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  • Link: Expanded vote-by-mail law will ensure safety in 2020 election

    Vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – A new measure backed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that would help ensure Illinois voters can safely participate in the November 2020 General Election was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

    “With the possibility COVID-19 will still be a problem in our state in the fall, it’s critical that we ensure voters can participate in the election, even if they do not feel safe going to their usual polling place,” Link said.

    Senate Bill 1863 expands Illinois’ vote-by-mail program for the 2020 General Election. Under the new law, anyone who has voted in the last two years will receive a vote-by-mail application. New voters registering online may also automatically request a vote-by-mail ballot rather than having to apply.

    The measure also establishes Election Day, November 3, 2020 as a holiday for Illinois schools and universities. Some schools and universities will be used as polling locations and will be properly cleaned before students and staff return.

    The law further allows election authorities to establish a curb-side voting program and extends early voting hours at polling locations.

    “We can’t allow the novel coronavirus infringe on anyone’s ability to exercise their democratic right,” Link said. “This law will help ensure every eligible voter can participate in our process.”

    Senate Bill 1863 takes effect immediately.

  • North Chicago school district to receive $200,000 teacher residency grant

    Senator LinkNORTH CHICAGO – North Chicago CUSD 187 will receive a $200,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to implement teacher residencies, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced Thursday.

    “Illinois is facing a teacher shortage, and it’s essential that we provide school districts with all the tools available to recruit and retain qualified teachers,” Link said. “Teacher residency programs provide yet another pathway to help schools ensure they can put high-quality teachers in classrooms.”

    Teacher residency programs offer an alternative to the traditional teacher preparation experience. In partnership with state-recognized higher education institutions that have approved teacher preparation programs, residency programs provide clinical experience alongside mentor teachers while also providing additional staffing in high-need areas.

    The State Board of Education is also now accepting applications for the next round of Teacher Residency Planning Grants. The grant application is open to local education agencies that serve high numbers of students of color or low-income students, or have a high demand for new teachers.

    For more information or to apply, visit www.isbe.net/Pages/Educator-Effectiveness-Grants.aspx.

  • Link: Budget ensures essential services remain available during pandemic

    link 030719INDIAN HILLS – The state budget signed into law today by Gov. JB Pritzker preserves essential services that Illinoisans need most during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Hills) says.

    “We returned to Springfield last month to ensure our state’s most important resources remain available for its residents, and that’s what’s in this budget,” Link said. “People are struggling, and now isn’t the time to make cuts that would eliminate services – not when people need them most.”

    Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2021 budget includes full funding for P-12 education, a total investment of $12.6 billion. That includes $7.2 billion for the state’s evidence-based funding system, ensuring that school districts won’t be receiving less in state funding than last year.

    The budget also holds funding flat for the state’s public colleges and universities, ensuring they won’t be forced to make steep cuts and eliminate services. 

    Further, the spending plan once again makes Illinois’ full required pension payment.

    “This budget provides stability in the face of the unprecedented challenges the people of Illinois are facing as a result of COVID-19,” Link said. “I’m glad we were able to retain critical services that will help Illinois residents cope with this pandemic.”

  • Link fights to expand vote-by-mail for 2020 election

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – A measure championed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) to help voters participate safely in the November 2020 General Election passed the Illinois Senate Friday.

    “There’s no guarantee that voters won’t still be at risk for contracting COVID-19 when they come to the polls in November,” Link said. “We have a responsibility to put measures in place to keep them safe.”

  • New drive-thru COVID-19 testing site available in Waukegan

    covid drive thru 050420WAUKEGAN – A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility in Waukegan is now open to area residents, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced.

    “It remains critical that we continue to test as many individuals as possible to help us better understand the presence of this virus in Lake County and help limit its spread,” Link said. “If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, I highly encourage you to stop by this new site and get tested.”

    The new Waukegan testing site is located at 2161 Northwestern Avenue in Waukegan and will be open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. while supplies last.

  • Link encourages local businesses to apply for new loan, grant programs

    Sen. Terry LinkINDIAN CREEK – Assistance for restaurants, hotels and other small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak is available through two new state programs, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced Friday.

    “This pandemic is having major repercussions on our local businesses, many of which have had to close temporarily,” Link said. “It’s critical that our state finds ways to help them through this difficult time.”

    To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for sm​all businesses outside of Chicago.

  • Link lauds temporary closure of Medline facility

    Senator LinkWAUKEGAN – State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) applauded Medline Industries’ decision to temporarily close its Waukegan sterilization plant while working to decrease ethylene oxide emissions.

    “It’s clear just how dangerous exposure to ethylene oxide can be,” Link said. “I’m glad to see that Medline is taking the health consequences of people who live near the plant seriously.”

    The company announced Tuesday that it will temporarily halt sterilization operations at the Waukegan facility to install nearly $10 million worth of upgrades to comply with new state laws regulating ethylene oxide.

