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August
2007


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation increasing background checks for the sale of guns in Illinois
SB 940 ensures mental health history is added to background checks, purchase information is shared with federal authorities
SPRINGFIELD– In response to recent nationwide efforts to toughen gun laws following the Virginia Tech tragedy last April, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation designed to prevent the sale of guns to individuals who pose a serious threat to public safety. Senate Bill 940, sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Mt. Prospect) and State Representative Harry Osterman (D-Chicago), will help make sure that gun purchaser/owner information is shared with federal authorities and will add mental health history to background checks for gun purchases in Illinois.


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs "Truth in Towing" law for Illinois motorists
SB 435 will strengthen motorists' rights and protect from fraudulent "safety relocators"
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation designed to protect Illinois motorists from excessive fees and other abuses from unlawful towing companies. Senate Bill 435, sponsored by State Senator Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kevin A. McCarthy (D-Orland Park), protects consumers by regulating the towing of damaged or disabled vehicles from public streets and highways.


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation cracking down on parents that permit underage drinking at home
SB 158 increases penalties for parents who knowingly allow underage drinking that results in injury or death
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that underscores adults' responsibility for preventing underage drinking. Senate Bill 158, sponsored by State Senator Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) and State Representative Karen May (D-Highland Park), increases the penalty to 1-3 years in prison and up to a $125,000 fine for parents who knowingly allow underage alcohol consumption in their home and the drinking leads to serious injuries or death. This bill is in response to a tragic car accident that killed two Deerfield teens and injured three others who had been drinking at a house party last October.


August 31, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich appoints Brigadier General William L. Enyart as 37th Adjutant General; will lead Illinois Department of Military Affairs
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Brigadier General William L. Enyart as the new 37th Adjutant General of Illinois. Enyart will command more than 13,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the Illinois National Guard. He will also serve as the Governor's principal advisor on military matters and function as the director of the Department of Military Affairs. Enyart will assume command from Maj. Gen. Randal E. Thomas, who retires in September.


August 30, 2007
Governor Blagojevich announces All Kids Bridge, an expansion of healthcare for young adults who otherwise would not be able to get coverage
Plan expands access to affordable, quality healthcare for seriously ill teens or those with pre-existing conditions when they get too old for All Kids
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an expansion of healthcare coverage to assist seriously ill or injured teens or those with pre-existing conditions transition from All Kids to the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (ICHIP). This new All Kids Bridge Program will prevent a lapse in healthcare and ensure premiums stay affordable for young people when All Kids coverage ends on their 19th birthdays.


August 30, 2007
IDOT Highlights Blagojevich Administration Efforts to Promote E-85 and Biofuels at Farm Progress Show
DECATUR - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has showcased its efforts to promote the use of home grown fuels at the 54th Annual Farm Progress Show in Decatur, which wraps up today. IDOT featured its E-85/Biodiesel Project with an exhibit (Use Your Home Grown Fuels) in the Varied Industries Tent, an effort that highlights Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s plan for energy independence by supplying 50% of our motor fuel needs from Illinois crops by 2017 and create universal availability of E-85 at fuel stations statewide. The show, recognized world wide as the “Super Bowl of Agriculture,” has exhibits covering over 75 acres and attracts a national and international audience.


August 30, 2007
Regulation changes adopted regarding commercial harvest of caviar-bearing fish species in Illinois
IDNR Works With Illinois Commercial Fishing Association To Protect Paddlefish, Shovelnose Sturgeon, Bowfin
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Several changes in the regulations regarding the commercial harvest of caviar-bearing fishes in Illinois have been adopted effective Oct. 1, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.


August 29, 2007
IDHS marks second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with renewed assistance for evacuees living in Illinois
State assistance still available through I-KARE program to victims of Katrina trying to get back on their feet
CHICAGO – Marking the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. announced that state assistance is still available to help thousands of Katrina evacuees living in Illinois. IDHS has extended the Illinois Katrina Assistance and Relief Effort (I-KARE) that offers evacuees help to pay their rent, security deposits, utilities, medical bills, transportation, education and helps them with job training and placement through 2009.


