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Governor's Monthly Newsletter: May 2014 

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

Statement from Governor Quinn on End of 2014 Legislative Session

Governor Pat Quinn released the following statement on May 31 regarding the end of the 2014 legislative session:

“With unemployment today at its lowest point since 2008, Illinois is making an economic comeback.

“This legislative session we accomplished several important bills that will strengthen that comeback by building and protecting the middle class, while benefitting working families.

“We’re launching a new highway construction and road repair program that will put thousands of people back to work. We passed legislation to improve our Clean Water Initiative, which will put more people back to work with projects repairing and improving water infrastructure across the state.

“And we passed a bill that builds on our progress in building a greener economy by increasing the use of solar energy by consumers, driving down energy costs and creating hundreds of new jobs.

“Together we passed a landmark bill that will prevent discrimination in the workplace against women who are pregnant. And we continued the state’s commitment to implementing the Affordable Care Act, which has resulted in 546,000 more people having health insurance in Illinois today who did not have it one year ago.

“We also passed legislation to reform grant procedures and strengthen oversight to make state grantees more accountable than ever and make Illinois a leader in grant accountability.

“Democracy is always strongest when people have the opportunity to make their voices heard. That’s why it’s good for voters to get a chance to speak on important topics like raising the minimum wage, tax fairness and ensuring women have access to birth control.

“While we have much more work to do on the budget, I thank members of General Assembly for their work on these many issues during the legislative session. Let’s keep Illinois moving forward.”

Cloverleaf Cold Storage Company Opening New Facility in Monmouth

Governor Pat Quinn announced that Cloverleaf Cold Storage Company will open a $30 million refrigerated warehouse and distribution center that will create 155 local full-time jobs. The facility will serve the Smithfield Farmland Corporation, which has an adjacent site in Monmouth. The announcement follows recent news that Illinois’ unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008.

Governor Quinn Announces Wrigley Company Expanding in Illinois

On May 28, Governor Quinn announced that the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company will strengthen its presence in its home state by adding production of Skittles, one of the world’s most popular candy brands, to its Yorkville facility. The expansion, assisted by the state of Illinois, will help Wrigley create 75 permanent manufacturing jobs and support hundreds of construction jobs.

Wrigley will invest approximately $50 million to expand its Yorkville factory, where it currently employs about 300 people, by 2016. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is supporting the expansion with $2 million in tax incentives through the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program, which provides companies with a credit against their state income tax liability.

Governor Quinn Addresses Annual Meeting of Illinois Business Leaders

Governor Quinn addressed the Illinois Retail Merchants and Illinois Manufacturers Association’s annual Business Day meeting on May 7 and discussed his strong record of support for businesses in Illinois. The state was recently ranked third in the nation for new corporate locations and expansions by Site Selection magazine. Illinois’ unemployment rate is currently at its lowest point in five years, and the state has added 257,000 private sector jobs since January 2010.

Public-private partnership to train women, minorities for technology jobs

State officials announced the start of a program to train women and minorities for jobs in high-demand technology fields. Called Creating IL Talent, the program will offer hands-on training in web and mobile app development and will make its graduates ready for immediate employment. Students will be trained using GeneXus software, will attend career readiness workshops and receive job placement assistance.

Interested participants or supporters should contact Laticia Dezell at Laticia.dezell@ywcachicago.org or 312-762-2745, or visit www.creatingILtalent.com.

Governor Quinn Honors Fallen Servicemembers During Memorial Day Weekend

On May 24, Governor Quinn started Memorial Day Weekend by unveiling the “Portrait of a Soldier” memorial exhibit at the O’Hare Oasis and announced the summer exhibit schedule at Tollway Oases in northern Illinois. The exhibit features a series of hand-drawn portraits of nearly all of the more than 300 Illinois men and women who have died while serving our country since Sept. 11, 2001.

Governor Quinn established the “Portrait of a Soldier” memorial exhibit in 2004 to honor fallen Illinois servicemembers when artist Cameron Schilling of Mattoon drew the first portrait of Army Spc. Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, after Neeley was killed in Iraq. Schilling, a student at Eastern Illinois University at the time, committed to drawing a portrait of every servicemember who has fallen during the Global War on Terror.

The exhibit is on display at the Hinsdale Oasis through Sunday, June 8. Additionally, the exhibit will be on display at the Chicago Southland Lincoln, DeKalb, Belvidere and Lake Forest oases through the July 4 weekend.

