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December 31, 2008
Governor Reminds Illinoisans of New Public Safety Laws Effective January 1, 2009
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced six new public safety laws designed to protect Illinoisans from danger and crime. The laws will take effect January 1, 2009. They allow for the use of GPS tracking devices in certain domestic violence cases, provide a stronger plan for colleges and universities in the event of an emergency, equip firefighters with more authority, strengthen penalties for unlawful use of certain weapons, and outlaw the use of a bumpkey.

December 31, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Reminds Illinoisans of Four Bills Designed to Protect Citizens from Sex Offenders
Laws redefine 500 foot boundary for offenders, prohibit offenders from serving as election judges
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded Illinoisans of four new laws that will take effect January 1, 2009 that protect children and sex abuse victims from sex offenders in Illinois. These pieces of legislation will increase safety measures by: prohibiting sex offenders from serving as election judges; redefining the 500 foot boundary that offenders must adhere to; increasing penalties for possessing child pornography; and allowing prosecution of a sex crime at any time within 10 years after the crime, when the DNA profile of the sex offender is obtained.

December 31, 2008
New Law Cracking Down on Drunk Drivers Takes Effect at Midnight
First Time DUI Offenders to Face Tougher Restrictions before Being Allowed Behind the Wheel
The Blagojevich administration is asking that you think twice before driving drunk this New Year’s holiday. The warning comes as a new law requiring Breathe Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) for first time DUI offenders is set to take effect.

December 31, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Signs New Tax Credit to Attract New Business Projects; Strengthen Illinois Economy
New law will support small businesses and attract more investors to Illinois
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2015 into law, designed to provide an economic stimulus for Illinois in these difficult financial times. Senate Bill 2015, sponsored by State Senator James F. Clayborne Jr. (D- East St. Louis) and Representative Arthur L. Turner (D-Chicago), establishes a new state incentive for investment entities that have been approved for the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. The law will support small and developing businesses by making capital funds more easily available and will make the state more attractive to possible investors.

December 30, 2008
Honoring Wyvetter Younge, Long-time Member of the Illinois House
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise until Sunset, Saturday, January 3, 2009.
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 3, 2009.

December 30, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Taps Roland W. Burris As Next U.S. Senator
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed former politician and statewide office-holder Roland W. Burris to the United States Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

December 29, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Reminds Illinoisans about Five New Health Laws to Take Effect January 1
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that five new health laws will take effect January 1, 2009. The laws will expand the definition of “serious mental illness” to include eating disorders; increase awareness for women’s heart disease; increase the privacy for genetic testing results; expand instruction for students’ chronic health conditions; and require defibrillators at outdoor fitness facilities.

December 28, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Announces $2 Million in Grants to Help Persons with Disabilities Stay in Their Own Homes
Home Modification Brings Independence to Hundreds
Illinois is investing an additional $2 million to support the Home Modification Program, a statewide program that adds ramps, chair lifts and other features to homes so low-income seniors and residents with disabilities can continue to live in their communities, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), a state agency dedicated to creating and preserving affordable housing, will allocate the grant money to 14 non-profit organizations and public agencies around the state to administer the program.

December 22, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Reminds Consumers to Avoid Predatory Installment and Title loans
A tough economy and skyrocketing prices have left many families across the state looking for alternative ways to make ends meet. With fewer lending options available, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded consumers about the dangers of predatory lenders, particularly high-cost installment and title lending companies.

December 22, 2008
$1.4 Billion Available Today to Pay Community Organizations that Provide Goods and Services
Today Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced that thanks to a successful short-term borrowing deal, the State has $1.4 billion available to pay many community organizations and vendors that have supplied goods and services to the state, but have yet to be paid. Because Illinois has a $2 billion budget deficit caused by the national recession and an uneven revenue stream, the State sold $1.4 billion in general obligation certificates to infuse the General Revenue Fund with much needed cash to pay vendors and providers who urgently need payment.

December 18, 2008
Governor Blagojevich signs Illinois Medical Practice Act Extension
SB 2179 extends the sunset until 2010
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a law that extends the Medical Practice Act until 2010. Recognizing the necessity in providing quality healthcare in Illinois, Senate Bill 2179 continues the regulation of physicians and ensures that no licenses for practicing doctors in Illinois will expire at the end of the year.