August 29, 2007
Department of Transportation to Suspend Lane Closures Over Labor Day Weekend to Give Motorists a Break
ISP, Secretary of State Police and local police agencies Announce Labor Day Impaired Driving Crackdown
SPRINGFIELD, IL- With thousands of people traveling over the upcoming holiday weekend, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced they will be suspending roadwork where possible to make for a smoother drive this Labor Day weekend. IDOT, Illinois State Police (ISP) and Secretary of State Police also want to remind motorists they are teaming up with 350 local law enforcement agencies to launch a statewide impaired driving crackdown running from Aug. 17 through the Labor Day Holiday.


August 29, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law providing individuals with disabilities and CHIP participants with greater access to healthcare services and insurance
Legislation will help make sure that CHIP members who are close to reaching maximum benefits do not lose their insurance
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed two pieces of legislation that will help make healthcare more accessible for people with disabilities and provide deeper coverage for Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) participants in Illinois. The Governor signed into law House Bill 1256, which expands the Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities (HBWD) program, and Senate Bill 144, which increases the lifetime benefit limitation for CHIP to $2 million for the next three years.


August 28, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law reaffirming Illinois' commitment to stem cell research
Legislation permits embryonic stem cell researchers to receive state funds
Researchers better able to find cures for debilitating diseases - cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law permanently allowing state money to fund embryonic stem cell research in Illinois. Senate Bill 4, the Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning Prohibition Act, sponsored by State Senator Jeffrey M. Schoenberg (D-Evanston) and State Representative Tom Cross (R-Plainfield), permits embryonic stem cell researchers to receive state funds and prohibits cloning or the attempt to clone a human being. The legislation comes after the Governor created by Executive Order in 2005 the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute (IRMI) Program two years ago, and allocating $15 million for stem cell research.


August 28, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to help children with life-threatening allergies get coverage for least invasive treatments
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of amino acid-based formulas used to treat infants and children with life-threatening allergies. Senate Bill 935 requires amino acid-based formulas to be covered by Illinois-regulated insurance companies whether delivered orally or through invasive surgery.


August 28, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, August 31, 2007
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 Friday, August 31, 2007.


August 28, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, September 1, 2007
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 Saturday, September 1, 2007.


August 28, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to provide Illinoisans relief from electric rate increases; Urges lawmakers to keep working on additional consumer protections
Legislation provides $1 billion in rate relief to Illinois consumers, ends the power auction and creates the Illinois Power Agency to oversee electricity procurement
DU QUOIN - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to provide relief to Illinoisans faced with skyrocketing electric rates. Senate Bill 1592 directs $1 billion in credits to electricity consumers across the state to help alleviate some of the burden of higher costs that came when utility and power companies began buying power through an auction process after a ten-year rate freeze expired at the beginning of the year. The new law eliminates the auction process and establishes a new state agency, the Illinois Power Agency, to plan for Illinois' energy future and stabilize electric rates.


August 28, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law prohibiting Illinois pension funds from investing in companies that are associated with the Republic of Sudan
CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law barring Illinois from investing money in the Republic of Sudan and divests any current investments linked to Sudan. Senate Bill 1169, sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D - Chicago) and State Representative David Miller (D - Dolton), prohibits state pension funds from investing in companies that are associated with the Republic of Sudan.


August 27, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law to help provide disabled individuals more options in long-term care
Illinois successfully secures highly competitive federal grant to rebalance long-term care system for disabled individuals
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to help provide disabled individuals more options in long-term care. Senate Bill 765 reinforces the State's commitment to enhancing long-term care options for disabled individuals. The "Money Follows the Person" initiative allows the State to receive federal funding to pay for more home and community-based care for those in need of long-term care support. Illinois was successful in securing a highly competitive federal grant to continue its efforts in rebalancing the long-term care system for people with disabilities.


August 27, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to help protect disabled Medicare beneficiaries from being overcharged by insurers
Governor also signs laws creating new tax check-offs for lung cancer and autoimmune diseases research
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law to protect disabled individuals under Medicare from being overcharged by insurers. Senate Bill 873 will end insurance discrimination against disabled patients by ensuring this population has more options to choose from while dramatically lowering the cost of policies. Medicare supplemental insurance policies provide much needed wrap-around coverage for beneficiaries with disabilities.


August 27, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law banning harassment by debt collectors
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law to help protect Illinoisans from harassment and inappropriate calls from debt collectors. Senate Bill 1398 limits the amount and type of contact debt collectors may have with residents who have unpaid debts, and is in direct response to numerous complaints from individuals about embarrassing communications and inappropriate harassment by collection agencies.


