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Timidly Alicia entered the alleyway an hour before dusk.  She was anxious only partly because it was darker than she had hoped. Fortunately her contact was behind the first dumpster, not too deep in the narrow alley with the sour, musty odor.

“I have your fake ID showing your age at 18, do you have the fifty dollars?” he asked.

“Yes,” hesitantly replied the 17-year old.

“I can see paying fifty dollars for a 21 year old ID to buy alcohol, smoke or get into a bar, but why just to vote?”

“Oh, I’m not interested in voting, but I need a pre-tan for this summer’s softball umpiring job and fun at the beach to prevent burning and my parent’s authorization will no longer work in Illinois”.

Rather than tackling real and worsening problems, the Illinois legislature is considering house bill 1666, which would outlaw use of a tanning bed by anyone under 18 regardless of parental consent.

Usurping individual and parental rights is an easier task for the legislature than:

 -dealing with a high school graduation rate that has fallen from 87.8% to 83.8 in the last year.

-reversing or halting the declining trend of Illinois high school test scores to a record low this year.

-reversing Illinois’ drop from 45th to 48th  in rankings of best states for business.

-correcting Illinois’ $83 billion public pension shortfall.

-halting the exodus of businesses either too small or lacking the political connections, which would enable them to garner tax exemptions.

-improving Illinois rank as 47th in Medicaid spending on the disabled.

Sadly, not only is the legislature failing to reverse any of these trends, they are not having a serious discussion about possible solutions.  The emphasis is on discreetly kicking the can down the road.

Criminal or not, one must wonder whether it is the hypothetical Alicia or the Illinois legislature who has violated the public trust.

Have a fulfilling and profitable day,

WC (Bill) Augustine

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