• RSS News – Lou Lang

    • Orchestras shirk labels for self-released recordings, from NJ to San Francisco - NJ.com December 21, 2014
      NJ.comOrchestras shirk labels for self-released recordings, from NJ to San FranciscoNJ.com... excellence in classics, such as Mahler's Symphonies and as champions of new and novel, with ventures such as their American Mavericks concert series, which led to a CD release in 2012 featuring works by Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell and Edgard Varèse ...and more » […]
    • 'Dragon Age' tops AP critics' best games of 2014 - Bellingham Herald December 17, 2014
      'Dragon Age' tops AP critics' best games of 2014Bellingham Herald1. "Dragon Age: Inquisition" (BioWare, for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC): BioWare's overstuffed role-playing epic has everything you could want in a fantasy saga: war, magic, exploration, romance and, yes, dragons. I've spent ...
    • 'Dragon Age,' 'Far Cry 4' and 'Shadow of Mordor' among AP critics' top 10 ... - Bridge River Lillooet News December 22, 2014
      Bridge River Lillooet News'Dragon Age,' 'Far Cry 4' and 'Shadow of Mordor' among AP critics' top 10 ...Bridge River Lillooet NewsThe top 10 video games of 2014, according to AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang: 1. "Dragon Age: Inquisition" (BioWare, for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC): Des […]
    • Slideshow: Top video games of 2014 - Madison.com December 19, 2014
      Madison.comSlideshow: Top video games of 2014Madison.comDerrik J. Lang: Despite its grander-than-grand scale, "Inquisition" is a breathtakingly detailed role-playing saga unique to each player portraying the leader of a revolution in the fantasy realm of Thedas. BioWare deserves to be heralded for its ...and more »
    • 'Wolfenstein: The New Order' - Madison.com December 19, 2014
      Madison.com'Wolfenstein: The New Order'Madison.comLou Kesten: We got a bunch of new first-person shooters in 2014, but the freshest was this revival from Sweden's MachineGames. Set in an alternate Europe where the Nazis won, it's an expertly paced thriller with a cast of resistance fighters that I ...
    • Of vice and men - Clinton Herald December 16, 2014
      Of vice and menClinton HeraldLou Lang, a Skokie Democrat. Lang is referring to just one of a number of business owners who looked at the law and decided to take advantage of its provisions, including an equestrian center, an apartment complex and a string of quasi-restaurants.
    • 'Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor' - Madison.com December 19, 2014
      Madison.com'Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor'Madison.comLou Kesten: In Monolith Productions' brilliant take on J.R.R. Tolkien, you must challenge a series of orc warlords before going toe-to-toe with their evil boss. The result rewards a smart strategic approach as much as skillful swordplay, and it's ...
    • 'Dragon Age: Inquisition' - Madison.com December 19, 2014
      Madison.com'Dragon Age: Inquisition'Madison.comLou Kesten: BioWare's overstuffed role-playing epic has everything you could want in a fantasy saga: war, magic, exploration, romance and, yes, dragons. I've spent 200 hours in its lush, frightening world and there are still huge areas I've barely ...
    • Empty Netter Assists - 12-19-14 - Pittsburgh Post Gazette (blog) December 19, 2014
      Pittsburgh Post Gazette (blog)Empty Netter Assists - 12-19-14Pittsburgh Post Gazette (blog)Acquired in the 1969 offseason along with Craig Cameron and a draft pick in a deal which sent Lou Angotti and a draft pick to the Blues, Schock spent eight seasons with the Penguins. In 1969-70, Schock appeared in 76 ... Lang's best season was 2000-01 ...
    • Green Day, Joan Jett will have to carry the Hall of Fame ceremony - Pittsburgh Post Gazette December 17, 2014
      Pittsburgh Post GazetteGreen Day, Joan Jett will have to carry the Hall of Fame ceremonyPittsburgh Post GazetteThe 2015 inductees, announced early Tuesday morning in a press release, include Bill Withers and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, along with Lou Reed, who died last year, and two bands missing their namesakes: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, an […]
  • RSS Blogs – Lou Lang

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Illinois Legislative Maps Are Not Yet Drawn, Lou Lang Says

(Skokie, IL) — April 24, 2011. Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) today attempted to squelch claims that maps have already been drawn in the Illinois redistricting process, saying such claims are “untrue.”

