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December
2004


December 30, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich appoints taskforce of parents, top community leaders, childhood health experts and teachers to help combat influence of violent and sexually explicit video games
Governor creates Safe Games Illinois Task Force made up of parents from throughout Illinois as well as experts on children’s health and policy issues
CHICAGO – To help parents better protect their children from the dangers of violent and sexually explicit video games, Governor Rod Blagojevich today signed an Executive Order creating the Safe Games Illinois Task Force. The task force, which will serve as an advisory board to the Governor, is made up of parents from across Illinois as well as community leaders, clergy, teachers, medical experts and child advocates.


December 29, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich Announces $7 Million Federal Incentive Bonus For Child Support Enforcement
Record incentive amount targeted for high tech upgrades
Chicago – Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced that the Illinois Department of Public Aid’s (IDPA) Child Support Enforcement Division was awarded $7 million in federal incentive money this year for attaining improvements in key statistical benchmarks. The bonus is the highest amount earned by Illinois in the history of the program. The incentive money will be spent on upgrading the division’s high tech tools with a focus on continuing improvements to customer service and cracking down on deadbeat parents.


December 29, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich Expands Access to Flu Vaccine to Reduce Risk of Dangerous Outbreak
As more people who normally get flu shots abstain in face of shortage, risk to elderly and sick residents much greater this year
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced that Illinois is encouraging local health departments and health care providers who have adequate supplies of influenza vaccine to expand access of vaccine beyond the highest risk populations to other groups that would normally be encouraged to receive the immunization, including people 50 years of age or older and those in close contact with high-risk individuals. The change will go into effect on January 3, 2005.


December 27, 2004
Quinn urges Illinois citizens to cast a vote for the official State of Illinois Amphibian and Reptile before Friday midnight deadline
CHICAGO -- With the virtual voting booths officially closing at midnight this Friday, December 31, 2004, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn urged Illinois citizens to cast their vote for the official State of Illinois Amphibian and Reptile.


December 27, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich appoints Robert F. Lieberman as Commissioner on the Illinois Commerce Commission
CHICAGO—Governor Rod Blagojevich today named Robert F. Lieberman as the fifth member of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Lieberman brings over 25 years of experience in economic and energy policy as well as extensive management expertise. Prior to his appointment, Lieberman served as CEO of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, where he developed innovative ecological and economic strategies for urban regions throughout the United States. Lieberman, whose term as an ICC Commissioner will begin February 1, will replace the vacancy left by Mary Frances Squires.


December 22, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces inner city grants for urban and community forestry
Beautification of areas will create long-term benefits
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of nine grants totaling more than $108,000 to communities to fund inner city reforestation efforts. The funds will help local communities plant new trees in urban neighborhoods, on school grounds and on public property.


December 20, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich meets with parents across the state, discusses plan to prohibit sale or distribution of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors
Governor visits Peoria, Decatur to explain his plan to parents; encourages parents to visit www.safegamesIllinois.org to learn more and exchange warnings about video games not appropriate for children
PEORIA – Just days after he proposed legislation to make Illinois the first state in the nation to ban the distribution, sale, rental and availability of violent and sexually explicit video games to children under age 18, Governor Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, visited the Greater Peoria YMCA to exchange ideas with Central Illinois parents. Right now, the Governor explained, despite parents’ best efforts to shield their children from violent and sexually explicit video games, nothing under Illinois law specifically prohibits children from buying or renting them.


December 17, 2004
Governor Blagojevich launches new “Statewide Community Safety and Reentry Working Group”
Team to build on State’s ongoing efforts to target recidivism
SPRINGFIELD – Today, Governor Rod Blagojevich launched a new “Statewide Community Safety and Reentry Working Group.” The group will support the state’s ongoing efforts to promote community safety and reduce recidivism at a time when a record 42,000 inmates are projected to complete their sentences and be released into Illinois communities in the next year. The Governor charged the working group with establishing recommendations for a statewide reentry management plan and targeting the state’s top 10 high-impact regions, which house 84 percent of the state’s reentering parole populations and are traditionally higher crime areas.


