It’s a sad Memorial Day when a virus keeps us from gathering to celebrate those who gave all to defend our rights – among them the right to peaceably assemble. But no virus can keep us from still honoring them in our own way. Please pause this weekend to do that. No one has ever bestowed more honor on those who made that sacrifice than Abraham Lincoln: “From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Thorns to the the Illinois Department of Employment Security for the data breach that exposed the sensitive information of people already suffering from job loss as they sought unemployment benefits. Capitol News Illinois reported that the department announced Friday it will notify 32,483 claimants whose personal information might have been viewed because of a “glitch” in the newly-launched Pandemic Unemployment Assistance portal. In a news release, IDES said it worked to fix the “glitch” with Deloitte, the outside firm contracted to launch the PUA system created under federal law to give benefits to independent contractors and those who are self-employed. IDES said the personal information of some of the 32,000-plus claimants “may have been unintentionally viewed by a single claimant.”
The EDN editorial board this week voiced its opinion that Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to seek a constitutional amendment that would allow a graduated income tax in Illinois should be shelved. We thought now is not the time to put the question on the ballot because of everything going on with COVID-19. Besides, we have reservations about the tax plan touted by the Democratic governor. But the House on Friday joined the Senate in approving the language of referendum question: “The proposed amendment grants the State authority to impose higher income tax rates on higher income levels, which is how the federal government and a majority of other states do it. The amendment would remove the portion of the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution that is sometimes referred to as the “flat tax,” that requires all taxes on income to be at the same rate. The amendment does not itself change tax rates. It gives the State the ability to impose higher tax rates on those with higher income levels and lower income tax rates on those with middle or lower income levels. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become a part of the Illinois Constitution.”
EDN reporter Kaitlin Cordes gave us a roseworthy update this week: “Members of the Illinois National Guard Second Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment who deployed to Afghanistan in January are halfway through their 10-month deployment as Memorial Day approaches. The unit included 90 to 95 soldiers from Effingham and guardsmen and women from Litchfield, West Frankfort, Marion and Mt. Vernon. The unit is mobilized in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Director of Public Affairs with the state National Guard Lt. Col. Brad Leighton said since the unit’s deployment earlier this year, it has moved through countries throughout the Middle East. Those locations cannot be specified for security reasons, Leighton said. Leighton said the unit members are performing security operations, protecting United States military personnel, bases and equipment. One of those deployed is Lt. Col. Gregory Settle of Effingham, who told the EDN in a January that having the unwavering support of community members back home helps soldiers feel “taken care of” and also helps their families cope with their absence. “Every time you deploy, it’s always a challenge on your family,” he said.