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February
2006


February 28, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich’s school district reorganization legislation wins senate committee approval
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s proposal to make it easier for school districts to merge with each other to improve operations won approval today in the Senate Education Committee. Senate Bill 2795, sponsored by Sen. George Shadid (D-Peoria), now moves to the full Senate for consideration.


February 27, 2006
Grammy award winning recording artist Common joins state effort to reduce African American infant mortality rate
Multi-agency collaboration promotes awareness through peer educators and a multi-media campaign
CHICAGO – Grammy winning recording artist Common joined Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary (IDHS) Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., and health professionals today to announce the second phase of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s new initiative to reduce the mortality rate among African American infants. The “Closing the Gap on Infant Mortality” campaign administered by IDHS and several community agencies was launched last year to help prevent premature births and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Closing the Gap targets the four community areas of Chicago with the highest numbers of pre-term births and SIDS deaths; Auburn-Gresham, Austin, Englewood and West Englewood.


February 27, 2006
Governor Blagojevich announces grants to local governments for historic preservation projects
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Chicago, Decatur, Elgin, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Kane County, Rock Island, O’Fallon, Oak Park and Orland Park have been selected to receive Certified Local Government grants from federal funds made available through the state for local historic preservation projects.


February 24, 2006
First Lady Patti Blagojevich presents Governor’s PATH Award to tireless advocate for Chicago’s disabled
Patti Blagojevich addresses over one thousand women at Women’s Auxiliary Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon
CHICAGO – First Lady Patti Blagojevich today presented Misericordia’s Heart of Mercy Executive Director Sister Rosemary Connelly with the Governor’s People Are Today’s Heroes (PATH) Award for her tireless and continuous dedication to help children and adults with developmental disabilities. The First Lady presented the award at Celebrate!, the Misericordia Women’s Auxiliary Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon in Chicago where she addressed more than one thousand women and served as the honored guest who surprised Sr. Rosemary Connelly at her 75th birthday celebration.


February 24, 2006
Governor Blagojevich proposes nearly $10.5 Billion Multi-Year Highway Improvement Program
System maintenance focus of road program; Jobs for Illinois allows for system expansion and economic development
SPRINGFIELD –Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Tim Martin today unveiled Governor Blagojevich’s proposed Highway Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2007 - 2012. The $10.425 billion Multi-Year Highway Improvement Program (MYP) focuses on maintaining the current highway system.


February 23, 2006
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, February 23, 2006
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich's Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, February 23, 2006


February 23, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich applauds State Senate for passing legislation to protect cell phone records and other private information from identity thieves
Illinois would be among the first states to combat “pretexting”
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich applauded the Illinois Senate today for taking a significant step forward in the fight to protect Illinoisans from identity theft and the release of their private information. The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2554 that would outlaw “pretexting.” Pretexting is pretending to be an account holder, or to have authorization to access an account, to obtain cell phone records, long distance call records, a person’s physical location and other personal records, such as GM OnStar information and any other account information relating to that person, such as dating service information or post office boxes. Gov. Blagojevich called for tough new restrictions on the practice, as he announced a series of new consumer protection proposals in January. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Illinois would be among the first states in the nation to fight cell phone record pretexting. SB 2554 is sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstei


February 23, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich’s “Less Red Tape” legislation to ease burden on local schools and teachers wins Senate committee approval
Senate Bill 2829 moves on to full Senate for consideration
SPRINGFIELD – Legislation initiated by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to reduce administrative burdens on schools and teachers known as the “Less Red Tape” bill won approval today in the Senate Education Committee. By a vote of 8 to 1, Senate Bill 2829 moves on to the full Senate for consideration. Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester), the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, is the lead sponsor of the “Less Red Tape” legislation that eliminates duplicative and unnecessary bureaucratic processes.


February 22, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich and Comptroller Hynes draw attention to new research linking stem cells to cancer
Governor and Comptroller send letter to members of the General Assembly regarding the need for more IRMI grants
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Comptroller Dan Hynes today sent a letter to all the members of the Illinois General Assembly to draw their attention to an article published in the New York Times on Tuesday regarding the discovery of stem cells in cancerous tumors. Illinois was 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 through the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute (IRMI). In his Fiscal Year 2007 budget, the Governor proposed another $100 million in state grants over the next five years.


