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August
2004


August 31, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces state now accepting early applications for energy assistance grants
With energy prices on the rise, LIHEAP expects to aid 300,000 Illinois households Seniors, disabled and those with service disconnections can apply during early filing period, Sept. 1- Oct. 31
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will begin taking applications from disabled and elderly residents on September 1st.


August 31, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces major FamilyCare expansion - extending health coverage to additional tens of thousands of working parents
New income threshold means parents in a family of four qualify for coverage at up to $25,068 per year
SPRINGFIELD - Tens of thousands of uninsured Illinois parents will become eligible for comprehensive health care coverage on September 1st, due to a critical expansion of FamilyCare pushed by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones during budget negotiations.


August 31, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich announces important workforce training grants to strengthen steelworker skills and boost competitiveness of steel industry in southwest region
GRANITE CITY – Continuing his efforts to build a more highly-skilled, dynamic workforce across the Southwest region and throughout the state, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $513,500 in Opportunity Returns workforce training grants that will enhance the skills of approximately 750 steelworkers at US Steel in Granite City and Alton Steel, two major steel companies whose competitiveness is critical to the vitality of the regional economy. Opportunity Returns is the Governor’s comprehensive, pro-active plan designed to spur economic development and widespread job growth.


August 30, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $400,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING TO ILLINOIS HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO DIVERSIFY ECONOMY AND GROW SMALL BUSINESS ACROSS THE STATE
CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today $400,000 in funding to the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) to launch the Minority Contractor Training Initiative, a coordinated effort that will vastly improve the competitiveness of current Illinois minority contractors and grow the capabilities of future minority contractors to succeed in obtaining state and construction related contracts. This initiative comes as a part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns program for the Northeast region, his comprehensive, pro-active plan for restoring economic opportunity to the area, which he will announce in the coming months. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin announced the funding with representatives of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and various elected officials at the Little Village High School, which is a new Chicago Public School scheduled to open next fall.


August 27, 2004
LT. GOV. QUINN SALUTES MUNDELEIN NATIONAL
CHICAGO - Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn saluted Mundelein National – the Mundelein Little League Association’s 12-year olds’ baseball team – for distinguishing itself by winning the Illinois Little League State Championship for the first time since the League’s inception in 1960.


August 27, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law supporting home-based care for seniors
SPRINGFIELD-Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that will support seniors who wish to stay in their homes by restructuring the delivery of services to include home-based services as well as institutional care.


August 26, 2004
Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn presents Project ChildSafe gunlocks to raise awareness about safe and responsible firearm ownership and storage.
DU QUOIN, IL.,- Today, in front of the main entrance to the DuQuoin State Fair (located on U.S. Route 51, 20 minutes north of Carbondale), Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn made free Project ChildSafe gunlocks available to the public to raise awareness about safe and responsible firearm ownership and storage.


August 26, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich and U.S. Rep. Emanuel call on Pfizer to halt plans to deny Illinois residents access to affordable medications
Governor assails drug-maker’s effort to limit supplies in U.K.
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) today called on drug-manufacturer Pfizer to stop its plans to deny Illinois residents access to its medications at significant savings. The officials’ action came after they received notice from prescription drug wholesalers in the United Kingdom that Pfizer this week began an effort to change its contracts in order to stop British wholesalers from supplying drugs outside the U.K.


August 26, 2004
QUINN CELEBRATES NEW LAW TO PROTECT BUSINESS-OWNING CITIZEN-SOLDIERS
PEORIA – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined with Sen. George Shadid and Rep. Ricca Slone to salute the signing of Senate Bill 2547 which protects business-owning National Guard members and reservists from being charged higher tax rates for unemployment insurance as a result of the employer closing down business to report for active military duty.


August 26, 2004
QUINN VISITS WORLD SOY CAPITAL TO PROMOTE THE USE OF SOY- BASED BIODIESEL FUEL
DECATUR – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn visited Decatur, the world’s soy capital, to kick-off the school year by encouraging Illinois school districts to use soy-based biodiesel in their school buses and participate in the Illinois Clean School Bus Program.


August 26, 2004
QUINN JOINS WITH SEN. WELCH TO PROMOTE ENERGY-EFFICIENCY IN ILLINOIS
LaSalle, IL – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined Senator Patrick Welch to promote Senate Bill 2322, which would require new minimum energy-efficiency standards for certain products sold or installed in Illinois and Senate Bill 2320, which would implement renewable energy sources by public universities.


August 25, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act
New law protects jobs of volunteer firefighters who are late or miss work while responding to emergency
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that ensures volunteer firefighters won’t lose their paying jobs simply because they were late or missed work while performing their duties.


