Here's a preview of what's happening on the political front this week:
On Monday the city is supposed to finish consolidating 12 mental health clinics into six. But uncertainty looms. Last Thursday, Mark Cassello, a Huffington Post contributor, reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration had agreed to keep the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic open. But Cassello also noted that an Emanuel staffer said that the city's plans hadn't changed. The demonstrators and Emanuel's folks did have a "productive meeting", though, Cassello was reportedly told. For weeks now, protesters have stationed themselves outside the Woodlawn clinic, and dozens have been arrested. The protests have made national news. Emanuel's plan to close half of the city's mental health clinics was a cost-cutting measure in his $6.3 billion budget, which passed the city council unanimously last year. Two clinics have already been closed, and three more will be shuttered on Monday. Woodlawn's fate remains uncertain.
The Illinois General Assembly is in session again this week, and throughout the month of May.
On May 2, the Senate's Criminal Law Committee will discuss HB5771. It aims to make it easier for non-violent ex-offenders to obtain certificates of relief and certificates of good conduct. Such certificates make it easier to obtain a number of state business licenses. The bill has made it through the House, and has seen one reading in the upper chamber.
Also on May 2, the House's Human Service Committee will address HR0352, which urges the Cook County Board to secure future funding for Oak Forest Hospital, in the south suburbs. Last summer, in part due to cost, the county announced plans to transform the hospital to a "regional outpatient center". But those plans called for the "suspension" of services like the ICU unit. The resolution asks that the county board restore funding for the hospital's full operation. It also calls on Attorney General Lisa Madigan to make sure the plan does not violate the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act.
The same House committee will also talk about HR0775, which asks Congress to fork over federal funds to states via block grants so they can be used for public welfare and Medicaid purposes. This comes amid all the buzz about Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed $2.7 billion cuts in state contributions to Medicaid.
The Cook County Board will meet on Tuesday, May 1, at 10 a.m. at 118 N. Clark St., 5th floor. A resolution to name May Asian-American month will be read.
© Community Renewal Society 2012