Trial Dates Set for Four Defendants in Madigan Bribery Case
September 12 will mark the beginning of a trial for the first four defendants in the bribery case involving former House Speaker Michael Madigan. Defense lawyers had asked for a bench trial, but federal prosecutors have rejected that proposal, meaning the four will face a jury trial in the fall.
The defendants include Michael McClain, a former lawmaker and longtime confidant of Madigan; Anne Pramaggiore, former CEO of ComEd; John Hooker, former ComEd lobbyist; and Jay Doherty, a former consultant to ComEd and former leader of the City Club of Chicago.
The four individuals are accused of conspiring to bribe former Speaker Madigan by arranging for jobs, contracts, and monetary payments to many of his associates, including instances when associates performed little or no work.
Madigan and McClain were both indicted earlier this year on racketeering charges that include the ComEd scandal. Madigan has pled not guilty, but no trial date has yet been set for the former Speaker.
Senator Terri Bryant says the ongoing legal case exemplifies how badly Illinois is in need of stronger ethics rules for elected officials. Despite the recent spate of indictments, the General Assembly advanced no new ethics legislation during the spring session.
New Law Helps Schools Avoid Hiring Previous Sexual Offenders
School employees who commit sexual offenses against students shouldn’t be able to simply move on and find work at a new school. A new law aims to make sure of that.
House Bill 4316, signed into law recently, creates new requirements and systems for reviewing the employment history for all school positions that involve direct contact with students. This includes a template developed by the Illinois State Board of Education for entering and storing information on school employees and applicants.
The new law also creates specific provisions for how parents are to be notified when students are victims of sexual offenses.
The legislation was filed in response to a sexual abuse scandal within the Chicago Public Schools system a few years ago.
Fallen Officers to be Remembered at Capitol
Next week, scores of police officers from across the state, as well as many of their friends and families, will be in Springfield for a ceremony honoring officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.
The annual ceremony is held at the Illinois Police Officers Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol complex. The event will honor and remember those officers who were killed in the line of duty during the 2021 calendar year. The names of those officers will be added to the permanent memorial there.
Honorees this year include: Melrose Park Police Officer Joseph T. Cappello III, Chicago Heights Police Officer Gary Steven Hibbs, Illinois State Police Senior Master Trooper Todd A. Hanneken, Hometown Police Lieutenant James J. Kouski Jr., Cook County Sheriff’s Police Officer Allen Serta Giachetti, Champaign Police Officer Christopher Neil Oberheim, Brooklyn Police Officer Brian Russell Pierce Jr., Chicago Police Officer Ella Grace French, Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyler Nathaniel Timmins, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Ian Riley, and Bradley Police Sergeant Marlene R. Rittmanic.
The schedule for the day can be viewed here.
IDPH Warns about Severe Hepatitis in Children
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging parents to be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis, following three suspected cases of severe hepatitis in children younger than 10, potentially linked to a strain of adenovirus. According to the agency, one of those cases resulted in a liver transplant.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, and the symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice.
Adenoviruses are spread person to person and most commonly involve respiratory illness, though some types can other serious issues. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adenovirus may be the cause for these and other cases of severe hepatitis nationally.
More information is available here.
Bryant Hosts Coffee and Conversation Event in Columbia
Come out to the Columbia Public Library on Wednesday, May 11 from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. for a free cup of coffee and a casual conversation about state government!