Morning headlines: Monday, May 16, 2011
Illinois Legislators Return to Springfield
When Illinois legislators return to the Capitol Monday afternoon, it could be the beginning of the end. The General Assembly is scheduled to meet daily through the end of this month, when they're supposed to adjourn.
The House, Senate and Governor have not reached an agreement on the budget. House Speaker Mike Madigan says Illinois could save money by asking retirees to pay more for health care, and reducing current state employees' pensions. Madigan also says Illinois' workers compensation system must be changed to reduce businesses' costs.
"Today, in workers compensation, there's a club," said Madigan. Among doctors and lawyers and sometimes labor unions. Which is not working in the best interest of the injured worker."
Madigan says if there's no agreement, he'll move to scrap the whole system and leave injured worker's disputes to the courts.
Other outstanding issues include a new legislative map, whether Illinois will borrow money to improve cash flow, and if the state will change how electricity rates are set to make way for the building of a new electric grid.
Justice Alito to Speak at Law Day
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito will be the featured speaker today at a Law Day event in St. Louis.
Alito will speak to the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis during a luncheon event at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. The event is part of the bar association's Equal Access to Justice Centennial Celebration. It was 100 years ago that the Legal Aid Society was formed in St. Louis, eventually becoming Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Alito is expected to speak about the issue of equal access to justice.
University of Central Missouri Creates Institute for "Green" Jobs
The University of Central Missouri is creating an institute to train students for "green" jobs.
The Warrensburg school says the National Energy Retrofit Institute will provide online training, workshops and certificate programs. The institute also will focus on developing industry guidelines. The school says making upgrades to homes to make them more energy efficient could be a big growth area. The hope is that the institute would create jobs, especially for construction workers harmed by the housing market going bust.