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McGuire bills help streamline community college administration

McGuire2014squareSPRINGFIELD -- Two measures sponsored by State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) as part of his push to modernize higher education and make college more affordable have been signed into law.

The first piece of legislation, House Bill 4675, reclassifies the sources of two funds for adult and career education. This is in response to confusion about the funds’ sources in an earlier budget bill that led to the two funds — which totaled $43 million — being left out of the earlier bill.

The second new law, House Bill 6009, streamlines the data collection process that community colleges must undertake and updates other state laws regarding higher education.

“These two bills provide clear financial relief for our state’s community colleges by trimming bureaucracy and increasing efficiency by eliminating duplicative services,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Modernizing the nuts and bolts of community college administration is an integral part of making higher education more affordable.”

Having been signed by the governor, both bills are now law.

New program to support agricultural educators signed into law

holmes 120715SPRINGFIELD — The state will extend additional funding to the teachers who educate the next generation of Illinois farmers thanks to a new law signed today. State Sen. Linda Holmes was chief co-sponsor of the legislation.

“Illinois farmers feed the world, and we need to ensure there are aids and incentives in place for the educators who are going to teach them how to do it,” Holmes said. “This program acknowledges that need and focuses resources to meeting it. I’m glad to see it passed into law today.”

The new law establishes an agricultural education teacher grant program to fund personal services costs for agricultural education teachers in school districts. The legislation also officially recognizes agricultural education as a course of study with staff shortages, a designation which can give those seeking to become teachers consideration for certain scholarships.

The legislation was Senate Bill 2975. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2017.

New law prioritizes agriculture education in Illinois schools

soybeansCHAMPAIGN - State Senator Scott Bennett, the new Vice-Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, is excited to announce that Illinois has a new measure to prioritize agriculture education in schools across the state.  

Bennett’s legislation that will create a grant to fund up to 50 percent of the personnel costs for agriculture education teachers, Senate Bill 2975, was signed into law today. 

“Agriculture is the backbone of our state’s economy,” Bennett said. “We need to do whatever we can to train our future farmers and prioritize agriculture curriculum in schools across our communities.”

Under Senate Bill 2975, if a school district creates a new agriculture education program they could receive a grant to fund 100 percent of personnel costs in their first two years and 80 percent in the third and fourth years.

“Education is essential,” Bennett said. “When students are exploring different career paths, they need to know agricultural sciences is a possibility.”

This law will also add agriculture education as an area of identified staff shortage which would make scholarship money available for those who want to go into agriculture education.

Currently, only 61 percent of agriculture jobs will be filled with qualified graduates in the coming years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Let’s work together to train our future farmers,” Bennett said. “Programs like this are essential to keeping Illinois’ agribusiness growing.”

Bertino-Tarrant extends statute of limitations for financial exploitation of elderly, disabled

jbt050216SPRINGFIELD— Legislation extending the statute of limitation when someone financially exploits an elderly or disabled person was signed into law by the governor today. 

“Financial exploitation against a disabled person or a senior is a terrible crime that should never be tolerated,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “Victims will now have more time to recognize and report crimes so that the prosecutor can bring charges and hold perpetrators accountable.”  

Bertino-Tarrant sponsored the law in the Senate.

Prior to the law, prosecution for financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person had to occur within three years of the offense being committed.  The statute of limitations for this type of offense is now extended to seven years.

House Bill 5805 takes effect immediately.

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