WBEZ | Attorney General Lisa Madigan http://www.wbez.org/tags/attorney-general-lisa-madigan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Top House Republican thinks Democrats purposely haven’t passed pensions http://www.wbez.org/news/top-house-republican-thinks-democrats-purposely-haven%E2%80%99t-passed-pensions-107663 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Cross.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The top Republican in the Illinois House of Representatives says he thinks Democratic leaders are purposely not passing pension reform for their own political gain.</p><p>There are lots of conspiracies for why pension reform hasn&rsquo;t been approved, from the basic stance that it&rsquo;s purely a legal debate over how to interpret the constitution, to another, more complex thought: that the powerful House Speaker and state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan is stalling because it would somehow help his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, become governor in next year&rsquo;s election.</p><p>Lisa Madigan has only said she&rsquo;s considering a run for governor. Today - House Republican leader Tom Cross was asked if he subscribes to that second theory.</p><p>&ldquo;Yes,&rdquo; Cross said.</p><p>Cross repeated his answer of &ldquo;yes&rdquo; seven times to a series of reporters&rsquo; questions that ranged from why Michael Madigan and his fellow Democrat, Senate President John Cullerton, would benefit from it, to how it would help Lisa Madigan&rsquo;s potential campaign.</p><p>Cross eventually expanded on his thoughts, saying Democrats in Illinois are powerful and if the leaders in the Senate and House really wanted pension reform passed, they would&rsquo;ve done it already.</p><p>&ldquo;The two most powerful guys in the State of Illinois can get anything done,&rdquo; Cross said. &ldquo;They pass a tax increase in the middle of the night, highest tax increase in the history of the state. Two guys that passed a pension holiday in the mid-2000s without blinking an eye can&rsquo;t get this done? Seriously? I mean, seriously?&rdquo;</p><p>For his part, House Speaker Michael Madigan said earlier this week that if he didn&rsquo;t want pension reform done, he wouldn&rsquo;t have worked to pass a bill that ultimately failed in the state Senate.</p><p>At that same media availability, Cullerton credited Madigan&rsquo;s passage of the bill in the House with helping get labor groups to the negotiating table and endorse a rival pension bill.</p><p>Cross&rsquo;s comments on Wednesday came on the same day Speaker Madigan filed an amendment on a pension reform bill passed by the State Senate. Madigan&rsquo;s amendment includes the language that the House had approved earlier in the legislative session, but rivals the Senate plan. A hearing on the amendment is scheduled for next week.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers statehouse politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a></em></p></p> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/top-house-republican-thinks-democrats-purposely-haven%E2%80%99t-passed-pensions-107663 Updated benefits guide for service members, veterans http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/updated-benefits-guide-service-members-veterans-107373 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2013-05-27 at 8.03.01 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>The Illinois Attorney General&#39;s office has updated a guide to federal and state benefits for service members and veterans.</p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan&#39;s office says the 2013 edition of Benefits for Illinois Veterans is available in time for Memorial Day.</p><p>It features updates for veterans retraining programs and services for homeless veterans. The more than 150-page book also has information for military families and survivors.</p><p>Residents who want a paper copy of the guide can contact the attorney general&#39;s Military and Veterans&#39; Rights Bureau.</p><p>Digital copies are available <a href="http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/rights/Benefits%20for%20IL%20Veterans_2013.pdf">online</a>.</p></p> Mon, 27 May 2013 08:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/updated-benefits-guide-service-members-veterans-107373 Illinois AG takes on closed World Gyms in Chicago suburbs http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-ag-takes-closed-world-gyms-chicago-suburbs-99703 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/worldgym.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is taking on three now-closed World Gyms in Chicago&#39;s suburbs.</p><p>Madigan&#39;s office has filed a lawsuit that alleges the gyms charged customers at least $100,000 in membership fees after the fitness centers had closed.</p><p>Natalie Bauer, spokeswoman for the Attorney General&#39;s office, said they received more than 10 complaints from customers who couldn&#39;t cancel their memberships.</p><p>&quot;They received no response to their request to cancel the contract. They were being given false contact information to cancel -- they were given a bad phone number or the wrong person to talk to,&quot; she said.</p><p>Bauer said 150 other members say they were referred to a payment processing company after refusing to pay World Gym. The three gyms were located in Plainfield, Elgin and Norridge. The lawsuit names owners James Mecha and Diane Vassolo, World Gym-Willowbrook, Inc., and ASF International, the Colorado corporation that processed the payments.