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Simon to promote Disability Visability Project PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ken Lowe   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:25

CHICAGO — To speak out in favor of equal rights for the disabled and raise awareness of the barriers they face, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will visit Access Living Aug. 5.

The organization advocates on behalf of those with physical, psychiatric and cognitive disabilities in matters of housing, education, and access to health care. Access Living is participating in the Disability Visibility Project, a year-long campaign organized by StoryCorps to raise awareness of the issues facing people with disabilities in advance of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act next summer.

“As we approach a quarter century under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s important to look at how far we’ve come, but also how much more we need to do to ensure equality and protection for people with disabilities,” Simon said. “I applaud Access Living’s work in helping people who have disabilities overcome the barriers to information, services and advocacy they face.”

Among other initiatives, Access Living is helping the elderly and people with disabilities living in nursing homes return to their own homes under the expansion of managed care outlined in the federal Affordable Care Act.

The organization’s legal department also advocates for tenants and property owners with disabilities.

Simon will visit with organization officers and tour the Access Living facility Tuesday.

DATE: Aug. 5, 2014

TIME: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

LOCATION: Access Living, 115 West Chicago Ave., Chicago


News Releases - General Info
Written by Various   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 08:19

Governor Quinn Statement Regarding Passing of Gene Callahan

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement regarding the passing of Gene Callahan:

“Gene Callahan was one of those rare fixtures in the political world – a true gentleman who could work with anybody, any time, to get things done.

“It is hard to believe the 40-plus-year ‘Callahan era’ has come to a close.  Few of us can remember a time when Gene was not involved in public service. Thankfully, he has instilled those same values in his daughter Cheri Bustos, who has taken his ethic of hard work and honesty to the U.S. Congress.

“Illinois has suffered two huge losses recently – first former Senator Alan Dixon, and now the Senator’s long-time friend and advisor, Gene Callahan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the thousands of people whose lives Gene touched during his long and storied life.”


Simon statement on the passing of Gene Callahan


CHICAGO – Aug. 4, 2014. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today issued the following statement on the passing of longtime friend and advisor Gene Callahan.

“Illinois will miss Gene Callahan. And the Simon family in particular has lost a dear friend.

“Gene served as chief of staff for my dad, a mentor for my brother, and a trusted advisor for me. He was always focused on what was best for the people of our state, not short-term political advantage. His ethical standards were the highest – standards I try to live up to daily.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Gene’s family and all whose lives he touched.”


Schilling Statement on Passing of Gene Callahan

EAST MOLINE, Ill.—Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) released the following statement today about the passing of Gene Callahan, a dedicated public servant to the State of Illinois and father to Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline):

"Illinois lost a great statesman today. Gene Callahan admirably dedicated his life to public service and had a positive impact on the State of Illinois. My prayers go out to Congresswoman Bustos and her entire family."

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CHICAGO - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka released the following statement in response to the passing of longtime civil servant Gene Callahan:

"Illinois lost a true statesman this morning with the passing of Gene Callahan. Gene was passionate about public service. Although he worked in government and politics for decades he was able to rise above partisanship and work with anyone for the good of the order. He was truly one of the good ones. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."

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Governor Quinn Takes Action to Strengthen Humane Treatment of Animals Law PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grant Klinzman   
Monday, 04 August 2014 08:52

Signs New Law Proposed by Illinois Third-Graders Devoted to Fighting Puppy Mills; Issues Order to Create Illinois Pet Advocacy Task Force

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today took action to protect animals across Illinois by fighting puppy mills. The Governor today signed a new law that was proposed by three dedicated third-graders from Arlington Heights and increases penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Today’s action, taken at a Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS) event in Chicago, is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure that all animals are treated humanely in Illinois.

“Our pets are a part of the family, and we must always treat them with care and respect,” Governor Quinn said. “Three students from Arlington Heights created this new law because they wanted to make a difference and protect animals across Illinois.”

House Bill 4410, sponsored by State Representative David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) and State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), increases fines on anyone that violates the state’s Animal Welfare Act, which makes it a crime to mistreat animals. A first violation is more than doubled from $200 to $500; a second violation is doubled from $500 to $1,000; and a third violation will result in a $2,500 fine in addition to a probationary status for the violator. The law is effective immediately.

This bipartisan measure was conceived by Claire Hackmann, Brooke Martin and Maddie O’Dell, third grade students from Patton Elementary School in Arlington Heights. Claire, Brooke and Maddie read a book about two students that rescued a puppy from a puppy mill, which led them to research puppy mills and contact Representative Harris about ways to limit these operations. Their lobbying efforts included a presentation at an all-school assembly to members of Patton Elementary School faculty, gathering signatures from students and concerned citizens and even testifying before the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee.

