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April 13, 2018



The University of Illinois Flash Index rose in February for the second straight month, climbing to 104.6 from 104.4 the previous month. The February reading is a half point higher than December and puts the monthly indicator of Illinois’ economic condition at its highest level since May 2017. “The Illinois economy is benefitting from a continuing strong national economy,” said economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the university’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “The first quarter of 2018 appears not to be experiencing the weakness of the past several winters although growth will likely be slower than the last three quarters of 2017.” The Illinois unemployment rate, another reflection of economic stability, remained unchanged in February at 4.9 percent, Giertz said. This was well above the national rate of 4.1 percent, but still very low by historical standards. Giertz has compiled the Flash Index, which is based on Illinois’ monthly tax receipts, since 1995 and has calculated it dating back to 1981 (view the complete archive). Readings above 100 indicate economic growth while readings below 100 indicate a contraction in the economy. The index has hovered in a range between 103.9 and 104.8 since August 2016.





Open Meetings Act (OMA)

Presented by: Christopher Boggs, Assistant Attorney General, Illinois Attorney General’s Office

Noon-1PM, Thursday, May 3, 2018

University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development will air a live webinar on the Open Meetings Act on May 3, 2018, from Noon – 1:00 p.m. Christopher Boggs, from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, will highlight the training and tools required to implement this policy at the local level, and avoid violations.

Christopher Boggs, Assistant Attorney General with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office in the Public Access Bureau, assists the Public Access Counselor in resolving Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act (OMA) violations and provides educational training to state and local Illinois government entities.  Prior to joining the Attorney General’s office, Boggs served as a Post-Doctoral Legal Fellow in the Office of University Counsel for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and clerked for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Office of Special Counsel, The Honorable Joe Billy McDade of the Central District of Illinois, and United States Senator Barack Obama.  Boggs received his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

There is no cost to attend the webinar; however, REGISTRATION required. Register online or contact Nancy Ouedraogo at more information.



The CDC has issued a policy brief addressing the opioid crisis. The information includes a summary of the use and overdoses of the drugs, policy and strategy options, and case examples of programs designed to address the overuse of opioids. CDC policy briefs provide a summary of evidence-based best practices or policy options for a public health issue. They also include information on the background and significance of the issue as well as current status and potential next steps. The case examples describe three programs that address the crisis in rural Maine, Vermont, and North Carolina.



The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy provides information about the farm bill, both the history of farm bill policy and the consequences of the policy it provides. Interest in the farm bill is far-reaching, since it affects the entire U.S., our trading partners, and the world economy. After holding a series of Farm Bill hearings last year, the chairs of the Agriculture Committees in the House and Senate are feverishly writing a new Farm Bill. By most accounts, this Farm Bill will contain few significant reforms, while managing self-imposed budgetary restrictions and efforts to place new restrictions within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The current Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018.



May 3, 2018 (Webinar) - Open Meetings Act

June 14, 2018 (Webinar) - Age-Friendly Communities and Senior Bullying

June 27, 2018 - Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference