Governor Quinn Signs Seth's Law to Require Improved Hospital Safety Procedures; New Law Named After Iraq War Veteran Who Died After Hospital Employees Were Unable to Reach Him
HARRISBURG - June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that requires Illinois' hospitals to institute policies and procedures that will enable staff to readily gain access to patient bathrooms. The law is named after 22-year-old Iraq War Veteran Seth Sanders, who died in September 2009 when hospital personnel could not gain access to his bathroom.
"Seth Sanders is a hero whose tragic death reminds us all that we must be vigilant in constantly improving hospital safety," said Governor Quinn. "Today I am proud to honor his memory by signing Seth's Law, hopefully preventing this horrible tragedy from ever happening in Illinois."
Seth Sanders served in the Iraq War, where his unit removed improvised explosive devices. After returning from his deployment last year he moved from his West Frankfort home in Southern Illinois to Nevada, where he underwent heart surgery. Approximately two weeks after the surgery, Sanders collapsed in the hospital bathroom. Hospital employees were unable to quickly locate a key and reach him in time to save his life.
House Bill 5764 requires hospitals in Illinois to implement policies and procedures that will enable staff to quickly gain access to a locked bathroom in a patient's room. While many Illinois hospitals already have procedures in place, this bill ensures that every hospital establishes these potentially life-saving measures.
"Seth was an amazing son and we don't want what happened to him to happen to another family," said Maureen Sanders, Seth's mother. "Seth is from Illinois so we wanted to pass his law here first and hopefully see it go forward and pass in other states."
The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and was sponsored by Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) and Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton). The law takes effect Jan. 1.
Governor Quinn Announces 9,366 Jobs Created Through 'Put Illinois to Work.' Program On Target to Surpass 10,000 Jobs Created Next Week
DECATUR- June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today visited Midwest Fiber Recycling in Decatur to announce that 2,436 employers across the state have agreed to hire more than 9,366 workers through the Quinn Administration's "Put Illinois to Work" (PIW) employment program, launched in late April. The program is currently on target to surpass 10,000 jobs created by next week.
"Put Illinois to Work is doing just that: putting thousands of Illinois residents to work in good-paying jobs like these at Midwest Fiber Recycling," said Governor Quinn. "Illinois workers are some of the best in the country, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they have the opportunities to develop new skills."
Midwest Fiber Recycling, a participating employer in the PIW program, is a family-owned business that started out offering recycling services to Macon County. Today, it has over 50 employees and recycles more than 210 million pounds of cardboard, newspaper, office paper, plastic and other recyclable materials. Midwest Fiber Recycling's service area now extends throughout the Midwest, with facilities in Decatur, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and Peoria.
Through Put Illinois to Work, eligible Illinois residents are placed in subsidized employment positions with participating worksites for up to six months, learning valuable skills and supporting their families. The program will help stimulate Illinois' ailing economy and develop a healthy workforce by providing meaningful work experience for participants. Put Illinois to Work is expected to create more than 15,000 jobs statewide.
Private, public and non-profit businesses are encouraged to sign on with Put Illinois to Work. Eligible participants are matched to subsidized employment opportunities with these worksites. The hope is that when the program concludes, many employers will permanently hire the workers they have trained.
Put Illinois to Work is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS). Funding is provided through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF), which was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
Eligible worksites and participants must meet program criteria and agree to adhere to specific program requirements. Participants must be age 18-21, or 18 and older and the parent (custodial or non-custodial) of a minor child. All participants must have a household income below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($2,428 per month for a family of two) and be legally authorized to work.
For eligibility criteria and additional information on Put Illinois to Work, visit www.PutIllinoistoWork.Illinois.gov.
Governor Quinn Signs Law to Expand Dental Care Access for Working Families; New Law Clears Hurdles for Dentists to Provide Voluntary Care
BLOOMINGTON - June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that makes it easier for Illinois' dentists to provide voluntary care to low-income families enrolled in public health care programs.
"Keeping Illinois' families healthy is one of the most important duties I have as Governor, and dental problems can lead to serious health issues," said Governor Quinn. "I am proud to sign this legislation to help more families see a dentist and get the care they need to stay healthy."
House Bill 5859 allows licensed dentists to provide volunteer care through a nonprofit health clinic, which can then receive payments from the state. The payments will help the clinics cover the costs of dental equipment and supplies.
