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Kotowski helps secure OSLAD Grants for local Park Districts

“This investment in our parks is so important because it provides children, families and seniors with opportunities to improve their health, wellness and quality of life. As Senate budget leader, I am proud of my efforts to keep OSLAD funding available so that our communities can have parks that are safe, clean and life-sustaining.” – State Senator Dan Kotowski
PlaygroundRDES PLAINES – On Saturday, January 3rd, Governor Quinn announced that the Des Plaines, Mount Prospect and Park Ridge park districts had been awarded Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants. State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) praised the investment in local parks.

“This investment in our parks is so important because it provides children, families and seniors with opportunities to improve their health, wellness and quality of life,” said Kotowski. “As Senate budget leader, I am proud of my efforts to keep OSLAD funding available so that our communities can have parks that are safe, clean and life-sustaining.”

Changes to come for Professional Educator licensing process

Delgado120615CHICAGO- A measure to change the guidelines for those wishing to receive a principal endorsement for Professional Educator Licenses received the Governor’s signature Wednesday, December 31st. The measure, which immediately became law upon being signed, amends the Educator Licensure Article of the School Code to allow for qualified work done in an out of state public or private school to apply towards requirements for a principal endorsement in Illinois.

“This will continue to help our schools hire qualified professionals to serve in the principal role,” said state Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago), the chief sponsor of the bill. “It’s important that they are able to find the right candidate to help lead their school and their students.”  

Furthermore, a not-for-profit organization that has had or has a grant or contract from the State Board of Educations to provide professional development services in English Language Learning to Illinois school districts, teachers or administrators can now provide professional development activities for the renewal of Professional Educator Licenses.

Secure Choice savings program signed into law

Biss100On Jan. 4, the governor signed Senate Bill 2758 into law, creating the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. Illinois is now positioned to be the first state to begin implementing such a sweeping automatic retirement savings program, giving many Illinois workers lacking workplace retirement savings accounts a simply way to save their own money and prepare for retirement.

This has been my top legislative priority, and I've written more on the importance and details of the bill here. Bringing Secure Choice to Illinois was no easy task, and I am tremendously grateful to the many advocates, community leaders, and colleagues of mine who devoted countless hours to making this a reality.

The new General Assembly will be sworn in on January 14th, and as always, I'll do my best to keep you apprised of what's happening in Springfield. You can follow this legislative session or read particular bills at ilga.gov (my office would be happy to help you learn how to navigate this website) and you can keep tabs on my legislative agenda, outreach events, blog posts and more at senatorbiss.com. Please be in touch with any questions or suggestions.

Governor signs Stadelman bill to protect jobs, save state money

052314CM1590SPRINGFIELD – New legislation by State Senator Steve Stadelman to ease the pain for businesses and employees during tough economic times was signed this afternoon by Governor Pat Quinn.

Senate Bill 3530 changes how unemployment benefits are paid in Illinois, reducing layoffs and improving state finances. With the establishment of "work-share" benefits, employers that find themselves struggling in a weak economy can temporarily reduce hours – rather than lay off workers – and workers can collect partial unemployment compensation while staying on the job part time. In addition, the state saves money that would have been paid to laid-off workers drawing full benefits.

Quinn's signature before the end of 2014 makes Illinois eligible for $4 million from the federal government to pay startup costs for the program.

"The value of work-share cannot be over-emphasized," said Stadelman, D-Rockford. "Employees who otherwise face layoffs gain a sense of security and peace of mind, and businesses avoid the upheaval of letting skilled workers go and retraining new ones."

Known also as "short-time compensation," similar laws have been successfully implemented in 28 other states, including Iowa and Missouri. Under Stadelman's bill, Illinois now offers partial benefits when a business cuts hours among at least 10 percent of its staff and shares the remaining work among affected employees.

Stadelman received praise from business and labor organizations for bringing them together to help draft and earn bipartisan support for SB 3530.

"Illinois manufacturers appreciate Senator Stadelman's leadership in improving the unemployment system for both workers and business," said Mark Denzler, vice president and COO for the Illinois Manufacturers Association. "These reforms relax regulations while allowing for work-share programs that will reduce layoffs."

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Tim Drea called the legislation a "win-win" that in times of reduced employment lets workers keep job-related benefits and lets companies retain highly-skilled workers. "With all parties working closely with Senator Stadelman, this legislation was crafted to benefit taxpayers, workers and businesses."

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