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  • Link measure to expand access to child abuse hotline becomes law

    link 051717SPRINGFIELD – There soon will be increased access to the toll-free number to report child abuse thanks to a measure sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), which was signed into law today.

    “Increasing the visibility of the resources available to help stop child abuse is a common sense step that we can all support,” Link said. “Everyone should know what steps to take and who to call if they find out that child abuse is occurring.”

    The new law will allow the Department of Children and Family Services to coordinate with school officials to provide appropriate materials, including listing the toll-free number in a clearly visible location in each school building.

    “This new law is a step in the right direction to help end child abuse,” Link said. “I hope we can implement this new law as soon as possible.”

    House Bill 370 will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

  • Senate brings historic education funding reform across the finish line (VIDEO)

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  • Link: Lake County voters should have say on countywide elected board chairman

    Sen. Terry LinkSPRINGFIELD – A plan to give Lake County voters the say in who runs their county’s $500 million operation was vetoed today by Governor Rauner.
     
    The plan, Senate Bill 669, would have allowed for voters to have a referendum in 2018 to determine if their county board chairman should be elected countywide. Currently, the chairman is selected amongst the board members themselves.
     
    “The voters should have a say on how they want to elect their county board chairman,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said. “I am disappointed the governor would veto a plan that gives the voters a chance to have more control in who runs their county government.”

  • Children of Waukegan not talking points: Link to Rauner

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) issued the following response to the governor’s press conference today regarding school funding reform:

    “If Gov. Rauner really cares about the students, teachers and parents in Waukegan, then he will sign Senate Bill 1 as soon as it reaches his desk. Under the new evidence-based formula, Waukegan School District would receive $14.5 million more in funding.

    Waukegan School District would receive $919 more per student under Senate Bill 1. That makes it one of 268 school districts across Illinois to actually get more money than Chicago Public Schools, a fact the governor fails to mention.

    The children of Waukegan are not political talking points, governor. Sign the bill.”

  • Area schools poised to gain more than $17M under Senate education plan

    link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD- The latest school funding reform numbers show that a fake news group linked to Gov. Bruce Rauner was indeed pedaling misinformation regarding public school funding in Illinois in the weeks leading up to approval of a historic education finance overhaul.

    An analysis only recently made public by Rauner’s education agency shows that no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the plan lawmakers recently approved. In fact, schools in the 30th District are estimated to gain $17,109,571 in state funding under the Senate’s plan. Some examples include:

    • Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 — $14.60 million
    • Hawthorn CC School District 73 — $125,388

    Supporters had said holding the line on funding was key to getting support for the overhaul that does away with the current, antiquated funding system and instead targets new state dollars to schools facing the toughest economic and educational challenges.

    “A solid education could be the launching pad that allows  a child to achieve their dream,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said.

    The new plan seeks to maintain funding for schools that are doing well while bringing up those that are struggling. It’s a reform more than two decades in the works and one that still faces major political obstacles.

    Gov. Rauner was already threatening to veto the historic education overhaul even before lawmakers had given it final approval. As a result, the Senate is delaying sending the paperwork to the governor’s desk in hope cooler heads will prevail and the governor will recognize he’s getting a win on a key policy he’s wanted.

    Rauner promised to change the school funding system and put his hand-picked education secretary in charge of an elite taskforce. But that taskforce failed to deliver an actual plan. Lawmakers stepped in to finish the job of not just drafting the plan, but then approving it.

    In the midst of this work, a fake news network began spreading erroneous numbers, saying schools across the state were going to lose money. These numbers appeared on fake news sites such as the Lake County Gazette. 

    It was later revealed that the so-called latest numbers were actually pulled out of a different plan from more than a year ago. For whatever reason, Rauner and his education secretary did nothing to warn public school administrators and the taxpaying public of the misinformation or to set the record straight on public school funding.

    Local school gains under SB 1. The approximateoverall gain that some area school districts would experience under SB1 based on proposed funding levels:

    • Adlai E Stevenson District 125- $5,029
    • Aptakisic-Tripp CC School District 102- $2,658
    • Gurnee School District 56- $64,492
    • Hawthorn CC School District- $125,388
    • Kildeer Countryside CC School District 96- $3,661
    • Libertyville Community High School District 128- $4,214
    • Lincolnshire-Prairieview School District 103- $1,902
    • Mundelein Consolidated High School District 120- $57,826
    • Mundelein Elementary School District 75- $110,781
    • North Chicago School District 187- $2,141,524
    • Waukegan Community School District 60- $14,591,879

    To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.

  • Senate approves two-year property tax freeze

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  • Link passes gaming expansion

    link 051717SPRINGFIELD – On Wednesday, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) passed legislation that would expand gaming revenues in the state to help put Illinois’ fiscal house back in order.

    “We need to be looking at all avenues to shore up our fiscal house,” Link said. “A part of that solution should be gaming expansion.”

  • Senate builds unanimous support for automatic voter registration

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    After carefully negotiating changes requested by the governor, state agencies and other stakeholders, State Senator Andy Manar’s plan to modernize the voter registration process received unanimous support in the Illinois Senate today.