August 27, 2007
ISBE, IDOT urge drivers to give students a brake as more than 2 million Illinois kids head back to the classroom
Electronic message boards programmed to remind motorists school is back in session; use extra caution around school zones and buses
Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today reminded drivers to be extra cautious on the roadways as more than 2 million students head back to school. The Illinois Department of Transportation will be flashing messages on its changeable message boards reminding drivers that school is back in session. Last year, nearly 100 children between the age of 5 and 18 were killed and nearly 12,000, mostly within the same age range were injured in crashes in which they were either passengers, a pedestrian or on a bike.


August 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to keep impaired drivers off the road
Legislation requires ignition interlock device on cars of first-time DUI offenders
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law designed to reduce the number of drunk drivers on Illinois’ roads by requiring first time DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed on their cars. The law also provides jail time for offenders who try to evade the devices by driving someone else’s vehicle. The Governor also signed “Tina’s Law,” which allows relatives of DUI victims to request a roadside memorial to honor their loved ones. Tina Bell, who inspired the legislation, was killed by a drunk driver while working as a flagger on an Illinois Department of Transportation construction project in 2003.


August 24, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs law requiring carnival owners to conduct background checks on carnival ride operators
Law will help protect millions of Illinois children and fairgoers
SPRINGFIELD - As the Du Quoin State Fair kicks off in Southern Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed a new law to help protect millions of children and fairgoers in Illinois. House Bill 820 requires carnival owners and operators to conduct background checks on workers to prohibit convicted sex offenders from operating carnival rides at amusement parks, fairs and other attractions.


August 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law requiring nurse staffing plans in hospitals
Legislation mandates staffing plans to be based on the critical needs of patients
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law mandating staffing plans to help make sure hospitals maintain appropriate nursing care for all Illinois patients. Senate Bill 867 requires hospitals to have hospital-wide staffing plans that outline the minimum nurse-to-patient staffing needs for each inpatient care unit. The measure was sponsored by Senator Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) and Representative Esther Golar (D-Chicago).


August 24, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law to protect patients during dental procedures
Legislation includes new requirements for dentists who practice sedation
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law that will help protect patients during dental procedures, by establishing strict requirements for dental offices that use anesthesia and sedation. Senate Bill 214 comes in response to the tragic death of five-year-old Diamond Brownridge last September who fell into a coma while under deep sedation during a routine dental procedure in Chicago.


August 23, 2007
IDOT and DHS Expand Program to Help People With Disabilities Overcome Workplace Barriers
Student Professionals with Disabilities program to go statewide
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today that the Student Professionals with Disabilities program will be expanded statewide. The program, which gives high school students with disabilities the opportunity to gain on the job experience, began in 2006 but has been limited to the Springfield area. The expansion will ensure more people have the chance to gain valuable job skills and succeed in the workplace.


August 23, 2007
State Regulators Crack Down on Flea Market Sales of Colored Contact Lenses
Lenses sold without a prescription and fitting could be dangerous to consumers
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is serving Cease and Desist orders to beauty supply stores and flea market vendors selling cosmetic, colored contact lenses without a prescription. The orders immediately stop the vendors from selling the lenses and could subject them to civil penalties of $10,000. Colored lenses purchased without proper examinations and fittings put thousands of Illinois customers at risk of scratches, infections and potential blindness.


August 23, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs FY08 budget; cuts nearly $500 million in 'pork' and non-essential spending
State will make record investment in education and increase access to healthcare to 500,000 more people
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed the state's Fiscal Year 2008 budget, and exercised his veto authority to remove nearly $500 million in 'pork' projects and other spending the state cannot afford from the operating budget approved August 10 by the General Assembly. With the Governor's vetoes and reductions, general revenue spending in the FY08 budget reflects a 5.9 percent increase over FY07.


August 23, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On BP's pledge not to dump more pollution into Lake Michigan
CHICAGO - "This is certainly a major victory for one of our greatest natural assets. We all will pay the price for sacrificing our environment for short-term economic gains. We are very pleased and thank BP for realizing that its plan to dump more pollutants into Lake Michigan was unacceptable and can't move forward. We can expand our economy while protecting our environment, and we will continue to work with BP and other companies across the state to show them how to accomplish both of these very important goals. By working with our partners across the Midwest, we will also continue to explore ways to strengthen requirements and standards for emissions into the Great Lakes."


