Thursday, December 22, 2011

214 New Laws Going Into Effect Jan. 1 2012

From the office of Sen Darin LaHood

SPRINGFIELD- On January 1, 2012, more than 200 new laws, covering everything from local library boards to murder, will go into effect.

New laws that will increase transparency by giving citizens greater access to government information through the internet, encourage the use of alternative energy sources, reduce regulations for home-based food businesses and allow motorcyclists to proceed at a red light if the tripping device fails to trigger, are among the more notable measures.

Senator LaHood added that, as is the case nearly every year, many of the new laws are aimed at closing loopholes needed to crack down on criminal offenders. These include:

• “Andrea’s Law,” which will better track persons convicted of murder once they have been released from prison (HB 263/Public Act 97-0154);
• Tougher penalties for child pornography (HB 3283/Public Act 97-0157);
• More tools to prosecute persons who attempt to lure children for sexual purposes (SB 1038/Public Act 97-0160);
• A prohibition against shining a laser light into a cockpit when a plane is taking off or landing (HB 167/Public Act 97-0153); and
• New penalties for selling manufactured substances know as synthetic cannabinoids, that produce a “high” similar to marijuana (HB 2595/Public Act 97-0193)

The legislation (HB 2860/Public Act 97-0627) allowing motorcyclists to proceed through a red light when it fails to trip, was not without controversy. Gov. Pat Quinn sought to change the measure, but his amendatory veto was overridden during the fall session by strong bipartisan majorities.

Home-based or “cottage” food makers will face less regulation under SB 840/Public Act 97-0393, as long as they produce only food products that are not potentially hazardous.

Citizens will be able to access Hospital Report Cards from the state Department of Public Health Web site under HB 1562/Public Act 97-0171, as well as access information about income, sales, property and business taxes imposed across the state through the Department of Revenue’s Web site under SB 43/Public Act 97-0353.

A number of measures are aimed at encouraging alternative energy and energy conservation. Two of these include HB 3139/Public Act 97-0134, which allows the state’s transportation department to issue permits to those wishing to grow switchgrass on state right-of-ways, and HB 991/ Public Act 97-0105, which seeks to promote rain water conservation, composting and wind energy.

It should be noted that three of the laws going in to effect on Jan. 1 were sponsored in the Senate by Senator LaHood. These include:

• Hotels are now required to be equipped with at least one smoke detector within 15 feet of every room that is used for sleeping purposes. (HB 1398/ PA-97-0447)
• Mandatory maximum fines for a person who has multiple convictions of driving an uninsured motor vehicle. (HB 2267/ PA 97-0407)
• A new “expanded-use” category of antique vehicles is created to allow expanded-use vehicles to have unrestricted use of the highway from April 1 through Oct. 31 instead of being limited to use driving to and from car shows. (HB 3256/PA 97-0412)

The new laws going into effect Jan. 1 include:

9-1-1 Surcharge (SB 2063/PA 97-0463): Establishes a mechanism to collect the 9-1-1 surcharge on pre-paid cell phones, thus requiring merchants to collect the surcharge at the point of sale.

Abuse Coverage (HB 3358/PA 97-0343): Extends a mandate under the Illinois Insurance Code to the state group health insurance plan, county governments, school districts, and cities regarding victims of physical or sexual abuse, to ensure all insurance plans have similar provisions to cover abuse victims.

Academic Watch (HB 1415/PA 97-0370): Allows local school boards to, if federal grants are available, opt in to a full-year pilot plan if a school is on academic watch status for more than 2 years. Schools that opt in must increase their school calendar by 35 days, and requires students attend a minimum of 215 days. This pilot program affects only schools in Sen. James Meeks' district.
Acid Attack (HB 2193/PA 97-0565): Prohibits the possession and carrying of certain caustic substances regulated under the Federal Caustic Poison Act that are required to bear the warning “causes severe burns," and which are capable of causing serious injury. The legislation is a response to several high-profile acid attacks where the victims were severely disfigured.
Adult Therapy Requests (HB 785/PA 97-0165): Attempts to provide short-term crisis counseling for adults under guardianship to address cases where the guardian is abusive or neglectful. Authorizes any adult to request and receive counseling services or psychotherapy, even if the adult is under guardianship. Establishes that the adult’s guardian will not be informed of counseling or psychotherapy unless the counselor or therapist believes such disclosure is necessary. States that if the counselor or therapist intends to disclose the counseling or psychotherapy, the adult must be informed.

Aggravated Battery (SB 2004/PA 97-0313): States that the assault or battery of a process server or special court appointed process server while in the performance of his or her duties is enhanced to an aggravated assault (Class 4 felony) or an aggravated battery (Class 3 felony).

Aggravated Intimidation (SB 1739/PA 97-0162): Establishes that a person has committed aggravated intimidation if they knew their victim was a civilian reporting information about a forcible felony to a law enforcement agency, and the offense was committed for that reason.

Aldermen Change (SB 1686/PA 97-0146): Streamlines public notice requirements and reduces publication rates for units of local government. Allows any municipality that has a population change that would require an increase or decrease in the number of aldermen to adopt an ordinance or resolution maintaining the current number of aldermen.

Andrea’s Law (HB 263/PA 97-0154): Creates a First Degree Murderer Database for people convicted of first degree murder who have been released from a penal institution or other facility. Places them on the existing Sex Offender Registry or the amended Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry.

Anti-Epileptic Drug Notification (SB 670/PA 97-0456): Requires pharmacists to provide written notification to a patient when dispensing a prescription in which they have substituted a generic anti-epileptic for a brand name anti-epileptic drug.

Antique Vehicles (HB 3256/PA 97-0412): Creates a new "expanded-use" category of antique vehicles (vehicles more than 25 years old). While regular antique vehicles are generally limited to driving to and from car shows when using state highways, the expanded-use vehicles have unrestricted use of the highways from April 1 through Oct. 31. The owner must pay appropriate registration and renewal fees and also pay the $45 per year fee for expanded-use antique vehicle registration.

Background Information Sharing (HB 1240/PA 97-0248): Requires criminal background information on an employee that has been obtained by a school district within the last year to be shared, upon request, with any other school district.

Banking and Estate Clean-Up (HB 1651/PA 97-0492): Makes numerous clean-up changes and clarifications to a current law related to banking and real estate.

Bilingual Education Reporting (HB 3109/PA 97-0305): Requires the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to submit a one-time report to the State Superintendant, Governor, and the General Assembly about the regulations controlling bilingual education in Illinois.
Brand Name Prescriptions (SB 2046/PA 97-0426): Authorizes HFS to reimburse the dispensing of a 90 day supply of a brand name drug when it is a cost effective, non-narcotic maintenance medication. This bill will also authorize the 90 day supply for brand name drugs.
Brush Clearing (SB 41/PA 97-0417): Allows a township to authorize without a referendum the use of road funds to finance the collection, transport, and disposal of brush and leaves within the unincorporated areas of the township.

Bus Drivers (HB 147/PA 97-0466): States that a non-CDL holder school bus driver will be subject to reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing that’s in conformance with federal regulations, except the results of the tests must be reported in a manner approved by the Secretary of State instead of on federal forms. Aligns the drug testing standard with that of the federal government because the state standards were more rigid than the federal standards creating a significant risk of false positive tests.

