CAPITOL BRIEFS: Monday, Feb. 11 2019

CAPITOL BRIEFS: Monday, Feb. 11 2019

Lawmaker wants to block state from taxing retirement income


SPRINGFIELD ­– Rep. David McSweeney wants the state to keeps its hands off retirement income.

The Barrington Hills Republican on Monday announced a House opposing any moves to put a state tax on retirement income.

McSweeney’s resolution is a response to the economic plan recently laid out by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, one of the state’s leading business groups.

The Commercial Club’s plan calls for increasing the state income and corporate tax rate by one percentage point, as well as beginning to tax retirement income and putting sales taxes on more consumer services.

“One of the few tax benefits we have in Illinois is protection for retirement income,” McSweeney said in a news release. “We do not need to hold retirees accountable for the [state’s] out-of-control spending.”

But with massive pension debt and a backlog of unpaid bills nearing $7.8 billion, the state might be able to use an extra $6 billion in new revenue per year, which is how much the Commercial Club claims its plan could bring in.

Non-binding House Resolution 32 has not yet been assigned to a committee.


Illinois AG, special prosecutor want re-sentencing for Van Dyke

At a morning news conference Monday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced plans to challenge the sentencing of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

“Cases don’t necessarily come to an end at the end of the trial,” Raoul said. “[There’s a] question of whether the law was followed and whether the sentence was rendered on appropriate charges.”

Raoul and special prosecutor Joseph McMahon filed a petition to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that Van Dyke should have been sentenced for his aggravated battery convictions as well as his murder conviction.

Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm after the on-duty shooting of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald four years ago.

Sentenced to 6 years and 9 months in prison for the murder, Van Dyke was not sentenced for the counts of battery. Judge Vincent Gaughan argued the sentences for the battery counts were “merged” into the murder sentence.  

But Raoul and McMahon called the sentencing “improper” and “statutorily unauthorized,” and are now asking the Supreme Court to order that Judge Gaughan re-sentence Van Dyke on the counts of battery.

“This step is our effort to make sure that ... the laws apply to this defendant as they do to all defendants,” McMahon said.

Under state law, aggravated battery carries a heavier sentencing requirement than second-degree murder. Van Dyke could face a mandatory minimum sentence of as many as 96 years, according to Cook County Assistant Public Defender David Holland in a column written for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Van Dyke and his lawyers have seven days to file an objection to the petition. There is no timeline for the Supreme Court’s response.

Jeff Rogers

Jeff RogersJeff Rogers

Jeff has more than 30 years’ experience working for newspapers as a reporter and editor. He was the editor of daily newspapers in northern Illinois and Wisconsin before joining as Capitol News Illinois’ editor, where he oversees the news service’s development, growth and fundraising. He grew up in Lanark in northwest Illinois and has a journalism degree from Bradley University in Peoria.

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