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July
2004


July 30, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs Fiscal Year 2005 Budget
New budget increases investments in education and health care; cuts spending across the board; and again spares taxpayers from a sales or income tax increase
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed the Fiscal Year 2005 budget that invests nearly $1 billion in new funding into schools and health care and closes an anticipated $2.3 billion deficit. Statewide, schools will benefit from a $389 million increase in education funding; 150,000 Medicaid patients will keep their current health coverage, and 76,000 more children and working adults will finally gain access to health care coverage. The new spending plan takes effect August 1st.


July 30, 2004
Governor Blagojevich Signs Attorney General Madigan Legislation Cracking Down on High-Tech Peeping Toms
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 4275, legislation initiated by Attorney General Lisa Madigan that updates the state’s unauthorized recording laws to address new high-tech options available to Peeping Toms.


July 30, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs Illinois Common Sense Consumption Act
New law limits obesity lawsuits against food industry, encourages healthy eating
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law barring consumers from suing restaurants based on injury claims related to obesity. House Bill 3981 creates the Illinois Common Sense Consumption Act and is an effort to prevent frivolous lawsuits and encourage responsible dietary habits.


July 30, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to end insurance bias against Illinois residents traveling overseas
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to end discrimination by life insurance companies against Illinois residents who travel abroad.


July 29, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation ensuring prosecutors can bring sex offenders to justice
Cook County State’s Attorney initiative removes statute of limitation on using DNA evidence even when victim is killed
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that strengthens prosecutors’ ability to hold sex offenders who murder their victims accountable for all their crimes. House Bill 4063 was initiated by Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine to address a loophole in the law that prohibited prosecutors from charging offenders with sexual assault if the victim was not alive to report the crime.


July 29, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs laws to strengthen child support enforcement system
New laws give prosecutors more power to go after deadbeat parents and circuit court clerks power to collect overdue fees
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today expanding the court’s ability to collect child support from deadbeat parents. An initiative of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, House Bill 4076 gives Illinois state’s attorneys the power to subpoena state tax records of non-custodial parents who refuse to pay court-ordered child support. The Governor also signed House Bill 4106, which gives Circuit Court clerks the power to intercept state tax refunds to collect overdue court fees.


July 29, 2004
Governor signs Illinois Hunting Heritage Protection Act
Legislation encourages maintaining and enhancing recreational hunting opportunities on public lands in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed the Illinois Hunting Heritage Protection Act (Senate Bill 2156), which provides that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources support, promote and enhance recreational hunting on lands it manages, and work to maintain and enhance the amount of land acreage available for hunting opportunities in Illinois.


July 28, 2004
Blagojevich signs laws strengthening employment rights and benefits for Illinois Guard Members and Reservists
Legislation increases employment security for Illinois Guard members and Reservists who are called to active duty


July 28, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs Attorney General Madigan bills to force polluters to clean up mess, pay for damage
Legislation sought by Attorney General Lisa Madigan addresses court decision and clarifies ban on polluters doing business with the state
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Governor Rod Blagojevich today signed into law two bills drafted by Attorney General Lisa Madigan aimed at preserving the state’s ability to force polluters to clean up their environmental damage and to punish those who deliberately violate environmental protection laws.


July 28, 2004
Governor signs bill strengthening state’s ability to respond to public health threats
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a comprehensive public health bill that strengthens the state’s preparedness and response authority in the event of a bioterrorism attack or a naturally occurring infectious disease outbreak.


July 27, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs bill expanding safe havens for abandoned newborn babies
New law makes more options for the safe abandonment of unwanted infants
Springfield - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation expanding the number of “safe havens” available to abandoned newborns. Senate Bill 2583 adds police stations to the list of places parents and guardians can safely abandon their newborn infants.


July 27, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation protecting rights of crime victims and witnesses
Anti-crime measures initiated by Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed two bills into law that better protect the rights of violent crime victims and witnesses. The legislative package was initiated by Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine.


July 24, 2004
Governor Blagojevich Lauds Passage of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget That Invests in Key Priorities and Cuts Spending Across the Board
Tough budget negotiations result in balanced spending plan that fulfills Governor’s commitment to increasing investments in education and health care
SPRINGFIELD – After more than seven weeks of intense overtime budget negotiations, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich tonight praised the legislative leaders and the members of the General Assembly for approving a budget plan for Fiscal Year 2005 that closes an anticipated $2.3 billion deficit while investing more than $1 billion in new funding into schools and health care. The new spending plan fulfills the goals the Governor spelled out in his February budget address: balance the budget and invest more in critical areas that directly help children and families without raising the state’s income or sales taxes.


