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State/All: ILLINOIS NEWS
March 31, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich unveils comprehensive Higher Standards, Better Schools plan
Proposal increases school funding by another $300 million, and implements strict new high school graduation standards to better prepare Illinois students for college and the workforce
OAK PARK – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced his Higher Standards, Better Schools plan – a comprehensive proposal designed to boost education funding and better prepare students to compete and succeed in today’s economy. Building on his efforts over the past two years to improve public education in Illinois, the Governor’s proposal pumps $300 million more into K-12 education – for a total increase of $440 million in Fiscal Year 2006. Higher Standards, Better Schools also increases the number of credits required to graduate from 16 to 18; requires Illinois high school students to take more math, science and writing-intensive courses; and requires school districts to offer a broader range of electives and Advanced Placement courses to students.
March 31, 2005
EDUCATION INCREASES BY STATE, FY 2003-2005
These numbers compare Illinois to other states, on the basis of percentage increase from FY 2003 to FY 2005. Illinois was #1 in the Midwest in increasing education funding from FY 2003 to FY 2005. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures.
March 30, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich celebrates National Donate Life Month by calling attention to new law that will increase the number of organs available for transplant
CHICAGO- Today, Governor Rod Blagojevich highlighted a new law that helps facilitate organ donations as he celebrated April as National Donate Life Month. The Stan Scott Law, signed into law last August by Blagojevich, mandates that hospitals must inform family members of all options surrounding their loved one’s organ donations, including a free transfer to a different hospital in circumstances when the original hospital is unable to perform organ donations.
March 29, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH LAUNCHES NEW WEB SITE TO HELP ENTREPRENEURS GROW THEIR BUSINESSES AND CREATE MORE JOBS ACROSS ILLINOIS
CHICAGO - Continuing to deliver on his Opportunity Returns promise to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced today the launching of the Illinois Entrepreneurship Network (IEN) to help create jobs and high-growth businesses across Illinois. Throughout the state, small business owners looking to expand their companies can connect with business experts through local Entrepreneurship Centers and many other economic development centers supported by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The first innovative effort of the network is a new IEN Web site, www.ienconnect.com, which features a free business needs assessment and a referral within 24 hours for personalized, face-to-face assistance. This Web site is yet another tool that makes it easier to cut through the red tape and increase business access to valuable state resources; Gov. Blagojevich recently announced www.business.Illinois.gov in his State of the State address in February to help businesses find the information they need from state government all in one place.
March 29, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich and IDOT reach out to small and emerging businesses
“Get Ready for Prime Time” offers networking opportunity; provides tips for working with the State
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Timothy W. Martin today announced an upcoming conference to provide new and emerging business owners, particularly small, female, and minority-owned businesses, a chance to get information on doing business with the State of Illinois. The “Get Ready for Prime Time” conference, hosted by IDOT on April 5th, provides a unique networking opportunity for start-up businesses to meet with prime contractors and find out what they look for when they need a sub-contractor.
March 28, 2005
Governor Blagojevich announces creation of State Police Elder Abuse Squad
Statewide program will use outreach and advocacy to educate the elderly about risks of financial exploitation
Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the creation of a special, statewide unit dedicated to fight financial exploitation and abuses against the elderly. The unit will be funded by a $280,000 grant for the Crimes Against Seniors Program (CASP). Illinois State Police will receive the funding through the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program, also known as the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, administered by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA).
March 27, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces shutdown of seventh hospital incinerator in six months
Hinsdale Hospital complies with Governor's call for voluntary shutdown Illinois EPA will work with Hinsdale to establish timetable
CHICAGO—Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced that Hinsdale Hospital (Hinsdale) has committed to shut down its on-site incinerator. Hinsdale is the seventh hospital that has agreed to pursue the safer, cleaner and cost-effective alternatives that are widely available.
March 25, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces grants to help local communities preserve history
Governor announces 2005 Certified Local Government Grant recipients
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that Alton, Carbondale, Chicago, Chicago Heights, Glenview, Hinsdale, Jacksonville, Lemont, Mt. Carroll, Oak Park, Rock Island, Springfield and Urbana been selected to receive Certified Local Government grants from federal funds made available through the state for local historic preservation projects.
March 24, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois tuberculosis cases at a record low
Prevention measures keep disease numbers down for eighth year in a row
SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of World TB Day, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the lowest number of tuberculosis cases ever recorded in the state. A total of 569 tuberculosis cases were reported in 2004, down from the previous record low of 633 cases in 2003. This marks the eighth consecutive year that tuberculosis cases in Illinois have fallen to an all-time low. The Governor credited local health departments and their use of directly observed therapy for the decline.
