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July
2008


July 30, 2008
Governor Blagojevich stresses need for preventive measures against West Nile virus and heat stroke, as high temperatures hit
Hot weather increases the risk of West Nile virus infection and illness
SPRINGFIELD – As temperatures hover in the 90s in Illinois this week and with heat indices near 100, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich is urging people to protect themselves against the risk of West Nile virus infection and other illnesses, due to the heat.


July 29, 2008
Governor Blagojevich recognizes anniversary of Minnesota bridge collapse
Governor applauds IDOT for diligence in keeping Illinoisans safe; emphasizes need for capital plan to address infrastructure needs
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois’ bridges are ranked 6th in the nation in terms of sufficiency, but stressed more needs to be done to ensure that they remain safe. The announcement comes the week of the August 1st anniversary of the Minneapolis I-35W bridge tragedy and with the release of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) report, Bridging the Gap: Restoring and Rebuilding the Nation’s Bridges, outlining the critical challenges ahead.


July 23, 2008
Governor Blagojevich reminds seniors and people with disabilities to sign-up for Illinois Cares Rx and Circuit Breaker to avoid break in coverage
Apply online at www.cbrx.il.gov or call the Senior Helpline at 1-800-252-8966 or Circuit Breaker at 1-800-624-2459 for information
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today is reminding older adults and people with disabilities to apply now over the Internet for Illinois Cares Rx Basic (also known as the Circuit Breaker program) and for Illinois Cares Rx Plus (formerly SeniorCare) to get their benefits faster and to avoid any possible break in coverage. The Governor is encouraging individuals to use the online application (Form IL-1363) at www.cbrx.il.gov because it is the fastest way to get approved for the state’s prescription drug assistance program, and other Circuit Breaker benefits.


July 22, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Wednesday, July 23, 2008 until Sunset, Friday, July 25, 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, July 23, 2008 until Sunset, Friday, July 25, 2008.


July 17, 2008
Governor Blagojevich’s Request for Agricultural Disaster Declaration Approved
Declaration will assist farmers in 91 Illinois counties
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced federal disaster assistance is available to help Illinois farmers who suffered crop losses, because of excessive rain and flooding this spring.


July 17, 2008
Governor Blagojevich urges Congressional Delegation to support additional LIHEAP funding
Low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities apply for summer energy assistance in record numbers
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to members of Illinois’ Congressional Delegation urging them to support legislation that would increase funding to the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The letter comes as the Governor announces that the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has set daily records for applications accepted from low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities seeking summer energy assistance since the July 7 launch of the program.


July 17, 2008
Statement from Lucio Guerrero
Spokesperson for Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
CHICAGO – “We are happy Supt. Jody Weis recognized our offer of assistance and we look forward to working cooperatively with the Chicago Police Department. Leadership from both law enforcement agencies - the Illinois State Police and the Chicago Police Department - will work together in finding ways to best use state resources to help reduce crime in Chicago. The two departments have worked hand-in-hand on a number of other issues and have done so with great results. We expect this effort will not be any different.”


July 16, 2008
Honoring Virginia MacDonald, Long-time Member of the General Assembly
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff until Sunset, Thursday, July 17, 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 immediately until Sunset, Thursday, July 17, 2008.


July 16, 2008
In wake of recent flooding, Blagojevich administration continues to make emergency preparedness top priority
2008 Illinois Public Health Emergency Preparedness Summit: “Exercising & Assessing the Heartland” an example of emergency preparations
OAK BROOK – After the recent flooding in Illinois, in which 24 counties were declared state disaster areas, the need for continued emergency preparedness became evident. Under Governor Blagojevich’s leadership, hundreds of Illinois National Guard troops were dispatched to help shore up levees, conservation police officers helped rescue people when some of those levees broke, and safe water to drink and medical care was made available to those affected by the flooding.


July 16, 2008
Governor Blagojevich, four Midwestern governors ask President Bush to further increase federal reimbursement to flood-impacted communities
Seven more counties approved for federal assistance to local governments for flood-related expenses
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined the governors of Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin in asking President Bush to provide additional federal assistance to communities devastated by catastrophic flooding in June. In a letter signed by all five governors, the states asked the federal government to reimburse state and local governments for 100 percent of expenses for flood-related emergency protective measures, and 90 percent of other response and recovery costs.


