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January
2008


January 31, 2008
Blagojevich administration and Madison County Transit officials launch first local program under new law that provides senior citizens free public transportation
Madison County Transit becomes the first transit agency under the new law to offer free public transportation to seniors; also includes free bus service for the disabled More than 30,000 seniors statewide have pre-registered for free transit
GRANITE CITY – Officials from Governor Blagojevich’s administration today joined local legislators and the Madison County Transit (MCT) agency to launch the first program to provide access to free public transportation for all seniors in Illinois since the Governor took action on the statewide transit funding plan. The Madison County Transit board today approved implementation plans for a program that will begin offering seniors and the disabled free service starting Monday, February 4th. Since the Governor launched a toll-free hotline and website for interested seniors last week, more than 30,000 senior citizens statewide have pre-registered for free transit service.


January 31, 2008
Blagojevich administration awards more than $50,000 in grants to help improve women’s health
Governor also encourages women’s heart health awareness through participation in National Wear Red Day
MACOMB – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Dr. Damon T. Arnold today announced $54,000 in grants to 15 local health departments and health organizations to help improve women’s health. The grants, ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 each, will be used to further one of two Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) programs: Women’s Health Awareness Events and Women Out Walking (WOW). The Blagojevich administration awarded the grants on the eve of National Wear Red Day, a day designed to raise awareness of women’s heart disease – the number one killer of women.


January 29, 2008
Governor Blagojevich calls first meeting of the Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force
Group will work to expand local markets for Illinois-grown fruits and vegetables
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today a new state task force will begin work to create a comprehensive food production and distribution system to expand the availability of Illinois-grown produce. The Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force will meet this Wednesday, January 30 at 10 a.m. in the Illinois Department of Agriculture auditorium.


January 29, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich launches first in the nation Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder program for Illinois Veterans
Illinois Warriors Assistance Program includes TBI screenings and 24-hour toll-free helpline at 1-866-554-IWAP (4927) for Veterans suffering from symptoms associated with PTSD
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich was joined today by Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Healthcare and Family Services Barry Maram, representatives from the Illinois Psychiatric Society, the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and local veterans to launch the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program. The Illinois Warrior Assistance Program is a first in the nation program that will screen returning Illinois National Guard members for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while offering TBI screening to all Illinois veterans, and a 24-hour toll-free psychological helpline for veterans suffering from symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


January 29, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, January 31 until sunset, Saturday, February 2, 2008.
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, Thursday, January 31 until sunset, Saturday, February 2, 2008.


January 29, 2008
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich
On the Department of Energy’s plans to dismantle FutureGen
CHICAGO – “The U.S. Secretary of Energy’s proposal to dismantle FutureGen is an example of politics at its worst. Secretary Samuel Bodman is not only jeopardizing the benefits FutureGen promises to deliver, but he deceived the people of East Central Illinois who spent time and resources competing for the project. We’re not giving up the fight to make FutureGen a reality in Illinois."


January 25, 2008
Honoring The Honorable Eugene Sawyer, Former City of Chicago Mayor
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise until sunset, Saturday, January 26, 2008.
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 until sunset, Saturday, January 26, 2008.


January 24, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich urges governors of nation’s largest coal producing states to continue unified support for FutureGen
In response to rumored USDOE plans to reduce or restructure landmark clean-coal project, Governor enlists support of broad coalition to ensure FutureGen moves forward
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to fellow governors from major coal-producing states who helped Illinois win its bid for the landmark FutureGen project, urging them to continue their unified support for the project. In his letter, Gov. Blagojevich asks the governors of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming to voice their concerns to the Bush administration and the Department of Energy about further delays or potential restructuring of the project. The Governor also reaffirmed Illinois’ commitment to ensure FutureGen remains intact and on track to become a reality.


January 23, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich urges Illinois delegation to support children’s healthcare expansion
Bipartisan support needed for SCHIP expansion for children
CHICAGO – As part of his continued efforts to provide children and families with access to affordable healthcare coverage, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to the Illinois congressional delegation urging them to provide needed support for a bipartisan State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill that will provide and expand coverage to an estimated 10 million American children.


January 23, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, January 24 until sunset, Saturday, January 26, 2008.
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, Thursday, January 24 until sunset, Saturday, January 26, 2008.


