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(Arlington Heights) Daily Herald

A report out by the Better Government Association should concern every Illinoisan who cares about the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The report says, among other things, that in Region 5 of the Environmental Protection Agency — Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio — inspections for air, water and land pollution have dropped by more than 60% in the past three years. That drop is twice as big as other regions of the U.S., which average a 30% decrease in the number of inspections.

The report by BGA reporter Brett Chase adds that there are about 150 fewer scientists, technicians and other employees in the Chicago headquarters of Region 5 than before the Trump Administration took office.

It stands to reason that the fewer people you have whose job it is to protect our air and land and water, the less protection there will be.

The BGA report concludes that politics, not science, are driving decisions that will affect our health for decades and generations to come.

Despite political rhetoric to the contrary, it is possible for business to thrive — creating jobs, generating taxes and growing this state's economy — without destroying the health of our communities. In fact, it is not only possible; it is mandatory. It won't happen unlessthe Chicago EPA office is returned to robust staffing levels and then those people are allowed to do their jobs.

Mattoon Journal-Gazette, (Charleston) Times-Courier

State lawmakers are considering proposing new disclosure requirements for lobbyists and public officials.

As we would expect from Illinois, politicians flaunting the existing legislation has led to shocking-but-not-shocking raids, indictments and convictions.

The Harvard University Center for Ethics says Illinois is the second-most corrupt state in the country, just behind Kentucky. New Jersey, you're not trying hard enough.

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Since May, in excess of a half-dozen arrest and raids were carried out against Illinois officials and insiders, all having to do with assorted investigations of political improprieties:

Predictably enough, politicians who don't like the heat are trying to turn around the glare of the spotlights. Take now-retiring Senate President John Cullerton, who said the ethics task force should investigate news organizations and see how they're being funded. That's easy to find out, sir, and it works the same way – find the public records and find the receipts. No one has suggested new organizations have cost the state $10 billion this century.

Any law that clamps down on lobbying – particularly lobbying by state legislatures – would be a welcome one. The current proposal is a start, and a report is due at the end of March. By that time – and after undoubtedly more arrests, charges, indictments and convictions – maybe a closer look will shut off some of these potential problem areas.

Sauk Valley Media

Illinois faced a dilemma when Chester O. Weger stood for parole and the people of Starved Rock country watched anxiously to see which would prevail: Weger’s age (80) and physical decline or the obligation to adhere to the verdict and sentence imposed nearly 60 years ago.

The Illinois prisoner review board voted 9-4 to grant him parole.

Weger won’t be released for at least 90 days. The Illinois Attorney General wants him evaluated to see whether he is a sexually violent person, which could determine where he stays once he is released from prison.

For us, the choice was clear: Weger must remain behind bars.

It was troubling when the Illinois Prisoner Review Board began to issue a series of eyebrow-raising votes signaling greater willingness to release Weger now that he has exceeded his life expectancy. We are equally troubled that double-murderer Henry Hillenbrand was abruptly cut loose earlier this year and we hope the board does not abruptly foist Weger onto some unsuspecting community the way Hillenbrand washed ashore in Putnam County with hours’ notice to the authorities.

Weger is not penitent. He is not reformed. He persists in self-serving statements that he was a patsy. His steadfast lies have attracted an alarming number of adherents in defiance of the facts.

Life should mean life.

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