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Manar and Scherer join Workforce Investment Solutions to highlight summer youth employment programs

Manar2014RDECATUR – For the second summer in row, local youth have benefited from summer employment programs overseen by Workforce Investment Solutions. The programs at Homework Hangout and Youth with a Positive Direction are funded by grants secured by State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) and Representative Sue Scherer (D-Decatur).

The grant awarded by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity provides Decatur-area youth with summer employment opportunities that range from landscaping to food service to construction. Since 2013, more than 400 kids have found summer jobs through these programs.

“This year we’ve had 213 kids benefit from the programs offered through Homework Hangout and Youth with a Positive Direction,” said Robyn McCoy, director of Workforce Investment Solutions. “When school lets out for the summer, area youth need the opportunity to learn about different career paths and feel the personal reward of earning their own money.”

Delgado law pushes for children’s physical fitness

Delgado08414State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) aims to prevent childhood obesity with a new law that was signed by the governor today. House Bill 5397 requires the State Board of Education to implement a physical fitness assessment for grades 3-12.

“Learning to stay healthy is just as important as reading and writing,” Delgado said. “Obesity causes many health issues and we don’t want that hindering our children’s success.”

Delgado’s legislation establishes a task force that is required to submit recommendations for implementation of a physical fitness assessment, which would be used by the state’s education agency to adopt rules. Public schools would begin to use a physical fitness assessment in the 2016-17 school year.

Delgado was the lead sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.

Shipping, logistics facility expands along Mississippi

central-portMore Metro East communities will have new opportunities for economic growth, investment and job creation under a new law expanding the Tri-City Regional Port District.

The district operates America’s Central Port in Granite City and provides much-needed programs to reduce operating costs for new and expanding businesses in the region.

“Shipping on the Mississippi has an enormous economic influence on the entire region. We are expanding the benefits of the port district to match that wide-ranging impact,” State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) said.

Haine sponsored the new law, Senate Bill 499, to expand the Tri-City Regional Port District boundaries to include the Wood River, Alton, Godfrey and Elsah townships. The district currently serves Granite City, Venice, Nameoki and Chouteau Townships in Madison County. The legislation was signed by the governor in Granite City on Friday.

America's Central Port is a 1,200-acre shipping and logistics facility handling river and rail freight along the Mississippi. The port also features warehouses, office space and residential apartments.

This expansion is part of ongoing construction and economic development projects in the Metro East: $695 million for the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River, $75 million for a new Science Building at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southwestern Illinois College’s new $19.1 million Liberal Arts Complex addition in Belleville.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.

New privacy protections against unwarranted drone use become law

030514 js 0078SPRINGFIELD — Legislation proposed by State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) to put additional limits on the use of drones by law enforcement became law today. The measure expands on the privacy protections of the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, which Biss sponsored last year.

"It's important we continue to develop and refine our regulations on these types of technologies as they advance," Biss said. "This new law expands on our approach of balancing the basic right to privacy with the potential to use technological advances to improve public safety."

Last year's drone law, which was one of the first of its kind, prohibits police from using an unmanned aerial vehicle without a search warrant except in certain clearly defined emergency situations. The new law, which was introduced as Senate Bill 2937, clarifies that in the absence of a warrant, individuals and businesses cannot be obligated to give information collected by privately owned drones over to the authorities. Drones are best known for their military capabilities, but law enforcement agencies, corporations and private individuals have begun purchasing smaller, unarmed versions for a variety of purposes.

The law signed today allows law enforcement to acquire information from a privately owned drone without a warrant if necessary to prevent a terrorist attack, imminent harm to a person or the escape of a suspect; to collect images of a crime scene or traffic accident scene or to locate a missing person. It also states that law enforcement agencies may use their own drones to survey damage and help coordinate relief efforts in a natural disaster or public health emergency.