December 16, 2008
$1.4 Billion to be Available to Pay Bills Before the New Year
Because the national recession has negatively affected Illinois’ revenue and caused a $2 billion fiscal year 2009 budget deficit, the State will be selling $1.4 billion in general obligation certificates to infuse the General Revenue Fund with much needed cash to pay vendors and providers who urgently need payment.

December 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Signs Legislation to Strengthen Illinois’ Film Tax Credit
Increasing tax credit from 20 percent to 30 percent will encourage additional film business in Illinois
Building on his commitment to help the Illinois film industry continue to achieve record success, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 1981, legislation that renews and strengthens the Illinois Film Tax Credit.

December 12, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Signs "Brianna's Law"
New law ensures healthcare coverage for families of children with autism
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 934 into law, providing insurance coverage to parents of children with autism. The new law, also known as "Brianna's Law" and which received overwhelming support from the Illinois General Assembly, will provide coverage for all individuals under age 21 for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) up to $36,000 per year. The new law is named for Brianna DiCianni, who was diagnosed with autism in 2006 and was denied coverage by her family's health insurance company.

December 11, 2008
Illinois Department of Human Services Takes Action to Reduce Poverty and Help Families through Landmark Illinois Poverty Summit
Announced better access to state assistance programs; commitment to reduce poverty
CHICAGO – As part of ongoing statewide efforts to reduce poverty throughout the state and protect Illinoisans from economic hardship and the impacts of the national recession, the Illinois Department of Human Services convened the unprecedented two-day Illinois Poverty Summit this week to develop recommendations to bring about a substantive decrease in the number of Illinoisans living in extreme poverty. The Illinois Poverty Summit was cosponsored with the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights and hosted with Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research.

December 4, 2008
Governor Blagojevich’s Hospital Assessment Plan Wins Formal Approval from the Federal Government
Federal approval of Governor’s 2009 Hospital Assessment will direct over $775 million of federal dollars to Illinois hospitals and Medicaid providers
On the heels of reports that the nation is in an economic recession, hospitals and other medical providers will receive millions of federal dollars to help them care for Medicaid patients, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) approved the Governor’s 2009 Hospital Assessment, which he advocated for and signed this summer. Federal approval means hospitals, especially those with high volumes of Medicaid patients, will receive millions of additional dollars in federal matching funds.

December 4, 2008
Governor Blagojevich, IDOT Honored for Success of Operation Teen Safe Driving Program
Groundbreaking safe driving initiative gains national recognition; one of six finalists for PR News Corporate/Nonprofit Partnership Award
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the first-of-its-kind Operation Teen Safe Driving program in Illinois has been recognized as a national finalist for a PR News Nonprofit PR Award. Governor Blagojevich and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) were honored for a successful partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund and the Allstate Foundation in a program designed to reduce teen traffic fatalities throughout Illinois. Finalists were recognized this afternoon during an awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

December 3, 2008
Blagojevich Administration Unveils Disaster Preparedness Guide for Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities
Tips will help people with special needs and their families stay safe when emergencies happen
In recognition of International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the availability of a new comprehensive preparedness guide for senior citizens, people with physical limitations and those with other special needs. The guidebook outlines important steps people with functional needs should take to stay safe when a disaster or emergency arises.

December 3, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Deploys Rapid Response Team to Aid Affected U.S. Steel Workers
Team to assist workers and connect them with the best services possible during transitional period
Providing immediate access to worker dislocation services, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich deployed the Illinois Rapid Response team to aid workers impacted by United States Steel Corporation’s (U.S. Steel) announcement to temporarily close its facility in Granite City, IL. The Rapid Response team makes services such as unemployment insurance information, job training opportunities and labor market information available to affected workers.

December 1, 2008
Governor Blagojevich names Dean Martinez as Deputy Governor
Governor also announces Michael McRaith as new Secretary of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the promotion of Dean Martinez to Deputy Governor for the state of Illinois. Martinez, the son of Cuban immigrants, is the first Latino Deputy Governor in Illinois history. He will join Deputy Governors Bob Greenlee and Louanner Peters to steer key initiatives of the Governor. In his new role, Martinez will oversee the State’s economic development, infrastructure, business regulation and environmental agencies, and will be a close advisor to the Governor on policies and initiatives to create jobs, invest in infrastructure, stimulate the Illinois economy and advance the Governor’s environmental agenda.

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