Eye On Illinois: Readers sound off on AT&T, presidential age limits and driving tests

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As you hopefully enjoy beautiful weekend weather, here are a few recent thoughts from readers:

Ray Eich, Marseilles, emailed regarding AT&T paying a $23 million federal fine for bribing state officials to help pass a law freeing it from the obligation of offering landline service to every customer:

“We were told at least five years ago that we would get county wide broadband. Where is it? The federal government has promised broadband to the rural areas. What century? …

“Since this bill was passed and signed, it should be repealed because laws were broken by AT&T and Speaker Madigan and Michael McClain, Madigan’s ally. When brought before the house for a vote, no one knew about the bribe, thus it was illegally put up for a vote …

“Do you think there is any way we could get this repealed and re-write it with the stipulation that in order for AT&T to not offer landline service to customers in their service area, because copper is too expensive to maintain, they will be required to provide fiber to those areas? A $23M fine for a bribe to AT&T is peanuts.”

Current lawmakers may not be so inclined, but it’s a fair question.

Two older readers reached out, one to suggest Congress should act so no one older than 70 can be elected president. That topic is outside my usual state government purview, but I have noted U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, re-elected in 2020, is almost 78, making him the 11th oldest Senator and the chamber’s third-oldest Democrat. In all, 37 Senators will be 70 by the end of 2022, more than 90 House members are that old, including three from Illinois.

The other called to note Illinois is the only state with a mandatory road test for all drivers 75 and older who wish to renew their license and suggested it’s time to revise that rule. Drivers from 81-86 must renew every two years, and older drivers are on an annual schedule. I forwarded the topic to the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors for interviews with Secretary of State candidates.

Both state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, and the Democratic candidate, former Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, said they’d be willing to study the issue, but neither expressed strong feelings. If this issue is ever going to reach lawmakers, the likely impetus is direct voter advocacy. To hear more from each candidate, visit tinyurl.com/ILSOSvideos. For a 2016 study from the Highway Loss Data Institute, a division of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, visit tinyurl.com/OldDriverStudy.

ON THIS DAY: It’s the 141st birthday of Clinton Davisson, a Bloomington native and University of Chicago graduate who won the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering electron diffraction.

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

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October 22, 2022 at 06:22AM

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