January 23, 2008
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES NEW ELECTRONIC RECRUITING AND HIRING SYSTEM
Web-based application system makes state hiring process more efficient
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the state’s new web-based electronic hiring system is up and running. The launch of www.work.illinois.gov came less then one year after the Governor announced plans for the website creation


January 18, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich applauds General Assembly for approving plan to avert CTA doomsday and provide free public transportation to seniors
Lawmakers in both chambers accept Governor’s amendatory veto to mass transit plan
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today commended the General Assembly for accepting his improvements to a long-term mass transit funding bill that provides free public transportation to Illinois seniors. The Illinois Senate this afternoon voted 32 to 19 to accept the Governor’s Amendatory Veto to House Bill 656. The House earlier in the day accepted the Governor’s changes, 61-47. Last week, after the General Assembly approved a CTA funding bill that relies in part on a .25% increase in the sales tax in Chicago and surrounding counties, the Governor rewrote the bill to minimize the impact on seniors by allowing them to use public transportation for free.


January 18, 2008
Honoring John H. Stroger, Jr.
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff until sunset, Wednesday, January 23, 2008.
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 until sunset, Wednesday, January 23, 2008.


January 18, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich takes final action on plan to avert CTA doomsday and provide free public transportation to seniors
Governor certifies amendatory veto to mass transit plan; becomes law
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s improvements to a long-term mass transit funding bill that provides free public transportation to Illinois seniors became law today after the General Assembly accepted his Amendatory Veto to House Bill 656 Thursday. The CTA, Metra and Pace planned for drastic service cuts, fare hikes, and layoffs if a solution wasn’t passed by Sunday January 20th. After the Governor certified his Amendatory Veto today, transit agencies now have 60 days to implement plans to offer free public transportation to seniors.


January 18, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich asks President Bush for federal disaster declaration for severe flooding in Iroquois and Livingston counties
Federal disaster declaration would help people, businesses recover from flood
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked President Bush to declare Iroquois and Livingston counties major disaster areas as a result of flooding that devastated areas of those counties last week, damaging hundreds of homes and businesses. A federal disaster declaration would enable people and businesses affected by the floods to apply for grants and loans to help with flood losses.


January 15, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces free college prep testing program for high school freshmen and sophomores
New tools to help school districts improve academic performance and help students prepare for college
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the launch of a new voluntary testing program aimed at improving student achievement at the high school level. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is launching a new program that allows all interested public school districts to test freshmen and sophomores with the EXPLORE and PLAN ACT pre-tests. The voluntary program will provide schools with valuable testing information to monitor student achievement in high schools where currently only juniors are tested. ISBE is making the program available to public school districts at no charge.


January 14, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from sunrise, Wednesday, January 16 until sunset, Friday, January 18, 2008.
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, Wednesday, January 16 until sunset, Friday, January 18, 2008.


January 13, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich proclaims January 13 AMBER Alert Awareness Day
AMBER Alert Task Force announces poster contest and encourages teachers to discuss child safety issues with students
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed January 13 AMBER Alert Awareness Day in Illinois to mark the 12th anniversary of the abduction and brutal murder of Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas. The tragedy lead to the creation of the AMBER Alert System which now helps to find missing children in all 50 states.


January 13, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich, Rev. Meeks, urge General Assembly to approve Governor’s plan to provide free public transportation to seniors
Governor sends long-term mass transit bill back to lawmakers with provision giving senior citizens free rides on public transportation
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined Reverend and state Senator James Meeks today at New Salem Baptist House of Hope on Chicago’s south side, where he spoke to 8,000 congregants and urged members of the Illinois General Assembly to quickly approve his improvements to a long-term mass transit funding bill. On Friday, the Governor officially submitted his Amendatory Veto to House Bill 656, the CTA funding bill, to provide free public transportation to all Illinois seniors. After lawmakers in both chambers approved a CTA funding bill that relies in part on a .25% increase in the sales tax in Chicago and surrounding counties, the Governor promised to rewrite the bill to minimize the impact on senior citizens by allowing them to use public transportation for free.


