Civic News & Info
Sheriff Conard receives J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Pamela Bennett   
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:52

Sheriff Dennis Conard was announced as a co-recipient for the J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety at the National Sheriff’s Association Annual Conference which was held last week in Fort Worth, Texas.

The award is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Northwestern University, and the Center for Public Safety and OnStar. The J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety is presented annually to a deputy sheriff or officer who has shown unusual initiative directly related to highway safety.

Since 2003, Sheriff Conard has served as Vice-Chair of the National Sheriff’s Association Traffic Safety Committee. He has been a part of working groups that have dealt with suspended drivers, distracted driving and traffic enforcement enhancement for Sheriff’s offices.

This award honors the late J. Stannard Baker who made significant contributions to highway safety. Mr. Baker served as Director of Research and Development at the Northwestern University Traffic Institute (now the Center for Public Safety) for over thirty years. During that time he focused on the causes of traffic crashes and on the techniques of collision investigation and reconstruction. He was known throughout the world as the “father of accident investigation.” Mr. Baker’s groundbreaking textbook, Traffic Accident Investigation Manual, is the worldwide standard.

 
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation and Bills; Announces Cuts. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Katie Hickey and Dave Blanchette   
Monday, 30 June 2014 12:41

Governor Quinn Cuts State Budget; Uses Veto Authority to Reduce Budget by $250 Million; Orders Sale of Nearly Half of State's Airplanes

CHICAGO – Governor Quinn today cut Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2015 state budget, zeroing out $250 million for renovations of the state Capitol. In addition, as part of his ongoing budget review, the Governor directed state agencies to identify additional efficiencies, including selling nearly half of the state’s aircraft.

Last week, the Governor announced more than $55 million in efficiencies including reduced parking and reduced leases. Since taking office, Governor Quinn has cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion and today’s action continues the Governor's commitment to making state government more efficient and accountable to taxpayers.

“While legislators didn't do their job on the budget, I will continue to do mine,” Governor Quinn said. “Reducing the budget and identifying additional efficiencies will help minimize the impact of cuts in vital services and maintain our hard-won fiscal gains. While there's more work to do, we must ensure the state lives within its means.”

The Governor’s reductions include vetoing $250 million in appropriations for renovations to the state Capitol building. While ensuring the Capitol building is modern and accessible to all people in Illinois is a priority, the state cannot afford to move forward with additional renovations this year. In 2013, the Governor halted renovations at the Capitol after excessive flourishes and spending by the architect was brought to his attention.

As part of the budget review which commenced June 1, the Governor directed his administration to conduct a thorough review of the state's aircraft to determine the state's needs. Selling nearly half the state's air fleet continues the Governor's commitment to making Illinois government more efficient while ensuring travel for official state business continues.

Currently the state owns 21 aircraft and spends more than $7 million to operate and maintain the fleet each year. Governor Quinn today instructed the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to put nine aircraft – including seven from the Illinois Department of Transportation and two from the Illinois State Police – on the market while maintaining several aircraft to continue state government operations.

Last week the Governor directed state agencies to cut 80 paid parking spaces for state employees in downtown garages – more than 30 percent of the total spots reserved. The move will save taxpayers more than $100,000 annually. He also again reduced lease costs for government buildings that will save taxpayers an additional $55 million this year.

In March, the Governor submitted a balanced budget plan that continued paying down the state's bills, protected education and public safety, and secured Illinois’ long-term financial future, but legislators instead postponed the tough budget decisions.

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Governor Quinn Announces $2.2 Million Investment for Conservation Land Acquisition; includes Recent Purchase of Land  Needed for Kickapoo Trail in Eastern Illinois

URBANA – Governor Pat Quinn today announced investments totaling more than $2.2 million to acquire land for conservation and recreational purposes across Illinois. The investments include $209,000 to acquire a key piece of land for the Kickapoo Trail, a 24.5-mile bicycle path linking Urbana to Kickapoo State Park. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to conserve the state’s natural areas and increase opportunities for people to enjoy the Illinois outdoors.