March 23, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich applauds addition of ethanol futures to Chicago Board of Trade
Ethanol futures contract to stabilize ethanol prices and meet industry needs Governor announces key AgriFIRST grants to promote ethanol and biodiesel
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today commended the launch of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Ethanol futures contract - calling it a critical next step in continued efforts to meet the needs of a rapidly growing industry. Illinois Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke joined members of the Chicago Board of Trade on the floor this morning for the opening bell to welcome the addition. Also today, the Governor announced the recipients of the 2005 AgriFIRST grants – several grants going to projects designed to promote ethanol and biodiesel fuels.
March 23, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich Urges Judge Murphy to Allow Baby Tamia to Return to Illinois
Governor pushes state legislation that would de-commercialize adoptions and significantly reform practices in Illinois
CHICAGO -- Governor Rod Blagojevich today sent a letter to Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Murphy urging him to issue a ruling allowing Baby Tamia to be returned to the State of Illinois, where the Department of Children and Families is prepared to fully cooperate and facilitate Tamia’s safe return. The Governor also called on the Illinois General Assembly to pass House Bill 3628, State Representative Sara Feigenholtz’s proposal to de-commercialize and significantly reform adoption practices in Illinois to avoid future cases like that of Baby Tamia’s.
March 23, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS INVESTMENTS IN THREE NEW CHRYSLER GROUP SUPPLIERS BRINGING MORE THAN 550 NEW JOBS TO THE REGION
BELVIDERE – Building on the major investment in the Chrysler Group’s Belvidere Assembly Plant expansion announced earlier this year that is bringing more than 1,000 new jobs to the region, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today continued to improve the forecast for the local manufacturing industry by announcing the awarding of approximately $6.6 million in Opportunity Returns support for three new Chrysler Group suppliers that will allow the companies to retool their facilities, train and expand their workforces and increase their competitiveness. The investments will help create more than 550 new jobs at the three manufacturers. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin made the announcement in Belvidere with state, local and company officials.
March 22, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich’s Voluntary Tax Compliance Initiative Results in $135 Million from Tax Evaders
Program exceeds goals by $35 million; New Audit Bureau Tax Shelter Unit Committed to Aggressive Enforcement
CHICAGO - The State of Illinois collected $135 million from close to 700 taxpayers and businesses who participated in the Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP) initiated by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in last year’s legislative session. The Voluntary Compliance Program allowed taxpayers who underreported their taxable income because they were using tax shelters to come forward and pay the associated Illinois Income Tax liability without incurring any new penalties. The Illinois Department of Revenue anticipated a $100 million return on the program at its inception in October 2004. One hundred million dollars goes to the state and the remaining thirty-five million will be distributed among local municipalities.
March 21, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich denounces NARC video game for encouraging drug use and brutality; reaffirms the need for Safe Games Illinois legislation
Governor encourages Senate to pass ban on sale or rental of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors
GLENVIEW - Gov. Rod Blagojevich today denounced the release of the NARC video game and called on the Senate to pass the Safe Games Illinois Act, House Bill 4023. NARC, created by Midway Games, is rated M-Mature and has drawn national attention for its focus on illegal drug use. The Safe Games Illinois Act, which passed in the House by a margin of 91 to 19 last week, would make Illinois the first state in the nation to ban the sale and rental of violent and sexually explicit video games to children. The governor joined PTA members, concerned parents, and Senate sponsor Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) in Glenview today to urge the Senate to pass the Safe Games Illinois Act.
March 18, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH SUPPORTS FEDERAL LEGISLATION TO MORE THAN DOUBLE ETHANOL PRODUCTION
Governor Seeks to Reduce America’s Dependence on Foreign Fuels and Increase our Nation’s Energy Security
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced his support for federal legislation to more than double the amount of ethanol used nationwide. Under the bipartisan “Fuels Security Act of 2005,” introduced yesterday by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and U.S. Tom Harkin (D-IA), ethanol use in the United States would rise from 3.7 billion gallons today to 8 billion gallons by 2012. U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) co-sponsored the legislation.
March 17, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces new Gaming Board members, unveils new gaming reforms to strengthen ethics guidelines
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced five appointees to the Illinois Gaming Board and unveiled a gaming reform package that would strengthen ethics requirements for the Illinois Gaming Board members and staff.
