Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wear your White shoes one last time but MOSTLY Celebrate the Work You've Done.

Labor Day – Last weekend To Wear White Shoes

SANDY’S LIGHTHOUSE EDITION
 
I read this article and want to pass it on. It is chock-full of information on how you can support American’s working people during the upcoming Labor Day.

Labor Day: You Work Hard. You’ve Earned It                                                                                     08/26/2013 Mike Hall AFL-CIO NOW

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Are LGBT rights civil rights?" An open letter from Julian Bond


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

What would you or your kids do without any student debt?

Rebuild the Dream

Dupage --
loan cartoon
What would you do if you no longer had any student debt? Imagine the possibilities for your future – starting a new business, buying a new home or car, or finally moving out of your parents' house!
Together with StudentDebtCrisis.org and groups like MoveOn.org and Rock the Vote, we're sounding the alarm on the trillion-dollar student debt crisis to raise public awareness and get Washington to pay attention!
Will you share your student debt story?
We aim to put as many of these real human faces at the forefront of this campaign, so we can shed the stigma of shame that comes along with carrying this debt burden and force Washington to address our broken lending system.  So, we're asking students and graduates to come out and share your student debt stories.
  • Tell us in a 1-2 minute video what the amount of your debt is and how your life would be different if you didn't have this burden.
  • Post your video on YouTube and include hashtag #OUTWITHSTUDENTDEBT in the title.
Don't be shy – come out with your student debt!
Last week, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, which lowers short-term interest rates, BUT these measures are only a temporary band-aid and do little to help the 37 million current borrowers who struggle to pay back the $1.2 trillion amassed in student debt so far.
The more of us that come out and share our student debt stories, the better our chances of turning the dial and creating the catalyst for real concrete change!
Not sure where to start? Check out some of our favorite video submissions here.
Hurry, the deadline to submit your video is tomorrowAugust 26. And, don't forget to include hashtag #OUTWITHSTUDENTDEBT in the title of your video.
Thanks,
The Rebuild the Dream Team

P.S. Debt free?
Lucky you! Please help spread the word to your debt-saddled friends, neighbors, and children and forward this message to them or share via Facebook or Twitter.



Rebuild the Dream
http://www.rebuildthedream.com/



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Affordable Care Act – Do you still have questions?

 
SANDY’S LIGHTHOUSE EDITION
 
Affordable Care Act and what it means for you...
Confused about the Affordable Care Act and what it means for you? Beginning Oct. 1, a full-court press marketing campaign will launch to change that. The state’s initial goal is to persuade nearly 490,000 consumers to buy insurance through the new Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, made possible by the law. With public awareness low and the clock ticking on a Jan. 1 start date for coverage, FleishmanHillard’s $35 million federally funded contract to market the marketplace was finalized by the state Aug. 16. The firm, which is partnering with five companies, is well-prepared to deliver on the comprehensive plans it detailed to win the contract, said Maxine Winer, senior partner and general manager at the firm in Chicago. In recent weeks, FleishmanHillard has been conducting focus groups to help fine-tune its planned messaging, she said, adding, “There’s also in-depth, in-person interviews and online message testing taking place to make sure we understand the concerns people have, what kind of misinformation is out there. That will inform everything we do.” Consumers will be able to compare health insurance policies and premiums, purchase coverage and apply for subsidies at the marketplace. …
 
In June I ran the complete Timeline Summary. You can go to our Blog Spot Archive - located on the lower right side of this page – click on the arrow next to June-scroll down to Timeline Summary or you can go directly to the site by clicking on the address below to see the timeline to 2022.
Health Care Reform Timeline Summary
I’d like to thank a good friend of The DuPage Democrats, Paul Sjordal, for allowing me to use information from his in-depth newsletter. If you would like to receive a copy of his newsletter you can contact Paul at: psjordal@yahoo.com.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

SPEAK UP AGAINST County Board's Bad Idea. TONIGHT at 7 pm.