August 25, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich unveils vision for Illinois Tollway
Illinois will be first state in nation to convert to Open Road Tolling to reduce travel times
CHICAGO, Ill. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today unveiled his vision for the future of the Illinois Tollway with a 10-year, $5.3 billion plan that will reduce traffic and congestion, rebuild and reconstruct the entire Tollway system, add lanes to the system’s major roads, make Illinois the first state in the nation to convert to Open Road Tolling, build the long-anticipated south extension of I-355 and create 252,000 jobs.


August 24, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to protect Illinois military members who own businesses
New law, initiated by Lt. Gov Quinn, protects employers who are forced to close their businesses because they are called up to active duty service
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law providing new protections to Illinois military members who are also business owners. Senate Bill 2547, initiated by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and sponsored by Sen. George Shadid (D-Peoria) and Rep. Ricca Slone (D-Peoria), protects employers who are forced to close their businesses because they are called up to active duty in the Illinois National Guard, or the U.S. Armed Forces, by providing that they don’t have to pay for the unemployment benefits of employees left unemployed as a result of their being called up for active duty.


August 24, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill encouraging state agencies to use minority vendors
CHICAGO – Determined to give minority and women-owned businesses more opportunities to supply goods and services to the state, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2961, extending the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) until 2008.


August 24, 2004
Blagojevich signs law cracking down on methampetamine production
Legislation initiated by Attorney General Madigan makes Illinois one of top states for restricting key ingredients in methamphetamine manufacturing
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation tightening restrictions on the sale and retail display of certain chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine, popularly known as “meth.” The new law establishes the Methamphetamine Manufacturing Chemical Retail Sale Control Act, and makes Illinois one of the toughest states in the nation when it comes to curbing access to key ingredients used to make meth.


August 24, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to further protect civil rights of Illinois citizens
New law enhances civil rights enforcement powers of Office of Attorney General
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today, in his continuous effort to fight discrimination, signed Senate Bill 2878, a legislative amendment spearheaded by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. SB 2878 authorizes the Attorney General to file civil action suits in the name of the people of Illinois for pattern and practice violations of civil rights laws under the Illinois Human Rights Act.


August 24, 2004
Governor signs law that improves public safety by building partnerships between Parole and Drug Courts
New law strengthens “Operation Spotlight” Parole Reform Plan by allowing parolees to participate in county drug courts
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will help reduce crime and recidivism among drug-involved offenders by enabling stronger partnerships between parole and drug courts. Sponsored by Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Rep. Patricia Reid Lindner (R-Sugar Grove), Senate Bill 2654 allows for a drug court judge to sentence an offender to prison with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), followed by a combination of parole and probation under the court’s supervision in order to enable a drug offender to participate in drug courts while on parole.


August 24, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR NEW “GREEN” SCHOOL BUILDING THAT WILL ACT AS MODEL FOR WIDESPREAD ENERGY COST SAVINGS
State Funding Allows “Green School” To Tap Into The Blue Sky Of Natural Daylight and Solar Power
SPRINGFIELD - Thanks to $625,000 in funding from Governor Rod Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development program, students returning to school today at the new Cuba Illinois Middle-Senior High School will find themselves surrounded not only by green acres of nearby corn but also by a “green building” that is a new model for energy cost savings and sustainability practices in Illinois. The funding came from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Bureau of Energy and Recycling.


August 24, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich uses amendatory veto power to clear path for more federal Medicaid dollars
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today used his amendatory veto power to leverage more federal Medicaid dollars to pump into Illinois nursing homes. It’s the Governor’s hope that his action leads to a much-deserved wage increase for thousands of frontline nursing home employees. House Bill 2220 amends the Public Aid Code to increase Medicaid rates for nursing homes – allowing the state to capture more federal funds. However, the bill’s effective date is July 1st, 2004 and the state would not have been able to retroactively capture federal funds. Therefore, Governor Blagojevich used his amendatory veto power to change the bill’s effective date to January 1st 2005.


August 23, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law protecting Illinoisans from buying fraudulent calling cards
Illinois to prevent Calling Card Companies from selling Fraudulent Cards
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2731, preventing telecommunications companies from selling fraudulent calling cards. Until now, Illinois lacked the authority to regulate the hundreds of types of calling cards sold in Illinois. By regulating the sale of prepaid calling cards, the bill aims to protect consumers from fraudulent, incomplete or misleading disclosure of prepaid calling rates, terms and conditions. Consumers have complained that fraudulent prepaid cards have failed to provide the number of minutes advertised and in some cases have charged exorbitant fees. Immigrant and Latino communities have been most affected by unscrupulous prepaid calling card vendors.


