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August
2005


August 31, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich commends President Bush for releasing oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down gas prices
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today commended President George W. Bush for his decision to help bring down the cost of gasoline by releasing additional oil supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Gov. Blagojevich sent a letter to the President on August 17th, asking him to open the Reserve in order to bring down the prices of gasoline. The Governor sent a second letter Monday renewing his call, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction.


August 31, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich offers Illinois residents displaced from their college or university by Hurricane Katrina a chance to continue their education at an Illinois community college
Governor Blagojevich has directed the Illinois Community College Board to ensure that all Illinois residents displaced from their higher education by Hurricane Katrina be able to continue their education at an Illinois community college.


August 31, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS GRANTS THAT HAVE HELPED QUADRUPLE THE NUMBER OF E-85 STATIONS IN ILLINOIS
Governor Promotes Continued Growth of Ethanol across Illinois at the Farm Progress Show
DECATUR – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that thirty new E-85 stations have recently come online since March of this year thanks to grants from his E-85 Clean Energy Infrastructure Program. The total number of E-85 stations now in Illinois has quadrupled from 14 just over a year ago to nearly 70 stations today. E-85, an advanced hybrid of ethanol that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, has been 15 to 50 cents cheaper than regular gasoline through the past year, which could mean savings for drivers between three and ten dollars every time they fill their car with gas.


August 31, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich sends Illinois National Guard to Louisiana to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery and cleanup
IDOT waives some weight rules to ease flow of goods and services to impacted areas
SPRINGFIELD – In the aftermath of one of the nation’s most devastating hurricanes, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich authorized the Illinois National Guard to travel to Louisiana to assist in Hurricane Katrina cleanup efforts. The Illinois National Guard will send up to fifty military vehicles and 300 soldiers to the devastated state, departing Friday morning. Tuesday, the Governor authorized the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team to travel to Louisiana to assist as well.


August 30, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich sends emergency medical team to Louisiana to assist in Hurricane Katrina recovery and cleanup
SPRINGFIELD – In the aftermath of one of the nation’s most devastating hurricanes, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today authorized the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team to travel to Louisiana to assist in Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. The Governor also directed the Illinois National Guard to standby to travel to Louisiana, should the state request Illinois’ assistance.


August 30, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich to Make Winter Heating Grants Available September 1; High Home Heating Bills Anticipated this Year
Home Heating Bills Expected to be Higher, Vulnerable Households Advised to Take Steps Before Winter Heating Season
CHICAGO – With home heating bills expected to rise this winter, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced as of Thursday, September 1, 2005, vulnerable households and those currently without home heating due to service disconnections would be able to apply for one-time grants through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to meet their winter heating needs.


August 30, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MAJOR INVESTMENT PACKAGE FOR ANDREW CORPORATION TO HELP COMPANY UPGRADE ITS FACILITIES AND KEEP MORE THAN 900 JOBS IN ILLINOIS
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced more than $8.3 million in Opportunity Returns support for Andrew Corporation, a global designer, manufacturer and supplier of communication equipment, services and systems, to help the company upgrade its facilities, increase its efficiency and keep more than 900 jobs in the Chicagoland area. Andrew Corporation has reached an agreement to sell its Orland Park property and will relocate its global corporate headquarters to Westchester and its manufacturing operations to a separate suburban Chicago location that will provide improved operational effectiveness and upgraded facilities.


August 30, 2005
UniCare joins Gov. Blagojevich’s effort to keep women informed about birth control coverage
Major Illinois provider signs up for Governor’s recently-unveiled informational website
CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that UniCare is the latest health care provider to volunteer to post coverage information on the Governor’s contraceptives coverage website, where women can learn what birth control their plans cover. The website- www.contraceptives.illinois.gov - was created in mid July and already has attracted participation from several major providers.


