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New Link law paves way for 5G wireless in Illinois

link 041218SPRINGFIELD – A measure from Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) that will make Illinois a leader in wireless technology advancements and create 100,000 new Illinois jobs was signed into law today.

“As technology continues to advance and smartphone data use continues to increase, it's important that we have the infrastructure in place to support those advancements,” Link said. “This measure will help ensure a smooth transition to 5G and allow Illinois to stay at the forefront of new wireless technology.”

Koehler passes measure bringing transparency to fracking operations

koehler 041218SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that brings transparency to the fracking process passed a key senate committee today.

Senate Bill 3174, sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), would require the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to post drilling reports from fracking sites within 30 days of receiving them. The legislation also requires the operators of the wells to provide a list of chemicals being used in drilling and the GPS coordinates of their wells.

Koehler said the bill is about letting landowners know what’s going on in their communities.

“People who live near these fracking operations should be able to know what is happening on the properties that in some cases border their own,” Koehler said. “This legislation can bring some transparency and accountability to the process which will allow people to make informed decisions and protect themselves.”

The legislation awaits final action in the senate.

Sims passes legislation protecting mothers’ right to participate in courts (VIDEO)

sims 041218SPRINGFIELD—Many mothers across the state struggle to use the court system in Illinois because they lack a place to breastfeed and pump.

State Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) passed Senate Bill 3503 out of the Senate today. The legislation requires circuit courts to have a lactation room.

“Mothers should not have to worry about where they’ll be able to pump and breastfeed while they’re working or visiting our courthouses. A simple solution is to provide them with space to pump and feed their children so they can return to court,” said Sen. Sims.

Bennett legislation prevents criminals from working at fairs and carnivals

bennett 041218SPRINGFIELD – People with certain criminal convictions on their record would be banned from working at a carnival, amusement park or fair under a new measure by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

Senate Bill 3240 will allow the Department of Labor to penalize and fine a person, firm, corporation or other entity that owns or operates a carnival, amusement park or fair that fails to conduct a criminal history check. The measure passed out of a Senate committee this week.

“Families go to fairs and carnivals to enjoy themselves and have fun,” Bennett said. “This bill ensures that members of our community can feel safe and protected doing just that.”

Under current law, all ride operators at Illinois carnivals are supposed to pass a criminal background check. However, state law says those checks should be entrusted to carnival operators, not the state.  Inspectors from the Department of Labor are only supposed to make sure that the checks were done.

In 2014, Blayne Benefield was killed in Farmer City by two brothers who were employees of Big H Amusements. While the amusement ride company was required to perform background checks on employees that operate rides, it did not have to do so for other employees.

Bennett said this is an important distinction because Big H Amusements claimed that the brothers were not considered ride operators, however, photo evidence taken the night before the murder shows the older brother operating a ride. Both brothers had criminal records, with the younger one pleading guilty to the sexual assault of a minor one year before the murder.

“What happened to Blayne Benefield and his family was a tragedy,” Bennett said. “This is a commonsense way to prevent this from ever happening again. It’s a matter of public safety and we need to hold operators accountable to make sure that they are conducting proper criminal history checks and doing everything they can to keep our communities safe.”

SB 3240 passed the Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate.

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