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Governor's Monthly Newsletter: August 2013 

This electronic newsletter is an opportunity for you to learn more about what we’ve accomplished in Illinois government, and how you can get involved. Whether it’s volunteering in a Serve Illinois volunteer project, receiving state services, or learning about new laws and programs, I want to ensure that you know what’s happening in your government.

If you have ideas for improving any State service, program, or this very newsletter, please click here and let us know.

Sincerely,

Pat Quinn
Governor


Featured Articles

Governor Quinn Appoints Independent Task Force to Restore Trust in Northeastern Illinois Public Transit

On August 15th, Governor Pat Quinn issued an Executive Order creating the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force, an independent panel of transit, finance and good government leaders who will issue recommendations to reform the mass transit system in northeastern Illinois. The 15-member blue-ribbon task force is charged with developing ways to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse and streamline operations to ensure improved transit service for millions of users each year. The task force will issue recommendations to be considered by the General Assembly and Governor Quinn for both the veto and spring sessions.

Governor Quinn Signs Major Legislation to Make Communities Safer and Keep Guns Off the Streets

On August 18th, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new gun safety law that requires background checks for all gun purchases statewide as well as the reporting of all lost and stolen guns for the first time in Illinois history. This major legislation was a key priority in Governor Quinn’s 2013 State of the State address and is part of the Governor's agenda to improve public safety across Illinois. The state joins Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia in requiring the reporting of lost and stolen guns to law enforcement. The reporting requirement for lost and stolen guns takes effect immediately; the new background check system will take effect January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Signs Law to Ensure All Illinois Students Get an Early Start on Learning

On August 15th, Governor Quinn signed a new law that lowers the compulsory school age for students in Illinois in order to ensure all children have the opportunity to build a solid foundation for academic achievement. The law will also help to combat truancy. Research shows that children who start school at an earlier age are less likely to drop out of school, be placed in special education or commit crimes, and more likely to attend college. Under the new law, any student turning six years old on or before September 1 must be enrolled to attend school for that school year, starting in 2014. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Signs Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act

On August 1st, Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 1 – the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act – which will help ease pain for people across Illinois who suffer from debilitating medical conditions. Illinois is now the 21st state to enact such legislation, which includes some of the nation’s strongest restrictions on the cultivation, dispensing and use of medical marijuana. The law specifies 35 medical conditions for eligibility, and is a four-year pilot program. The law takes effect on January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Strengthen Illinois Agriculture

On August 13th, Governor Pat Quinn signed several bills to support the state’s number one industry, agriculture. House Bill 2748 requires at least two members of the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) have expertise in agribusiness or production agriculture in order to make IFA more responsive to farming needs. House Bill 2709 appoints a temporary wheat development committee to foster new markets for wheat products, and provide research for wheat farming and production. Also signed was House Bill 1272, which designates the first Saturday of every month as “Eat Local, Buy Illinois Products Day” to promote local food initiatives, agribusiness and local economies. The new bills take effect immediately.

Governor Quinn Signs “Rocky’s Law” for Illinois’ Student Athletes, Requiring School Districts to Provide Catastrophic Accident Insurance for Injured Students

On August 4th, Governor Quinn signed major legislation that requires public and private school districts to provide catastrophic accident insurance for high school athletes. Senate Bill 2178 requires that districts purchase insurance coverage for those injuries that happen in school-sponsored or supervised athletic events that result in medical expenses over $50,000. According to the law, the policies must have collective limits of $3 million or five years, whichever occurs first. Known as “Rocky’s Law,” this legislation was inspired by Rasul “Rocky” Clark, who passed away in 2012 after injuries sustained during a high school football game in 2000 left him paralyzed. “Rocky’s Law” will take effect on January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Opens CVS Caremark Mail Service Center in Mt. Prospect

On August 20th, Governor Pat Quinn was joined by company officials to open the new state-of-the-art CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy and Customer Center in Mount Prospect. The 150,000 square foot facility will employ 400 people, represents an investment of $67 million in the local area and can help fill up to 50 million prescriptions annually. This opening is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to create jobs and drive economic growth across Illinois.