August 23, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law protecting immigrants from misrepresentation
Illinois clarifies the separation of Notaries Public and Attorneys
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law Senate Bill 2548 to help reduce the language barriers that many immigrants face in trying to access and secure reliable and accurate legal advice.


August 23, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to protect those who participate in cancer trial from discrimination
New law creates the Illinois Cancer Patient Protection Act
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2339, requiring health plans to continue coverage for cancer patients electing to participate in clinical trials. Participation in clinical trials give cancer patients access to cutting edge treatments – often their best chance for survival. But, many cancer patients fear they will lose their health insurance if they participate in clinical trials. The new law protects them from this kind of discrimination.


August 23, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs law making it unlawful to ship cigarettes to minors
Violators subject to fines, criminal charges
SPRINGFIELD – Stepping up the state’s efforts to curb tobacco sales to minors, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that makes it unlawful for common or contract carriers to transport cigarettes to an individual in the state who is under 18 years of age.


August 23, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law to promote recycling of construction debris
Bill streamlines rules for new facilities across Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – As part of an ongoing effort to promote recycling, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2145 - removing barriers to developing concrete recycling facilities statewide. The bill extends the local siting exemption for concrete recycling facilities to any county statewide that has zoning laws. Previously, only facilities in Cook and DuPage Counties were exempt.


August 23, 2004
Blagojevich to U.S. Dept of Labor: New Federal Overtime Rules Don't Apply in Illinois
Informs U.S. Department of Labor Secretary that federal changes going into effect today will not apply in Illinois
CHICAGO – As new federal overtime rules go into effect today, stripping away overtime pay for millions of workers across the country, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Elain Chao reiterating that legislation he signed this spring will ensure that 375,000 workers in Illinois will not lose their overtime rights.


August 23, 2004
Quinn joins Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, Sen. Martin Sandoval, Rep. William Delgado, ICC Commissioner Lula Ford and Consul General of Mexico Jose Castro to celebrate the passage of a consumer protection bill to stop prepaid calling card providers from selling deceptive calling cards
CHICAGO -- Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joins Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, Sen. Martin Sandoval, Rep. William Delgado and ICC Commissioner Lula Ford to celebrate the passage of a consumer protection bill that will stop prepaid calling card providers from selling deceptive calling cards.


August 22, 2004
Governor signs bill requiring minutes to be kept in closed public hearings
New law part of Governor’s efforts to ensure accountability in state government
CHICAGO - Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation that will require minutes to be kept in all meetings of public bodies. House Bill 4247 is the Governor’s latest action that reflects his ongoing commitment to restoring ethics and integrity to Illinois government.


August 22, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill calling for development of a state health improvement plan
At least three public hearings to be held; plan due January 2006
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation calling for development of a comprehensive statewide plan that recommends strategies to improve the public health system and the health status of Illinois residents.


August 22, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs crucial legislation to create Southeastern Illinois Economic Development Authority
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today creating the Southeastern Illinois Economic Development Authority (SIEDA). House Bill 622 authorizes SIEDA to issue debt up to $250 million in order to spur economic development in Fayette, Cumberland, Clark, Effingham, Jasper, Crawford, Marion, Clay, Richland, Lawrence, Jefferson, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, Hamilton and White Counties.


August 22, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation establishing stricter release conditions, harsher parole violation penalties, and improved registration requirements for sex offenders
New laws, initiated by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to keep better track of sex offenders
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to improve public safety, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation strengthening and improving the state’s sex offender registry. By signing Senate Bill 2607, House Bill 6811 and House Bill 7057 into law, Gov. Blagojevich established the state’s harshest restrictions and requirements on registered sex offenders to date.


August 22, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to improve state agriculture department’s disease-fighting capability
New law enables Dept. of Agriculture to regulate animal swap meets
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today signed a law, initiated by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which will improve the state’s ability to contain and eliminate animal diseases. Senate Bill 3111 amends the Illinois Diseased Animals Act and requires organizers of a swap meet where exotic animals are traded to notify the department at least 30 days before the meet is held and to keep records of transactions at the meet for at least a year.


August 21, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation creating Health Care Justice Act
New law sets up 29-member task force to present recommendations by March 2006
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that creates the Health Care Justice Act and requires the state to assemble a 29-member task force to develop a comprehensive health care plan for Illinois.


