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Insert Clever Ballot Series Name Here

By Sam Bakken in News on Nov 1, 2004 8:56AM

10_2004_ballot.gifYou'll have to forgive us. Halloween got the best of us so we didn't quite get all the information in this weekend that we'd hoped. But we're going to go nuts today and get it all in by midnight. To continue our ballot series, we'll examine a referendum put together by a coalition of organizations around Illinois. It will be on ballots throughout the state and will ask voters the following:

"Shall the Illinois State Government provide adequate funding for comprehensive and appropriate substance abuse treatment for any Illinois state resident requesting services from a licensed provider, community-based organization, or medical care facility within the state?"

The referendum is non-binding (read worthless), but, as the coalition members are hoping, it could send a message to the Illinois government or at least serve as ammunition for lobbying efforts. The referendum's supporters say it will be a preventative measure that will save costs from "reduced worker productivity, unemployment, court and criminal costs, victimization, childcare bills, expensive emergency room visits, and lifelong attention to infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome or affected by prenatal exposure to illicit drugs."

It is on the bottom of the ballot and according to Tom Leach, spokesman for Chicago's election commission, that means it may not get many votes.

We can't really see any reason not to vote yes. So we'll be punching 346 for yes because it seems like a step towards sensible drug policy and an emphasis on treatment instead of incarceration.