</p></p> Thu, 31 May 2012 13:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-ag-takes-closed-world-gyms-chicago-suburbs-99703 Attorney General Lisa Madigan sues Westwood College http://www.wbez.org/story/attorney-general-lisa-madigan-sues-westwood-college-95636 <p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a law suit against Westwood College for what she calls deceptive practices. The lawsuit is based on student complaints that the school's Criminal Justice Program was misleading about its accreditation. Madigan said Westwood left many students in debt.</p><p>"A year long investigation revealed that Westwood recruiters, administrators and faculty lied to prospective and enrolled students about almost every aspect of Westwood's Criminal Justice Program - from its cost to its graduates' career prospects," Madigan said Wednesday.</p><p>Westwood is only accredited nationally, but not regionally. Some agencies like the Chicago Police Department require regionally accredited degrees.</p><p>Madigan said the lawsuit seeks to shut down the program and get a refund for the students.</p><p>In a statement, Westwood College said it has many graduates working in the criminal justice field throughout the state. It did not mention the school's accreditation.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 23:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/attorney-general-lisa-madigan-sues-westwood-college-95636 Illinois officials wary of Exelon merger http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-officials-wary-exelon-merger-94296 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-01/Madigan Getty Joshua Lott.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois' governor and attorney general said they are wary of a potential merger involving Chicago-based Exelon. The proposal would create the largest energy company in the country.</p><p>Exelon owns Commonwealth Edison, and is in the midst of merging with its rival Constellation energy. This week shareholders of both Exelon and Constellation approved the merger.</p><p>The companies will try to win approval from state and federal regulators as the next step in the process.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn said he's not excited about the latest Exelon merger.</p><p>"You know Exelon seems to always want to be in a merger game, and I don't know how it helps their loyal customers, families and businesses right here in Illinois," Quinn said in a news conference Tuesday.</p><p>Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the merger would in fact hurt Illinois consumers. On Tuesday her office filed documents alleging Exelon has already used its market power to unfairly increase energy prices in Northern Illinois.</p><p>The Attorney General is calling for a hearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee.<br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 23 Nov 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-officials-wary-exelon-merger-94296 Exelon moves closer to merger http://www.wbez.org/story/exelon-moves-closer-merger-94188 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-18/AP Robert Ray.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago-based Exelon is a step closer to becoming one of the largest power companies in the country. Shareholders of Exelon and its rival, Constellation Energy, approved a merger Thursday. Exelon is the parent company of Commonwealth Edison.</p><p>Analyst Travis Miller with Morningstar predicts the merger will bring new jobs to Illinois and benefit consumers. "You know a larger company offers cost savings that can flow to ComEd and reduce the infrastructure portion of consumer bills," Miller said.</p><p>Miller predicts the merger will be finalized by early 2012, but it still needs approval from regulators.</p><p>Meantime, Illinois' attorney general is criticizing the deal. Lisa Madigan's office is concerned about what would happen to electricity prices if the merger goes through.</p></p> Fri, 18 Nov 2011 18:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/exelon-moves-closer-merger-94188 Sex offender in court after threatening Madigan http://www.wbez.org/story/sex-offender-court-after-threatening-madigan-92090 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/E01B86371.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago resident and registered sex offender has been charged with threatening Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.</p><p>Maurice Pennington Sr. was arrested in his home last night and charged with one count of threatening a public official.</p><p>Attorney General spokeswoman Natalie Bauer said Pennington is actually registered as a sex offender under the name Demetrious P. Moore.</p><p>"He's involved in some litigation against the state, and earlier this week filed a brief in the 7th circuit court of appeals that contained threatening statements," said Bauer.</p><p>The filing questions the constitutionality of the sex offender laws in Illinois and Bauer said it had a violent context.&nbsp;Pennington was convicted of criminal sexual abuse of a 14 year old victim for an incident that occurred in 2000 in Texas.</p></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 19:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/sex-offender-court-after-threatening-madigan-92090 Madigan mad again at ComEd http://www.wbez.org/story/madigan-mad-again-comed-86739 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-18/madigan hb 14.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is joining the chorus of voices opposed to House Bill 14. The bill proposes upgrading state utilities to create a so-called "smart grid."</p><p>Power companies claim modernizing will protect against outages and save consumers money down the line. For now it would mean higher ComEd bills. But Madigan argues there's already a fair system in place that ComEd should use to make necessary improvements.