Noting that the Illinois House is conducting 15 state-wide redistricting hearings–11 more than required by law–Lang said, “There are some people in our communities who are claiming the maps have already been drawn. That is untrue.”

Lang said lawmakers are seeking map input from local communities and soliciting actual maps from citizens and interest groups.

“At my last hearing in Aurora, a witness claim that he had drawn the ‘perfect map’,” said Lang. “I asked him for the map, which he had colored in by pencil, but refused to submit the because he said ‘it still needs work'”.

The legislature is expected to approve the 118 state house, 59 state senate and the 18 congressional maps by May 31.

As a result of the U.S. census, Illinois is losing one of its 19 existing congressional seats under the new map.

Rutherford, Topinka Divisions Stall Quinn Effort to Overcome Bills Backlog

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka can both agree on a plan to merge their offices, but short-term borrowing is a different thing.

Republicans opposed Gov. Pat Quinn‘s plan to borrow $8.75 billion to help the state pay off its debt of $9 billion to $10 billion. Quinn wants to borrow $2 billion in short-term loans to help pay the state’s backlog of bills.

Any short-term borrowing must win the OK from both financial offices.

Rutherford, a Republican, met privately with Quinn, a Democrat, and his budget office staff. Rutherford said he told the governor he doesn’t approve of a multi-billion dollar borrowing plan, which would require repayment with interest at the end of 14 years.

“I told him I don’t support the $8.7 billion borrowing plan; 14-year payment ballooned at the end,” Rutherford said. “I said ‘I don’t support any of that stuff, but I will work with you on short-term borrowing, which I can either sign-off on that or not.’”

States were provided with about $80 billion from the federal stimulus fund, which provides an enhanced Medicaid match rate to hospitals and nursing homes if states make payments within 30 days. Since March 31, Illinois’ match dropped from 59 percent to 57 percent early this month. By July 1, the match will drop to 50 percent.

“We do not want to leave over $200 million in federal match on the table,” Quinn’s spokeswoman Kelly Kraft said.

“We want to get this debt restructured, so we can take advantage of an extra $200 million that we could use for programs in our state. We want to get these bills paid. And the sooner we do that, the more match we get.”

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Lang, Durkin Push Illinois Investment Board to Conduct Independent Investigation of College Illinois! Investment Losses

(Springfield, IL) — April 18, 2011. A recent state audit revealed one of the state’s “low-risk” prepaid tuition programs is underfunded by 31 percent and wasted millions on “risky” investments last year. But state legislators say there is more to uncover.

House lawmakers this week unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an investigation into the investment practices of the state’s College Illinois. Families make payments to “lock in” present rates to pay for future tuition at Illinois colleges or universities, according to its website.

Approximately 55,000 students participate statewide.

State Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, is chief sponsor of House Resolution 174. He invested in a 15-year contract with the program for his 9-year-old daughter.

“I thought it was a good, safe investment,” Durkin said, “… to ensure that my daughter would have an affordable education available for her by the time she graduates from high school.”

The office of Illinois Auditor General William Holland released a report last week raising red flags about the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s investment losses and questionable business practices concerning College Illinois.

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Illinois House Advances Rep. Lou Lang’s Mental Health Parity Enforcement Plan

(Springfield, IL) – A legislative plan to put state enforcement power behind a new federal mental health parity law is advancing in the Illinois General Assembly.