August 22, 2007
State waterfowl public hunting areas report encouraging for upcoming season
Habitat conditions, weather will be among keys to hunter success
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Generally good habitat conditions and the forecast of a very good migration of ducks from breeding grounds into Illinois this fall highlight the latest Illinois Waterfowl Public Hunting Areas Report from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


August 22, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich appoints Sergio Estrada Jr. as new Acting Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Retired Marine Sergeant Major and OEF and OIF Veteran will join Director Tammy Duckworth to lead the ongoing effort to improve the services to Illinois Veterans
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed Chicago native and Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Sergeant Major (Ret) Sergio Estrada Jr. as the new Acting Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). Mr. Estrada’s appointment requires State Senate confirmation.


August 22, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs' Kane County Aurora Veteran Service Office moves to new location
CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today announced the Kane County Veteran Service Office in Aurora has moved to a new location. The Veteran Service Office's new location is 900 N. Lake Street in Aurora and it will assist the over 27,000 Veterans who live in Kane County in applying for benefits from both the state and federal governments.


August 21, 2007
State public health department reports NO Mad Cow Disease cases in Illinois
Cases of human brain-wasting disease often confused and misreported as BSE, more commonly referred to as Mad Cow Disease
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials report today there are no confirmed or suspected cases of a type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in Illinois, commonly referred to as human mad cow disease. CJD is a rare, fatal brain disorder that causes mental deterioration and a variety of neurological symptoms, which usually leads to death within a year of onset.


August 21, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law expanding Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit to 100,000 more Illinoisans
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today expanding eligibility for the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refund to an additional 100,000 Illinoisans. Senate Bill 338, sponsored by State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago), ends the provision in current law that requires individuals to qualify for federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) money in order to receive an Illinois EITC refund.


August 20, 2007
IEMA joins with Illinois Broadcasters Association to encourage people to test homes for radon
TV, radio messages start airing in Illinois to increase awareness of radon health risks and importance of home tests
SPRINGFIELD – You can’t see, smell or taste radon, but the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) are joining together to make people in Illinois more aware of the hidden health hazard that could be in their homes. Radio and TV messages that recently began airing across the state highlight the fact that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and encourage people to contact IEMA for free home test kits.


August 20, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, August 25, 2007
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 Saturday, August 25, 2007.


August 18, 2007
Illinois Department Of Agriculture Inaugural "Breakfast On A Stick" Competition Offers Unique Dishes
SPRINGFIELD, IL –Taking the cake (or egg) for the most unique food contest at the Illinois State Fair, the inaugural “Breakfast on a Stick” competition, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the American Egg Board, featured 14 fairgoers pitted against one another for this year’s most outrageous breakfast dish.


August 17, 2007
Former Heavyweight Champion Makes First Trip To Illinois State Fair
Jacksonville native Ken Norton returns to Central Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Former world heavyweight champion boxer Ken Norton, a Jacksonville native, took advantage of his time back home in Illinois and made a trip to the Illinois State Fair Friday where he signed autographs and took pictures with fairgoers.


August 17, 2007
IDNR announces 2007 Volunteers of the Year
Annual awards honor individuals and organizations for exceptional volunteer service
SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is recognizing seven individuals and five organizations as 2007 Volunteers of the Year (including one nomination for Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year). The IDNR Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Awards are presented each year to individuals and organizations for exceptional volunteer service to the department and the people of the state of Illinois.


August 17, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs celebrates groundbreaking of Lile Lake at Manteno Veterans Home
Fishing pond fulfills dream for longtime Marine, teacher and former Veterans Home Assistant Superintendent
MANTENO - Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today joined local elected officials, President of the Kankakee-Iroquois County Building and Construction Trades Steve Magruder, local Veterans organizations, and the family of Mickey Lile to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Lile Lake at the Illinois Veterans Home in Manteno. When completed, the Lile Lake will be a 1.75 acre fishing pond for the Veterans Home residents and their families to enjoy.


August 17, 2007
Governor Blagojevich urges President Bush to reconsider his threat to veto State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
SCHIP has helped to provide healthcare for over 316,000 Illinois children
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to put the well being of hundreds of thousands of Illinois children first, and reconsider his threat to veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill currently being considered by the U.S. Congress.


August 16, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, August 19, 2007
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 Sunday, August 19, 2007.