December 16, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich proposes bill to make Illinois first state to prohibit sale or distribution of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors
Governor also launches website where parents can find information about impact of violent games on children’s behavior and exchange warnings about video games not appropriate for children
NAPERVILLE – Taking an aggressive stand to protect Illinois children from excessively violent and sexually explicit video games, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today proposed legislation that would make Illinois the first state in the nation to ban the distribution, sale, rental and availability of violent and sexually explicit video games to children under age 18. Currently, nothing under Illinois law specifically prohibits children from buying or renting video games, no matter how violent or sexually explicit they may be.


December 14, 2004
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES NEARLY $600,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING TO SPUR BUSINESS EXPANSION AND JOB RETENTION IN MACOUPIN COUNTY
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the awarding of more than $581,000 in Opportunity Returns grants and credits to Madison Communications, which will allow the telecommunications firm to construct a nearly 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art office building and warehouse facility in Staunton Township. The expansion project will create 20 new jobs and retain 45 more. The funding comes through Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns program, his historic, regional plan to spur economic growth and create jobs across the Central region and throughout the state.


December 13, 2004
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH APPOINTS FORMER GOV. THOMPSON AND FORMER U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY DALEY AS CO-CHAIRS OF TASK FORCE SEEKING $1 BILLION U.S. NUCLEAR SCIENCE PROJECT FOR ILLINOIS
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced today he has appointed former Gov. James R. Thompson and JPMorgan Chase Chairman of the Midwest William M. Daley as co-chairs of a special task force charged with helping Illinois land one of the nation’s premier science and technology projects – the $1 billion Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA). Gov. Blagojevich announced the appointments at a meeting of the full blue-ribbon task force, made up of leaders from government, business, education, science, health care and labor. The RIA for Illinois Task Force, which was launched in September, is working with the Illinois Congressional delegation to deliver the message to the White House, U.S. Department of Energy and Congress that the Argonne National Laboratory is the right location for the project, expected to be the world’s leading facility for research in nuclear science.


December 10, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs trade memorandum with nine Mexican Governors in historic session
Governor spreads message of opportunity and inclusion to Chicago’s Latino community and Mexican delegation
CHICAGO- This evening at the Mexican Consulate General, Governor Rod Blagojevich met with nine Mexican Governors, two Mexican Congressman, the Secretary for Social Development, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and several hundred leaders from Chicago’s Latino community. The Governor signed a memorandum of understanding on trade with the Mexican Governors and gave an inspiring message of political inclusion and participation.


December 9, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces Mayor Doug Scott to bring Rockford perspective to Homeland Security panel
Scott participating in Elected Officials Working Group for Homeland Security
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today said he is honored that Rockford Mayor Doug Scott has joined the Elected Officials Working Group for Homeland Security. The Governor created the working group recently to ensure municipal leaders such as Scott have a strong voice in the state’s homeland security and disaster planning efforts.


December 8, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich lights first holiday tree at new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Governor and First Lady encourage participation in “Keep Kids Warm and Safe” campaign
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod Blagojevich today lit the first annual holiday tree at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, the Governor and First Lady Patti Blagojevich also encouraged participation in this winter’s Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign, an effort to collect winter clothing and car seats for children who need them the most.


December 8, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces joint initiative for asthma awareness
Plan provides grants to health departments to educate WIC families about asthma
SPRINGFIELD –Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the “WIC and Asthma Education Initiative,” a partnership between the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Asthma Program and the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (also known as “WIC”) to provide asthma education to WIC clients.


