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August
2008


August 31, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Announces Grants to Increase Exports 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.


August 31, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Activates Additional Illinois National Guard for Hurricane Gustav Assistance
Two UH-60 “Blackhawks” will assist with evacuation and search and rescue missions
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today increased Illinois assistance to Gulf Coast states bracing for Hurricane Gustav by activating two additional Illinois Army National Guard helicopters and their crews. The crews will depart from Decatur today for Louisiana.


August 30, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Activates Illinois National Guard to Help with Hurricane Gustav Efforts
Helicopter and crew to help with search and rescue missions
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced he has activated an Illinois National Guard helicopter and its crew to help with Hurricane Gustav relief efforts in Louisiana.


August 29, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Punts a Friendly Wager to Missouri Governor Blunt
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Missouri Governor Matt Blunt are putting it all on the scrimmage line tomorrow during the 2008 State Farm Arch Rivalry football game between the University of Illinois Fighting Illini and the University of Missouri Tigers. In the spirit of the game, Governor Blagojevich placed a friendly wager with Governor Blunt for tomorrow’s longstanding football rivalry.


August 29, 2008
Governor Blagojevich Says Illinois Prepared to Assist if Hurricane Gustav Ravages Gulf States
State sent more than 2,500 responders to Louisiana, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina in 2005
SPRINGFIELD – With Hurricane Gustav predicted to make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast early next week, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today said state emergency management officials are preparing to provide personnel, assets and other support if affected states need assistance.


August 29, 2008
Blagojevich Administration Provides Services and Assistance to Thousands of Katrina Evacuees Still Living in Illinois
On third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of evacuees now receive state assistance and resources needed to gain stability and build future
CHICAGO – As the nation remembers the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the largest and most devastating natural disaster in U.S. history, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol. L. Adams, Ph.D. today announced that the state of Illinois continues to provide services to evacuees of the hurricane. Illinois received the most evacuees outside of the southern states.


August 28, 2008
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the deployment of Force Protection Company A to Afghanistan
“Today, the 180 soldiers of the Force Protection Company A will be deployed to a new mission in Afghanistan. This is an emotional day as these soldiers and their families are faced with the difficulty and challenges of being separated from their loved ones. On behalf of the people of Illinois, I express the deep gratitude we feel for their service. The dedication of Force Protection Company A exemplifies everything that makes our country great. Their bravery, honor, and sacrifice inspire us all. We know they will succeed in their mission, and we look forward to the day when we welcome them back to Illinois.”


August 28, 2008
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the deployment of 333rd Military Police Company
“Soon, the 170 soldiers of Freeport’s 333rd Military Police Company will be leaving spouses, parents, children and friends behind to honorably serve their country in Afghanistan. I applaud their sacrifice, courage and devoted service to Illinois and to our country. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the family members of the 333rd Military Police Company for supporting and loving them through every challenge they may face. We know this company will succeed in their mission and we look forward to the day when we will welcome them back to Illinois with open arms.”


August 28, 2008
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the decision to extend the mission of the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield
CHICAGO – "Yesterday, the National Guard did the right thing by extending the firefighting mission of the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield by one year. I commend Senator Durbin and Senator Obama for their efforts in making this happen. Along with the Senators, my office has fought tirelessly to keep the 183rd at its current location. While this decision is a step in the right direction, it does not ensure the permanent placement of this unit in Springfield. I will continue to fight to make that happen, as the loss of the 183rd would significantly diminish defense in this part of the state. I am very proud of the years of dedicated service from these brave men and women and will continue working to secure their future in Springfield."


August 26, 2008
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation to further restrict access to cigarettes for youth in Illinois
SB 2546 prohibits sale of single cigarettes and certain vending machine sales
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today making it even more difficult for minors to purchase cigarettes in Illinois. Senate Bill 2546, sponsored by State Senator James Clayborne, Jr. (D – East St. Louis) and State Representative Daniel J. Burke (D – Chicago), prohibits all out of package sales of single or loose cigarettes. Often referred to as “onesies,” these single cigarettes are no longer protectively packaged and do not display the health warning label required by federal law.


August 26, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces beginning of statewide preparedness exercises
Illinois is a national leader for pandemic influenza preparedness
SPRINGFIELD – In another step to keep Illinoisans safe during an emergency, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced The Illinois Department of Public Health will begin a statewide pandemic influenza tabletop exercise series starting August 26 and running through November 6, 2008. The exercises are designed to discuss county preparedness plans and ways in which the State would provide resources in the case of an influenza pandemic.