March 16, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich commends House for passing landmark video game legislation; Encourages Senate to follow suit
Illinois House of Representative passes HB 4023, The Safe Games Illinois Act
SPRINGFIELD- Governor Rod Blagojevich today praised the Illinois House of Representatives for passing The Safe Games Illinois Act, House Bill 4023. The bill would make Illinois the first state in the nation to ban the sale and rental of violent and sexually explicit video games to children. After passing this afternoon in the house by a margin of 91 to 19, the legislation now moves to the senate.
March 16, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTMENTS TO BUILD ILLINOIS’ ECONOMY, SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE
Illinois Companies Receive $200,000 in Grants to Support Rapid Growth in Homeland Security Sector
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Delivering on his commitment to build upon the homeland security industry throughout Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced $200,000 in Opportunity Returns grants for two companies on the verge of rapid growth. TechAlt, Inc. and Midco Inc. will each receive a $100,000 grant to support necessary employee training and development as the companies race to meet the new demands of the homeland security industry. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin (DCEO) made the announcement today at Arlington Heights-based TechAlt, Inc.
March 15, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois Livestock Development Initiative
Comprehensive plan designed to boost Illinois economy, create jobs through growth in livestock industry
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich and Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke today unveiled the Illinois Livestock Development Initiative as part of the Agriculture Legislative Day breakfast on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. This initiative, which was developed with the help of various industry groups, is designed to encourage livestock producers in Illinois to start new or expand existing businesses through a number of financial and regulatory incentives.
March 14, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH SUPPORTS CHICAGOLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AS IT LAUNCHES HEALTHCARE SURVEY TO IDENTIFY INSURANCE NEEDS OF SMALL BUSINESSES
Key Initiative from the Governor’s State of the State Address Moves Forward
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce announced today a recently launched online Healthcare Survey for Small Business, a key component in an initiative to explore ways in which the Chicagoland Chamber and chambers across the state can serve as aggregators of health insurance for their members and affiliates. Gov. Blagojevich recently highlighted skyrocketing health insurance costs in his State of the State address, and the launch of the survey comes on the heels of yet another year in which numerous Chicagoland Chamber members experienced double-digit health insurance premium hikes. This innovative partnership is another important effort of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development strategy to create jobs and promote economic growth throughout Illinois. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is providing the Chicagoland Chamber with a $75,000 Opportunity Returns grant to assist with the planning process.
March 14, 2005
Governor Blagojevich launches effort to fight gun trafficking
Governor sets up gun crime unit in State Police; New Gun Trafficking Unit will work with Indiana, Mississippi and federal agencies to stop flow of crime guns into Illinois
CHICAGO – In a new effort to stop the flow of illegal guns into Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the creation of an elite gun trafficking police unit that will work with federal authorities and law enforcement agencies from two other states to detect and capture gunrunners and dealers.
March 14, 2005
Blagojevich names new head of Division of Insurance
Michael McRaith to serve as top insurance official under Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
CHICAGO –Gov. Rod Blagojevich named Michael T. McRaith as the new director of the Illinois Division of Insurance, within the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. McRaith will oversee the division responsible for regulating the insurance industry.
March 11, 2005
Governor Blagojevich encourages Minnesota to join I-SaveRx program
Governor commends legislators for leadership and encourages Minnesota to be the newest partner in the I-SaveRx program
CHICAGO- Today, Governor Rod Blagojevich commended Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Dick Day and other Minnesota legislators for introducing legislation authorizing Minnesota to join the I-SaveRx prescription drug importation program and encouraged future action. I-SaveRx was developed by Illinois and is the first state sponsored program in the nation to allow residents to import prescription drugs from inspected and approved suppliers in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom at savings between 25 and 50 percent.
March 11, 2005
Governor Blagojevich congratulates student winners of C-SPAN and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum essay contest
Governor will welcome the ten winners to Illinois for the Museum opening in April
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today congratulated the winners of the C-SPAN and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum essay contest, ten young people from across the country whom the Governor will host at the April opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
March 9, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich applauds House Judiciary Committee for unanimously approving landmark video game legislation
Top national child health expert testifies in support of Governor’s plan; Bill that would ban the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors moves to the full House of Representatives
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today applauded the House Judiciary Committee on Civil Law for bringing Illinois one step closer to becoming the first state in the nation to ban the sale and rental of violent and sexually explicit video games to children under 18. The Safe Games Illinois Act, filed by State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia last week as House Bill 4023, was approved unanimously by the Committee, and will now move to the full House of Representatives for consideration. A top national expert on children’s health and the media joined Rep. Chapa LaVia and representatives from the Governor’s office before the Judiciary Committee today to testify in support of the bill. Currently, nothing under Illinois law prohibits children from buying or renting video games that contain excessively violent or sexually explicit material.
