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New Stadelman law could help Rockford-area adults earn high school diplomas

Published: Friday, September 22, 2017 02:03 PM

stadelman 022817SPRINGFIELD – Thousands of adults in Winnebago and Boone counties may get the chance to earn their high school diploma, thanks to legislation that was signed into law today.

The new law, sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) in the Senate, effectively eliminates the existing law prohibiting school districts from awarding high school diplomas to anyone over the age of 21.

“A high school diploma is nearly essential in today’s world, but not everyone is able to complete high school in the same amount of time,” Stadelman said. “These programs will give people a second chance and help them obtain job skills. Everyone benefits in the end, because a trained workforce is good for economic development in our communities.”

Non-profit entities, including community colleges, will also be allowed to establish programs that can award high school diplomas to adult learners.

The law is effective immediately.

New Martinez law grants full practice authority to advanced practice nurses

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 04:04 PM

martinez 082217SPRINGFIELD — Advanced practice nurses who have completed the necessary training now have full practice authority in Illinois, thanks to legislation passed by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) and signed into law today.

Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are licensed, registered, professional nurses who use diagnostic skills and tests to care for patients. They can include certified nurse midwives, certified nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified clinical nurse specialists.

Van Pelt law protects property rights, creates stricter guidelines for law enforcement

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 08:55 AM

vanpelt 092017SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) protects the rights of property owners by making it harder for law enforcement to seize personal property from Illinois residents.

“For too long, law enforcement has had far reaching authority to seize property from individuals regardless of whether they’ve been convicted of a crime,” Van Pelt said. “Law enforcement agencies have been profiting off of individuals by keeping or selling their property and making it incredibly difficult for people to reclaim their possessions.”

Currently, law enforcement agencies can take property – including cash, vehicles and homes – if they suspect it was involved with or related to a crime. The property owner does not need to be charged or convicted of a crime for the state to seize and permanently forfeit the property.

“Reforming our civil asset forfeiture process is a major step forward for criminal justice reform,” Van Pelt said. “This measure protects the rights of people who often don’t have the means necessary to reclaim their property. I am pleased that the governor signed the legislation, and I am looking forward to advancing more criminal justice reforms in the future.”

House Bill 303 reforms the civil asset forfeiture process by increasing transparency and shifts the burden of proof in forfeiture cases to the prosecution. The measure also requires law enforcement to have a preponderance of evidence to seize property.

House Bill 303 was signed into law today. It takes effect on January 1, 2018.

Castro champions bipartisan economic tool to attract new jobs

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 08:45 AM

castro 092017ELGIN- The 22nd Senate District now has a new bipartisan economic development program, thanks to a measure championed by Democratic Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin.

House Bill 162 reinstates the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program, allowing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to offer tax credits to businesses that invest in Illinois.

“This new bipartisan law will help energize our economy and create good-paying jobs for our residents,” Castro said. “I look forward to continuing my work to increase economic development opportunities and investments in our communities.”

EDGE tax credits are a competitive economic development program that helps Illinois attract and retain jobs. This incentive helps encourage business growth.

‘It’s important that we utilize every tool at our disposal to attract and retain good paying jobs for Illinois residents,” Castro said. 

House Bill 162 requires the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to repossess economic development funds if a business granted the tax credit does not fulfill their part of the contract.

That money would then be distributed to the local workforce investment area.

EDGE credit recipients are also required to submit an annual report to DCEO containing supplier diversity information to help promote diversity in state economic incentives and programs. 

The Illinois Manufacturer Association (IMA) supported passage of this key economic incentive.

“The IMA is pleased that legislators passed a short-term extension of the EDGE tax credit,” Mark Denzler, Vice President & COO of IMA said. “It's an important tool to help attract and retain jobs.”

House Bill 162 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and was signed into law this week.

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