Connecting state and local government leaders

The Already Staggering Unpaid Bill Pile in Illinois Continues to Grow

The rotunda in the Illinois State Capitol.

The rotunda in the Illinois State Capitol.

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Kentucky AG looks at governor’s possible “personal enrichment”; ACLU sues Delaware town over code enforcement; and San José’s alternate energy action.

STATE GOVERNMENT | The number of unpaid bills the state of Illinois needs to pay continues to grow. Estimates have now jumped from $13.3 billion to $14.3 billion, according to State Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office. That amount has nearly tripled in two years as Democrats who control the legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have failed to reach a budget compromise for the past two fiscal years. [CapitolFax; Reuters]

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is looking into Gov. Matt Bevin’s purchase of his Jefferson County home and the possibility of an investigation into “personal enrichment.” Unclear is whether Beshear has the authority for such a probe. The house was purchased at a discounted rate by Anchorage Place LLC, but Bevin’s family is living there and refuses to identify the owner. Louisville businessman and Bevin donor Neil Ramsey owns Anchorage LLC and was appointed by the governor to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board. State government has paid for security improvements to the house. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

The state of Oregon has dispensed millions of dollars in Medicaid assistance to residents with no idea of whether or not the beneficiaries are actually eligible. As many as 115,000 Oregon Medicaid recipients’ eligibility status is being questioned. As part of the Affordable Care Act expansion of Medicaid, the state received approval to streamline the eligibility check on its clients, that combined with technological shortcomings of the Oregon Health Authority’s computer system have contributed to the current system. The state and federal government spend an average of $430 per month on Medicaid recipients, so even if only 14,000 Oregonians were receiving benefits that shouldn’t have, the annual spending on ineligible residents could come out to as much as $72 million. [The Oregonian/OregonLive]

Democratic leaders in Vermont’s legislature are facing an impasse with Republican Gov. Phil Scott over ongoing negotiations over teacher health insurance. “We have sat down and don't feel like there's much of an understanding there or a whole lot of willingness to move," Speaker Mitzi Johnson said of the governor’s office, which has been described as taking a “passive” role in the discussions. [Burlington Free Press]

Nebraska state lawmakers on Wednesday approved a plan to create a new oversight committee for the Corrections Department. It’s the third investigative committee Nebraska’s state legislature has launched since 2014 related to the troubled department, which has been dealing with prison overcrowding, high employee turnover and assaults. [Omaha World Herald]

MUNICIPAL CODES | The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware is suing the town of Milton on behalf of a resident ordered by a code enforcement officer to remove anti-Trump signs from her property because they aren’t allowed outside of campaign season. The ACLU has asked the Chancery Court to block Milton from enforcing its sign codes citing violations of free speech. [Delmarva Now]

WORKPLACE LAWSUITS | A Caltrans employee was awarded a $3 million settlement in a lawsuit he filed against the state claiming he faced retaliation and harassment from supervisors reacting to his documented allergies to perfumes and certain types of cleaning projects. [The Sacramento Bee]

ENERGY | The San José City Council approved the largest “community choice energy” plan in California, establishing an alternate electricity provider intended to lower greenhouse gas emissions, boost renewable energy supply and offer competitive rates to residents. The program requires $55 million in startup money. [The Mercury News]

PUBLIC WORKS | There’s currently a snow mound in Boston’s Chestnut Hill Park that’s about 10 feet high. It’s unclear if the dirty snow pile consists of the remains of a larger snow pile from earlier this winter or if it’s snow that was dumped more recently from a nearby skating rink. [The Boston Globe]