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Sullivan helps break ground on Colchester library repairs

On June 12, State Senator John Sullivan joined Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and local officials during the groundbreaking ceremony for upcoming improvements to the Colchester District Library. The Illinois State Library awarded a $35,000 Live and Learn Construction Grant to repair the building's exterior.

The library is currently fundraising to upgrade the building's interior.

White, besides being the secretary of state, also serves as the state librarian.

(click photos to enlarge)

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Holmes’ statement on micro-bead bill signing

“The compromise allows businesses ample time to sell the products they currently have while designing environmentally-friendly alternatives.” - State Senator Linda Holmes

microbeadsRSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) was a co-sponsor of the legislation that bans the use of micro-beads in Illinois. The bill was signed by Governor Pat Quinn on Sunday.

“This plan is the result of an agreement between environmental groups and manufacturers,” Holmes said. “The compromise allows businesses ample time to sell the products they currently have while designing environmentally-friendly alternatives.”

Micro-beads, small, plastic spheres in personal care products, can cause serious environmental damage according to recent studies.  

Illinois becomes first in the nation to ban microbeads

Natural alternatives exist to tiny plastic spheres that exfoliate but could harm aquatic ecosystems

041614 br 0162FSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) thanked her allies in the environmental movement for their persistence and the personal care industry for its cooperation as Illinois became the first state in the nation to ban non-biodegradable “microbeads” that threaten Great Lakes ecosystems. Governor Quinn signed legislation Steans sponsored to phase out the manufacture of microbeads in Illinois by 2017 and their sale by 2018.

“Lake Michigan is a critically important natural resource for our state, and its health affects recreation, tourism and the flourishing of aquatic plant and animal species,” Steans said. “I’m proud that Illinois is an environmental leader, taking the first step away from plastic microbeads toward natural exfoliants, and I’m optimistic that we’ve started a nationwide movement to protect not just the Great Lakes, but other bodies of water with high concentrations of microbeads.”

Microbeads, which measure less than five millimeters across, are so tiny they often slip through water treatment systems and end up in lakes and rivers, where aquatic animals ingest them. Ongoing research suggests the non-biodegradable spheres may also absorb toxins along the way, adding to the threat to fish and possibly to the humans who catch and eat them. Often labeled as polyethylene or polypropylene, they are common ingredients in facial cleansers and scrubs, soaps and even toothpastes.

Morrison water safety legislation passes General Assembly

“We require people who drive cars to earn licenses. It’s only reasonable to require boat operators to have some basic training. We require people to use headlights when they drive at night. Flying flags when you’re towing an inner tuber or water skier serves the same purpose.” - Senator Julie Morrison

water-safety-040114RSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison’s (D-Deerfield) water safety plan – the product of months of hearings, a careful study of other state’s best practices and bipartisan compromise – has passed the Illinois General Assembly. It now goes to the governor for his consideration.

“A few commonsense safety precautions can help keep Illinois’ waterways safe for children and families,” Morrison said. “We require people who drive cars to earn licenses. It’s only reasonable to require boat operators to have some basic training. We require people to use headlights when they drive at night. Flying flags when you’re towing an inner tuber or water skier serves the same purpose.”

The first part of the package is Senate Bill 2731, which requires boats that are towing inner tubers, water skiers or others to fly orange flags. Several other states, including Illinois neighbor Missouri, already have similar laws. Orange safety flags are widely available for $10 or less.

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