August 29, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich and Comptroller Hynes encourage Missouri scientists and doctors to continue life-saving stem cell research in Illinois
Governor and Comptroller send letter to dozens of Missouri researchers to explain new Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Comptroller Dan Hynes today sent a letter to thirty doctors and scientists currently conducting stem cell research in Missouri encouraging them to explore research opportunities in Illinois. Last month, the Governor and Comptroller made Illinois the first state in the Midwest, and only the fourth state in the nation, to commit public funds to the life-saving work of stem cell research. Studying stem cells allows scientists and doctors to better understand what causes serious medical illnesses and conditions in hopes of discovering new ways to treat or even cure them.


August 29, 2005
In wake of Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Blagojevich renews call to President Bush to release oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down gas pri
Governor also asks Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate potential price gouging by retailers exploiting the effects of the Hurricane
DUQUOIN – As Hurricane Katrina blasts through the heart of oil and refinery operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today once again called on President George W. Bush to help bring down the cost of gasoline in the United States by releasing additional oil supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Governor also sent a letter to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asking her to investigate potential price gouging at gas pumps.


August 26, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES THAT OFFICEMAX IS CONSOLIDATING ITS CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS IN ILLINOIS
The New Headquarters Will Mean More Than 1,500 Illinois Jobs
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announce today that OfficeMax, a leading provider of industrial products, office supplies and business-to-business office solutions, is consolidating its corporate headquarters in Illinois, bringing 700 new jobs to the state. As part of his comprehensive economic development strategy, Opportunity Returns, Gov. Blagojevich is providing an approximately $20 million investment package that is leading to the creation and retention of more than 1,500 jobs. The company has operated a retail headquarters in Shaker Heights, OH in addition to its corporate headquarters in Itasca, IL since the company completed the acquisition of OfficeMax, Inc. in December 2003. OfficeMax expects to finalize the selection of a Chicago-area site for its consolidated headquarters by the end of September 2005.


August 26, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich encourages farmers affected by drought to apply for state low-interest loan program
Governor and U.S. Department of Agriculture also expand Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to provide state and federal dollars to farmers to preserve waterways
SPRINGFIELD – During Agriculture Day festivities at the Illinois State Fair, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich outlined two ways farmers can receive financial assistance to help shoulder the effects of the drought. The Governor told farmers that nearly $87 million is available through the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) to help farmers obtain loans and reduce the costs of their existing debt. The Governor also announced an additional 15,000 acres has been funded for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). That means $50 million in new state and federal grants for farmers who participate in the program.


August 25, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs medical malpractice reform
Legislation designed to improve access to physician care in Illinois
ALTON – Flanked by physicians, patients, hospital administrators and legislators, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed critical legislation to address the growing cost of medical malpractice insurance. In an effort to improve patient access to health care, the new law caps monetary awards for pain and suffering, gives the state the authority to more aggressively regulate malpractice insurance companies premium increases, increases the ability of Illinois regulators to enforce physician practices and finally, allows consumers to learn about previous judgments or complaints against any physician licensed in Illinois.


August 24, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs Higher Standards, Better Schools plan into law
Plan increases high school graduation requirements, better prepares students for success after high school
BURBANK – On the first day of school at Reavis High School in Burbank, Governor Rod Blagojevich today signed a new law, putting into place the centerpiece of his Higher Standards, Better Schools plan for Illinois schools. The legislation will ensure that students take tougher courses before they can graduate from high school. Higher Standards, Better Schools increases the number of credits required for high school graduation, requires 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.


August 23, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs law improving how student progress is measured in Illinois
New law provides for fair assessment of students with disabilities and gives schools credit for successes
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law improving the way Illinois measures student progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. House Bill 3678 recognizes the individual needs of students with disabilities and makes sure that schools receive credit for their successes in helping students with disabilities, while still requiring schools to focus on areas that need improvement.


August 23, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to make nursing homes safer
New law requires criminal background checks for more employees at long-term facilities
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to make the state’s nursing homes and other health care facilities safer, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to expand the types of employees at long-term care facilities who must undergo criminal background checks. House Bill 2531 requires health care facilities to initiate background checks for employees that have contact with residents. Before this law, only direct care staff members were subjected to background checks.