August 21, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs law increasing consequences for meth-related fires
Law creates new crimes for meth producers who cause fires
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law with stiff penalties for methamphetamine manufacturers who cause fires or explosions. House Bill 3882 creates penalties for individuals whose efforts to manufacture an illegal drug are a contributing cause to a fire or explosion that damages a property that belongs to someone else.


August 21, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs Lt. Gov. Quinn initiative expanding eligibility for Military Family Relief Fund
New law allows unmarried service members to receive grants from Fund, and provides state compensation to families of service members who are killed
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation expanding the eligibility criteria of the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund to include single, unmarried members of the Illinois National Guard and Illinois Reservists. The new law, which was initiated by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, also provides payments of $3,000 to the spouse or dependents of service members who are killed in the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.


August 21, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs new law to further reform death penalty system
Law expands use of Capital Litigation Fund to include appeals of death penalty convictions
CHICAGO – Continuing the effort to return legitimacy and fairness to Illinois’ troubled criminal justice system, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law ensuring that death row convicts are able to appeal their convictions. House Bill 578 allows individuals convicted of capital crimes to use the Capital Litigation Trust Fund to finance their post-conviction proceedings and petitions.


August 21, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich knocks out Toughman in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod Blagojevich today signed legislation that effectively outlaws “Toughman”-type competitions, where often untrained and unconditioned fighters pummel each other, sometimes fatally.


August 20, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich takes steps to provide assistance to victims of sexual assault
Bill gives victims more time to report crimes against them
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 4771, giving victims of spousal criminal sexual assault and abuse an extended period of time to report the crime.


August 20, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs law to encourage state agencies to buy more products made in America
SPRINGFIELD - Acting on growing concern across the nation regarding the loss of revenue and domestic jobs due to outsourcing to foreign countries, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 6983, which encourages state purchasing agencies to buy products that are manufactured in the United States whenever possible while still ensuring the best value and quality for Illinois taxpayers.


August 20, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs farm vehicle weight exemption
Legislation allows farmers to transport products along Illinois roads more freely during crucial months
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law a bill that allows farmers to transport their grain more freely along Illinois roads and highways during the harvest season.


August 20, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law to reduce mercury in Illinois’ environment
Bill bans sales of some mercury-containing products
SPRINGFIELD – As part of ongoing efforts to protect public health and the environment from the toxic effects of exposure to mercury, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2551, creating the Mercury Reduction Act.


August 19, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH CALLS ON PRESIDENT BUSH TO TAKE A FIRM POSITION ON IMPORTING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called on President Bush to take a firm position on the issue of importing prescription drugs from other industrialized countries where they cost significantly less. The Governor’s comments come a day after the President acknowledged, “If it’s safe, it makes sense,” but then warned that his administration was still studying the issue.


August 19, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs Arsonist Registration Act
Will alert law enforcement, fire departments to presence of known arsonists in their communities, aid in arson investigations
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law a measure that gives local law enforcement and arson investigators a valuable tool in their efforts to track down arsonists by establishing an arsonist registry.


August 19, 2004
Blagojevich signs laws to increase safety in highway work zones
Laws strengthen fines for speeding in work zones and allow police to use cameras to enforce work zone speed limits
SPRINGFIELD- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation increasing the penalties for speeding in highway construction zones and to allow police to use cameras to enforce work zone speed limits. House Bills 7015 and 4012 are the latest measures recommended by the Governor’s Work Zone Safety Task Force to be implemented improving safety on our highways for workers and motorists.


August 19, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation creating Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force
Committee to educate public about preventable disease
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to reduce the number of women who die each from cervical cancer, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation creating the Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force. The new task force will educate the public about cervical cancer and the virus shown to cause it, as well as to identify prevention and control strategies and technologies, for Illinois women.


August 19, 2004
Quinn salutes the Illinois General Assembly for passing the Comprehensive Care in Residential Settings Demonstration Project, a successful program for rural senior citizens that provides both affordable housing and supportive services
HERRIN -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn saluted the Illinois General Assembly for passing the Comprehensive Care in Residential Settings Demonstration Project (House Bill 4837), a successful program for rural senior citizens that provides both affordable housing and supportive services.


August 18, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $500,000 IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FINANCING TO BRING NEW KAPLAN, INC. SUPPORT CENTER AND MORE THAN 300 NEW JOBS TO CHICAGO
SPRINGFIELD – As a part of his historic, regional plan to spur economic growth and create jobs throughout the Northeast region known as Opportunity Returns, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that Kaplan, Inc. will receive $500,000 in grant funding to open a new support center in Chicago’s Loop that will result in the creation of more than 300 new jobs. Kaplan, one of the nation’s leading providers of lifelong education and career services, is opening the center at 550 West Van Buren to support operations for Kaplan College.


