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Avoiding deer-car collisions this time of year PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Janet Masters   
Monday, 03 October 2011 12:19
Fall into defensive driving habits to reduce the risk of deer-car collisions

Madison, Wis. (September 29, 2011) – Fall has arrived, and so has the time when motorists in many states are more likely to encounter deer on streets and highways. Unfortunately, these meetings often result in a serious traffic accident.

Hundreds of thousands of animal-vehicle crashes occur each year, the majority with deer. This results in millions of dollars of damages, injuries and in some cases, even death.
Sometimes these accidents are unavoidable, particularly during the fall months into early winter when deer are active and breeding. However, attentive drivers can take several simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of these encounters resulting in a traffic accident.

For 2010, American Family customers in the company’s 19 operating states submitted claims for animal-vehicle crashes totaling nearly $84.5 million, with Wisconsin ($23.4 million), Missouri ($15.7 million) and Minnesota ($10.9 million) reporting the highest numbers, accounting for more than 58 percent of claims, with an average cost per claim of $2,573 (see chart below for statistics on the top 12 states among the 19 states in which American Family operates).

Here are some defensive driving tips to help avoid deer-vehicle accidents:
•       Fasten your seatbelt. It’s simple common sense and the best defense in the event a crash is unavoidable.
•       Pay attention to deer-crossing signs.
•       Be especially alert at dawn and dusk. These are the times deer are most active.
•       If you see one deer, expect more to follow. Deer typically travel in single file.
•       If you see a deer on the road, brake firmly and blow your horn.
•       If a crash is unavoidable, don’t swerve! Studies show the most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or object, or roll over.

One preventative measure you might hear about is the use of deer whistles. Deer whistles produce ultrasonic noise when the vehicle they are attached to exceeds 30 mph. The idea is the deer will be warned upon hearing the noise. It’s unclear whether deer hear the noise, but regardless, studies show the whistles have no effect on deer behavior, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

If you do strike a deer, contact the authorities. You may be legally required to report an accident with significant vehicle damage, depending on state laws. Also contact your insurance company to report your claim. Collision with an animal is covered under the comprehensive section of your auto insurance policy. Since comprehensive coverage is optional, be sure to check your auto insurance policy for specific coverages.

2010 American Family claims for animal hits*
Ranked by number of claims
State   Number of Claims        Cost of Claims
Wisconsin       9,051   $23,449,682
Missouri        6,060   $15,748,155
Minnesota       4,366   $10,910,038
Kansas  2,366   $6,677,384
Illinois        1,807   $4,805,393
Iowa    1,770   $4,675,789
Ohio    1,206   $3,001,267
Indiana 1,193   $3,024,176
South Dakota    1,154   $2,777,437
Nebraska        904     $2,553,822
Colorado        832     $2,797,008
North Dakota    698     $1,637,216
Average cost per claim $2613
*Top 12 states

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance ranks 358th on the Fortune 500 list and is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company

Grassley Asks Stimulus Watchdog About Solyndra PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 03 October 2011 11:53

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has asked the top watchdog of stimulus money whether the office received any indications of problems regarding now-defunct energy company Solyndra and whether the watchdog office plans to take any action going forward to try to account for the $528 million in stimulus funds awarded to the company and now lost.

“The stimulus funds always needed aggressive oversight,” Grassley said.  “Whenever tax money goes out, especially in the billions of dollars, there’s tremendous potential for waste, fraud and abuse without checks and balances. The stimulus oversight office should do everything it can to fill in the knowledge gaps regarding what happened to the $528 million in stimulus funds given to Solyndra.”

Grassley wrote to the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which oversees the implementation of the $787 billion economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama in February 2009.  Grassley has worked to ensure the board’s independence as he has raised specific projects to the board’s attention, including stimulus funds misused by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

The text of Grassley’s letter on Solyndra is available here.

Rosh Hashanah Message PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 03 October 2011 11:11

At sundown this Wednesday evening, the Jewish community will commemorate the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

I extend my warm wishes to communities everywhere as they prepare for the start of this special holiday.

Rosh Hashanah is an opportunity for the Jewish community in Illinois and around the world to come together in prayer, to reflect on the past year, and to celebrate with family and friends.

To everyone observing the High Holy Days I want to wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.

Shana Tova Umetukah.


Governor Pat Quinn

Grassley Presses President Obama for Answers to Backdoor Amnesty Policies PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 03 October 2011 10:42

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grassley Presses President Obama for Answers to Backdoor Amnesty Policies

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley is leading 18 colleagues in questioning the administration’s immigration policies that go beyond the scope of the law and allow people who have broken our laws to remain in the country.  The Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over federal immigration policy.

In a letter sent late yesterday, the senators cite a June 17th memo and an August 18th directive which outline and encourage increased use of prosecutorial discretion and administrative closure of cases pending before the courts.

“The administration has repeatedly ignored and dismissed our reservations with its policies that circumvent Congress and provide a safe-haven for illegal immigrants.  Its policies ignore the rule of law and take the powers provided to the administration to an entirely new level,” Grassley said.