August 22, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs Tollway reform bill into law
Legislation strengthens ethics guidelines, improves business practices and enhances toll collection enforcement; Launches 60-day Amnesty Program offering toll violators last chance to make good on fees owed
CHICAGO – Building on reform efforts already underway to improve customer service and accountability at the Illinois Tollway, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that expands employee ethics guidelines, improves the agency’s business practices, and enhances toll violation enforcement and collections, including the authorization of a one-time Amnesty Program for toll violators.


August 19, 2005
Governor Blagojevich signs law improving safety in high-rise buildings
Action prompted by deadly fire at Cook County Administration Building in 2003
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to help ensure that people do not get trapped in stairwells of new hotels, schools and other high-rise public assembly buildings during fires. The legislation is in response to the October 2003 fire at the Cook County Administration building when six people died.


August 19, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich raises awareness about eye abnormalities among newborns
Legislation creates an advisory committee to address newborn eye conditions
SPRINGFIELD –Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 480 to educate parents of newborns about potentially damaging eye conditions and what they can do to identify and treat abnormalities early in their child’s life. More than 13,000 Illinois babies were born in 2003 with various birth defects, including eye abnormalities. If certain kinds of eye abnormalities go undetected or develop shortly after birth, permanent damage may result.


August 19, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS among African-Americans
Law gives citizens more options for testing and information
SPRINGFIELD – To aid in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic that’s hitting the African-American community particularly hard in Illinois and across the nation, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation offering African Americans more access to testing and information about the disease. While 15 percent of the state’s population is African American, African Americans make up more than half of all new HIV/AIDS cases in Illinois.


August 18, 2005
Governor Blagojevich launches first state initiative in the country to help emergency personnel quickly find vital information about victims of accide
Governor directs first responders to utilize “In Case of Emergency” entries in cell phones; Sprint Nextel and Cellular One join Governor to encourage cell phone users to “ICE” their phones
LA GRANGE – Calling it a simple step that could make a life or death difference during an emergency, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a statewide initiative to encourage Illinoisans to save “In Case of Emergency” entries in their personal cell phones under the acronym “ICE”. That information could be accessed by emergency personnel at an accident scene or in the hospital emergency room to contact a family member or friend, who could provide potentially life-saving medical details about the incapacitated victim.


August 17, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich urges President Bush to release oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve; Provide immediate relief from record high gas prices
CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today called on President George W. Bush to help bring down the cost of gasoline in the United States by releasing additional oil supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Reserve is expected to reach capacity at 700 million barrels later this month. In a letter, Gov. Blagojevich urged the President to use his authority to provide consumers relief from record-high gas prices.


August 17, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces $20.5 Million for Teen REACH after school grants
Successful after school program offers high-risk youth safe and positive alternative activities
SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois students begin to go back to school, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $20.5 million in grants for Teen REACH after school programs for Illinois youth. Established by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in 1998, Teen REACH (Responsibility, Education, Achievement, Caring and Hope) offers positive services and activities for youth between the ages of 6 and 17 during non-school hours. One-hundred twenty-two community-based organizations throughout the state will receive the funding for fiscal year 2006.


August 16, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich encourages farmers affected by drought to apply for state low-interest loan program
Governor and U.S. Department of Agriculture also expand Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to provide state and federal dollars to farmers to preserve waterways
SPRINGFIELD – During Agriculture Day festivities at the Illinois State Fair, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich outlined two ways farmers can receive financial assistance to help shoulder the effects of the drought. The Governor told farmers that nearly $87 million is available through the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) to help farmers obtain loans and reduce the costs of their existing debt. The Governor also announced an additional 15,000 acres has been funded for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). That means $50 million in new state and federal grants for farmers who participate in the program.