August 17, 2004
LT.GOV. QUINN PROMOTES THE PROTECTION OF EAGLE HABITATS AND NATURE-BASED TOURISM AT ILLINOIS STATE FAIR
SPRINGFIELD - Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and two carnivorous raptors – a bald eagle and a female red- tailed hawk – demonstrated on behalf of protecting eagle habitats and promoting nature-based tourism in Illinois.


August 17, 2004
Governor Blagojevich announces plan to make Illinois first state in the nation to provide consumers with access to prescription drugs from Canada, Ireland and the UK
State will contract with and inspect foreign pharmacies to launch online and toll-free ordering system; Illinois citizens stand to save 25-50% on cost of Rx drugs
CHICAGO – After nearly a year of working diligently to secure federal cooperation in providing Illinois residents with access to safe, affordable drugs from Canada, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Congressman Rahm Emanuel today announced Illinois will become the first state in the nation to help consumers get a better deal on their medications by giving them access to lower cost prescription drugs available in Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland. Prescription drugs in Canada and Europe are typically 25-50% cheaper than in the United States.


August 17, 2004
Blagojevich signs law to protect consumers from gift certificate fraud
Law, pushed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, states that gift certificates must clearly indicate any expiration dates or fees
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today requiring all gift certificates to clearly indicate any expiration dates, service charges, or other fees. By signing the bill, the Governor reaffirmed his commitment to increasing consumer protection and limiting deceptive business practices.


August 17, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation to make restraining orders more effective
Language of domestic violence protection orders must now mention their nationwide applicability and possibility of federal charges
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Aiming to protect victims of domestic abuse, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 2495 today, ensuring that Illinois’ emergency protection orders contain clear language that warn abusers of possible harsh penalties. The bill states that Illinois’ restraining orders must contain language informing domestic abuse perpetrators that the orders are valid in all fifty states. Abusers may also be arraigned under federal charges for violating restraining orders outside of Illinois.


August 17, 2004
Governor Blagojevich announces plan to make Illinois first state in the nation to provide consumers with access to prescription drugs from Canada, Ireland and the UK
State will contract with and inspect foreign pharmacies to launch online and toll-free ordering system; Illinois citizens stand to save 25-50% on cost of Rx drugs
CHICAGO – After nearly a year of working diligently to secure federal cooperation in providing Illinois residents with access to safe, affordable drugs from Canada, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Congressman Rahm Emanuel today announced Illinois will become the first state in the nation to help consumers get a better deal on their medications by giving them access to lower cost prescription drugs available in Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland. Prescription drugs in Canada and Europe are typically 25-50% cheaper than in the United States.


August 17, 2004
Patti Blagojevich accepts major Lincoln donation – including priceless presidential briefcase
First Lady unveils logo for Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Lincoln’s presidential briefcase viewed by public for first time in 50 years
SPRINGFIELD – In an historic change-of-hands, First Lady Patti Blagojevich today accepted the donation of the most valuable original Abraham Lincoln item remaining in private hands - his document portfolio, or presidential briefcase. After accepting the briefcase and other priceless items, including a dress worn by Mary Todd Lincoln, the First Lady unveiled the new logo for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Today represents the first time the presidential briefcase has been on public display in more than 50 years and the dress worn by Mrs. Lincoln has never been publicly displayed.


August 16, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs Right to Breastfeed Act
New law allows for breastfeeding in public places
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 3211, establishing the Right to Breastfeed Act. The new law supports women who choose to breastfeed by allowing them to nurse in both public and private places without fear of being asked to leave.


August 16, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES ALMOST $3.5 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS FUNDING TO INSTALL NEW WATER TREATMENT PLANT AND SPUR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN BATAVIA
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the City of Batavia in Kane County has received a nearly $3.5 million loan for design and construction of a central water treatment plant for its public water supply. The funding is being provided through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) as part of Opportunity Returns, Governor Blagojevich’s economic development plan designed to spur economic growth and create jobs in the Northeast region that will be unveiled in the coming months.


August 16, 2004
State Severance Plan Opens Today, Offering Non-Frontline Employees Incentives to Pursue Opportunities Outside of State Government
SPRINGFIELD – The State Employees Retirement System (SERS) will begin taking applications today for the state’s severance plan, which will be offered to no more than 3,000 eligible non-frontline employees working in agencies under the Governor’s control, SERS and participating constitutional offices.


August 16, 2004
Blagojevich attends Illinois State Fair’s inaugural evening harness races
Races add new variety to Grandstand entertainment
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, his wife Patti and two daughters, Amy and Annie, tonight kicked off the Illinois State Fair’s first ever evening of harness races.


