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Entrepreneur learner’s permit program passes Illinois Senate

holmes 042617SPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan measure to help first-time business owners in Illinois was approved by the Illinois Senate today. The entrepreneur learner’s permit program was introduced by State Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora.

“There has been a lot of talk about making Illinois more business friendly, but not enough action,” Holmes said. “This legislation encourages first-time small business owners to set up in Illinois by giving them incentives. It is important that we as lawmakers do whatever we can to strengthen Illinois’ economy in real and tangible ways.”

The entrepreneur learner’s permit would encourage small business growth by reimbursing first-time business owners for certain costs paid to the state for licensing and permits. The Illinois legislation creates a pilot version of a similar program established by the Connecticut State Legislature in July of 2016.

The measure, Senate Bill 1462, has been approved by the Illinois Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives.

Sen. Holmes named Humane Society Legislator of the Year

holmes humane awdSPRINGFIELD – For her efforts supporting and passing animal welfare bills, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, was awarded this year’s Humane Society Legislator of the Year Award.

"It is an honor to receive this award,” Holmes said. “I am a lifelong lover of animals, so when I became a senator it was second nature to support legislation that protects animals.”

The Legislator of the Year Award is given to the General Assembly member who best advocates for the wellbeing of animals. Sen. Holmes has sponsored numerous animal welfare bills throughout her career. This year, she is sponsoring measures to ban elephants from traveling exhibitions, control feral cat populations and create adoption plans for research animals, as well as several other pieces of animal welfare legislation.

“On behalf of our members, supporters and allies in Illinois, we are proud of the animal protection initiatives that Senator Holmes has championed in our state” Humane Society of the United States Illinois State Director Marc Ayers said. “She is a leader bringing both sides together to achieve amazing advances in our movement and continues to support our efforts to protect companion animals and wildlife, among other important animal welfare protections.”

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization. It provides hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year.

Illinois rolls out ID cards to help people with disabilities

holmes 022817Illinoisans with developmental, intellectual and mental disabilities can now apply for a special state ID card to help them navigate interactions with law enforcement thanks to legislation passed by Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).

“The new ID cards give more information to law enforcement so that they don’t misinterpret certain behaviors as hostile or uncooperative,” Holmes said. “The cards will give people with disabilities and their loved ones peace of mind, knowing that their needs are being communicated to law enforcement. This idea was brought to our attention by a local parent whose child has autism, so the new ID cards are a response to an important demand from the community.”

In order to be issued a card, a person must have a disability such as autism, epilepsy, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The cards can be given in addition to other state identification when requested by law enforcement.

“Fortunately, the Aurora Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in the 42nd district have already been proactive by training officers to have better interactions with people with disabilities,” Holmes said. “As more people begin to take advantage of these ID cards, first responders can develop and enrich their training programs.”

"This should be a great tool," Aurora police Lt. Mike Abbs said. "The more information we have on people's abilities and disabilities when we first encounter them, the better we can serve them."

The card lists identifying information and the following inscription: "My medical condition may impair my ability to communicate with others, especially with strangers or in stressful situations. Please do not interpret my behavior as refusal to cooperate."

Holmes urges area residents and their loved ones interested in being issued a person with a disability wallet card to apply for free at the Secretary of State’s office or contact her Aurora office at (630)801-8985.

Holmes' measure would require institutions to have adoption plan for dogs, cats

holmes 031417SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, introduced legislation that would require public research institutions in Illinois to have an adoption policy in place for dogs and cats used in testing rather than euthanizing them.

“This legislation is very straightforward. It tells public universities and research institutions to make a meaningful effort to put an animal up for adoption instead of euthanizing it,” Holmes said. “This measure ensures that an animal is given a shot at a life outside of a laboratory, and it does so without overregulating scientific research.”

Similar legislation has already been passed in California, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut and Nevada. The Illinois legislation does not force research institutions to find a home for each animal, nor does it ban euthanasia outright. It requires publicly-funded institutions to have an adoption plan for animals deemed eligible by a veterinarian before euthanasia is an option.

The measure, Senate Bill 1884 passed out of committee today. It now moves to consideration before the full Illinois Senate.

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