Cancer Insurance Coverage (HB 1191/PA 0091): Mandates that routine patient medical care must be provided to patients participating in qualified clinical cancer trials, if the patient’s policy would cover that routine medical care if they were not enrolled in the clinical trial.

CDL Licensing (HB 1295/PA 97-0208): Brings Illinois into compliance with a federal law that requires Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders who must comply with the physical qualifications requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide a current original copy of their medical examiner’s certificates to the State driver’s licensing agency before a CDL is issued, renewed, upgraded or transferred.

Charter Schools (HB 2401/PA 97-0151): Requires that with regards to the five “re-enrolling drop-out” charter schools and the 15-maximum “campuses” in Chicago, a collective bargaining contract be entered into between each individual, re-enrolling charter school campus in order to unionize the teachers within that charter school.

Chicago Educational Facility Planning Commission (SB 620/PA 97-0473): Creates the Chicago Educational Facility Planning Commission and gives the commission the authority to approve standards for the capacity and utilization of Chicago Public Schools, approve standards for basic performance measures, approve school actions that are required to be included in the master plan, approve the 5-year Capital Improvement plan and budget, participate in the selection of contractors, and certify whether or not certain requirements have been met.

Child Abuse Reporting (HB 2093/PA 97-0254)/(SB 1950): Changes legislation to reflect the current criminal penalty for making a false report of child abuse to DCFS, and updates the required posted warning to reflect that a false report is a Class 4 felony violation.

Child Luring (SB 1038/PA 97-0160): Requires all child abductors convicted of child luring to undergo a sex offender evaluation prior to sentencing. Increases the penalty to a class 2 felony for a second offense when a person has a prior conviction of a sex offense as defined in the Sex Offender Registration Act or any substantially similar federal, Uniform Code of Military Justice, sister state or foreign government offense. Adds language to make it harder for an offender to claim a lawful intent (of trying to lure a minor) if they do not have express permission of a parent.

Child Passenger Safety (HB 1222/PA 97-0026): Requires that after satisfactory completion of a child passenger safety instructional course the technician who conducted the course must issue a letter of completion on a form that has been verified by IDOT. This will help the judges more easily identify the letter’s purpose.

Child Pornography (HB 3283/PA 97-0157): Enhances the penalty for filming, videotaping, or creating a moving image of child pornography, or possessing such items.

Closed Meetings (HB 1277/PA 97-0318): Creates an exemption in the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to hold closed meetings with auditors or financial committees, if the meeting was called to discuss suspected or potential fraud, or internal control weaknesses.

College Technology Entrepreneur Centers (HB 1876/PA 97-0196): Authorizes the board of trustees of each public university and community college in Illinois to create a technology entrepreneur center, which will provide goods and personnel to innovators who possess an innovative concept that has not yet been offered for sale. The goal is to help them develop their concept to the point where it can become a business venture.
College Student Data (SB 122/PA 97-0588): Requires all public institutions of higher education to track the status of students who are the first in their family to attend an institution of higher education.
Comptroller (HB 1527/PA 97-0269): Allows the Comptroller to enter into reciprocal offset agreements with the federal government. These agreements would require the Comptroller to reduce State payments to those owing federal nontax debts and remit the amount to the Treasury.

Condo Association Court Cost Recovery (SB 1972/PA 97-0535): Allows a condo association to recover court costs incurred by the association during an action to enforce collection, rather than the association's costs of collection.

Conservation District (SB 1436/PA 97-0601): Amends the Illinois Municipal Code to include areas owned by a conservation district under the definition of a "conservation area." At issue is a municipality trying to annex property located across a conservation district

Contract Disclosure (HB 1444/PA 97-0490): Allows, for purposes of disclosure of financial interests by bidders on state contracts, privately held entities that have more than 100 shareholders and are exempt from Federal 10k reporting, to submit the information that they are required to report under federal regulations and list the names of any person or entity holding any ownership share greater than 5 percent. This bill would allow more companies to provide financial interest statements in this way, as opposed to submitting firm ownership and conflict information with each and every bid they submit.

Controlled Substances (HB 2917/PA 97-0334): Makes various changes to clean-up the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and to bring it into compliance with federal standards including updating or deleting certain definitions; allowing authorized prescribers to issue electronic prescriptions if done in accordance with federal rules; outlining fines for crimes relating to controlled substances; providing for data collection; and more.

Consumer Loan Affiliates (SB 674/PA 97-0420): Defines payday loan “affiliates” as any person or entity that directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by, or shares control with another person or entity. States that a person or entity who has control over another is the person or entity who has an ownership interest of 25 percent or more in the other.

Co-Payment Scale (SB 1236/PA 97-0422): Bases child-care copayments for families who receive child care services or public assistance on family size and income, not on the number of children in care or the amount of services used. Also sets a sliding scale for co-payments, reflecting a lower percentage of income for the poorest families, and with a co-payment that gradually increase as family income increases.

Copyright Restrictions (SB 2040/PA 97-0538): Prohibits the unlawful use of sound recordings, except when accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work, that were initially recorded before February 15, 1972. Anything after that date is protected by Federal copyright law and preempts state law.

Correctional Facilities (HB 2590/PA 97-0380): Prohibits any unit of local government or a county sheriff (formerly only the state) from contracting with a private entity to operate a correctional facility.

Cottage Food Deregulation (SB 840/PA 97-0393): Allows for deregulation at the local level of cottage food operations, so only "State-certified local public health departments" would be permitted to regulate cottage food operation. Cottage food operations are those where a person produces or packages non-potentially hazardous food in a home kitchen.

Credit Unions (HB 3050/PA 97-0133): Requires that if a credit union requests a hearing in response to a fine, the Secretary of IDFPR must schedule a hearing within 30 days of the request or the fine will be stayed until the final administrative order is entered.

Currency Exchange (HB 159/PA 97-0315): Requires a currency exchange to give the Secretary at IDFPR 30 days notice before the business can begin offering approved additional services. Also increases a number of fees paid by community and ambulatory currency exchanges. Makes technical and administrative changes relating to cease-and-desist orders and confidentiality.

Damaged Road Cost Recovery (HB 1541/PA 97-0373): Gives units of local government the same authority that State agencies have to seek recovery for the repair or replacement costs for
damaged or destroyed roadway property.

Debt Collection (HB 1513/PA 97-0120): Allows employers to deduct wages without the employee’s consent in order to collect a debt owed to a municipality or to recoup excess money that was paid by a municipality in error.

Death Reporting (HB 1259/PA 97-0111): Requires the electronic reporting system for death registrations to transfer information to DHFS at least once every 3 months for the purpose of updating the Medicaid recipient roster.

Diabetes Education Programs (HB 2249/PA 97-0281): Includes in diabetes coverage, education programs that allow a patient to maintain A1c levels, so that people can make the appropriate lifestyle and medical choices needed to help control their diabetes. A1c provides an average of blood sugar control over a six to 12 week period, and is used in conjunction with home blood sugar monitoring.

Disability Definition (HB 3010/PA 97-0410): Includes mental, psychological, or developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, in the portion of the Human Rights Act that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations.