July 16, 2008
Statement from Lucio Guerrero
Spokesperson for Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
CHICAGO – As mentioned at today’s press conference, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said it was “highly unlikely” that the Illinois National Guard would be sent out to help the Chicago police. The more likely scenario involves the Illinois State Police. The Governor is meeting with law enforcement officials later today to look at options on how the state can help Mayor Daley with more personnel. The National Guard will only be attending the meeting today for informational purposes. The only way the National Guard would be involved, if they are involved, is with the use of tactical helicopters that are currently used in narcotic operations. No National Guard troops are being considered.


July 16, 2008
Statement from Lucio Guerrero
Spokesperson for Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich and top state law enforcement officials met this afternoon during a productive two hour meeting. The meeting included leadership from the Illinois State Police and the Illinois National Guard.* A variety of plans were discussed that would both have an immediate impact in helping Chicago deal with the violence and long term solutions to curb gang activity. The governor will present the ideas later this week to Mayor Daley and looks forward to working with the city in finding ways to help put an end to these senseless killings. Details of the plans are not being released. *As mentioned before, there are no plans to use National Guard troops.


July 16, 2008
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES BATMAN MOVIE THE DARK KNIGHT GENERATES NEARLY $40 MILLION IN REVENUE FOR THE ILLINOIS ECONOMY
Dark Knight filmed in Illinois during 2007 is the largest film ever made in Illinois
CHICAGO – In anticipation of tonight’s Chicago premiere of the new Batman film, The Dark Knight, Governor Blagojevich today announced that The Dark Knight brought nearly $40 million in revenue to the Illinois economy, making it the largest movie filmed in Illinois on record. The movie, which was filmed in the Chicago area last year, created approximately 4,500 job hires. The movie opens to the public on Friday, July 18.


July 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces safety belt use tops 90 percent for second straight year
Fatal crashes are down sharply in Illinois in 2008, as state continues to make gains in saving lives, since Governor Blagojevich signed safety belt enforcement law in 2003
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois has continued to make gains in roadway safety in 2008, as the number of motorists and front seat passengers who buckle up in the state edged upwards and exceeded 90 percent for the second straight year. The Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety reports the overall number of fatalities on Illinois roads is down by 19 percent on a provisional basis for the first six months of 2008; from 598 in 2007, to 484 in 2008.


July 15, 2008
Blagojevich administration celebrates 18th anniversary of historic Americans with Disabilities Act
Governor proclaims July 15, Americans with Disabilities Act Day
CHICAGO – In honor of the 18th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed July 15, 2008 American with Disabilities Act Day and the state sponsored a special event celebrating Illinois’ commitment to ADA. The state's celebration entitled, “ADA Live the Dream” highlighted the talents and accomplishments of persons with disabilities through an art exhibition hosted by the Little City Foundation, entertainment, hands-on art activities, wearable art fashion show, exhibits, workshops, and a three-on-three wheelchair basketball exhibition hosted in tandem with the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association. The annual event, hosted by Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), and Rocco Claps, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), was held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph St. in Chicago.


July 15, 2008
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MILLERCOORS CHOOSES CHICAGO FOR NEW HEADQUARTERS, CREATING OVER 300 JOBS
State’s $18 million dollar investment package and vast resources help secure merged headquarter
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that Illinois succeeded in bringing the new headquarters for MillerCoors to Illinois with a $18 million investment package for the company. The state’s investment supports a $39.5 million investment by MillerCoors, and comes as a part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development strategy to create jobs and build the Illinois economy.


July 13, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich uses amendatory veto to expand House Bill 4255
Amendatory veto will require insurance companies to also cover a range of autism treatment for youth until the age of 21
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today used his amendatory veto power to expand House Bill 4255 to require insurance companies to cover autism diagnosis, occupational therapy, physical and speech therapy, psychiatric and psychological services and applied behavioral therapies. Insurance policies will be required to cover up to $36,000 a year and an unlimited number of visits for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder until age 21.


