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Senate Week in Review: Oct. 13-17, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Week in Review LogoMore clouds gathered over the Quinn administration as a result of a controversial home weatherization program, while a new report from a major bond rating agency offered a grim forecast of the state’s job creation prospects.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan legislative committee put the state’s hydraulic fracturing rules on hold for another month and the state’s Hospital Association has issued a fact sheet about the deadly Ebola virus.

Weatherization Program Scandal

Another Quinn administration jobs initiative is drawing headlines for wasting taxpayer dollars and failing to provide marketable job training skills.

This time, it’s the Urban Weatherization Initiative, started in 2009 with the intent to train workers in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in weatherization and other energy efficiency trades.

Coming just days after a bipartisan legislative commission took two days of testimony on Governor Pat Quinn’s failed Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a Chicago-based reform group is highlighting the failures of the massive weatherization training program that was supposed to create skilled workers and provide low-cost services to homeowners across the state.

Read the full weatherization scandal story

Hydraulic Fracturing Rules on Hold

Proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing, often known as “fracking,” have been put on hold until Nov. 6 by the bipartisan legislative committee that reviews state regulations.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules had placed the regulations on their Oct. 14 meeting agenda, but elected to push back any vote on the rules so that discussions can continue. The committee is charged with assuring that the rules adopted will reflect the language of Senate Bill 1715, which authorized hydraulic fracturing when it passed in 2013.

Read the full hydraulic fracturing story

S&P: Illinois last in Job Creation

A new forecast of state and local government credit conditions ranks Illinois last in the region for job growth.

The report, from rating agency Standard & Poor’s looks at economic growth by region. Illinois is included in the East North Central area, along with Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Read the full job creation story

Hospital Association Issues Ebola Fact Sheet

Although no cases of the deadly Ebola virus have been reported in the state, the Illinois Hospital Association has compiled a fact sheet on the disease and the risks associated with it.

In addition to the Hospital Association Fact Sheet, information on Ebola is available from the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Fire Truck Loan Program Accepting Applications

Loan applications are now being accepted for fire department and fire protection districts wishing to purchase fire and brush trucks.

Thanks to bipartisan legislation approved this year (SB 2690), loans will be available for up to $350,000 – an increase of $100,000.

More information on the loan program and an application form can be found on the State Fire Marshall website.

Chicago No. 1 – in rats

Pest control company Orkin has released its list of the 20 “rattiest” cities in the nation and Chicago beat out all others for the dubious title.

Or, maybe not.

The ranking is based on the number of rodent control treatments performed by the company during the previous year. While it stands to reason that the cities where the most businesses and individuals sought rat control are the cities with the most rats, it’s also possible that it just means Chicagoans are more vigilant in rooting out the rodents.

That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

At any rate, the top five cities after Chicago were Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco. While Illinois often loses out to Indiana in job-related rankings, Indianapolis came it at 19 on the list. Take that Hoosiers!

Seriously, the rankings serve as a reminder to home and business owners that fall is a prime season for rodents to move indoors.

Orkin warns that a rat can slip inside using a hole the size of a quarter, while a mouse needs only a dime-sized hole to get inside. They also warn that rodents are known to chew around smaller holes to make them large enough to get indoors.

Read the full Senate Week in Review