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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.

Forby stands up for coal jobs in southern Illinois

forby coalToday, State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) stood with a bipartisan group of legislators in support of House Joint Resolution 687, which calls on the federal government to give the state additional time to review how the Draft Stream Protection Rule would affect surface coal mines in Illinois.

The proposed rule would amend, modify or revise more than 450 provisions of the existing regulatory program. The additional time to review the over 2,000-page proposal that took six years to complete would ensure coal resources are used effectively and resourcefully.

“In my district, we are closing everything and we don’t need to lose any more jobs,” Forby said. “Coal will be here for a while because it accounts for more than 50 percent of our state’s energy. The current proposal threatens to close coal plants in Southern Illinois, while unemployment rates are already unreasonably high. It’s getting to the point that you can’t come to Southern Illinois and work. The prisons are closing, juvenile detention centers are closing."

"What are left to do? We need the additional time to make sure everything is done right to make sure we don’t lose any jobs.”

Haine legislation to improve organ and tissue transplant process signed into law

haine organ donSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Bill Haine (D- Alton) was signed by the governor on Tuesday. The measure will improve the organ and tissue transplant process throughout the Metro East.
 
House Bill 4120, a bipartisan measure that passed both houses of the legislature without a single no vote, will enable a better process for tissue and organ donors by allowing donations to occur at a state-of-the-art facility in St. Louis.
    
“I am thrilled to see this legislation gain such great support and to see it signed into law,” said Haine. “Every minute counts when it comes to tissue and organ donations. This legislation allows for a better process so those who need organ and tissue donations are able to receive them quickly, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful recovery and saving lives.”

The legislation allows Illinois funeral directors or transporters to move bodies across state lines to state-of-the-art facilities in St. Louis.  It also eliminates unnecessary regulations and paperwork in order to expedite the process.
 
This measure was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on Tuesday and goes into effect January 1. 

Holmes supports restoration of child care services

holmes womenhlthcareSenate passes measure to fully fund day care assistance

SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement following a Wednesday vote in the Senate to restore funding and original entry requirements to the Child Care Assistance Program:

“Governor Rauner’s decision to roll back accessibility to the Child Care Assistance Program is harmful to families who are doing all they can to work and ensure their children are cared for,” Holmes said. “Delays in funding have already caused the closure of a day care center in my district earlier this year. We can’t tell our working families that it’s better to just stay home. That’s why I support this measure and call on the House to pass it.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 570. It proceeds to the House for consideration.

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