UPDATE: DuPage considers ethics revisions allowing bigger campaign donations (READ: Your tax dollars get funneled back into campaigns--MOSTLY Republicans'.)
 THIS MEETING IS TONIGHT AT 7 P.M.

 We don't need Board members getting more money from their political buddies who then get contracts with the county. If you agree, I urge you to give public comment against anything that weakens the ethics ordinance. If anything, the ordinance needs to be strengthened.)
Proposed revisions to DuPage County’s ethics law would allow county board members and the board chairman to accept more campaign donations from companies and consultants doing or seeking county government work. The county board next week is expected to vote on the changes, drafted by a subcommittee after DuPage’s ethics adviser found several issues with the existing ordinance. One revision the subcommittee is recommending is to have DuPage align its ethics law with state law when it comes to restrictions on campaign contributions.
(New)
More points that you could use to speak at the meeting: 
1) Curran's comments are not accurate. The board is not bound to accept the language of the state. They could have a smaller cap, as they have now, or publicly state that they will not accept contributions above the set amount. 
2) It could be argued that these are tax dollars going from the county to the contractor to the candidate. 
3) We need STRONGER ethics, not weaker ones. How does DuPage County's ethics ordinance compare with the City of Chicago's ethics ordinance? The mayor of Chicago cannot take contributions from vendors...PERIOD. 
4) The most important message is that MORE TIME is needed to review the proposed amendments before the Board takes a vote. I'm sure that other DuPage Dems have other good arguments to use. Please support our 3 Democrats on the board TONIGHT

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mom, I'm sorry....


SANDY’S LIGHTHOUSE EDITION

I read this piece and it confirmed to me what I believe to be a fact. Our children feel the pressure and sadly feel the need to apologize to their Moms for costing her so much. After viewing this clip it help me to realize I’m not a bad parent. Not that it makes anything better or right. As a single parent I always thought I had it under control – sadly my Son felt the difference. Unfortunately, I did not learn this until he was older. We don’t realize how much our children pick up and understand.

Even Children Recognize the Impact of Income Inequality and Social Service Cuts

 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Human Rights Campaign Gala. Mark your calendars.

Human Rights Campaign                                                                                                                         Chicago Gala Dinner

Date: November 16, 2013
Location:
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park
200 N Columbus Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
  
Time: 6:00 PM
Please join the HRC Chicago Steering Committee and Gala Co-Chairs Marisa McCabe and Sam Abeysekera on Saturday, November 16th for the annual HRC Chicago Gala Dinner and Auction held at the Fairmont Millenium Park. Join hundreds of Illinois' most influential citizens at this event to celebrate the strides HRC has made toward achieving equality for our community this past year, while preparing for the work ahead in the year to come. For more information and updates visit http://www.hrcchicago.org/   Also, looking for Volunteers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wow, having the weekend off was great! 36 Reasons to thank a Union

Hi Blog friends, 
Yeah, we took a long weekend off from blogging to have a big Dem picnic and recoup from Camp Wellstone and the Governor's Day festivities in Springfield. That got us to thinking about how fortunate we are to have such a thing as a "weekend" and that got us to thinking about Labor Day coming up and that got us to thinking about Unions. 
Enjoy this piece. Print it out. Use if every time you hear someone badmouth Unions.
Then, go ahead, take next weekend off too. On us.  

36 Reasons Why You Should Thank a Union


Weekends
All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks
Paid Vacation
FMLA
Sick Leave
Social Security
Minimum Wage
Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination)
8-Hour Work Day
Overtime Pay
Child Labor Laws
Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
40 Hour Work Week
Worker's Compensation (Worker's Comp)
Unemployment Insurance
Pensions
Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations
Employer Health Care Insurance
Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
Wrongful Termination Laws
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Whistleblower Protection Laws
Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee)
Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS)
Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
Sexual Harassment Laws
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Holiday Pay
Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance
Privacy Rights
Pregnancy and Parental Leave
Military Leave
The Right to Strike
Public Education for Children
Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)
Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States

Monday, August 19, 2013

Raise the Wage. Women and the Minimum State by State

AFL-CIO - It’s Time to Raise the Wage

SANDY’S LIGHTHOUSE EDITION
 
It’s Time to Raise the Wage
It’s been four years since workers in the United States got a raise.
Working families can’t afford to let the minimum wage stagnate any longer.