August 25, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces sweeping ethics reform in Illinois
Comprehensive reform package targets campaign contributions, double dipping, legislative pay raises, and disclosure laws
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today introduced a package of ethic reforms that would force elected officials in Illinois to comply with ethics requirements that would be among the most stringent in the nation. The reforms include everything from changing the way legislative pay raises are issued to strengthening campaign contribution laws.


August 25, 2008
Governor Blagojevich makes agency appointments
New directors for Illinois Department of Central Management Services and Department of Employment Security
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named James P. Sledge as the new Director for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to continue the department’s drive to improve efficiency in Illinois state agencies. He also named Maureen O’Donnell, former Acting Director of CMS, as Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) to continue their mission of providing services to Illinoisans seeking employment and disseminating labor market and career information.


August 23, 2008
Governor Blagojevich honors Illinois’ National Guard soldiers at ceremony for largest Illinois National Guard deployment in recent history
Illinois national guardsmen to help rebuild institutions and infrastructure in Afghanistan
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today honored 105 of Illinois’ bravest men and women from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry, in an emotional deployment ceremony at the General Jones Armory in Chicago. In the largest overseas deployment of Illinois National Guard since World War II, Governor Blagojevich saluted the soldiers as they said goodbye today to their friends and loved ones before heading to Afghanistan.


August 23, 2008
Governor Blagojevich honors an Alzheimer’s advocate during the first day of the State Fair
Advocate works to educate and raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease
DuQUOIN – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Sherry Meadows as the latest recipient of the PATH (Peoples Are Today’s Heroes) Award for her dedication and support of people battling Alzheimer’s disease during a ceremony at the DuQuoin State Fair.


August 23, 2008
Blagojevich Administration and Legislators open new section of IL 255 Alton Bypass
New 2.6-mile, four-lane stretch will spur job creation and ease congestion for Metro-East commuters
ALTON – Representatives of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration were joined today by state legislators and local officials for a ribbon-cutting to mark the opening of a new section of the IL 255 Alton Bypass. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) built the 2.6 mile stretch of new four-lane highway from Fosterburg Rd. to Seminary Rd. at a cost of $25.1 million. Joining IDOT’s Region 5 Engineer Mary Lamie at the event were Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Daniel Beiser (D-Alton).


August 21, 2008
Governor Blagojevich creates Long Term Recovery Council to help flood-stricken communities
Council to develop comprehensive recovery plan and enhance future State recovery efforts
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the creation of the Illinois Long Term Recovery Council which will develop and assist in implementing a comprehensive strategy to help Illinois communities recover and thrive following damaging floods in western, northern and southeastern Illinois this past June.


August 21, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Thursday, August 28, 2008 until Sunset, Saturday, August 30, 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, August 28, 2008 until Sunset, Saturday, August 30, 2008.


August 20, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces national funding for Illinois program designed to help women live healthier, longer lives
Illinois WISEWOMAN Program works to lower heart disease, promotes a healthy lifestyle
CANTON – In his continued push to improve the health of all Illinoisans, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded more than $800,000 to the Illinois WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation). Illinois is one of only 21 applicants to receive funding in the first nationally competitive non-research grant application in which all 68 states, tribes and territories were allowed to compete.


August 20, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff immediately until Sunset, Friday, August 22, 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, Friday, August 22, 2008.


August 20, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces national funding for Illinois program designed to help women live healthier, longer lives
Illinois WISEWOMAN Program works to lower heart disease,promotes a healthy
CANTON – In his continued push to improve the health of all Illinoisans, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded more than $800,000 to the Illinois WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation). Illinois is one of only 21 applicants to receive funding in the first nationally competitive non-research grant application in which all 68 states, tribes and territories were allowed to compete.


August 19, 2008
Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
On the Senate’s vote to accept the Governor’s amendatory veto of HB 5285
SPRINGFIELD– Today’s Senate action is consistent with the fundamental purpose of Senator Hendon’s bill to increase access to healthcare for young adults. Today the Senate did the right thing. With the Senate’s approval of my additions, the parents of the 300,000 young uninsured adults have one less thing to worry about. Now, parents of those young adults will have an option to give their children access to adequate healthcare. This also invites thousands of additional healthy young adults into insurance pools, which can have a positive benefit for everyone.


August 19, 2008
Blagojevich administration joins Alderman Shiller, City Colleges of Chicago to break ground on Truman College’s new student services center
$55 million Larry McKeon Administrative Building will open in 2010
CHICAGO – Blagojevich administration officials, including Capital Development Board Chairman Anthony Licata, today joined 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller and officials from the City Colleges of Chicago to break ground on a new $55 million student services center and parking structure at Harry S Truman College. The Larry McKeon Administrative Building, named after the late State Representative whose vision and efforts made the construction possible, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010.