December 6, 2004
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $400,000 OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT TO SUPPORT CLEAN, RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION FROM OLNEY WASTEWATER SYSTEM
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced $400,000 in Opportunity Returns funding to support the reconstruction of the Olney wastewater treatment facility and the production of clean, renewable energy from local wastewater. The funding is coming as a part of Opportunity Returns, Gov. Blagojevich’s historic, regional economic development plan to spur growth and job creation across the Southeast region and throughout the state.


December 6, 2004
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $1.7 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS SUPPORT TO BRING NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER AND 100 NEW JOBS TO CHAMPAIGN-URBANA
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced today the awarding of more than $1.7 million in Opportunity Returns grants and tax credits to SUPERVALU INC., the largest publicly held food wholesaler in the U.S. and a leading grocery retailer, to build a 155,000 square-foot produce warehouse/distribution center in Champaign-Urbana. The opening of the facility will create 100 new jobs. The funding is coming as a part of Opportunity Returns, Gov. Blagojevich’s historic, regional economic development plan to spur growth and job creation across the East Central region and throughout the state.


December 6, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs proclamation honoring fallen Illinois Guardsmen
Flags at state facilities will now be flown at half-staff following Illinois Guard combat casualties
SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Rod Blagojevich today issued a proclamation directing all State of Illinois facilities to start lowering their flags to half-staff on the day of the funeral for any Illinois National Guardsman killed in the line of duty.


December 3, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs Great Lakes Declaration
Joins new intergovernmental partnership to restore Great Lakes
CHICAGO—Gov. Rod Blagojevich today joined Presidential cabinet secretaries, members of the Great Lakes Congressional delegation, governors, mayors and tribal leaders in signing the Great Lakes Declaration at the Ceremonial Conveners Meeting held by U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt in Chicago. Gov. Blagojevich pledged his support for developing a clear strategy for actions to protect and restore the Great Lakes through a collaboration process.


December 2, 2004
Blagojevich orders major reforms to Illinois’ Executive Protection Unit
Governor Reduces Size of Unit, Restricts Out of State Travel, and Issues Executive Order that Requires Training from U.S. Secret Service and Institutes New Code of Conduct
CHICAGO—Gov. Rod Blagojevich today ordered major reforms to Illinois' Executive Protection Unit, reducing the size of the unit by 25%, reforming the standards that govern the unit's out of state travel, and issuing an executive order that requires all members of the executive protection unit to undergo training by the United States Secret Service, and creates a new code of conduct and professionalism that all members of the unit must adhere to.


December 2, 2004
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH TRAVELS TO WASHINGTON, DC IN CONTINUED FIGHT TO SAVE ILLINOIS’ MILITARY BASES
Meets with top military leaders to convince them to keep four Illinois bases open
WASHINGTON, DC – Gov. Rod Blagojevich traveled to Washington, DC today for a series of important meetings with top military officials to present Illinois’ compelling case for why the state’s bases should continue serving our country with distinction. The Governor met with the Hon. Nelson Gibbs, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, who is the service's chief installations officer, and Lt. Gen. Daniel James III, the Director of the Air National Guard. Gov. Blagojevich is leading a coordinated effort with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, other elected officials and local leaders to prevent Scott Air Force Base, Air National Guard Bases in Peoria and Springfield and the Rock Island Arsenal from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list. These bases contribute more than $2.5 billion to the state’s economy each year and support nearly 70,000 jobs.


December 1, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich kicks off Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe holiday campaign
Gov. Blagojevich pledges to help Illinois families in need as he lights the Holiday Tree in the Thompson Center
CHICAGO – In the spirit of the holiday season, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today kicked off this winter’s Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign, an effort that will collect donations of winter clothing and car seats from state employees, local citizens and businesses for Illinois’ most needy children. For the first time, all state agencies will be involved in the drive, competing to see who can generate the most donations. The winning agency will receive recognition and a plaque. Corporate sponsors will also join the Governor’s effort by contributing thousands of hats, gloves, mittens, and car seats. The Governor and his family launched this year’s campaign at the annual James R. Thompson Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.

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