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Senate Week in Review: Aug. 11-15, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

A “Sign and Drive” law, legislation to assure that 911 callers will be correctly connected to emergency services, new rules to upgrade the care available through first responders in rural areas, and eliminating the need for permanently disabled veterans to annually reapply for parking stickers, are all among the new laws signed in recent days.

New program contradicts Quinn claim

 At the same time, new evidence emerged to contradict Governor Quinn’s claim that he shut down a failed and mismanaged “Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.”

Instead, House and Senate leaders and members of the Legislative Audit Commission, are pointing to a last-minute $20 million lump sum allocation buried in the state’s labor department budget. They are calling for an accounting of what appears to be a virtually identical re-branding version of the scandal-plagued program.

Read the full Senate Week in Review for added details

That $20 million lump-sum earmark to the Department of Labor, identified in the state budget with only vague language, represented a 300% increase in the agency’s budget at a time when the state is facing major cuts in core programs and closing state facilities.

Concealed Carry Popular

Illinois’ new concealed carry law is proving popular across the state, with an estimated 69,000 permits having been issued through July. The Chicago Sun-Times has developed an interactive map showing the breakdown of permits by county.

Sign and drive

Beginning in January, motorists who are stopped for a routine traffic offense will no longer be required to surrender their license as bail. Senate Bill 2585 reinstates “sign and drive” which was the law in Illinois until 1986 and allows drivers to simply sign for the ticket.

911 calls

Under SB 3313, anyone who installs a private business phone switching service must ensure that an individual dialing 9-1-1 is connected directly with EMS-related agencies and does not have to “dial out” to reach them.

Rural emergency services

Two bills designed to help improve emergency response services in rural areas also became law.

House Bill 5828 will allow rural firefighters who are trained as paramedics to have better access to the equipment and supplies needed to utilize their skills in an emergency, while House Bill 4523 allows ambulance providers in rural areas to be upgraded to the highest license of any person staffing that ambulance, including registered nurses.

Both of these measures will allow greater access to life-saving equipment and supplies needed by first responders in rural areas.

Disabled Veterans’ parking

Permanently disabled veterans would not have to continue to reapply each year in order to have their handicapped parking stickers, plates or placards renewed under SB 3255. Once a doctor has determined a veteran to have a permanent disability, veterans could renew their placard or special license plate without submitting a doctor’s determination each year.

Go to the full version of the Week in Review for added details and a full list of recently signed bills.