What's up this week: State lawmakers tackle sex trafficking; indicted state pol heads back to work; speed cameras and trust funds

What's up this week: State lawmakers tackle sex trafficking; indicted state pol heads back to work; speed cameras and trust funds
Creative Commons image by Ira Gelb

Here's a preview of what's on the political agenda this week:

The Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield on April 17. The Chicago Reporter will be watching out for a few things:

The Senate's Criminal Law Committee, slated to meet on April 18 in Springfield, will take a look at changes to the wording of a House Bill (HB5278) that aims to make it easier to charge and convict cases of sex and human trafficking. The bill passed the House and was read before the Senate once before being sent back to committee.

The Reporter will also be watching with hawkish intensity and intrigue 10th District state Rep. Derrick Smith's return to the Illinois House. He'll likely be treated like a leper. Last week, Smith was slapped with a federal indictment following accusations that he took a $7,000 bribe. Just a week after he was arrested following a federal sting, Smith, a West Side Democrat, still managed to handily win the March 20 primary. But since then, he hasn't shown his face around Springfield--or anywhere, for that matter. He's ready to get back in the saddle, though, his attorney, Victor Henderson said. A House Special Investigating Committee looking into whether to punish Smith for his alleged misconduct postponed a meeting last week after Smith was indicted. There is no get-together for the committee slated for the coming week's session.

The Chicago City Council will also meet on April 18. It's possible that the council could vote on two items pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel: speed cameras and a $1.7 billion infrastructure trust. Several alderman have expressed beefs with both plans, but Emanuel has agreed to some concessions. The speed cameras--which some consider a revenue-grabber and a sweetheart deal--are being touted by the mayor as a safety measure. After some aldermanic skepticism last week, a revised ordinance that featured lower fines made it out of committee. Emanuel also tweaked his plan for an infrastructure trust--which few know much of anything about--after concerns that a board appointed by him to direct future projects would not be subject to open meetings and public records laws. The trust might see private corporations investing in projects with the city spreading out payments to the investors until they're paid off. This is not without risk, though to Chicago taxpayers.

© Community Renewal Society 2012

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