Cosigners of the letter with Grassley are Senators David Vitter of Louisiana, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, James E. Risch of Idaho, Mike Crapo of Idaho, John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Lee of Utah, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Here is a copy of the letter.  A signed copy can be found here.


September 26, 2011

President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear Mr. President:


We write to express serious concern about your immigration policies and ask that you require the Department of Homeland Security to overturn recent directives regarding the increased use of prosecutorial discretion.  We also request that the Administration halt any initiative, whether through regulation or otherwise, that circumvents Congress or aims to ensure that illegal immigrants are afforded every possibility to remain in this country.


After the release of the June 17th Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memorandum, which called for the increased use of prosecutorial discretion, several members of the Senate wrote to Assistant Secretary John Morton.  While prosecutorial discretion is justifiable in certain cases, this initiative may result in an impermissible intrusion on Congress’s plenary authority over immigration law.  Accordingly, we asked Assistant Secretary Morton to rescind the memorandum outlining ICE’s prosecutorial discretion policies.  That request has been ignored.


We are also concerned that the initiative announced by Secretary Napolitano on August 18th will result in the administrative closure of an untold number of cases currently pending before our immigration and federal courts.  In combination with the June 17th ICE memo, these new policies send the message that your Administration is turning a blind eye to those who have broken our immigration laws.  We are also concerned that these policies appear to be a direct attempt to categorically legalize those who are unlawfully in the country and to allow undocumented individuals to remain in violation of the law without fear of apprehension or deportation.  The security of our country depends on our ability to prevent unlawful entry and to respond when such criminals have overstayed their visa or avoided inspection.  These policies have the potential to undermine the rule of law and threaten our nation’s security.


While we appreciate Secretary Napolitano’s assurances that these initiatives will not provide categorical relief for any group, we remain concerned about statements being made by certain advocates and members of Congress.  For example, in a September 20th speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Dick Durbin stated that these initiatives “pave the way” for DREAM Act students.  He further stated that “[the Administration] said recently that those eligible for the DREAM Act, good moral character, graduates of high school and pursuing college degrees are not going to be their targets.”  The United States Senate and the American people have rejected the DREAM Act and the Executive Branch is not entitled to bypass that determination by administrative fiat. 


Further, in a recent speech before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Congressman Luis Gutierrez stated:  “[President Obama] said, ‘But I can’t bypass Congress,’ and people in the audience said, ‘Yes you can,’ and you want to know something? They were right – he could and he did.”  Such statements will only create a rush to the border and encourage the undocumented population to come forward in hopes of receiving a benefit.


There is still time to correct this path.  We request that you promptly rescind these initiatives, dismantle the working group designed to identify “low priority” cases before our immigration and federal courts, and direct the agencies within the Department of Homeland Security to abide by our Nation’s immigration laws.  We also ask that you make Secretary Napolitano available to members of the Senate for questioning about the Department’s immigration enforcement policies, including granting parole, deferred action, and prosecutorial discretion to keep unlawful immigrants in this country.


Finally, we reiterate our strong commitment to ensuring that the Administration has all of the resources it needs to carry out and enforce our immigration laws.  It is unjustifiable for the Administration to sidestep Congress to implement policies that are contrary to the law and the wishes of the American people.  We look forward to your timely response.





Charles E. Grassley                                                David Vitter

Jeff Sessions                       Orrin G. Hatch

Jim DeMint                         Tom Coburn

James E. Risch                          Mike Crapo

John Boozman                        Mike Lee

James M. Inhofe                         Saxby Chambliss

Johnny Isakson                        Michael B. Enzi

Rand Paul                           Roy Blunt

Mike Johanns                        John Barrasso

Ron Johnson

Feinstein, Grassley Introduce Bill to Combat Transnational Organized Crime PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 03 October 2011 08:39

Establishes new penalties for drug traffickers


Washington—U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, have introduced legislation to help combat the international drug trade.  The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2011 would provide the Justice Department with new tools to prosecute drug traffickers from foreign countries.

“We cannot sit idly by as transnational criminal organizations find new ways to circumvent our laws,” said Senator Feinstein.  “This bill will allow U.S. prosecutors to stay one step ahead of drug trafficking organizations.”

“Drug cartels are continually evolving, and this legislation ensures that our criminal laws keep pace,” said Senator Grassley.  “This legislation closes a loophole abused by drug traffickers that intend for drugs to end up in the United States but supply them through an intermediary.”

The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2011, S. 1612, has three main components:

• Establishes penalties for drug trafficking activity when individuals have reasonable cause to believe that illegal drugs will be trafficked into the United States;

• Ensures current penalties apply to chemical producers from other countries (including producers of pseudoephedrine used for methamphetamine) that illegally ship precursor chemicals into the U.S. knowing these chemicals will be used to make illegal drugs.

• Ensures that members of any conspiracy to distribute controlled substances will be subject to U.S. jurisdiction when at least one member of the conspiracy intends or knows that illegal drugs will be unlawfully imported into the U.S.

This bill supports the Obama Administration’s recently released Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).



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