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    After carefully negotiating changes requested by the governor, state agencies and other stakeholders, State Senator Andy Manar’s plan to modernize the voter registration process received unanimous support in the Illinois Senate today.

    “I am proud that the state Senate once again has voted to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois, and I hope the House will follow our lead and that Governor Rauner will sign it into law,” said Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill.

    If enacted, eligible Illinois citizens would be given the option to opt out of registering when they interact with certain state agencies, as opposed to the current system that requires citizens to opt-in.

    “At a time when we're seeing a major rollback of voting rights across the country, I'm proud that Democrats and Republicans came together and voted to expand access to the ballot in Illinois,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “Voter registration laws disproportionately affect minorities, women, seniors and low-income individuals. Automatic voter registration will remove a barrier to voting and help ensure that all eligible Illinoisans are able to participate in our democracy should they so choose.”

    “I am happy to see this measure receive such great support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” said Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “The right to vote is a pillar of our democracy. Automatic voter registration will bring more participation and allow more voices to be heard in the legislative process.”

    “Automatic voter registration is important to the health of our democracy,” said Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). “There are so many existing roadblocks to participation. Something as basic as registration should not be one of those roadblocks. I am dismayed by how low voter turnout is, especially in local and off-cycle elections, and I believe that automatic registration will give more people an opportunity to let their voices be heard in the political process.”

    Currently, there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote but aren’t registered. Automatic voter registration will significantly reduce this number and will remove a barrier to voting for all eligible Illinoisans.

    “We should make it easier to vote, not harder,” said Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills). “This legislation will ensure that every Illinois resident who is eligible to vote doesn’t have to go through the sometimes burdensome process to register. This only enhances the voice of the voter during an election.”

    Rather than giving individuals the option to fill out a separate voter registration form when conducting business with a state agency, the measure would allow agencies to electronically transfer an individual’s data to the State Board of Elections. Automatically registering eligible voters will streamline bureaucracy, do away with redundant paperwork and save taxpayer dollars.

    “When it comes to modernizing state government, automatic voter registration checks all the boxes: it eliminates redundant paperwork, it cuts down on the number of times people have to interact with a government office, it curbs voter fraud, and it saves money,” said Manar. “The time is right for this reform.”

    “Not only does automatic voter registration remove a barrier to voting for eligible citizens, it is a common-sense way to modernize the registration process, reduce bureaucracy and duplication and save the state money,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “I hope this good government reform receives the same bipartisan support in the House and from the governor as it did in the Senate.”

    “We should be making it easier, not harder, for people to vote and have a direct say in who represents them,” said Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). “Making automatic voter registration law will save taxpayer dollars, streamline a government function and ensure the ballot box is as easily accessible as possible for voters.”

    In March 2015, Oregon was the first state to enact automatic voter registration. Since then, California, West Virginia, Vermont, Connecticut, Alaska and the District of Columbia have adopted automatic registration, and thirty other states introduced legislation this year.

    “In the end, this effort is going to register people to vote, no matter who they vote for – Democrats or Republicans. It’s going to save money, modernize government and streamline our system,” Manar said. “And it’s going to lead more citizens of our state, regardless of where they live or their party affiliation, to participate in our electoral process. That means we all win as citizens of the state of Illinois.”

  • link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD – People struggling with multiple sclerosis could have an opportunity to ask for an exception to treatment limitations due to legislation passed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    “Restricting treatment for the more than 20,000 Illinois residents living with multiple sclerosis is atrocious,” Link said. “These restrictions mean that people diagnosed with MS are not allowed to get the medically recommended treatment they need.”

    Senate Bill 193 would require that insurance companies offer an exceptions process for patients with multiple sclerosis to request an exception to a treatment limitation. It would also require that the insurance company would have 72 hours to accept or deny the exception request. Limitations include being subject to waiting periods, cost sharing limits and other limits.

    “By taking this step, insurance companies now have to justify to people why they are denying their medically necessary treatment,” Link said. “This is a small step in the long fight to push for a compassionate Illinois that helps people manage their symptoms appropriately.”

    Currently, insurance companies can limit the number of physical therapy session covered even if more sessions are deemed medically necessary.

    The legislation moves to the House for further consideration.

     

  • link 032917SPRINGFIELD – On Wednesday, Illinois celebrated the 10th anniversary of the passage of the “Smoke Free Illinois” legislation.

    Since the passage of Smoke Free Illinois, there has been a nearly 20.5 percent decrease in hospitalization of various diseases related to smoking.