    “I am proud that the state Senate once again has voted to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois, and I hope the House will follow our lead and that Governor Rauner will sign it into law,” said Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill.

    If enacted, eligible Illinois citizens would be given the option to opt out of registering when they interact with certain state agencies, as opposed to the current system that requires citizens to opt-in.

    “At a time when we're seeing a major rollback of voting rights across the country, I'm proud that Democrats and Republicans came together and voted to expand access to the ballot in Illinois,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “Voter registration laws disproportionately affect minorities, women, seniors and low-income individuals. Automatic voter registration will remove a barrier to voting and help ensure that all eligible Illinoisans are able to participate in our democracy should they so choose.”

    “I am happy to see this measure receive such great support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” said Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “The right to vote is a pillar of our democracy. Automatic voter registration will bring more participation and allow more voices to be heard in the legislative process.”

    “Automatic voter registration is important to the health of our democracy,” said Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). “There are so many existing roadblocks to participation. Something as basic as registration should not be one of those roadblocks. I am dismayed by how low voter turnout is, especially in local and off-cycle elections, and I believe that automatic registration will give more people an opportunity to let their voices be heard in the political process.”

    Currently, there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote but aren’t registered. Automatic voter registration will significantly reduce this number and will remove a barrier to voting for all eligible Illinoisans.

    “We should make it easier to vote, not harder,” said Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills). “This legislation will ensure that every Illinois resident who is eligible to vote doesn’t have to go through the sometimes burdensome process to register. This only enhances the voice of the voter during an election.”

    Rather than giving individuals the option to fill out a separate voter registration form when conducting business with a state agency, the measure would allow agencies to electronically transfer an individual’s data to the State Board of Elections. Automatically registering eligible voters will streamline bureaucracy, do away with redundant paperwork and save taxpayer dollars.

    “When it comes to modernizing state government, automatic voter registration checks all the boxes: it eliminates redundant paperwork, it cuts down on the number of times people have to interact with a government office, it curbs voter fraud, and it saves money,” said Manar. “The time is right for this reform.”

    “Not only does automatic voter registration remove a barrier to voting for eligible citizens, it is a common-sense way to modernize the registration process, reduce bureaucracy and duplication and save the state money,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “I hope this good government reform receives the same bipartisan support in the House and from the governor as it did in the Senate.”

    “We should be making it easier, not harder, for people to vote and have a direct say in who represents them,” said Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). “Making automatic voter registration law will save taxpayer dollars, streamline a government function and ensure the ballot box is as easily accessible as possible for voters.”

    In March 2015, Oregon was the first state to enact automatic voter registration. Since then, California, West Virginia, Vermont, Connecticut, Alaska and the District of Columbia have adopted automatic registration, and thirty other states introduced legislation this year.

    “In the end, this effort is going to register people to vote, no matter who they vote for – Democrats or Republicans. It’s going to save money, modernize government and streamline our system,” Manar said. “And it’s going to lead more citizens of our state, regardless of where they live or their party affiliation, to participate in our electoral process. That means we all win as citizens of the state of Illinois.”

  • Link easing process for MS patients' treatment

    link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD – People struggling with multiple sclerosis could have an opportunity to ask for an exception to treatment limitations due to legislation passed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    “Restricting treatment for the more than 20,000 Illinois residents living with multiple sclerosis is atrocious,” Link said. “These restrictions mean that people diagnosed with MS are not allowed to get the medically recommended treatment they need.”

    Senate Bill 193 would require that insurance companies offer an exceptions process for patients with multiple sclerosis to request an exception to a treatment limitation. It would also require that the insurance company would have 72 hours to accept or deny the exception request. Limitations include being subject to waiting periods, cost sharing limits and other limits.

    “By taking this step, insurance companies now have to justify to people why they are denying their medically necessary treatment,” Link said. “This is a small step in the long fight to push for a compassionate Illinois that helps people manage their symptoms appropriately.”

    Currently, insurance companies can limit the number of physical therapy session covered even if more sessions are deemed medically necessary.

    The legislation moves to the House for further consideration.

     

  • Link: Smoke Free Illinois is just the start to a healthier state

    link 032917SPRINGFIELD – On Wednesday, Illinois celebrated the 10th anniversary of the passage of the “Smoke Free Illinois” legislation.

    Since the passage of Smoke Free Illinois, there has been a nearly 20.5 percent decrease in hospitalization of various diseases related to smoking.

    “Smoke Free Illinois was a major milestone in our efforts to make Illinois a better place to live,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said. “But even with this progress, we cannot rest on our laurels. The next step to help Illinoisans live longer, healthier lives is to keep kids from ever becoming addicted to tobacco by raising the minimum age of sale to 21 years old.”

    Link passed a resolution on Wednesday declaring March 29, 2017, as “Smoke Free Illinois Day.” The day recognizes the improved health benefits by Illinois going smoke free 10 years ago.

    “Though Illinois has been smoke free for more than 10 years, the state still faces many issues related to smoking,” Link said. “I hope today shows that we can achieve great things to better the health of all Illinoisans and that we need to continue the push towards a healthier Illinois.”

