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Sen. Link’s efforts to help veterans signed into law

link 081715SPRINGFIELD – Disabled veterans will see property tax relief and active military personnel gain added ID and credit security under two newly signed laws sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan).

“Our service men and women put their lives on the line to protect us. I’m honored to be able play a part in providing them some financial relief and security,” Link said. The proposals he sponsored – SB 107 and HB 3425 – were signed Sunday by the governor.

SB 107

This new law take effect immediately and provides property tax relief for veterans who have accessibility improvements, such as wheelchair ramps, made to their homes. Accessibility projects can cost thousands of dollars and increase the value of homes, meaning disabled veterans are hit with higher property tax bills just for making their homes more livable.

Senator Link sponsored the proposal after a disabled veteran living in his district partially remodeled her kitchen to make room for her walker, only to have her assessed evaluation increase. After numerous appeals, she won her case to have the evaluation lowered. She then pursued a change to state law to make sure accessibility projects don’t affect property taxes.

Senator Link was able to deliver for her. Thanks to his legislation such improvements will not increase the assessed valuation of the property for a period of seven years after the improvements are completed.

In addition, many disabled veterans will qualify for additional property tax relief. For instance, a veteran with a service-related disability of 30 percent to 50 percent qualifies for a $2,500 property tax exemption. Previously this veteran would not qualify for any exemption.

A veteran with a service-connected disability of 50-70 percent qualifies for a $5,000 exemption, up from the previous $2,500.

And a veteran with a service-connected disability of 70 percent or more is exempt from taxation. Previously this veteran would qualify for a $5,000 exemption.

“These soldiers personally sacrificed so much for our country and freedoms. It’s time we recognized that and do what we can to give back,” said Link.

SB 107 takes effect immediately.

HB 3425

Military personnel are often the target of identity thieves and credit scams. In fact, a Federal Trade Commission report found they are victimized twice as often as the general public.

In response, Senator Link was the chief Senate sponsor of HB 3425, which offers free credit freezes for active military personnel and veterans.

Previously, consumer reporting agencies could charge consumers up to $10 each time they request a credit freeze. Credit security freezes prevent new creditors from accessing a person’s credit report. This prevents identity thieves from opening a new account in a veteran’s name.

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, eliminates the charge for military personnel and veterans.

Martinez helps the wrongly arrested

martinez 73015SPRINGFIELD — Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored legislation this year that would allow arrest records of individuals who are wrongly arrested because of mistaken identity to be deleted without the person having to file a petition for expungement.

Today, Martinez’s proposal became law.

“Individuals who were mistakenly arrested should not have difficulty clearing their names,” Martinez said. “We need to make it as easy as possible for them to get their reputation back and move on with their lives.”

Prior to the new law, the Crime Identification Act allowed individuals who were mistakenly arrested but not charged to seek expungement of their records. However, they were required to pay a fee and file a petition.

This will now change.

Under Martinez’s legislation, a police chief, county sheriff or state’s attorney will be able to request an investigation into whether or not a person was wrongly arrested. If a mistake was made, that individual’s records must be deleted from the law enforcement agency’s records that made the arrest.

House Bill 169 is effective January 1, 2016.

Scott Bennett works to protect Mahomet Aquifer

bennett acquiferSPRINGFIELD- Generations of Central Illinois residents can now look forward to cleaner drinking water.  

State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) initiative to protect residents across Central Illinois from contaminated drinking water was signed into law today.
 
“The Mahomet Aquifer serves as a lifeline for our region. It’s our duty to protect this important resource for the sake of our children and generations to come,” said Bennett. “This proposal will further the mission of the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance by instituting guidelines to protect our underground water source.”

The Aquifer serves as the primary water supply for 14 counties across Central Illinois including Champaign and Vermilion counties.  

The Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance is a group of Central Illinois citizens who are committed to keeping the Aquifer free of contamination. Local communities across central Illinois have banded together to fight the disposal of dangerous toxins at the Clinton Landfill, which sits atop the Aquifer.

As a result of their efforts, last year the Mahomet Aquifer was designated as a Sole Source Aquifer, which provides federal protection.  

“This legislation will move us one step closer to achieving our goal. However, we do recognize there may still be more work to do to ensure there is safe drinking water for central Illinois residents for generations to come,” said Bennett.  

House Bill 1326 was signed into law on Friday, August 14 and goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

Bertino-Tarrant’s small business legislation signed into law

jbt commutertaxSPRINGFIELD— Small businesses often face too much red tape when dealing with the state.

With HB 3887, which was signed into law today, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) hopes to make that process as efficient as possible and help improve the state’s business climate.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This law is an important step in helping our business owners cut through the unnecessary red tape.”

HB 3887, which Bertino-Tarrant sponsored in the Senate, is designed to identify and eliminate state regulations that are unreasonable or overly burdensome to small businesses.

State agencies will now be required to complete an initial review of rules, regulations and processes related to small businesses within one year of the legislation becoming law. Subsequent reviews would take place every five years thereafter.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ 48 percent of the private-sector labor force in Illinois.

HB 3887 goes into effect on January 1 of next year.

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