January 11, 2008
Illinoisans experience spring-like weather in January
Better than average rain fall recorded in December
SPRINGFIELD- On January 7, winter weather gave way to spring-like conditions with record-breaking warmth, heavy rains, and severe weather across Illinois. Record high temperatures were set at several locations, including Peoria (67 degrees), Chicago (65 degrees), and Champaign (67 degrees), according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


January 11, 2008
Governor Blagojevich urges residents in northern, eastern Illinois to stay safe and healthy during and after flooding
Food, water and cleaning recommendations to help prevent illness and injury
SPRINGFIELD - After declaring Iroquois and Livingston counties state disaster areas due to severe flooding that has forced more than 430 people from their homes, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged residents in and around the disaster areas to take precautions to help prevent disease in order to stay safe and healthy.


January 11, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich steps up attack on human trafficking and urges support for nationwide day of human trafficking awareness
Illinois’ Human trafficking hotline now averages ten calls a month
CHICAGO – In an effort to continue to fight a form of modern day slavery, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich observed the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness. U.S. Senate Resolution 40, co-sponsored by Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), states that Congress supports the goals and ideals of observing the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness on January 11 of each year and all other efforts to raise awareness of and opposition to human trafficking. In 2005, Governor Blagojevich became the first governor in the nation to launch a state-led assault on human trafficking.


January 10, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich vows to act quickly on long-term transit solution to avert CTA doomsday
Will accept Hamos-version of solution passed by legislature, but will insert change to protect seniors from impact of .25% sales tax increase approved by lawmakers
SPRINGFIELD – Soon after both chambers of the General Assembly approved a long-term mass transit funding bill today, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich was joined by transit officials and state Rep. Julie Hamos as he announced his intention to act on the bill as soon as it is certified and sent to his desk. While the Governor has been clear in his opposition to increasing the sales tax to fund mass transit, he said today he will accept the approach passed by the General Assembly in House Bill 656 in order to avert devastating service cuts and fare increases, but will use his amendatory veto authority to make sure seniors citizens can use public transportation for free.


January 8, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces grants to increase export sales of Illinois food products
Funds will enable Illinois food companies to expand their advertising and promotion budget in overseas markets
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the availability of federal matching funds to help Illinois food companies promote their products in foreign markets and encouraged interested businesses to contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) for application assistance.


January 8, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich urges President Bush to restore funding to Fermilab, Argonne National Laboratory
Hundreds of jobs in jeopardy under Bush budget cuts
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to the president asking him to reverse his decision to cut funding from Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, two of the most important research centers in the nation, located in Illinois. The cuts, which the Governor pointed out, could limit opportunities for future scientific research and development in the United States, are the result of an omnibus bill signed by the president that included a dramatically reduced budget for the Department of Energy.


January 7, 2008
IDHS announces new law to generate funds for Autism research and awareness
New revenue from special license plate one of several accomplishments of Governor’s Autism Task Force
SPRINGFIELD– Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary (DHS) Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. today announced Illinois residents are now able to help fund Autism research and raise public awareness by purchasing official state autism awareness license plates. A portion of the proceeds from the license plates will be contributed to the Autism Awareness Fund. The new license plates are just one of many efforts of the Autism Task Force created by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004 to increase support and education of this complex neurological disorder.


January 4, 2008
Illinois Arts Council Calls for FY09 Arts-In-Education Residency Applications
Support for Illinois artists’ residencies in schools and communities statewide
The Illinois Arts Council encourages all Illinois schools and eligible not-for-profit organizations to apply for the Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) Arts-in-Education (AIE) Residency Program. AIE Residency Program grants provide support for Illinois artists’ residencies in schools and communities statewide. Residencies range from two weeks to six months in duration, and are available to eligible primary and secondary educational institutions, community colleges, and local arts and community organizations, as well as four-year colleges and universities if the residency involves the local K-12 student population.


January 4, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich takes action to give schools a $560 million state funding increase
Governor uses amendatory veto to correct problem in BIMP bill and give school districts immediate reimbursement for special education staff
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today took action on a Budget Implementation Bill (BIMP) that will give Illinois schools a $560 million increase in state funding. Senate Bill 783, the BIMP for Fiscal Year 2008, provides a record amount of funding for school districts throughout Illinois. With this year’s increase, the FY08 appropriation is the largest total annual investment in education in state history.


January 3, 2008
Governor Blagojevich proclaims January Radon Action Month
Urges people to test homes for radon, which is second-leading cause of lung cancer in U.S.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proclaimed January as Radon Action Month in Illinois and urged people throughout the state to test their homes to see if they have elevated levels of the radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer. Radon is recognized as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the nation, behind smoking, but is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

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