiliated with my political organizations and the Office of the Speaker.”

Quinn also pleaded guilty recently to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, according to the statement. He is the brother of 13th Ward Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn, one of Madigan’s top political lieutenants.

“Based on the culmination of events, Alderman Marty Quinn and I decided that Kevin should no longer be affiliated with the political organization,” Madigan said in the statement.

Madigan’s office said this is the only allegation of harassment made against Kevin Quinn.

Following her investigation, Wier Vaught “made several recommendations aimed at preventing inappropriate behavior and improving methods for reporting and responding to such allegations,” Madigan said. “My political committees are actively taking steps to implement those recommendations.”

 

For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org

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Illinois gun rights group has other gun free zones in sights to be shot down

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Thomas R. Machnitzki | Wikimedia via Creative Commons

More gun free zones are in the sights of gun rights activists after the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously shot down one around public parks.

Last week’s ruling from the state’s highest court centered around Julio Chairez, who was charged criminally for having a concealed weapon within 1,000 feet of Virgil Gilman Trail in Aurora.

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson praised the 7-0 ruling against the 1,000 foot barrier around public parks in state law. He agreed with the court that it was too burdensome for law-abiding citizens to navigate where they could or could not carry a firearm for protection, especially in Chicago, where there are 600 parks.

“There’s actually no place you can go in parts of Chicago that you can be a gun owner and even drive through the place,” Person said.

The ruling written by Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier said “the most troubling aspect [of the 1,000 feet ban] is the lack of any notification where the 1,000-foot restriction zone starts and where it would end,” the ruling said. “Innocent behavior could swiftly be transformed into culpable conduct if an individual unknowingly crosses into a firearm restriction zone.”

Karmeir’s opinion said the state “conceded that an individual who lives within 1,000 feet of a public park would violate [the law] every time that individual possessed a firearm for self-defense and walked to his or her vehicle parked on a public street.

“To remain in compliance with the law, the State said that the individual would need to disassemble his or her firearm and place it in a case before entering the restricted zone,” the ruling said. “This requirement, however, renders the ability to defend oneself inoperable and is in direct contradiction” with other cases.

There are 23 different areas in Illinois you can’t carry a firearm in Illinois by law, even if you have a concealed carry permit, Pearson said.

“Like schools, like libraries, other 1,000 foot zones,” he said. “And I imagine that those are all going to be declared unconstitutional in a certain amount of time.”

But, Pearson said, there’s just one problem. Someone will have to be charged with violating the law to challenge it.

“We just have to wait for the right case to show up and see what happens,” Pearson said. “Nobody wants to be the guinea pig on purpose.”

The state’s argument in favor of the ban was it was for public health. The unanimous decision said that argument lacked any valid explanation of how the law would achieve that goal and doesn’t survive the heightened scrutiny that applies to burdening Second Amendment rights.

Article By Greg Bishop. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org

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