Link

  • 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.

  • Link leads Senate in appointing new ethics watchdog

    Sen. Terry LinkSPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) led the Senate today in approving Carol M. Pope as new Legislative Inspector General, a post responsible for investigating complaints made against lawmakers and legislative employees.

    “Judge Carol Pope has all of the necessary experience and background to be an excellent Legislative Inspector General,” Link said. “It is vitally important that allegations of misconduct are investigated and properly handled. I have the upmost trust that Judge Pope will live up to those expectations.”

    Judge Pope was recommended unanimously by the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission in December to fill the post full time after Julie Porter was appointed to serve as temporary inspector general until a permanent appointment was made.

  • New ethics watchdog backed by Senator Link

    link 042618SPRINGFIELD – Senator Terry Link offered his support for Judge Carol Pope to be the next Illinois Legislative Inspector General, the top ethics watchdog for the General Assembly and its employees.

    “Judge Carol Pope has a long career in public service and the experience, qualifications and character that are necessary for the important role of Legislative Inspector General,” said Senator Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat. “The people of Illinois can trust Judge Pope to investigate and take proper action regarding any cases that come through the office.” 

    Link is a member of the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission that is recommending Pope be hired.  

    Judge Pope currently serves as a member of the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee, which provides ethics advice to judges throughout Illinois. Pope previously served seven years as a State’s Attorney in Menard County, 17 years as a Circuit Court Judge and nine years as Appellate Justice in the Fourth Appellate District.

  • Link moves to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21

    link 040618SPRINGFIELD – A longtime champion of stricter tobacco legislation, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) moved today to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.

    “For the first time in years, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise,” Link said. “Raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 will cut down on access for teenagers and curb the next generation of adult smokers.”

    It has been more than 10 years since Link’s Smoke Free Illinois legislation banning smoking in most public places went in to effect. Since Smoke Free Illinois, there has been a 20 percent decrease in hospitalization of various smoking-related diseases. But with the advent of e-cigarettes, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise for the first time in years.

    “Smoke Free Illinois was a major step forward in improving the health of our residents and making Illinois a better place to live,” Link said. “Tobacco 21 builds on those efforts and moves us one step closer to a healthier, smoke-free Illinois.”

    Limiting access to cigarettes has proven effective in reducing the rate of tobacco use among teens. In October 2014, Evanston became the first Illinois community to adopt Tobacco 21. Since then, tobacco use among high schoolers has dropped by 37.5 percent.

  • Senators honor fallen firefighters at annual memorial service (VIDEO)

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  • Fallen officers honored at annual Police Memorial (VIDEO)

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  • Link advances bill allowing video gaming in veterans establishments

    link 042618SPRINGFIELD – Veterans establishments across Illinois would be allowed to apply for video gaming licenses under a measure from Senator Terry Link that passed out of the Senate today.

    “Our service members and veterans have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Link (D-Vernon Hills). “I strongly believe that their service should warrant them special permission to allow video gaming in their facilities if they so choose.”

    Senate Bill 3166 allows the Illinois Gaming Board to issue video gaming licenses to licensed veterans establishments within cities or counties which have otherwise prohibited video gaming.

    “Allowing veterans’ establishments special permission to have video gaming machines in their facilities is just one more way we can show our support and gratitude for their service to our country,” Link said.

  • Parks and recreation take center stage in the Capitol (VIDEO)

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  • New Link law paves way for 5G wireless in Illinois

    link 041218SPRINGFIELD – A measure from Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) that will make Illinois a leader in wireless technology advancements and create 100,000 new Illinois jobs was signed into law today.

    “As technology continues to advance and smartphone data use continues to increase, it's important that we have the infrastructure in place to support those advancements,” Link said. “This measure will help ensure a smooth transition to 5G and allow Illinois to stay at the forefront of new wireless technology.”

  • Schools to receive new money from education funding overhaul

    IL School Buses

    Illinois schools will soon see millions in new money through the education funding overhaul passed by the Senate last year.

    The Illinois State Board of Education on Thursday issued vouchers to the state comptroller that clear the way for local school districts to begin receiving money under Illinois’ new evidence-based model of funding public schools.