July 23, 2004
Governor Blagojevich Recognizes Former Governor Thompson for His Important Work on 9/11 Commission
Governor issues proclamation thanking Thompson for his contribution to American security
CHICAGO – On the heels of the much-awaited release of the 9/11 Commission report on what led up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation thanking former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson for his work on the critical assessment of U.S. intelligence and homeland security efforts.


July 23, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH PRAISES SENATOR DURBIN, CONGRESSMEN COSTELLO AND SHIMKUS FOR LANDING $265.3 MILLION TO EXPAND SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE’S MISSION
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich praised the announcement today by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Congressmen Jerry Costello (D-IL) and John Shimkus (R-IL) that $265.3 million will be coming to Scott Air Force Base to expand the mission of the 932nd Airlift Wing as part of the Defense Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2005. The funds will be used to purchase three C-40 aircraft and maintain three C-9s currently at Scott. This keeps the 932nd at Scott and the 1,000 reservists and civilians employed by the wing – as well as the $27 million the wing contributes annually to the local economy. The C-40 is the military version of the 737 and has numerous airlift capabilities.


July 22, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES UP TO $1.5 MILLION TO ASSIST LAID OFF MITSUBISHI WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Local Stakeholders Will Play Important Role In Determining How Funds Will Be Spent
SPRINGFIELD – Responding to Wednesday’s disheartening news that Mitsubishi Motors North America plans to lay off 1,200 workers at its Normal plant, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced a comprehensive strategy to provide transition services to the workers and their families and to help every laid off worker regain quality employment as quickly as possible.


July 21, 2004
Blagojevich signs law toughening penalties for reckless boating
New law increases consequences for those responsible for hit and run boating accidents
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation increasing penalties for reckless operation of a watercraft - and for leaving the scene of a boating accident involving a fatality or injury. Senate Bill 2164 was introduced following a reported hit-and-run boating accident on the Fox River in McHenry County last year in which a man was seriously injured.


July 21, 2004
Blagojevich signs law to strengthen state protection of elder rights
State agencies to work together to help employees of Illinois financial institutions to recognize and prevent elder financial exploitation
CHICAGO – In an effort to better protect vulnerable older people of this state, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2707 - requiring new cooperation with the Department on Aging’s program to prevent financial exploitation of the elderly. The new law requires the Commissioner of Banks and Real Estate to encourage Illinois banks and financial institutions to participate in training from the Department on Aging that helps their employees identify and prevent different forms of financial exploitation.


July 21, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs law cracking down on attempted bribery for drivers’ licenses
Legislation strengthens enforcement; provides Secretary of State with more power to battle corruption
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will make Illinois roads safer, by strengthening the penalties for anyone who illegally tries to obtain a drivers license through bribery. Senate Bill 2167, a measure pushed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, also extends felony penalties to driving school instructors and trucking companies for bribery. Current law only covers public officials.


July 21, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to improve the state’s crime laboratory system
Continues effort to speed up analysis of DNA crime kits, give law enforcement best possible evidentiary tools
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Building on his effort to strengthen the state’s crime laboratories, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed three bills into law that will help prosecutors and law enforcement officers gain access to valuable evidence more quickly. House Bill 4424, Senate Bill 2201 and Senate Bill 3014 will help ensure DNA cases, including sexual assault cases, are solved in a more timely fashion and laboratory operations are of the highest standards.


July 20, 2004
Governor Blagojevich Commends USEPA For Approving Upper Sangamon Watershed Study Grant
ILLINOIS WINS ONE OF ONLY 14 GRANTS AWARDED NATIONWIDE: WILL BENEFIT WATER QUALITY AND AGRICULTURE
SPRINGFIELD --- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for selecting the Upper Sangamon River Watershed in Central Illinois as one of only 14 nationally to receive federal funds under the “targeted watershed” program this year.


July 20, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs law to help Illinois small businesses get ahead
New law allows more small businesses to compete for state contracts
SPRINGFIELD, Ill - Building on his pledge to expand business opportunities for small business owners across the state, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 4947 - allowing the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to set aside more contracts and allow more small business companies to participate in the Small Business Set-Aside Program. Currently, about 3,000 businesses participate in this program, which gives a preference to small businesses competing for state contracts. With this new law, an additional 3,300 may be eligible to participate in the Set-Aside Program.