“The Kickapoo Trail is an outstanding example of local communities and non-profit groups working side-by-side with state and federal government to get important projects off the drawing board and into development,” Governor Quinn said. “This trail has been years in the making and it took everyone pulling together to get us to this point. The state of Illinois is full of natural treasures and today’s investments will ensure that these lands are enjoyed for generations to come. ”

The $2.2 million comes from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Open Lands Trust (OLT), a dedicated fund used to acquire important natural and recreational areas for public use. Funds are appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly. OLT Funds also can be used to help communities leverage additional funds to protect land for conservation and recreation.

“These funds – which include federal dollars I secured in past transportation and appropriations bills – bring the Kickapoo bike trail one step closer to reality,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “When it opens, this project will give Illinoisans from Urbana to Danville an opportunity to walk, jog and bike close to home and enjoy the outdoor spaces in their own backyard.”

“The Open Lands Trust Fund is an important tool that allows DNR to step in to help match federal dollars,” IDNR Director Marc Miller said. “Without it, state and local governments would have a harder time capturing available federal dollars to complete projects like this one.”

Today’s announcements include a $209,000 investment to purchase a section of the right-of-way for the Kickapoo Trail. The purchase was recently finalized and consists of 19.3 acres of the former CSX Railroad right-of-way within the current boundaries of Kickapoo State Park. This purchase, which has been in negotiations for more than a year, allowed Kickapoo Trail developers to secure an additional $2.1 million in federal Transportation Enhancement Funds last year.

During the past year, Open Lands Trust Funds have been used to make other key acquisitions statewide. These include:

Jubilee College State Park

Peoria County

126.26 acres

$760,000

The property consists of 126.26 acres adjacent to Jubilee College State Park in Peoria County. This property is an excellent addition to the park due to its diverse habitat, potential for restoration and location to serve as a buffer for the park. This parcel was protected from future housing developments.

Big Bend State Fish & Wildlife Area

Whiteside County

274.26 acres

$550,000

The property consists of 274.26 acres and became an addition to Big Bend State Fish and Wildlife Area in Whiteside County. It is located east of Erie and west of Portland with the Rock River defining its northern boundary. The parcel is a three-sided in-holding that fits nicely with the existing site and serves migrating waterfowl and supports bottomland forest communities.

The property is enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program. IDNR’s Division of Wildlife has worked with Whiteside County to protect the wetland since the program’s inception. Acquisition of this parcel will offer additional hunting opportunities at the site.

Cretaceous Hills State Natural Area

Pope County

263.32 acres

$737,296

The property consists of 263.32 acres and became a part of Cretaceous Hills State Natural Area in Pope County. Cretaceous Hills State Natural Area is one of the best examples of a barrens natural community in Illinois, a mixed community of grass and stunted trees growing in thin soils. Prior to this acquisition, IDNR owned 237 acres here, all of it dedicated nature preserve. The preserve provides habitat for 17 endangered plant and animal species.

The property has good access with a gravel road on the east side and offers recreational opportunities including wildlife observation, hunting and hiking. The property will likely support deer and turkey hunting.  Development of a small parking lot to support public hunting could be established on the east boundary.

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Governor Quinn Signs Law to Help Military Families Enroll Children in Illinois Schools; Streamlines Transfer Process and Eliminates School Roadblocks for Children with One or More Parents Serving in the Armed Forces

MASCOUTAH – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to make it easier for military families to enroll their children in Illinois schools. The law eliminates many of the educational roadblocks these families face when their military assignments take them from one state to another. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to honor and support Illinois’ military veterans and their families.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our many Illinois servicemembers and their families,” Governor Quinn said. “When a military family has to pick up and move to Illinois, we need to make sure the process is worry-free, especially when it comes to enrolling in a new school. This new law will ensure that our children of military parents are supported during the school transfer process so they can join their new classmates without delay.”

House Bill 3939, sponsored by State Representative Eddie Lee Jackson Sr. (D-East St. Louis) and State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), streamlines the health and academic record transfer process for out-of-state elementary and high school students with one or more parents serving in the United States Armed Forces. This allows children to be enrolled in Illinois schools at any time during the year without unnecessary delays. The law also updates Illinois’ portion of the Educational Opportunity for Military Children Act regarding such issues as non-custodial parents, tuition, educational records, enrollment age, course placement, graduation, extracurricular activities and absences related to deployment activities. The law is effective immediately.