    The distribution – which is based on detailed enrollment figures, district-specific student learning needs, available local resources and other data – is the first step toward right-sizing state support for every school district. No schools will ever receive less state funding than they do today under the new plan.

  • Link announces $17 million in new funding for Lake County schools

    link 040618SPRINGFIELD – Some of Lake County’s most underfunded school districts will receive a significant boost under Illinois’ new education funding formula, Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) announced today.

    Schools in Waukegan and North Chicago specifically will receive close to $17 million in new state support because they are among Illinois’ least funded districts and unable to adequately educate their students.

    “When we passed education funding reform last year, we recognized that each school district in our state has unique needs that should be taken into consideration when we distribute funds,” Link said. “When these funds are released, the neediest districts will get the most funding, giving every student in Illinois an equal opportunity for a quality education.”

    The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issued vouchers to the Illinois Comptroller today that clear the way for schools around the state to begin receiving money under the new evidence-based model.

    ISBE worked with school districts and lawmakers for months to calculate the distribution, taking into account enrollment, district-specific student learning needs, available local resources and other data.

    The overhaul of education funding reform passed by the Senate last year created a tiered system in which money is prioritized for the districts furthest from the adequacy target. 

    No school district in the state received less money today than it did last year.

    The distributions for schools in Link’s district are as follows:

    School district

    Percent of adequacy

    Tier

    New Money

    Total State Contribution

    GURNEE SCHOOL DIST 56

     

    76%

    2

    $87,941.57

    $2,612,975.89

    WAUKEGAN C U SCHOOL DIST 60

     

    50%

    1

    $14,333,114.59

    $124,538,347.73

    RONDOUT SCHOOL DIST 72

     

    283%

    4

    $190.85

    $103,333.04

    HAWTHORN C C SCHOOL DIST 73

     

    82%

    2

    $108,504.27

    $3,834,239.36

    MUNDELEIN ELEM SCHOOL DIST 75

     

    67%

    2

    $146,130.92

    $3,923,325.03

    KILDEER COUNTRYSIDE C C S DIST 96

     

    120%

    4

    $4,584.24

    $2,472,869.67

    APTAKISIC-TRIPP C C S DIST 102

     

    111%

    4

    $3,275.33

    $1,762,112.12

    LINCOLNSHIRE-PRAIRIEVIEW S D 103

     

    134%

    4

    $2,358.37

    $1,030,560.75

    MUNDELEIN CONS HIGH SCH DIST 120

     

    91%

    3

    $50,496.96

    $1,952,852.54

    ADLAI E STEVENSON DIST 125

     

    166%

    4

    $6,239.15

    $2,547,512.13

    LIBERTYVILLE COMM H SCH DIST 128

     

    168%

    4

    $5,101.21

    $2,116,554.57

    NORTH CHICAGO SCHOOL DIST 187

     

    53%

    1

    $2,499,168.12

    $27,116,808.10              

  • Senate Dems react to governor's Fiscal 2019 budget address

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  • Senate welcomes Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago (AUDIO)

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  • Senators react to governor's State of the State speech

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  • Link: Tobacco 21 will reduce use among teens, improve health of Illinoisans

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – With tobacco use on the rise among teens for the first time in years, Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) is sponsoring a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.

    “Smoke Free Illinois was a major step forward in improving the health of Illinoisans and making our state a better place to live,” Link said. “Tobacco 21 builds on that effort by reducing the number of teen smokers and curbing the next generation of adult smokers, moving us one step closer to a healthier, smoke-free Illinois.”

    It has been more than 10 years since Link’s Smoke Free Illinois legislation banning smoking in most public places went in to effect. Since Smoke Free Illinois, there has been a 20 percent decrease in hospitalization of various smoking-related diseases. But with the advent of e-cigarettes, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise for the first time in years.

    “More than 90 percent of smokers start before the age of 21,” Link said. “We must do everything possible to curb teen use and protect the lives of adolescent Illinoisans. Tobacco 21 will help us do that.”

    Limiting access to cigarettes has proven effective in reducing the rate of tobacco use among teens. In October 2014, Evanston became the first Illinois community to adopt Tobacco 21. Since then, tobacco use among high schoolers has dropped by 37.5 percent.