Tell lawmakers to do the right thing and support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.
Women and the Minimum Wage State by State
http://www.nwlc.org/resource/women-and-minimum-wage-state-state

The minimum wage is falling short for millions of Americans — especially for women, who represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers across the country, and at least half of minimum wage workers in every state. Today, the federal minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour, and full-time earnings of $14,500 a year leave a family of three thousands of dollars below the federal poverty line. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently have minimum wages above the federal level, but in every state, the minimum wage leaves a full-time worker with two children at or below the poverty level.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Calling A Person Republican=Insult


Breaking News: Recent polls suggest the majority of Americans consider being called “Republican” insulting.

Republican insultThe independent political polling company NSON Opinion Strategy [1] recently published the results of a case study in which 250,000 randomly selected American voters were asked a series of questions. The details of how and where the study was conducted have yet to be released but the results are clear: 87% of Americans consider the word “Republican” to be synonymous with greed, racism, and violence.
The NSON Opinion Strategy poll was conducted by interviewing random individual in the downtown area of 12 different U.S. cities: New York, Hanover, Providence, Louisville, Indianapolis, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Denver, Seattle, and San Diego.
Regardless or different biases that can be argued about how the cities where chosen it comes to no surprise that GOP is loosing touch with the electorate. Perhaps if the GOP really wants to reinvent themselves they will have to start with a new name.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

By DAVE EGGERS and N├ŹNIVE CLEMENTS CALEGARI
Published: April 30, 2011
San Francisco
Holly Gressley


WHEN we don’t get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don’t blame the soldiers. We don’t say, “It’s these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That’s why we haven’t done better in Afghanistan!” No, if the results aren’t there, we blame the planners. We blame the generals, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No one contemplates blaming the men and women fighting every day in the trenches for little pay and scant recognition.
And yet in education we do just that. When we don’t like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don’t like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.
Compare this with our approach to our military: when results on the ground are not what we hoped, we think of ways to better support soldiers. We try to give them better tools, better    READ MORE

Friday, August 9, 2013

Kindness Matters. Sandy's Lighthouse Edition!

Make Every Day Great With An Act Of KINDNESS... 
 
SANDY’S LIGHTHOUSE
 
Kindess comes in many different packages
 
How often do you get up on the wrong side of the bed, then that one little thing changes your mood from gloomy to sunny.  It takes just one kind word "Hi" to a stranger - one kind act - holding the door open for someone. Even though you may  think it’s not much-but to someone not having a good day it’s a ray of sunshine.
 
25 Random acts of kindness
To read more on how you can make someone’s day brighter go to:
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

House Bill 226 Lets 17 year olds vote in Primaries

House Bill 226 amends Illinois Election Code 10 ILCS5/3-6, adding in part:
"a person who is 17 years old on the date of a primary election and who is otherwise qualified to vote is qualified to vote at that primary, including voting an absentee, grace period, or early voting ballot with respect to that primary, if that person be 18 years old on the date of the immediately following general election."

This change goes into effect January 1, 2014.

Yahoo!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Robert Reich: What to do right now!


"Several of you have asked me what, specifically, you can do to get America back on track. Letters and petitions are fine, and with enough people joining in they can have an impact. But citizen activism doesn't start or end there. For what it's worth, here's my five-step plan.

"Step 1. Turn off the television or stop watching videos. Hopefully this will free up some time.

"Step 2. Become better informed about what the regressives are doing in your community, your state, and in Washington; what the Koch brothers, ALEC, and other regressive agents are doing; what big corporations and Wall Street are blocking or lobbying for; what's happening to jobs and wages, to the environment, and what the military-industrial-congressional complex is up to. And who's running for office -- in your community, state assembly and senate district, congressional district, statehouse, president.

