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Senate Week in Review: September 22 – 26 Print Friendly and PDF

The last day for those seeking licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis to submit their application materials and fees was early this week, while in other news Illinois continues to rank at the bottom of the nation when it comes to the state’s business practices.

Also, information from the state’s Dept. of Central Management Services (CMS) reveal certain state retirees will eventually see almost $60 million in refunded health insurance premiums.

Medical Marijuana Update

Monday, September 22, was the deadline for companies to apply for licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis under the state’s new medical marijuana pilot program.

Applicants for dispensaries were required to submit a non-refundable, $5,000 per-applicant fee, while those seeking to run a cultivation center anted up a non-refundable fee of $25,000; both were required to provide significant amounts of associated documentation. However the pricey fees didn’t discourage applications—state officials reported there were 158 applications for cultivation centers and 211 for dispensaries. Read more 

State retirees to receive a $59 million refund

Following a recent court ruling, long-time state retirees will eventually see a more than $59 million refund that had been collected for health insurance premiums following a 2012 law.

Prior to the 2012 law, retired state and university employees, judges and general assembly members with at least 20 years of state service received health care insurance from the state at no cost. However, state budget woes prompted the passage of legislation to rescind this free health coverage. The law allowed the state Dept. of Central Management Services (CMS) to deduct premiums from state retiree pension checks to pay part of their retiree insurance costs.

In response, retired state employees and their representatives took the issue to court, arguing that the change was a violation of their constitutionally-protected pension benefits. In July 2014 the Illinois Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs, ruling the law was unconstitutional and confirming the health care benefits must be protected. Read more 

Study shows Illinois is second-worst state for businesses

The nonpartisan American Economic Development Institute has released its yearly list of best and worst states in which to do business, ranking Illinois as 49th out of 50 states. 

The study examines 32 factors related to the states’ efforts to be “pro-business,” considering issues such as tax rates, workers’ compensation, and burden of litigation matters. Illinois scored dismally in many of these areas, receiving a failing “grade” in matters such as the unemployment rate, workers’ compensation, corporate tax index, property taxes, the state’s regulatory and litigation environment.

Illinois did score a “B” on matters such as average teacher compensation, cost of energy, and college-completion rates. The state also excelled in the area of funding per college student, earning an “A” in that area.  Read more