    “Smoke Free Illinois was a major milestone in our efforts to make Illinois a better place to live,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said. “But even with this progress, we cannot rest on our laurels. The next step to help Illinoisans live longer, healthier lives is to keep kids from ever becoming addicted to tobacco by raising the minimum age of sale to 21 years old.”

    Link passed a resolution on Wednesday declaring March 29, 2017, as “Smoke Free Illinois Day.” The day recognizes the improved health benefits by Illinois going smoke free 10 years ago.

    “Though Illinois has been smoke free for more than 10 years, the state still faces many issues related to smoking,” Link said. “I hope today shows that we can achieve great things to better the health of all Illinoisans and that we need to continue the push towards a healthier Illinois.”

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  • Senator Terry LinkSPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents with primary or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis would have an opportunity to apply for an exception from treatment limitations. That is if legislation proposed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) would become law.

    “Restrictions on treatment for the more than 20,000 in Illinois struggling with multiple sclerosis are disappointing,” Link said. “Some of these restrictions mean that someone is not getting the physical therapy they need to delay the symptoms.”

    Senate Bill 193 would require that insurance companies offer an exceptions process for patients with multiple sclerosis to request an exception to a treatment limitation. It would also require that the insurance company would have 72 hours to accept or deny the exception request. Limitations include being subject to waiting periods, cost sharing limits and other limits.

    “This is a small but important step in ensuring that people struggling with multiple sclerosis receive the care they need,” Link said. “I hope to continue to push for an Illinois that is compassionate and helps those people manage their symptoms appropriately.”

    Currently, insurance companies can limit the number of physical therapy session covered even if more sessions are medically necessary.

    The legislation passed the Senate Insurance committee on Wednesday and moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

  • link 020217SPRINGFIELD – On Tuesday, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) passed legislation that would expand gaming revenues in the state to help put Illinois’ fiscal house back in order.

    Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Link, would authorize the building of six new casinos throughout the State of Illinois, including locations in Chicago and Lake County. The proposal will increase revenues for the state and local communities and would also create thousands of part-time and full-time jobs at casinos and racinos across the state.

    “It's no secret that our number one issue is our difficult financial situation,” Link said. “We need to find multiple ways to shore up our fiscal house and by expanding gaming we can do just that.”

    The legislation also would allow current riverboats or casinos to expand from 1,200 machines per location to 1,600 machines.

    “We lose gaming revenues daily to Indiana and Wisconsin because of the lack of opportunity,” Link said. “We should take every step we can to keep that money in Illinois so it can be spent on services provided to Illinois residents.”

  • link 020217VERNON HILLS – Legislation sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) would require that the Lake County Board Chairman be elected countywide instead of just by board members.

    “I wholeheartedly believe that the voters should directly determine who runs their county,” Link said. “This benefits the county by providing a more direct democracy in determining how the county is run.”

    Senate Bill 669, legislation regarding how the Lake County Board chairman would be elected, was recently discussed by a Lake County Board committee.

    Link applauds Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor for joining his initiative to make the county more responsive to the voter. Link plans to file legislation putting the issue of an elected county chairman to a vote in 2018. If the referendum is successful, the first election for county board chairman would be in 2020.

    “I am happy Chairman Lawlor believes giving the voters a true voice in who runs the day-to-day operations of the county is a good idea,” Link said. “The bottom line here is the people of Lake County will be the winners.”

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  • link042116SPRINGFIELD – All surviving spouses of servicemen and women could be able to claim a property tax credit thanks to legislation being pushed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    The legislation, Senate Bill 87, would extend the Disabled Veterans Standard Homestead Exemption to all spouses of military members who would have otherwise been eligible for the credit.

    “We should honor the sacrifice that many families make for their country when their loved ones go off to protect us,” Link said. “This is just one small thing we can do as a state to respect that sacrifice.”

    Currently, if the veteran died prior to 2007 then the spouse would not be eligible for the tax exemption even though they would have otherwise qualified.

  • link 020217SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents with multiple sclerosis could receive easier access to medically necessary physical therapy without the fear of burdensome limits or calendar year maximums.

    “People struggling with multiple sclerosis need access to physical therapy to delay or prevent future problems,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said.

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  • LinkMO100516Waukegan - Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) and Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) applauded Walgreens who unveiled new medication disposal kiosks at three Lake County Walgreens locations.

    Link and Morrison believe that providing safe opportunities to dispose of old and unused medication will only help the state in fighting the opioid addiction crisis. In 2014, Senator Link pushed legislation through the General Assembly that would allow police departments to safely collect unused and old medications.

