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  • Area schools poised to gain more than $17M under Senate education plan

    link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD- The latest school funding reform numbers show that a fake news group linked to Gov. Bruce Rauner was indeed pedaling misinformation regarding public school funding in Illinois in the weeks leading up to approval of a historic education finance overhaul.

    An analysis only recently made public by Rauner’s education agency shows that no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the plan lawmakers recently approved. In fact, schools in the 30th District are estimated to gain $17,109,571 in state funding under the Senate’s plan. Some examples include:

    • Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 — $14.60 million
    • Hawthorn CC School District 73 — $125,388

    Supporters had said holding the line on funding was key to getting support for the overhaul that does away with the current, antiquated funding system and instead targets new state dollars to schools facing the toughest economic and educational challenges.

    “A solid education could be the launching pad that allows  a child to achieve their dream,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said.

    The new plan seeks to maintain funding for schools that are doing well while bringing up those that are struggling. It’s a reform more than two decades in the works and one that still faces major political obstacles.

    Gov. Rauner was already threatening to veto the historic education overhaul even before lawmakers had given it final approval. As a result, the Senate is delaying sending the paperwork to the governor’s desk in hope cooler heads will prevail and the governor will recognize he’s getting a win on a key policy he’s wanted.

    Rauner promised to change the school funding system and put his hand-picked education secretary in charge of an elite taskforce. But that taskforce failed to deliver an actual plan. Lawmakers stepped in to finish the job of not just drafting the plan, but then approving it.

    In the midst of this work, a fake news network began spreading erroneous numbers, saying schools across the state were going to lose money. These numbers appeared on fake news sites such as the Lake County Gazette. 

    It was later revealed that the so-called latest numbers were actually pulled out of a different plan from more than a year ago. For whatever reason, Rauner and his education secretary did nothing to warn public school administrators and the taxpaying public of the misinformation or to set the record straight on public school funding.

    Local school gains under SB 1. The approximateoverall gain that some area school districts would experience under SB1 based on proposed funding levels:

    • Adlai E Stevenson District 125- $5,029
    • Aptakisic-Tripp CC School District 102- $2,658
    • Gurnee School District 56- $64,492
    • Hawthorn CC School District- $125,388
    • Kildeer Countryside CC School District 96- $3,661
    • Libertyville Community High School District 128- $4,214
    • Lincolnshire-Prairieview School District 103- $1,902
    • Mundelein Consolidated High School District 120- $57,826
    • Mundelein Elementary School District 75- $110,781
    • North Chicago School District 187- $2,141,524
    • Waukegan Community School District 60- $14,591,879

    To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.

  • Children of Waukegan not talking points: Link to Rauner

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) issued the following response to the governor’s press conference today regarding school funding reform:

    “If Gov. Rauner really cares about the students, teachers and parents in Waukegan, then he will sign Senate Bill 1 as soon as it reaches his desk. Under the new evidence-based formula, Waukegan School District would receive $14.5 million more in funding.

    Waukegan School District would receive $919 more per student under Senate Bill 1. That makes it one of 268 school districts across Illinois to actually get more money than Chicago Public Schools, a fact the governor fails to mention.

    The children of Waukegan are not political talking points, governor. Sign the bill.”

  • Few specifics, missed opportunities in governor's budget speech (VIDEO)

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  • Governor who can’t cut, criticizes Democrats for not letting him cut more

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  • Harmon clears way for governor to sign House Bill 40

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  • Legislative ethics commission appoints inspector general, new member

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    With reports about sexual harassment and other complaints going uninvestigated, the Legislate Ethics Commission held an emergency meeting Saturday to appoint a legislative inspector general to the post that was vacant for two years. Former U.S. Attorney Julie Porter was appointed to begin the process of investigating complaints and ethics violations in the legislature.

    Porter is well known for her work trying complex cases as the corruption case that led to the conviction of Illinois powerbroker Bill Cellini and top Mayor Richard Daley’s top aide Robert Sorich, among others.  Porter worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office for 12 years and was appointed chief of the office’s criminal division before leaving to join a private practice in Chicago.

    Elgin Democratic Senator Cristina Castro iss the newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission as of Friday, November 3. Castro said she intends to push the agency to be more timely and responsive in its handling of complaints.

    “I want to make it clear that I intend to help drive a culture of swiftness in the actions of the Commission. When there are accusations of wrongdoing, I intend to be thoughtful and fair – but the Commission should make every effort to act in a timely manner,” said Illinois State Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin.

    Castro, a former marketing and communications manager in the private and public sector, was first elected to the Illinois Senate last year. She now serves as a full-time legislator for the 22nd State Senate District.

    Castro said her first priority is filling a vacant inspector general post so complaints that have lingered can be investigated and adjudicated.

    “It’s unacceptable to have complaints sit as long as they have. That’s going to change,” Castro said.

    The eight-member commission is charged with ruling on findings of ethical misconduct within the legislative branch and its employees. The commission was created in December 2003 by the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

    For more information about the commission, visit its website.

