Contract controversies and the state’s poor financial condition dominated state news during the week.

Governor Pat Quinn drew heat for mixing politics and policy by offering significant concessions to a public employees union at the same time he sought their political support, according to Senator Tim Bivins.

On another contract issue, unsuccessful bidders for the state’s new lottery management contract raised objections to Illinois’ bid process.

On the economic front, Senator Bivins said a major credit rating agency signaled they may again cut the state’s credit rating, while a new report shows that though the economy has improved nationally, Illinois remains in a recession.

News stories this week revealed that Governor Quinn negotiated a contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) within days of the union’s endorsement of Quinn for governor. The contract would prohibit layoffs or facility closures and lock in health insurance benefits until June 30, 2012, while keeping intact minimum 8.25 percent salary increases over the next 15 months." />

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