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Governor's Monthly Newsletter: November 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 Announces Swift Approval of Tornado Relief for 15 Counties

On Nov. 26, Governor Pat Quinn announced that President Barack Obama had approved his request for federal assistance to help people and businesses in 15 Illinois counties recover from the Nov. 17 deadly tornadoes. The announcement came just one day after Governor Quinn submitted his request for Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties. Since Nov. 17, Illinois’ emergency management officials have worked around-the-clock to expedite the federal request and direct aid into the communities as quickly as possible.”

Anyone impacted by the Nov. 17 tornadoes should register for the grants and low-interest loans they may be eligible for. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the assistance program, has a toll-free telephone number (1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for hearing and speech impaired) for victims to apply for assistance. Registration can also be done online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

Available assistance to people and businesses in the 15 approved counties affected by the Nov. 17 storms includes:

  • Grants of up to $32,400 to help with disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs, such as replacement of personal property, and transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses.
  • Low-interest loans for up to $200,000 for homeowners to cover uninsured property losses, including repair or replacement of homes, vehicles, clothing or other damaged personal property. Renters and homeowners can receive loans of up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property, such as clothing, furniture, appliances, vehicles, etc.
  • Crisis counseling, disaster-related unemployment assistance, legal aid and assistance with income tax, Social Security and veteran’s benefits.
  • Businesses and private not-for-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Loans are also available to some businesses for economic losses.

The Governor is committed to helping communities across Illinois recover following the deadly storms on Nov. 17. For more information about disaster recovery resources, including shelters and ways to help tornado survivors, visit ready.illinois.gov.

Governor Pat Quinn Signs Marriage Equality Into Law

On November 20, in front of a crowd of thousands at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s UIC Forum, Governor Quinn signed historic legislation making Illinois the 16th state in the nation to embrace full marriage equality. The legislation permits all couples in the Land of Lincoln to receive the rights and protections of marriage.

Senate Bill 10, sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago), requires that all Illinois laws pertaining to civil marriage must apply equally to all couples. The law will guarantee equal access to status, benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities for all couples entering into marriage and their families. The law also allows the voluntary conversion of a civil union to a marriage and protects the religious freedom of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other religious organizations. This law takes effect June 1, 2014.

As part of his agenda to ensure Illinois embraces all people, Governor Quinn made marriage equality a top legislative priority this year, featuring it in his 2013 State of the State address. Governor Quinn pushed for marriage equality throughout the 2013 legislative session. In 2011, the Governor signed into law historic civil union legislation. Since then, more than 6,000 couples from across Illinois have joined in a civil union.

Governor Quinn Delivers Supplies to Help Tornado Recovery in Brookport

On Nov. 25, Governor Pat Quinn announced the delivery of nearly 300 pallets of donated supplies to help people in Brookport recover from the deadly tornado that damaged or destroyed more than 150 homes. Prior to the Nov. 17 tornadoes, the supplies were originally collected to provide assistance for people who were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, but the Rizal Center had not yet been able to transport the goods to the Philippines.

The items, which include 10,000 pounds of water, and 50,000 pounds of non-perishable food items, medical supplies and more, had been stored at the Rizal Center’s Fellowship Hall in Chicago while transportation options to the Philippines were pursued.

Governor Quinn also announced the opening of a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Brookport to make it easier for people affected by the tornadoes to access disaster-related relief services and information. The MARC, which will be open today and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 306 Crockett (behind the Elementary School), will bring together representatives from several local and state agencies in one location.

Newest Veterans Cash Lottery Ticket Launched

On November 11, Governor Quinn launched the newest Veterans Cash instant lottery ticket, a $2 ticket with all proceeds going to benefit Illinois veterans’ organizations. The Veterans Day announcement was held at Hope Manor Apartments in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, followed by stops in Peoria, Milan and Rockford. Since Governor Quinn first championed and launched the program in 2006, Veterans Cash has awarded more than $11 million in grants to more than 210 veterans’ organizations statewide. The Illinois Lottery’s Veterans Cash game is the first lottery game in the United States to earmark 100 percent of net proceeds to veterans.

