River Edge Tax Credit passes General Assembly; Holmes applauds local redevelopment program

holmes 120116SPRINGFIELD — In a concurrence vote today, the Illinois Senate passed a measure extending a tax credit program that has already helped spur development in Aurora, moving the legislation out of the General Assembly and before the governor.

“I’m pleased to see the River Edge Tax Credit extension pass the Senate today and applaud Representative Linda Chapa LaVia on her hard work in supporting it in the House,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora. “This program encourages development and employment in a way that preserves our rich local history, and I will be urging my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly vote Yes on extending it.”

The River Edge Tax Credit provides some tax relief to developers who seek to rehabilitate old properties for modern use. Earlier this year, developers broke ground on a redevelopment project that transformed the old St. Charles Hospital in Aurora into a new senior living center. The building, now in the National Register of Historic Places, was originally built in 1932 and had fallen into disuse.

The University of Illinois determined in a study that the River Edge program can generate as much as $10 for every $1 the state invests.

The legislation is Senate Bill 1488. Having passed the General Assembly, it awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Holmes appointed to state’s Human Trafficking Task Force

holmes 071916AURORA — To research, investigate and determine the full scope of the problem of human trafficking in Illinois, the Illinois Senate President named State Sen. Linda Holmes to a newly formed task force today.

“Illinois is a travel hub and a melting pot for the United States, and as such it’s our duty to fight to uncover a crime that thrives on exploiting people by hiding them in plain sight,” Holmes said. “I’m eager to begin this important work, not just for Illinois, but as a part of the international community.”

President John Cullerton named Holmes, D-Aurora, and two other Democratic senators to the Human Trafficking Task Force, which was formed as a result of House Bill 2822, passed earlier this year. Per the enacting legislation, the task force will consist of 14 members that include three appointed by each caucus leader of the General Assembly and two appointed by the governor.

The task force is charged with providing the General Assembly a comprehensive report on human trafficking, including recommendations for action, by June 30, 2017.


Illinois will provide new wallet card for autism spectrum disorders

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Aug. 30: Corrected version of an Aug. 19 press release below. The earlier version improperly stated the cost of the wallet card created by this legislation. There will be no charge. We regret the error.

SPRINGFIELD - To provide more protection for persons with autism spectrum disorders and greater ability for medical personnel to quickly assess patients who have them, the governor signed legislation last week by Aurora-area lawmakers State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit and State Sen. Linda Holmes that would issue informational wallet cards.

“This is good legislation that will be beneficial for first responders as they engage with individuals who may have developmental disabilities such as autism,” said Kifowit, D-Aurora. “It came from a concerned parent who was able to foresee how we can avoid some of these concerns. The main goal is to reduce conflicts and bring awareness of individuals with the special needs that came with autism.”

“This is another means of using a little forethought and preparation to help people (and help the people that help people),” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “I thank the governor for signing it into law and want to remind family members of those with disorders on the autism spectrum that you, too can get a card to have handy to provide to medical personnel in an emergency.”

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White commended Holmes and Kifowit’s efforts to raise autism awareness in a statement Monday.

“Providing these new cards to eligible drivers is a service that can help both emergency responders and law enforcement officials when they must be able to quickly assess a situation and the individuals involved,” White said. “It is my hope that by doing so we can avoid some unpleasant and unfortunate misunderstandings.”

Much like medical bracelets, the wallet cards are designed to convey crucial personal medical information to first responders and hospital personnel in situations when a person may be incapacitated or otherwise incapable of communicating to the people treating him or her. Cards will be available from the Department of Human Services.

The legislation was House Bill 4257. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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.

Sen. Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader
42nd District

Years served: 2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Commerce and Economic Development (Chairperson); Executive; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.

Associated Representatives:
Barbara Hernandez
Stephanie A. Kifowit