“Men and women who move to our state to serve in the military are making huge sacrifices to protect our freedoms,” Representative Jackson said. “This legislation helps make sure that their families have the support that they need to make their transitions as smooth as possible. Students who transfer schools because of their parents’ active duty status should not have barriers preventing them from enrolling in schools or participating in school sports and activities.”

“These families give up so much in order to serve in our military,” Senator Bush said. “The least we can do is ensure that school transfers are as easy on their children as possible.”

Throughout his career, Governor Quinn has made commitment to veterans, servicemembers and their families a top priority. He initiated the Illinois Veterans Grant and Illinois National Guard Grant, which cover tuition at all Illinois public universities and community colleges for eligible veterans and serving National Guard members.

The Governor has also championed the Military Family Relief Fund, which has provided more than $15.1 million in support to families of deployed National Guard and Reserve servicemembers since its inception 10 years ago. He also required colleges to post all benefits available to Illinois veterans and assign a staff member to serve as the point of contact for student-veterans who need information and assistance.

Additionally, in 2012, Governor Quinn and the Departments of Veterans and Military Affairs spearheaded the statewide public-private partnership, Illinois Joining Forces, which has been a model for other states to follow.  The program Families, Children, and Survivors Working Group has been effectively collaborating to make sure Illinois is addressing the needs of military families and children here in Illinois.

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Governor Quinn Signs Law Promoting the Purchase of Solar-Produced Electricity in Illinois

Legislation Will Help Lead Illinois on Path towards Sustainability

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to promote the purchase of solar-produced electricity in Illinois. The law requires that a special existing fund be used to purchase solar power and emphasizes the development of distributed solar generation, such as the installation of solar panels on residential rooftops. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to protect the state’s natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

“These last days of June are some of the longest of the year, the perfect time to talk about getting more of our electricity from solar,” Governor Quinn said. “Thousands of residents will soon get cheaper, cleaner energy, and we will create good paying jobs for working families in the process. It’s this sort of innovation that has made Illinois a national leader in clean energy production.”

House Bill 2427, sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), requires the Illinois Power Agency to use up to $30 million to purchase solar power to meet a portion of the state's electric power needs. The money comes from the agency's Renewable Energy Resources Fund, which is made up of clean energy fees paid by power suppliers in Illinois. The law establishes a competitive procurement process to purchase energy from existing solar devices and from new solar installations, which could mean thousands of new solar panel installations on homes in Illinois. These panels help power homes in a clean, healthy way and reduce homeowners’ electric bills by allowing residents to sell excess power to the grid. Existing and new utility-scale solar projects will benefit from the legislation as well. The law is effective immediately.

“These funds will jump start the solar economy in Illinois, creating jobs and new industries,” Representative Gabel said.

“Increasing our investment in clean energy creates jobs, protects the environment and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels,” Senator Harmon said. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen wind energy take off in Illinois. I hope that this investment starts a similar revolution in solar energy.”

“We commend Governor Quinn and the General Assembly for advancing solar energy development in Illinois. House Bill 2724 will jumpstart the solar industry in Illinois, create hundreds of good paying jobs, and help homeowners throughout Illinois gain clean renewable energy for their homes,” Environmental Law & Policy Center President Howard Learner said.

The Illinois Power Agency was established by law in 2007 to develop procurement plans to ensure adequate, reliable, affordable, efficient and environmentally sustainable electric service at the lowest total cost for residential and small commercial customers of Ameren and ComEd. The procurement plans include electricity generated from renewable sources and from traditional sources.

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has led Illinois on a path towards sustainability. He currently serves on President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Climate Change and Resilience to advise the federal government on how to respond to the needs of individual communities affected by climate change.

Over 330 wind, solar and geothermal companies are located in Illinois. Chicago alone is home to 13 global or U.S. headquarters of major wind power companies, more than any other city in the nation.

Illinois also ranks first among all states in the nation in purchasing green energy and its energy efficiency programs rank in the top ten in the U.S., the only non-coastal state to do so. Illinois is also fourth among states in wind production, largely due to Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).

In February, the U.S. Green Building Council ranked Illinois number one among all 50 states in the sustainable building design movement. Illinois has more than 29 million square feet of certified green buildings, or 2.29 square feet for every resident. Utilizing less energy and water, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

The Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! program is the greenest public works program in the nation. It funds mass transit, electric vehicle infrastructure expansion, renewable fuels, high-speed rail as well as an ambitious state government construction and renovation plan that will save the state money and have a lasting environmental impact. It also funds the Governor’s highly successful Weatherization Assistance for Low Income Persons program that has helped 25,000 Illinois homes save energy and money through the winter.