Governor Quinn Announces Rittal Corporation to Move U.S. Headquarters to Illinois

On August 22nd, Governor Pat Quinn and Rittal Corporation executives announced that the German manufacturing company is moving its United States headquarters to Illinois from Ohio. The relocation to the Woodfield Corporate Center in Schaumburg is expected to create 40 jobs. Governor Quinn personally recruited Rittal to Illinois, meeting with owner and CEO Friedhelm Loh in December in Germany.

Historic Workers’ Compensation Reform Saved Illinois Employers $315 Million

On August 19th, Governor Pat Quinn announced that the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has filed a request for an overall reduction of 4.5 percent in workers' compensation rates from the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI).

Since the 2011 Workers’ Compensation Reform law championed by Governor Quinn, the department estimates that overall savings have reached $315 million for the Illinois Workers’ Compensation system. With the implementation of the proposed rate reduction, the advisory rate level will have dropped 13.3 percent below the advisory rate level prior to the changes sought and enacted by the Governor.

Governor Quinn Signs “Patricia’s Law” and “Kelsey’s Law” to Make Illinois Roads Safer

On August 5th, Governor Pat Quinn signed “Patricia’s Law” and “Kelsey’s Law,” two new traffic safety measures. House Bill 1010, “Patricia’s Law,” is named after Patricia McNamara, who was killed by a distracted driver who was then fined and sentenced to court supervision. The new law prohibits a court from granting supervision to anyone charged as the result of a fatal accident if that driver has had prior court supervision. The law takes effect January 1, 2014. House Bill 1009, “Kelsey’s Law,” is named for a 15-year-old who was seriously injured in an accident when hit by a teen driver who then was able to apply for and receive a full driver’s license. The law authorizes the Secretary of State to deny driver’s licenses or permits to those 18 years of age and under who have unresolved traffic citations. The law takes effect immediately. Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 772, which requires those between the ages of 18 and 21 who did not take a driver’s education course in school to complete an adult driver education course before receiving a driver’s license. The law takes effect July 1, 2014

Governor Quinn Opens New Rosemont Outlet Mall

On August 1st, Governor Pat Quinn joined local and company officials to open the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, a new 120-store mall off Balmoral Avenue in Rosemont that will employ about 2,000 people. The new 530,000 square-foot property is minutes away from O’Hare International Airport and includes a mix of mid- to high-end retail outlet shops.

Governor Quinn Signs Law to Strengthen Protections for Illinois Renters

Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law on August 21st to protect Illinois renters in foreclosed multifamily properties. The new law requires those acquiring foreclosed residential property to honor existing leases or give tenants adequate time to make a safe move. This legislation is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to protecting Illinois families and helping them fight foreclosure.

Governor Quinn Announces Over $16 Million in Grants to Illinois Hospitals, Including Funding for Improvements and Needed Upgrades

On August 8th, Governor Pat Quinn announced $16,978,000 in investments to create jobs and address the critical needs of health care institutions in Illinois. Under Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, private hospitals have received $150 million for critical health care needs so far.

Governor Quinn Signs Law to Protect New Pet Owners

On August 17th, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law that protects those who purchase dogs or cats from pet shops. The legislation gives buyers protection for pet purchases and helps to reduce the possibility of the emotional trauma that comes from losing a pet. The law takes effect January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation Creating Violence Prevention Task Force Charged With Curbing Violence in Illinois Communities

As part of the Governor’s agenda to improve public safety across Illinois, the Governor signed House Bill 2879, creating a task force to combat the epidemic of youth violence on August 7th. The task force is charged with preventing violence by raising awareness of job opportunities for at-risk youth, assisting religious and community groups and organizations to curb violence, and coordinating with mental health providers to assure that they are present in at-risk communities. House Bill 3879 is effective immediately.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Honor Illinois’ Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, on August 11th, at the Illinois State Fair, Governor Pat Quinn signed several new laws to support service members across Illinois. The new laws signed by Governor Quinn include:

  • House Bill 3346, which requires the Illinois Discharged Service Member Task Force to evaluate the needs of women veterans and make recommendations regarding how to meet those needs. HB 3346 takes effect immediately.
  • House Bill 2408, which allows small businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans to register as minority, disabled and women owned businesses when applicable. HB 2408 takes effect immediately.
  • Senate Bill 1824, which requires those who build veteran memorials on public property to raise enough funds to cover the maintenance and preservation of the memorial, in addition to its construction. SB 1824 takes effect immediately.
  • House Bill 3112, which allows the Learn Charter School in North Chicago to set aside 33 percent of its lottery seats for children of military personnel stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station. HB 3112 takes effect immediately.
  • Senate Bill 2231, which increases penalties for criminal damage and defacement of veteran and military memorials. SB 2231 goes into effect January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Announces $2.6 Million for Peoria Civic Center Improvements