August 16, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs law closing corporate tax loopholes that only benefit special interests
Move would generate an additional $250 million in state revenue to fund important priorities including education and healthcare
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation closing corporate tax loopholes that only benefit business and special interests in order to invest the revenue generated in priorities that help working families – including expanded access to healthcare and education. Closing the tax loopholes is expected to generate an estimated $250 million. During his 2007 budget address in March, Gov. Blagojevich argued that the Illinois tax code is riddled with loopholes that allowed major corporations to pay little or nothing to the state for the money they earn from Illinois business.


August 16, 2007
Heartland Area At Illinois State Fair Celebrates Illinois Producers
Wine garden and farmer’s market offer alternative fair foods and beverages
SPRINGFIELD, IL. - Wine and air conditioning create a relaxing combination, making the Illinois Wine Tent, located in the Heartland area at the Illinois State Fair, a popular location for fairgoers old enough to partake.


August 15, 2007
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs' announces Wabash County Veteran Service Office
CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today announced Wabash County now has an itinerant Veteran Service Office located at 115 East 3rd Street in Mt. Carmel. The office will assist the over 1,500 Veterans who live in Wabash County this year in applying for benefits from both the state and federal governments.


August 15, 2007
Illinois EPA issues Annual Compliance Report for public water supplies
Community water supplies continue to deliver safe drinking water to over 11 million Illinois consumers
SPRINGFIELD—Illinois community water supplies met all state and federal health requirements during calendar year 2006. This is the conclusion from information recently provided to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the Illinois EPA in its Annual Compliance Report.


August 15, 2007
Illinois Department of Revenue warns businesses about tax ID website rip-off
Sites charge fee for connecting users to free services on IDOR website tax.illinois.gov
SPRINGFIELD – In a letter to the state’s top business associations, Department of Revenue Director Brian Hamer warned businesses today about websites that charge money to connect users to services the IDOR offers for free. The Director asked the Better Business Bureau of Illinois, the Illinois Retailers Association, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations to pass along information about these websites to their members and new entrepreneurs.


August 15, 2007
Three new human cases and Jackson and St. Clair counties reporting West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today three more confirmed human cases of West Nile virus, bringing the total to eleven in Illinois for 2007. The latest cases involve a 56 year old Chicago man who became ill in mid-July, an 88 year old Chicago man who became ill in late-July, and a 59 year old Pike County woman who became ill in early July. The first human case of West Nile virus for 2007 was reported in DuPage County on June 15.


August 14, 2007
Governor Blagojevich uses executive authority to bolster healthcare security for half a million people Governor vetoes $500 million in ‘pork’ and other special interest spending from budget passed by
Sen. Pres. Jones voices support for Governor’s changes
SPRINGFIELD – Joined by Senate President Emil Jones, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that his administration will pursue administrative changes to dramatically improve healthcare security for thousands of Illinois families – a critical need not addressed in the budget passed by lawmakers last week. The Governor has expressed concern that the spending plan passed in haste by the legislature failed to address some of the most serious problems facing the people of Illinois. The Governor also announced today he will use his veto authority to remove approximately $500 million in special ‘pork’ projects and other unnecessary spending from the $59 billion operating budget approved late last week by the General Assembly.


August 14, 2007
Governor's Sale of Champions Sets New Record With Steer Sale
One of Two Records Broken
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The 2007 Illinois State Fair Governor’s Sale of Champions was a success yet again, with a record purse collected for the Grand Champion Steer. “Yahtzee,” a 1,344-pound crossbred steer owned by Nicholas Day of Lovington, Ill., sold for $45,000. The sale price eclipsed the record $41,000 purchase price of the champion in 2006. The buyers were DeKalb Asgro Corporation, Simmons and Cooper Law offices, Battery Specialists and the State Bank of Monticello.


August 13, 2007
Grand Funk Railroad Cancels Illinois State Fair Performance
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Grand Funk Railroad has canceled its appearance at the 2007 Illinois State Fair. The 70s rock band was supposed to open the Joe Walsh concert Saturday, Aug. 18, but will not be able to perform because of a scheduling conflict.


August 13, 2007
Seniors educated on various services available to them during Senior Day at the Illinois State Fair
Red Hat Society paints Director’s Lawn purple and red
SPRINGFIELD, IL – A sea of purple t-shirts and red hats flooded the Director’s Lawn today during a luncheon hosted by the Red Hat Society to celebrate the state fair’s Senior Citizens’ Day.