In addition, Illinois’ $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative expands funding for wastewater and drinking water projects for Illinois communities so all of Illinois has access to clean water.


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Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action on Friday, June 27, 2014

 

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:

Bill No.: HB 3796

An Act Concerning: Government

Amends the Freedom of Information Act to provide procedures for voluminous requests and provides that records already posted online do not have to be duplicated.

Action: Vetoed

Effective: Immediately

 

 

 

Bill No.: HB 4501

An Act Concerning: Public Health

Grants homeless and other minors starting at age 14 the ability to consent to primary care medical services.

Action: Signed

Effective: Oct. 1, 2014

 

 

Bill No.: SB 2761

An Act Concerning: State Government

Extends the repeal date for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Target Market Program to June 30, 2017.

Action: Signed

Effective: Immediately

 

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Governor Quinn Signs Several Pieces of Legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Katie Hickey and Dave Blanchette   
Monday, 23 June 2014 07:49

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Give Voters a Voice in Increasing the Minimum Wage  

Referendum to Ask Voters if Minimum Hourly Rate Should Rise to $10 by 2015

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today gave voters the chance to make their voices heard on an important issue that would benefit hundreds of thousands of working people across Illinois. Governor Quinn today signed House Bill 3814, which places an advisory question on the November 4 ballot that asks if the state’s minimum wage for those over the age of 18 should be raised to $10 by January 1, 2015.

Governor Quinn first proposed raising the minimum wage in his 2013 State of the State address and earlier this year met with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior administration officials at the White House in Washington, D.C. to discuss raising the minimum wage. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to build an economy that works for everyone.

“This November, Illinois voters will have the opportunity to send a clear signal to lawmakers that we must do the right thing for working families across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “This is about dignity and decency. Raising the minimum wage will support hardworking men and women across our state and boost local economic growth. As we work to raise the minimum wage in Illinois, this referendum will help us get the job done.”

House Bill 3814, sponsored by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), adds the question “Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?” to the November 4 ballot. The legislation was supported by human rights organizations, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, local chapters of the SEIU and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

"This referendum will build a strong consensus to lift thousands of Illinois families out of poverty. Governor Quinn is playing an important role in this effort," Speaker Madigan said.

“The minimum wage should be a living wage,” Senator Lightford said. “If you work full time, you shouldn’t have to rely on government support to put food on your family’s table or a roof over your head.”

The Illinois minimum wage is currently $8.25, less than half of the average U.S. hourly wage. A full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes approximately $17,000 annually, which is well below the Federal Poverty Threshold of $19,790 for a family of three. Six in 10 minimum wage employees are women, including many single parents. By increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $10 an hour, a half-million Illinois consumers will make an extra $4,800 a year and much of that extra income will typically be spent at local businesses on food, clothing and furniture, providing a strong boost to the local economy.

Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show that an increase of $1 in the minimum wage generates approximately $3,000 in household spending per year, greatly improving purchasing power and strengthening our economy. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage because they believe it will help the economy and in turn enable them to hire more workers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Small Business Majority.

Leaders from large companies such as Costco, Starbucks, The Gap Inc. and Stride Rite also have supported increasing the minimum wage as a way to reduce employee turnover and improve workers’ productivity. The Gap Inc. recently acted to raise its own minimum wage to $10 for all U.S. employees. The move is expected to impact 65,000 American workers and more than 4,000 employees in Illinois.

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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Assist With Local Fire Truck Purchases

New Law to Ensure Fire Departments Have Necessary Equipment to Keep Illinois Communities Safe

MOLINE – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to help local governments purchase firefighting vehicles. The law increases the maximum amount municipalities may borrow at no or low interest from the state to make these purchases. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of all people in every community across Illinois.

“Firefighters shouldn’t have to worry about whether they have the equipment necessary to do their jobs,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law helps firefighters invest in modern equipment that will help them save lives.”

“I thank the Governor for making this program a priority,” State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis said. “Since the beginning of this program more than $25 million has been loaned to Illinois fire departments. This new law will increase the amount of money some of our most needy fire departments can borrow to buy fire trucks, which are much more expensive than they were 10 years ago. By increasing the maximum, our fire departments will be able to buy better equipment to do their jobs and protect the people of Illinois.”

