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Frerichs raises awareness for Hunger Action Month

hunger-action-monthIn conjunction with Hunger Action Month, State Senator Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) is hosting a food and fund drive to benefit the Eastern Illinois Foodbank from September 15 to 30.

The need for donations does not end with the holiday season. Local food and fund drives are the key sources of food and funding in their effort to alleviate hunger in our community. To make a monetary donation visit eifoodbank.org.

“We are pleased that Senator Mike Frerichs has once again partnered with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank during Hunger Action Month,” said Jim Hires, President and CEO of Eastern Illinois Foodbank. “He has joined the commitment to help solve hunger. The food drive that his office is spearheading is exactly the type of action this month is designed to spur.”

A recent report released by the Eastern Illinois Foodbank and Feeding America noted the following:

  • 17.4 percent of households include someone who is a veteran or who has served in the military.
  • 82 percent of households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options.
  • 80 percent of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.

Take nonperishable goods to Illinois Bus Terminal, 45 E. University, Suite 206, Champaign, Illinois from Monday, September 15 through Tuesday, September 30; donations will be accepted Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jacobs and Chamber host successful workshop for local businesses

Jacobs091714State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) hosted a workshop for local businesses in partnership with the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Department of Employment Security.

“As we look for economic development opportunities, we need to build and strengthen our partnerships with local businesses,” said Jacobs. “I’m happy we were able to provide local businesses with information on resources to hire new employees and in the process save money.”

With instruction from IDES, local business people learned about available tax credits, the Illinois labor market and how best to navigate the unemployment insurance system.  The workshop also included role play activities based on actual cases and unemployment hearings.

“We appreciate the Senator's efforts to help bring state officials to the Sauk Valley to meet with employers one-on-one to discuss unemployment insurance issues,” said Executive Director Kim Ewoldsen. “The Illinois Department of Employment Security has been a good partner to the Chamber and we work hard to provide our members with programs like this they can directly benefit from.”

Senator Mike Jacobs tours hospital construction

PHOTO- Senator Mike Jacobs tours hospital constructionState Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) toured construction work at UnityPoint Health-Trinity in Rock Island with President Richard Seidler and Project Manager Bryan Garter. The construction project is using 125 local skilled workers on a daily basis.

Trinity is currently in the process of expanding its Heart Center and emergency department construction will be completed in April of 2015.

Lawmakers push for police-worn camera funding

091114 js 0037SPRINGFIELD— Last month’s police shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., sparked national debate over police procedures and practices. In Illinois, Brown’s death has renewed an effort to expand the use of vehicle-mounted and officer-worn cameras.

Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Representative Jehan Gordon Booth (D-Peoria) announced, during a press conference Thursday, their commitment to pass a plan this fall that will increase funding for police departments to buy more cameras.

“Every day, the courageous men and women of Illinois law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect us. Cameras like these help prosecute crimes, protect civil liberties and – ultimately – help save officers’ lives,” Haine said.

The plan, House Bill 3911, brings more money to an existing grant program enabling local police departments to purchase cameras. It also secures additional funds for the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Boards.

“I hope that the tragic recent events in Ferguson, which has brought the value of officer and vehicle-mounted cameras to national attention, may serve as a catalyst to enact legislation that protects our brave police officers as much as it does the general public,” Gordon-Booth said.

“The use of cameras serves as a layer of transparency to document disputed encounters between law enforcement and citizens,” NAACP Illinois State Conference President George Mitchell said.

The proposal increases an existing court fee by $6 to fund the camera grant program and increase funding for ILETSB. The $6 fee is estimated to bring in between $4 million and $6 million per year.

“We live in a visual society. These types of videos will be invaluable,” Illinois State’s Attorneys Association President Brian Towne said.

Lawmakers return to Springfield in November for the annual fall session. Gordon-Booth and Haine plan to call HB 3911 then.

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