Representative Dan Swanson’s Capitol News Update
- Lyme disease task force working to educate Illinoisans about disease prevention
- September tax receipts go up
- DOC failing to notify authorities when releasing sex offenders
- Keep up with veto session news
Lyme disease task force working to educate Illinoisans about treatment and prevention
Lyme disease is a serious and often misunderstood illness that can strike anyone. It is spread by tick bites, but its early symptoms are similar to those of many other conditions, causing it to sometimes be misdiagnosed and not properly treated. Only when patients fail to get better over time does it become more apparent that they might have Lyme disease.
Several years ago, Illinois created a Lyme disease task force made up of public health officials and policymakers. Its purpose is to help educate Illinoisans not only on the dangers of Lyme disease, but also about ways to better diagnose it and even to prevent it altogether. During Lyme disease awareness month earlier this year the Department of Public Health (IDPH) shared helpful information with Illinoisans on what they can do to keep themselves and their families safe from Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. IDPH even has a tick surveillance map that can be very helpful in identifying the possibility that someone might be suffering from a tick-borne illness such as Lyme.
This task force has been an important and effective tool in our fight against Lyme disease. In the coming weeks I will be joining with a bipartisan group to bring more attention to the good work that the task force does and to the importance of its ongoing work to protect Illinoisans from Lyme disease.
State tax receipts up in September
The latest report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability showed an increase in tax payments to the state, almost entirely due to more receipts from income and sales taxes.
The state received $2.6 billion in personal income tax payments in September, an increase of $244 million from September 2022. Sales tax receipts were up by $44 million compared to one year earlier.
Other state tax revenues are declining or holding steady. Revenue from corporate income taxes was down by more than $100 million compared to a year ago, and utility taxes were also down. A long slide in cigarette tax revenue continued in September as Illinoisans move away from nicotine consumption or shift to non-cigarette products.
Audit: Department of Corrections failing to notify authorities when releasing sex offenders
The Auditor General has released a troubling report that finds that the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) failed to notify victims and law enforcement when releasing convicted sex offenders. Overall, the compliance audit included 46 findings and 40 repeat findings.
DOC is mandated to notify law enforcement when certain offenders are released from its custody, but the audit found that “the Department did not submit the required progress reports to the chief of police or sheriff in the municipality or county where the offender resides and is registered,” during the two-year examination period which ended in June 2022.
The audit also found deficiencies in DOC’s reporting of profits from commissary funds and failures to meet training requirements.
The Auditor General regularly conducts audits of state agencies to monitor the agency’s performance and compliance with state law, as well as to look for ways to improve services to taxpayers. Lately state agencies have been coming up short in audits, with the Department of Children and Family Services being on the end of a scathing audit last month and the Departments of Human Services, Public Health and the State Board of Education all coming under increased scrutiny due to recent audit findings.
Keep up with news from the fall veto session
Next week legislators will reconvene in Springfield for the fall veto session, the annual meeting of the legislature to consider action on any bills which the Governor vetoed over the summer.
Other issues which could, or should, come up include changes to the no-cash-bail law which just took effect, an extension of the Invest in Kids scholarship program, and review of the findings of the audits mentioned above.