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Silverstein’s milk products kosher certification measure signed by governor

Silverstein Bill SigningSPRINGFIELD–A measure sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) to amend the Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Milk Products Act to match rules adopted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and define labeling to address Jewish dietary issues was signed by Governor Rauner today.

Senate Bill 1228 amends the Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Products Act to clarify the definition of pasteurized and unpasteurized according to the latest FDA definition. The Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Milk Products Act is enforced by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“The Chicago Rabbinical Council provides kosher certification services for hundreds of food producers and brought this issue to my attention,” Silverstein said. “Milk products other than those from cows and goats as the FDA expansion permits are not necessarily kosher, so labeling is necessary.”

 

PHOTO: Rabbi Levi Mostofsky and Rabbi Dr. Jerold Isenberg of the Chicago Rabbinical Council and Senator Silverstein joined Governor Rauner as he signed Senate Bill 1228 today.

Senate votes to keep Illinois State Museum open

manar museums 8 7 15SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday to require the Illinois State Museum system to stay open despite the ongoing budget impasse.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal to keep the Illinois State Museum open along with its branch sites: Dickson Mounds, Lockport Gallery, Southern Illinois Artisans Shop and Southern Illinois Art Gallery at Rend Lake and the Illinois Artisans Shop and Chicago Gallery.

“The Illinois State Museum brings the outside world to Illinois students, families and scientists. There are very real financial and social costs to closing the museum,” Manar said.

The proposal, Senate Bill 317, requires the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to keep the museums open by law.

“The strong outpouring of public support for the museum has been the main motivator behind this legislation. People across the state care deeply about this museum and the opportunities and services it provides,” Manar said.

The Senate approved the legislation Tuesday and now moves to the House for debate.

Van Pelt proud to support federal appropriations passed by Illinois Senate

pvp fedfundsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is pleased to have had the opportunity to vote in support of an Illinois General Assembly bill that approved federal appropriations for a variety of state programs, totaling over $7.65 billion.

Senate Bill 2042 allows the state government to spend federal money on an assortment of programs. Included in the federal funding are dollars for community block grants for municipalities, family and community services including the WIC program, as well as funds to help homeless veterans, continue with breast and cervical cancer screenings, and home-delivered meals for the Department on Aging.

“With the passage of this legislation, a large portion of our state budget will be funded. Many of these important programs were in danger of closing due to the current budget impasse. I’m proud to have been in Springfield to vote for this legislation and I’m very pleased it has passed the Illinois Senate,” Senator Van Pelt said.

The legislation comes as the Illinois General Assembly and the governor’s office continue negotiations on a new state budget. The governor vetoed the appropriations legislation sent to him by the General Assembly in May that would have avoided the current stalemate.

Senate Bill 2042 will now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this legislation to help keep these valuable state services continuing and also urge the Governor to sign the bill into law once it gets to his office,” Van Pelt said.

Hunter's youth employment plan becomes law

hunter youthjobs signedSPRINGFIELD – Former wards of the state will soon have access to internships and potential employment opportunities. A youth employment jobs plan creating the Foster Youth Summer Internship Program was signed into law today.

“Our at-risk youth face the harsh challenges of either finding employment or facing joblessness, homelessness and even incarceration. Preventing a pipeline to prison will empower our future leaders and grow our economy,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter, the bill’s sponsor.

A 2011 Northwestern University study showed Illinois had the third largest number of youth in the country who were aging out of the foster care system without parental support at 21 percent.

Compounding those figures, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the state had one of the highest unemployment rates among teens aged 16 to 19 in 2012, at 27.1 percent.

Joblessness among minority youth skyrocketed to 90 percent for African-Americans and 79 percent for Hispanics.

“Our youth are struggling to find jobs. Internships will give them transferrable skills while fostering their economic independence,” said Hunter.

Hunter modeled the program after similar foster care internship pilot programs in Maryland, Missouri and Florida.

The program will begin on January 1, 2016 and operate for a two-year period before being assessed for long-term implementation.

Senate Bill 1255 gained bipartisan support and passed the Senate 49-1 and the House 115-0 in May.

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