February 22, 2006
First Lady Patti Blagojevich celebrates opening of new community center in Pilsen committed to women and children in Chicago’s Latino community
New headquarters will allow Mujeres Latinas en Accion to expand its work to help women and their families become independent
CHICAGO – First Lady Patti Blagojevich today joined U.S. Senator Richard Durbin and Mujeres Latinas en Accion board members to cut the ribbon for Mujeres Latinas en Accion’s new Community Center, a building that will help the organization expand its work helping Latino women, their families and children become self-reliant and improve the quality of their lives.


February 20, 2006
Online Auctions Generate New Markets and Open Access to Illinois Government Surplus
Central Management Services announces landmark of $750,000 in sales on www.ibid.illinois.gov
SPRINGFIELD – By auctioning computers, retro office furniture, antiques, and even a helicopter on the World Wide Web, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) today announced that its online surplus property sales total $750,000 since the launch of www.ibid.illinois.gov in August of 2003.


February 15, 2006
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH UNVEILS INNOVATIVE INITIATIVE TO DRIVE GROWTH AND REDEVELOPMENT ALONG ILLINOIS’ RIVERS – HELPING RESTORE THEM AS ECONOMIC ENGINES
New Program Will Provide Integrated Set of Resources To Revitalize River Communities Statewide
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today unveiled an innovative new program designed to help revitalize riverfront areas across the state by providing communities, developers and businesses with the critical tools to revive and redevelop abandoned or contaminated properties that will stimulate economic development opportunities and create more Illinois jobs. The Governor will highlight this initiative in his Budget Address on Wednesday, and it will include legislation that will be sponsored by State Senator James Clayborne (D-East St. Louis) and State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora).


February 15, 2006
Governor Blagojevich proposes preschool for all in Fiscal Year 2007 budget
Governor’s budget includes universal pre-school, funds critical stem cell research, and creates the Prairie State DNA Institute; Governor’s plan streamlines taxes and regulations to save professionals time and money and streamlines state government to improve efficiency
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today presented an approximately $45.4 billion operating budget plan for Fiscal Year 2007 whose centerpiece is making Illinois the only state in the nation to provide access to pre-school for every three-year-old and four-year-old child.


February 15, 2006
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH PROPOSES NEW FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT TO CONTINUE THE INDUSTRY’S ILLINOIS REVIVAL
Vital New Legislation Will Help Attract More Movies and Television Productions, Jobs and Revenue to Illinois
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an innovative effort to continue the growth of the Illinois television and film industry. In 2003, film production had declined to approximately $26 million as studios looked for less expensive locations, both across the nation and around the world. This meant that thousands of Illinois-based cast and crewmembers were largely without work within their professions. The film tax credit passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Blagojevich turned these fortunes around over the past two years by making Illinois productions even more attractive. By 2004, productions generated an estimated $77 million and led to almost 15,000 people being hired by the industry. In 2005, production revenue increased to an estimated $94 million, which led to approximately 15,000 people being hired by various film and television projects. But this business has become even more competitive over the past several years, which is why the Governor is pr


February 13, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich to launch landmark DNA initiative in upcoming Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Address; Provide law enforcement critical forensic evidence results even more quickly and efficiently
Innovative DNA Institute and major expansion of existing State Police lab space will enable State to perform all DNA analysis in-house
CHICAGO – In Wednesday’s annual State Budget Address, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich will launch an aggressive new DNA initiative that will put the Illinois State Police (ISP) on track to perform all forensic DNA analysis in-house, where work can be done more quickly and to the highest quality standards. By expanding lab capacity, continuing to hire additional forensic scientists and establishing an innovative new DNA Institute for recruiting and training a steady flow of forensic experts, the State Police will build on the significant progress made under the Blagojevich Administration and meet the ultimate goal of eliminating reliance on outside labs.


February 12, 2006
Governor Blagojevich creates the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
State prepares to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday in 2009
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed an Executive Order establishing the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. This Commission will lead Illinois’ planning efforts to plan the celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday in February 2009.


February 12, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich unveils landmark plan to give every 3 and 4 year - old in Illinois access to preschool
Preschool for All would provide high-quality pre-school education to nearly 190,000 Illinois children; Illinois Would Become the Only State in the Nation to Offer Preschool to All 3 and 4 Year Olds
SPRINGFIELD – Capping three years of unwavering commitment to early childhood education, Governor Blagojevich today unveiled the cornerstone of his upcoming Fiscal Year 2007 budget: Preschool for All, which would allow every three and four-year-old in Illinois to attend high-quality preschool. Preschool for All would guarantee that nearly 190,000 children in Illinois have the chance to attend preschool, and would make Illinois the only state in the nation to offer preschool to every three and four year old child. If the General Assembly passes the Governor’s proposal, Illinois would also become the only state in the nation where every child has access to a doctor and a teacher, thanks to the Governor’s All Kids and Preschool for All programs.