  • Link advances measure to improve wireless infrastructure in Illinois

    link 110917SPRINGFIELD – A measure from Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) to make Illinois a leader in wireless technology advancements passed in the legislature this week.

    “As technology continues to advance, it's important that we have the infrastructure in place to support those advancements,” Link said. “Small wireless facilities are an integral part of future 5G wireless networks. This measure will help ensure a smooth transition to 5G and allow Illinois to stay at the forefront of new wireless technology.”

    Full 5G deployment projects are expected to create nearly 100,000 new jobs in Illinois and nearly $8.9 billion in network investments over seven years.

    The legislation is the result of months of negotiations between Illinois municipal leaders, industry members and stakeholders in an attempt to streamline the process for constructing and regulating small wireless facilities and ensure the infrastructure is in place for wireless technology advancements.

    Senate Bill 1451 now goes to the governor for approval.

  • Legislative ethics commission appoints inspector general, new member

    ethics ftr

    With reports about sexual harassment and other complaints going uninvestigated, the Legislate Ethics Commission held an emergency meeting Saturday to appoint a legislative inspector general to the post that was vacant for two years. Former U.S. Attorney Julie Porter was appointed to begin the process of investigating complaints and ethics violations in the legislature.

    Porter is well known for her work trying complex cases as the corruption case that led to the conviction of Illinois powerbroker Bill Cellini and top Mayor Richard Daley’s top aide Robert Sorich, among others.  Porter worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office for 12 years and was appointed chief of the office’s criminal division before leaving to join a private practice in Chicago.

    Elgin Democratic Senator Cristina Castro iss the newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission as of Friday, November 3. Castro said she intends to push the agency to be more timely and responsive in its handling of complaints.

    “I want to make it clear that I intend to help drive a culture of swiftness in the actions of the Commission. When there are accusations of wrongdoing, I intend to be thoughtful and fair – but the Commission should make every effort to act in a timely manner,” said Illinois State Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin.

    Castro, a former marketing and communications manager in the private and public sector, was first elected to the Illinois Senate last year. She now serves as a full-time legislator for the 22nd State Senate District.

    Castro said her first priority is filling a vacant inspector general post so complaints that have lingered can be investigated and adjudicated.

    “It’s unacceptable to have complaints sit as long as they have. That’s going to change,” Castro said.

    The eight-member commission is charged with ruling on findings of ethical misconduct within the legislative branch and its employees. The commission was created in December 2003 by the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

    For more information about the commission, visit its website.

    Senator Castro released the following statement in response to Julie B. Porter’s appointment to Inspector General of the commission:

    “Julie Porter has a proven record of fighting public corruption as the Assistant United States Attorney,” Castro said. “She has extensive experience seeking justice for the people of Illinois. I look forward to seeing her get to work as our new Inspector General.  I’m confident she will work swiftly and thoroughly to investigate and resolve all outstanding complaints.”

    Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), Chairman of the ethics commission, released the following statement on the selection of former Assistant United States Attorney Julie B. Porter as the new Legislative Inspector General:

    “Julie Porter is a skilled attorney who has experience trying public corruption and fraud cases. I look forward to working with Ms. Porter to quickly get the Ethics Commission back on track, address the complaints that exist and move forward.”

  • Link urges income tax relief for Lake County flood victims

    link 051717SPRINGFIELD – Lake County flood victims whose property was damaged during this summer’s floods could receive a natural disaster tax credit thanks to a bill sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    “The hundred-year flooding of this past summer caused severe damage to thousands of Lake County properties,” Link said. “Residents are doing everything they can to rebuild their homes and businesses, but they need our help. This natural disaster tax credit will help victims get back on their feet by reducing the financial burden caused by the floods.”

    Senate Bill 403 allows an income tax credit of up to $750 in counties where a state disaster proclamation was issued in July of this year. In order to qualify for the natural disaster income tax credit, individuals must own property and must have reported property damage to the appropriate authority. If an individual received an insurance reimbursement, they are not entitled to the tax credit.