Governor Quinn Announces Illinois’ Economy Posts Strongest Growth in the Midwest

Governor Pat Quinn announced on November 22 that Illinois’ economy posted the strongest growth in the Midwest for September and October, with a gain of more than 25,000 jobs over the two-month period. Illinois reported significant employment gains for both months, while every other Midwestern state lost jobs or barely registered growth in September.

Governor Quinn has initiated and supported numerous programs to bolster the economy, from increased investments in public works projects to a greater emphasis on job training. The programs support the state’s transportation network and the skill levels of its workforce, two key attractions for employers. The Governor also has increased emphasis on attracting companies in high-growth sectors such as technology and health care, developed performance-based tax incentives for job creation, and fostered deeper connections between Illinois and international markets.

Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, the state has worked relentlessly to identify and recruit companies with strong potential to bring jobs and economic growth to Illinois. The state has added 268,900 private sector jobs since January 2010, when job growth returned to Illinois following a two-year period of declines during the recession.

For more information on why Illinois is the right place for business, please visit illinoisbiz.biz.

Thanksgiving Luncheon Sponsored by Chicago Blackhawks Charities Brings Community Hard Hit by Tornadoes Together for Holiday

Governor Pat Quinn, Congressman Aaron Schock, Washington Mayor Gary Manier and Chicago Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough recently joined to host a Thanksgiving Luncheon for victims of the recent tornadoes and their families. The luncheon - sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawks Charities - was also a way to thank first-responders and volunteers who have worked around the clock since the severe storms touched down on Nov. 17.

Chicago Blackhawks Charities recently donated $200,000 to the ‘Washington Tornado Relief Fund,’ which will directly assist people in one of Illinois’ hardest hit communities as they rebuild their lives. In Washington alone, at least 1,277 homes were damaged, including 586 that were destroyed.

Governor Quinn Encourages People Across Illinois to Help Someone in Need This Thanksgiving

On November 26, Governor Pat Quinn visited the Greater Chicago Food Depository to help volunteers prepare holiday meals and emphasize the importance of supporting Illinois’ food banks this holiday season and throughout the year. The state’s eight food banks help provide nutritious meals and food to families in need. According to Feeding Illinois, the state food bank association, there are currently more than 1.9 million people across the state who do not have access to nutritious food.

Feeding Illinois has provided meals to more than 1.4 million people in need. In 2011, the association’s network of 2,000 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters distributed 120 million pounds of food to residents throughout the state. To find out more about hunger in your community or how to help food banks across the state, visit FeedingIllinois.org.

Governor Quinn Urges Residents Across Illinois to Help Victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan

On November 15, Governor Quinn encouraged everyone in Illinois to support the relief efforts that are helping millions of people in the Philippines who are recovering from Super Typhoon Haiyan. The Governor also thanked the many organizations across Illinois that are working to support relief efforts, including the Filipino American Network (FAN) of Chicago, Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago, Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago and National Filipino American Lawyers Association. Across Illinois, there are more than 135,000 people of Filipino heritage.

Governor Quinn Opens $29.8 Million Bridgeview Railroad Underpass

On November 2, Governor Quinn joined local and state officials to open the new 71st Street railroad underpass in Bridgeview, a $29.8 million project that will greatly reduce traffic delays and improve safety at this key automobile/rail intersection. The grade separation of 71st Street and the IHB/CSX tracks just west of Harlem Avenue will alleviate congestion and improve safety on 71st Street, which sees 4,400 vehicles daily. Construction began in 2011 and the project was one of five regional projects to receive federal and state funds as part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) partnership.

150th Anniversary Reading of the Gettysburg Address

Just after midnight on November 19, Governor Quinn joined the nation’s first reading of the Gettysburg Address on the 150th anniversary of the famous Abraham Lincoln speech. At a special display of an original copy of the document in Lincoln’s own handwriting, Governor Quinn and visitors at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield listened as a Lincoln re-enactor read the Gettysburg Address to kick off the commemoration of the November 19, 1863 oratory that is one of the world’s best-known and most-often-quoted speeches. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum presented its original copy of the address accompanied by an honor guard at the center of the museum, along with a special exhibit of Gettysburg artifacts and dramatic readings from the acclaimed book Team of Rivals.