February 11, 2006
Dominick’s and Clear Channel Radio join forces to help pre-register children for Gov. Blagojevich’s All Kids health care plan
Live broadcasts from Dominick’s to feature celebrity chefs and food sampling from local restaurants and ALL KIDS sign ups
CHICAGO - WGCI morning radio personality Nikki Woods and Jamell Meeks, First Lady of Salem Baptist Church and Dominick’s will join state officials Saturday in the first of a series of special pre-enrollment events for Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s All Kids program. Gov. Blagojevich signed the ALL KIDS Bill in November, making it possible for the more than 253,000 children in Illinois without health insurance to receive coverage and for parents to select a pediatrician to provide their health care.


February 10, 2006
Illinois Soldier donates American flag to the State of Illinois
Flag that flew in Iraq to be displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that a very special American flag will fly over the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday. On February 11th and 12th, a U.S. flag that flew over an Army camp near Baiji, Tikrit in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom will be on display at the museum.


February 10, 2006
Illinois’ emergency management program receives national accreditation
Illinois become sixth state to receive full EMAP accreditation by meeting all 54 national standards
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois’ emergency management program became just the sixth state and eighth governmental body in the nation to receive full accreditation through the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). Through accreditation, the EMAP Commission recognizes the capabilities of a state or local government to coordinate personnel, resources, and communications from a variety of agencies and disciplines in preparation for and in response to a major emergency or disaster. The EMAP Commission approved Illinois’ certification after an in-depth assessment of the state’s emergency response program against national standards.


February 10, 2006
First Lady announces new partnership with Alexian Brothers Hospital Network to promote All Kids
Mrs. Blagojevich and Alexian Leadership speak to healthcare and community representatives in Northwest suburbs on how Illinois hospitals can help All Kids pre-registration efforts
HOFFMAN ESTATES – First Lady Patti Blagojevich today announced a new partnership with the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network to promote the Governor’s All Kids insurance program that makes affordable, comprehensive health insurance available for every uninsured child in Illinois. The First Lady addressed local healthcare advocates, medical staff, and community leaders about All Kids to encourage their involvement in educating and pre-registering families within the communities they serve.


February 10, 2006
Illinois Launches State’s First Lottery Ticket to Support Veterans
Top political figures, department heads, Illinois veterans, and community leaders join to show support for cause at ticket unveiling
CHICAGO –On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Louanner Peters, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Social Services, today joined Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, Roy Dolgos, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, and Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams to unveil a new Illinois lottery game called Veterans Cash. Veterans Cash is the first instant ticket in Illinois Lottery history where 100 percent of proceeds will go to support the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will award grants, fund additional services or conduct research on veterans’ issues in Illinois.


February 9, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich to propose plan to reduce early grade class sizes in Fiscal Year 2007 budget presentation
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich will propose in his annual budget presentation his plan to reduce the number of students in kindergarten through third grade classrooms throughout the state. In his Fiscal Year 2007 budget plan, the Governor will earmark $10 million specifically for class size reduction.


February 9, 2006
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, February 9, 2006
The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Blagojevich's Office to fly the United States and Illinois flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, February 9, 2006


February 8, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich announces major changes to help more than 1 million professionals in Illinois get their licenses faster
Applications that currently take 4-19 weeks for processing will be processed within 1-4 weeks
SPRINGFIELD–Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced major changes intended to help more than one million professionals get or renew their licenses in less time.  Currently, it takes 4-19 weeks to process an application for a license.  The Governor’s initiative would reduce that time to 1-4 weeks – a reduction of more than 400%.


February 7, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich’s BASUAH Project joins forces with hip-hop superstar TWISTA to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among African American youth
Hundreds of students attend concert and testing extravaganza at Roosevelt University; BASUAH on Campus simulcast program airs on colleges around the state
CHICAGO – Gov. Blagojevich’s BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) Project today joined forces with hip-hop superstar Twista at Roosevelt University for BASUAH on Campus – a day of Rap, Hip-Hop, Spoken Word Poetry, and HIV/AIDS testing and information. The event, held in conjunction with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day and sponsored by WGCI-FM, Clear Channel Radio Chicago, one sixtyblue, and Corner Stone Management, featured day-long testing and awareness activities, live performances by Twista and the Speed Knot Mobstaz, real-life stories and much more. Hundreds of students from Chicago-area high schools and colleges attended the concert and testing extravaganza, which was also simulcast to colleges and universities across the state.