    State disaster proclamations were declared in the following counties in July 2017: Lake, Carroll, Cook, Henry, Jo Daviess, Kane, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside.

    The measure passed in the Senate today with strong bipartisan support.

  • Link measure gives ex-offenders a second chance at success

    link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD – Waukegan School Board Member and former Township Trustee Jeff McBride was the top vote-getter in his school board race in April, but now his eligibility is being challenged because of a crime he committed nearly four decades ago.

    In 1980, Jeff McBride made a mistake. He was battling drug addiction and stole a Cool Tote Air Conditioner from a J.C. Penney store. McBride was charged with felony theft and was sentenced to probation and court-ordered addiction treatment.

  • Senate overrides veto, protects workers' rights

    silverstein 102417 3

    SPRINGFIELD –Today the Illinois Senate voted 42-13 to protect workers’ rights and override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago). The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act blocks Gov. Rauner’s campaign to engage municipalities in creating right-to-work areas in support of moves to boost corporate profits at the expense of workers.

    Sen. Silverstein released the following statement: "Illinois’ future success depends on its support of the middle class. Workers and employers should not be restricted from bargaining collectively as they continue building our economy, and local governments have no place enforcing a rule that constrains this freedom.

    "The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act upholds the rights of hard working Illinoisans to expect good wages, benefits and working conditions in exchange for their labors. This veto rejects restrictions of those rights and rejects the governor’s continuing efforts to undermine organized labor in a state that relies on it to operate and extend our economy and our future. In spite of efforts by the governor and his pro-corporate profit supporters to squelch these rights, we will not grow our economy by taking part in a race to the bottom in wages earned by Illinois families."

    Senate Bill 1905 passed both houses initially in July with bipartisan support, and was vetoed by the governor on September 29. It now goes to the House for their consideration.

    Other Democratic senators spoke in support of the veto override:

    Senator Cristina Castro (Elgin): “I am happy to see that my colleagues helped protect the people of Illinois by working together to defeat Governor Rauner’s corporate agenda. We can’t let companies profit at the expense of our workers.”

    Senator Scott Bennett (Champaign): “Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families. This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

    Senator Tom Cullerton (Villa Park): “Illinois businesses will only thrive if we treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve. Governor Rauner’s harmful boardroom tactics benefit his friends at the expense of Illinois residents. Rauner’s extreme anti-worker agenda has no place in Illinois.”

    Senator Bill Haine (Alton): “The facts are clear: right-to-work policies do nothing but reduce workers’ wages and make workplaces more dangerous. The governor’s veto was yet another attempt to decrease wages for working families and ensure higher profits for his wealthy friends.”

    Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills): “At a time when workers’ rights are under constant attack, it is important that we protect the rights of Illinoisans by ensuring that local governments can’t take away those rights. Dismantling collective bargaining rights would lead to lower wages and a loss of benefits for Illinois workers, and I refuse to let that happen.”

    Senator Laura Murphy (Des Plaines): "Since taking office, the governor has attempted to roll back employees’ rights and weaken the unions on the backs of which this state was built. All employees benefit from collective bargaining, even those that do not participate in organized labor. I hope this vote sends a strong message to the governor that I will not support his attack on the middle class.”

    Senator Iris Y. Martinez (Chicago): “Once again, the governor showed that he cares more about big businesses than the citizens of Illinois. Right-to-work laws lower wages, something that would disproportionately harm lower-income Illinoisans. I am glad the Senate stood up to the governor today and protected the hard-working men and women of our state.”

    Senator Bill Cunningham (Chicago): “Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois. Right-to-work and other anti-union measures are designed to do nothing more than lower workers’ wages to pad corporate profits.”

    Senator Don Harmon (Oak Park): “This issue has been litigated several times already, and we have our answer – only the state, not local governments, can create right-to-work laws. The governor’s veto was nothing more than a continuation of his radical anti-union agenda. Today’s override will ensure that workers across the state retain the fair representation they deserve.”

    Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago): “The governor likes to claim that he’s pro-business, but he supports measures that are anything but. Everyone loses when right-to-work laws are in place. We cannot improve the business climate of Illinois if we implement laws that lower wages and strip away workers’ rights.”