Over the past several months, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Governor Pat Quinn of Chicago’s push to close Tamms Correctional Center in Southern Illinois, which would endanger prison workers and push up the unemployment rate in an already struggling Southern Illinois county.  This week we’ve had some good news about Tamms.

We learned that the governor has indefinitely put on hold closing Tamms and other state prisons because of ongoing labor disputes about the issue.  He originally hoped to close the prison by the end of August, but a judge ordered him to stop moving inmates until the union’s lawsuit is resolved.  The governor has finally given in to reason and admitted that he can’t transfer or layoff workers or close the prison if he can’t move the inmates to other prisons.  He sent out an official letter informing prison workers that they can keep their jobs past his August 31 deadline.

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

Methamphetamine use is a problem in Southern Illinois.  For years, we have been passing laws to keep young people and others away from this dangerous drug, and for years, these laws and programs headed up by local and state law enforcement agencies were having the intended effect.  Meth use was going down.  But recently, we’ve started to see meth use increase again, in part because drug dealers and manufacturers have found an easier way to make meth.

Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs out there.  It can be made from a variety of commonly available ingredients, like cold medicine, fertilizer, drain cleaner, hydrochloric acid, and brake cleaner.  The process of making meth creates dangerous chemicals.  Meth creates a high by releasing abnormal amounts of the chemical dopamine.  Its abuse can have permanent effects and can result in psychotic behavior.  It can be deadly on the first use, causing strokes, dangerously high body temperature, and other hazardous side effects.

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

Last week, a new law took effect that will make it easier for coal mines to open.  People like to talk about cutting government red tape, making it easier for businesses to create jobs, and cutting down on unneeded bureaucracy.  That’s exactly what this law does.

Like many businesses, coal mines need to get a government permit before they can open.  Because of the impact coal mines have on the environment, their permitting process was already more complicated than most.  However, some of the laws on the books made it even harder for mines to open for no good reason.

Believe it or not, until last week, if the mine company or the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found a typo in an application, the whole process had to start over again from the beginning.  Weeks of work could be tossed out the window over a misprint or a misspelling.  I can hardly think of a better example of bureaucracy and waste.

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

One of Illinois’ oldest state traditions starts up this week: the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.  Though I’m partial to the DuQuoin State Fair down here in Southern Illinois, for more than 150 years, Illinois has been celebrating its agricultural heritage at this state fair.  The fair is a chance to see some of the best of Illinois on display and to take advantage of reasonably priced family entertainment.

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

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