August 16, 2005
Governor Blagojevich signs new law to make schools safer
New law ensures cooperation between public and private schools and local first responders and emergency managers
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed the School Safety Drill Act that will help keep students, teachers and faculty safer when they’re at school. House Bill 2693 significantly improves school emergency preparedness by, for the first time, setting clear, minimum requirements and standards for public and private school emergency planning. The new law also ensures that school officials work more closely with local first responders.


August 16, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation designed to help communities attract new business
SPRINGFIELD – In an innovative effort to create jobs and grow business in Illinois, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that allows the state’s economic development agency to establish business parks. A business park creates a site selection advantage for Illinois communities looking to attract new businesses, industries and jobs to their area.


August 16, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich expands volunteer firefighter job protection to emergency medical technicians, ambulance personnel
Volunteers in small towns will no longer need to worry about losing their jobs for serving their communities
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that protects volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs), ambulance personnel and other fire services volunteers from losing their jobs when they take time off to assist in local emergencies.


August 16, 2005
State Commission Gives Permanent Approval to Gov. Blagojevich’s Emergency Rule Protecting Illinois Women’s Right to Birth Control
Governor Applauds Timely JCAR Action
SPRINGFIELD – Legislators serving on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) today voted to make permanent Governor Rod R Blagojevich’s emergency rule that ensures pharmacies in Illinois fill women’s prescriptions for contraceptives without delay or hassle. The rule requires licensed pharmacies that dispense FDA-approved contraceptives to fill all birth control prescriptions in the same timely manner they would other prescriptions.


August 16, 2005
Governor urges TSA to reject proposal to lift ban on dangerous carry-on items
Governor calls on Asst. Sec. Hawley to prohibit items that could be used in terrorist attacks
CHICAGO – In a letter to TSA Assistant Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Edmund S. Kip Hawley, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today voiced his opposition to the Transportation Security Administration’s recently reported proposal to lift the ban on certain carry-on items such as scissors, razor blades, ice picks, and some knives.


August 15, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to provide increased protections for hotel workers
New law requires Cook County hotels to provide hotel room attendants with breaks, meal periods and free drinking water
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed increased protections for hotel room attendants to take rest breaks during their workday. House Bill 3485 requires that hotel room attendants in Cook County receive two 15-minute paid rest breaks and one 30-minute meal period so they can eat, drink water, or use the restroom.


August 15, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs new law to protect aquatic resources
Law to limit spread of invasive species
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law to help contain the spread of invasive species, such as the Asian Carp Fish, which threaten the livelihood of commercial fishermen and the ecological balance of Lake Michigan. Representative Lisa Dugan (D-Kankakee) and Senator Debbie Halvorson (D-Chicago Heights) sponsored House Bill 1181 that helps prevent the spread of exotic invasive species by bait dealers and the public, as well as prohibiting the release of unwanted species in Illinois waters.


August 15, 2005
Governor takes action to protect victims of domestic violence
Governor signs bill closing loophole in gun laws
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today took action to protect victims of domestic violence by signing a new law that closes a loophole that had allowed criminals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to receive their surrendered firearms after they complete their sentences. This statute was in conflict with federal law, which prohibits people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing firearms.


August 15, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims John H. Johnson Day in Illinois
Governor honors Johnson for his remarkable career and tremendous contribution to the African American community
CHICAGO – In recognition of John H. Johnson’s remarkable achievements and tremendous contribution to the African American community across the country, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed John H. Johnson Day in Illinois. Publisher John H. Johnson passed away on August 8, 2005 at the age of 87.


August 15, 2005
Governor Blagojevich signs law to help increase Hispanic hiring at state agencies
Law will require Department of Central Management Services to submit annual Hispanic employment plan to General Assembly
CHICAGO- Delivering on his commitment to provide increased access to state employment for Illinois’ fastest growing minority, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law a bill that will help state agencies increase hiring among the Hispanic community at supervisory, technical, professional and managerial levels.