Divorce Concessions (SB 1824/PA 97-0608): Allows people in divorce situations to use life insurance as a security for child support and maintenance obligations.
DNA Submission (HB 3238/PA 97-0383): Expands the list of those required to submit to DNA testing to include (1) a person required by an order of the court to submit a DNA specimen; (2) any person arrested for any of the following offenses, after a determination by a judge or a grand jury that probable cause exists for the arrest: first degree murder, home invasion, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault; and (3) any person required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act, regardless of the date of conviction.
DPH Reporting (SB 1805/PA 97-0049): Requires DPH’s yearly report containing information about certain Multidrug Resistant Organism infections to be substantially similar to the CDC’s surveillance system, which is more specific and thus more helpful and informative than the current reporting system.

Drug Dealers ER Fines (HB 1258/PA 97-0434): Establishes that people found guilty of manufacturing or delivering drugs that precipitated an emergency response will be liable for the expense of the emergency response, and must also pay additional new fines.

Dry-Cleaning Facility (HB 1953/PA 97-0377): Requires an active dry-cleaning facility that has previously received or is currently receiving reimbursement of remedial action benefits under the Act to maintain continuous financial assurance for environmental liability coverage in the amount of $500,000.

Dry-Cleaner Licensing (HB 2777/PA 97-0332): Allows dry-cleaning license fees to be paid by credit card or business check, and reduces the fees for late payment of license fees.

Duck Hunting (HB 3019/PA 97-0132): Requires that in Alexander, Union, Williamson, and Jackson counties, consent of adjacent landowners must be received before a commercial duck hunting area is allowed to place a duck blind within 100 yards of a landowner’s property line.

Educational Environment No-Contact (HB 192/PA 97-0294): Amends laws relating to “No Contact” orders and domestic violence restrictions to address situations where a petitioner and a respondent attend the same elementary, middle or high school. Establishes that when considering these types of cases the court must consider the severity of the crime, the ability to transfer the respondent to another school or program and the logistics associated with this potential transfer. Allows the court to order the respondent to change schools, change his or her program, or have his or her movements restricted.

Educational Training (SB 1578/PA 97-0525): Adds educational support personnel to those who can attend teacher's workshops, or institutes (professional development/training days). States that the support personnel may be exempt from a workshop if it isn’t relevant to the work they do and it is not related to the health and safety of students. For Cook County only, when referring to the 4 days that may be used for teacher in-service workshops or professional development, adds that 2 days may be used as a teacher's and educational support personnel workshop, when approved by the Regional Superintendent.

Electronic Records and Fees (HB 1470/PA 97-0403): Requires DHFS to provide an electronic submission process for assessment reports for long term care facilities. Requires a separate submission be completed for each of these facilities operated by a long term care provider. HFS is required to prepare an assessment bill that states the amount due and payable each month to be submitted electronically to each long term care facility. Payments must contain a copy of the bill sent to the facility. A 25 percent fee is established for long term care facilities that fail to file their bills with payment, unless that fee is waived by HFS. Prohibits a fee being charged if HFS does not provide a process for electronic submission of the data. The electronic submission system and penalties must be implemented by July 1, 2013.

Emergency Lights (SB 956/PA 97-0039): Allows a blue oscillating, rotating, or flashing light to be used when parked or stationary at the scene of a fire, rescue call, ambulance call, or motor vehicle accident.

Emergency Medical Services (HB 1610/PA 97-0082): Allows EmSeeQ devices, which are worn by people with a propensity to wander (such as those who have developmental disabilities and other disorders, including Alzheimer's and autism) to access 9-1-1 systems. Requires that the devices be controlled by trained personnel at a service center to prevent false activation and repeated calls to 9-1-1. The device must be capable of two-way communication, or capable of sending a pre-recorded message explaining the nature of the emergency.

Engineering Diversity (HB 1256/PA 97-0288): Creates the Diversity in Engineering scholarship program to promote representation of minority groups in the field of civil engineering.

Equal Pay Act (SB 115/PA 97-0512): Provides for civil penalties of up to $5,000 when an employer interferes with an employee’s attempt to exercise a right granted to them by the Equal Pay Act.

Eviction (HB 1209/PA 97-0247): Allows a landlord to request rent be paid for the period of time pending an eviction, if the eviction has been put on hold by a judge.

Expelled Students (HB 2086/PA 97-0495): States that an expelled or suspended student may immediately be transferred to an alternative program unless there is a threat to the safety of students or staff in the alternative program. A pupil must not be denied transfer because of the expulsion. Additionally, provides that enrollment in a charter Alternative Learning Opportunity school must be available to any pupil who has been expelled or suspended for more than 20 days. Changes the district policy choice to state that the student must complete the entire term of suspension/expulsion in a Regional Safe School or an ALOP before being admitted into the school district.

False Representation (SB 64/PA 97-219): Prohibits knowingly and falsely representing oneself to be another person in order to intimidate, threaten, injure, defraud, or obtain a benefit from another. Prohibits a person from claiming to represent a person or organization in order to obtain a benefit, or to injure or defraud another person.

Financial Crime Penalty (SB 1699/PA 97-0147): Increases the penalties of the financial crimes statute to create parity with the penalty provisions for the same dollar amounts contained in the general theft statute, so that a financial crime which exceeds $500,000 but does not exceed $1,000,000, is now a Class 1 non-probationable felony.
Financial Exploitation (HB 1689/PA 97-0482): Creates stricter laws against financial exploitation of an elderly person or person with a disability, by lowering the property value threshold that constitutes a Class 1 or 2 felony for the offense of financial exploitation. Provides that payment of restitution is not limited to five years for this offense as it is with other crimes.
Fire Safety (HB 1359/PA 97-0488): Allows the fire chief or other officer of a fire protection district to prohibit open burning on an emergency basis when wind, weather, or another factors create a risk of a fire spreading. (HB 1095/PA 97-0554): Prohibits the use of a rebuilt flame safeguard control in forced air heating equipment in any non-residential structure, excluding production agriculture structures. Allows for rebuilt flame safeguard controls to be used if labeled and listed by a nationally recognized testing agency
First Aid Kits (HB 1573/PA 97-0374): Requires all classes of railroads to have first aid kits available when transporting railroad employees.

FOID Relinquishment (HB 1272/PA 97-0401): Requires that when a person awaiting trial is required as a condition of bail to relinquish his or her FOID card to the circuit court clerk, the circuit court clerk must mail the confiscated FOID card to ISP.

FOID Revocation (HB 3365/PA 97-0158): Provides that a person convicted of domestic battery is not eligible to obtain or keep a FOID Card. People who have an order of protection issued against them must also surrender their FOID Card for the duration of the order.

Forgery Terminology (SB 2027/PA 97-0231): Adds the act of making "a false document" and “to make it false” to the prohibited conduct currently included under a forgery offense.
Gang Prevention (HB 3033/PA 97-0435): Establishes a statewide criminal street gang prevention and intervention grant program to be operated by the Dept. of Juvenile Justice with federal dollars. Requires the Criminal Justice Information Authority to help local governments in obtaining grant money from the federal government.
General Theft Offenses (SB 1228/PA 97-0597): Combines many specialized theft offenses into general theft offenses, removes unconstitutional provisions in the theft statute, consolidates various offenses scattered throughout the code, adds “mental state” where missing from certain offenses, and provides for penalty consistency. Part of the CLEAR Commission Criminal Code rewrite.

Governor’s Budget Relief (SB 1968/PA 97-0613): Places an immediate effective date on the portion of SB 335 relating to interfund transfers, which will give the Governor 17 months to repay interfund transfers for Medicaid bills. This equals about $1 billion in budget relief for the Governor.