“It is great to see the Animal Welfare Act updated by House Bill 4410 for the protection of all animals, and it is wonderful that the initiative for the bill was started by three third graders from Patton School,” Representative Harris said. “I am proud to have been able to help them, and I applaud their dedication in pushing the bill."

“This legislation was an initiative of a class at Patton School in Arlington Heights to ensure that pet stores, dog dealers and those that board cats and dogs properly comply with the Animal Welfare Act,” Senator Althoff said. “Most dealers and kennel operators are professionals who take their responsibilities seriously, but unfortunately, there are always exceptions and under current law, the penalties being enforced for those who violate the Animal Welfare Act were too minimal to deter irresponsible breeders and dealers from mistreating or abusing animals in their care. Increasing the administrative fines for those who violate the Act will offer greater protection for animal welfare and ensure that violators are held accountable.”

"We applaud the state of Illinois and Governor Quinn for working to deter the abuse and neglect of animals by increasing fines for violators of the Animal Welfare Act,” PAWS Chicago Founder Paula Fasseas said. “Animals are defenseless living beings and we must be their voice and protectors."

In addition to signing House Bill 4410, the Governor today also issued an executive order creating the Illinois Pet Advocacy Task Force. The Task Force will study issues of animal cruelty, neglect and abuse and make recommendations that will ensure proper treatment and care of Illinois pets. The Task Force will issue a report to the Governor and the General Assembly within 12 months

The legislation was signed at PAWS Chicago, Chicago’s largest no-kill shelter. PAWS is focused on solutions to end the killing of homeless pets. Since the organization’s founding in 1997, the number of homeless pets killed in the city has been reduced by nearly 70 percent, from 42,561 to fewer than 14,000 last year. The animal rescue spares animals from this fate and provides them with a forever home. For more information about PAWS Chicago and pet adoption, visit

Governor Quinn is the proud owner of a rescue dog named Rosie, a Yorkshire Terrier mix whom he adopted from PAWS. The Governor has long been a pet lover and advocate for the humane treatment of animals. Last year he signed the “Puppy Lemon Law” to give buyers protection for pet purchases and to help reduce the possibility of emotional trauma that comes from losing a pet. He also signed new laws to help ensure that all dogs in Illinois are treated humanely when tethered outside and to provide humane options for stray farm animals such as adoption or placement in a sanctuary.


Loebsack Statement on Border Funding Bill PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 04 August 2014 08:27

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House voted on a supplemental appropriations bill for the Southwest border.

“I have long said that the status quo isn’t working and bipartisan action is needed to address the immigration problem that our nation is facing. Unfortunately, Republicans in the House have continued to play political games and have not actually fixed the problem. The Ted Cruz and Steve King wing of the Republican Party are more interested in scoring political points than dealing with the children who came to this country alone to escape the violence they were facing back home. The legislation voted on today was not a serious attempt to secure our border and address the real humanitarian crisis that is happening.

“On top of that, nearly two-thirds of this bill is paid for by taking over $400 million away from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Fund. Iowans are still recovering from the severe storms and flooding that crippled our state earlier this month and to take this funding away will have a direct impact on our communities. Thirty five counties in Iowa have already received a Presidential Disaster Declaration and Governor Branstad has requested this declaration for 22 more.”


AUGUST 8TH: Loebsack to Host “Getting Iowans Back to Work” Tour in Muscatine PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Friday, 01 August 2014 07:35

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced that he will bring his “Getting Iowans Back to Work” Tour to Muscatine on FRIDAY, August 8th. At this forum, Loebsack will bring together businesses, labor organizations, local stakeholders, and education and training providers to discuss the SECTORS Act. This legislation, a jobs and workforce investment bill that Loebsack introduced in the House, creates partnerships to help close the gap between the kinds of skills that workers have and skills that businesses need. Large portions of Loebsack’s SECTORS Act were recently signed into law by the President as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“When traveling around Iowa meeting with business leaders, I hear time and time again that they can’t find workers with the skill set they need to be able to hire, despite high unemployment rates,” said Loebsack. “There is a gap between the kinds of skills that workers have and the skills that businesses need. The tools created by the SECTORS Act work to address this gap by targeting workforce development efforts to foster the kind of skills that local businesses need right now.”

Loebsack will also hold forums in Burlington, Ottumwa, Davenport, Newton, Keokuk and Osceola. Media are invited to attend.

“Getting Iowans Back to Work” Tour – August 8th


2:15pm @ Muscatine Community College, 152 Colorado Street, Muscatine IA 52761


Attendees will include:

Bob Allbee, President of Muscatine Community College

Gary Mohr, Executive Director of External Affairs for Eastern Iowa Community College

Greg Jenkins, President of Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce

Muscatine Community College Staff

Local Industry Representatives


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