July 20, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs Stacey’s Law
New law toughens consequences for those involved in covering up murders
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 4032, also known as “Stacey’s Law.” The new law requires defendants to serve consecutive sentences, rather than concurrent, when one of the offenses is concealment of a homicidal death or dismembering a human body. The law is named after Stacey Bravo, a 29-year-old woman from Calumet Park who was murdered by her then-boyfriend, who concealed her body for more than two years.


July 19, 2004
U.S. Governors, Canadian Premiers announce public release of historic Great Lakes protection draft agreements
CHICAGO – Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today helped kick off a 90-day public review period for documents created to update the way the Great Lakes and the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are managed and protected.


July 15, 2004
ILLINOIS TOLLWAY HELICOPTER SELLS FOR $952,000
Proceeds From Auction Will Fund Additional Congestion Relief Efforts
Downers Grove, Ill. – The Illinois Tollway’s helicopter sold for $952,000 at a public auction held today at Tollway headquarters. The sale of the helicopter has been long requested by state officials and is part of the reform agenda launched by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.


July 15, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation making education more affordable for Illinois military families
Governor signs law granting military families in-state tuition to public universities
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed two pieces of legislation making education more affordable for Illinois military personnel and their families. House Bill 3877 requires all public universities to provide in-state tuition rates to a person on active military duty in Illinois or their dependants.


July 15, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to strengthen consumer protection against identity theft
Signing of HB 4712 marks second legislative victory for Illinois consumers during National Fraud Awareness Week New law greatly restricts availability of social security numbers
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — As part of National Fraud Awareness Week (July 11-17), Gov. Rod Blagojevich today signed a second piece of legislation that is expected to sharply curtail the unnecessary dissemination of Social Security numbers in Illinois – a leading cause of identity theft. House Bill 4712 drastically reduces the use of social security numbers as a personal identifier. Yesterday the Governor signed House Bill 2545, a bill that prohibits insurance companies from printing or embedding social security numbers on consumers’ insurance cards.


July 15, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs bill allowing HIV-infected individuals to donate organs
First law of its kind in the nation
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois became the first state in the country to allow organ donations by people who are HIV positive today when Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed House Bill 3857.


July 15, 2004
Quinn saluted the cast and crew of the Goodman Theatre's new musical drama "Let the Eagle Fly," the story of Cesar Chavez and the farm workers union.
CHICAGO -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn officially saluted the cast and crew of the new musical drama “Let the Eagle Fly,” the story of legendary labor leader Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union. Cast members provided a special sneak preview performance of the musical, which is a part of the theatre’s 2004 Latino Theatre Festival.


July 15, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs measure to provide safety net for elderly and disabled asylees and refugees
SPRINGFIELD, Ill – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation aimed at helping over 500 elderly and disabled refugees and political asylees who have not attained U. S. citizenship because of a backlog of applications.


July 14, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich marks National Fraud Awareness Week by banning Social Security numbers from appearing on insurance cards
CHICAGO, Ill. — Nearly 10,000 Illinois residents reported to the Federal Trade Commission that they were victims of identity theft last year. Today, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation that should reduce that number by keeping Social Security numbers off of insurance cards.


July 14, 2004
First Lady outlines success in state’s effort to help parents collect child support
Crackdown on deadbeat parents leads to record high collections of $950 million in FY2004 Governor Signs Legislation Allowing Parents to Opt for Automatic Deduction of Child Support Payments
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – First Lady Patti Blagojevich announced today that the state collected a record amount of child support money in Fiscal Year 2004, taking in almost $90 million more than the previous year. She also announced that her husband today is signing into law House Bill 4310, legislation designed to make it easier to make child support payments by allowing non-custodial parents to have payments automatically deducted from their bank accounts.


July 14, 2004
BLUE-RIBBON BLACKOUT TASK FORCE SOUNDS ALARM ON ILLINOIS ELECTRIC GRID SHORTCOMINGS
CHICAGO – More homegrown renewable energy, enhanced investment in utility employees, and stronger cyber security are among the 32 recommendations presented to Governor Rod Blagojevich today by the blue-ribbon panel studying ways to avert widespread power outages in Illinois.


July 14, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH MOVES QUICKLY TO ENSURE SAFETY AND FUTURE WELL-BEING OF ROANOKE COMMUNITY IN WAKE OF TORNADO
SPRINGFIELD – Reacting immediately to yesterday’s natural disaster in Roanoke that ravaged a manufacturing plant and left hundreds without a place of employment, Governor Rod Blagojevich has launched a comprehensive and coordinated effort to provide critical emergency assistance to those impacted by the tornado’s destruction, especially the nearly 200 workers of the Parsons Manufacturing Company, which shouldered the brunt of the tornado’s impact. The Governor has deployed several state agencies along with the state’s Rapid Response Team to the disaster area, ensuring that both the victims’ safety and livelihoods will be well provided for by dedicated professionals.


