Civic News & Info
News from Congressman Braley's Office PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Monday, 24 January 2011 08:57
Braley Announces $200,000 Award for Local Biofuel Producer

Commends Iowa Businesses for Leading in Clean Energy Production

Washington, DC – January 21, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) commended Western Dubuque Biodiesel and announced the businesses would be receiving a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) award of almost $200,000.

“I’m proud to support Western Dubuque Biodiesel and the work they do to help reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Congressman Braley. “I’ve visited their business several times, and I’m happy to hold them up as an example of what Iowa is: a place where we grow our economy and create new jobs by fostering innovative ideas – especially in the fields of clean energy and biofuels.”

The USDA Rural Development Award totals $178,926.98 and will be used to help expand production of advanced biofuels. The award comes on the same day as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that it approved the use of 15 percent blend ethanol (E15) for automobiles and light trucks of model year 2001 and newer.

“I was heartened by the EPA’s decision and approval of E15 today – it’s great news for our state and our workforce,” said Braley. “With the EPA’s decision, I hope new businesses and companies will follow the example of Western Dubuque Biofuels and others like them – by innovating, expanding and creating good-paying jobs right here in Iowa.”

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Braley Announces $2.4 Million for Local Housing Programs

Washington, DC – January 20, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced almost $2.4 million in grant money for housing and homeless assistance programs in Eastern Iowa. The grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance program.

“This money is incredibly important for housing assistance programs all over the First District,” Braley said. “With these funds, many dedicated individuals will be able to provide crucial housing services and support to homeless Iowans during tough winters.”

HUD money funds various public and private programs that provide a range of assistance to homeless persons, including transition housing, permanent housing and a variety of supportive services. These funds are awarded annually in a nationwide competition.

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Braley Opposes Health Care Repeal

Washington, DC – January 19, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) voted against the Republican bill to repeal the health care reform law.

"The new majority campaigned on balancing the budget and getting our deficit under control, but their very first legislative initiative would blow a $230 billion hole in our deficit,” said Congressman Braley. “There’s no way I could support this irresponsible legislation.”

If enacted into law, the Republicans’ repeal would also roll back the most popular provisions that protect consumers from insurance company abuses. Insurance companies would once again be able to deny coverage to children and adults with pre-existing conditions, prevent young adults from staying on their parents’ plans until age 26 and drop coverage for pregnant women and cancer survivors.

“The health care law, and the Republicans’ effort to repeal it, has a human face,” said Braley. “My nephew was finally able to take a new job, knowing his four-year-old son Tucker won’t be dropped from his new health plan because of a liver cancer diagnosis. That’s just one family. There are millions like them in Iowa and across the country.”

“My Republican colleagues also don’t seem to understand the very serious ramifications of their political games – or they haven’t read their own bill. The text of their bill clearly states that they intend to repeal the health care law and restore its provisions as if it had never been enacted. One consequence of that language is that if this bill becomes law, millions of seniors across the country would be forced to pay the government $250 that they received and already spent under the health care reform law. I know Iowa’s seniors can’t afford that – and I certainly won’t let my constituents pay the price for this political stunt.”

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Braley Introduces “Veterans Day Off” Bill;

Legislation Would Make Veterans Day a Holiday for All Veterans

Washington, DC – January 19, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to make Veterans Day a holiday for all veterans in the United States.

“Veterans Day is meant to remember and commemorate those brave men and women who have served our nation. It’s only right that they be able to take this day off work,” said Congressman Braley.

While Veterans Day is currently designated as a federal holiday, private employers can choose not to observe it. This bill would require private employers to give any employee who is a veteran a day off on “Veterans Day.” The holiday can be paid or unpaid, at the employer’s discretion. The legislation does include exceptions for small businesses, cases where public health or safety are concerned, or where the holiday would significantly disrupt operations.

The bill is Braley’s first act as a new member of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the 112th Congress. Braley was confirmed as a member of the Committee earlier today at a meeting of the Democratic Caucus.

“There are 240,317 veterans in the state of Iowa and each of them deserves the very best that our government can provide – the best care, the best services and the most responsive representation in Congress,” said Braley. “I’ve been an advocate for veterans since I first got to Congress, and I’m thrilled to be a member of this important committee where I can do even more for our veterans.”