    Last year, Link co-sponsored a law that set emission limits for non-sterilizations facilities that emit ethylene oxide and requires them to obtain permits from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. He also sponsored a law to prevent renewal of permits for facilities that violate state or federal standards for ethylene oxide emissions.

    Both measures took effect in June.

    “We need tight regulations on ethylene oxide to ensure that the public health is protected in communities that neighbor these plants,” Link said. “The laws we passed last spring are a good step forward, but we still have a lot of work to do on this issue.”

    Last year, a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found higher levels of ethylene oxide in the blood of people who live near plants that emit the chemical. Further studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program have all demonstrated a link between ethylene oxide and cancer.

  • Link passes measures to ban public use of e-cigarettes

    E-CigarettesSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that would ban public consumption of e-cigarettes passed the Illinois state Senate Tuesday.

    “It’s only fair that we treat these products the same way we treat cigarettes,” Link said. “It’s still unclear what the health effects of these devices are and people shouldn’t be forced to be exposed to them in public places if they don’t want to.”

    According to the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 1,600 cases of vaping-related ailments reported, including 34 deaths across 24 states.

    Senate Bill 1864 would expand the Smoke Free Illinois Act by prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products in public places, places of employment and within 15 feet of building entrances.

    The measure could also help curb youth-cigarette use.

  • Pension loophole closed under new Link law

    Sen. Terry LinkSPRINGFIELD – After a high-profile loophole allowed several Lake County Board members to draw their Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension while still serving on the county board, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) passed a proposal to end the practice.

    On Friday, Link’s proposal was signed into law by Gov. Pritzker.

    “No elected official should be both serving in office while also drawing a retirement check for the work done in that capacity,” Link said. “It is a clear violation of the public trust and an integrity issue, as county board members have the ability to pass measures that could increase their own retirement benefits.”

  • 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 proposal would expand access to mental health services for police officers, firefighters

    police fire 032019SPRINGFIELD –Firefighters and law enforcement officers would have expanded access to mental health services under a proposal by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that passed the Senate recently. 

    “The men and women who dedicate their lives to the protection of their neighbors do so under extremely stressful situations that can have an impact on the mental health of an individual,” Link said. “Ensuring there are services available when needed acknowledges these often tough working conditions and is vital to maintain the overall health of our brave first responders.”

     

  • Link passes rail safety initiative

    Senator LinkSPRINGFIELD – Freight trains in Illinois would be required to be operated by a crew of at least two people under a safety proposal introduced by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that passed the Senate this week.

    “Incidents across the country continue to highlight the importance of two-person crews on freight trains,” Link said. “It is simply a matter of public safety. Two-person crews can react more efficiently to mechanical failures or equipment malfunctions and can potentially save lives in a serious situation.”

    Link’s measure – contained in Senate Bill 24 – requires freight trains to be operated by a crew of at least two individuals until a federal rule or law is adopted that addresses how many crew members should operate a freight train.

    If passed and signed into law, Illinois would join Wisconsin, California and Arizona in enacting some form of train crew requirement.

    “We feel this is a commonsense measure until there is a federal law put in place,” said Bob Guy, SMART TD Legislative Director for Illinois. “Trains break down on a daily basis. A minor issue can bring a train to a halt. What happens when that is in the middle of a community?”

    Senate Bill 24 passed the Senate on Thursday on a 35-19 vote. Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) will be sponsoring the proposal in the Illinois House.

  • Link working to close pension loophole

    Senator LinkSPRINGFIELD – County board members and elected local governmental officials would no longer have the ability to take a salary and draw from their pension while still in office under a reform measure passed this week by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek).

    “No elected official should be both serving in office while also drawing a retirement check for the work done in that capacity,” Link said. “It is a clear violation of the public trust and an integrity issue, as county board members have the ability to pass measures that could increase the retirement benefits of that board.”

  • Link passes proposal to reaffirm protections for childhood sexual abuse victims

    link 040419SPRINGFIELD –Childhood sexual abuse victims would be reaffirmed in their right to bring civil charges against their perpetrator and those who fraudulently concealed their crime under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that passed the Senate today.

    “Our laws should reflect our values that victims and their rights should be protected,” Link said. “While it is impossible to go back in time and prevent these horrific crimes from occurring, we should be doing everything in our power to seek justice for these individuals.”

    Link’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 1868, reaffirms the ability of victims of childhood sexual abuse cases to bring a civil claim against an abuser or an individual who fraudulently concealed the crime. The legislation builds off a law Link passed in 2013 that eliminated the statute of limitations on bringing civil claims for damages from childhood sexual abuse.

    Link introduced the plan after a report issued by former Attorney General Lisa Madigan in December of 2018 revealed accusations of child sexual abuse against nearly 700 Catholic priests throughout Illinois.

    Link’s measure would ensure victims are able to recoup civil damages if there is evidence that their perpetrator intentionally tried to conceal the crime.

    “Confronting an accuser is often part of the healing process for victims,” Link said. “It is especially important for childhood sexual abuse survivors, who experience extreme traumas that often leave scars for life.”

    Senate Bill 1868 passed the Senate this afternoon on a 52-3 vote and will now head to the Illinois House for further debate.

