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Governor Quinn Signs Historic Overhaul of Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation System PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Andrew Mason   
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 12:09

Reforms Will Save Employers $500 Million, Protect Workers,
and Modify Workers’ Compensation Commission

MELROSE PARK – June 28, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed House Bill 1698, a comprehensive overhaul of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system. The reforms – backed by numerous groups, including the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants’ Association – are expected to save Illinois businesses between $500 and $750 million dollars, while continuing protections for injured workers. The reform package also includes a major overhaul of Illinois’ troubled Workers’ Compensation Commission. 

“We began this process months ago with the belief that we needed to maintain essential protections for injured workers, while ensuring that the system treats our businesses fairly,” said Governor Quinn.  “We brought everyone to the table to make sure that these reforms were robust, and created a system in which everyone – workers, businesses and the state of Illinois – are treated fairly. This overhaul is going to improve the strength of our state’s business climate and economy, and I want to thank the bill’s sponsors and all those who voted for real reform.”

Illinois currently has some of the highest workers’ compensation premiums in the nation, and the new law contains a number of provisions designed to reduce the burdens on business owners. Among the reforms is a reduction of 30 percent to the medical fee schedule, which will save employers up to $500 million – as much as 14.9 percent in premiums. The law also requires that physicians and arbitrators to use standards set by the American Medical Association when determining impairment and disability. It also creates workers’ compensation provider networks to ensure that employees receive cost-effective treatment that improves patient outcomes.

A number of additional protections were put in place for injured workers, including enhanced enforcement against employers who fail to maintain proper workers’ compensation coverage. The bill also creates a process for electronic billing from providers, protecting workers from treatment disruption.

Measures were also put in place to reform the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Current arbitrators’ terms will end on July 1, and strict performance evaluations will weighed in consideration for re-appointment. Arbitrators will serve three-year terms, must act in an unbiased, impartial manner, and must follow the same ethical rules that apply to judges. New arbitrators must be licensed attorneys. Additionally, all workers’ compensation claims by commission appointees or employees will be heard by an independent arbitrator, and not arbitrators within the commission.

The bill also stipulates that an advisory board will be appointed to review and report to the General Assembly about the state's workers’ compensation program, including needed improvements and adherence to best practices.

In recognition of the transformative effect this law will have throughout the state, the Governor visited four locations (Melrose Park, Rockford, Champaign, and Marion) to highlight the signing of HB 1698 and its landmark reforms.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), with strong support from Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).

Additional Quotes on Workers’ Compensation Reform

“The bill the Governor signed today is an important first step toward creating a system that enables Navistar and other Illinois businesses to be more competitive and productive going forward. These reforms demonstrate that Governor Quinn and our state leaders are paying attention to the needs of business and that they are serious about growing our economy.”

-Dan Ustian, chairman and CEO, Navistar, Inc.

“The rules and regulations put into place afford companies like Ingersoll balance between ensuring that injured employees receive the necessary care while allowing the company to manage their medical expenses. This needed reform helps Illinois manufacturers compete in the global marketplace.”

-Tino Oldani, President and CEO, Ingersoll Machine Tools

“On behalf of the members of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), we are proud to stand with Governor Quinn today as he signs the first meaningful reform of Illinois’ workers’ compensation reform system in the last 35 years. While there may be critics, this clearly moves reform significantly down the road and sends the message that Illinois is serious about economic development. Many thanks are owed to the Governor, Senate President Cullerton, House Speaker Madigan, Senate Republican Leader Radogno, and the members of the Assembly who voted in favor of this legislation.”

-David F. Vite, President, Illinois Retail Merchants Association

"This legislation takes a vitally important first step toward making Illinois' business climate more competitive with other states. Experts predict savings for employers of nearly $500 million a year. We applaud the governor and those legislators who worked so hard to keep the integrity of the Workers' Compensation system while reducing the costs."

- Gregory W. Baise, President and CEO, Illinois Manufacturers' Association

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Harkin Welcomes White House Federal Disaster Declaration PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Harkin Press Office   
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 12:05
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after receiving word that President Obama had approved a federal disaster declaration for Woodbury, Monona, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Mills and Fremont Counties.  This declaration allows federal aid to immediately supplement state and local response efforts.  Earlier this month, Harkin wrote the President, urging him to approve the Governor’s request and has been pushing for an early declaration since then.  

