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Holmes' expansion of feral cat population control efforts signed into law

Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 10:17 AM

feral cats 083017SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to improve feral cat population control sponsored by state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, has been signed into law. The measure was created based on recommendations made by the Illinois General Assembly’s Feral Cat Task Force, which was established last year.

“This proposal is the product of a year of work among experts,” Holmes said. “County governments already have the resources to adequately control the population of feral cats, so why not let them use their funds to do what the experts say is the best way forward? Local governments will do the best job of controlling the feral cat population if the state simply allows them.”

Martinez measure expanding survivor benefits for same sex couples becomes law

Published: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 01:35 PM

martinez 010817SPRINGFIELD — Legislation sponsored by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) that allows certain retirees in civil unions or marriages not previously recognized to “buy-back” their survivor benefits was signed into law last Friday.

The law allows members of the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Retirement Fund or their surviving partner to “buy-back” the survivor benefit for which they received a refund if they retired before June 1, 2011 and are part of a civil union or marriage that was not recognized by law before 2011, such as a same sex marriage.

“Illinois legalized same-sex civil unions in 2011 and same-sex marriage in 2014,” Martinez said. “It is past time that these couples receive all the same benefits under the law.”

Members of the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District contribute a percentage of their salary for the survivor benefit provided by the fund.  Upon retirement, the member may choose to receive a refund of their contribution towards the survivor benefit in exchange for giving up the right to a survivor benefit.

House Bill 164 becomes effective immediately.

 

Harmon: Trust Act reaffirms state’s commitment to welcoming immigrants

Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 01:53 PM

harmon 032817SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after the Illinois Trust Act was signed into law:

“Illinois has a long tradition of welcoming people from all nations, cultures and backgrounds, and today we reaffirmed that commitment with the signing of the Illinois Trust Act. In a time when many immigrants are living in fear and uncertainty, it is important that we take steps such as this to foster trust between local authorities and the immigrants who are a welcome part of our communities.”

Harmon was a chief co-sponsor of the Trust Act in the Senate, which ensures that immigrants in Illinois can pick up their children from school or go to the hospital without fear of arrest. It also assures state and local police officers that they are not expected to enforce federal immigration laws. The Act:

  • clarifies that state and local police are not deputized immigration agents and therefore are not expected to expend resources enforcing or complying with federal civil immigration detainers and administrative warrants;
  • prohibits state and local police from searching, arresting or detaining a person based solely on citizenship or immigration status or an administrative warrant;
  • prohibits law enforcement agencies from using state resources to create discriminatory federal registries based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes; and
  • establishes safe zones at schools, medical facilities and properties operated by the Illinois secretary of state, where federal immigration enforcement would not be admitted without a valid criminal warrant.

The Act does not bar state and local police from conducting valid criminal investigations or serving criminal warrants, nor does it bar them from working with federal immigration agents to serve valid criminal warrants.

The Trust Act takes effect immediately.

Hunter measure increasing employment for youth becomes law

Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 01:39 PM

hunter 050417SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) will aid qualified homeless and court-involved youth in finding potential job openings.

“Cuts made to the budget have decimated critical funding for youth employment programs,” said Hunter. “It seems as though year after year we make more cuts failing our youth and their future opportunities.”

House Bill 2987 requires a state agency to notify the Department of Human Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Family Services of available job openings. Those agencies are then required to notify qualified applicants, and then keep record of the number of job applications they receive.

“This legislation is simply about giving youth a fighting chance to enter the workforce,” Hunter said. “Our youth should not be left homeless and jobless. We all heavily rely on employment and other resources to meet our basic living needs.”

Qualified applicants are to be 21 years of age or younger, and are currently or have been a dependent child in foster care, a homeless youth or a court-involved youth.

The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

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