Pat Quinn

The Illinois General Assembly has passed several major bills in the last few days of its lame-duck session.

Two of the bills, one on an income tax increase and the other on abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, were the focus of a press conference held today by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Here are some highlights of Quinn's comments:

(via Flickr/mhowry)
  • Democratic Illinois lawmakers have approved a 67% income-tax increase in a desperate bid to end the state's crippling budget crisis. Legislative leaders rushed early Wednesday morning to pass the politically risky plan before  new General Assembly was sworn in at noon. The increase now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He supports the plan to temporarily raise the personal tax rate to 5% from the current 3% rate. Corporate taxes also would climb.

Democrat Pat Quinn has been sworn in to a full term as governor of Illinois, two years after he got the job when his predecessor, the much-discussed Rod Blagojevich, was kicked out of office.

Quinn was sworn in Monday in Springfield amid an immense budget crisis.

  • Prosecutors and defense attorneys were in court Tuesday arguing over whether a jury should hear testimony from prosecution witnesses in the trial of Christopher Coleman next year. Coleman is charged in the strangulation death of his wife, Sheri, and their two sons in May 2009 in Columbia, Il. Coleman's attorneys are trying to block prosecutors from using text messages Sheri Coleman sent to friends about martial problems before the killings. According to the St.
  • The snow has started to fall in parts of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Missouri Department of Transportation is monitoring, re-treating and plowing area roadways. MODOT is urging area motorists to stay off the roads during the winter storm. If you have to travel, MODOT advises drivers to give salt trucks and plows plenty of room.
  • According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tax collectors' offices in St. Louis city and St. Louis and St. Charles counties will be closed Dec. 31, making Dec. 30 the last day that residents of those jurisdictions can pay their property taxes for 2010 without paying a penalty. St. Louis and St. Charles counties are taking Dec. 31 off in observance of the holiday. In St. Louis, Dec. 31 is a city government furlough day. Taxpayers can mail payment or pay them online. Payments must be postmarked any time on Dec. 31 to meet the deadline. The collector's office in Jefferson county will be open.
  • A medical helicopter crashed landed shortly after takeoff in western Missouri Sunday morning. Three members of the flight crew were injured. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the Staff for Life helicopter had just taken off from a helipad in La Monte on Sunday morning to respond to a call when it came down at the landing zone, crashing onto the helipad located about ten miles west of Sedalia. The owner of American Paramedical Services, Inc., said the three injured were the pilot, a flight nurse and a paramedic. No patients on board at the time. The Sedalia Democrat reported that all three were in fair condition Sunday at an area hospital. The crash is under investigation.
  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is encouraging Illinois residents to donate their frequent flyer miles to members of the military. Quinn says the Operation Hero Miles program lets military families visit wounded service members recovering in hospitals around the world. The governor says the program is "especially important" during the holidays. The program also provides airplane tickets to service members so they can travel home on medical leave. The governor's office says the program has provided more than 20,000 donated tickets worth $27 million.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Illinois Senate has approved civil unions for gay couples.  Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign the measure.

Here's more information from the AP (as of 2:10 p.m.):

Fielding arrows is stickier than firing them. Just ask Pat Quinn.

His Quinntessential populism, propelled through the decades by his assaults on the antics and motives of public officials, put him in position to become governor; now he defends himself against accusations he fired his inspector general for pouncing on ethical violations.

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