March 8, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES $500,000 IN FUNDING TO HELP MAKE E-85 AVAILABLE AT MORE ILLINOIS GAS STATIONS AND REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE ON IMPORTED OIL
Releases Guidelines for Opportunity Returns funding for the “Illinois E-85 Clean Energy Infrastructure Development Program”
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced today that $500,000 in Opportunity Returns funding is now available to establish new E-85 facilities at retail gasoline outlets in Illinois. E-85 is a blend of 70 to 85 percent ethanol that can be used in Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) designed to burn E-85, unleaded gasoline, or any combination of the two fuels. E-85 fuel is a cleaner burning renewable fuel made from corn grown in Illinois and other Midwestern states. This aggressive effort to promote the use of ethanol as a viable and efficient source of fuel in Illinois is part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive, pro-active strategy to promote economic growth throughout the state.
March 8, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces teen births hit record low in 2003; Numbers down for ninth consecutive year
Governor credits prevention programs for decline
SPRINGFIELD – Crediting extensive community outreach and prevention efforts, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the number of babies born to Illinois teenagers in 2003 declined - for the ninth straight year. In fact, the 2003 total fell to a record low, according to the latest Illinois Department of Public Health birth statistics released today.
March 7, 2005
Blagojevich administration hosts transportation safety summit to develop statewide strategy to reduce highway fatalities
IDOT brings traffic safety stakeholders to table; To develop Illinois’ first comprehensive highway safety plan
SPRINGFIELD – The Blagojevich administration, led by Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Tim Martin, held the first Illinois Highway Safety Summit to begin development of the state’s first-ever Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan (CHSP). The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials encourages all states to develop a CHSP as a way to reduce traffic fatalities.
March 3, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich directs IDOT to spearhead statewide safety initiative
IDOT to develop Illinois’ first comprehensive highway safety plan
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will develop the state’s first-ever Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan (CHSP). IDOT will host the first of two Illinois Highway Safety Summits in Springfield on Monday, March 7th.
March 2, 2005
Governor Blagojevich celebrates contributions and dedication of American Red Cross
Governor proclaims March American Red Cross Month
SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of their contributions to help save lives and rebuild lives after disasters, Governor Rod Blagojevich proclaimed March American Red Cross Month. For more than 60 years, the nation has celebrated the contributions of the American Red Cross during the month of March.
March 2, 2005
First Lady Patti Blagojevich Celebrates National Read Across America Day and the Birthday of Dr. Seuss
First Lady selects “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White as the March book selection for the Children’s Reading Club
SKOKIE- First Lady Patti Blagojevich celebrated National Read Across America Day today with the announcement of Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White as her March book selection for the Children’s Reading Club.
March 1, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES A NEARLY $1 MILLION OPPORTUNITY RETURNS INVESTMENT IN ILLINOIS’ EMERGING BIOFUEL INDUSTRY
State Investments Total More than $7.5 Million for National Corn-To-Ethanol Research Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
EDWARDSVILLE – Expanding on his commitment to Illinois’ emerging biofuel industry, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced nearly $1 million in Opportunity Returns funding for upgrades at the National Corn-To-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus. These funds will ensure that NCERC can continue to adapt its facilities to the technical needs of the bio-refinery industry. The state’s investment will help leverage an additional $2 million from the federal government and reinforces Illinois’ commitment to the developing biofuel industry. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin made the announcement with state and local officials today in Edwardsville.
March 1, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims March Nutrition Month; urges parents, schools and communities to promote better nutrition
Department of Human Services highlights healthy eating with a Statehouse Nutrition Fair
SPRINGFIELD - Stressing the importance of a healthy diet and access to nutritious foods, Governor Rod Blagojevich today declared March Nutrition Month in Illinois. This year’s theme is “Improving Food Access and Providing Nutrition Education.”
March 1, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich opens Illinois State Fairgrounds to Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum visitors
First time in 111 years fairgrounds open to public outside of the State Fair
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke today announced the Illinois State Fairgrounds will open to the general public for camping, in coordination with the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. The Museum will officially open to the public on April 19th, following three days of public events. The fairgrounds will open beginning April 1st to accommodate Museum visitors. This is the first time since the fairgrounds were established more than a century ago that they will be open to visitors who are not holding events on the grounds.
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