August 15, 2005
Blagojevich Administration Launches Illinois Cares Rx Caravan
Caravan to Travel Statewide Ensuring No Illinois Senior or Person with Disability Will be Left Behind Under the Federal Prescription Drug Program
SPRINGFIELD – The Blagojevich Administration today launched the “Illinois Cares Rx Caravan” during Senior Day at the Illinois State Fair to promote the Illinois Cares Rx prescription drug program that will ensure no Illinois senior or person with disability will be left behind when the federal prescription drug program begins January 1, 2006.


August 14, 2005
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation establishing Illinois as national model for adoption reform
New law to prevent future “Baby Tamia” cases by prohibiting for-profit adoption agencies from operating in Illinois
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation providing sweeping protections for families involved in the adoption process in Illinois, and giving the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) broader oversight of adoption agencies. The measure takes significant steps toward preventing instances such as the recent “Baby Tamia” case that involved a for-profit adoption agency and led to a court order to return an infant to her mother in Illinois.


August 14, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to provide health coverage for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
During Veterans’ Day at State Fair, Governor also signs legislation to increase education and family services to veterans and soldiers, and to create new lottery scratch-off game to help fund veterans’ programs; Gov. Blagojevich issues executive order establishing a state military decoration honoring those who serve in the Global War on Terrorism
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today took legislative action to improve services to veterans across the state, by signing bills that will require insurance companies to cover Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), create a lottery game to help fund veterans’ programs, give active duty personnel and veterans more options to get a college education, allow peacetime veterans to be admitted at veterans’ homes and give family members of active duty soldiers up to one month of leave from work.


August 12, 2005
Governor Blagojevich vetoes bill that would allow hunters to use snares to trap animals
Traps considered inhumane; many animals caught in snares die slowly and painfully from starvation and dehydration
SPRINGFIELD—Taking action to protect Illinois’ wildlife, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today vetoed House Bill 1486, which would have allowed hunters to use cable restraints, also known as snares, to trap several species of fur-bearing animals. According to animal rights groups, if not killed immediately by the snares, captured animals may die slowly and painfully from dehydration, starvation, exposure to severe weather or predation from other animals.


August 12, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislative package aimed at halting the ravages of methamphetamine in Illinois
Announces $3.5 million in funding for local meth efforts
GRANITE CITY – In an effort to curb the alarming problem of methamphetamine production and use ravaging Illinois communities, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed several new laws that give law enforcement more tools to protect Illinois families and farmers. The comprehensive legislative package creates new criminal offenses to help law enforcement crack down on people who assist in the dangerous meth-manufacturing process, gives meth-addicted inmates access to treatment and help before they’re released back into their communities, and provides local law enforcement agencies with more support in closing down and cleaning up illegal meth labs. The Governor was joined by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, lawmakers and law enforcement officials.


August 11, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich launches online KidCare and FamilyCare applications; Accepts Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Covering Kids & Families Champion”
Obtaining healthcare easier than ever for Illinois families
CHICAGO – At a ceremony where Governor Rod R. Blagojevich was presented with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Covering Kids & Families Champion” award, Governor Blagojevich today announced that Illinois families can now use online applications to apply for KidCare and FamilyCare through a new Web-based application program that will further improve access to healthcare in Illinois. Once complete, the user-friendly Web-based applications will be directly transmitted into the same system currently used by the state to determine eligibility.


August 10, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich vetoes bill that would allow teenagers to get tattoos
Governor amendatorily vetoes legislation to prevent lowering age to get a tattoo from 21 to 18; backs provisions that strengthen enforcement
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today amendatorily vetoed legislation that would have allowed Illinois teenagers to legally get tattoos. The Governor’s amendatory veto of House Bill 29 keeps the legal age to get a tattoo at 21 years old, instead of lowering the age to 18.