"Step 3. Connect up with and organize others in your community, city, or region. You might find them through social media, your state chapter of Common Cause, "Organize for America," Occupy, or other progressive organizations. Then arrange for or find time and place of face-to-face meet-ups to plan strategy for fighting back on a specific issue (redistricting, reversing Citizens United, etc.), supporting a specific candidate, or blocking a specific candidate.

"Step 4. Get directly involved in a campaign -- an issue campaign, or an electoral campaign. At federal level, keep 2014 especially in mind because the congressional midterms are particularly important, and now is the seed-time for primary candidates. Consider whether you'd be willing to run yourself -- for school board, city council, county supervisor, state assembly, congressional office -- or, if not, whether you can coax into running someone you think would be terrific at it, who has the right values and commitment.

"Step 5: Organize and mobilize -- and don't stop. This is a long-term battle that will extend far beyond the next campaign. Fortify yourself and others against setbacks and defeats. Understand that nothing is more important that regaining our democracy." -- Robert Reich 8/7/13 ~ PL

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hats off to all who fight the “Issue of Poverty” Part Two

SANDY’S LIGHTHOUSE
 Hats off to all who fight the “Issue of Poverty
PART TWO
The issue of POVERTY is everywhere. I believe it to be one of the problems that may never be resolved, but if we keep fighting for the right thing we will become close to a resolution.
Time to take a bite out of food stamps?                                                                                              
By CONNIE CASS and MARY CLARE JALONICK
Washington (AP)- Food Stamps look ripe for the picking, politically speaking. That makes it a juicy target for conservative Republican seeking to trim spending and pare government. But to many Democrats, food stamps are a major element of the country’s commitment to help citizens struggling to meet basic needs. To read more go to: http://money.msn.com/business-news

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hats off to all who fight the “Issue of Poverty”

 
SANDY’S LIGHTHOUSE
 
Hats off to all who fight the “Issue of Poverty”
 
Quote to remember: "The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it."~George Orwell
 
PART ONE
The issue of POVERTY is everywhere. I believe it to be one of the problems that may never be resolved, but if we keep fighting for the right thing we will become close to a resolution. I give so much credit to all the Activists that are fighting in their own way to resolve this issue. Some are fighting for the cause of poverty, some are fighting for the rights of citizens that suffer due to their finances, some just bringing to lite this issue. Most do not want to be in this situation, but are for various reasons. I think people forget NO one wants to be worrying, if they will loose their home, worry where their next meals is coming from, and even worrying if their children fit in with their peers because they may not have the nice things others do. These are just some, of so many, that fight to make the improvement.
 
Kentucky Senate Poll Shows Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Ky.) A Serious Threat To Unpopular Mitch McConnell (McConnell's support for cutting Social Security by a whopping 3 to 1)
The Huffington Post | By 
New poll numbers released on Thursday hold troubling signs for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). According to the survey -- conducted by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America -- Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's Democratic secretary of state who officially entered the race on Tuesday, leads the longtime senator by one point, with 45 percent to McConnell's 44 percent. At 51 percent, a majority of Kentuckians say they disapprove of McConnell's job performance, while 40 percent approve and 9 percent are undecided. UPDATE: 7:23 p.m. ET -- An poll conducted by Grimes' campaign also showed the Democrat with a slight lead over McConnell, the Courier Journal reported Thursday. In that poll, Grimes led McConnell by two points. To read more go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/kentucky-senate-poll-alison-lundergan-grimes-mitch-mcconnell-_n_3688273.html
 
To be continued...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Governor's Monthly Newsletter


Monthly Newsletter of the Office of the Governor (IL)
Please do not reply to this email. To contact us, click here.



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Governor's Monthly Newsletter

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 Suspends Pay to Illinois Representatives and Senators

On July 10th, Governor Pat Quinn issued a line-item veto of House Bill 214 to suspend pay for Illinois state legislators. Since taking office, the governor has been pushing for comprehensive pension reform to resolve the state's worst-in-the-nation pension crisis. This action follows years of legislative inertia on pension reform, while the state's unfunded pension debt grows by millions of dollars a day. Members of the Illinois General Assembly make $67,836 annually, along with additional stipends for leadership positions, both of which were vetoed out. In addition, Governor Quinn will not accept his salary until the General Assembly sends him a comprehensive pension reform solution.
"This is an emergency, the taxpayers of Illinois are waiting and there is no excuse for further legislative delay," Governor Quinn added. "The taxpayers cannot afford an endless cycle of delays, excuses and more delays."