  • Link passes proposal to expand supervision of dementia patients

    Care for dementia patients SPRINGFIELD – Families of individuals who reside in facilities that care for dementia patients would have the ability to install video and audio monitoring devices in their loved one’s room under a plan sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that passed the Senate this afternoon.

    “No one who is being cared for by medical staff should ever have to worry about being abused or taken advantage of,” Link said. “While we know most care staff treat their patients with dignity and respect, allowing video monitoring equipment will serve as a deterrent to misconduct and offer peace of mind to family members.”

  • Link: “Our laws should reflect our values that victims and their rights should be protected”

    Senator LinkSPRINGFIELD – Childhood sexual abuse victims would be reaffirmed in their right to bring civil charges against their perpetrator and those who fraudulently concealed their crime under a proposal advanced today by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek).

    “Victims of childhood sexual abuse experience extreme traumas that often leave scars for life,” Link said. “While it is impossible to go back in time and prevent these horrific crimes from occurring, we should be doing everything in our power to seek justice for these individuals.”

    Link’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 1868, reaffirms the ability of victims of childhood sexual abuse cases to bring a civil claim against an abuser or an individual who fraudulently concealed the crime. The legislation builds off a law Link passed in 2013 that eliminated the statute of limitations on bringing civil claims for damages from childhood sexual abuse.

    Link introduced the plan after a report issued by former Attorney General Lisa Madigan in December of 2018 revealed accusations of child sexual abuse against nearly 700 Catholic priests throughout Illinois.

    Link’s measure would ensure victims are able to recoup civil damages if there is evidence that their perpetrator intentionally tried to conceal the crime.

    “Our laws should reflect our values that victims and their rights should be protected,” Link said.

    Senate Bill 1868 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon without opposition and will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • Morrison passes Tobacco 21, measure heads to the governor

    morrison 031419

  • Link advances plan to expand protections for dementia patients

    link 031219SPRINGFIELD – Families of individuals who reside in facilities that care for dementia patients would have the ability to install video and audio monitoring devices in their loved one’s room under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that passed the Senate Public Health Committee this afternoon.

    “Dementia patients are especially vulnerable to abuse at the hands of their caretakers,” Link said. “While we know most care staff treat their patients with dignity and respect, allowing video monitoring equipment will serve as a deterrent to misconduct and offer peace of mind to family members.”

    Senate Bill 109 allows for electronic monitoring in patient rooms in a building or wing of a building solely dedicated to dementia care. Link’s proposal builds off a 2015 law he passed that allowed for video and audio monitoring equipment in facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities or in long-term care facilities.

    The original proposal came in response to multiple complaints received by the Illinois Department of Public Health about abuse, neglect and theft against nursing home residents.

    “We must continue working to ensure that anyone who is susceptible to abuse or mistreatment is protected and cared for,” Link said.

    Senate Bill 109 passed the Senate Public Health Committee without opposition this afternoon and will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • Link passes proposal to expand property tax credit available to disabled veterans and their spouses

    link 030719SPRINGFIELD –Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) advanced legislation today to provide a property tax credit for surviving spouses of veterans killed or disabled in the line of duty.

    “Our veterans and their families have dedicated their professions and their lives to serving our country and the ideals we hold high,” Link said. “As a state, it is important we recognize that sacrifice and ensure we acknowledge the importance their service continues to play,” Link said.

    Link’s Senate Bill 110 expands the Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption, providing property tax relief to veterans with service-connected disabilities. The legislation addresses oversights of a 2007 law by adding qualifying spouses to the property tax credit program. 

    Link’s proposal seeks to clarify eligibility to include the spouses of veterans killed or disabled in the line of duty prior to 2007.

    Link passed a similar proposal out of the Senate in 2017 that was not called for a vote in the Illinois House.

    Senate Bill 110 passed the Senate without opposition this afternoon and will now head to the Illinois House for further debate. 

  • Link’s safety initiative would require two-person freight train crews

    link 040618SPRINGFIELD –Freight trains in Illinois would be required to be operated by a crew of at least two people under a safety proposal introduced by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that was discussed Tuesday in the Senate Transportation Committee. 

    “Incidents across the country continue to highlight the importance of two-person crews on freight trains,” Link said. “It is simply a matter of public safety. Two-person crews can react more efficiently to mechanical failures or equipment malfunctions and can potentially save lives in a serious situation.”

    Link’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 24, would require freight trains to be operated by a crew of at least two individuals until a federal rule or law is adopted that addresses how many crew members should operate a freight train.

    If passed and signed into law, Illinois would join Wisconsin, California and Arizona in enacting some form of train crew requirement.

    “We feel this is a common sense measure until there is a federal law put in place,” said Bob Guy, SMART TD Legislative Director for Illinois. “Trains break down on a daily basis. A minor issue can bring a train to a halt. What happens when that is in the middle of a community?”

    Subject-matter testimony on Senate Bill 24 was heard Tuesday afternoon in the Senate Transportation Committee.