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.
2,500 Summer Jobs
On July 5, 2011, Governor Quinn put Illinois youth to work. Through the Illinois Conservation Corps managed by the Department of Natural Resources, approximately 2,500 teenage workers will have the ability to work in units of local government and more than 100 not-for-profit locations such as state parks, park districts and nature centers. Governor Quinn is promoting this program in an added effort to provide work experience and developed leadership skills to Illinois teenagers.
Governor of the Year
On June 29, 2011, Governor Quinn was named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) for furthering his efforts to advance the biotechnology industry in Illinois. Because of Governor Quinn’s advocacy of biotechnology, BIO is able to continue their efforts in research and development in many innovative products such as healthcare and industrial and environmental biotechnology. Illinois not only has more jobs available in the biotechnology field, but more opportunity to expand on the research that has been started in the bioscience industry. Governor Quinn was not only applauded for his creation of jobs in this field, but for his exceptional leadership example.
Legislation Signed to Protect Samaritans That Perform CPR
On July 18, 2011, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 1549, extending liability protection to those who are trained in CPR in accordance with the American Red Cross or American Heart Association. The previous law provided protection to “certified” rescuers but left “trained” rescuers uncertain of their legal rights. The law went into effect immediately, saving “trained” rescuers from civil liability lawsuits. The American Heart Association says that less than 8 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive. That percentage can be doubled or tripled if CPR is provided immediately after by a trained bystander. This law will encourage people to use their certified training skills to help save the lives of Illinois citizens.
Governor Announces Public-Private Partnership to Help Keep People in Their Homes
On July 15, Governor Quinn announced the creation of the Mortgage Resolution Fund (MRF) using $100 million in the State’s Hardest Hit Fund to purchase delinquent loans from lending institutions and capital markets trading desks at net present value in the Chicago area, to permanently modify them to affordable levels. Each qualifying mortgage debt will be brought into alignment with current home values. The new program will target the Chicago area, where foreclosures have had a devastating effect on neighborhoods, aiming to maximize federal funding and generating the private investment necessary to sustain the program.
$29.3 Billion for Illinois Economy
On June 20, Governor Quinn announced that Illinois tourism generated $29.3 billion in revenue in 2010, an increase of more than $2.2 billion from previous years as visitor spending continue to provide a strong economic impact for the state. The economic impact of tourism in Illinois has grown by more than $3 billion during the past five years. Additionally, the travel industry generated 287,500 jobs in Illinois in 2010, directly and indirectly supporting one in 10 jobs in the state. Hosting nearly 84.7 million visitors in 2010, Illinois maintained its ranking as the 7th most popular state for overseas visitors to the U.S. in 2010, as 1,186,000 of such visitors toured Illinois, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Illinois invests $100 million in Illinois Jobs Now!
On June 23, Governor Quinn announced that $100 million would be available for capital construction. This installation is part of the six-year $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program. The money will be distributed to local officials to repair infrastructure and improve public safety. Infrastructure construction will range from potholes to bike paths and from storm sewers to traffic lights. For more information concerning the money distribution, please click here.
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Aide Cancer Patients
On July 11, Governor Quinn signed two bills into law that aide cancer patients. House Bill 1191 allows cancer patients to participate in clinical trials by prohibiting insurance companies from excluding such coverage. By signing this bill, Governor Quinn broke a barrier for the once-limited access to clinical trials. In addition, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1279 which extends the “Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure” lottery scratch-off for five more years. Carolyn Adams, former Illinois Lottery Superintendent, died of breast cancer in 2007 at the age of 44. Senate Bill 1279 was made effective immediately while House Bill 1191 will become effective as of January 1, 2012.
1,500 Jobs Created
On July 13, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1533 which will help create Illinois’s first coal gasification plant. The bill will greatly reduce carbon emissions by utilizing an advanced clean coal process known as coal gasification. In addition, the bill creates 1,500 jobs and will save consumers over $100 million over the next several years. Senate Bill 1533 is part of the Chicago Clean Energy project initiative and will be located on Chicago’s southeast side.
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Assist both the Environment and Businesses
On July 12, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 1297, which will help streamline the environmental permitting process, establish a long-term funding plan, and make the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) more efficient. Governor Quinn pushed hard for the law because it creates more efficient techniques for the IEPA, ranging from online permitting to expedited permitting, which will ultimately make the permit process easier to navigate while also lowering the fees. Businesses will now be able to begin production and projects quicker than before. In addition, the bill establishes the Registration of Smaller Sources (ROSS) program, allowing low-polluting smaller entities to register with IEPA instead of obtaining a more extensive air permit. The bill is effective immediately.
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Protect Illinois’s Youngest Citizens
On July 6, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 2099 into law which increases the safety of infants and newborns. The new law requires child care workers who care for infants and newborns to complete training every three years for the prevention of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The law also requires child care workers to adhere to the safe sleep recommendations set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics. House Bill 2099 goes into effect January 1, 2012.
On July 9, Governor Quinn signed two bills into law that promotes greater use of electric vehicles in Illinois. Together, the laws help reduce emissions and support the development of advanced electric vehicle technology. House Bill 2903 establishes grants for car-sharing programs to purchase electric cars. The grants will be made available through the Alternative Fuels program. House Bill 2902 creates the Illinois Electric Vehicle Advisory Council which will promote the use of electric cars. Both bills went into effect immediately.
Election Reform Legislation Signed
On July 4, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1586 to provide Illinois residents better access to the democratic process. The legislation consists of three key components surrounding elections and the election process- it allows local school boards to initiate advisory referendums, decreases the petition signature requirement to a mere eight percent of the gubernatorial vote, and eliminates the need for an election judge to segregate the referenda that is currently required by petitions. In addition, the bill allows overseas military voters to receive ballots via e-mail. Senate Bill 1586 becomes effective January 1, 2012.
Illinois Open Data Website Launched
On June 21, Governor Quinn announced the launch of Data.Illinois.Gov. The Illinois Innovation Council, which was created by the Governor in February, was the driving force behind the site. Residents and non-residents will be able to access a clearinghouse of open access to state data from different state agencies and allows viewers to access comprehensive information on how the state operates. Example information includes traffic data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and tourism data from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The site will continue to expand as more state agencies’ data are added, helping to improve the overall transparency of Illinois while promoting economic development.