    “Fighting drug addiction needs to be a top priority in Illinois. By providing places that residents can safely deposit their unused medications, we can eliminate opportunities for drug abuse by others,” Link said. “This proactive step by Walgreens will help to create a safer Illinois and continue the fight against prescription drug abuse.”

  • Political rights for 17-year-olds expanded in IllinoisSPRINGFIELD - Seventeen-year-olds soon will be receiving more rights when it comes to getting involved in the political process.

    House Bill 6167, which was sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), was signed into law today. The new law would allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary of a consolidated election if they would be 18 by the time of the consolidated election. Consolidated elections are held primarily for local offices, like school boards, city councils and village boards.

    “We should be opening up access to the voting booth for those who will be 18 to have a full say in who represents them at every level of government,” Link said.

  • link 052616SPRINGFIELD—A measure restricting the amount of time that unclaimed property can sit with government entities was signed into law on Friday.

    Senate Bill 2783, sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), will change the time that a government entity can hold on to unclaimed property from 7 years to 5 years. Currently, after 7 years, it has to be sent to the state treasurer to be put into the I-Cash system that tries to return unclaimed property to its rightful owner.

    “This new law will allow the state treasurer to get someone’s rightful property to them sooner,” Link said. “We are talking about unclaimed checks that are doing nothing but collecting dust. Now we can work towards getting it to where it can be utilized.”

    The proposal was an initiative of State Treasurer Michael Frerichs who has made it a priority to get unclaimed property where it belongs.

    “This simple step can make a big difference to thousands of families in our state,” Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. “Cities and other units of local government do not mean to retain this property. This change can relieve a government burden, reduce paperwork, and return money to where it belongs.”

    The legislation passed both chambers with bipartisan support.

  • Link measure to modernize elections becomes lawSPRINGFIELD - A measure sponsored by State Senator Terry Link that would assist in cleaning voter rolls and modernizing the election process was signed into law Thursday.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 1529, would allow the state to create the Electronic Registration Information (ERIC) Operations Fund. ERIC is an organization that collects voter information across states to update voter rolls.

    “Something that we continually have to do is preserve the integrity of our elections. By investing in our election system, we can ensure a smoother and more transparent process,” Link said.

  • link realIDSPRINGFIELD—Illinois residents could avoid security problems at airports and other federal buildings thanks to legislation passed by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    In January, Illinois officials were told they had two years to comply with federal REAL ID requirements or Illinois residents would have extra headaches in TSA lines throughout the country. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office implemented many changes, but others required legislative approval.

    “Ensuring that Illinoisans can enter federal buildings and utilize the services of airports is critical for our economy and general well-being,” Link said. “It is time that we comply with the federal law and make sure all Illinoisans follow the REAL ID act.”

    Senate Bill 637 would pave the way for Illinois to be in compliance with federal law by doing the three following:

    1. Require proof of lawful presence in the United States. If proof is not available the applicant for a driver’s license will be given a temporary visitors driver’s license.
    2. Bar residents from having both a driver’s license and an ID card at the same time.
    3. Limit the validity of a driver’s license or ID card to no more than eight years.

    The Senate voted to pass the legislation and it now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.

  • link usedcarSPRINGFIELD—Consumers soon could receive more warranty protection when buying a used car in Illinois thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    Under House Bill 4377, used automobile sales would include an implied warranty that would last for 15 days after the purchase or until 500 miles are driven, whichever comes first. The implied warranty would allow a buyer to give notice of a breach of warranty to the seller to allow for a remedy.

  • link 052616SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) is fighting to change the way defendants are informed about the consequences that could face them if they plead guilty to or are convicted of a crime.

    House Bill 2569, sponsored by Link in the Senate, would require judges inform defendants of the maximum and minimum penalties they may face.

    “Our judicial system is built on due process and individual rights,” Link said. “How can we say that the judicial system is fair when defendants may not fully understand the consequences they face if they are convicted or plead guilty?”

    The legislation also requires judges to inform defendants that they could face increased penalties if they commit additional crimes in the future.

    “Many defendants may plead guilty or be convicted without any idea what the future will bring in their lives,” Link said.

    The legislation now moves to the House for a final vote.

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  • Link pushes for suffrage at 17SPRINGFIELD - Seventeen-year-olds throughout Illinois could see expanded voting rights because of legislation Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) is pushing through the Illinois Senate.

    House Bill 6167 would allow 17-year-olds throughout the state to vote in the consolidated primary election if they will be 18 by the consolidated election. This is an expansion of the law that allowed 17-year-olds to vote in the general primary election if they were 18 by the general election.