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Braley to Cantor: Read Your Bill.  Braley Warns that Seniors Would Be Forced to Pay Govt under Repeal Bill

Washington, DC – January 19, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) warned that seniors who received a $250 check towards prescription drugs under the health care reform law would be required to return that money, according to the text of the repeal bill being considered in the House tonight.

“Regardless of what the Majority Leader said yesterday, the text of his own bill is clear – it calls for repealing the provisions of the health care law and restoring them as if the law had never been enacted. Now, based on what I learned in law school, that means repealing the law and restoring the appropriate funds, in this case those $250 checks that were distributed and spent by seniors across America,” said Congressman Braley.

“In Iowa alone, we have 39,430 seniors who have received and spent these checks. Now, Republicans are pushing a bill that would force these seniors to write a $250 check to the government once the repeal is enacted. I don’t know if Mr. Cantor was being intentionally misleading or was just careless when discussing this issue with reporters, but the seniors in my district shouldn’t have to pay the price for this political stunt.”

“I sincerely hope my Republican colleagues will read their own bill and consider these serious ramifications as we take this vote tonight.”

H.R. 2 clearly states that the health care reform law would be repealed and “restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.”

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Governor Quinn Takes Action PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 24 January 2011 08:36

Governor Quinn Announces Leading Scrap Metal Recycling Company Will Move to Illinois; Relocation to Create Around 40 Jobs, Support 198 Construction Jobs

 CHICAGO – January 21, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced today that one of the Midwest’s leading scrap metal recyclers, Becker Iron & Metal, Inc., will relocate its headquarters from St. Louis, Missouri to Venice, Illinois. The company’s move will help create at least 42 permanent Illinois jobs and support another 198 construction jobs as part of an overall $4 million investment in Madison County.

“We are continuing to take the necessary steps to increase our competitiveness in the global economy, which is why more businesses are choosing to move to Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “We are stabilizing our fiscal climate, investing in state-of-the-art transportation infrastructure and supporting emerging green technologies – and it’s giving us an edge over competing states.”

The $4 million construction project will be partially financed by a $928,400 grant administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Freight Rail Program. The grant will help finance construction activities, including new rail track, radiation detection and lighting.

Becker Iron & Metal is a fourth-generation, family-owned company that has served the scrap metal industry for more than a century. The new state-of-the art facility in Venice will accommodate the shipment of more than 500 railcars of scrap metal per year. Becker is currently preparing final engineering plans for the site, and occupancy on the new facility is expected in June 2011.

“This agreement exemplifies a great partnership between the private and public sectors to stimulate the regional economy,” Becker Iron & Metal President Mike Becker said. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the state of Illinois.”

“The cooperation among state and company officials was critical in this success story,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. “Most importantly, however, this move again proves that Illinois’ robust transportation network is one of many advantages our state offers businesses.”

“This is a great example of how our collective efforts are helping to bring greater economic development and creating jobs in all areas of the state,” said Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley. “I would like to congratulate Becker on their expansion and look forward to their continued growth in Illinois.”

Becker Iron & Metal is the second company this week to relocate to Illinois. Governor Quinn announced yesterday that steel producer Evraz Inc. will relocate its North American headquarters to Chicago. The Governor also announced major agreements between Chinese government officials and a dozen Illinois soybean producers to sell their products to China.

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Governor Quinn Announces Agreement toBoost Trade Between Illinois and China; Continues State's Efforts to Remain at Forefront of Global Marketplace

CHICAGO – January 21, 2011.  Governor Pat Quinn today announced an agreement to strengthen Illinois’ trade with China. Under the agreement, the Beijing International Brand Management Center (BIBMC) will set up “American Goods Distribution Centers” in Beijing and Shanghai to promote Illinois products and services in China, and an “American Goods Purchase Center” in Chicago to encourage Chinese investment in Illinois.

“Today’s agreement will boost small- and mid-sized businesses throughout Illinois, while ensuring that our state remains a leader in the global marketplace,” said Governor Quinn. “This partnership will provide Illinois businesses with the tools they need to enter the Chinese market and continue to grow our economy.”