  • Governor who can’t cut, criticizes Democrats for not letting him cut more

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  • Link pushes proposal to allow for exceptions process for patients with MS

    Senator Terry LinkSPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents with primary or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis would have an opportunity to apply for an exception from treatment limitations. That is if legislation proposed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) would become law.

    “Restrictions on treatment for the more than 20,000 in Illinois struggling with multiple sclerosis are disappointing,” Link said. “Some of these restrictions mean that someone is not getting the physical therapy they need to delay the symptoms.”

    Senate Bill 193 would require that insurance companies offer an exceptions process for patients with multiple sclerosis to request an exception to a treatment limitation. It would also require that the insurance company would have 72 hours to accept or deny the exception request. Limitations include being subject to waiting periods, cost sharing limits and other limits.

    “This is a small but important step in ensuring that people struggling with multiple sclerosis receive the care they need,” Link said. “I hope to continue to push for an Illinois that is compassionate and helps those people manage their symptoms appropriately.”

    Currently, insurance companies can limit the number of physical therapy session covered even if more sessions are medically necessary.

    The legislation passed the Senate Insurance committee on Wednesday and moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

  • Link passes gaming expansion as part of budget compromise

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – On Tuesday, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) passed legislation that would expand gaming revenues in the state to help put Illinois’ fiscal house back in order.

    Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Link, would authorize the building of six new casinos throughout the State of Illinois, including locations in Chicago and Lake County. The proposal will increase revenues for the state and local communities and would also create thousands of part-time and full-time jobs at casinos and racinos across the state.

    “It's no secret that our number one issue is our difficult financial situation,” Link said. “We need to find multiple ways to shore up our fiscal house and by expanding gaming we can do just that.”

    The legislation also would allow current riverboats or casinos to expand from 1,200 machines per location to 1,600 machines.

    “We lose gaming revenues daily to Indiana and Wisconsin because of the lack of opportunity,” Link said. “We should take every step we can to keep that money in Illinois so it can be spent on services provided to Illinois residents.”

  • Support grows for countywide election on Lake County Board Chairman

    link 020217VERNON HILLS – Legislation sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) would require that the Lake County Board Chairman be elected countywide instead of just by board members.

    “I wholeheartedly believe that the voters should directly determine who runs their county,” Link said. “This benefits the county by providing a more direct democracy in determining how the county is run.”

    Senate Bill 669, legislation regarding how the Lake County Board chairman would be elected, was recently discussed by a Lake County Board committee.

    Link applauds Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor for joining his initiative to make the county more responsive to the voter. Link plans to file legislation putting the issue of an elected county chairman to a vote in 2018. If the referendum is successful, the first election for county board chairman would be in 2020.

    “I am happy Chairman Lawlor believes giving the voters a true voice in who runs the day-to-day operations of the county is a good idea,” Link said. “The bottom line here is the people of Lake County will be the winners.”

  • Few specifics, missed opportunities in governor's budget speech (VIDEO)

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  • Link pushes to expand veterans’ tax credit

    link042116SPRINGFIELD – All surviving spouses of servicemen and women could be able to claim a property tax credit thanks to legislation being pushed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    The legislation, Senate Bill 87, would extend the Disabled Veterans Standard Homestead Exemption to all spouses of military members who would have otherwise been eligible for the credit.

    “We should honor the sacrifice that many families make for their country when their loved ones go off to protect us,” Link said. “This is just one small thing we can do as a state to respect that sacrifice.”

    Currently, if the veteran died prior to 2007 then the spouse would not be eligible for the tax exemption even though they would have otherwise qualified.

  • Link fights to provide medically necessary coverage to Illinoisans with MS

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents with multiple sclerosis could receive easier access to medically necessary physical therapy without the fear of burdensome limits or calendar year maximums.

    “People struggling with multiple sclerosis need access to physical therapy to delay or prevent future problems,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said.

  • Senate overrides governor's veto of automatic voter registration (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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  • Link and Morrison continue push to fight opioid addiction

    LinkMO100516Waukegan - Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) and Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) applauded Walgreens who unveiled new medication disposal kiosks at three Lake County Walgreens locations.

    Link and Morrison believe that providing safe opportunities to dispose of old and unused medication will only help the state in fighting the opioid addiction crisis. In 2014, Senator Link pushed legislation through the General Assembly that would allow police departments to safely collect unused and old medications.

    “Fighting drug addiction needs to be a top priority in Illinois. By providing places that residents can safely deposit their unused medications, we can eliminate opportunities for drug abuse by others,” Link said. “This proactive step by Walgreens will help to create a safer Illinois and continue the fight against prescription drug abuse.”

  • Political rights for 17-year-olds expanded in Illinois

    Political rights for 17-year-olds expanded in IllinoisSPRINGFIELD - Seventeen-year-olds soon will be receiving more rights when it comes to getting involved in the political process.

    House Bill 6167, which was sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), was signed into law today. The new law would allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary of a consolidated election if they would be 18 by the time of the consolidated election. Consolidated elections are held primarily for local offices, like school boards, city councils and village boards.

    “We should be opening up access to the voting booth for those who will be 18 to have a full say in who represents them at every level of government,” Link said.