Green Energy (HB 991/PA 97-0105): Expands the Homeowners’ Solar Rights Act to include wind and rain water collection and composting systems in the association’s energy policy statement.

Gold Star Families (HB 2875/PA 97-0302): States that the natural mother, father or spouse of an Illinois veteran, who was killed in the line of duty, is entitled to admission to Illinois veterans homes if there are vacant beds.

Good Samaritan (SB 1372/PA 97-0183): Provides immunity for people (not corporations) who donate medical equipment or supplies (not medication) to a veterinarian school or licensed veterinarian for use by the veterinarian school or by the veterinarian in that person’s veterinary practice.

Gubernatorial Appointees (SB 265/PA 97-0257): Requires that the Governor’s appointment for probation services must be based on a recommendation from the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association, and reduces the Sex Offender Management Board from 24 to 20 members.

Gun Possession (HB 3431/PA 97-0347): Eliminates delivery as an element of possession of a stolen firearm and aggravated possession of a stolen firearm. Adds the element of delivery in the statute concerning unlawful sale of firearms, and changes the name of that offense to unlawful sale or delivery of firearms. Changes a reference from “more than 31 firearms” to “31 or more firearms,” and establishes that the higher-level Class X offense applies to the unlawful possession of “more than 31 firearms.”

Gun Running (SB 2064/PA 97-0540): Provides that when a court finds that a vehicle was used in a violation relating to gun running, which is a felony offense, the Secretary of State may suspend registration for a period of up to 90 days. Eliminates the ability to revoke the registration.

Harry “Babe” Woodyard Natural Area (SB 154/PA 97-0177): Designates the official name of the Harry “Babe” Woodyard State Natural Area in Vermillion County to be a state natural area.

Hate Crimes (SB 1708/PA 97-0161): If an offender receives probation or conditional discharge following a conviction for a hate crime where the offender caused criminal damage to religious property, the offender must enroll in an educational program discouraging hate crimes.

Healthcare Information (HB 1562/PA 97-0171): Requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to make the Hospital Report Card Act available on its Web site. States that links to the Consumer Guide to Health Care and the Hospital Report Card Act on DPH’s Web site must include a brief description of the information available in both. Requires, if relevant, DPH to reference the Web pages of the Consumer Guide to Health Care and the Hospital Report Card Act when it creates new or updates existing consumer fact sheets or materials for the purpose of educating the Illinois health care consumer.

Higher Ed Programs (SB 1883/PA 97-0610): Requires each State university to annually report to the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) on the programs of instruction, research, or public service that have been terminated, dissolved, reduced, or consolidated by the university, as well as all aforementioned programs that exhibit a trend of low performance in enrollments, degree completions, and high expense per degree. IBHE will compile an annual report to be submitted to the General Assembly that contains information on new programs created, existing programs that have been closed or consolidated, and programs that exhibit low performance or productivity. (HB 1079): Increases the dollar value for the listing of equipment that public universities must provide to CMS, from $500 to $1,000. Also requires each state university to report annually to the IHBE the following: programs of instruction that have been terminated, dissolved, reduced, or consolidated; all programs of instruction, research, or public service that exhibit a trend of low performance in enrollments and degree completions and high expense per degree; tuition increases for the upcoming academic year; and any cost-saving measures undertaken during the previous fiscal year. IBHE will compile an annual report that will contain this information and provide it to the General Assembly.

HIV/AIDS Registry (HB 299/PA 97-0550): Requires information concerning cases in the HIV/AIDS Registry to include all CD4 and HIV viral load test results, and states that hospitals and laboratories may only be required to report all CD4 and HIV viral load test results for tests performed on or after 90 days if DPH provides an electronic method to report results, and only if hospitals or labs have electronic records to identify HIV patients. Hospitals and labs will continue to report through current administrative rules until electronic lab reporting is established.

Homicide Training Waiver (HB 1069/PA 97-0553): States that the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board and Director of State Police must develop a waiver process for homicide investigation training and certification. The waiver will be based on an officer's prior training and experience in homicide investigations.

Horse Liens (HB 3012/PA 97-0569): Provides for a lien for stable owners for the boarding and stabling of a horse and allows the sale of the horse at public or private sale in order to satisfy the lien. This establishes a mechanism for stable keepers—who are experiencing an increased number of abandoned horses—to have the ability to sell these abandoned horses and recoup their costs.

Human Rights Procedures (HB 178/PA 97-0022): States that when reviewing human rights cases (other than those involving real estate transactions) a fact finding conference must occur unless 1) the Director rules within a year of the charge being filed that there is no substantial evidence of a civil rights violation 2) the charge is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or 3) the parties voluntarily agree to waive a fact finding conference. This is a “cost cutting” measure advanced by the Dept. of Human Rights.

Human Trafficking (SB 1037/PA 97-0267): Allows a victim of human trafficking to file a motion requesting that a court vacate past convictions for misdemeanor and first-time felony prostitution charges.

Hunting Fees for Terminally Ill Individuals (HB 2861/PA 97-0215): Waives hunting fees for terminally ill individuals and allows terminally ill youth to hunt outside of an established season if approved by the Director of DNR.

ID Card Religious Objections (HB 1484/PA 97-0371): Provides for Illinois Identification Cards or Illinois Disabled Person Identification Cards to be issued without photographs if the applicant has a religious objection.

ID Theft Protection (SB 151/PA 97-0388): Prohibits the use, possession, or transfer of a radio frequency identification device (RFID) capable of obtaining or processing personal identifying information from a credit or debit card to use the new chip technology for an illegal purpose.

Identity Protection (HB 3513/PA 97-0139): States that an individual’s social security number may not be printed on a wristband or on the outside of any file associated with the products or services of the person.
Impoundment (HB 1220/PA 97-0109): Allows a municipality to impose a reasonable fee for impoundment of a vehicle to cover administrative and processing costs for the investigation, arrest, and detention of an offender or the removal, impoundment, storage, and release of a vehicle.
IMRF Pension Reform (SB 1831/PA 97-0609): Makes changes in "final rate of earnings" under IMRF to establish that the final 3 months to final 24 months shall not exceed 125% for the highest earnings of any other month in the final earnings period. Requires "Pension Impact Notes" to be sent from IMRF to an IMRF employer that grants greater then a 12% earnings adjustment to a manager, executive or officer. Requires the IMRF "pension impact note" to state in writing the effect that the increase in salary has on pension benefits. Requires the IMRF employer to sign the pension impact statement acknowledging they understand the effects of the increase, and pay any costs associated with the pension impact note. Establishes Internet posting requirements for IMRF employees’ salaries over $75,000 and $100,000 a year. Provides that new hires (on or after January 1, 2012), who retire from a pension system, but who return to work for that system on a contractual basis, will have their pension suspended for the duration of the contract. Makes many other changes to pension provisions.

IMRF Pensions (HB 1471/PA 97-0319): Requires that the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund calculation for the present value of a reserve annuity account for salary and service must provide a more accurate cost for each employer when an IMRF employee has worked under two or more IMRF employers.

Infant-care Education Requirements (HB 2099/PA 97-0083): Requires all employees of licensed child care facilities who care for newborns and infants to complete training every 3 years on sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and on the safe sleep recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Infectious Disease Control (HB 1096/PA 97-0107): Requires nursing homes to designate a person as an “Infection Prevention and Control Professional” to develop and carry out policies to control the spread of infections and communicable diseases. Also requires that this person receive the appropriate training to carry out these duties.

