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Governor Pat Quinn Signs Legislation to Protect Diversity in State Public Works Projects PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Laurel White   
Thursday, 28 July 2011 12:30

New Law Will Benefit Minority-Owned, Female Businesses; Ensure Fairness in Minority and Female Employment on Public Works Projects

CHICAGO – July 27, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to help ensure a fair state contract bidding process for minority- and women-owned businesses, and to advance minority and female employment in Illinois’ workforce.

“This important new law will help ensure fairness, transparency and equal opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Today’s action underscores my commitment to maintaining a diverse, skilled and effective labor force.”

House Bill 2987 creates the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) Act, which requires state agencies under the Governor to consider the use of PLAs on public works construction projects. A PLA establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a construction project, ensuring a level bidding field for minority- and women-owned businesses and helping increase minority and female employment on public job sites. The new law codifies an Executive Order issued by the Governor in 2010.

The law requires the state department, agency, authority or board responsible for awarding the project to negotiate the PLA with labor organizations engaged in the construction industry. If the parties cannot agree to the terms of the project labor agreement, the Governor appoints a designee to assist the parties in reaching an agreement.  

Sponsored by Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore (D-Rock Island) and Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), the law includes provisions for binding procedures for resolving jurisdictional labor disputes and grievances; guarantees against strikes; ensuring a reliable source of skilled and experienced labor; setting goals for apprenticeship hours for minorities and females as well as total number of hours to be performed  by underrepresented minorities and females; and binding all contractors and subcontractors on the public works project through the inclusion of appropriate bid specifications.

The law also requires that an entity with a PLA in connection with a public works project to file a quarterly report with the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) that includes workforce participation by minorities and females. The IDOL will submit an annual report to the General Assembly and the Governor that details the number of minorities and females employees under all public labor agreements within the state. The new law takes effect immediately.


Getting Along: Taming the TV PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 28 July 2011 12:26
  • Most 2- to 5-year-olds watch TV an average of 31 hours each week, or more than 4 hours each day.
  • Prime time TV has an average of 6 violent acts every hour; children's programming has an average of 26 violent acts every hour.
  • The average American child witnesses 45 acts of violence on TV each day.
  • Children watching TV may see 50,000 TV commercials each year.
  • The average American family has the TV on for 6.2 hours every day.

TV Violence

Children may:

  • develop strong emotional fears;
  • become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others;
  • become "immune" to the horror of violence;
  • gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems;
  • imitate the violence they observe on television; or
  • identify with certain characters, victims and/or victimizers.

Parents can limit the negative effects of TV violence

  • Refuse to let children see shows known to be violent.
  • Refuse to buy violent videos.
  • Change the channel or turn off the TV when something offensive or violent comes on.
  • Verbally show disapproval of violent episodes.
  • Emphasize the belief that violent behavior is not the best way to solve a problem.

Who is watching?

Use your child's age and development to guide you in choosing TV programs.

Preschoolers have longer attention spans and are able to watch short programs. However, they often are not able to understand the whole story of a program. They can remember only small pieces of what they see and often cannot tie everything together.

School-age children understand much more than preschoolers; however, they often misinterpret what they see. School-agers can distinguish between reality and fantasy portrayed by live actors versus cartoons, but may have difficulty interpreting more subtle messages.

Contact Information:

Lesia Oesterreich
Family Life Extension Specialist
Human Development & Family Studies
Iowa State University
Phone: (515) 294-0363
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

PACT (Parenting All Children Together) PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 28 July 2011 12:23

Davenport, Iowa -- On September 6, Iowa State University Extension of Scott County, Lutheran Social Services of Iowa and Genesis Bright Beginnings will sponsor the parenting support and education program PACT (Parenting All Children Together) for an eight week series. The program is financially supported by Scott County Kids Early Childhood Iowa. The program is designed to educate and offer support to parents and caregivers of children age birth through five years old and reside in Scott County.

“Parenting is the most important job we will ever have. It is also the toughest! What we provide our children from birth through age five stays with them for the rest of their life. With this huge responsibility, we need to work together. This series will bring together parents and caregivers who want the very best for the children in their life,” said Jennifer Best, Extension Educator and PACT instructor.

The upcoming PACT series will be the second time the program has been offered to the Scott County community. The last series ending in June was very successful. “It was very rewarding to watch the families open themselves up to the learning process,” said Marisa Bloom, Families Program Assistant. “A lot of learning was happening and families were forming bonds and creating informal support systems with their peers. PACT is a needed resource for these very reasons.”

For participating in the PACT program member will receive a free meal at every session, free childcare while adults are learning, a free gift at each session, bus tokens to get to the sessions if transportation is needed, $40 worth of items chosen by the participant if they attend at least 5 of the 8 sessions, fun and friendship with other families, and great information to help parents and caregivers help their children be all they can be.

For more information about PACT or to register, contact Marisa at the Iowa State University Extension office at 563-359-7577 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Braley Statement on Proposed Post Office Closure PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 13:58

Washington, DC –Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after the U.S. Postal Service released a list of proposed post offices closures in Iowa:  

"I’m incredibly disappointed and concerned to see so many post offices in Eastern Iowa on this list. All Iowa communities depend on their post offices, and I know how much this service means to my constituents. Post offices are important community fixtures and provide thousands of good-paying jobs to Iowans. That’s why I’ll keep fighting to protect these, and other post offices that are being considered for closure."


ATF Officials in Mexico Denied Access to Information by U.S. Counterparts about Reckless Strategy that Allowed Guns to Fall Into the Hands of Mexican Drug Cartels PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 13:44

Issa, Grassley release staff report focusing on impact of Operation Fast and Furious on Mexico

WASHINGTON – Findings in a second staff report released by Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley show that ATF officials based in the United States Embassy in Mexico City were increasingly worried about the alarming rate of guns found in violent crimes in Mexico from a single ATF operation based out of the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division.   Issa is Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The consequences of arming Mexican drug cartels seem obvious.  But even guns turning up at crime scenes in Mexico wasn't enough for Justice Department officials to arrest straw purchasers and shut down their trafficking operations.  Tragically, it wasn't until Fast and Furious guns were found at the murder scene of a Border Patrol Agent that Justice officials finally ended this reckless and arrogant effort," said Issa.

“It’s incomprehensible that officials at the Justice Department, the ATF and the U.S. attorney’s office would keep their counterparts at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City in the dark about Operation Fast and Furious.  Keeping key details secret while straw purchasers continued buying weapons for gun traffickers jeopardized our relationship with our southern ally and put lives at risk,” Grassley said.

The report released today outlines several important findings, including:

  • There was little to no information sharing from the Phoenix Field Division, ATF Headquarters and the Justice Department to their colleagues in Mexico City.  Every time Mexico City officials asked about the mysterious investigation, their U.S. based ATF counterparts in Phoenix and Washington, D.C. continued to say they were “working on it” and “everything was under control.”
  • Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Justice Department, was clearly aware of Operation Fast and Furious and touted the case during a visit to Mexico.
  • ATF officials in Mexico City were incredulous that their agency would knowingly allow guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, and they were incensed when they finally began to learn the full scope of Operation Fast and Furious and the investigative techniques used.

Issa and Grassley are leading a congressional inquiry into the ill-advised strategy known as Operation Fast and Furious. 

A copy of the report can be found here.


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