Under current law, free and low-cost health clinics cannot be reimbursed for volunteer care provided by a dentist, unless is the dentist is personally enrolled as a Medicaid provider. The new law requires only the clinic to be enrolled with Medicaid. The clinics can use the Medicaid funding to pay for dental care costs such as equipment and supplies. Eligible non-profit clinics include federally qualified health centers and public health clinics.
The law will help encourage more dentists to treat low-income families throughout Illinois. House Bill 5859 was sponsored by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) and passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously. It takes effect on Jan. 1.
Governor Quinn signed the legislation at an event in Bloomington where approximately 800 dentists and volunteers gathered to provide free dental care for an estimated 1,500 low-income children and adults. The two-day clinic was organized by the Illinois State Dental Society.
Governor Quinn Signs Law To Help Veterans with Addiction, Mental Health Disorders; Law Allows Counties to Create Specialty Court for Veterans Accused of Nonviolent Crimes
CHICAGO - June 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that creates the Veterans and Servicemembers Court Treatment Act. The new law allows counties throughout Illinois to create special judicial courts for Veterans who may have mental health or substance abuse disorders.
"Many of our brave servicemembers come home suffering from the effects of war, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse and other service-related disabilities," said Governor Quinn. "This law will help us take better care of our Veterans who need treatment, not jail."
House Bill 5214, sponsored by Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), allows the chief judge of each judicial circuit in Illinois to create a Veteran and Servicemembers Court Program (VSCP) for military Veterans charged with nonviolent crimes.
Veterans who receive approval for enrollment in the VSCP will receive mental health and substance abuse screenings, and must submit to treatment. Upon successful completion of the program, the original charge(s) may be dismissed.
"This is groundbreaking legislation that allows qualifying veterans the opportunity to pay their debt to society while also receiving much-needed treatment for service-related disabilities," said Dan Grant, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. "It is a proven and successful method of restoring mind, body and spirit to a veteran in need."
The VSCP models other diversionary courts across the nation, such as drug and mental health courts. The first Veterans' court was created in Buffalo, N.Y. in 2008. There are now more than 30 similar courts nationwide. Cook and Madison Counties in Illinois created Veterans Court programs in 2009.
The law takes effect immediately.
Governor Quinn To Announce $6 Million Capital Grant for Museum of Broadcast Communications; Project will Create 200 Jobs, Further Enhance Tourism in Illinois
CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn will announce a $6 million capital grant to the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) to assist with the completion of its new facility at 360 North State Street in Chicago at a MBC event this evening. As one of only three museums dedicated to broadcast history in the nation, completion of this project will help further enhance Illinois' successful tourism industry. MBC anticipates this project will create approximately 200 jobs.
"The tourism industry employs more than 300,000 people and contributes approximately $30 billion to the Illinois economy each year," said Governor Quinn. "Our investments in key cultural attractions like the state-of-the-art Museum of Broadcast Communications help ensure this industry can continue to create jobs and serve as a dynamic growth engine for our state."
The 62,000-square-foot facility will be located at State and Kinzie Streets, right next door to Harry Caray's Restaurant and the House of Blues Hotel. The museum will be a model of energy-efficiency and will provide five times as much space as its former location in the Chicago Cultural Center, which closed in December 2003. The facility will allow the MBC to serve a wide range of audiences, expand its collections, and increase exhibit and programming space.
"The Museum of Broadcast Communications is grateful that Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly have recognized and honored the significant role Chicago has played in American radio and television history with this grant. We will commence construction on our new home at State and Kinzie this coming Monday, creating over 200 jobs for the next year," said Bruce Dumont, President & CEO of MBC.
Tourism continues to be a key driver of the Illinois economy. According to the U.S. Travel Association, in 2008, the last year available, the economic impact of tourism increased by more than $883 million to a record setting $30.8 billion. Illinois hosted nearly 88 million domestic visitors and over 1.4 million overseas visitors. In addition, the travel industry generated 303,500 jobs for Illinois in 2008.
The project is funded through Illinois Jobs Now!, a $31 billion capital plan that will revive the state's ailing economy by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over the next six years.
MBC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to collect, preserve and present historic and contemporary radio and television content. It is one of only three museums dedicated to broadcast history in the nation, and is home to America's only National Radio Hall of Fame.
CHICAGO - June 10, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:
Bill No.: HB 5956
Ensures families of firefighters killed in the line of duty receive timely payment from the Court of Claims.
An Act Concerning: Employment
Effective Date: January 1, 2011
Bill No.: HB 5668
Amends the Firemen's Disciplinary Act.