Governor Quinn Launches $475 Million Circle Interchange Construction Project

On July 17th, Governor Pat Quinn launched construction on the four-year, $475 million Circle Interchange construction project in Chicago, which will create thousands of construction jobs and improve the nation's most congested interchange. The project will start with work on the Morgan Street Bridge and encompass the bridges, roadways and drainage systems for the Dan Ryan, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Expressways and the Congress Parkway that make up the interchange. According to estimates by transportation planners, the improvements will reduce traffic delays by at least 50 percent, save drivers five million hours annually and the improved traffic flow will lead to a savings of 1.6 million gallons of fuel per year. For more information about the project, visit www.circleinterchange.org.
At the ceremony, Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 2869, which authorizes the third phase of the state's record Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. The bill allows the state to spend the proceeds from recent and upcoming bond sales to finance $2.7 billion in additional infrastructure improvements.

Governor Quinn Announces Final Preparations to Connect Illinois and Missouri on Mississippi River Bridge

On July 15th, Governor Pat Quinn was joined by Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider and other officials at the construction site of the newly-named Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge to get a progress report as preparations are made to place the final girder beam that will connect Illinois and Missouri. The project has created or supported more than 3,400 jobs. The new bridge will provide congestion relief, improve safety and spur economic development across the region. Construction began in 2009 and is expected to be complete by early 2014.

Governor Quinn and Navistar Unveil New, State-of-the-Art Campus in Melrose Park, Supporting 3,600 Jobs and Spurring $205 Million in Private Investment

Governor Pat Quinn joined Navistar International Corporation for the grand opening of its new Test and Development Center in Melrose Park on July 15th. The international truck and diesel engine manufacturer renovated its existing Melrose Park facility into a state-of-the-art center, creating an additional 200 construction jobs in Illinois.
The financing for the Lisle campus and Joliet facility was made possible by a partnership of the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) and the counties of DuPage, DeKalb, Douglas, Henry, Kankakee, Lake and Winnebago, as well as the cities of Aurora, Elgin, Rockford, Naperville and Joliet. These governments each provided their federal, tax-exempt Recovery Zone Facility Bond allocation to the IFA, which then combined the resources to support the Navistar package. The IFA's $135 million, low-cost financing package, along with Cook County's $90 million finance package, supported the project.

Governor Quinn Breaks Ground on $10.6 Million Widening Project for I-57 near Marion, while $69 Million in Additional Projects are Underway in Marion Area

Governor Pat Quinn, state and local officials broke ground on a $10.6 million I-57 widening project near Marion on July 15th. The improvements between Marion and Johnston City will include adding a third traffic lane, replacing and widening the I-57 bridges over Lake Creek Branch and other associated work. The Illinois Department of Transportation will manage the project, which should be complete by December 2014. The I-57 work represents one of many state and local construction projects ongoing in the Williamson County area; other projects in the area total more than $69 million.

Governor Quinn Announces Decatur Clean Water Projects to Create 160 Jobs

On July 15th, Governor Pat Quinn announced $13 million in low-interest loans to update the Decatur sewer system and wastewater treatment plant. Funded through Governor Quinn's $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative (CWI), the projects will help meet the clean water needs of nearly 90,000 area residents and create 160 direct and indirect jobs. The $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative is funded with annual federal grants, funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and additional principal and interest from loan repayments. To learn more about Governor Quinn's Illinois Clean Water Initiative, visit CleanWater.Illinois.gov.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Support Minority- and Female-Owned Businesses

Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law on July 17th that will help minority- and female-owned businesses more fairly compete for state-funded construction and business contracts. Senate Bill 2320 allows businesses that are owned by females who are also minorities to be certified as both "female owned businesses" and "minority owned businesses." This legislation will directly increase the pool of vendors in both categories and increase the chance these firms have of participating in state contracts.

