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Gary Forby
Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Fri Nov 2, 2012

Southern Illinois State Senate Candidates Slam Quinn

Miles south of Springfield, much less Chicago, the 59th district state senate race at the southern tip of Illinois between incumbent Democrat Gary Forby (pictured) and Republican challenger Mark Minor is often a contest of who can best criticize Gov. Pat Quinn, the state’s Democratic governor who hails from the Windy City.

“Beating up on Chicago is a time-honored tradition in southern Illinois,” says John Jackson a political science professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois. “The Democrat is running against the governor as hard as the Republican is.”

Quinn is taking a beating for reasons that go beyond a general wariness of Chicago politicians.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Tue Oct 30, 2012

Quinn Gets A Win On Prisons, But Litigation Drags On

Gov. Pat Quinn scored a big victory Friday in his plan to balance the state budget. Arbitrator Steve Biereg ruled that the state acted reasonably in the June ordering of the shut down of seven different corrections and juvenile justice facilities.

However, the legal clash between Quinn and the AFSCME Council 31 public employees union over the closings continues. The conflict will now stretch past the election and, quite possibly, the Illinois General Assembly’s fall veto session scheduled for late November.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Thu Jun 28, 2012

Digging Deeper Into The State Budget Process

Gov. Pat Quinn has decided to close several state correctional facilities in addition to shutting down the Tinley Park Mental Health Center and Jacksonville Developmental Center, as we have previously reported.

But how can Quinn order these shut downs after the General Assembly passed a budget with money to keep them open? What power does Quinn have and what powers do lawmakers have?

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Tue Jun 26, 2012

Controversial Tamms Closure A Triumph For Prison Reformers

Governor Pat Quinn’s decision to shutter Tamms Correctional Center, effective August 31, in order to save money is a landmark victory for prison reform advocates who spent a decade fighting to close the facility that has held inmates for years in 24-hour solitary confinement.

“We are ending the era of solitary confinement,” says Laurie Jo Reynolds, an organizer with the Tamms Year Ten coalition, which ran a legislative campaign to close the prison. Reynolds noted that other states, such as Mississippi and Maine, also recently shut down solitary confinement facilities and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) conducted a Senate hearing last week on solitary confinement.

But Quinn’s unilateral action goes against the wishes of the Illinois General Assembly. It also further alienates the governor from AFSCME Council 31, the union representing many of the state's public employees. The union is steadfastly against the closings and other Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) shut downs, even though the governor's office says the moves will result in no public employee layoffs.