Inmate Medical Fees (HB 1929/PA 97-0562): Requires inmates to pay a $5 co-pay (formerly $2) to DOC for each non-emergency medical and dental visit.

Insurance Arbitration (SB 152/PA 97-0513): Requires mandatory arbitration insurers to arbitrate and settle disputes made for physical damage to a vehicle under $2,500.
Insurance Contracts (HB 3034/PA 97-0235): Allows a person who has entered into a written contract with a contractor to be paid from a property and casualty insurance policy, to cancel the contract prior to midnight of the fifth business day after the insured has received written notice from the insurer that any part of the claim or contract is not a covered loss under the insurance policy. If the insurance settlement of a claim is less than the amount claimed or if the claim is denied, the insurance company must provide to the insured a reasonable written explanation of the lower offer or denial within 30 days after the investigation of liability is completed. Within 10 days after a contract has been cancelled, the contractor must reimburse the insured for any payments or deposits made by the insured and any note or other evidence of indebtedness.
Insurance Expense Reporting (SB 1553/PA 97-0524): Changes the insurance company administrative expense reporting requirement to the Illinois Dept. of Insurance from annually, to every 6 months. The bill specifies the 6 month reporting period to be October and April.
Insurance Late Fee Increases (HB 1129/PA 97-0486): Replaces provisions concerning the filing of annual statements and penalties for filing late or false statements of the Dental Services Plan Act and Health Maintenance Organization Act with provisions currently in the Insurance code, which outlines more costly penalties.
Insurance Recoupment (HB 1193/PA 97-0556): Sets the health care provider payment recoupment time limit for insurance companies at 18 months from the original payment to the provider.

Interest Calculation Formula (SB 1133/PA 97-0421): Establishes a formula for interest calculation on payday loans during the initial payment period. Specifically, states that when the first installment period is longer than the others, the amount of the finance charges applicable to the extra days cannot exceed $15.50 per $100 of the original principal balance divided by the number of days in a regularly scheduled installment period and multiplied by the number of extra days. Also clarifies that the term “consecutive days” does not include the date on which a consumer makes the final installment payment.

Internet Threat Penalties (HB 3281/PA 97-0340): Allows a school board to suspend or expel a student who has made an explicit threat on an Internet Web site against a school employee, student, or any school personnel.

Investment Workforce Board (SB 2123/PA 97-0356): Establishes that the Investment Workforce Board is subject to the Illinois Procurement Code, and requires the Board to submit all agendas and meeting minutes to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Also requires the submission of all line-item budgets for local workforce investment areas and a list of all contracts and values for workforce development training and service providers, all of which will be posted on DCEO’s Web site.

ISP Fund Creation (HB 1316/PA 97-0116): Creates the Illinois State Police Projects Trust Fund, the Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Fund, and the State Police Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Trust Fund, which is necessary to bring ISP into compliance with federal grant guidelines and make ISP eligible for future grants.
Law Enforcement Training Board Replacement (HB 1949/PA 97-0327): Establishes that the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County will replace the Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education on the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board.
Judgment Enforcement (HB 3478/PA 97-0350): Advances clean-up language that is intended to help keep a judgment alive in cases where the debtor has deliberately taken actions to prevent the creditor from having the judgment enforced.

Jury Duty (HB 1317/PA 97-0436): Exempts people who have a total and permanent disability from serving on jury duty.

Jury Selection (HB 2066/PA 97-0034): Includes claimants for unemployment insurance in the lists used to create jury selection pools.
Juvenile Justice (HB 83/PA 97-0362): Stipulates that committing a minor to the Department of Juvenile Justice must be the least restrictive option. This can only be done after efforts have been made unsuccessfully to locate less restrictive alternatives to secure confinement.
Juvenile Sex Offender Study (SB 2151/PA 97-0163): Provides that the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission study and make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly to ensure the effective treatment and supervision of adjudicated delinquent juvenile sex offenders. The study must also consider the appropriateness and feasibility of restricting juveniles adjudicated as sex offenders from certain locations, such as parks and schools.
Land Surveyor Qualifications (SB 2236/PA 97-0543): Changes qualification for licensure and examinations for land surveyors and land surveyors in training. Applicants for the examination for land surveyor-in-training must have a baccalaureate degree in land surveying from an accredited college or university program; or a baccalaureate degree in a related science, with at least 24 semester hours of land surveying courses from the approved curriculum of an accredited institution.
Landlord Lock Change Requirements (HB 1233/PA 97-0470): Requires a landlord in Cook County to change or re-key locks after a dwelling unit has been vacated and before a new tenant moves in. If a landlord does not change or re-key the lock and a theft occurs at that dwelling unit that is attributable to the landlord's failure to change or re-key the locks, the landlord is liable for any damages from the theft. Some exemptions.

Large Truck Speed Limit (SB 1913/PA 97-0202): Extends the uniform speed limit that currently exists for Interstate highways to include four-lane divided highways. Provides that outside the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will, the speed limit for trucks is uniform with cars, or 65 mph, on four lane divided highways.

Laser Airplane Prohibition (HB 167/PA 97-0153): Prohibits discharging a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft that is taking off, landing, or in flight.

Lead Warning Statements (SB 1943/PA 97-0612): Makes changes to definitions and amends the warning statements relating to lead paint in order to further clarify and improve the related safety provisions.

Library Boards (HB 179/PA 97-0101): Amends the Local Library Act to remove a reference to a report that is no longer published. Also allows a library board to require the treasurer to purchase insurance coverage, instead of the current practice of requiring the treasurer to purchase a personal bond, which requires the submission of a great deal of personal information. Changes the reporting deadline for a library board’s financial report from 30 days after the fiscal year’s end, to 60 days.

License Expiration Deferment (HB 3331/PA 97-0079): Allows the Secretary of State to defer the expiration of the driver’s license for a member of the Armed Forces on active duty outside the State, or their spouse or child, for up to 120 days, currently only 90, after the licensee’s return to Illinois.

Marriage Dissolution (SB 1753/PA 97-0047): Provides that professional personnel who are consulted by the court regarding custody and visitation cases are subject to subpoena relating to the case. The court will allocate the costs and fees of the consultants between the parties based upon the financial ability of each party and other relevant criteria.
Medical Malpractice (HB 1476/PA 97-0449): Allows the public to request the status of a specific complaint or report under review by the medical disciplinary board. Requires IDFPR to contact the complainant 14 days before any hearing relating to the accused. Requires health care facilities to report to DPH within 20 days any actions that have resulted in patient death or serious disability, and allows DPH to investigate further if necessary.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (HB 2982/PA 97-0381): Requires DHS to establish Regional Integrated Behavioral Health Networks to establish improved access to mental health and substance abuse services throughout Illinois by convening all relevant health, mental health, substance abuse and other community entities.

Mental Health Court (SB 1837/PA 97-0440): Directs the mental health court in Kane County to demonstrate the effectiveness of its alternative treatment program in reducing the number of mentally ill people admitted into the correctional system. The court is to cooperate with mental health service providers and have one or more institutions of higher education publish peer-reviewed studies of the outcomes generated by the mental health court.
Mental Health Records (HB 2362/PA 97-0566): Allows mental health records to be disclosed to court appointed providers to be used to determine fitness to stand trial if the records were made within the 180-day period immediately preceding the providers' court appointment.
Military Children Education (HB 3035/PA 97-0216): Extends the Opportunity for Military Children Act until June 30, 2015.

