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Illinois lawmakers plan 2nd Legionnaires' disease hearing

Illinois lawmakers plan 2nd Legionnaires' disease hearing
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers will meet again next month in Springfield for a bipartisan hearing about the deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak at a western Illinois veterans' home.
State Sen. Tom Cullerton said Monday that the joint House-Senate hearing will be Feb. 7 at the state Capitol. The hearings have been called to examine the state's response to the disease that contributed to the deaths of 13 residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy since 2015 and sickened dozens more.
Cullerton says he has requested testimony and documents from veterans' home executives, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office and public health officials, among others.
Rauner stayed at the home earlier this month for several days and announced that the state would replace the plumbing at the site. Legionnaires' is a severe form of pneumonia caused by water-borne bacteria.
Carl Buddig to open new facility outside Chicago this spring
MONTGOMERY, Ill. (AP) — Carl Buddig & Co. says it has purchased the former Butterball facility in Montgomery outside Chicago that has been vacant since July.
Officials with the Homewood-based lunch meat and specialty meat company say they will create 250 to 300 new jobs in the coming year. Production at the 280,000-square-foot facility will start this spring and it will be Carl Buddig's fourth manufacturing site in the state. It expands the company's Illinois workforce to more than 1,800 employees.
CEO Bob Buddig says it's been a company priority to expand manufacturing to relieve pressure from current facilities and add capacity to address growing demand.
Company officials say they've posted job openings online. They say they believe there may be trained workers living in the area because the facility previously was a meat processing plant.
Illinois seeks volunteers at renovated governor's mansion
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The state of Illinois is looking for volunteers to welcome visitors and give tours at the newly renovated Illinois Executive Mansion.
The governor's residence in Springfield has been undergoing a complete, privately funded restoration. The home is scheduled to reopen this summer.
A committee of historians, educators and museum professionals is developing new experiences for visitors, including rooms that explore the Columbian Exposition and governors during the Civil War. They're recruiting volunteers to serve as greeters and docents.
Informational meetings will be held at the Old State Capitol in Springfield at 1 p.m. on Jan. 25, Jan. 28 and Feb. 10. Training will begin in February.
The executive mansion was built between 1853 and 1855 and is the third oldest continuously occupied governor's mansion in the United States.
Rauner order bars lawmakers from property-tax appeals
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued a ban on legislators financially benefiting from state property-tax appeals.
Rauner issued an executive order Friday calling such representation "a clear conflict of interest that must end." It is effective immediately.
Rauner has often accused Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of benefiting from high Illinois property taxes because his law firm deals in tax-assessment appeals. Madigan has maintained he operates by a strict code of ethics and within the law.
The order directs the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board to prohibit lawmakers from participating in appeals before it.
The board hears appeals only after county boards of review consider them.
It also bans lawmakers from seeking outside employment activities which "conflict with their official state duties and responsibilities."

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