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Streamlining A Bureaucratic Tangle

A gavel and stethoscope

Gov. Bruce Rauner's mission of modernizing Illinois government continues. At issue this time is a hearings process he says is outdated and overburdened.

The state gets roughly 100, 000 requests for administrative hearings each year.

"Administrative law is the body of law that regulates the operation and procedure of government agencies," says Sadzi Olivia, the chief administrative law judge for the Dept. of Children and Family Services.

If it sounds bureaucratic, that's because it is.

But she says the outcomes of these cases can have a huge impact on the public: "It could be a revocation for a doctor to practice medicine, it could be a denial of employee benefits.”

Most government agencies currently use their own methods for holding the administrative hearings.

The state's CIO Hardik Bhatt says these agencies don't share data with each other, and he says one runs on DAWs, a computer program that hasn't been popular since he was a student in 1989.

On top of that we have nine agencies that do not even have systems. So they still rely on that 2000 year old innovation called 'paper,'" he said.

An executive order signed today Friday by the governor will streamline the process so that on a pilot basis multiple agencies will use the same hearing model, panel of adjudicators, and technology.

Rauner says it will help to eliminate backlogs, that in cases have delayed hearings by a year.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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