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New law by Collins calls for simplified language in drafting laws

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 04:13 PM

collins 042418SPRINGFIELD – To hold lawmakers to a writing standard more in line with plain English than dense legalese, a new law by State Senator Jacqueline Collins, signed this week, adopts federal plain language standards at the state level.

“In government, as in many professions where complicated topics are being debated and litigated, it becomes easy to get wrapped up in a cocoon of language that makes a lot of noise but says very little,” Collins said. “Government by and for the people should address the people in a way they can understand. And because the most powerful statements have always been the most straightforward, I believe this measure may have the happy side effect of producing better writing from our lawmakers.”

Senate Bill 3139 requires the General Assembly to use plain language when drafting legislation, executive orders and other public facing documents whenever practical, and advises the executive and judicial branches to do the same. The definition of “plain language” mirrors the federal Plain Writing Act standards passed in 2010.

Signed into law yesterday, the law is effective immediately.

New Martinez law expands professional licenses to all immigrants

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 03:32 PM

martinez 082118CHICAGO —All qualified applicants are now eligible for professional licenses, regardless of their immigration status, under a new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

A federal law passed in 1996 makes non-citizens ineligible for state-issued professional licenses, but allows individual states to pass legislation granting licenses to non-citizens.

“Immigrants contribute to our state by working hard and paying taxes,” Martinez said. “If someone wants to further their career by becoming a licensed professional, we need to do all we can to support that.”

The new law deletes a provision in the Pharmacy Practice Act that requires an individual to submit evidence that they are a United States citizen or legally admitted immigrant before receiving a license. It also requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to allow an applicant to use a taxpayer identification number as an alternative to a Social Security number.

Senate Bill 3109 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Mulroe: Governor’s vetoes side with money over families, bureaucracy over children with special needs

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 12:08 PM

mulroe committee 22614CHICAGO – State Senator John G. Mulroe announced his intent to overturn two vetoes by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Senate Bill 3052 would allow a construction contract to release 50 percent of a job’s retainer amount after a contractor completes 50 percent of the project. This would facilitate contractors receiving their retainers in a more timely fashion. Many contractors are waiting as long as two years to receive the full amount of their retainer.

Martinez: Governor’s actions show he doesn’t care about education

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 09:07 AM

martinez 041118CHICAGO — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke out strongly today against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto her legislation expanding the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative.

“I truly cannot understand why Gov. Rauner would choose to veto a measure that would help address Illinois’ teacher shortage,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said.

“The Grow Your Own Teacher program is an investment in Illinois’ future. It encourages and provides support for people studying to become teachers. It places teachers in low-income schools that are often difficult to staff. I don’t see a downside.

“The governor may say he cares about improving the education system in our state, but his actions show otherwise.”

The measure would have extended eligibility for the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative to high school students enrolled at dual-credit courses at participating colleges and universities and to all pre-K teachers, not just those teaching at public schools.

The initiative provides financial, academic and emotional support to people studying to become teachers. After graduation, participants commit to teaching at least five years at a high-needs school or in a high-needs teaching position, usually at schools with a high percentage of low-income students.

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