An Act Concerning: Local Government
Effective Date: Immediately
Governor Quinn Opens Rosa Parks Apartments Affordable Housing in Chicago; $12 Million in State and Federal Funds Used to Build Rental Apartments for Illinois' Working Families
CHICAGO - June 10, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today opened the Rosa Parks Apartments, a newly-built rental property that will provide affordable homes for 94 families. The multi-million dollar project was funded in part by $9.8 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $2.2 million in state funds from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
More than 60 jobs were created with the development of the eight new buildings on scattered sites in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.
"This project is a perfect example of how federal stimulus dollars are putting people to work in good-paying jobs while also getting families into homes they can afford," said Governor Quinn.
IHDA also invested a $1 million zero-interest loan from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and $856,000 in Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credits to build the homes. Rosa Parks received an additional $285,000 in energy efficient grants from DCEO to incorporate green energy technology, including geothermal heating.
The Recovery Act created the financial incentive to spur construction on Illinois affordable housing developments that were stalled due to the collapse of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) market. Federal housing tax credits available through the state are the chief financing tool available for developers to build affordable housing. Stimulus funds provided financing options to developers to help rebuild Illinois' economy and put affordable housing developments back on track.
"These federal stimulus funds have proved critical to revitalize the housing market in Illinois and help put Illinois families back in safe affordable housing that will strengthen neighborhoods," said Gloria L. Materre, IHDA Executive Director.
Governor Quinn today also signed into law an initiative to help homeowners facing foreclosure across Illinois. The Illinois Homeowner's Emergency Assistance Program Act allows eligible homeowners who undergo HUD-certified counseling to apply for up to $6,000 - or three months - of mortgage payments, whichever is less. The pilot program ends on January 1, 2011, and lenders must agree to renegotiated terms.
For more information on federal housing stimulus projects in Illinois, see www.ihda.org. Information about the Illinois Homeowner's Emergency Assistance Program Act will be posted as it's available.
CHICAGO - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:
Bill No.: HB 4909
Eliminates several advisory committees to the Illinois Department on Aging.
An Act Concerning: Aging
Effective Date: Immediately
Bill No.: HB 4910
Changes the composition of the Older Adult Services Advisory Committee.
An Act Concerning: Aging
Effective Date: Immediately
Bill No.: HB 5226
Makes changes to the State Water Revolving Loan Program to comply with federal principal forgiveness requirements.
An Act Concerning: Safety
Effective Date: Immediately
Bill No.: HB 5499
Amends the Civil Administrative Code and the Illinois Act on Aging to increase efficiency at the Illinois Department on Aging.
An Act Concerning: Aging
Effective Date: Immediately
Bill No.: HB 5946
Makes provisions concerning the maintenance and repair of highway signs.
An Act Concerning: Regulation
Effective Date: Immediately
Bill No.: SB 3576
Amends the Illinois Procurement Code.
An Act Concerning: Finance
Effective Date: July 1, 2010
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Encourage Parents to Keep Children Safe While Driving; New Law Increases Penalties and Encourages Education for Parents who Fail to Use Child Safety Seats
CHICAGO - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will further encourage parents across the state to properly secure their young children in safety seats when traveling Illinois' roads and highways.
"There is nothing more sacred than the safety of our children," said Governor Quinn. "This important new law will encourage parents to properly secure their young children while driving and help save lives on Illinois' roads."
House Bill 4691, sponsored by Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) and Sen. Louis Viverito (D-Burbank), increases penalties and encourages safety education for parents who do not secure their children in a properly-installed child safety seat while driving.
Under the new law, the fine for a first violation of the Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act increases from $50 to $75, and fines for subsequent violations increase from $100 to $200. The legislation also encourages parents to get proper child safety education. Parents who complete a certified child passenger safety course and own an approved child safety seat will be eligible to have their fine for the first violation dropped.
House Bill 4691 passed the General Assembly nearly unanimously and takes effect on January 1.
Current Illinois law requires anyone who transports a child under the age of eight in their vehicle to properly secure that child in a child safety seat. Children under eight who weigh more than 40 pounds do not have to ride in child safety seats as long as they are buckled into a lap belt in the back seat.
Governor Quinn has made the reduction of traffic crash fatalities and the improvement of traffic safety a top priority of his administration. Last fall Governor Quinn signed a law, initiated by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, which bans the use of cell phones in construction zones as well as school zones. Additional legislation signed into law last August bans text messaging while driving on all Illinois roads. The penalty for violating either measure is a moving violation that will go on the motorist's driving record as well as fines and court costs to be determined by the judge.
