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Koehler, Weaver pass resolution honoring fallen Navy SEAL

Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 03:25 PM

koehler 022817SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Route 29 will have a new name in the Chillicothe city limits after a resolution was passed by the Illinois Senate today. The highway will now be named the “Senior Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens Memorial Highway”.

The resolution renaming the highway, Senate Joint Resolution 35, was sponsored by Peoria County’s two state Senators, Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) and Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria). 

“Senior Chief Owens will be remembered forever as a dedicated and selfless hero,” Koehler said. “His service in the Navy SEALs was nothing short of exemplary and will serve as a model of heroism for decades to come.” 

Senior Chief Petty officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens was a Navy SEAL killed during a raid in Yemen in January 2017. Senior Chief Owens enlisted in the Navy in 1998, the same year he graduated from Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe.

A decorated SEAL, Senior Chief Owens was the recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals, the Joint Service Achievement medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, the Combat Action Ribbon, two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, six Good Conduct Medals and three Presidential Unit Citations.

Additionally, Senior Chief Owens was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Somalia in 2015. Owens had been leading a twelve-man team alongside friendly African forces deep inside war torn Somalia when their unit was ambushed. Senior Chief Owens repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire, eventually securing a town that had been in enemy hands for ten years.

Senate overrides veto, protects workers' rights

Published: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 03:02 PM

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SPRINGFIELD –Today the Illinois Senate voted 42-13 to protect workers’ rights and override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago). The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act blocks Gov. Rauner’s campaign to engage municipalities in creating right-to-work areas in support of moves to boost corporate profits at the expense of workers.

Sen. Silverstein released the following statement: "Illinois’ future success depends on its support of the middle class. Workers and employers should not be restricted from bargaining collectively as they continue building our economy, and local governments have no place enforcing a rule that constrains this freedom.

"The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act upholds the rights of hard working Illinoisans to expect good wages, benefits and working conditions in exchange for their labors. This veto rejects restrictions of those rights and rejects the governor’s continuing efforts to undermine organized labor in a state that relies on it to operate and extend our economy and our future. In spite of efforts by the governor and his pro-corporate profit supporters to squelch these rights, we will not grow our economy by taking part in a race to the bottom in wages earned by Illinois families."

Senate Bill 1905 passed both houses initially in July with bipartisan support, and was vetoed by the governor on September 29. It now goes to the House for their consideration.

Other Democratic senators spoke in support of the veto override:

Senator Cristina Castro (Elgin): “I am happy to see that my colleagues helped protect the people of Illinois by working together to defeat Governor Rauner’s corporate agenda. We can’t let companies profit at the expense of our workers.”

Senator Scott Bennett (Champaign): “Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families. This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

Senator Tom Cullerton (Villa Park): “Illinois businesses will only thrive if we treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve. Governor Rauner’s harmful boardroom tactics benefit his friends at the expense of Illinois residents. Rauner’s extreme anti-worker agenda has no place in Illinois.”

Senator Bill Haine (Alton): “The facts are clear: right-to-work policies do nothing but reduce workers’ wages and make workplaces more dangerous. The governor’s veto was yet another attempt to decrease wages for working families and ensure higher profits for his wealthy friends.”

Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills): “At a time when workers’ rights are under constant attack, it is important that we protect the rights of Illinoisans by ensuring that local governments can’t take away those rights. Dismantling collective bargaining rights would lead to lower wages and a loss of benefits for Illinois workers, and I refuse to let that happen.”

Senator Laura Murphy (Des Plaines): "Since taking office, the governor has attempted to roll back employees’ rights and weaken the unions on the backs of which this state was built. All employees benefit from collective bargaining, even those that do not participate in organized labor. I hope this vote sends a strong message to the governor that I will not support his attack on the middle class.”

Senator Iris Y. Martinez (Chicago): “Once again, the governor showed that he cares more about big businesses than the citizens of Illinois. Right-to-work laws lower wages, something that would disproportionately harm lower-income Illinoisans. I am glad the Senate stood up to the governor today and protected the hard-working men and women of our state.”

Senator Bill Cunningham (Chicago): “Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois. Right-to-work and other anti-union measures are designed to do nothing more than lower workers’ wages to pad corporate profits.”

Senator Don Harmon (Oak Park): “This issue has been litigated several times already, and we have our answer – only the state, not local governments, can create right-to-work laws. The governor’s veto was nothing more than a continuation of his radical anti-union agenda. Today’s override will ensure that workers across the state retain the fair representation they deserve.”

Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago): “The governor likes to claim that he’s pro-business, but he supports measures that are anything but. Everyone loses when right-to-work laws are in place. We cannot improve the business climate of Illinois if we implement laws that lower wages and strip away workers’ rights.”

 

 

Hastings champions measure to help protect survivors of domestic violence

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 08:45 AM

hastings 052617TINLEY PARK- During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, State Senator Michael E. Hastings reminds residents that domestic violence is a daily issue that affects many Illinoisans. 

“As a state, it is our duty to condemn domestic violence in any form and continue our charge to support a safe living and work environment for all Illinois residents,” Hastings said. “Confronting an attacker is hard process for survivors of domestic violence. When someone is ready to take this step of bravery there are is a new measure in place to help provide them with justice.”  

Hastings championed a measure to help protect victims of domestic violence in Illinois during the legislative session.

The new law will improve the processing and review of sexual assault evidence by requiring the Illinois State Police to implement a new statewide sexual assault evidence kit tracking procedure. It also   creates the Sexual Assault Evidence and Reporting Commission to research and develop best practices to establish a statewide plan to track and report sexual assault evidence.

“The justice system was created to give our citizens the opportunity to confront their abusers and for the innocent to be absolved of faulty accusations,” Hastings said. “This new law will ensure survivors of sexual assault are equipped with the right evidence to receive their fair day in court.”

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault reports that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime. Illinois became the first state in the nation to a enact rape kit reform law in 2010. Hastings believes this new law is the next step in ensuring transparency and ending the backlog of untested evidence.

“Transparency is key to ensure rape kits are tested responsibly and in a timely manner,” Hastings said. “Our hope is this new process will implement a system that stresses accuracy and accountably to give survivors of sexual assault some peace of mind.”

House Bill 528 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. The new law is now in effect.

New tax credit available for DuPage teachers: Cullerton

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 08:43 AM

tc consol 051717VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is urging DuPage County teachers to take advantage of a new tax credit in Illinois for public school teachers and administrators who use personal funds to purchase school supplies for their students.

“Educating our children is a noble profession,” Cullerton said. “Our state should serve as a partner and honor the investments our educators have made in the future of Illinois. This tax credit will help lessen the burden for teachers who work endlessly to ensure our children receive the best education possible.”

Teachers and administrators can qualify for a tax credit up to $250 for instructional materials and supplies used in the classroom.

“DuPage County teachers are training the future leaders of Illinois,” Cullerton said. “92 percent of teachers across our nation spend their own money on classroom supplies to educate our children. It is our duty to provide support and resources to our educators for their generosity.”

The Illinois tax credit is available in addition to the current $250 federal deduction. It is available to teachers, principals or aides in a qualified school who work at least 900 hours during a school year.

 Area educators with questions on the new tax credit can call Cullerton’s Villa Park office at (630) 903-6662.

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