Illinois House Panel On Legal Issues Will Be Divided

From the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

After two years under one umbrella, the Illinois House’s lawyer-heavy Judiciary Committee will split into two panels to review criminal and civil matters separately this year.

That’s similar to the setup that was in place for the better part of the last three decades — from 1985 until an overhaul of the state’s criminal code was completed in 2012.

But a renewed focus on criminal-law changes, the intricacies of many civil-law proposals and an attempt to increase efficiency have led lawmakers to, again, divvy up the work.

The criminal law committee will be chaired by Rep. Elgie R. Sims Jr., a Chicago Democrat, while the civil law committee chair is Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat who led the singular Judiciary Committee.

Both panels this week will convene their first meetings of the year, with the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee scheduled to review bills this afternoon and the House Judiciary-Civil Committee slated to get together Thursday morning.

It was “members’ preference” to go back to the two-panel divide, said Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

Additionally, there were time constraints when a bulk of legal-system proposals went through one committee of legislators.

“I don’t think any of them were saying they were being overworked. I think more of them were saying these matters require some additional time to review, and the schedule sometimes doesn’t lend itself to that,” Brown said.


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Opinions


Trial Lawyers Whip Rauner, 1260-2 — In Words, That Is

By Ed Murnane, Past President of the Illinois Civil Justice League

The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association used approximately 1,260 words Tuesday to rip Governor Bruce Rauner for opening “a new front in the 40-year war on American workers that has left the average person with less wealth, real income, and economic security, and is undermining the strength of our nation.”

That’s the trial lawyers’ language, by the way.

This horrendous conduct by the new governor of Illinois, these terrible threats to American workers (not just Illinoisans), this plundering of income, economic security and “undermining the strength of our nation” apparently is the result of two words Rauner used in his first Budget Message Wednesday: Lawsuit Reform.

The trial lawyers’ rampage was contained in a 67-line (body text only) statement that apparently was widely circulated, including to legislators and the news media shortly after the governor’s speech. John Cooney, president of ITLA, is credited as the author of the trial lawyers’ statement.

Read more of this commentary…

News Update


More People Moved Away From Illinois Last Year Than Any Other State

From WBEZ

Illinois had the biggest decrease in population according to a new report from the Census Bureau.

Between July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014, the state lost 9,972 people. On the other end, Texas saw the largest population increase adding more than 450,000 people during that time.

Cook County saw a very slight decrease in population. It’s one of four counties with a population of more than 1 million to experience a decrease. Others include industrial counties like Wayne County, Michigan; Cuyahoga, Ohio; and Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

The rate of people leaving Cook County for other counties has been increasing since 2012. More than 48,600 people left over the 2013-2014 timeframe.

P.S. Sriraj is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He says in the past, people of low income populated in the city center, like Chicago. Now, that population is moving out to the suburbs and collar counties.

“Those reasons are typically tied to employment—proximity to employment. Could also be tied to crime, crime rate in the city versus the suburbs. And it’s also a direct correlation to quality of education,” he said.

Kendall and Will counties saw some of the biggest population gains in the state.

The birth rate has decreased in Cook County, while the death rate increased. Yet Cook County’s overall population has held mostly steady. That’s in part due to the number of people migrating here from other countries. More than 48,600 people immigrated to Cook County from other countries last year.

Read more in our daily News Update…