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Hastings announces more than $50,000 in grants for local libraries

books 090418TINLEY PARK – State Senator Michael E. Hastings is pleased to announce that community libraries will receive more than $50,000 in grants to fund local mentorship programs.

Project Next Generation (PNG) is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Project mentors work with middle and high school students as the participants develop skills to use various technologies, achieve success through project based learning and gain life skills such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

“Libraries open up endless opportunities for our communities,” Hastings said. “I’m thrilled our local community libraries will have the tools to carry out necessary afterschool programs for our children.”

Grande Prairie Public Library District, Matteson Area Public Library District and Richton Park Public Library District were recognized for their efforts and awarded grants.

The local libraries were among 31 public libraries statewide to receive the 2019 PNG grants.

“Effective afterschool programs provide endless benefits for our communities,” Hastings said. “Programs funded by this grant will provide positive interactions for students in a safe, comfortable setting to help them learn skills they’ll need to be successful.”

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White administers the PNG program.

“I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” White said. “I established this innovative program when I first became Secretary of State to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

For more information visit: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/grants/png.html.

Hastings represents Illinois at voter security summit

hastings 0418 prefTINLEY PARK – State Senator Michael E. Hastings continues to fight for fair and secure elections in Illinois and he recently represented the state at a bipartisan conference hosted by the National Conference of State Legislators to address the matter.

Hastings was handpicked to participate in NCSL’s event on election security and how states can team up to protect voting processes. The event connected policymakers across the nation to exchange ideas on how to strengthen state laws to ensure the voting process this midterm elections is secure.

“Our democracy is built on open elections,” Hastings said. “Many have fought and given the ultimate sacrifice to assure our nation’s citizens’ voices are heard. We cannot afford to allow for foreign entities to hinder this sacred right.”

Hastings has been a strong voice in guaranteeing the Illinois State Board of Elections takes every necessary precaution to prevent hackers from accessing voters’ sensitive information.

Last election, the United State Department of Homeland Security confirmed Russian hackers were responsible for the malicious 2016 cyber-attack on the Illinois Voter Registration System database that compromised personal information for as many as 90,000 Illinois residents.

“It’s our duty to make sure our state’s policies and infrastructure meet the challenges and needs of the 21st century,” Hastings said. “The residents of Illinois need to have faith in the democratic process. It is absolutely imperative that the Illinois State Board of Elections take advantage of every possible resource to protect our state’s election infrastructure from intruders’ attacks.”

During the meeting, Hastings worked with election experts to learn about federal assistance and resources. A key theme was the role public officials play in bolstering voter confidence in elections based on setting security standards and utilizing best practices. 

Hastings works to update state alimony law

hastings 0418 prefTINLEY PARK – A new law sponsored by State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) will bring Illinois alimony law up to date with recent developments in the tax code.

Hastings’ Senate Bill 2289 was signed into law Friday, creating a new formula for calculating the amount of alimony an individual should receive after a divorce.

The law was passed in response to the December 2017 federal income tax bill, which prohibits alimony or maintenance payments from being tax deductible for the payer or taxable for the recipient.

“This law institutes responsible and fair changes to Illinois’ divorce laws,” Hastings said. “Courts cannot continue to award the same amount considering the fact there is no longer a tax deduction available to the payer.”

When the tax burden shifts on Jan. 1, 2019, this law will take effect and make modifications to reduce maintenance payments to reflect the tax adjustment. It will not affect previous settlements unless there is a finding of a considerable change in conditions that deserves application of the changes.

Senate Bill 2289 is an initiative of the Illinois State Bar Association and will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Hastings’ protections for disabled persons become law

02282018CM0597RTINLEY PARK – The state of Illinois now has a procedure in place to alert emergency professionals of missing disabled persons, thanks to State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D -Tinley Park).

Hastings’ Senate Bill 2265, which was signed into law Wednesday, is aimed at reporting, quickly locating and returning missing disabled persons to their homes.

It is motivated by the story disabled man who wandered away from his group in Matteson, Illinois during a group-home outing. When caretakers requested an Amber alert for the man, the authorities said there was no system in place for individuals living with disabilities.

Sen. Michael E. Hastings

hastings 150
19th Legislative District

Years served: 2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Financial Institutions; Insurance; Judiciary (Vice-Chairperson); State Government & Veterans Affairs; Committee of the Whole.

Biography: Born October 6th, 1980, in Orland Hills; B.S. in Leadership and Management, Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, M.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; former US Army Captain; Bronze Star recipient; former trustee and vice president for High School District 230.