Senator Murphy questions tollway officialsAt the urging of State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines), the Senate Transportation Committee convened a subject matter hearing on Tuesday morning in Chicago to discuss potential irregularities in Tollway procurement.

Illinois Deputy Chief Procurement Officer Jan Morrow, Tollway Director Liz Gorman and Tollway Chief of Procurement John Donato testified on procurement policies for engineering contracts and how proposals are reviewed.

“This was a good start to the conversation,” Murphy said. “We discussed the nuts and bolts of how contracts are awarded, but I’d like to see more transparency in the process. When politically connected organizations are awarded contracts, it erodes public confidence.”

The hearing was called following the award of a $6.6 million subcontract to Morreale Communications which was tacked onto an engineering contract. The CEO of Morreale is married to Republican State Representative Michael McAuliffe.

Though the Tollway contended that Morreale Communications disclosed the potential conflict of interest, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) remarked that it is important to avoid the impression of a conflict of interest, which can be just as undermining.

During the hearing, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) questioned some work Morreale was performing, such as writing speeches for the chairman of the Tollway, when the Tollway employs an 11-member communications staff. Donato testified that he believes Tollway communications staff’s budget is $1.6 million annually.

The Tollway was also under fire for a $157 million contract with Omega and Associates, a company which employs the children of Tollway executives. The firm has also contributed to board members’ charities.

“I’ll keep asking questions about these contracts and the award process,” Murphy said. “I believe the Tollway owes a transparent process and efficient use of funds to the public.”

Murphy tours AmadaEarlier this week, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) toured the Amada America Inc. facility in Schaumburg with Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Shinsuke Sugiyama and Consul General Naoki Ito.

“I am excited about the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Japan and to work collaboratively to promote job growth in Illinois,” Murphy said.

The Japanese ambassador is touring facilities across the Midwest as a part of his Grassroots Caravan. Amada has a 133,000 square foot facility in Schaumburg, which showcases its advancement in laser cutting, automation and manufacturing.

“Schaumburg is an excellent place to live and work,” Murphy said. “Schaumburg District 54 has great schools that offer dual-language and immersion programs in Japanese, Spanish and Chinese, making this community a prime location for global business opportunities. ”

02272018CM0764DES PLAINES — State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME:

“Throughout our history, unions have fought for the rights of all workers. They have negotiated better salaries and workplace protections, helped establish the minimum wage and set limits on the number of working hours each day. Their efforts created a path for the middle class to prosper.

Today the Supreme Court decided that non-public union members who benefit from organized labor’s bargaining power should not have to contribute to the cost of providing those benefits. This decision will chip away at collective bargaining rights for public sector employees including teachers, firefighters and state workers.

Though the Supreme Court sided with corporate interests, I will continue to fight for workers’ rights.”


05092018KS4570 rSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Laura Murphy, a Des Plaines Democrat, today supported a bipartisan balanced budget plan that supports local communities and prevents a backdoor property tax increase.

“It was imperative to me that we did not shift massive pension costs onto local school districts and create a backdoor property tax increase as the governor proposed,” Murphy said.

“Shifting pension costs onto school districts would have undermined the new evidence-based school funding formula and forced many local communities to raise taxes. That was not something I could stand for.”

The governor’s proposed budget sought to push nearly $500 million in normal pension costs onto school districts this year.

The plan also includes $25 million for a new pilot grant program for Illinois undergraduate middle class students who choose to pursue higher education in the state. Through the AIM HIGH grant, the state would provide matching funding to public universities that award scholarships to Illinois students for both merit and financial need.

“Illinois has a serious problem with students leaving the state once they finish high school to pursue their college education elsewhere,” Murphy said.

“Many of them never return, representing an enormous brain drain with significant financial implications. I hope this new program will encourage more students to attend college in state.”

In addition to the AIM HIGH program, the budget includes nearly $60 million in additional funding to support Illinois colleges and universities over last year’s funding level.

The budget package now moves to the House for consideration.

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Springfield Office:
307 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3875

District Office:
1645 South River Road, Suite 7

Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
(847) 718-1110