    Senator Castro released the following statement in response to Julie B. Porter’s appointment to Inspector General of the commission:

    “Julie Porter has a proven record of fighting public corruption as the Assistant United States Attorney,” Castro said. “She has extensive experience seeking justice for the people of Illinois. I look forward to seeing her get to work as our new Inspector General.  I’m confident she will work swiftly and thoroughly to investigate and resolve all outstanding complaints.”

    Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), Chairman of the ethics commission, released the following statement on the selection of former Assistant United States Attorney Julie B. Porter as the new Legislative Inspector General:

    “Julie Porter is a skilled attorney who has experience trying public corruption and fraud cases. I look forward to working with Ms. Porter to quickly get the Ethics Commission back on track, address the complaints that exist and move forward.”

  • Legislative updates provided by Link at area chamber event

    link gmlvchamberState Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) joined a gathering of more than 100 business professionals and area lawmakers this week. The event, sponsored by the Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills (GLMV) Chamber of Commerce, was an opportunity for an open dialogue on legislation aimed to improve the business environment in Illinois.

    “Working side-by-side with the business community to keep a healthy economy and employment opportunities is one of my top priorities,” said Link. “I look forward to continuing to work with these entrepreneurial leaders to promote a thriving Illinois."

    Sen. Link joined U.S. congressman Robert Dold and State Representatives Carol Sente and Ed Sullivan Jr. at the annual breakfast event.

  • Link advances measure to improve wireless infrastructure in Illinois

    link 110917SPRINGFIELD – A measure from Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) to make Illinois a leader in wireless technology advancements passed in the legislature this week.

    “As technology continues to advance, it's important that we have the infrastructure in place to support those advancements,” Link said. “Small wireless facilities are an integral part of future 5G wireless networks. This measure will help ensure a smooth transition to 5G and allow Illinois to stay at the forefront of new wireless technology.”

    Full 5G deployment projects are expected to create nearly 100,000 new jobs in Illinois and nearly $8.9 billion in network investments over seven years.

    The legislation is the result of months of negotiations between Illinois municipal leaders, industry members and stakeholders in an attempt to streamline the process for constructing and regulating small wireless facilities and ensure the infrastructure is in place for wireless technology advancements.

    Senate Bill 1451 now goes to the governor for approval.

  • Link and Morrison continue push to fight opioid addiction

    LinkMO100516Waukegan - Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) and Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) applauded Walgreens who unveiled new medication disposal kiosks at three Lake County Walgreens locations.

    Link and Morrison believe that providing safe opportunities to dispose of old and unused medication will only help the state in fighting the opioid addiction crisis. In 2014, Senator Link pushed legislation through the General Assembly that would allow police departments to safely collect unused and old medications.

    “Fighting drug addiction needs to be a top priority in Illinois. By providing places that residents can safely deposit their unused medications, we can eliminate opportunities for drug abuse by others,” Link said. “This proactive step by Walgreens will help to create a safer Illinois and continue the fight against prescription drug abuse.”

  • Link easing process for MS patients' treatment

    link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD – People struggling with multiple sclerosis could have an opportunity to ask for an exception to treatment limitations due to legislation passed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    “Restricting treatment for the more than 20,000 Illinois residents living with multiple sclerosis is atrocious,” Link said. “These restrictions mean that people diagnosed with MS are not allowed to get the medically recommended treatment they need.”

    Senate Bill 193 would require that insurance companies offer an exceptions process for patients with multiple sclerosis to request an exception to a treatment limitation. It would also require that the insurance company would have 72 hours to accept or deny the exception request. Limitations include being subject to waiting periods, cost sharing limits and other limits.

    “By taking this step, insurance companies now have to justify to people why they are denying their medically necessary treatment,” Link said. “This is a small step in the long fight to push for a compassionate Illinois that helps people manage their symptoms appropriately.”

    Currently, insurance companies can limit the number of physical therapy session covered even if more sessions are deemed medically necessary.

    The legislation moves to the House for further consideration.

     

  • Link fights to protect car buyers

    link usedcarSPRINGFIELD—Consumers soon could receive more warranty protection when buying a used car in Illinois thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    Under House Bill 4377, used automobile sales would include an implied warranty that would last for 15 days after the purchase or until 500 miles are driven, whichever comes first. The implied warranty would allow a buyer to give notice of a breach of warranty to the seller to allow for a remedy.

  • Link fights to provide medically necessary coverage to Illinoisans with MS

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents with multiple sclerosis could receive easier access to medically necessary physical therapy without the fear of burdensome limits or calendar year maximums.

    “People struggling with multiple sclerosis need access to physical therapy to delay or prevent future problems,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said.

  • Link measure gives ex-offenders a second chance at success

    link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD – Waukegan School Board Member and former Township Trustee Jeff McBride was the top vote-getter in his school board race in April, but now his eligibility is being challenged because of a crime he committed nearly four decades ago.

