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Link plan addressing mental health services for law enforcement, firefighters signed into law

Senator LinkSPRINGFIELD – A comprehensive proposal by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) aimed at ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues among firefighters and law enforcement officers was signed into law today by Gov. Pritzker.

“The men and women who dedicate their lives to the protection of their neighbors do so under extremely stressful situations that few others can truly understand,” Link said. “Ensuring there are services available when needed shows our brave first responders that even if they face these tough working conditions, they aren’t alone.”

Link’s rail safety measure signed into law

freighttrain 081319SPRINGFIELD – A proposal passed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) increasing rail safety in Illinois was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Pritzker.

Link’s new law requires freight trains in Illinois to be operated by a crew of at least two people – a move that comes after recent news that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is abandoning its efforts for minimum train crew staffing levels.

“With federal bureaucrats failing to act to protect public safety, it is clear states must act on their own,” Link said. “This is simply a matter of protecting the general public. Two-person crews can react more efficiently to mechanical failures or equipment malfunctions and can potentially save lives in a serious situation.”

Link’s new law – which passed under Senate Bill 24 – requires freight trains to be operated by a crew of at least two individuals. Illinois joins Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, California and Arizona in enacting some form of train crew requirement.

“With the FRA abdicating its safety oversight duties and choosing to protect railroad profits over public safety, it's now more important than ever for states to take over that role to protect its citizens from corporate greed,” said Bob Guy, SMART TD Legislative Director for Illinois. “At a time when freight trains are increasingly longer and carrying the most hazardous of chemicals through our communities, common sense tells us that response time to critical incidents involving trains is surely enhanced when a safe and adequate train crew size of at least two individuals are deployed, which is already the industry norm today and should be well into the future."

Senate Bill 24 was signed by the governor on Friday and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. 

Link proposal expanding government consolidation signed into law

link 031219SPRINGFIELD – A proposal passed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) to expand local government consolidation efforts in Lake and McHenry Counties was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Pritzker.

“One of the biggest concerns I continue to hear from constituents is the high cost of property taxes,” Link said. “Government consolidation is one tool we have to lower that burden for suburban homeowners and small businesses.”

Link’s new law – contained in House Bill 348 – will require that road districts in Lake and McHenry Counties be abolished if they contain less than 15 miles of roadway. The law also allows townships in McHenry County to be dissolved through a petition-initiated process.

In 2017, Link supported a law that allowed townships to merge with adjacent townships and allowed townships that share coterminous boundaries with a municipality to be dissolved.

“Government works best when it delivers quality services to its residents in the most efficient way possible,” Link said. “Having a separate layer of government to take care of less than 15 miles of roadway simply doesn’t make any sense. Government consolidation is long overdue, and eliminating wasteful road districts is the perfect place to start.”

House Bill 348 was signed into law on Friday afternoon and takes effect immediately.

Closed captioning requirement to ensure access for individuals with hearing loss

closedcaptions 072919SPRINGFIELD – The number of adults in the United States with hearing loss is expected to jump from 44 million to 73 million by 2060. With a growing number of individuals residing in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) championed a measure requiring the use of closed captioning on televisions in hospitals and other care facilities.

Link’s plan – House Bill 3468 – was signed into law last week by Gov. Pritzker. 

“For many experiencing hearing loss, background noise can make it especially difficult to hear what is being said,” Link said. “Turning on the closed captioning feature is a simple step that staff can take to ensure all viewers can enjoy what they are watching.”

House Bill 3468 requires hospitals, alternative health care models, Community Living Facilities, long-term care facilities, MC/DD facilities, ID/DD facilities, specialized mental health rehabilitation facilities, and community-integrated living arrangements to make reasonable efforts to have the closed captioning feature on a television activated at all times in a common area provided for use by the general public or in a patient's room. 

The new law will bring Illinois into legal compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires certain health care facilities that provide televisions to use closed captioning for individuals with impaired hearing.

House Bill 3468 was signed into law on July 22, 2019 and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Sen. Terry Link

Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link

30th District
Assistant Majority Leader

Years served:
1997 - Present

Committee assignments: Assignments; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive; Financial Institutions (Vice-Chairperson); Insurance; Subcommittee on Gaming (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Partner, Lake County Industrial Equipment; born March 20, 1947, in Waukegan; attended Stout State University; married (wife, Susan McCall Link), has four children.

Associated Representatives:
Daniel Didech
Rita Mayfield