Military Plate Fee Waiver (HB 3172/PA 97-0306): Removes language that requires payment of certain fees beyond the application fee for certain Military and Military Veteran license plates.

Minimum Wage Penalties (HB 3237/PA 97-0571): Increases penalties for contractors, subcontractors and public body employees who do not comply with minimum wage requirements.

Motorcycle Red Lights (HB 2860/PA 97-0627): Allows motorcyclists stopped at a red light to proceed through the light if, after waiting a reasonable length of time, the red light fails to change to green. Governor Quinn issued an amendatory veto to change the language of the measure, however both the House and Senate overrode his changes and the bill became law as originally passed.

Natural Gas Markets (SB 1654/PA 97-0223): Requires the Illinois Commerce Commission's (ICC) Office of Retail Market Development to prepare an annual report regarding the development of competitive retail natural gas markets in Illinois.

Noise Ordinances (HB 1311/PA 97-0115): Clarifies that a non-home rule municipality is allowed to, by ordinance, regulate sound devices.

Notary Identification (HB 350/PA 97-0397): Allows a notary public to consider as acceptable forms of identification State Agency Identification Cards, and Consulate Identification Cards that have the person’s signature and photo on them.

Oath Administration (SB 62/97-0036): Allows any person allowed to administer oaths and affirmations to do so statewide, as opposed to only in their respective districts, circuits, counties or jurisdiction.

Open Meetings (HB 1670/PA 97-0504): Requires all current and future elected and appointed officials in Illinois to take Open Meetings Act training courses administered by the Public Access Counselor in the Attorney General’s office. Elected school board members are exempted from receiving their training through the AG’s office if they take an alternate course offered by an institution created under Article 23 of the School Code.

Oral Cancer Medications (HB 1825/PA 97-0198): Requires insurance plans that provide coverage for oral cancer medications and intravenous cancer medications to cover oral medications at the same benefit cost as intravenous medications.

Park District Board Vacancies (HB 2993/PA 97-0131): Allows a person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Park District Board to serve until the second regularly scheduled election, if the vacancy occurs not less than 123 days before the next election. This is an effort to align park district code with the Election Code.

Parole Objection Protection (SB 1471/PA 97-0523): Prohibits the Prisoner Review Board from releasing information about victims and victims’ families who have filed parole objections. This seeks to protect victims and their family members from an inmate, or possibly an inmate’s friend or acquaintance, who might seek revenge against people who have filed a parole protest.

Parole Rehearing (SB 1470/PA 97-0522): States that after denying parole, the Prisoner Review Board can schedule a rehearing within 5 (rather than 3) years from the date of parole denial if it is not reasonable to expect an inmate's parole to be granted prior to the scheduled rehearing date. This is a way to help victims, who have to appear to protest parole, by reducing the frequency with which they will have to attend a parole hearing for those select cases where inmates are unlikely to be found eligible for parole in the next three years

Parole Terms (SB 1740/PA 97-0531): Requires that the terms of a defendant's parole or Mandatory Supervised Release must be written as part of the sentencing order. Also provides that the 90-day reduction in parole or mandatory supervised release term for an inmate receiving a GED while on parole or Mandatory Supervised Release is discretionary with the Prisoner Review Board, instead of automatic

Patient Information (SB 1282/PA 97-0180): Allows for a patient’s name, address, or unique patient identifier to be included in patient claims and encounter data submitted to the Department of Public Health by hospitals and ambulatory surgical treatment centers.

Payday Loan Act Restrictions for Military (HB 3257/PA 97-0413): States that a creditor charging an annual interest rate greater than 36 percent to a member of the military or their dependants is in violation of the Payday Loan Reform Act.

Performance-Based Funding (HB 1503/PA 97-0320): Directs the Illinois Board of Higher Education to form a group charged with developing a system of performance-based funding that will be based on performance in achieving State-outlined educational goals for student success and certificate and degree completion.

Personal Information Protection (HB 3025/PA 97-0483): Makes various changes regarding notification of a personal information security breach to an Illinois resident and outlines the Attorney General's duties upon receiving notice of a security breach. Also provides guidelines for the disposal of materials containing personal information.

Pet Identification (SB 1637/PA 97-0240): Requires a person who is scanning a lost pet for a micro-chip to also look for other common forms of identification (tattoos, id tags, etc.). Requires the administrator of an animal control facility to contact the pet’s owner or caretaker through telephone and/or e-mail, if possible. Requires that a second scan for a micro-chip be performed on an animal prior to euthanization, and gives animal control facilities immunity from civil liability and criminal damages when (1) they have attempted in good faith to contact the registered owner of a microchipped animal and (2) when they have microchipped an animal.
Pharmaceutical Disposal (HB 3090/PA 97-0546): Allows any unit of local government to display a locked and secured receptacle for used, expired, or unwanted pharmaceuticals at its city hall or police department. Requires that the receptacle be accessible to the public and have a posted, legible sign indicating that the unwanted medication can be disposed of in the receptacle.
Physician Signature (SB 1248/PA 97-0179): Requires all physician’s orders and plans of treatment to have the physician’s original written signature, or to have in place an electronic signature system that allows for the verification of a signer’s credentials.
Pill Incineration (HB 2056/PA 97-0545): Creates the Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Fund financed by the new $20 assessment fee for certain drug arrests. The new fund finances grants for the collection, transportation, and incineration of household pills and drugs.
Plumber Licensing (HB 1228/PA 97-0365): Outlines that only the state and the City of Chicago may license plumbers. States that in the event that the plumbing contractor’s registration is suspended or revoked, DFPR must notify the City of Chicago and any corresponding plumbing contractor's license issued by the City of Chicago must also be suspended or revoked. Similarly, the City of Chicago must notify the Department of such suspensions or revocations within its jurisdiction.
Police/Fire Pension Dissolution (HB 144/PA 97-0099): Allows a municipality to dissolve a police or fire pension fund if an auditor has certified there are no liabilities, participants, or beneficiaries. There are currently a few downstate fire and police funds that are inactive but are still required to have an audit.

Police Property Donation (HB 1553/PA 97-0028): Allows a sheriff, chief of police, or other law enforcement official to clear out their inventories of unclaimed property by donating items worth less than $100 to a charitable organization with the approval of the appropriate authority.

Portable Dental Units (SB 1602/PA 97-0528): Defines and establishes regulations for people and entities who own or operate mobile dental vans that are being used to bring dental care directly to patients, particularly in areas where dental resources are scarce. Enforces registration requirements for those who own or operate these dental units, as well as patient record retention requirements. This will help patients obtain additional care following treatment by these mobile dental vans and dental units.

Portable Electronic Insurance (HB 1284/PA 97-0366): Creates a new “limited lines” license for retailers that sell insurance to cover the repair or replacement of portable electronic devices, like wireless phones and computers. Requires anyone who offers or sells the portable electronics insurance to have a limited lines license.

Press Box (SB 2096/PA 97-0355): Establishes that federal accessibility guidelines for press boxes on school property apply in Illinois. The federal guidelines state that a school board does not have to comply with the Illinois Accessibility Code with respect to accessibility in press boxes on school property if the press boxes are in bleachers that have points of entry at only one level, and the aggregate area of the press box is no more than 500 square feet. Repeals language creating the Press Box Accessibility Task Force.