    In 1980, Jeff McBride made a mistake. He was battling drug addiction and stole a Cool Tote Air Conditioner from a J.C. Penney store. McBride was charged with felony theft and was sentenced to probation and court-ordered addiction treatment.

  • Link measure to expand access to child abuse hotline becomes law

    link 051717SPRINGFIELD – There soon will be increased access to the toll-free number to report child abuse thanks to a measure sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), which was signed into law today.

    “Increasing the visibility of the resources available to help stop child abuse is a common sense step that we can all support,” Link said. “Everyone should know what steps to take and who to call if they find out that child abuse is occurring.”

    The new law will allow the Department of Children and Family Services to coordinate with school officials to provide appropriate materials, including listing the toll-free number in a clearly visible location in each school building.

    “This new law is a step in the right direction to help end child abuse,” Link said. “I hope we can implement this new law as soon as possible.”

    House Bill 370 will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

  • Link measure to modernize elections becomes law

    Link measure to modernize elections becomes lawSPRINGFIELD - A measure sponsored by State Senator Terry Link that would assist in cleaning voter rolls and modernizing the election process was signed into law Thursday.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 1529, would allow the state to create the Electronic Registration Information (ERIC) Operations Fund. ERIC is an organization that collects voter information across states to update voter rolls.

    “Something that we continually have to do is preserve the integrity of our elections. By investing in our election system, we can ensure a smoother and more transparent process,” Link said.

  • Link passes gaming expansion

    link 051717SPRINGFIELD – On Wednesday, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) passed legislation that would expand gaming revenues in the state to help put Illinois’ fiscal house back in order.

    “We need to be looking at all avenues to shore up our fiscal house,” Link said. “A part of that solution should be gaming expansion.”

  • Link passes gaming expansion as part of budget compromise

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – On Tuesday, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) passed legislation that would expand gaming revenues in the state to help put Illinois’ fiscal house back in order.

    Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Link, would authorize the building of six new casinos throughout the State of Illinois, including locations in Chicago and Lake County. The proposal will increase revenues for the state and local communities and would also create thousands of part-time and full-time jobs at casinos and racinos across the state.

    “It's no secret that our number one issue is our difficult financial situation,” Link said. “We need to find multiple ways to shore up our fiscal house and by expanding gaming we can do just that.”

    The legislation also would allow current riverboats or casinos to expand from 1,200 machines per location to 1,600 machines.

    “We lose gaming revenues daily to Indiana and Wisconsin because of the lack of opportunity,” Link said. “We should take every step we can to keep that money in Illinois so it can be spent on services provided to Illinois residents.”

  • Link passes legislation to make Illinois REAL ID compliant

    link realIDSPRINGFIELD—Illinois residents could avoid security problems at airports and other federal buildings thanks to legislation passed by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    In January, Illinois officials were told they had two years to comply with federal REAL ID requirements or Illinois residents would have extra headaches in TSA lines throughout the country. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office implemented many changes, but others required legislative approval.

    “Ensuring that Illinoisans can enter federal buildings and utilize the services of airports is critical for our economy and general well-being,” Link said. “It is time that we comply with the federal law and make sure all Illinoisans follow the REAL ID act.”

    Senate Bill 637 would pave the way for Illinois to be in compliance with federal law by doing the three following:

    1. Require proof of lawful presence in the United States. If proof is not available the applicant for a driver’s license will be given a temporary visitors driver’s license.
    2. Bar residents from having both a driver’s license and an ID card at the same time.
    3. Limit the validity of a driver’s license or ID card to no more than eight years.

    The Senate voted to pass the legislation and it now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.

  • Link proposes unclaimed property legislation

    link 030916SPRINGFIELD—People who may not have realized they have property sitting at government entities will find out much earlier that their unclaimed property is with the state treasurer waiting to be claimed.

    Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) has proposed legislation (SB 2783) that would require government entities to report unclaimed property as abandoned after five years instead of seven. This would allow the treasurer to receive the unclaimed property and attempt to alert someone to this nearly two years earlier.

    “For some people it could be a paycheck that got returned to the entity. That would do more good in the hands of the person it belonged to instead of sitting in a vault somewhere,” said Link.

    The legislation would bring government entities in line with private companies in needing to report any unclaimed property as abandoned after five years. After being reported as abandoned it is sent to the state treasurer’s office who maintains all unclaimed property.

    If anyone believes they may have unclaimed property, they should go to icash.illinois.gov.

  • Link pushes for suffrage at 17

    Link pushes for suffrage at 17SPRINGFIELD - Seventeen-year-olds throughout Illinois could see expanded voting rights because of legislation Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) is pushing through the Illinois Senate.

    House Bill 6167 would allow 17-year-olds throughout the state to vote in the consolidated primary election if they will be 18 by the consolidated election. This is an expansion of the law that allowed 17-year-olds to vote in the general primary election if they were 18 by the general election.