August 12, 2007
Hog and Husband Calling Contests A State Fair Favorite
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Despite blazing heat, a sizable crowd gathered for this year’s renditions of two of the Illinois State Fair’s most unique events: the hog and husband calling contests.


August 11, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich announces child safety seat check effort at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
Several agencies join forces to educate parents on proper safety seat use to keep kids safe
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that state, corporate and community leaders are teaming up to promote the proper use of child safety seats during a large-scale Child Seat Safety Check at the Illinois State Fair. In 2003, the Governor signed a law requiring all children up to age eight to be properly secured in a safety seat. Today, to ensure all child safety seats are installed properly, over 40 certified child passenger safety technicians from around the state will check child safety seats from 9:00 a.m. to noon inside gates 6& 7 on the Fairgrounds.


August 11, 2007
IDOT Teams Up With Best Western Hotels of Illinois to Create New State Highway Map
Maps developed through corporate sponsorship save taxpayers more than $100,000
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Transportation Acting Secretary Milt Sees today announced new state highway maps are available, free of charge, at the 2007 Illinois State Fair. This is the second time IDOT has worked with corporate sponsor Best Western Hotels of Illinois to develop new highway maps for the state. The sponsorship offsets the cost of the project to taxpayers by more than $100,000.


August 11, 2007
Illinois Department of Human Services Speaks Out Against Youth Violence at the 78th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade
Parade participants represented those disabled by gun violence
CHICAGO – Flanked by more than 70 wheelchair users, most of whom were disabled by gun violence, Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams Ph.D. encouraged youth and adults to speak out for “Safe Schools and Safe Communities” during the 78th annual Bud Billiken parade.


August 11, 2007
Nickelodeon's Slime Plays 2007 Illinois State Fair
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Nickelodeon has “slimed” numerous celebrities, game show contestants and kids in its 28-year history. Now, around 15 kids in attendance at the 2007 Illinois State Fair can count themselves among the ranks of Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Jack Black and P. Diddy as people who have had the green concoction dumped on them. As part of the station’s Slime Across America Tour, kids had the chance to be slimed, sing karaoke and give shout-outs to their favorite Nickelodeon shows during three performances Saturday.


August 10, 2007
County Fair Volunteers and Queens Recognized At County Fair Day
Mendota resident named County Fair Person of the Year
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois county fair volunteers and county fair queens were honored today on opening day of the 2007 Illinois State Fair.


August 10, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich opens 2007 Illinois State Fair
Governor’s and First Lady’s tents open today
SPRINGFIELD – Keeping up with Illinois State Fair tradition, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, along with First Lady Patricia Blagojevich, today cut the ribbon at the Main Gate of the Fairgrounds to officially open the 10-day event. The 155th Illinois State Fair began today and runs through Sunday, August 19th. The theme of this year’s Illinois State Fair is “Celebrate and Educate.”


August 9, 2007
IDOT announces enhanced inspections for bridges under construction to ensure they are safe for traffic
New precaution follows MN bridge collapse, Governor’s instruction to review all similar bridges
GLENVIEW – In response to the collapse of the bridge that was under construction in Minnesota last week, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced it will take additional steps in advance of bridge rehabilitation projects to ensure that the structures can safely carry traffic while they are under construction. This will require the temporary closure of these structures before the projects can proceed. The Interstate 35W Bridge in Minnesota had been deemed structurally deficient and was under construction at the time of the collapse.


August 9, 2007
Illinois Department of Revenue collects millions from Illinois businesses through new federal/state online payment system
Pilot program proves more convenient for employers to pay withholding taxes
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois employers have flocked to a pilot program that allows them to pay, without charge, both their federal and state withholding taxes using an online federal payment system, Illinois Department of Revenue Director (IDOR) Brian Hamer announced today. Illinois was the only state chosen by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2006 to test the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Since IDOR launched the program in December, more than 105,000 state withholding tax payments for more than $225 million have been collected.


August 9, 2007
First West Nile virus-related death in Illinois for 2007
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today the first death related to West Nile virus in Illinois for 2007. A 77-year-old Ogle County man died yesterday after becoming ill from West Nile virus earlier this month. The first human case was reported in DuPage County on June 15. A total of eight human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois this summer have been reported in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Madison, Ogle and Tazewell counties.