The Office of the State Fire Marshal currently provides zero percent and low interest loans for fire trucks, engines and brush trucks through the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program.

Senate Bill 2690, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Representative Donald Moffitt (R-Gilson), increases the loan ceiling cap for zero and low-interest loans to local fire departments for the purchase of new or upgraded fire trucks, brush trucks and fire engines under the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program. The old limit on these loans was $250,000, but the new law raises the limit to $350,000 per fire department or fire protection district. The change reflects the increase in the cost of fire protection equipment since the law was last updated. The legislation is effective immediately.

“I want to commend Governor Quinn for signing this bill,” Representative Mofitt said. “This very successful program has been in place for 11 years and this increased loan cap is needed as it reflects the increased costs of a new fire truck. By signing this legislation, Governor Quinn has made it possible for many fire departments in Illinois to buy a new truck using the interest-free loan that otherwise they would not have been able to afford. The interest-free revolving loan program has been extremely important for downstate rural fire departments as they have more limited financial resources to purchase fire trucks and other needed equipment. The net result is with the Governor’s actions, Illinois becomes a safer state.”

The Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program is funded primarily through payments municipalities make on its loans, in addition to a $35 additional fee for serious traffic violations. The program is administered jointly with the Illinois Finance Authority.

Governor Quinn today also signed House Bill 4462, sponsored by Representative Moffitt and State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero), which allows the $35 additional fee for serious traffic violations to remain a funding source for the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program through Jan. 1, 2020. The fee originally was set to expire as a funding source for the program on Oct. 13, 2014. The legislation is effective immediately.

Governor Quinn has long supported firefighters in Illinois. He expanded the revolving loan program in 2012 to allow fire departments to purchase brush trucks with no or low interest loans. The Governor invested $4 million this year to help 193 fire departments across the state purchase safety equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus and other tools for firefighters – almost 100 more fire departments than last year. He also signed legislation to streamline the testing and hiring process of local firefighters.

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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Improve Safety in Schools Across Illinois

New Laws Will Help Keep Illinois’ Students Safe

ROCKFORD – Governor Pat Quinn today visited RESA Middle School in Rockford to sign three new pieces of legislation that help increase safety, ensure crisis planning and provide security improvements at all Illinois schools. Today’s actions are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to provide a safe learning environment for all Illinois students.

“Nothing is more important than keeping our classrooms safe,” Governor Quinn said. “Preparation and knowledge are part of that curriculum – preparing for emergencies we hope will never occur, and knowing what to do if confronted with a crisis.”

“Parents need to have confidence that their children will be safe throughout the school day and kids should be able to focus solely on their studies,” State Schools Superintendent Christopher A. Koch said. “These new laws provide the impetus and resources to make schools safer.”

Senate Bill 2710, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) and State Representative Lawrence M. Walsh Jr. (D-Elwood), extends a key school safety measure that currently covers public schools to the state’s approximately 1,800 private schools. A law proposed and signed by Governor Quinn last year requires all school districts to conduct an annual safety drill, in conjunction with law enforcement officials, which prepares students for potential shooting situations. That law requires public school districts to do an annual review in light of that drill of each school’s emergency and crisis plans and procedures. Senate Bill 2710 requires that private schools conduct that same annual review of their crisis plans to better protect the 300,000 private school students in Illinois. The legislation is effective immediately.

Senate Bill 2934, sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and Representative Walsh, makes one of Governor Quinn’s initiatives to fund school safety improvements an official part of state statutes. Earlier this year the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) awarded $25 million for security improvements to public K – 12 schools. This legislation allows this school safety program to continue when funds are available and also adds private K – 12 schools, area vocational centers, regional safe schools and public colleges and universities to the list of eligible schools. The new law is effective immediately.

“This is an excellent opportunity to improve local schools and the safety of our children,” Senator Stadelman said. “The safety grants are possible because of the work we have done to ensure that students in K-12 deserve a safe learning environment just like those in higher education.”

“I’m proud to work with IEMA, local schools and area vocational schools to make sure when grants become available through IEMA, all entities are qualified and able to apply for these grants to make our schools safer and prepared for any emergency that may arise,” Representative Walsh said.