Passage of Grant Accountability Legislation

On May 30, Governor Quinn applauded the passage of House Bill 2747. The bill, which the Governor has been working since February to enact, creates the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act to strengthen and streamline requirements for all state grants across all state agencies. Reforms in the bill include stronger state grant procedures to bring them all up to federal standards; improved conflict of interest disclosure requirements; and strict, real-time auditing of all state grants.

The legislation, which will protect against grant mismanagement, now goes to the Governor’s desk.

Governor Quinn Participates in President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness

On May 14, Governor Quinn was joined by local, state and federal officials for the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, part of President Barack Obama's federal efforts to address disasters caused by climate change. The Des Moines event included discussions about preparing urban, natural and agricultural areas for flooding, drought and other weather-related disasters. This was the third of four meetings the group held before recommending ways the nation can be better prepared to meet weather-related events.

Governor Quinn Meets With President of Ireland Michael Higgins

On May 12, Governor Quinn welcomed President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and First Lady Mrs. Sabina Higgins to Illinois. The leaders met to discuss the strong historic and cultural ties between the nations, and how to further relations between Illinois and Ireland. They focused on Illinois and Ireland’s long and storied history as well their strong economic ties, agribusiness and cultural offerings. The leaders also discussed the need for federal immigration reform and Illinois’ national leadership in supporting all immigrants.

Illinois’ First Pay for Success Project

Governor Quinn announced the state’s first Pay for Success contract will increase support for at-risk youth who are involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in Illinois. Also known as Social Impact Bonds, the first contract awarded under this innovative initiative will go to One Hope United, in partnership with the Conscience Community Network. The innovative program invests private dollars into proven social programs, which are then paid back by the state when results are achieved and long-term savings are realized.

$4.4 Million Investment in AmeriCorps Service Program

Governor Quinn and his Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service announced on May 13 that a $4.4 million federal grant will help more than 1,000 volunteers in seven AmeriCorps programs better serve Illinois communities. This competitive grant will go toward teaching, tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, supporting literacy programs, preparing for disasters, and improving underserved communities. The AmeriCorps programs funded include the Safe Families program of the Chicago Red Cross, the Literary Volunteers of America, the Belleville AmeriCorps partnership, City Year Chicago, Public Allies Chicago, Teach for America, and Project MORE.

Governor Quinn Hosts “On the Table” Discussion on Volunteerism and Service

Governor Quinn hosted volunteer and community leaders from across the Chicago area for a discussion focused on the future of volunteerism and service in civic life. The roundtable discussion, hosted by the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, is part of the Chicago Community Trust's 99th anniversary "On the Table: Service Edition" celebration. Thousands of Illinois residents also gathered across Chicago during the day to participate in a community-wide conversation about volunteerism and its role in the future of the Chicago area.

Planning for the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration

On May 12, Governor Quinn officially started the planning for Illinois’ 200th birthday in 2018, a year-long celebration that will engage residents and communities throughout the state and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. The Governor signed an Executive Order to create the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial Commission, a grass-roots organization that will plan a celebration that is meaningful to every resident and spur history-based tourism. The Bicentennial Commission will plan and coordinate events, activities, publications, digital media, and other developments and encourage citizen participation at all levels in every community in the state.

Governor Quinn Proclaims May as Motorcycle Awareness Month

Governor Quinn proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month. The Illinois Department of Transportation annually supports and promotes this initiative through media, press conferences and statewide events.

Motorcycles are the fastest growing segment of vehicles on the roadways and are among the most vulnerable. New initiatives like “Gear Up,” combined with existing programs like “Start Seeing Motorcycles,” create a comprehensive approach that safety advocates hope will ultimately lead toward fewer fatalities and injuries.

For more information on IDOT’s motorcycle programs and free Cycle Rider Training Courses, “Start Seeing Motorcycles” and “Look Twice – Save a Life” campaigns or for other safety tips, visit www.startseeingmotorcycles.org.

Budgeting for Results

Since July 2010, the Budgeting for Results (BFR) law, a historic piece of spending reform legislation, has furthered the Governor’s commitment to greater transparency and accountability in state government. The goals of Budgeting for Results are to: 1) help people understand how their taxpayer dollars are being spent, 2) assess how effectively those dollars are being spent, and 3) empower policy-makers to make better funding decisions based on how well programs are performing.

Over the past three years the Quinn Administration has made great progress toward building a BFR infrastructure by holding nine public hearings across the state, establishing a vision of what priorities state government should seek to accomplish, and identifying the programs and strategies needed to achieve those priorities. The next phase of BFR will focus on how to best define and measure program performance, and how to begin linking program funding to program performance.

You can learn more about Budgeting for Results at: budgetingforresults.illinois.gov