July 11, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces over $1 billion in child support collections for Fiscal Year 2008
Record amount collected for Illinois children for fourth consecutive year
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that for the fourth consecutive year, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has collected a record amount of child support for Illinois children. The $1.33 billion collected for custodial parents during FY08 is a more than 8 percent increase over the $1.22 collected during FY07. Success is due primarily to innovative programs geared toward holding non-custodial parents accountable.


July 11, 2008
Governor Blagojevich welcomes NASCAR to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet
Governor and NASCAR driver Carl Edwards urge race fans to take the pledge to “BUCKLE UP, Every Trip, Every Time”
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today officially welcomed NASCAR to the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. The Governor is being joined by NASCAR driver Carl Edwards in urging race fans to participate in the state’s first of its kind traffic safety partnership with NASCAR, in which race fans can take a pledge to “BUCKLE UP, Every Trip, Every Time” and designate a sober driver before the festivities.


July 10, 2008
Blagojevich administration dedicates SIU School of Medicine’s SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute
New center in Springfield to offer improved and expanded facilities for cancer treatment and research
SPRINGFIELD – Blagojevich administration officials Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, and Capital Development Board Executive Director Jim Riemer today joined Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard and other dignitaries to dedicate the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. The new $21.5 million, State-funded building will offer improved and expanded facilities for cancer treatment and research.


July 9, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces release of conservation acreage to assist Illinois livestock farmers in flood-ravaged counties
Move will provide immediate assistance for many livestock farmers, impacted by recent flooding in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the USDA has approved a measure of disaster relief for livestock farmers in 48 flood-ravaged Illinois counties. The relief allows farmers in counties that were designated as either primary or contiguous federal disaster areas due to the recent flooding to use acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for livestock grazing.


July 9, 2008
Governor Blagojevich acts to balance Fiscal Year 2009 budget deficit left by House
House failure to pass revenue to support $2 billion in spending, forces Governor to make spending reductions
SPRINGFIELD — Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today balanced the Fiscal Year 2009 budget after House Democrats failed to pass new funding to support a spending plan that was over $2 billion out of balance. The Governor was forced to veto $1.4 billion in initiatives after the House of Representatives clearly showed Wednesday that they did not intend to take any action on the measure.


July 9, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces State working to ‘bridge technology gap’ for students
Nearly $5 million in federal grants awarded to 16 districts; money used for technology upgrades and training
SPRINGFIELD — Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced nearly $5 million in technology grants have been awarded to 16 districts around the state, for the 2008-2009 school year. The Illinois Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grants are designed to make sure all students have both the access and ability to use emerging technologies inside the classroom.


July 9, 2008
**Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich**
On the Pentagon's decision to hold an expedited rebid for lucrative tanker contract
SPRINGFIELD – “I am pleased that the Pentagon, at the urging of the Government Accountability Office, has revisited the Air Force's decision to award its KC-X Aerial Refueling Tanker Aircraft to Northrop Grumman. I have been actively supporting Chicago-based Boeing's protest of the decision since the Air Force first awarded the contract to Northrop Grumman. I am encouraged that these concerns were heard and acted upon quickly by the Government Accountability Office and the Pentagon. Today's announcement that the Pentagon will hold a limited, expedited rebid for the contract is good news for Illinois, our economy and our workers.”


July 8, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces emergency Food Stamp program for residents of 18 flood stricken counties
Applications are available starting Wednesday at local Illinois Department of Human Services offices
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services has authorized the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to offer a special Disaster Food Stamp Program for residents of 18 counties declared federal disaster areas in the aftermath of the recent flooding.


July 8, 2008
Concerns Surrounding Solvency of Federal Highway Trust Fund Signals New Urgency for Illinois Works Capital Bill
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Works Coalition Co-Chairs J. Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and Glenn Poshard, former Southern Illinois Congressman and current President of Southern Illinois University, urged the General Assembly to heed recent warnings from federal lawmakers concerning the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. They stressed that further delays in passage of a comprehensive capital bill could jeopardize nearly $9 billion in federal funds dedicated to infrastructure projects in the state.


