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Senator Harris working to improve economic conditions for local business

harris-eeoSPRINGFIELD – Legislation passed the Illinois Senate today creating an Equal Economic Opportunity Task Force. State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) is the chief Senate sponsor of the measure.

This legislation creates a task force to examine barriers to economic opportunities in economically depressed communities, issues discouraging local investment, community concerns, current economic conditions and establishes comprehensive economic development policy for businesses of all size.

“Task forces like the one this legislation is proposing can be an important first step in creating successful economic development in communities that are facing troubles,” Harris said. “I want to see local businesses thrive. I want to see economic development grow to new levels, and see people in our communities have the opportunity to start businesses. The first step in this process is research.”

The task force will research the stated areas and will be required to prepare a report summarizing the findings of their examinations. Recommendations will be provided as to whether further legislation is needed to address the problems identified by the task force.

The Legislation, House Bill 3840, passed the Senate today and will be sent to the governor’s desk.

Bennett passes legislation to protect children from thirdhand smoke

bennett-3rdhandsmokeSPRINGFIELD- Residue from cigarette smoke toxins that linger on surfaces long after cigarettes have been extinguished is called thirdhand smoke. Currently, children in commercial and home day cares could possibly be exposed to it.  

Today, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed House Bill 3531 to protect children from the dangers of smoke while spending time in daycares.   

“As a father of two young children, I see my children crawl on rugs, fall asleep almost anywhere and teethe on anything they can get their mouths on. These are easily places that can be home for tobacco toxins,” said Bennett.

Studies have shown that toxins can linger for days, weeks or even months after a cigarette has been smoked. Harmful particles can remain on floors, counters, furniture and other surfaces and fabrics.

“Due to babies, toddlers and children’s curious nature, they are more prone to the deadly effects of thirdhand smoke. They are more likely to be crawling on the floor and putting things in their mouths which expose them to tobacco residue,” said Bennett.

This legislation amends the Smoke Free Illinois Act to eliminate confusing and contradictory statues.   

HB 3531 passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

Bertino-Tarrant makes college more affordable for veterans

jbt-gibillSPRINGFIELD— Veterans attending Illinois colleges and universities would qualify for in-state tuition rates under a proposed law State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) guided to the governor’s desk today.

“Those who serve our nation deserve our utmost respect,” said Bertino-Tarrant, Senate sponsor of HB3692. “Making college more affordable for student veterans is one way we can show appreciation to the men and women who loyally serve our nation.”

The proposed law would apply to veterans attending college through the Pre-9/11 G.I. Bill. Last year, Illinois allowed veterans using the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to qualify for instate tuition. Bertino-Tarrant’s legislation simply makes sure all veterans utilizing a G.I. Bill program qualify for instate tuition.

HB3692 would take effect during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Since being signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1944, the G.I. Bill has helped millions of veterans pay for college and readjust to civilian life after completing military service.

Mulroe legislation supports firefighters, police

mulroe-fire-policeSPRINGFIELD – Two new proposals have passed the General Assembly that would aid police and firefighters. Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) sponsored both measures in the Senate.

The first, a senate bill, would require that AED machines be accessible in police stations with more than 100 staff. The second, a house bill, would charge individuals who assault first responders acting in the line of their duties with a Class 4 felony rather than a misdemeanor.

“The last thing the men and women we task with protecting us need is to worry any more about their safety than they need to,” Mulroe said. “This pair of plans is common sense and goes a long way to protecting the people in harm’s way.”

Police officers often are placed in intense situations within seconds causing extreme stress on their bodies and health, and Officers have died as a result. The proposal will affect only those facilities with 100 or more employees. Under the original AED Act, county sheriffs and municipal police departments are exempt from civil liability.

Under the previous Criminal Code of 2012, an individual who assaulted a first responder in the line of duty was charged with a Class A misdemeanor provided a weapon was not used. The language in the new proposal states those charges would automatically become a Class 4 felony.  The sentence for a Class 4 felony can carry anywhere from one to three years in prison.

“Every day these men and women work hard to keep our streets safe,” Mulroe said. “With these proposals we are doing more to ensure they stay safe.”

Both proposals move to the governor’s desk.

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