July 13, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces Homeland Security grants to communities throughout Illinois
Vehicles, equipment and training will enhance preparedness across the state
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the approval of $22 million in Homeland Security grants for specialized vehicles, equipment and training that will help the state’s Homeland Security regions respond to possible acts of terrorism in their areas.


July 13, 2004
Illinois celebrates one-year anniversary of Primary Seat Belt Enforcement law
Dozens of lives saved in first half of 2004; seatbelt compliance jumps in first full year
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined with the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police to announce that Illinois’ primary seatbelt law is proving to be extremely effective in its first year on the books. Governor Blagojevich signed the legislation last July, changing the state’s seat belt law from a secondary to a primary violation.


July 12, 2004
Blagojevich signs property tax relief legislation
Governor signs new law, increasing statewide homeowner exemption, provides additional relief for seniors
CHICAGO, Ill. — Representing a clear victory for homeowners struggling with skyrocketing property taxes, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2112. The statewide property tax relief package increases several key property tax exemptions – including the statewide homeowner exemption, the exemption for home improvements and the senior citizen assessment freeze.


July 11, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $750,000 OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANT FOR NORTH CENTRAL REGION BUSINESS EXPANSION CREATING 50 NEW JOBS
SPRINGFIELD – Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to create more jobs and promote economic growth, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced a $750,000 Opportunity Returns grant to the Village of Deer Creek in Tazewell County to support the construction of a new factory to build modular homes. The new Homeway Homes, Inc. facility will create 50 new full-time jobs for the North Central region. There will be a groundbreaking on Monday for the new facility at 10:00am at the Deer Creek Business Park - 1/8 mile south of the railroad tracks off Route 150.


July 9, 2004
Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn sends letter of congratulations on the 75th anniversary of the Future Farmers of America (FFA).
For 75 years, FFA has helped young people reach their potential and achieve their dreams. Beginning with just 33 members, the organization has grown to nearly a half million and is going strong, with active chapters across the nation.


July 8, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $300,000 IN FUNDING FOR NORTHWEST REGION ENTREPRENEURSHIP CENTER TO SPUR INNOVATION AND JOB CREATION
ROCK ISLAND ­ Continuing to deliver on his Opportunity Returns promise to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the Northwest region, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the formation of the Northwest Region Entrepreneurship Center. The new center is receiving $300,000 in funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), who will also administer the initiative. The Entrepreneurship Center Network will serve the Northwest region of Illinois that includes Bureau, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lee, Mercer, Putnam, Rock Island and Whiteside Counties. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin made the announcement at the Quad City Development Group in Rock Island, where the center will be located.


July 8, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill putting Pres. Bush on ballot in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2123, effectively allowing President Bush to appear on the Illinois ballot in November 2004. The bill signed today amends the Election Code to allow a presidential candidate to be put on the ballot in Illinois even with that candidate’s nominating convention occuring after the ballot certification deadline.


July 6, 2004
Quinn salutes seven Chicago high school students for winning gold medals at the Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) and wishes them success as they head to the academic National Olympics in Philadelphia on Thursday
Chicago -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn will saluted seven Chicago high school students who took home gold medals for the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP at the 27th Annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) regional competition.


July 2, 2004
LT.GOV. QUINN DISCUSSES WAYS ILIINOIS CITIZENS CAN SUPPORT OUR TROOPS OVERSEAS WHO SUFFER FROM SUMMERTIME HEAT
CHICAGO - As Illinois communities begin to celebrate Independence Day, Lt. Gov. Quinn discussed ways citizens can support troops overseas who suffer from summertime heat, which averages 111 degrees in Iraq and 98 degrees in Afghanistan, and promoted Lisle-based Operation Support Our Troops, on Friday, July 2, 11:00 a.m..


July 1, 2004
QUINN PROPOSES “CLEAN BEACH INITIATIVE” ENCOURAGING ILLINOIS CITIZENS TO HELP KEEP BEACHES OPEN
Chicago- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn proposed a 10-point “Clean Beach Initiative” today, encouraging citizens to adopt a beach and help prevent E. coli bacteria from causing swimming bans that have plagued Lake Michigan’s beaches this summer. Quinn is the chairman of the Illinois delegation to the Great Lakes Commission, an environmental group of eight states and two Canadian provinces, charged with protecting the health of the Great Lakes.

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