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Lt. Governor Simon supports licenses for all eligible Illinois drivers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kara Beach   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 10:04

SPRINGFIELD – November 28, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today issued the following statement regarding legislation to allow every qualified Illinois resident to obtain a driver’s license. Simon urged the legislature to take action on this item during veto session.

“This bill is a proactive step to help guarantee the safety and well-being of all Illinois residents. Our goal is to train, license and insure every eligible Illinois driver, regardless of legal status, to make our roads safer for all travelers. I am pleased to support this progressive bill and call on legislators to vote in favor of this public safety measure,” Simon said.

Simon joined the bipartisan coalition supporting Senate Bill 957/House Bill 6228 based on her experience as a Jackson County prosecutor who witnessed the damaging financial impacts of uninsured, unlicensed drivers on Illinois roadways. New licenses are also projected to generate much needed new revenue for the state, she said.

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Loebsack to Mark 500th Event in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 09:55

Will host ‘Holiday Mail for Heroes’ card writing event in Ottumwa

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he will mark his 500th in-state event for the year in Ottumwa.  This Saturday, December 1st, Loebsack will join employees at the Ottumwa North Hy-Vee to write Holiday cards to the troops serving overseas.  Cards will be provided at the event and then distributed through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Click here for additional information about the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. The public is invited to stop by and give the troops a “touch of home” for the Holiday season.

This event will also be the 500th event Loebsack has held in Iowa since January 1st, 2012.  Media are invited to attend.

Holiday Mail for Heroes Event

Saturday, December 1st

2:30pm

North Hy-Vee

2453 North Court

Ottumwa

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Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds announce Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit video contest winners PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 09:36

(DES MOINES) – Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds today announced the winners of the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit video contest.

The first place winner of the video contest was Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Community School District of Hartley, Iowa with nearly 37,000 views and will receive a $500 prize and a visit from Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds. Lisbon Community Schools, of Lisbon, was awarded second place with over 28,000 views and will receive a $350 cash prize. Central Lee Middle School, of Donnellson, took third place with over 25,000 views and will receive a $150 cash prize.

Originally, the contest was going to recognize only one winner, but the Change at the Anamosa State Penitentiary raised money to award second and third place.

“I think the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit was a wonderful learning experience and exchange on ideas and strategies of preventing bullying and the challenges we need to overcome. We need to have not just the schools but also the parents and the community actively involved also. The summit has exceeded my expectations,” said Gov. Branstad.

Department of Education Director, Jason Glass, made the formal announcement of the winners during today’s afternoon session of the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit. The winners were determined by the number of views received online.

“It’s really encouraging to know that the winning video had over 36,000 views. It’s very powerful to have this many students raising awareness and talking about the importance of preventing bullying. I look forward to visiting the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Community School District,” said Lt. Gov. Reynolds.

The videos can be found on the EduVision Bully Prevention Entries Channel here: https://educateiowa.eduvision.tv/Default.aspx starting Wed. Nov. 28. There were 23 videos submitted for the contest. Voting ran from Nov. 12 through Nov. 21.

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Grassley Applauds Signing of Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 14:29

Grassley attends Oval Office ceremony to witness signing of the legislation

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today made a special trip to the White House to witness the signing of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act which strengthens existing law to better protect whistleblowers.

Grassley was a co-author of the legislation being signed into law today, and the original 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act it updates.  The legislation was necessary because whistleblowers are being denied the protections they should have under the law because of decisions of the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and a general anti-whistleblower sentiment found in executive branch agencies.

“As one of the authors of the original Whistleblower Protection Act, and a long-time advocate for whistleblowers, it’s wonderful to see this legislation signed into law.  Whistleblowers strengthen our system of checks and balances, and that strengthens our system of representative government.  It’s a constant battle to make sure that these patriotic citizens who shed light on overspending, mismanagement and layers of ineffective leadership within the federal government are protected,” Grassley said after the signing in the Oval Office.  “Now, more work needs to be done to ensure that FBI whistleblower protections are updated and that intelligence community whistleblowers are covered under the law and given the protections they deserve.”