August 9, 2007
The Illinois State Fair Butter Cow Has Moooooved
85-year old fair tradition has a new home
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Quite a bit has changed since 1922: this nation has seen two new states added to the union, four wars, 12 presidents, eight generations, the beginning and the end of the Great Depression, the demise of Prohibition, a man walking on the moon, the rise of rock-n-roll and technological, scientific, and medical advances no one could have never dreamed of. One tradition at the Illinois State Fair hasn’t changed through the years and that is the Butter Cow.


August 8, 2007
State public health director warns people to avoid contact with bats
Dozens of bat exposures already documented as we enter busy bat season
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is reminding everyone to avoid contact with bats as we approach the time of year when bats are the most active and health officials see the most bat exposures. Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois and already this year, 42 bats have tested positive for rabies in 22 counties.


August 8, 2007
Governor Blagojevich's Keep Cool Illinois Campaign To Provide Cooling Centers During Illinois State Fair
Fairgoers encouraged to take precautions to ensure their visit is safe and enjoyable
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois program, State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick today announced ten cooling centers will be open during the 2007 Illinois State Fair to help prevent heat-related illnesses.


August 8, 2007
State Fire Marshal kicks off “LOOK UP!” campus fire safety campaign at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Safety posters being offered to all colleges to encourage students to “look up” and make sure they have working smoke alarms in living quarters
SPRINGFIELD, IL – With students set to return to college campuses within the next few weeks, State Fire Marshal Dave Foreman today kicked off the “LOOK UP!” fire safety campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of working smoke alarms in both on- and off-campus housing. Foreman joined staff and students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus Wednesday to begin putting up the safety posters around the campus.


August 8, 2007
Another human case and Macoupin and Saline counties reporting West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today another confirmed human case of West Nile virus, bringing the total to seven in Illinois for 2007. The latest case involves a 50-year-old Cook County woman who became ill in early July. The first human case of West Nile virus for 2007 was reported in DuPage County on June 15. Human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois this summer have been reported in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Madison and Tazewell counties.


August 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs new laws to improve public safety and protect law enforcement agencies
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that helps law enforcement agencies better protect Illinoisans. Senate Bill 585, Senate Bill 639 and Senate Bill 1265, allow law enforcement agencies to equip their bicycles with sirens, prohibit vehicles from having tainted or clear license plate covers and increase penalties for individuals who try to bypass interlock devices.


August 7, 2007
Governor Blagojevich declares Rockford, Winnebago state disaster area following flooding
State committed to helping area recover from severe flood
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared Rockford and Winnebago County a state disaster area for damage caused by flooding early Tuesday morning, and said the state will continue to work closely with local officials to ensure the area recovers from this event as quickly as possible.


August 7, 2007
IDNR works with Central Management Services to recycle used motor oil
Program will save state money and promote cleaner facilities
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is going even greener today by joining a state oil recycling program, Acting IDNR Director Sam Flood announced.


August 6, 2007
Cooler than normal July prevails
SPRINGFIELD – While there were some hot days, Illinois generally managed to avoid the heat wave experienced out West during July. Statewide July temperatures averaged 73.5°F, 2.3°F below normal, and the 20th coolest July since 1895. In fact, most Illinois locations had many fewer 90-degree days than normal. Chicago hit the 90-degree mark four times (three less than normal); Rockford, four times (two less); Moline, four times (five less); Peoria twice (seven less); Springfield once (10 less); Quincy five times (five less); and Carbondale only nine times (five less).


August 6, 2007
Governor Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois campaign offers tips to protect against heat-related health problems during this week’s hot weather
Department of Public Health encourages preventive action
SPRINGFIELD – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, is urging Illinoisans this week to take preventive actions during this extremely hot weather. The Governor has also made 130 state facilities available as cooling centers. The mission of the Keep Cool Illinois campaign is to inform Illinois residents, especially the elderly, families with small children and persons with disabilities, on how to prevent heat-related health problems and participate in summer activities safely.


August 6, 2007
Going To State Fair? Want To Save A Bundle On College?
Financial and academic preparation for college is focus of ISAC booth
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Visitors to the 2007 Illinois State Fair will be able to find more than corn dogs, the Giant Slide and a butter cow at this year’s event.