Prisoner Safety (HB 276/PA 97-0104): Clarifies that the warden of a county jail is also authorized to relocate prisoners in the event of inmate-caused disturbances that threaten the security of other inmates. The warden can remove an individual prisoner or group of prisoners (rather than just “the prisoners”) to another jail within the county, or to the jail of another county, if the warden determines the security of the penal institution is threatened (rather than just the “lives or health of the prisoners are endangered”).
Probation Funds (HB 3417/PA 97-0454): Directs funds collected from persons serving probation to be deposited into the Probation and Court Services Fund to pay for costs associated with the probation and court services that are incurred by the county.

Process Servers (SB 2069/PA 97-0427): Allows the courts to appoint a private detective, private detective agency, or their registered employees who have been certified, to serve as special process servers. The private detective or private detective agency must provide the sheriff in each of the counties where they serve process with a copy of his or her license or certificate.

Property Maintenance Violations (HB 1909/PA 97-0561): Provides that with regards to repeated violations of a county’s property maintenance code, service of process against the owner of the property may act as a notice to appear. The goal is to help the county get repeat violators of the property maintenance code into court when the administrative enforcement process is not working.

Property Seizure (SB 2268/PA 97-0544): Provides that, in the event of seizure of property stemming from suspected violation of the Cannabis Control Act, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, notice must be given to all known interest holders that forfeiture proceedings will be instituted. Provides that the notice for the preliminary hearing may be postponed upon a showing of good cause. In addition to making a finding of probable cause, the court must take into account the respective interests of all known claimants to the property including the State, prior to entering an order taking control of the property for the purpose of a forfeiture hearing.

Property Transfers (HB 1153/PA 97-0555): Creates a statutory framework to allow for the transfer of residential real estate upon death through a transfer deed. Outlines under what circumstances this would or would not apply.

Prosthetics (HB 3315/PA 97-0414): Provides that in the 2012 fiscal year, the Discharged Service Members Task Force charged with investigating the re-entry process for service members returning to civilian life, must also assess the availability of prosthetics in its investigation. Currently, the task force considers PTSD, homelessness, disabilities and other relevant issues as members see fit.
Pseudoephedrine Regulation (HB 1908/PA 97-0560): Prohibits a person convicted of using methamphetamine, who is currently on parole, mandatory supervised release, probation or conditional discharge, from purchasing, possessing, or having under their control any product containing pseudoephedrine, unless prescribed by a physician.
Public Aid Fraud (HB 1077/PA 97-0023): Extends the amount of time DHFS has to report to the GA on the number of fraud cases identified and pursued under the medical assistance program, and the fines assessed and collected.

Public Construction Bonds (HB 1226/PA 97-0487): Attempts to make the public bond act easier to understand and use by requiring that any claims for labor or materials furnished to a political subdivision by a sub-contractor can only be enforced if the claimant filed a verified notice of the claim with the Clerk or Secretary of the political subdivision within 180 days after the date of the last item of work or furnishing of the last item of materials. Notice must be filed with the contractor within 10 days after filing the notice with the Secretary or Clerk. The claim must include a description of the claimant's contract as it pertains to the public improvement, describing the work done by the claimant and stating the total amount due and unpaid as of the date of the verified notice. The statute of limitations for filing an action to enforce the claim is extended from 120 days to 1 year after the furnishing of the last item of work or materials by the claimant.
Public Health Standard Orders (SB 123/PA 97-0589): Establishes what public health standing orders must contain and who can provide services under the standing orders. Adds provisions for outpatient clinics to comply with the Public Health Standing Orders Act., and makes other technical changes to bring laws relating to local government and governmental employees tort immunity into accordance with Public Health Standing Orders Act.
Purple Heart Day (HB 1537/PA 97-0258): Establishes Purple Heart Day on Aug. 7th of each year in Illinois. Repeals provisions that established a task force to study the possible health effects of exposure to hazardous materials and requiring the task force to submit a report.

Pyrotechnics Regulations (HB 711/PA 97-0164): Updates the laws regarding the use of pyrotechnics in the musical entertainment industry. Adds provisions concerning exemptions, licensure, qualifications, unlicensed activity, discipline, and reporting accidents or incidents. Makes changes to provisions concerning scope, storage certificates, storage requirements, unlicensed activity, non-residents, recordkeeping, hearings, and criminal penalties.

Racial Classification (HB 332/PA 97-0396): Replaces racial classifications throughout Illinois Statutes with those used by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.

Radon Reporting (HB 141/PA 97-0021): Requires landlords to provide tenants with notice of radon tests that indicated a radon hazard.

Rebate Disclosures (HB 3406/PA 97-0308): Requires any business or person who offers a retail rebate to consumers to further clarify what rebate the consumer can expect to receive by disclosing the type of rebate being offered, whether additional fees may apply, and the form of remittance that will be provided to the consumer.

Remedial Summer School (HB 139/PA 97-0086): Requires remedial summer schools to emphasize reading and mathematics for a student who has performed two or more grades below his or her grade level for two consecutive school years.

Rental Car Traffic Citations (HB 1593/PA 97-0029): Allows for a rental car company to provide the name of a previous renter to the SoS to ensure the renter of a car, not the rental company, receives any citation issued to them as the result of an automated traffic camera.

Re-opened Case Notification (SB 1043/PA 97-0457): Requires law enforcement authorities who re-open a closed case to notify the victim or victim's family, unless the State's Attorney determines that disclosure would unreasonably interfere with the investigation.

Respectful Language (SB 1833/PA 97-0227): Makes changes to language in state law to replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” and substituting “physically disabled” for the term “crippled.”

Road District Abolition (SB 1907/PA 97-0611): Allows a township board in Cook County to put on the ballot a referendum to eliminate the road district within the township; this would require the township board to assume the responsibilities of the road district.

ROE Shared Services Promotion (SB 2134/PA 97-0357): Encourages regional superintendents to offer, if fiscally prudent, school districts the opportunity to share in joint educational or operational programs. If asked by a school district, the regional superintendent may present opportunities for service sharing or consolidation. Also requires school districts to annually publish on their Web sties a one-page report summarizing the district’s efforts to improve fiscal efficiency.

Safe Patient Handling (HB 1684/PA 97-0122): Makes minor changes to the Safe Patient Handling Policy that are intended to control risk of injury to patients and health care workers associated with the lifting, transferring, repositioning, or movement of a patient.

Safe School Zones (HB 78/PA 97-0547): Establishes a safe school zone and increases the punishment for trespassing in a safe school zone.

Safety Funding (HB 1303/PA 97-0114): Allows Fire Prevention Fund money to be used to fund the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.

School Reporting Dates (HB 3464/PA 97-0256): Changes the reporting date to October 1 for administrator and teacher salary/benefits, and the claim date to August 30 for orphanage claims. Stipulates that reporting of dual accredited course enrollment will be done at a time designated by the State Superintendent, and requires the educator supply and demand report to be made every 3 years.

Science and Math Partnership Schools (SB 621/PA 97-0097): Allows for the joint operation of elementary science and mathematics partnership schools between multiple school districts, in conjunction with institutions of higher education.

