A Window Into Pritzker’s Plans for Illinois

From agriculture to veterans’ affairs, transition reports unveiled Friday give a window into what Gov. J.B. Pritzker might do: potential new taxes on plastic bags and e-cigarettes, eliminating the automatic suspension of a driver’s license when someone is in debt to court, the creation of a sort of statewide infrastructure czar, requiring the replacement of lead pipes and so on.

The 11 reports – the result of experts chosen by Pritzker to serve on transition working groups – also show how much the Pritzker administration is sure to diverge from that of former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s.

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For example, a report focused on growing the economy says that “the state … needs to improve its reputation for being beneficial to businesses.”

Rauner said accomplishing that would require easing manufacturers’ workers compensation costs – still on the wish list of Illinois’ major business groups.

There is no mention of workers’ comp in the Pritzker transition report.

Rather, the Pritzker administration says that solutions for Illinois’ lagging job growth include regional training centers with sector-specific programs, expanding paid parental and family leave and access to early childhood learning and creating a biotech and life sciences “district.”

The reports also emphasize a reliance on using union labor, along with ensuring that undocumented immigrants are able to access government programs and services.

Other key highlights from the reports:

  • Infrastructure: High-speed internet in all state buildings including universities and hospitals, rural broadband, ensuring minority access to contracts, lifting state procurement restrictions
  • Healthcare: Tackling a drop in Medicaid enrollment, increasing reimbursement rates to Medicaid and human service providers, create a “universal healthcare” system by allowing individuals of all income levels to buy into Medicaid, hiring community navigators to help residents access the Affordable Care Act, focusing on permanent placement for state wards
  • Justice: Move toward a “more compassionate” approach, modernize the court system with a focus on rehabilitation and evidence-based treatments, create a multi-state task force to examine guns illegally crossing borders, improve vocational training for prisons and help with treatment/housing upon release, lift thresholds for retail theft and drug offenses

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky

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