July 8, 2008
Governor Blagojevich joins with fellow governors in sending a letter to Congressional leadership urging action on nationwide mortgage crisis
Pushes for swift passage of legislation and $4 billion in neighborhood stabilization funds as part of any federal response
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today joined with the governors of 14 other states in a letter urging Congressional leaders to include $4 billion for community development block grant (CDBG) funding for neighborhood stabilization in the 2008 Foreclosure Prevention Act to address the nationwide mortgage crisis.


July 8, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces Small Equipment Grant awards to 54 fire departments to improve emergency response capabilities
Nearly $1 million provided to help departments purchase protective clothing, tools and more, for fire protection efforts
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that 54 fire departments throughout the state will benefit from nearly $1 million in grants to help purchase small equipment and protective clothing that will enable them to better serve their communities.


July 7, 2008
Governor Blagojevich encourages Illinois landowners to take part in new SAFE program
Initiative promotes grassland/wetland habitat restoration in prairie landscapes
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today encouraged landowners in targeted areas of the state to participate in a new habitat enhancement program with the USDA Farm Service Agency, called the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative. The program is designed to help address Illinois wildlife conservation needs and the goal is to significantly increase the abundance of grassland wildlife including endangered, declining and economically important species within highly focused project areas in the Grand Prairie and Southern Till Plain Natural Divisions of Illinois.


July 7, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces extended Unemployment Insurance benefits in Illinois
Under new federal legislation, approximately 60,000 claimants could feel immediate relief with up to 13 more weeks of UI coverage


July 7, 2008
Governor Blagojevich reminds families that the state provides cooling centers as safehavens from the heat this summer
State agencies work together to prevent heat-related health problems and reduce utility bills $10 million available energy assistance program begins today


July 6, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich urges families to sign up to stay cool, safe, and healthy this summer
$10 million available this summer for energy assistance program, beginning Monday
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged Illinoisans to apply for help with their summer energy bills, beginning Monday, July 7. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will distribute up to $10 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to low-income families to assist them with their utility bills, so they can keep their air conditioners and fans running as temperatures rise over the summer.


July 3, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Saturday, July 5, 2008 until Sunset, Monday, July 7, 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, Saturday, July 5, 2008 until Sunset, Monday, July 7, 2008.


July 1, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich announces statewide DUI enforcement effort through the July 4th holiday
State and local police plan 100 Roadside Safety Checks and hundreds of Saturation Patrols through July 6; “You Drink & Drive. You Lose”
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois State Police (ISP) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are teaming up with local law enforcement across the state to conduct a $1.4 million enforcement and education campaign to save lives during the July 4th holiday period.


July 1, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich reminds Illinois workers of minimum wage increase to $7.75 an hour effective July 1
Statewide minimum wage hike will benefit nearly 650,000 hardworking Illinoisans
CHICAGO -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded Illinois workers that the state’s minimum wage will increase to $7.75 an hour starting Tuesday, July 1. The increase will help nearly 650,000 workers cope with the rising cost of living and pay for basic necessities like groceries, gas, rent, childcare and medicine.


July 1, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich launches “Break the Silence” Campaign to increase awareness about Elder Abuse
Proclaims July Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched the fourth annual statewide “Break the Silence” campaign and proclaimed July as Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois. The Governor and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) are encouraging those who are victims or suspect abuse to call the state’s 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at (866) 800-1409, where trained professionals are on call prepared to assist. More than 10,000 reports of elder abuse were made during FY 08, which reflects a 16 percent increase in reporting since the campaign was initiated.


July 1, 2008
Gov. Blagojevich thanks Illinois National Guard troops for key role in protecting levees
President approves Governor’s request to increase federal reimbursement to local governments for flood fight to 90 percent
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today expressed his gratitude to 1,400 soldiers and airmen from the Illinois Army and Air National Guard who supported efforts to protect several levees along the Mississippi River against floodwaters. The Governor also said he was pleased that President Bush on Monday approved a request from Illinois and three other Midwestern states to raise the federal share of disaster assistance to local governments for flooding from 75 percent to 90 percent.

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