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Task force releases report on chronic absenteeism in CPS

ClassroomRLast year, nearly 20 percent of Chicago Public School kindergartners missed at least 18 days in the classroom. For fifth-graders, the rate was over 10 percent, climbing to over 15 percent for eight-graders.

To better understand the problem and to help find solutions to curb chronic absenteeism in one of the nation’s largest public school districts, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D – Chicago) passed a law creating the Truancy in Chicago Public Schools Task Force.

On Thursday, the over 40-member task force, composed of educators, community advocates, law enforcement authorities, researchers and legislators, released its final report to the General Assembly.

Shipping, logistics facility expands along Mississippi

central-portIllinois is home to a large and growing port district in Madison County, along the Mississippi River in the Metro East area. More Metro East communities will have new opportunities for economic growth, investment and job creation under a new law expanding the Tri-City Regional Port District.

The district operates America’s Central Port in Granite City and provides much-needed programs to reduce operating costs for new and expanding businesses in the region.

“Shipping on the Mississippi has an enormous economic influence on the entire region. We are expanding the benefits of the port district to match that wide-ranging impact,” State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) said.

Forby makes outdoors affordable for seniors with reduced license fees

senior-fishingOn Friday afternoon at Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County, a new law was signed decreasing hunting and fishing license fees for Illinois seniors 75 and older.

The new law sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby cuts fees for hunting and fishing licensure down to $1 or, in some cases, completely eliminates them.

“After a lifetime of buying licenses and stamps, we are making it easier for seniors to afford hunting and fishing. Every senior should be able to enjoy the outdoors even if they’re on a fixed income,” Forby said.

New ethics law in place for Illinois counties

MorrisonBushCounty boards will now have the ability to remove appointed officials who violate the public trust.

Senate Bill 3552, signed by the governor earlier this week, enables the county boards of the collar counties to remove appointed officials with a two-thirds majority vote. To initiate the process, the county board or county executive must find the appointed official violated the county’s code of conduct, and the county board must hold a hearing.

“Everyone who serves the public should be held to the highest ethical standards,” said State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield), who introduced the legislation in cooperation with the Lake County Board. “It shouldn’t matter if you are elected, appointed or hired. If you violate the public trust, there should be a way to remove you from your position.”

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