House Bill 5716, sponsored by State Representative Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg) and Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), allows public school districts to make updated emergency and crisis plans available to first responders, teachers and administrators through electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops. The legislation is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Governor Quinn is committed to ensuring school safety across Illinois. As part of his Illinois Jobs Now! construction program, he recently announced $25 million for more than 1,300 projects to enhance security at schools across Illinois.

Following the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December 2012, Governor Quinn convened top experts from across the state for a School Safety Summit to develop short- and long-term actions to further strengthen school safety. The summit included school district organizations, law enforcement agencies and state agencies, including IEMA. The Governor also led the charge in passing legislation requiring all Illinois schools to hold active safety drills with local law enforcement to ensure they are as prepared as possible in the event of a shooting incident.

 

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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Expand Medical Services to Those in Need

Also Signs Bill to Increase Access to Flu Vaccines

PEORIA – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to expand medical access to those in need by expanding volunteer opportunities by medical professionals and allowing additional qualified medical professionals to administer flu vaccines. Today’s actions are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have access to quality healthcare.

“Retired or inactive doctors healthcare professionals can and want to help those in need, and we should let them,” Governor Quinn said. “It’s just common sense to broaden access to health care, which is a fundamental right as a human being.”

House Bill 4593, sponsored by State Representative Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) and State Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), authorizes the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to issue volunteer licenses to healthcare professionals such as physicians, dentists, physician assistants, nurses, advanced practice nurses and optometrists who meet all licensure qualifications and who wish to volunteer at a free medical clinic for no compensation. The law waives the licensure fee for the first 500 volunteer licenses and afterwards allows for a fee waiver or fee reduction. A healthcare professional may not hold a non-volunteer license and a volunteer license at the same time. The new law takes effect immediately.

“As chairperson of the Health Care Licensing Committee, I am always striving to increase access to high quality medical care,” Representative Zalewski said. “I thank Governor Quinn for signing this bill as it will be an important step toward keeping Illinoisans healthy.”

“When it comes to health care access, Illinois is a study in contrasts — home to state-of-the-art hospitals and highly educated specialists, but also to chronically underserved urban and rural areas,” Senator Martinez said. “Today we are making it easier for medical professionals to serve vulnerable populations, and we’re saying thank you to those willing to work for the public good without compensation.”

“We look forward to providing retired professionals the credentials they need to continue their life-long commitment to providing health care, especially to Illinois communities that have a greater need for access to health care,” IDFPR Acting Secretary Manuel Flores said.

Senate Bill 3409, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Representative Laura Fine (D-Glenview), allows dentists with the appropriate training to administer flu vaccines to patients 18 years of age or older who have a prescription or physician’s order for the immunization. The new law takes effect immediately.

“The Affordable Care Act is allowing many more people access to health care,” Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said.  “To help ensure we have the workforce needed to meet this demand, the state is identifying and implementing strategies to increase those able to provide health care – such as allowing dentists to administer flu vaccines.”

“In many parts of the state, locations that offer flu vaccinations are too few and far between. This new law will increase access to flu shots for Illinois families and hopefully, reduce the number of flu outbreaks in our communities," Senator Manar said. “I'm pleased the Governor signed the bill, and I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support.”

“Difficulty obtaining access to care can be a frustrating roadblock to good health,” Representative Fine said. “This bill will create a new, convenient avenue for patients to receive an important and sometimes lifesaving immunization.  It will allow people greater opportunities to protect themselves against the flu."

Today’s bill signing took place at the Third Mission of Mercy, an Illinois State Dental Society Foundation event where dentists from across Illinois volunteer for a weekend to provide free dental services to those in need.

Governor Quinn has long supported affordable and effective health care for all. He signed a law in 2010 to expand needed access to dental services by allowing licensed dentists to provide volunteer care at a nonprofit health clinic, which can then receive payments from the state. The clinics can use the Medicaid funding to pay for dental care costs such as equipment and supplies. The law will help encourage more dentists to treat low-income families throughout Illinois.

Also under Governor Quinn’s leadership, Illinois proposed a five-year plan to transform the state’s healthcare system, including strengthening the state’s health care workforce, to meet the needs of Medicaid beneficiaries. If approved, the proposal would allow the state to obtain $5.2 billion in federal matching funds over five years to implement the plan.