Governor Quinn's Small Business Initiative Puts People to Work Across Illinois

Governor Pat Quinn announced on July 11th that the federally-funded Advantage Illinois program launched less than two years ago has helped scores of companies create nearly 2,000 jobs by providing Illinois entrepreneurs with the access to capital necessary to expand their businesses. Since Advantage Illinois debuted in October 2011, the state has committed $45 million in federal funds to leverage more than $336 million in private investment for 131 projects, creating 1,956 jobs in Illinois. Advantage Illinois is comprised of programs to encourage institutional lending and leverage private venture capital in start-ups. The program is administered through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). For more information on why Illinois is the right place for business, please visit http://illinoisbiz.biz.

Governor Quinn Signs Employment First Act to Expand Opportunities for People with Disabilities

On July 16th, Governor Pat Quinn signed the "Employment First Act," a new law which requires Illinois state agencies to work together to make employment for people with disabilities a priority. House Bill 2591 requires all state agencies to work together to make competitive employment for people with disabilities a priority and establish measurable goals and objectives for the state. The law requires the Employment and Economic Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Task Force (EEOPWD) to monitor progress towards this mission. This Task Force includes advocates, individuals with disabilities, business community members, disability services providers, representatives of state agencies and other stakeholders. All state agencies will be required to share data and information and ensure all policies, procedures and practices are aligned to these goals and objectives.

On Fourth of July Governor Quinn Signs New Laws Helping Service Members Find Employment

Governor Pat Quinn celebrated the Fourth of July by signing a package of bills helping members of the United States Armed Forces, Reserves and Illinois National Guard find employment as police officers, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and commercial vehicle drivers. The new laws will utilize the experience, teamwork and discipline service members gain on the front lines to help serve the public on the home front. House Bill 2563 allows service members who have at least two years experience operating a military motor vehicle to bypass the state skills test in applying for a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). House Bill 3186 recognizes members of the armed forces, Reserves and Illinois National Guard's military training and clinical experience when applying to be an EMT. The bill also waives the application fee for all Illinois State Troopers or members of the Illinois National Guard who volunteer as an EMT in a municipality with a population of 5,000 or fewer. Senate Bill 204 makes college degree requirement exemptions for certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Illinois National Guard looking to become Illinois State Police officers. The new law will expand the current list of medals required to qualify for exemption, helping more servicemembers find employment. All three laws are effective January 1.

Governor Quinn Announces Record-Breaking Statewide Tourism Numbers: Domestic Visitors to Illinois Rise 6 Percent to 99 Million, Generating $31 Billion for State's Economy

Governor Pat Quinn announced on July 8th that Illinois hosted more than 99 million domestic visitors in 2012, a 6.1 percent increase over the record 93.3 million U.S. residents who visited Illinois in 2011. This marks the second year in a row that Illinois' visitor numbers broke records and outpaced the national average of 5.4 percent, highlighting the industry's vital contributions to Illinois' economic growth, job creation and tax revenue. Destination information, trip inspiration ideas, the 2013 Illinois Travel Guide and more can be found at www.enjoyillinois.com or by calling 1-800-2CONNECT.

Governor Quinn Praises Quad City Manufacturing Laboratory Public-Private Partnership

On July 1st, Governor Pat Quinn praised the public-private partnership at work at the Quad City Manufacturing Laboratory in Rock Island and encouraged others to follow their lead of innovative economic development and education. Governor Quinn toured the facility on the grounds of the Rock Island Arsenal, where he saw a demonstration of their "additive manufacturing" concept at work. The lab is managed, staffed and equipped by Western Illinois University (WIU) but housed at the Rock Island Arsenal.
The Quad City Manufacturing Laboratory is a national resource for the research and development of advanced materials and manufacturing technology for commercial and military applications. Along with its other public and private partners, the lab is working to develop an advanced manufacturing cluster in the Quad Cities region. This will assist the Rock Island Arsenal and regional manufacturers to use emerging trends in advanced materials, additive manufacturing, automation, rapid prototyping, robotics and engineering. It will also strengthen this region's chances of becoming a key player in President Barack Obama's new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, which could result in an influx of millions of dollars in new private and public sector dollars to the Quad Cities region.