Under the agreement, the state will recommend Illinois products to the BIBMC – particularly in the agricultural, auto parts and construction machinery sectors – and will assist with the establishment of the American Goods Purchase Center in Chicago. Through the distribution centers, BIBMC will provide intellectual property rights protection, Chinese distribution development, channel construction, marketing and other comprehensive services to Illinois companies in China.

“By setting up two American Goods Centers in the Chaoyang District of Beijing and the Changning District of Shanghai, the International Brand Management Center will provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ to promote Illinois products and services to be sold in the Chinese market. The centers will also be an important platform to promote Chinese investment to Illinois,” said Mr. Tan Li, Vice Director, China Association of International Trade, Beijing International Brand Management Center.

“Establishment of these distribution centers in Beijing and Shanghai is a strategic decision that will help put the state in an extremely competitive position as we continue our efforts to market Illinois globally,” said Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “These centers give us an opportunity to further investment and trade in China and around the world.”

China is Illinois' third largest export destination, and Illinois is among the top five states in agricultural exports to China. Illinois agriculture exports to China have increased each year since 2007, from $149 million to $552 million in 2009. Illinois' overall exports to China in 2009 reached $2.47 billion. In the first nine months of 2010, Illinois’ exports to China reached $2.33 billion, representing a 37.5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2009. More than 30 Chinese companies have invested in Illinois, employing thousands of Illinois residents.

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Governor Quinn Welcomes Chinese Delegation, Announces Global Business Agreements; Chinese Businesses Sign Agreements to Purchase Illinois Soy Products

CHICAGO – January 20, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today welcomed a delegation of Chinese government and business leaders to Illinois and announced that more than a dozen Illinois providers of soy products have entered into sales agreements with buyers from 24 Chinese companies.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that Illinois remains a leader in the global marketplace. We are the transportation hub of the Midwest; we have the best farmland in the world; and we are committed to growing green technologies,” said Governor Quinn. “These important agreements with China will further grow our economy, and we will continue to show the world why Illinois is a premier place to do business.”

China is Illinois' third-largest export destination, and Illinois is among the top five states for agricultural export to China. Farmers and companies with operations in Illinois, including ADM, Bunge, Cargill, CHS, Columbia Grain Trading and Louis Drefyus, participated in the agreements with Chinese firms.

Governor Quinn was joined at today’s event by China's Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Chao, Danny Murphy, Chairman of American Soybean Association Trade Policy and International Affairs Committee and Treasurer of U.S. Soybean Export Council, entrepreneurs from China and the representatives of the Illinois Soybean Association.

“The Chinese government highly values and supports the Sino-U.S. business cooperation that aims at a win-win result, and it is the mission of the Chinese delegation to encourage more Chinese purchase from and Chinese investment in the United States,” said Vice Minister Wang.

Agriculture export to China from Illinois has increased each year since 2007, from $149 million to $552 million in 2009. Illinois' overall export to China in 2009 reached $2.47 billion. More than 30 Chinese companies have invested in Illinois, employing thousands of Illinois citizens.

“The Illinois Soybean Association is very pleased to have Governor Quinn be part of this signing ceremony with China, our number one customer of Illinois soybeans,” said Ron Moore, Illinois Soybean Association chairman.  This is a testament to how the Governor recognizes the value and importance of Illinois soybean production, which ranks second in the U.S. with 466 million bushels harvested in 2010.”

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Governor Quinn Makes Three Appointments to University of Illinois Board of Trustee: All Three Appointees are Alumni of State’s Flagship University

CHICAGO – January 19, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today made three appointments to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Patricia Brown Holmes and Ricardo Estrada will join the board as new appointees, while Karen Hasara will continue to serve following her September 2009 appointment.

“Students from all over the world come to Illinois because they know that they will receive the highest quality of education from the University of Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “I am confident that today’s appointees will help ensure the continued integrity and quality of our state’s flagship university.”

