Quincy News

Adams County Board passes 'much better' indigent death policy

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 12, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Jun. 13, 2018 10:15 am

QUINCY -- The Adams County Board approved changes to its indigent burial policy Tuesday night.

The new policy is similar to the policy the county had in place in 2011, before the state stopped paying for indigent deaths because of the state budget impasse. The biggest difference is that immediate survivors of Adams County residents declared indigent after their deaths will have to sign an affidavit of indigence and face perjury charges if found lying about their assets.

Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha said the result is "a much better policy that is handled differently."

The new policy also makes it clear that the county will not withhold death certificates in indigent cases.

During the meeting, board member Robert Reich, R-5, discussed the state's reimbursement program. Reich recently was contacted by the office of Illimois Comptroller Susana Mendoza and told that the state budgeted $9 million for indigent burial reimbursements and that $6 million remains in the fund. Reich also was told that there are no delays in payment.

"The board is definitely directing the coroner to submit payment requests to the state," Farha said. "That was not being done."

Tuesday's meeting kicked off with several residents addressing the board about the need to re-examine existing ordinances regarding dangerous dogs. Four people recounted incidents in which they claimed a neighbor's dog bit a resident and another dog. The residents said the way the ordinances were written prohibited authorities from taking action until three incidents were recorded. After they were done speaking, the dog's owner asked to speak to dispute the claims.

As the public comment section closed, tensions erupted, and two audience members began yelling at each other. They were removed from the boardroom.

The Legislative and Judicial Committee is reviewing the ordinances to see whether a change needs to be made to the way such incidents are handled.

County Board Chairman Les Post spent six and a half minutes reading a proclamation put forth by the Legislative and Judicial Committee that voiced the county's opposition to gun reform bills currently being considered in the Illinois General Assembly. The proclamation said the bills violate the Second, Fourth, and possibly Fifth and Eighth amendments.

The proclamation said, if the bills pass, they would create "instant felons upon passage ... confusion among firearm owners and dealers ... and put dealers in jeopardy of unknowingly violating the law."

The County Board tabled the proclamation until next month. If approved, it will be sent to the General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner's office. The Legislative and Judicial Committee originally had considered declaring Adams County a sanctuary county for gun owners but decided such a measure would put the state's attorney and sheriff in the position of contradicting state law.

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