February 7, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich introduces plan to address nursing shortage, ensure adequate level of frontline healthcare providers as baby-boomers age
At current pace, shortage expected to reach 21,000 by 2020; Plan would boost number of nursing educators, provide financial relief to nurses in training, and improve working conditions
SPRINGFIELD – To head off an anticipated severe shortage of nurses resulting from an aging nursing workforce and increased demand for nurses due to aging baby boomers, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today unveiled a plan that will increase the number of faculty available to train nurses, make it more affordable for nursing students to attend school, and improve working conditions for nurses through a new Center for Nursing. The initiative will be highlighted by the Governor in next week’s Budget Address and is partially contained in House Bill 4279, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D – Skokie) and Sen. Carol Ronen (D - Chicago).


February 6, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich announces $58,000 to fight recidivism among women in Lake County
Community organizations will provide specific counseling services to help women probationers rebuild their lives
CHICAGO– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $58,000 federal grant to fight recidivism among women offenders in North suburban Lake County. The grant will allow several community organizations to provide education and counseling services to 75 adult women probationers, helping them rebuild their lives and avoid being sent back to prison.


February 3, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich names new State Fire Marshal
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named David B. Foreman, a retired Captain from the Joliet Fire Department, as the new Illinois State Fire Marshal. Foreman, who has served as president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois for the past eighteen years, will take the post immediately, pending confirmation by the State Senate.


February 3, 2006
First Lady Patti Blagojevich and Healthcare partners host Women’s Healthy Heart Month event; Experts coach women on heart-healthy eating and fitness
Exercise and cooking demonstrations held in the Thompson Center in conjunction with National Wear Red Day
CHICAGO – First Lady Patti Blagojevich, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the American Heart Association teamed up today to celebrate Women’s Healthy Heart Month by encouraging women to take steps to help prevent heart disease, the leading cause of death among women. Today’s event at the James R. Thompson Center, held in conjunction with National Wear Red Day, included cooking demonstrations by Chef Jay Hugh McEvoy and Virginia Erwin and fitness demonstrations by the East Bank Club.


February 3, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich urges Bush to veto bill that increases cost of health care for millions of poor, vulnerable citizens
Provisions force new medical fees, increased premiums and strict documentation
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged President Bush to veto legislation that would increase the cost of health care for low-income and working families by permitting states to impose new or higher premiums and medical fees on Medicaid beneficiaries and require citizens to provide documentation of their citizenship to receive benefits. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 on Wednesday, February 1, with a 216-214 vote.


February 2, 2006
Gov. Blagojevich announces expansion at LaSalle Veterans’ Home to give more aging Illinois veterans access to long-term care
Expansion will house 80 more vets, create dozens of new jobs
SPRINGFIELD – Building on his efforts to help Illinois veterans get the benefits and health care they have earned, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the long awaited expansion project at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home will proceed, following the Health Facilities Planning Board approval at the end of January. The expansion project will help house 80 more veterans who need long-term health care, and will also create dozens of new jobs, as the state will hire more personnel to staff the renovated facility.


February 1, 2006
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH CELEBRATES LAUNCH OF THE DODGE CALIBER AT THE CHRYSLER GROUP’S NEWLY RETOOLED BELVIDERE ASSEMBLY PLANT
Public-Private Partnership Is Creating More Than 1,500 New Jobs Across The Region
BELVIDERE – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich joined the Chrysler Group to celebrate the start of production of the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber today at its Belvidere Assembly Plant. Along with the new vehicle, the plant is also launching an innovative manufacturing process that will provide the company the ability to make up to three models and test-build a fourth model on one assembly line. In January of 2005, Gov. Blagojevich announced almost $36 million in Opportunity Returns support that allowed the company’s Belvidere plant to undergo a $419 million major retooling that is adding a second shift and 1,000 new jobs to the regional economy. The state’s investment is part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns program for the Northern Stateline region, his comprehensive, pro-active strategy for creating jobs and spurring economic growth across the region and throughout the state.

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