Governor Pat Quinn announced a capital investment of $2.6 million to upgrade and remodel the Peoria Civic Center on August 10th. The $2.6 million state investment will provide new seating to replace the 30-year-old seats in Carver Arena, including accessible seating for people with disabilities. Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 2737, which requires the Peoria Civic Center Authority to cooperate with emergency response entities and to make its buildings available for emergency purposes. The law is effective immediately.

Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Crack Down on Domestic Violence in Illinois

On August 6th, Governor Pat Quinn signed new legislation designed to crack down on domestic violence in Illinois. House Bill 3379 requires school boards to adopt a policy on teen dating violence that establishes procedures for school employee response when they become aware of dating violence, as well as requiring schools to educate students about dating violence. House Bill 958 increases the penalties for domestic violence by classifying domestic violence as a felony if the defendant has a prior domestic violence conviction. House Bill 3300 protects domestic violence victims who are covered by their abusers’ insurance policies by allowing insurance companies to communicate with the victims in ways that do not divulge personal information or current addresses to their abusers. HB 3379 and HB 3236 take effect immediately, and HB 958 and HB 3300 take effect January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Announces $4 Million in Grants to Support Local Emergency Management Agencies

On August 21st, Governor Pat Quinn announced that grants totaling $4 million have been awarded by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to help 121 accredited city and county emergency management agencies throughout Illinois support local disaster preparation and response efforts.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Give Ex-Offenders a Second Chance

Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation on August 3rd that will give ex-offenders a second chance at employment and a productive life, while offering prosecutors and judges more sentencing options for non-violent offenders to help reduce the risk of repeat offenses. Senate Bill 1659 increases the income tax credit for those who hire qualified ex-offenders to a maximum of $1,500 per employee, as well as extending the tax credit for up to five years. The new law takes effect immediately. House Bill 3010 creates a “second chance probation” option for non-violent offenders that allows a conviction to be cleared from a defendant’s record upon successful completion of at least a two-year period of probation. The law takes effect January 1, 2014. Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 2470, which ensures that motions to expunge or seal criminal records are heard in a timely manner, streamlining the criminal record expungement and sealing process. The law takes effect immediately.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Help Municipalities Protect Against Future Flooding

In the wake of this spring’s historic floods, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation giving municipalities across Illinois new tools to prevent flooding. Senate Bill 1869 gives Illinois municipalities greater ability to build and invest in innovative stormwater management infrastructure to help mitigate damaging floods.

Governor Quinn Opens 2013 Illinois State Fair, a Family-Friendly Agricultural Showcase Highlighting “Our Illinois”

On August 9th, Governor Pat Quinn officially opened the 2013 Illinois State Fair, the start of the annual agricultural celebration that features a wide variety of family-friendly activities along with food, racing, music and carnival rides. The “Our Illinois” fair theme was introduced at the Main Gate ribbon cutting as the Governor was joined by people from all parts of the state to welcome the world to the ten-day event.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Strengthen Emergency Response Across Illinois

On August 13th, Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 2856 to make emergency response systems in Illinois more efficient and effective. The bill requires the development of an Illinois 9-1-1 systems directory so that calls answered by one system can be quickly and easily forwarded to another 9-1-1 system when necessary. The law takes effect January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Signs Law to Expand Regional Athletic Facilities in Winnebago County

On August 10th, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1859, a new law to help Winnebago County and its municipalities expand its regional athletic facilities by amending the Counties Code to allow Winnebago County to impose an increased tax on hotels. According to the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the law will help increase visitor spending by $16 million, create more than 400 new jobs, and generate $1.9 million in new tax revenue. The bill also establishes a Tourism Facility Board charged with overseeing the revenues derived from the tax proceeds and complying with all rules. The revenue from the tax increase will help finance an upgrade and expansion of Sportscore Two and the Indoor Sports Center in Loves Park. The new law is effective immediately.