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IL opens the door for legislators to sweep motorcyclists $$$

This is disturbing, and I can see the effects of this rolling from one state to another! 
Illinois Supreme Court: State money cannot be special
October 27, 2011
By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Statehouse News
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Supreme Court may have opened the door for Gov. Pat Quinn and state lawmakers to grab hundreds of millions of dollars for the next state budget.
In a 6-to-1 decision Thursday, the high court upheld a 2006 Sangamon County Circuit Court ruling that backed the governor and Legislature's ability to take money from hundreds of special state funds, a practice commonly referred to as sweeping.
Motorcycle riders sued former Gov. Rod Blagojevich after he ordered that $296,000 be taken from the Cycle Riders Safety Training Fund, or CRSTF. A portion of the fee for an Illinois motorcycle license went into the CRSTF, which the motorcycle education and advocacy group A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education, or ABATE, argued, was only to be spent on motorcycle safety education. The governor that year used the $296,000 to pay general state bills.
"Clearly, the fee charged by the state for motorcycle registration and licensing is state revenue, and therefore the portion of this state revenue which the General Assembly has allocated to the CRSTF is also public money," wrote Justice Anne Burke in the majority opinion.
Burke rejected the ABATE lawyers’ argument that the special fund was tantamount to a special trust fund.
With the lone opposing vote, Chief Justice Tom Kilbride wrote in his dissenting opinion that he is "concerned, however, that the legislature may have swept private or federal funds."
In 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court in City of Chicago v. Holland, ruled that federal dollars cannot be rerouted for state needs.
But Kilbride pointed to $2 million in “fund transfers” from the State Park Fund. Some of the money in the State Park Fund comes from charitable contributions from Illinois taxpayers.
"This court has an obligation to address the implications of sweeping private donations and federal grant moneys,” he wrote in his dissenting opinion.
Former legislator and current professor emeritus at Northwestern University Law School, Dawn Clarke Netsch, said private and federal dollars are a different issue, but the court was on target with the idea of “public money."
"If there are no specific constitutional protections for money that comes into the state, the General Assembly can always change its mind and do something different with those dollars," she said.
"Just because a bill is passed that sets forth a path to paying certain monies to certain funds, doesn't mean it will stay that way forever."
Laurence Msall, president of the Chicago-based public policy research group the Civic Federation said he hopes the lawmakers and governor will use the money to pay the state's bills.
"But even with permission to sweep every state fund, it would not be enough to fix the state's problems," Msall said.
Quinn's budget spokeswoman, Kelly Kraft, said there are no plans to sweep any special funds for the next state budget.
"Gov. Quinn worked to end the practice of fund sweeps, and sweeps are not a possibility for FY13," said Kraft.
But the governor has come to rely on interfund borrowing. Quinn borrowed $500 million from special state funds in the current state spending plan. That money is supposed to be paid back at the end of the fiscal year.
ABATE lawyer Rod Taylor said, "The decision just strikes terror into the basic fabric of American life, the sanctity of contract."

The Illinois State Supreme Court today handed down their decision on whether or not the Governor has the power to sweep money from the Cycle Rider Safety Training Fund and they ruled in favor of the state.
The last little paragraph says it all:
The supreme court concluded that the legislature cannot create an irrevocable trust with public money because this would place an unconstitutional restraint upon the legislature’s plenary power. The court, thus, found no impediment to the legislature’s withdrawals from the cycle fund.
We will get with the lawyers and the Comptroller to see if there is something we can do.
The link below is their summary.
The following link below will give you their opinions. Just click on ABATE of Illinois vs Alexis Giannoulias.
I wish to thank the team of Rod Taylor, George Tinkham, and Matt Franklin for their hard work on presenting our case to the Ill.Supreme Court. This is one of the reasons we have ABATE Legal Services, someone to represent us
There is no shame in losing. Shame comes when you don't try - and "Try We Did"
Bob Myers
Legislative Coordinator
ABATE of Illinois, Inc

Comment from Rogue in FL:
This happened in Florida in 2010 when Abate of Florida president and lobbyist Doc Reichenbach helped the state pass a law increasing the licensing for motorcycles by $2.50 per year
He said the money would be used for education.
Those opposed to the increase reminded him that Florida has a history of using these funds for other things.
At the start of the 2011 Florida Legislative Session the state did in fact take the money again.
When asked why Abate was not opposing this Doc was reported as saying Abate was not opposing it as they were still getting their quarter million dollars - $250,000.00
The fact that Abate profited from this has upset many riders in Florida as well as how Abate used the money they got.
It is suggested that all motorcyclist contact their legislators and request that these fees be removed from motorcycle licenses.
If the Abate organizations can Not Get This Done – Then it is up to all the other motorcyclist that are opposed to money being added to their licensing and then used for other things To Speak Up – First in Letters and e-mails to elected officials and then later in The Voting Booth.
 Of course those who think that the state should be allowed to continue this practice are entitled to their opinion as well. 

Sturgis Freedom Fighters
Motorcycle Hall Of Fame Member 2005
Comment from the editor:

This seems to be happening in many states, including MA. What's mind boggling here is that there's verbiage written right into our legislation for the motorcycle safety fund that states the funds CANNOT be used or earmarked for anything else!

So much for written legislation, it seems when it comes to the whims of legislators we're all at their mercy, and whatever they want to do goes, no matter what's written on the books!

Sad... and it's going to get worse before it gets better!

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