New Illinois cannabis law presents challenges for medical patients

Flaws in the Illinois state legislature’s bill to legalize cannabis for recreational use has led to statewide shortages in the product, particularly for the nearly 100,000 registered medical cannabis patients, according to a review of state documents and interviews with those in the industry. Indeed, since the medical cannabis program launched in Illinois in 2014, complaints filed by medical patients against dispensaries in the state have soared, as 102 out of all 267 complaints were filed in 2020 alone. 

David Kurfman is a registered Illinois cannabis patient from Mount Sterling, who has been using the plant to treat his epilepsy since 2015. He believes the state has not done enough to protect its medical cannabis patients during a time when there is higher demand than supply can adequately meet. “It’s been dismal for medical patients,” Kurfman said. “Patients cannot consistently find the specific products that they need for their various conditions.”

The new law, which was passed by the legislature in May 2019, took effect on January 1, 2020.

Most Illinois county jail facilities lacked isolation cells for disease, documents show

As the coronavirus outbreak hit Illinois, many county jails lacked a standard cell needed to isolate infected inmates who had a respiratory illness, according to a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting of annual jail inspections.

The Covid-19 outbreak at the Cook County Jail and other metropolitan jails across the country has received wide attention, but jails in downstate Illinois have come under little scrutiny. In addition, officials at many jails contacted by telephone by the CU-CitizenAccess and the Midwest Center about their efforts to combat the virus did not return calls, abruptly hung up, or told reporters to call later with no additional information given.

Twin city employees see big difference in pay

The median total compensation for Urbana employees in Fiscal Year 2018-2019 is $70,739. However, the median total compensation for Champaign city employees in the same year is $114,323. In total, 21 employees in Champaign received total compensations over $200,000, while no employee in Urbana exceeded that amount.

I had COVID-19 and here is my story

Elizabeth Schneider is a marketing program manager at NanoString Technologies and is based in Seattle, Washington. This is a republication of her Facebook post on March 8, 2020. 

I had COVID-19 and here is my story. I made this post public out of several requests from my friends who asked me to share. I hope it gives you some good information and peace of mind! First how easily you can get it.

Informants, guns and travel: Seized funds free police to spend on wide range of items

Under state and federal laws known as civil asset forfeiture, police departments may seize property – such as cars and cash – they believe is used in criminal activity. The owners of the property may never themselves be charged with a crime and getting property back could take years and involve costly attorney fees.

In some cases, the funds from seizures are substantial, especially in small urban cities in central Illinois. The City of Champaign, for example, which took in at least $1.17 million in forfeiture funds between 2014 and mid-2019, spent at least $7,000 at restaurants such as Hooters, Arby’s and In-N-Out Burgers and utility/internet usage charges from July 2017 to August 2018.

Robin Kelly’s campaign targeting fundraising for 2020 cycle

In the 2018 election cycle, Congresswoman Robin Kelly spent $879,435 in total – one of the lowest amounts spent – defeating David Merkle by 183,816 to 43,875 in votes.

Kelly’s largest expense was for her fundraising consultant Lauren Cvengros, through LBH Chicago, which cost $252,911. Although the 2020 cycle is not yet complete, Kelly has only spent $211,387 in total. Her greatest expense was again for her fundraising consultant, Cvengros, which cost $73,681.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger targeted media buys in 2018

Republican representative Adam Kinzinger poured over one-fourth of his $2.5 million-plus campaign budget into media production and buys during the 2017-2018 election cycle.

However, since his first congressional campaign during the 2009-2010 election cycle, Kinzinger has traditionally spent the most money on media production and buys, which is purchased airtime that can be used to run political advertisements.

Rep. Krishnamoorthi outspends challenger by $1.9 million in re-election campaigning

Illinois representative Raja Krishnamoorthi spent $1.9 million more on campaigning than his 8th congressional district challenger for the 2018 midterm election cycle.

Krishnamoorthi, is a Democratic representative for Illinois’ 8th district. He was elected in 2016 and replaced Tammy Duckworth, who gave up her seat and successfully ran for the U.S. Senate.

Individual donors, PACs key to Jan Schakowsky’s 2020 fundraising

In past years, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has raised near the same or less than the average of other Illinois congress members. Since the 1999-2000 cycle, she has raised more than the average, according to OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit organization that focuses on collecting fundraising and spending data from the FEC and presenting it to the public.

In this election cycle, Schakowsky appears to have a similar pace, having already spent $775,084 from January to September 30th.

Cheri Bustos’s campaign increased spending by $1 million in 2018

Running for reelection in Illinois’ 17th Congressional district, Cheri Bustos spent almost $3.2 million in the 2017-2018 election cycle. The expenditures ranged from dinners at Chicago and Washington DC’s most expensive restaurants, such as the 116 Club, to office supplies at Walmart. 

Bustos’s top expenditures include payments towards communications, advertising and financial specialists, donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and paychecks for staffers.