August 5, 2007
Governor Blagojevich signs new laws protecting Illinois law enforcement rights, expands arrest powers of federal agents
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation that increases protection for Illinois law enforcement officers. House Bill 162 and House Bill 166 protect the rights of pregnant law enforcement officials and expand the arrest powers of federal agents in Illinois.


August 4, 2007
Twelfth Annual World Breastfeeding Week Walk at the Zoo encourages moms to breastfeed, resulting in healthier babies
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims August Breastfeeding Promotion Month, Human Services Agency participates in statewide activities
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today joined mothers, families, healthcare workers and public officials for the Twelfth Annual World Breastfeeding Walk at the Henson Robinson Zoo. The event, co-sponsored by St. John’s Hospital, is held each year to support and promote breastfeeding and kicks off a month of activities throughout the state in support of breastfeeding.


August 3, 2007
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, August 7, 2007
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 Tuesday, August 7, 2007.


August 3, 2007
Governor Blagojevich renews call for Legislature to approve $10 billion capital plan to upgrade infrastructure
Illinois bridge system ranked 5th safest in nation by Federal Highway Administration; Governor says capital investment in bridges and roads needed to create jobs, boost economic development and improve public safety
QUINCY – Standing in front of Quincy Memorial Bridge in Clat Adams Bicentennial Park, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today renewed his call to the Illinois General Assembly to put partisan differences aside and approve a $10 billion state capital investment plan. In the wake of the tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota, the Governor called on lawmakers to make needed investments to keep Illinois’ infrastructure system sound.


August 2, 2007
Celebrate the great outdoors at Conservation World during the 2007 Illinois State Fair
Scheer’s Lumberjacks, Cool Dog Thrill Show, fishing and hunting clinics among the activities featured
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Traditional favorites including the Scheer’s Lumberjack Show and the Cool Dog High Performance Trick Dog Thrill Show anchor a full schedule of family-oriented entertainment and activities at Conservation World during the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 10-19, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.


August 2, 2007
Illinois Product Demonstrations to be Held at the 2007 Illinois State Fair
Items from homemade jams and jellies to spices and seasonings to be featured in showcase of Illinois-made products
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Marketing and Promotion will highlight Illinois companies and products in the Heartland area at the 2007 Illinois State Fair.


August 2, 2007
Grand Marshals Announced for 2007 Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In keeping with its theme, “Celebrate and Educate,” the Illinois State Fair has selected five individuals in the field of education as this year’s Twilight Parade grand marshals. State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick made the announcement today during Press Preview Day at the fairgrounds.


August 2, 2007
Illinois' war heroes to be honored during Veterans' Day at the Illinois State Fair
Day includes memorial services honoring Illinois’ fallen service members, "Supermarket of Veterans' Benefits", and a special performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) will host "Veterans' Day" at the Illinois State Fair on Sunday, August 12, 2007. The special day will be held at the Lincoln Stage from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission to the Fair will be free for Illinois Veterans and their families all day. The fun-filled day will include entertainment by the world famous United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, the Springfield Municipal Band, and the 144th Army National Guard Band. Memorial services will be held honoring Illinois' fallen service members of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and for all service members. There will also be a "Supermarket of Veterans Benefits" held close to the Lincoln Stage and a parade through the fairgrounds.


August 2, 2007
Gov. Blagojevich signs groundbreaking dam safety legislation
New law creates warning and enforcement standards at publicly owned dams throughout the state
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed first-of-its-kind legislation today that focuses on improving public safety on rivers throughout the state. House Bill 33, sponsored by State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Plainfield) and State Sen. Arthur Wilhelmi (D-Crest Hill), creates new warning and enforcement standards on public waterways near dams. The law gives the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) the ability to establish guidelines for the placement of signs and buoys around 32 publicly-owned dams on navigable waterways such as the Fox, Rock and Kankakee rivers.


August 1, 2007
Three New Cases of West Nile virus in Illinois bring total number of human cases to six
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed 3 new cases of people with West Nile virus, bringing the total to six human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois for 2007.


August 1, 2007
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the federal decision not to stop BP from dumping pollutants into Lake Michigan
SPRINGFIELD – “I am deeply disappointed by today’s U.S. EPA’s decision to allow the BP refinery in Northwest Indiana to increase the level of pollution they dump into Lake Michigan.”

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