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Hastings pushes for strategy to fight foreign cyber threats

hastings 011017SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is fighting to protect the citizens of Illinois from catastrophic cyber threats.

Hastings advanced House Joint Resolution 59 to create the International Cybersecurity Task Force to develop strategies to fight and protect Illinois’ voter information databases from foreign cyberattacks.

“Illinois businesses and residents rely on secure databases and internet services to function in a global world,” Hastings said. “Unsecure online services are detrimental to the well-being of citizens and puts businesses at a disadvantage. It’s our duty to take the proper precautions to fight cyber-attacks that are impeding our basic freedoms.”

Hastings supported this resolution in response to coordinated global cyberattack known as WannaCry, one of the largest cyberattacks ever recorded. The May 2017 attack impacted more than 150 countries, infecting more than 250,000 computers and devices.

There is an increasing concern that the Illinois power grid could be susceptible to widespread outage. This could cause catastrophic damage to the economy of Illinois, and Hastings said the state needs to actively seek ways to add layers of protection. 

“Cyberattacks have continuously become more severe. It’s important for Illinois to upgrade and institute safety precautions to protect key infrastructure,” Hastings said. “As online threats and entities continue to evolve, Illinois needs to be one step ahead to better serve the citizens and businesses of our great state.”

Hastings has continued to advocate and call for stronger cybersecurity protocols at the state and local levels to prevent further attacks on Illinois’ voter registration databases. He plans on taking action to protect Illinois’ cyber services to ensure there aren’t threats to local businesses.

“Our mom and pop businesses are the pillars of our communities. We cannot expect them to have the resources and technology to fight off expert foreign cyber-attacks,” Hastings said.

House Joint Resolution 59 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and now moves to the full senate for consideration.

Sen. Jones demands funding for Roseland and safety-net hospitals

jones 012918CHICAGO – Today, State Senator Emil Jones III (D - CHICAGO) joined elected officials at Roseland Community Hospital to discuss the financial future of Roseland and safety-net hospitals around the state.

“Safety-net hospitals provide quality health care to the poorest communities, which is something that all people in Illinois deserve, regardless of their race or income,” said Jones. “These hospitals also employ an estimated 25,000 people in Illinois and 23,000 people across the Chicagoland area.”

To remain at a sustainable funding level for the year, Roseland has laid off nearly seven percent of its staff and reduced the pay of all of its doctors and nurses. As of now, all “fixed payments” to hospitals will sunset on June 30, 2018.  The hospital assessment program, a combination of state and federal funds that provides financial relief across the state, is up for negotiation, creating uncertainty among safety-net hospitals.

“Ensuring safety-net hospital funding for the next fiscal year has to be a top priority in Springfield,” Jones said. “Roseland, along with many other hospitals, is suffering tremendously—they cannot stand to lose any federal dollars.”

In the past, it has taken each hospital assessment 12-15 months for federal approval. It is estimated that taxed payments account for almost 50 percent of all payments to safety-net hospitals.

Collins to push for lower check cashing rates at currency exchanges

collins 012418Joins activists to protest Rauner rate hike proposal

CHICAGO – In response to a move yesterday by the Rauner administration’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to impose a double-digit increase in fee caps for check cashing at Illinois currency exchanges, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins joined activists in Chicago today to call for a rejection of the proposal.

Speaking at the headquarters of The Woodstock Institute, Collins also announced legislation that would cut check cashing rates and expand consumer protections for customers.

Suburban schools receiving grant for library books, materials

school library grants 0118SPRINGFIELD – Eight suburban school districts in the area have been awarded library grants from the Illinois Secretary of State’s School District Library Grant Program. The program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for public school students in Illinois.

More than $12,800 will be awarded to the eight school districts.

“The more we can incentivize reading and improved comprehension skills in our students, the more well-balanced and prepared they will be as they progress into college and the workplace,” said State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield).

The grant award amount is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the school’s official enrollment as of the previous school year.

The following local schools are receiving funds from the School District Library Grant Program:

hutch library list