August 19, 2008
Blagojevich administration and Secretary of State announce Labor Day holiday impaired driving crackdown
IDOT funding $1.8 million crackdown on impaired drivers, led by Illinois State Police and local police departments
SPRINGFIELD – Traffic Safety officials from the administration of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich were joined today by Secretary of State Jesse White and local police officials in announcing a $1.8 million statewide crackdown on impaired drivers during the upcoming week and throughout the Labor Day weekend.


August 18, 2008
Statement from Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich
On the announced retirement of Senate President Emil Jones
CHICAGO – “Over the last five and a half years as governor, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Senate President Emil Jones.


August 18, 2008
Blagojevich administration celebrates the tip-off of the Safety NETS Basketball League
NBA and NFL legends gather for the opening of a late night sports program and violence prevention initiative
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams. Ph.D. will tonight announce the tip-off of the Safety NETS Basketball League. A late-night sports and job readiness program for young men, the league is aimed at alleviating risk factors that make them vulnerable to gangs and criminal activities.


August 17, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces campaign to celebrate successful implementation of smoke-free law
Secondhand smoke kills 2,900 Illinoisans every year; smoking restrictions aim to drastically reduce that number – proven to have positive results in other states
SPRINGFIELD – To recognize the success of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act and those who have complied with and helped enforce the law, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the launch of an advertising campaign celebrating Illinois joining countries and cities around the world in restricting smoking in public places.


August 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich urges Illinois Veterans and Service Members to call the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program
New study finds National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq and Afghanistan more likely to develop drinking problems
CHICAGO – In light of a new study in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) finding that members of the Reserves and National Guard who return from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are at an increased risk of developing drinking problems, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich is reminding Illinois Veterans and service members that help is available through the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program.


August 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich proclaims August “Child Support Awareness Month”
Announcement made on Futures for Kids Day at Illinois State Fair
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring August “Child Support Awareness Month” in Illinois. The Governor’s proclamation coincides with Futures for Kids Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, a day of activities for the Fair’s youngest visitors. Last month, the Governor announced that during fiscal year 2008, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services collected a record amount of child support for Illinois families.


August 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich again seeks response from President Bush on federal disaster assistance for southern Illinois areas affected by flooding
More than 200 homes destroyed or damaged by March floods
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to President Bush urging action on his requests for federal assistance to help hundreds of southern Illinois residents and local governments in 21 counties recover from devastating floods in March. Those requests for assistance were submitted in late May, and to date the state of Illinois hasn’t received any indication if they have been approved or denied. The Governor followed up on those requests in a letter to the President on June 24, in which he sought information on the status of those requests as well as a request for federal assistance related to June flooding in several parts of the state.


August 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation to expand the Finally Home program which helps struggling homeowners refinance
Bill will allow State Treasurer to complement Governor’s existing Homeowner Assistance Initiative
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to allow the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office to assist more homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments and who are at risk of foreclosure. The expanded Finally Home program (formerly Our Own Home) will assist homeowners in the refinancing process by providing a 10% guarantee of funds to lenders who would otherwise not offer refinancing to the borrower.


August 15, 2008
Governor Blagojevich establishes landmark Commission to reduce poverty in Illinois
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to create the Commission on the Elimination of Poverty. The goal of the Commission is to develop a plan to comprehensively address poverty and to reduce extreme poverty in Illinois by 50% or more by 2015. People living in extreme poverty struggle to meet the most basic needs and are forced to survive on less than $11,000 a year for a family of four. That is less than half the poverty level. HB 4369 was sponsored by Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough and Sen. Michael W. Frerichs and passed unanimously in both the Senate (58-0) and the House (115-0).


August 14, 2008
**Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich**
On poor employment numbers reported by the Illinois Department of Employment Security
“I was disappointed to see that again the national economic crunch has weighed heavily on industries critical to Illinois’ economy. Numbers out today show that Illinois lost 10,000 construction jobs over the last year – with a capital plan we will create construction jobs, rather than leave these Illinoisans without work. After yesterday, I am cautiously optimistic that the General Assembly is making progress on passing the Illinois Works jobs plan to bring these opportunities to Illinois. We cannot afford to wait any longer for new jobs. We need to do this now.”