August 16, 2004
QUINN VISITS SPRINGFIELD STATE FAIR TO PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE FIREARM OWNERSHIP EDUCATION
SPRINGFIELD—Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was at the State Fair in Springfield to hand out free gunlocks and campaign for responsible firearm ownership education.


August 16, 2004
Quinn promoted the recreational value of the Chicago River by saluting a flotilla of rowers in crew boats stroking down the Chicago River. Quinn also saluted Illinois rower and first-time Olympian Jamie Schroeder, a member of the U.S. Men’s Four rowing team
Chicago -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn saluted a flotilla of Chicago River enthusiasts in crew boats stroking down the Chicago River in the best tradition of Olympic rowing.


August 15, 2004
QUINN HONORS ILLINOIS SOLDIERS KILLED-IN-ACTION AT UNVEILING OF MEMORIAL TO FALLEN HEROES
SPRINGFIELD — Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined with Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Adjutant General Randal Thomas, and families of the 52 Illinois service members who have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to unveil a memorial honoring Illinois’ fallen heroes.


August 14, 2004
QUINN SALUTES SIGNING OF TRAILBLAZING NEW LAW TO PROTECT CITIZEN SOLDIERS
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined with bill sponsors, Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Linda Chapa La Via, as Gov. Rod Blagojevich signs House Bill 4371 (“Citizen Soldier Initiative”) into law at the homecoming ceremony of the 233rd Military Police Company.


August 14, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich welcomes home Illinois soldiers after spending more than a year in Iraq
Governor signs “Citizen Soldiers Initiative” - extending protection from discrimination to all Illinois soldiers – the first law of its’ kind in the nation
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today officially welcomed home 180 Illinois soldiers after they spent more than a year on duty in Iraq. The Soldiers, members of 233rd Military Police Company, served more than 14 months overseas providing force protection and installation security in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the homecoming celebration, Gov. Blagojevich signed a new law, called the “Citizen Soldier Initiative”, that protects all Illinois soldiers from discrimination – those serving on active duty and all members of the Illinois National Guard and U.S. Reserves. The “Citizen Soldier Initiative” is the first of its’ kind in the nation.


August 14, 2004
Quinn salutes and presents awards to Rockford walkers and winning runners of all ages for their commitment to health and fitness
ROCKFORD -- As the 2004 Summer Olympics begin, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn saluted and presented awards to Rockford walkers and winning runners of all ages for their commitment to health and fitness at the 19th Annual Swedish American Hospital State Street Mile Walk or Run for Fun and Fitness event.


August 13, 2004
Governor Rod Blagojevich signs law that protects school grounds from street-gang recruiters
New law toughens penalty for gang recruiters who target students
CHICAGO – In an effort to protect Illinois school children from getting pulled into the dangerous world of street gangs, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that makes it a Class 1 felony to recruit for gangs on school grounds.


August 13, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law creating first ever statewide energy efficiency building code
New code expected to reduce cooling, heating, lighting and other energy costs by up to 16%
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to reduce demand for energy in large commercial buildings and to protect the environment, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 4099, creating the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Act. The new law requires the state to draft and enforce the first statewide energy efficiency code.


August 12, 2004
QUINN SALUTES NAPERVILLE FOR ENERGY-SAVING INITIATIVES AT ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE AUGUST 2003 NORTHEAST BLACKOUT
NAPERVILLE, IL –Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted the city of Naperville for the Residential Streetlight Improvement Project which will save millions of taxpayer dollars by replacing residential streetlights with energy-efficient, high-pressure sodium lights.


August 12, 2004
QUINN SALUTES KANE COUNTY ENERGY PROJECT ON ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF AUGUST 2003 NORTHEAST BLACKOUT
GENEVA, IL - Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted the Kane County Board Executive Committee which is preparing to launch the $175,000 “Kane County Energy Project” to evaluate long-term energy demand, explore strategies for energy efficiency, manage growth and produce economic and environmental benefits for Kane County.


August 12, 2004
QUINN SALUTES SHEDD AQAURIUM FOR MASSIVE ENERGY-SAVING SOY-BASED ROOF
CHICAGO - At the one-year anniversary of the August, 2003 Northeast blackout, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted the John G. Shedd Aquarium for their massive energy-saving, environmentally-friendly initiative to make a soy-based roof out of 36 acres of home-grown Illinois soybeans.


