WBEZ | Sheila Simon http://www.wbez.org/tags/sheila-simon Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois Lt. Gov supports medical marijuana http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lt-gov-supports-medical-marijuana-107136 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP366129178406 (2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said she is in favor of a bill allowing the medical use of marijuana, explaining Sunday that testimony from seriously ill veterans and other patients helped change her mind.</p><p>&quot;As a former prosecutor my first reaction was, &#39;I&#39;m not interested in changing our laws on medical marijuana,&#39;&quot; she told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday.</p><p>But she said that after hearing from patients and reading up on the bill, she&#39;s convinced the regulations are strict enough.</p><p>Backers of the measure, which has cleared the Illinois House and awaits a Senate vote, have said the same thing.</p><p>The plan, touted as the strictest in the nation among states that have legalized medical marijuana, would authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with whom they have an existing relationship and who are living with at least one of more than 30 medical conditions, including cancer.</p><p>The proposal creates a framework for a pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks. It also sets a 2.5-ounce limit per patient per purchase and sets out state-regulated dispensaries.</p><p>Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without the detrimental side effects of prescription drugs. But opponents say the program could encourage recreational use, especially among teenagers.</p><p>The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriffs&#39; Association are opposed to the measure, saying there&#39;s no sure way to figure out whether a motorist is driving under the influence of marijuana.</p><p>But Simon told the AP the bill is strict enough to prevent misuse.</p><p>&quot;It does a good job of both getting medical marijuana to people who need and keeping it away from those who don&#39;t,&quot; she said.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has been noncommittal whether he would sign the bill, saying instead that he is open-minded to the idea.</p><p>Simon is weighing a run for another statewide office instead of seeking another term as lieutenant governor. The Carbondale Democrat declined Sunday to say which office she will run for, saying she will wait to see how other shape up.</p><p>Simon is likely choosing between Illinois&#39; attorney general, comptroller or treasurer. In recent months, Simon has played up her law-related background and accomplishments including as a pro bono lawyer and prosecutor.</p><p>Her decision comes as the 2014 governor&#39;s race is heating up and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is weighing a possible challenge to Quinn.</p></p> Mon, 13 May 2013 07:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lt-gov-supports-medical-marijuana-107136 Illinois House votes to abolish office of lieutenant governor http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-house-votes-abolish-office-lieutenant-governor-106618 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS2783_AP070118158909-Sheila-Simon-Aynsley-Floyd.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A measure to abolish the office of Illinois lieutenant governor is advancing in Springfield. State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Cary, sponsored the proposed constitutional amendment, and called the lieutenant governor&rsquo;s office a &ldquo;luxury&rdquo; and a waste of its $2 million budget.</p><p>&ldquo;At this point in time, when we can&rsquo;t pay our bills, when we&rsquo;re cutting basic social services, it&rsquo;s a financial issue,&rdquo; McSweeney said.&nbsp;</p><p>Even the current lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon, said she doesn&rsquo;t want the position after her term expires. But a Simon spokeswoman said the office should still exist, pointing out that five lieutenant governors eventually became governor, including Illinois&rsquo; current governor, Pat Quinn. He inherited the position after then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached in 2008. Quinn won election to the office in 2010.</p><p>Still, Simon alluded to wanting a position with more authority when she announced to reporters in February that she won&rsquo;t run for lieutenant governor in next year&rsquo;s election.</p><p>&ldquo;I look forward to serving Illinois in a role where I can be an even more effective advocate,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Under McSweeney&rsquo;s proposed change to the constitution, Illinois&rsquo; Attorney General would be next in line for the governor&rsquo;s seat starting in the year 2019.</p><p>The amendment still needs the support of three-fifths of the Senate. Then it would need support from the voters.</p><p>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</p></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-house-votes-abolish-office-lieutenant-governor-106618 Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon won't seek re-election http://www.wbez.org/news/lt-gov-sheila-simon-wont-seek-re-election-105500 <p><p>Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon says she won&#39;t seek re-election next year but is weighing her options when it comes to seeking another public office.</p><p>She declined to give details, but she spent much of a Wednesday news conference playing up her legal and financial experience.</p><p>Political experts say the move points toward exploring a run for attorney general or another statewide office and would allow for Simon to fundraise separately from Gov. Pat Quinn, who&#39;s seen his approval rating dip.</p><p>It would also allow Simon to see who else is running.</p><p>Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Wednesday that she hasn&#39;t decided yet on a 2014 gubernatorial run.</p><p>Simon told Quinn her decision in December. She said that in a few months she&#39;ll make another announcement about her future plans.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn says he&#39;s not taking it personally that Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon won&#39;t seek re-election with him next year.</p><p>Quinn says he&#39;ll seek re-election. He wants a potential running mate who&#39;s honest.</p><p>Several Republicans say they&#39;re interested in challenging Quinn. They include Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Congressman Aaron Schock. Democrats, including former White House chief of staff Bill Daley and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, say they haven&#39;t made a decision yet.</p></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 10:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/lt-gov-sheila-simon-wont-seek-re-election-105500 Math causing dropouts for community colleges http://www.wbez.org/story/math-causing-dropouts-community-colleges-95659 <p><p>Students at Illinois' 48 community colleges are not graduating with degrees or certificates that would help them land a job at the rate some state officials would like, according to a new report commissioned by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon.&nbsp;</p><p>About 41 percent of students - less than half - leave community college with a meaningful career certificate or degree within three years of enrolling, the report found. Simon would like to see that number jump to 60 percent during the next decade.