“Traveling through Western Iowa today, I saw firsthand the rising waters, the damage – both known and unknown – that a flood can have on this area of the state and the real fears residents are experiencing,” said Harkin.  “And that is why I personally called the White House to advocate for this declaration.

“State and local response efforts are underway, but with levees needing to hold through the summer, this federal declaration comes in the nick of time and will bring an urgent financial shot in the arm to these efforts.  I thank President Obama for his attention and quick action on behalf of Iowans.”

 
CONDUCTING POSITION FOR NEWLY-FORMED QCSO YOUTH ENSEMBLE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jared W. Johnson   
Monday, 27 June 2011 18:04

Davenport, IA - The Quad City Symphony Orchestra's Youth Ensembles Program is seeking well-qualified candidates to fill a newly created position. The successful candidate will conduct the Quad City Symphony Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, an intermediary full-orchestral ensemble designed for students in grades 6-11. Due to increased demand, the QCSO has recently elected to create this new ensemble, which will begin work early in the 2011-12 school year. This is a one-year position, with the potential for extension based upon mutual satisfaction of both the conductor and the Association. Programming selections will be made in consultation with the Music Director for the Youth Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble will rehearse weekly Sunday evenings from August through April, excluding usual holidays and school breaks. The ensemble will perform twice per year. The ideal candidate will have an advanced knowledge of both orchestral repertoire and conducting , extensive experience working with students within the appropriate age group, and excellent communications and administrative skills.


To apply: send a one-page letter of interest along with your resume to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

The QCSO is an equal-opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation. By applying, you consent to allow the QCSO toconduct a background check prior to formal engagement as an employee.


RESPONSES RECEIVED AFTER TUESDAY, JULY 5, 2011 WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.

 

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Governor Quinn Signs Traffic Safety Measures PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 27 June 2011 11:51

New Laws Will Boost State’s Efforts to Increase Seatbelt Use and Prevent Traffic Fatalities

CHICAGO – June 27, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by law enforcement officers, public safety officials and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to sign two traffic safety measures as families throughout the state prepare for the July 4th holiday weekend.

“Over the Fourth of July weekend and throughout the year, we must ensure our roads are safe when many of us will be traveling to see family and friends,” said Governor Quinn. “These new laws are common sense measures that will help all motorists in Illinois arrive at their destinations safely.”   

House Bill 219 requires all passengers in a vehicle to wear a seatbelt, regardless of age or where they sit. Under currently law, people in the front seat of a vehicle must use seat belts, but backseat riders are only required to buckle up if they are under 18-years-old. Emergency vehicles, buses and taxicabs are exempt from the new law.  

The bill was sponsored by sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and the late Rep. Mark Beaubien (R-Wauconda). It was the last bill sponsored by Rep. Beaubien before his recent passing. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.  

“What’s tremendous about this law is that there is no question that it will save people’s lives,” said Senate President Cullerton.

In 2010, Illinois experienced one of its best years ever in traffic safety. For the first time since 1921, Illinois has seen two consecutive years with less than 1,000 traffic fatalities. Statewide seat belt usage increased from 64.5 percent in 1998 to nearly 93 percent in 2010, contributing to the reduced fatality rate.

“The Illinois State Police is proud to support legislation which has a positive and direct impact on the safety of the motoring public and reduces the risk of injury to passengers,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “We will continue to partner with local and state agencies in support of enforcement initiatives and programs which effectively target and reduce traffic crash fatalities in Illinois.”         

Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 1315, which prohibits passengers from riding in trailers, semitrailers, farm wagons and other vehicles while they are being towed on a public highway. Exceptions are made for farm-related activities and parades. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) and Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.  

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Braley Statement on Libya Bills PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Saturday, 25 June 2011 23:43

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after the House voted on two Libya bills:

"Today I voted to limit the President’s authority to engage our country in a third overseas conflict. To date, Libya has cost us $800 million – and we’re looking at projected military costs totaling more than $1 billion through September of this year. That’s a lot of money that we could be spending on priorities here at home. I don’t think we can afford to be engaged in Libya right now, and if the President feels differently, I think it’s time he come to Congress and make his case for this war."

The first bill, a resolution authorizing the use of U.S. Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya, failed by a vote of 123 to 295. Rep. Braley voted against the resolution.

The second bill, which would limit the use of defense spending in Libya, failed by a vote of 180 to 238. Rep. Braley voted in favor of the bill.

 

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