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Cristina Castro’s job creating measure signed into law

castro 081817AURORA – The city of Elgin will soon see a face lift and an influx of economic opportunity thanks to a new law signed today.

State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) sponsored Senate Bill 1783 which extends the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program to free up much-needed funding for the restoration of older buildings in downtown Elgin. 

“River Edge economic incentives make up a proven, bipartisan economic tool that increases investment in our communities to create millions of new good-paying jobs,” Castro said. “The extension of this important program will help us preserve our local history while we continue to see the job-creating benefits of the investments we have made in Elgin’s riverfront and downtown revitalization.”

According to the city of Elgin, about 100 buildings in the downtown Elgin area can now potentially be rehabilitated.

“I came to Springfield to make sure the people of my district are receiving the things they need from the state, such as job creation and economic development. This will help accomplish that,” Castro said. “This legislation not only helps restore older structures to their former beauty, but helps us accomplish our big-picture goals such as job creation.”

The measure passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. Senate Bill 1783 goes into effect immediately. 

Tom Cullerton’s measure to save police dogs signed into law

police dog 081617VILLA PARK- Illinois’ smallest heroes will soon be able to receive medical attention.

State Senator Tom Cullerton’s measure HB 2661 was signed into law today.

House Bill 2661 allows for the transport of police dog injured in the line of duty to be transported to a veterinary clinic or similar facility by emergency professionals.

“Police dogs are often unsung heroes,” Cullerton said. “If there are not any people in line that need to receive medical attention, our state’s police K-9’s should be able to receive the necessary precautions to save their lives so they can return to keeping our streets and communities safe.”

House Bill 2661 puts stipulates in place that require persons to receive medical attention prior to a police dogs transport however, this will allow medical professionals to transport police dogs when necessary.

The average cost for the initial training for a police K-9 can cost a police authority $20,000 to $29,000.

This does not account for maintenance training and general living expenses for the dog.

“K-9’s are a valuable tool but expense tool for police departments,” Cullerton said. “This is an investment in humanity and public safety that needs to be protected.”

House Bill 2661 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

Castro champions proven economic program for local businesses

castro 050417ELGIN- The 22nd Senate District may be one step closer to reinstating a 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 to offer tax credits to businesses that invest in Illinois.

“This bipartisan legislation will help energize our economy and create good-paying jobs for local residents,” Castro said.

EDGE tax credits are an economic development program that helps Illinois attract and retain jobs.

House Bill 162 will require 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 will also be 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 supported passage of this 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.

Shortage of agriculture education teachers to be studied: Bennett

bennett 052517SPRINGFIELD – A shortage of trained teachers for agricultural classes in schools may soon have a solution under legislation signed by the governor today. The governor signed the bill at the Illinois State Fair’s annual Agriculture Day.

Despite the fact that 25 percent of jobs in Illinois are related to agriculture, there is a shortage of trained agriculture teachers.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) sponsored Senate Bill 1991 to try and address this problem.

“Agriculture and downstate Illinois are inseparable,” Bennett said. “We must recruit and retain qualified educators who want to teach agriculture programs for future generations.”

SB 1991 creates the Agriculture Education Shortage Task Force, which will make recommendations on recruiting and retaining agriculture education teachers and making reforms to current licensure and testing requirements.

The final report will be released no later than January 1, 2019. Members of the task force will serve voluntarily and will not be compensated with taxpayer money.