Governor Quinn has signed multiple pieces of legislation to clarify and expand the scope of practice for certain health care professionals in order to ensure that Illinois residents have access to the health care they need. He also supports efforts to streamline and expedite veteran applications for professional licenses to benefit military families seeking employment and consumers seeking access to qualified health care professionals.

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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Support Illinois’ Farmers’ Markets

New Law Will Increase Consumer Safety and Encourage Residents to Shop Locally by Standardizing Regulation of Farmers’ Markets

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will create uniform, statewide standards to regulate farmers’ markets and help increase protections for consumers who shop locally. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protecting and improving the health of the people of Illinois.

“This new law will encourage people across Illinois to get out and buy local,” Governor Quinn said. “Farmers’ markets offer uniquely local goods and we need to ensure they are safe for all Illinois shoppers. Establishing statewide standards for farmers’ markets will help vendors and consumers know what to expect no matter where they sell or buy produce in the state.”

House Bill 5657, sponsored by State Representative Michael Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator David Koehler (D-Peoria), directs the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to set rules and regulations regarding food sampling and testing at farmers’ markets throughout Illinois. This will lead to easier navigation of farmers’ markets by consumers and increased compliance among vendors. The bill requires vendors to inform consumers of the origin of specialty crops or raw agricultural products and limits the fee local health departments can charge for monitoring farmers’ markets to $25. The legislation is effective immediately.

“Farmers’ markets can help fill a gap and provide fresh foods in areas considered food deserts, where fruits and vegetables are not readily available,” IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. “But we want to make sure foods sold at farmers’ markets are safe and don’t cause illness from accidental bacterial contamination, like salmonella. Standardized regulations will help local health departments conduct food inspections and increase compliance among vendors. This will enhance food safety at farmer’s markets and help inspectors identify products that may be contaminated and causing illness.”

“This law will benefit the small- and medium-sized farms that grow most of our specialty crops,” Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “The uniform market standards it establishes will raise confidence in our food system, and as that trust grows, so, too, will demand for our fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Illinois ranks third in the nation for number of farmers' markets, with more than 375 known markets in 2013. Only California and New York have more.

“Farmers markets are such an important link between the people who truly grow our food and the consumers,” Senator Koehler, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said. “Creating a single, statewide standard will make it easier for more farmers to participate in more markets.”

Governor Quinn has long worked to support the safe handling and sale of food products in Illinois and has signed legislation designating the first Saturday of each month at “Eat Local, Buy Illinois Products Day.” The Governor has also signed into law the Farmers’ Market Technology Improvement Program Act which allows individuals to use LINK cards to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and other items at farmers markets across the state as well as legislation creating a uniform standard for cottage food operations to prepare and sell their products at farmers markets in Illinois.

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New Deputy Sheriff PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Pamela Bennett   
Friday, 20 June 2014 13:57

On Monday, June 23, 2014 at 09:00, the Scott County Sheriff’s Office will hold a Swearing In Ceremony at the Sheriff’s Office on second floor of the Scott County Courthouse. Due to a deputy sheriff vacancy, Travis Bulman has been hired as the newest deputy sheriff of Scott County.

Travis Bulman was born in Waukon, Iowa and graduated from Clarke Community High School in Osceola, Iowa. Travis received his Associates degree from Kirkwood Community College in 2013, joined the Scott County Reserves in October, 2012 and was sworn in as a reserve deputy in June of 2013. Travis said he has wanted to get into law enforcement since he can remember, as his grandfather was a police officer for the City of Waukon and his great grandfather served as Sheriff of Allamakee County and was killed in the line of duty.

Travis enjoys softball, basketball, golf and snowboarding. Travis has been married to his wife Emily since 2007 and they have two dogs.

 
Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action **Wednesday, June 18, 2014** PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Thursday, 19 June 2014 09:06

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:

Bill No.: HB 3912

An Act Concerning: Local government

Allows the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to purchase real property.

Action: Signed

Effective: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 497

An Act Concerning: Local government

Modifies notice requirements for township meetings.

Action: Signed

Effective: Immediately

Bill No.: SB 3425

An Act Concerning: Local government

Clarifies language in a bond referendum for the Village of Indian Head Park.

Action: Signed

Effective: Immediately

 

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