August 10, 2005
Governor thanks President Bush and Illinois’ Congressional delegation for their hard work on transportation bill
New federal bill means more funding for infrastructure projects; Governor Calls on Republicans in Illinois General Assembly to Act in a Bipartisan Manner and Support Funding for Road Projects
AURORA – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today thanked President George W. Bush for signing into law a new federal transportation funding bill that will increase by $300 million a year the amount of money Illinois receives from Washington for transportation. At today’s Presidential signing ceremony in Aurora, Governor Blagojevich thanked the Illinois Congressional delegation for their part in bringing together a $286.4 billion agreement that ended a nearly two-year delay in passing a new transportation bill.


August 9, 2005
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation to help protect over 300,000 day laborers
New law strengthens protections for day laborers and provides harsher penalties to unlawful agencies
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will make Illinois the most aggressive state in the nation when it comes to safeguarding day laborers from abuses at the hands of day and temporary labor agencies.


August 9, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to strengthen, streamline transportation and land use planning in Northeast Illinois
New agency has broad backing from City and Suburban leaders; Goal is more effective investment of public and private funds
SPRINGFIELD – Heralding a new era in regional planning and cooperation, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation combining separate transportation and land use planning agencies for northeastern Illinois into a single entity designed to protect natural resources and minimize traffic congestion as the seven county region plans for the 21st Century and beyond.


August 9, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to protect Illinois’ vital agriculture assets
Legislation increases criminal and civil penalties for damaging farm equipment and trespassing on agricultural property
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law tough, new penalties to deter the vandalism of farmland and farm equipment and to protect the state’s important agricultural production.


August 8, 2005
Governor signs new law expanding chance at justice for victims of hit-and-run accidents
New law named after 6-year-old hit-and-run victim Patrick Leahy
CHICAGO -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecuting drivers involved in hit and run accidents. Sponsored by Rep. Susana A. Mendoza (D-Chicago) and Sen. Dan Cronin (R-Lombard), House Bill 885 gives investigators and prosecutors more time to find and bring to justice drivers who leave the scene of an accident. The new law was inspired by the hit and run death of six-year old Patrick Leahy in suburban Winfield, Illinois, whose killer was not found before the legal statute of limitation ran out.


August 5, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs law expanding genocide education in Illinois
Studies will now include recent atrocities in Armenia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Sudan
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill (HB) 312 into law, expanding Holocaust and genocide education for Illinois elementary and high school students. In addition to learning about the Nazi atrocities of the 20th century, students will now learn about more recent acts of genocide around the world, including those in Armenia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Sudan. In June, the governor signed legislation making Illinois the first state in the nation to end state investment in Sudan, cutting all state financial ties with the oppressive and genocidal Sudanese government.


August 5, 2005
Governor strengthens terrorism prevention measures to protect Illinois utilities
New law creates safeguards against possible terrorist attacks on utilities
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that will increase security for all municipal utilities in Illinois. The new law outlines specific safeguards that will be adopted by municipal utility facilities, including electric public utilities, restricting access to critical infrastructure. Utilities are among our state’s most critical infrastructure components, providing drinking water, energy and electricity to millions of households and businesses. Protecting utilities from vandalism or terrorist attacks is important to the state’s overall security.


August 4, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to help small manufacturers compete for new business across Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to help small manufacturers grow their businesses, increase their competitiveness and create more jobs, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation launching a program to let Illinois companies across the state know how and where to bid on work for federal, state and local government contracts.


August 4, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to protect children from environmental hazards
Illinois Department of Public Health to create Children’s Environmental Health Officer
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect Illinois’ children from harmful environmental hazards, Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation today that will streamline state efforts and provide vital information to parents with questions about a variety of environmental hazards. House Bill 4067 will establish a Children’s Environmental Health Officer under the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to coordinate with all state agencies involved in environmental issues related to children.