</p><p>Simon, who is Gov. Pat Quinn's point person on education reform, spent nearly a year visiting all of the state's community colleges.</p><p>"They represent 380,000 students, more than the state's 12 public universities, and so it's a significant population of students not graduating at the rate they should be" and an opportunity for state lawmakers to do something about it, she said.&nbsp;</p><p>One of the biggest problems, she said, is mathematics. Students enroll at a community college but test-in below college standards for math. They are then required to take catch-up math courses. And that eats away at their budgets and their patience, especially if the math courses don't apply toward their degrees. They would rather spend the time and money on courses to advance their careers, Simon's report found.</p><p>As a result, more of them drop out before finishing.&nbsp;</p><p>One way to help fix the problem, she said, is to make students in high school take four years of math instead of three. She said she'll work with the legislature to give high schools incentives to voluntarily require four years of math in order to graduate.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 20:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/math-causing-dropouts-community-colleges-95659 Illinois increases number of farmers markets accepting food stamps http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-increases-number-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-88999 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-11/Farmers Market_Flickr_NatalieMaynor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More low-income Illinois residents are using food stamps at farmers markets – a move that advocates and officials welcome.</p><p>From 2009 to 2010, the value of food stamps spent at Illinois farmers markets jumped to $41,000 from $11,000, a 269 percent increase.&nbsp; Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said she likes that trend because it’s important to connect <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/more-chicago-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-87241">poor people to farmers markets</a>.</p><p>“It’s not only doing ourselves a favor economically in Illinois, but health-wise in Illinois as well,” Simon said.</p><p>This year 49 farmers markets are accepting state-issued LINK food stamp debit cards. That figure is seemingly small, given that Illinois is home to more than 300 farmers markets, and the ones that accept food stamps are clustered in or near urban areas. Simon said Illinois is second only to California in the number of farmers markets accepting food stamps.</p><p>Still, Simon wants more to be done, and she has a particular approach in mind.</p><p>A year ago Illinois legislators created a program to improve retail technology at farmers’ markets. The idea was to help markets purchase machines and other equipment that allow consumers to use LINK. The equipment typically runs about $2,500, but legislators created the program as an unfunded mandate and compliance has not been swift. Simon said she’s looking for private money to jumpstart the initiative.</p></p> Tue, 12 Jul 2011 06:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-increases-number-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-88999 At least Quinn is up-front about nepotism. It's strangely refreshing, eh? http://www.wbez.org/blog/least-quinn-front-about-nepotism-its-strangely-refreshing-eh <p><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//AP070118039869.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-19260" title="Paul Simons Daughter" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//AP070118039869.jpg" alt="" width="512" height="345" /></a> <strong>Top story</strong>: Sheila Simon is now<a href="http://chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=40975"> officially the democratic nominee for Lt. Governor</a>.‚  It's at least refreshing‚ that our governor is up front about nepotism. He even goes on to cite it in the press conference announcing her. You can tell he's from Chicago (OK, Hinsdale). But what is it with Illinois politics? Is there anyone who's Dad wasn't already an influential politician? Oh, right, one dude - and he's now President. And the other is awaiting trial for corruption. <strong>B story</strong>: There must have been some super-strategy meetings at <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> when considering Rod Blagojevich. He really has nothing to offer that show and yet, they just keep letting him play. And at the end of the day, Trump goes out of his way to not only edit in some of his political nonsense (for comedy), but even gives him shout-outs in the board meeting about what a good, nice guy he is. What was with the "I understand you have to be nice, jurors could be fans of other players..." bit? My theory? <!--break-->The numbers for <em>Celebrity Apprentice's</em> in the past were way down in Chicago. This is a big market, so they had to get a big-market presence. And Sammy Sosa wasn't available. Once Blago is fired? It'll be like 'Earth Hour' where you can feel the collective shutting off of television sets across our fair city. Until then, Sunday night is popcorn party time at my house. <strong>C story</strong>:‚  Forget putting reality TV cameras on the White Sox, put them on City Hall. On Friday, <a href="http://chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=40958">Mayor Daley just shut off Alderman Joe Moore's microphone</a>. He has a button to do that. And he just shut it off.‚  I wish they could now go into a confessional room and tell us about how they both feel. Oh wait, that's what the media is for. And this was over street-sweeping? Imagine what would happen if Moore actually took Daley to task over something bigger, like, say, the city budget. I think Daley might just go over to his desk and rip the microphone out. <strong>Weather</strong>: You gotta love that it will be 70+ later this week. It's time for everyone who gained a few pounds this winter to pull out the spring/summer wardrobe and try and fit into those shorts. <strong>Sports</strong>: Hey Illini fans, remember when you were in the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Scheyer" target="_blank">Final Four and that skinny kid from Northbrook</a> was thinking of going to your school but then decided to go to Duke instead? Yeah, Jon Scheyer got there before you did. And DePaul fans...you realize your team <a href="http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/gamecenter/recap/NCAAB_20100327_BUT@KSST/butler-ousts-kstate-rides-24game-win-streak-into-first-final-four" target="_blank">could be Butler</a>, right? <strong>Kicker</strong>: Did you <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67xoLtlwsdM" target="_blank">see former President George W. Bush wipe his hands on former President Bill Clinton's shoulder</a> after shaking hands with someone in Haiti? The clip is exactly why we have the internet. 15 years ago, that would NEVER make it to a broadcast news platform. But today, there is a place for it in our daily media diet. And then, well, MSNBC and all cable channels pick it up and show it over and over and over again, thus making us less fond of the clip that we first saw on-line. Moral of the story? We need a second internet.</p> Mon, 29 Mar 2010 09:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/least-quinn-front-about-nepotism-its-strangely-refreshing-eh