</p><p>She says ComEd "actually wants a guaranteed profit where they don't have to go through a system to get it. They want to go directly into your wallet. They don't want to have to prove what they did was reasonable or fair. They just want your money."</p><p>Madigan says as the bill is written, utility companies could increase rates before getting the state's approval and there's no cap on how high rates could rise.</p><p>ComEd spokeswoman Alicia Zatkowski said a revised bill is in the works and should be finalized by the end of this week. She says the new bill would eliminate automatic rate increases and addresses other complaints.</p><p>In a statement released by ComEd in the wake of complaints, the company concluded, "The bottom line is this: the grid needs to be modernized now. We cannot afford to wait. Other states are on the move, and we need to get moving."</p></p> Thu, 19 May 2011 10:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/madigan-mad-again-comed-86739 Illinois gun rights group criticized for invoking Holocaust http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-gun-rights-group-criticized-invoking-holocaust-85547 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-22/handgun_getty.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois state senator wants a gun advocacy group to apologize for comparing alleged attacks on gun owners to the actions of Nazi Germany.&nbsp;</p><p>In the <a href="http://www.gunssavelife.com/GunNews/April2011s.pdf">April issue of GunNews</a>, publisher <a href="http://www.gunssavelife.com/">Guns Save Life</a> uses a gold Star of David with an article that compares the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust with that of Illinois gun owners battling to keep their names private.</p><p>Guns Save Life made the analogy in response to <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/4081908-418/madigan-foid-should-be-made-public.html">Attorney General Lisa Madigan's recent opinion</a> supporting the release of the names of all Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card holders in Illinois.&nbsp;</p><p>But Chicago Democrat Ira Silverstein said the group is using "a very poor analogy" in making its argument. He represents a legislative district that includes many Holocaust survivors, and he said comparing Attorney General Lisa Madigan's opinion to the Holocaust is absurd.</p><p>An updated version of the Guns Save Life's April newsletter defends the use of Holocaust imagery.</p><p>"This symbolism with the Holocaust is fair in that the slippery slope for the Jews in Germany began first with their identification, then disarmament then annihilation. Under Attorney General Madigan’s plan, Illinois gun owners will be identified publicly and will stand on the precipice of their own slippery slope towards ends unknown," wrote the editors.</p><p>The Illinois State Police oversee the records of all FOID card holders in the state, but until now has kept the information confidential. State police argue that confidentiality is necessary to protect individual safety and privacy.</p><p>Madigan rejected those arguments in issuing her opinion earlier this month, declaring the information a matter of public record. Opponents of the move are hoping to block the change in policy through legal or legislative means.</p><p>Guns Save Life president John Boch said Silverstein should thank the group for its advocacy of First and Second Amendment rights.</p></p> Fri, 22 Apr 2011 14:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-gun-rights-group-criticized-invoking-holocaust-85547 Illinois officials make way for new health care reforms http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-care-act/illinois-officials-make-way-new-health-care-reforms <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Health Care Reform Council.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A health care council in Illinois isn't fazed by recent rulings against the new federal health care law. The state-appointed council just held the last of five public meetings to discuss how the law will impact stakeholders. Brie Callahan is a spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn. She said Illinois is moving forward with preparations.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to implement the law so that Illinois residents can best access its benefits,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But we&rsquo;re also trying to talk about it in a way that will be easy to understand so that they will understand the impact of the law and how it&rsquo;s going to impact them.&rdquo;</p> <div>One example of an issue the council faces is how to implement a mandated American Health Benefits Exchange by 2013. &nbsp;It would create a centralized marketplace where individuals and small businesses could access affordable health care options. Officials are faced with the task of figuring out if they should create a state-wide <span style="color: rgb(31, 73, 125);">e</span>xchange or whether it should be federally run. Officials also have to figure out how to anticipate the over 600,000 new patients who will be eligible for Medicaid under the new law.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The council will submit its final recommendations to Gov. Quinn in the next few weeks. Meanwhile Illinois&rsquo; Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, is keeping a close watch on how opposition to the health care law is playing out nation-wide. &nbsp;But a spokeswoman for Madigan says until a law suit makes it to the Supreme Court, there is no impact on Illinois.</div></p> Mon, 07 Feb 2011 23:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-care-act/illinois-officials-make-way-new-health-care-reforms