August 14, 2008
Governor Blagojevich signs five bills designed to further protect Illinois children from sex offenders
Legislation to increase barriers between children and sex offenders
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed five pieces of legislation to increase protections for Illinois children from convicted sex offenders. These new laws provide the public with important information about unaccounted for sex offenders and strengthen barriers keeping sex offenders away from children and their homes, schools and child care facilities.


August 14, 2008
Blagojevich administration, Secretary of State team up with Ford and Allstate to launch second year of “Operation Teen Safe Driving”
Groundbreaking program contributed to steep drop in teen road fatalities during initial campaign
SPRINGFIELD – Representatives of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration were joined today by Secretary of State Jesse White and corporate sponsors to kick off the second year of Operation Teen Safe Driving. The groundbreaking effort was designed to reduce teen crashes and save lives on Illinois’ roadways and is the first of its kind in the nation.


August 13, 2008
Honoring Maureen Murphy, Former State Representative
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Thursday, August 14, 2008 until Sunset, Friday, August 15, 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, August 14, 2008 until Sunset, Friday, August 15, 2008.


August 13, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Saturday, August 16, 2008 until Sunset, Monday, August 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, Saturday, August 16, 2008 until Sunset, Monday, August 18, 2008.


August 8, 2008
Honoring Illinois' Fallen
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Monday, August 11, 2008 until Sunset, Wednesday, August 13, 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, Monday, August 11, 2008 until Sunset, Wednesday, August 13, 2008.


August 6, 2008
Governor Blagojevich uses amendatory veto to allow parents to keep dependents on their healthcare policies
Allows parents to keep dependents on their health insurance until the dependent’s 26th birthday; active duty or veteran dependents can stay on until their 30th birthday
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today used his amendatory veto power to improve House Bill 5285 to provide parents with the option of keeping dependents on their health care insurance until their 26th birthday; parents with dependents who are veterans can keep them on their plans until their 30th birthday. Over 300,000 Illinoisans between the ages of 19-25 are uninsured – many of whom lack the means and opportunity to get affordable health insurance coverage. Being able to stay on their parents’ or guardians’ health plans will allow thousands of young adults to keep or get access to more affordable coverage, get regular checkups and receive preventable care.


August 5, 2008
Governor Blagojevich announces improvements to Web site that has led to millions of dollars in child support collections
New Hire Reporting Web Site becomes more user-friendly for employers
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced improvements to the state’s New Hire Reporting Web Site, a site that contributed to fiscal year 2008 setting a new record for the amount of child support collected for Illinois’ families. The updates include new features to the site and enhancements in security. The Governor, along with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) launched the Web site in 2005 as a more efficient way for employers to report new hires as required by law.


August 4, 2008
Governor Blagojevich signs legislation to increase protections for domestic violence victims
Cindy Bischof Law allows courts to order that abuser wear GPS tracking device as condition of bail in stalking situations
Joined by a bipartisan group of state legislators, domestic violence prevention advocates and the family of domestic abuse victim Cindy Bischof, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to strengthen protections for domestic violence victims from their abusers. Senate Bill 2719, sponsored by State Senator Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) and State Representative Suzanne Bassi (R-Palatine), allows the courts to order an abuser to wear a GPS tracking device as a condition of bail in instances when a restraining order has been violated. The legislation was sparked by the tragic event surrounding the death of Cindy Bischof whose ex-boyfriend was able to obtain a gun and shoot her in the parking lot of her real estate business, even after he had been arrested and prosecuted for violating a restraining order on two occasions.


August 4, 2008
Governor Blagojevich says Campus Community Emergency Response Team training will enhance security on college campuses
More than 40 college, emergency response officials attending three-day training Aug. 5-7 at Harper College in Palatine
In a continuing effort to enhance student safety at colleges and universities in Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that more than 40 college representatives and emergency response officials from throughout Illinois will be in Palatine this week to learn how to develop Campus Community Emergency Response Teams (Campus CERTs) at their schools. The Campus CERT program was one of several initiatives outlined by the governor’s Campus Security Task Force in its comprehensive report released in April.


August 1, 2008
Governor Blagojevich signs new law to protect consumers from having their electricity shut off during extreme heat
Legislation provides safety net for seniors who are at increased risk for heat-related illnesses
SPRINGFIELD – As temperatures continue to rise this week, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to provide a safeguard for Illinois consumers, particularly seniors, by prohibiting power companies from shutting off utilities when temperatures reach 95 degrees or higher. House Bill 5086, sponsored by State Representative Robert F. Flider (D-Decatur) and State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline), passed unanimously in both chambers and includes holidays and weekends. State law currently prohibits utilities from shutting off service during cold winter months, but fails to protect consumers during heat waves, which can prove to be just as dangerous to older adults.

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