The legislation, House Bill 1530, which the Illinois House approved, 79-32, on April 6, upgrades Illinois’ existing mental health insurance parity law to match federal requirements approved in July 2010 and to give the Illinois Department Insurance the power to enforce the federal standards.

“Federal enforcement is a more remote, lighter touch, relying on telephone calls and mail,” said House Deputy Majority Lou Lang (D-Skokie).

“By matching state law to the federal standards, the Illinois Insurance Department can enforce the federal standards more aggressively than the federal government could by virtue of state face-to-face enforcement activities.”

Lang noted that neither the federal nor state law mandate mental health insurance as defined benefit, but require mental health coverage if other health benefits are offered.

“The federal law does not require coverage for mental and emotional disorders, but does require parity if such coverage is offered for hospital or medical treatment,” said Lang.

In addition to bringing Illinois’s mental health law into compliance with federal standards, Lang’s bill also adds substance abuse treatment and autism care to the list of parity required health insurance benefits.

“Addiction health care and autism health care are vital parts of the broader field of behavioral health care,” said Lang. “And their inclusion as part of a insurance parity framework is critical.”

These provisions are applicable to any plan of a small employer (with 2-50 employees), according to Lang.

“Again, the law does not require coverage for mental, substance abuse or autism,” said Lang. “It only requires parity if other health care treatments are offered.”

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Michael McRaith has noted before an earlier House committee hearing that the independent U.S. Congressional Budget Office found that parity would only cause health insurance premiums to rise by 0.4 percent.

Moreover, research shows that patients that have completed substance use disorder treatment have been shown to reduce emergency room visits by 39%, hospital stays by 35% and total medical costs by 26%.

“House approval of this legislation is an important step toward bringing health insurance parity to addiction health care,” said Lang. “However, the Senate is another key legislative hurdle in the process.”

In addition to Lang, other House sponsors include State Reps: Robyn Gabel (D), William Davis (D), Naomi Jakobsson (D), Fred Crespo (D), Dave Winters (R), Al Riley (R), Sara Feigenholtz (D) Mary Flowers (D) Joe Lyons (D), Maria Antonia Berrios (D), Jack Franks (D), Keith Farnham (D), Linda Chapa LaVia (D), Camille Lilly (D), Cynthia Soto (D), Ann Williams (D), Elizabeth Hernandez (D), John D’Amico (D), Daniel Biss (D), Pat Verschoore (D), and Harry Osterman (D).

Illinois House Presses for Less Spending in Next Year’s Illinois Budget

(Springfield, IL) – As the Illinois House of Representatives and Gov. Pat Quinn duke it out in the state budget ring, the House is about $3 billion lighter compared to the governor’s spending fund.

From the House’s $33.2 billion fiscal year 2012 budget plan, lawmakers set aside $23.8 billion to fund state agencies and services.

Quinn has a $26.9 billion spending fund for state agencies and services. The governor said the state should not forget about the “fundamental things in life (such as) public safety, health care and education.” He has strongly criticized the House’s projected “radical severe” cuts in education funding.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago this week outlined the House budget proposal’s spending — for instance $12 billion for human services and $8.9 billion for education. The Quinn administration, meanwhile, would hand out $12.9 billion to human services and $9.5 billion to education.

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Channel 17 NBC TV in Decatur Features Illinois Medical Marijuana Legislation

(Springfield, IL) – April 4, 2011. Channel 17 WAND/NBC TV in Decatur, which also covers Springfield and Champaign, has produced a feature on House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang‘s legislation that permit the use of medical marijuana in Illinois for individuals who suffer from chronic pain and debilitating medical conditions, such as Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.

The Illinois House Human Services Committee has already approved the legislation, House Bill 30, by a 6-5 vote, to allow patients to posses 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana for a 14-day period in which the need has been certified, in many cases, by two, separate doctors.

“This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, and I know a majority of lawmakers recognize the underlying medical benefits of medical marijuana,” said Lang.

The bill now faces consideration by the full House.

Watch the broadcast here …

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