Governor Quinn Signs New School Safety Law

On July 1st, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law that requires all Illinois schools to hold active safety drills with local law enforcement to ensure they are as prepared as possible in the event of a shooting incident. Senate Bill 1625 amends the School Safety Drill Act and makes several changes to the official requirements for school safety drills. The new law requires that law enforcement participate in a shooting incident drill. The drill must take place in each school building where students are taught, and it must occur during the academic year.

Governor Quinn Announces Major Progress Helping Families Stay in Their Homes Through Hardest Hit Program

On July 19th, Governor Pat Quinn was joined by U.S. Department of the Treasury officials to announce the success of his Illinois Hardest Hit Program and urge homeowners to apply for up to $35,000 in mortgage payment assistance by Sept. 30 when the program ends. The Illinois Hardest Hit program assists homeowners who have experienced an income reduction due to unemployment or substantial underemployment, by making mortgage payments on behalf of the borrower for up to 18 months, or $35,000 per household. To date, 9,000 homeowners have been helped in 96 of the 102 counties in Illinois. Anyone seeking assistance under the Illinois Hardest Hit program, or researching other foreclosure prevention resources, should visit the IFPN website at www.keepyourhomeillinois.org or call the hotline at 855-KEEP-411.

Governor Quinn Announces 44 Community Organizations to Drive Affordable Care Act Outreach and Enrollment

Marking a critical new phase in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) across Illinois, on July 17th, Governor Pat Quinn announced $27 million in federal funds to 44 community organizations that will conduct outreach and education, and facilitate enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Enrollment in the Marketplace will begin on Oct. 1, with coverage to start Jan. 1, 2014. The Marketplace will be accessed through a user-friendly website where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage. Those with incomes between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the marketplace.
For a complete list of the community groups selected to participate in the ACA outreach and enrollment effort and for more information about the state's implementation of the ACA, go to: HealthCareReform.illinois.gov.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Fight Gang Crimes

Governor Pat Quinn signed two new laws on July 8th to help fight gang crimes and protect those who aid law enforcement in these efforts. House Bill 1139 creates the Gang Crime Witness Protection Act, to assist those who are actively aiding in the prosecution of gang crimes. The program will reimburse counties for assistance they provide victims and witnesses, including temporary living costs and moving expenses. HB 1139 takes effect immediately. House Bill 2768 requires school principals and assistant principals to report any illegal weapons use or possession, or any illegal gang activity, to the proper law enforcement officials. The bill also requires courts and law enforcement officials to notify principals when one of their students is detained for illegal gang activity. HB 2768 takes effect Jan. 1.

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Protect Illinois' Most Vulnerable Adults

Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Adult Protective Services Act on July 1st. House Bill 948 includes some of the nation's strongest safeguards to protect older adults and those with disabilities, and will ensure that every case of suspected abuse, neglect and financial exploitation is thoroughly investigated and promptly referred to law enforcement. The legislation takes effect immediately, with several new provisions taking effect January 1, 2014.

Governor Quinn Urges U.S. House Leaders to Adopt Commonsense Immigration Reform

Governor Pat Quinn joined 14 Governors on July 18th urging Congress to adopt commonsense immigration reform without delay. In a letter to US House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Governor Quinn noted that there is "widespread support" for comprehensive legislation, and we need an immigration system that "reflects our nation's values and strengthens our economies." The Governors' letter cites the economic value of immigration reform, noting a Congressional Budget Office report that projects a decrease in the federal deficit of $175 billion over 10 years due to the reforms. The Governors argue that the new law is vital to border security, family farmers in need of a reliable workforce and foreign graduate students. In June, the legislation passed the US Senate 68-32.


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