A long-time advocate for whistleblowers, Grassley has stood up against the heavy hand of the bureaucracy – regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats were in charge -- for individual whistleblowers from the Pentagon, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the IRS, the Interior Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition to co-authoring the 1989 whistleblower law, Grassley also authored the 1986 update of the False Claims Act to include qui tam provisions that empower private citizens, who had information about fraudulent activity by government contractors, to bring wrongdoing forward and sue in the name of the government.  To date, these whistleblower provisions have recovered more than $30 billion for taxpayers that otherwise would be lost to fraud.

In 2009, Grassley and Senator Patrick Leahy won passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act which made the most significant improvements to the False Claims Act since 1986.  The law restores the scope and applicability of the False Claims Act where it had been limited by court decisions.  This effort also revised criminal laws to help prosecute mortgage fraud, securities fraud, and complex financial crimes that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

In addition, Grassley authored the 2006 overhaul of the IRS whistleblower program to fight major tax fraud.  The IRS recently paid out its largest award ever, but has acknowledged, after scrutiny from Grassley, that the agency must be more timely and responsive in processing whistleblower claims.

 

The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 will:

·         clarify that any disclosure of gross waste or mismanagement, fraud, abuse, or illegal activity may be protected, but not disagreements over legitimate policy decisions;

·         suspend the sole jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals over federal employee whistleblower cases for two years;

·         extend Whistleblower Protection Act coverage and other non-discrimination and anti-retaliatory laws to all employees of the Transportation Security Administration;

·         clarify that whistleblowers may disclose evidence of censorship of scientific or technical information under the same standards that apply to disclosures of other kinds of waste, fraud, and abuse;

·         codify portions of the anti-gag provision, which Grassley originally got passed, that has been part of every Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill since 1988;

·         establish Whistleblower Protection Ombudsmen to educate agency personnel about whistleblower rights; and

·         provide the Office of Special Counsel with the independent right to file "friend of the court" briefs, or amicus briefs, with federal courts.

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Anne Frank connection to Danville, Iowa PDF Print E-mail
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Written by M. McNeil   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 12:42
The project deals with Anne Frank having a pen pal in Danville Iowa before her family went into hiding.  You can learn more about it at http://www.traces.org/anne.html

Very few people know about it but there is a very small museum telling about the Anne Frank connection in Danville.  They would like to raise money for an expansion.  They have been working on it and raised enough to buy a couple parcels of land to build on to the current museum.

It's cute when Anne says in one of her letters that she cannot find Danville on her map of Iowa but finds Burlington.  She wonders if it is close (and it is).  Therefore, when I learned of the story two years ago, I asked two girls from Burlington to write the story.  They did a fabulous job and I love their illustrations too.  It's being prepared for print right now.

More about the authors here:    http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Young-authors-tell-Anne-Frank--s-connection-to-Iowa-in-a-new-release-entitled-Oceans-Apart.html?soid=1102870834208&aid=7t6sZyCUUaI

There is a FB page as well: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oceans-Apart-The-Connection-between-Anne-Frank-and-her-Small-Town-Pen-Pal/466532820056062

Anne also writes the young lady in Danville about her post card collection.  She even sent her a post card from Amsterdam.  So three things are about to happen (on December 5)

1. The children of Danville are launching a post card collection as they would like post cards from all over the world to be sent to them.  They hope to collect 1.5 million cards to honor the 1.5 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.

2. Their historical society is launching their building fund to raise $450,000 using Indiegogo (a crowd funding platform).  This will happen at the same time as the news about the post card project on 12/5.

3. The children's book entitled Oceans Apart (one of my A BOOK by ME series) will be a reward for giving toward the fundraising effort.

With it being so close to Christmas, I think a lot of people will be interested in helping them reach their goal with the post cards and giving toward their educational center.

 
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