August 12, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES KANE COUNTY PROJECT TO USE ENERGY EFFICIENCY TO IMPROVE LOCAL ECONOMY AND BUSINESS COMPETITIVENESS
SPRINGFIELD – As part of his innovative program to spur economic development and create more jobs, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced $175,000 in Opportunity Returns funding to the Community Energy Cooperative to address important energy issues in Kane County. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Regional Energy Program (REP) seeks to improve local economies and increase business competitiveness within Illinois communities through greater energy efficiency. The United States Department of Energy’s (USDOE) Rebuild America Program jointly supports the project. This grant is part of Opportunity Returns, Governor Rod Blagojevich’s regional, pro-active economic development program to create jobs and promote economic growth for the Northeast region.


August 11, 2004
Blagojevich signs law prohibiting child sex offenders from operating businesses that photograph children
New law strengthens ability to protect the public by imposing restrictions, tightening parole supervision for child sex offenders
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to better protect children and the public from sex offenders. House Bill 4135 prohibits child sex offenders from conducting or operating a business that photographs children under the age of 18.


August 11, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs Cook County State’s Attorney Devine bill cracking down on gun traffickers
Provides law enforcement with more tools to go after illegal gun traffickers and those illegally using body armor
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation initiated by Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine that enhances penalties for gun traffickers who aid criminals in their illegal efforts to obtain firearms and allows the maximum penalty for those who use body armor while illegally possessing a gun.


August 11, 2004
Governor signs law requiring background checks for massage therapists
SPRINGFIELD – To crack down on prostitution rings posing as “massage therapy spas”, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 5891, requiring massage therapist professionals undergo criminal background checks as a condition for licensure.


August 10, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation expanding ability for state, local workers to assist with major disasters
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will allow more state and local government employees to help with disaster response. House Bill 4005 expands the ability for state and local government employees with emergency response skills to take a leave from their jobs to assist during major disasters in Illinois and across the nation.


August 10, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs new law giving seniors more options for support to live in their communities
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that helps Illinois senior citizens weigh their living options in their communities. House Bill 5057, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), directs the Illinois Department on Aging to establish a pilot project that will support older people in making living choices that meet their needs and reflect their preferences.


August 10, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to guard consumers from deceptive credit counseling
House Bill 5070 amends the Debt Management Service Act
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 5070, legislation designed to protect consumers from deceptive credit counseling services. The bill expands licensing requirements to include all debt management companies, including those companies that do not directly make payments to creditors.


August 10, 2004
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH PRAISES OPENING OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY’S RENOVATED OPERATING PLANT AND NEW CHICAGO MANUFACTURING CAMPUS
State’s Support and $800 Million In Private Investment Will Help Create More Than 1,400 Good Illinois Jobs
CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich congratulated Ford Motor Company on the completion of its recently renovated and retooled Chicago Assembly Plant and the opening of the 155-acre Chicago Manufacturing Campus, which is bringing in twelve Ford suppliers and more than 1,400 new jobs into Illinois. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has invested with Ford and its suppliers to help make both of these important projects a reality. DCEO Director Jack Lavin represented Governor Blagojevich at the event.


August 9, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill requiring fire sprinkler systems in dorms
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation requiring dormitories at all public and private colleges and universities in Illinois to have fire sprinkler systems installed by 2013.


August 9, 2004
Governor signs legislation restricting youth access to cigarettes
Law also prohibits persons under age 16 from selling tobacco products
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to strengthen state laws that limit youth access to tobacco products, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to require cigarette packs be kept out-of-reach behind sales counters and to prohibit minors under the age of 16 from selling any tobacco products.


August 7, 2004
Governor Rod Blagojevich signs bill that helps victims of sexual violence better track their offenders
Legislation strengthens victim notification requirements
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to help restore peace of mind for victims of sexual assault and their families, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will give victims more access to information on the whereabouts of the person convicted of assaulting them.


August 7, 2004
Blagojevich establishes David A. Wirsing Food Animal Institute
New agricultural institute to study Illinois’ food animal industry and suggest ways to keep it competitive in a changing marketplace
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich paid lasting tribute today to the memory of a respected northern Illinois lawmaker. Blagojevich signed into law House Bill 4769, creating the David A. Wirsing Food Animal Institute Act in honor of the late Rep. David Wirsing (R-Sycamore). Wirsing, a lifelong farmer and former president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association, was working on legislation to create the institute when he died Nov. 16, 2003.


August 5, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs law creating the Illinois African-American Family Commission Act
Commission to improve education, employment and health among African American population
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 3208 establishing the African-American Family Commission Act. The legislation expands the role of an already established 15-member commission that works with state agencies to improve educational, human services, and community development programs for African-Americans.