August 4, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs laws reducing administrative burden on Illinois schools
Bill package focuses on paperwork reduction, accelerated reimbursement and increased flexibility
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed four bills into law that will help Illinois schools by reducing paperwork, speeding up reimbursements and allowing local districts more flexibility. By signing House Bills 3680 and 404, and Senate Bills 1734 and 1851 into law, the Governor is building on his effort to reduce administrative red tape, letting schools focus their attention on the important work of educating children. Since the Governor appointed a new State Board of Education in the fall of 2004, it has already reduced the volumes of school administrative rules by 400 pages, eliminated the teachers’ certification backlog and significantly improved the accuracy and timeliness of school performance reports.


August 3, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich announces $1 million in grants to help Illinois families achieve the American Dream of homeownership
Grants will finance five-year forgivable loans available through the Governor’s American Dream Downpayment Initiative to help 115 families purchase their first homes
CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced eight community organizations across the state will receive American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) grants totaling more than $1million to help 115 families purchase their first homes. The grants, approved at the July meeting of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Board of Directors, will provide downpayment assistance for homeowners in the counties of Rock Island, Logan, Menard, Sangamon, Christian, Macoupin, Montgomery, McLean, Henry, Mercer, Adams, St. Clair, Macon and Will.


August 2, 2005
Governor Blagojevich takes action to get habitual criminals off our streets
Signs bill creating Class X felony for repeat offenders caught with guns; Governor also signs bills to help victims recover from crime
CHICAGO - In his ongoing effort to help keep Illinois communities safe from gun violence, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law House Bill 1039, a bill that creates stiff new penalties for habitual criminals – identified as individuals who have been convicted of two or more violent crimes – who are caught with guns. Today’s action by Gov. Blagojevich will help reduce gun violence by putting those who repeatedly endanger our neighborhoods in prison.


August 2, 2005
Governor Declares August is Child Support Month
Official Proclamation Recognizes Strengthened Enforcement and Increased Collections for Illinois’ Children
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that August is Child Support Month and honored the Division of Child Support Enforcement with an official proclamation recognizing its success in strengthening enforcement and increasing collections for Illinois’ children. Governor Blagojevich recently signed five bills into law that further improve the state’s child support services under the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).


August 1, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES ALMOST $240,000 IN FUNDING TO ADDRESS CRITICAL SHORTAGE OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS IN THE ROCK RIVER VALLEY
Health Care Worker Shortages Projected, Opportunity Returns Grant Will Attract and Train New Nurses to Help Meet Expected Demand
ROCKFORD – Delivering on his State of the State pledge to address the important needs facing the health care industry, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns program today announced almost $240,000 to support health care training in the Rock River Valley region that will address pressing nursing shortages in the local workforce and improve the quality of health care provided to its citizens. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Jack Lavin made the announcement today at SwedishAmerican Health System in Rockford alongside health care and educational leaders from throughout the region.


August 1, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to increase access to capital for small business and spur economic growth in rural areas
SPRINGFIELD –In an aggressive move to help small businesses in rural communities throughout Illinois gain access to critical capital, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation creating an innovative rural business loan program. By tapping into this new program, small businesses will be able to make key improvements to their infrastructure, allowing them to modernize their operations and increase their competitiveness. The loan program is expected to make a major impact in downstate communities, where it should help create and retain hundreds of jobs.


August 1, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich makes cooling grants available today
Grants to assist most vulnerable Illinoisans with energy bills during the heat
CHICAGO – As the heat continues this summer in Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today made $10 million in cooling grants available to help protect the most vulnerable populations of Illinois including seniors, the disabled, homeless and families with small children, from the dangerous weather conditions by assisting with household energy bills.


August 1, 2005
Gov. Blagojevich expands rights for breastfeeding mothers
New law will allow nursing mothers to be exempt from Jury Duty
CHICAGO—In a continued effort to expand rights for new mothers, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that will allow nursing mothers to be automatically exempt from jury duty if they request it. Previously, judges could excuse jurors on a case-by-case basis, but there were no automatic exemptions. Last year, the governor signed the Right to Breastfeed Act, which allows women to nurse in both public and private places without fear of being asked to leave.

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