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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

IL lawmakers kick off final days of fall session

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 02:59 Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are convening in Springfield for the final three days of their annual fall session.

   The action kicks off with Tuesday hearings on corporate tax incentives and stricter gun penalties in the Illinois House.

   Same-sex marriage legislation could also come up for a vote in the coming days. The measure was approved by the state Senate in February but stalled in the House in the spring. Advocates have since launched a more collaborative push and several undecided lawmakers announced their support for the measure. Opponents say they're prepared to mount primary challenges against members who vote for the legislation.

   Lawmakers are not confident there will be a vote on a deal to solve the state's $97 billion pension crisis, but they say they are making progress on a deal.

 

Kirk gives first post-stroke Senate floor speech

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 02:48 Published in Local News

   WASHINGTON (AP) - Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk took to the U.S. Senate floor for the first time since suffering a stroke to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

   The bill would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

   Seated at a desk, Kirk said it was especially important for an Illinois Republican to speak out for the legislation in the tradition of Everett Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln. Kirk hadn't taken the Senate floor since suffering a stroke in January 2012.

   Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn't stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

   All of the Senate Democratic majority and at least five Republicans are expected to vote for the bill.

 

St. Louis ConnectCare closing north city clinic

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 02:32 Published in Local News

   A clinic that serves mostly the uninsured and under-insured in St. Louis is closing its doors.  St. Louis ConnectCare has announced it will close the Smiley Urgent Care Center November 15th.  

   The non-profit had announced in August it would shut down its specialty services, but now says it must also close the clinic at the old Regional Hospital on Delmar.  

   St. Louis Regional Health Commission Chief Robert Fruend believes other health care providers will follow suit because of state budget cuts.  Fruend told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that 1,000 healthcare jobs have been lost in the region in the last six months. 

   The paper reports a Missouri Hospital Association estimate that the state will lose $4 billion in health care funding over the next six years, mainly from budget cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.  They say the decision by Missouri lawmakers not to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act will further limit the amount of health care funds coming into the state.

 

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