August 5, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs law protecting Illinois senior citizens from fraud and deception
New law protects seniors seeking reverse mortgages from unscrupulous lenders
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 5197, legislation designed to protect senior citizens from lenders that offer reverse mortgages who are acting in bad faith. Reverse mortgages have recently become popular with senior citizens because they allow homeowners to convert equity into cash.


August 5, 2004
Blagojevich Administration Delivers on Health Care Pledge
National Study reports Illinois tops nation in expanding coverage for working families and children
BERWYN – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich visited MacNeal Hospital in near-west suburban Berwyn today to encourage low-income parents to take advantage of the state’s recently-expanded FamilyCare and KidCare programs, and to celebrate a new national study that shows Illinois is continuing to lead the nation in the battle to deliver health care coverage for low-income children and parents, despite the state’s historic budget crisis.


August 5, 2004
Blagojevich signs Attorney General Madigan bill strengthening parole restrictions for sex offenders
New law imposes 15 additional conditions for sex offender parole, including electronic monitoring for a minimum of 12 months
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation initiated by Attorney General Lisa Madigan that for the first time in the state’s history establishes specific parole conditions for sex offenders released from prison.


August 5, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs law providing more support to family caregivers
Legislation provides help at home for 1.7 million families
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that offers new support for family caregivers. House Bill 6706 provides caregivers with additional support services such as information about service options, counseling, training and respite care.


August 5, 2004
Blagojevich signs legislation to make bottled water safer
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to ensure that the bottled water that Illinoisans are drinking is safe, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation giving the state more regulatory authority over water bottling plants and private water source operators.


August 4, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs new law ensuring at-risk Chicago school children will have access to charter school option
New law comes on the heels of plan to add at least 30 more charter schools in Chicago
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that protects the original intention of the charter school law for Chicago: giving at-risk youth more education options. House Bill 5562, sponsored by Chicago legislators Rep. Lou Jones and Sen. Jacqueline Collins, allows the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to give priority in charter school enrollment to students living in the community where the charter school is located.


August 4, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to increase faculty diversity
New law streamlines administration and strengthens focus on diversity
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation aimed at increasing diversity among the ranks of faculty at Illinois colleges and universities. Senate Bill 3107 will strengthen a minority graduate fellowship program designed to expand the pool of diverse candidates for faculty positions throughout higher education.


August 4, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs law improving passenger safety
Allows state oversight of passenger vans carrying between 9-15 passengers
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law a measure aimed at bringing more safety and accountability to companies providing passenger service in vans designed to carry between 9-15 passengers. Prior to the Governor’s action today the Illinois Department of Transportation had no authority to inspect these vehicles for maintenance and safety, even though they are run as commercial vehicles.


August 3, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to expand education opportunities for National Guard members
New law expands eligibility criteria for Illinois National Guard grant program
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation increasing education opportunities for Illinois National Guard members. Senate Bill 2755 expands eligibility criteria for the Illinois National Guard grant program.


August 3, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs Sen. del Valle initiatives to reduce state’s student drop out rate
New laws increase legal drop out age, require better tracking of transfer students and oversight of students at risk of dropping out
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a series of bills aimed at helping more Illinois students complete high school. The package, championed by Sen. Miguel del Valle (D-Chicago), addresses the state dropout rate, which is hovering at 5%, by raising the age at which students are legally allowed to dropout and keeping better track of students at risk of dropping out.


August 2, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs law aimed at prevention and treament of Osteoporosis
Bill requires insurers to treat and test for bone disease that afflicts hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that requires insurers and HMOs to cover tests and treatment for Osteoporosis, the debilitating disease that causes brittle bones and can leave its victims bed-ridden due to injuries. Senate Bill 2744, which had strong backing from health care advocates, will require insurers and HMOs in Illinois to pay for bone density measurements and medical care for osteoporosis.


August 2, 2004
Gov. Blagojevich signs “The Robb Family Act”
New law cracks down on landlords who cover up dangerous housing conditions
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 2582 – tough new penalties for landlords who try to cover up code violations that lead to someone’s death. The law, known as the Robb Family Act, creates a new offense “aggravated criminal housing management,” a Class 4 felony.


August 2, 2004
Governor Blagojevich signs law aimed at prevention and treament of Osteoporosis
Bill requires insurers to treat and test for bone disease that afflicts hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that requires insurers and HMOs to cover tests and treatment for Osteoporosis, the debilitating disease that causes brittle bones and can leave its victims bed-ridden due to injuries. Senate Bill 2744, which had strong backing from health care advocates, will require insurers and HMOs in Illinois to pay for bone density measurements and medical care for osteoporosis.

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