Governors Quinn and Daniels Sign Agreement to Begin Work on Illiana Expressway; Planning Phase Begins This Year for New Expressway That Will Mitigate Congestion, Bring 14,000 Jobs to Illinois
CHICAGO - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn was joined by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today to sign legislation that will bring the two states together to build the Illiana Expressway, connecting I-55 from south of Joliet to I-65 near Lowell, Ind.
The Governors together signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a mutual commitment to the project, which is expected to create nearly 14,000 jobs in Illinois. Governor Quinn also signed Illinois Senate Bill 3659 which creates the Public Private Agreements for the Illiana Expressway Act.
"Today is a milestone in our efforts to build the Illiana Expressway," said Governor Quinn. "The new expressway will open an era of bi-state collaboration and provide a crucial economic boost for both states. This is a significant achievement for northeast Illinois, which will create thousands of jobs and bring economic development benefits to this area."
The Illiana Expressway will connect drivers on I-55 in Western Will County to I-65 in Lake County, Ind., and will serve as an alternate route to the highly traveled I-90/94 corridor. The new Illiana Expressway will also provide much needed access to Will County's burgeoning freight and logistics centers and create more jobs in Will County to serve its fast-growing residential population.
"In Indiana, we believe great infrastructure means more jobs. We're in the middle of the biggest road building boom in Indiana history and the Illiana project is its next natural extension," said Governor
Daniels. "Safer roads, less congestion and countless new jobs make this a huge step forward for the entire region."
With its central location, the Chicago region serves as the nation's largest freight hub, with over one third of all freight traffic passing through the region. The freight industry generates more than $8 billion per year for the local economy, but congestion has threatened the region's competitive advantage. Local planners have identified the Chicago Southland as an ideal location for cargo-oriented development, due to the existence of both waterways and rail intermodal yards. The Illiana Expressway will allow for more efficient movement of goods between transportation modes, while attracting new logistics and manufacturing companies looking to gain greater access to the marketplace.
"Will County is the fastest growing county in Illinois, currently accounting for nearly half of the state's overall population growth. Transportation is the key to sustainable growth in the region," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.
Illinois Senate Bill 3659 creates the Public Private Agreements for the Illiana Expressway Act. It allows IDOT to enter into one or more public private agreements with one or more contractors to develop, finance, construct, manage, or operate the Illiana Expressway on behalf of the state. The Illinois bill had a number of co-sponsors, including: Sen. Toi Hutchison (D - Olympia Fields); Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D - Joliet); Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago); Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights); and Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Bradley).
"This region serves as a crossroads of our nation's transportation system, and the Illiana Expressway will bring economic development and much-needed relief to the area's busy roadways. Today is a very important step forward for a vital, job-creating project, and I'm looking forward to continuing the work at the Federal level to make the Illiana a reality," said U.S. Rep Debbie Halvorson (IL-11).
The two states will begin their joint effort later this year with the initiation of Environmental Studies, which will seek participation from all stakeholders to define the transportation needs and evaluate alternatives.
New Laws Allow Community Colleges to Borrow Additional Funds, Better Manage Budgets while Awaiting State Funding
DANVILLE - June 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation into law to help community colleges throughout Illinois borrow additional funds while awaiting already-authorized state funding.
"We must give our community colleges all the tools and resources necessary to manage their checkbooks in these tough economic times," said Governor Quinn. "Our students' education is the state's foremost priority. We will continue to fight to ensure they receive the best education possible."
Senate Bill 2615, sponsored by Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), allows community colleges to issue double the amount of bonds they are permitted to issue under current Illinois law for the next three years. The legislation also permits community college districts to establish a line of credit, which is subject to amount, repayment and interest restrictions.
Under the new law, a community college's board of trustees must pass a resolution to allow the borrowing. The legislation passed the Illinois General Assembly with strong bi-partisan support and takes effect immediately.
Governor Quinn is committed to helping Illinois' community colleges and universities weather the unprecedented national economic crisis. Yesterday, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 642 to allow state universities to borrow money equal to the amount of vouchers that have been submitted to the state but remain unpaid for fiscal year 2010.
Governor Quinn also signed two additional bills. Senate Bill 2548, sponsored by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville), allows community colleges to submit monthly, rather than quarterly, payment vouchers to the Comptroller. House Bill 4972, sponsored by Sen. Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) and Rep. Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago), allows the Illinois Community College Board to limit some travel reimbursements.