All three appointees are alumni of the University of Illinois. Holmes, a partner at Schiff Hardin LLP, has been named one of Illinois’ “Top 50 Women Lawyers” by Illinois Super Lawyers. She received both her bachelor of science and juris doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois. Estrada currently serves as the first deputy commissioner in the Department of Family and Support Services for the City of Chicago. He received his master of business administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Governor Quinn also reappointed Karen Hasara to the university’s board. Hasara, a current trustee for the Springfield Mass Transit District, served as mayor of the city of Springfield from 1995-2003. She received both her bachelor of science and master of arts degrees from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The primary governing body of the university, the board is responsible for maintaining and overseeing the use of funds appropriated by the General Assembly. It exercises jurisdiction over all matters except those which it has delegated to the president of the university or other officers or agencies.

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees consists of 13 members, including the Governor as an ex officio member. Nine are appointed by the Governor and serve six year terms. Three student trustees, one from each University of Illinois institution, are elected by referenda on their respective campuses for one-year terms. One of these student trustees is designated by the Governor to have an official vote.

 

CHICAGO – January 18, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:
Bill No.: SB 2814
Regulates fire equipment suppression systems and employees who work on those systems through licensure requirements.
An Act Concerning: Professional Regulation
Action: Signed
Effective Date: Immediately
Bill No.: SB 3461
Extends the Emergency Budget Act until June 30, 2011.
An Act Concerning: State Government
Action: Signed
Effective Date: Immediately
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Rock Island County launches new website PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Shelly Chapman   
Monday, 17 January 2011 11:46

Rock Island County is pleases to announce that our newly designed website has launched!  Visitors will find a new look, site navigation, department menus, search, and an email alert registration at www.rockislandcounty.org.

After months of updating, the user friendly menus are in place.  These menus provide a great deal of information to our citizens.  Questions regarding the website design should be directed to our GIS Director, Josh Boudi at 558-3760, or Sue Adams at 558-3761.

 
Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Laurel White   
Monday, 17 January 2011 11:35

SPRINGFIELD – Thursday, January 13, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 2505

Provides revenue needed to stabilize the state’s budget and sets unprecedented limits on state spending.

An Act Concerning: Revenue

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately

Friday, January 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 3514

Authorizes financing for the state’s pension funds.

An Act Concerning: Finance

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately  

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Grassley works to determine how local housing authority spent tax dollars to settle lawsuits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 14:51
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked 20 law firms in Philadelphia for information about their billing of the Philadelphia Public Housing Authority as part of a larger review of how the housing authority has misused federal tax dollars.  Grassley said he is going directly to the firms for information about the amount billed and the kind of work performed because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which awards federal funds to local housing authorities, has told him it doesn’t maintain records about such legal payments and, in the case of the Philadelphia Public Housing Authority, news organizations have reported how the housing authority structured settlements in at least four sexual harassment cases and one case where the failure to inspect a building before demolition resulted in the death of a resident.

“The local housing authority reportedly has a record of trying to cover its tracks where it’s spent tax dollars either inappropriately or in a way that would embarrass its leadership.  And, the federal agency that provides most of the money that local housing authorities have to spend has continued to provide tax dollars even after it’s clear that there’s not responsible stewardship of those dollars,” Grassley said.  “Both situations are an affront to taxpayers, and taxpayers deserve an accounting of what’s gone on so that it can be stopped.”

Grassley’s review of abusive spending of federal housing dollars was prompted by the dramatic increase in federal funds going to local housing authorities, even those with histories of mismanagement, by way of the federal government’s economic  stimulus program.

A copy of the letter Grassley sent today is available by clicking here.  The same letter went to the following Philadelphia law firms:  Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP; Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP; Cozen O’Connor; Duane Morris LLP; Fox Rothschild; Buchanon, Ingersol & Rooney PC; Blank Rome LLP ; Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellot, LLC; Bowman Kavulich; Archer & Greiner; Margolis Edelstein; Reed Smith LLP; Haines & Associates; Kolber & Freiman; Flaster/Greenberg; Cohen & Grigsby; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin; Kelly, Monaco & Naples; and Smyler & Gentile.  Previous letters from Grassley regarding the expenditures of the Philadelphia Housing Authority are available by clicking here.

Last week, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that in September 2009, the then-executive director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority had spent $15,920 on expensive bags from Nordstrom for himself and 19 other executives of the housing authority.

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