- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

EDITORS:

NEWS DIRECTORS:

Thanks to all members for submitting editorials that help The Associated Press assemble the weekly Illinois Editorial Roundup. Due to several factors, it has become more challenging to find fresh, original editorials on member websites. We would very much appreciate if you could take a few minutes to submit editorials that you would like to share with other members. They can be sent to our main email address, chifax@ap.org. Please use “Editorial Submission” as the subject line.

Please remember that we try to use editorials with appeal and interest for a statewide audience, and that not all submissions can be used. If you have any questions, please contact AP-Illinois News Editor Hugh Dellios at 312-920-3624 or hdellios@ap.org. Thank you.

The AP-Illinois

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January 14, 2015

The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle

Quinn’s actions upon exiting not a surprise

We used this space last week to describe Pat Quinn’s disappointing tenure as Illinois governor.

We pointed out Quinn’s failed leadership on issues such as pension reform and state spending. Too often he stood on the sidelines, and, therefore, nothing got done in a timely manner.

We also pointed out how Quinn had devolved from a political reformer to typical Springfield lawmaker, finding jobs for friends and failing to change how things work in state government.

So it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that as Quinn left office to make way for Gov. Bruce Rauner he exhibited one last time all the characteristics that made his time in office a disappointment.

Quinn left behind “booby traps,” as one Republican lawmaker called them.

Quinn signed an executive order requiring governors to release income tax details, he signed another requiring state contractors pay employees at least $10 an hour instead of the state minimum of $8.25 an hour, he appointed friends to various state government posts - including the spouses of House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton - and he failed to issue licenses to medical marijuana cultivation centers, leaving that for Rauner to deal with.

Unfortunately, that’s business as usual for Quinn, who showed Illinois voters one last time why they got it right when they voted him out of office in November.

Rauner on Tuesday reversed the nearly 200 appointments Quinn made on his way out. He has yet to decide what he will do regarding the income tax details and state contractor executive orders.

Although voters overwhelmingly indicated their support for raising the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour in a November advisory vote, Quinn’s executive order on state contractor pay could increase state expenditures at a time when the state can ill afford to do so.

Frankly, we hope he keeps in place the executive order regarding governors having to release tax returns.

With medical marijuana, Rauner’s camp said he wants to better understand how the state’s program is being run. He has criticized the existing selection process as secretive and subject to cronyism, which is par for the course in Springfield. Yet there are people who suffer from chronic pain and other maladies who are eagerly awaiting relief offered by that measure, too.

The fact Quinn left these behind speaks to how his entire tenure in Springfield played out. When Illinois voters needed leadership, solid decisions and bipartisan solutions, Quinn gave them the opposite.

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January 14, 2015

Rockford Register Star

What happened to the real Pat Quinn?

Pat Quinn was abducted by aliens and replaced by a clone programmed to do the opposite of what the one-time reformer would do.

There’s no other explanation for the less-than-gracious exit of Illinois’ most recent former governor.

Thankfully, Gov. Bruce Rauner has been able to undo much of the damage the evil Quinn clone did. Quinn made appointments Monday; Rauner rescinded them Tuesday. Quinn signed executive orders; Rauner signed orders of his own. Quinn left a mess; Rauner started to clean it up.

It’s what Quinn didn’t do that created a mess Rauner couldn’t clean up in one day. Quinn decided to leave the decision on the state’s 21 marijuana cultivation centers to Rauner, a discouraging move for the 159 applicants for licenses that further delays access for the thousands of Illinoisans who were hoping to use marijuana legally to treat their chronic illnesses.

The real Pat Quinn would not have left such an important decision to his successor while needlessly making appointments he knew wouldn’t stand. Applications were submitted in September and Quinn set a self-imposed deadline of the end of 2014 to grant licenses.

Quinn’s inaction “may doom” the program, according to Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, who sponsored the legislation.

Medical marijuana is supposed to be a four-year pilot program set to expire in 2017. Lang told Gatehouse News Service that even if the licenses for growers and distributors were awarded tomorrow, it would still leave only around 2 1/2 years for the program. Once the licenses are issued, it would take at least four to six months for the first crop to be ready for sale. That doesn’t leave much time to evaluate how well the program is working.

Lang said the state collected $5 million in fees from the applicants seeking to open dispensaries and cultivation centers. That money is supposed to be nonrefundable.

All we know at this point from the Rauner team is that the process is “under review.” Rauner is not a fan of medical marijuana, but said he would follow the law and “that particular law is on the books.”

Rauner has complained about the lack of transparency and called it a “rigged process.” He suggested auctioning licenses to “the highest qualified bidder, with full disclosure of each company’s financial interests.”

There were fears under Quinn’s watch that political favoritism might drive the process. Newspaper and television reports and an investigation by the Better Government Association showed that well-connected individuals and influential donors to Democratic lawmakers were applying for licenses.

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January 13, 2015

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register

Parents’ icy reaction to school closings over the top

Let’s play a little game.

Imagine you’re a parent or a grandparent. Now, consider how you would react if your little one used some of the following language or copped any of these tones during what should be a polite discussion.

“Idiots!”

“Boo hoo.”

“Give it up, people!”

“Make a decision already!”

“That’s just stupid.”

Those are excerpts from just a few of the hundreds of online comments that adults - ADULTS - made about school being canceled for weather.

Comments often turn ugly online, even under the most innocuous of circumstances, and last week was no exception. Parents, and in some cases students, took to social media in droves to complain about District 186’s handling of school closures for inclement weather.

It’s too cold to have school. It’s not cold enough to call off school. The district notified parents too early. The district doesn’t notify parents early enough. Why did they call off classes yesterday but not today? In my day, we walked barefoot uphill to school in the snow and survived.

School snow days are the bane of working parents with sudden, unexpected child care needs. Unfortunately, as everyone knows, those days are always a possibility during central Illinois winters.

The dizzying amount of complaining, insults and outward hostility that District 186 parents and others expressed publicly on Facebook was disheartening, and it seemed to surprise Superintendent Jennifer Gill, who visited The State Journal-Register editorial board on a snow day last week for an unrelated matter.

As much as some parents, grandparents and caretakers may wish to disagree, school superintendents are not out to make anyone’s life more difficult when they grapple with decisions about whether to close school for weather, nor are they out there abusing their “power” and closing schools at will. They, too, want children in classrooms learning. They realize that for many children, school is the safest, warmest place they will be during the day.

But, like so many things in life, it’s not that simple.

In the case of District 186, wind chill was a significant factor for Gill as she monitored the weather and forecasts throughout the week because it can contribute heavily to the risk of frost bite for students. If the wind chill was in a gray area, she tried to wait for more a more conclusive forecast to be issued before determining if school would be in or out the following the day.

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