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Hastings urges Illinoisans to recognize Vietnam veterans

vietnamvets 110119SPRINGFIELD – A resolution designating Nov. 1, 2019 as Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day was adopted by the Senate this week.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is the Senate sponsor of the resolution.

“Many of those who fought valiantly for their country in Vietnam were wrongfully met with scorn and disdain upon their return home,” Hastings said. “These brave individuals deserve the utmost respect and recognition for their service, as they have seen and experienced things that a precious few can even remotely imagine.”

House Joint Resolution 15 urges all Illinoisans to show support for Americans who have served their country, and for the governor and Secretary of State to lower all flags within their purview to half-staff on Nov. 1, 2019.

Hastings announces major improvements to South Suburban highways and bridges

roadconst 070819SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) announced that the recently released Illinois Department of Transportation five-year Highway Improvement Program includes major improvements to several major highways and bridges across the South Suburbs.

“The Rebuild Illinois Project is beginning to bear fruit,” Hastings said. “With I-80, I-57 and I-355 serving as key arteries of this region's transportation hub, their upkeep is essential. Residents from Joliet to Matteson are going to see quality results, making their lives safer and easier over the next five years.”

Projects beginning in 2020 include widening I-80 from US Route 30 in New Lenox to Ridge Road in Minooka, improvements to Illinois Route 6 at Gouger Road in New Lenox, additional lighting for expressways from Matteson to Richton Park and repaving I-80 from Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park to US Route 30 in New Lenox.

The next five years will also see the restructuring of the I-80 bridge over the Des Plaines River, complete with repaving, widening, and structural improvements.

“Widespread infrastructure improvements have been necessary for years, but this bridge in particular has presented a clear, pressing need,” Hastings said. “We’ve seen bridges crumble due to negligence. This was a public safety problem, so I am thrilled that we are taking the necessary steps to provide safe means of transportation for our communities.”

A complete breakdown of highway improvement projects in the 19th District can be found here: http://www.idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Transportation-System/Reports/OP&P/HIP/2020-2025/ilsenate/sdist19.pdf

Hastings lauds mental health care reform for first responders

police fire 032019SPRINGFIELD – Legislation supported by Senator Michael E. Hastings which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues among first responders was signed into law on Friday.

“We need to make sure that those in the first responder community who are struggling have properly trained help readily available to them,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “This ensures that these men and women receive the best possible treatment and are unafraid to seek it.”

House Bill 2766 ensures individuals tasked with providing peer support counseling to law enforcement and firefighters are properly trained and that those who seek out mental health treatment will be protected under the law without fear of termination or discrimination.

Additionally, the new law will create a task force to study recommendations to help reduce the risk of suicide among first responders.

A 2017 study by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that more police officers and firefighters died due to suicide than all line-of-duty deaths combined. The study also highlighted the vast underreporting of suicides, with concerns that the problem is much more complex than experts had anticipated.

“The lifestyle of a first responder is a unique experience, and that means we need to provide them with a different sort of care. I am thrilled that we are on the path to helping them find it with this legislation,” Hastings said.

House Bill 2766 goes into effect immediately.

Hastings applauds new law increasing teacher minimum wage

hastings 051719SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to raise the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 per year over the next five years was signed into law today.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings was a cosponsor on this initiative as it made its way through the Senate.

“Teachers deserve to earn a living wage regardless of where they live across our state. I personally know teachers that take money out of their own pockets to decorate classrooms and purchase supplies,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “I’m proud to be able to say that we’re acting on behalf of the selfless men and women who we are entrusting with our children’s wellbeing."

Under House Bill 2078, the state will update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually over four years, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. The wage will be raised incrementally to:

  • $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year;
  • $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year; and
  • $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

    “With this legislation, we’re sending a message to prospective teachers in and around our state that Illinois is ready to offer a stable living situation for these dedicated individuals,” Hastings said. "It’s long past the time to pay teachers what they are worth, and this legislation is a tremendous first step toward that goal."

Sen. Michael E. Hastings

hastings 150
19th Legislative District

Years served: 2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive (Chairperson); Insurance; Judiciary; Subcommittee on Election Law; Subcommittee on Gaming.

Biography: Born October 6th, 1980, in Orland Hills; B.S. in Leadership and Management, Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, M.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; former US Army Captain; Bronze Star recipient; former trustee and vice president for High School District 230.

Associated Representatives:
Margo McDermed
Debbie Meyers-Martin