Seat Belts (HB 219/PA 97-0016): Requires adult passengers in the back seat of a vehicle to wear a seat belt, and also requires those 18 and younger riding in a taxi cab for school-related purposes to wear a seat belt.

Sex Offenders (HB 295/PA 97-0155): Requires sex offenders who are employed at or attend an institution of higher education to also register with the campus’s public safety or security director instead of just with the Chief of Police or County Sheriff. (HB 1253/PA 97-0578): Requires sex offenders who have never been required to register before, or whose term of registration has expired, to register or register again if they are convicted of a new felony offense after July 1, 2011.

Sex Offender Stalking (HB 277/PA 97-0468): Provides that a registered sex offender commits the offense of aggravated stalking if he or she is convicted of the offense of stalking against the same victim or a family member of the victim of the offense for which the sex offender had to register.

Sheriff License Plates Fee Exemption (SB 2162/PA 97-0430): Removes the $25 fee for the transfer of registration plates from a wrecked county-owned vehicle to a replacement vehicle, beginning in the 2012 registration year.

Shingle Recycling (HB 1326/PA 97-0314): Reduces the number of shingle waste a shingle recycling company must produce to qualify as a recycling company. This will make it easier for these companies to be issued a recycling permit instead of a landfill waste dump permit, which is a more burdensome and controversial permit.

Smoke Detectors (HB 1398/PA 97-0447): Requires hotels to be equipped with at least one smoke detector within 15 feet of every room that is used for sleeping purposes.

Social Security Number Protection (HB 700/PA 97-0400): Provides that IDFPR can only use a person’s social security number on paperwork for initial licensing. After initial licensing a customer tracking number must be issued and used on all paperwork from that point on.

Spanish DNR Forms (HB 3134/PA 97-0382): Requires the DPH to publish Do Not Resuscitate forms in Spanish.
Specialty Plates (HB 2938/PA 97-0409): Establishes that the Secretary of State (SOS) must receive 1,500 applications for a specialty plate within two years or the SOS’s authority to issue the plate will be nullified. Requires charities that are to receive funds from the sale of a specialty license plate to meet the registration and reporting requirements of the Charitable Trust Act and the Solicitation for Charity Act each year. Provides that specialty plates will be discontinued if their registrations fall below 1,000 a year, and requires SOS to recall all issued plates of that type; vehicle owners who have the recalled plates are entitled to receive different plates without a fee.
Substance Abuse-Treatment Funding (HB 2048/PA 97-0253): Allows State's Attorneys to use drug asset forfeiture funds for grants to local substance abuse treatment facilities and half-way houses.

Surveyor Training (HB 1380/PA 97-0489): Requires DPH to establish a surveyor training unit funded from money deposited in the Long Term Care Monitor/Receiver Fund, which will help DPH to carry out the survey process with minimal use of State funds

Switchgrass Production Permits (HB 3139/PA 97-0134): Allows the Illinois Department of Transportation to issue a switchgrass production permit to allow private entities to grow and harvest switchgrass on specified right-of-ways.

Synthetic Cannabis (HB 2595/PA 97-0193): Adds to the list of Schedule I controlled substances five generic definitions of classes of synthetic cannabinoids, which are often sold alongside smoking paraphernalia to produce a “high” similar to that associated with cannabis.

Tax Abatement (HB 212/PA 97-0577): Allows property tax abatements for certain municipalities and school districts in eligible business corridors. Eligible municipalities must have a per capita equalized assessed valuation (EAV) that is less than 60% of the State average, and more than 15% of its population below the national poverty level. The school district must have maintained an unrestricted fund balance of at least 20% of its total direct expenditures for the most recent two years that data are available.

Taxation Disclosure Act (SB 43/PA 97-0353): Directs the Dept. of Revenue to create an online searchable data base of all tax rates in the state, which will be publicly available by January 1, 2012. It must include all taxes: income, sales, property, and business taxes imposed by taxing districts and by the State.

Temporary Guardians (SB 2015/PA 97-0614): Allows the court to appoint a temporary guardian for an adult with disabilities if their guardian dies, becomes incapacitated or resigns. Allows for extension of temporary guardianship in certain circumstances. Adds a provision that the report accompanying a petition for adjudication of disability be signed only by a licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatrist if the evaluation is limited to the respondent's mental condition.

Tobacco Cessation (SB 673/PA 97-0592): Makes the tobacco cessation program mandatory, and requires group health insurers to offer, for additional premiums, $500 a year worth of tobacco cessation program coverage/reimbursement

Torens Act Repeal (HB 1379/PA 97-0118): Repeals the Registered Titles Act (Torens Act) on January 1, 2014. Though the Act was repealed in 1997, the law did not repeal provisions relating to the indemnity fund nor did it terminate, diminish, or impair any existing rights pertaining to registered land or any existing right to resort to the indemnity fund.

Torture Penalties (HB 233/PA 97-0467): Makes an aggravated battery that causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement a Class 1 felony when it involves the infliction of torture or extreme physical pain, motivated by the offender's intent to increase or prolong the pain, suffering, or agony of the victim.

Township Officer Conviction (HB 195/PA 97-0295): Provides that a conviction of a township officer for an infamous crime will force the person from office by creating a vacancy, so that the position may be filled by the standard appointment procedure.

Transparent Staffing Plans (SB 1342/PA 97-0423): States that a copy of a written staffing plan for nursing care services must be provided to any member of the general public upon request.

Truck Restrictions (SB 1644/PA 97-0201): Preempts home rule to establish that weight and size limits on trucks are under the exclusive purview of the state, with some exemptions.

Truck Route Reporting (HB 1377/PA 97-0291): Requires local governments to report all truck routes not classified as Class II or III truck routes to IDOT. If none exist, the local governments must affirm this. IDOT is then required to place this information on its Web site.
Uniform Foreign Money Judgments (SB 1074/PA 97-0140): Adopts the Uniform Foreign Money Judgments Recognition Act so that monetary judgments obtained in foreign countries can be enforced in Illinois.
Uninsured Driving (HB 2267/PA 97-0407): Requires mandatory maximum fines for a person who has multiple convictions of driving an uninsured motor vehicle. Requires that a $2,500 fine be imposed, in addition to any jail sentence, for an individual convicted of driving an uninsured vehicle that results in bodily harm to another person, if the defendant has two or more convictions for driving an uninsured vehicle. Requires the same fee for a person who receives a third conviction of uninsured operation of a motor vehicle that leads to bodily injury to another. Sets the fee at $1,000 for an individual convicted of a third or subsequent violation of uninsured operation of a vehicle that does not result in bodily injury.

Universal Fare Pass (HB 2874/PA 97-0271): Requires the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to develop and make available to riders 65 and older a universal fare pass that can be used on all public transportation funded by the RTA.

Used Vehicles (SB 1336/PA 97-0042): States that CMS must be given the opportunity to receive used IDOT vehicles through inter-agency transfer. If the vehicle is not taken by a state agency, CMS must notify local governments that the vehicle is available for purchase.

Utility Access (HB 1260/PA 97-0077): Provides that service members and veterans are covered under the no utility disconnection law during the winter months.

Vehicle Occupancy Restrictions (HB 1315/PA 97-0017): Bans riding in a trailer, semitrailer, farm wagon or any other vehicle while it is being towed upon a public highway, unless necessary due to an emergency situation.

Vending Machine (HB 2991/PA 97-0335): Eliminates the current mandate that retailers submit an annual report detailing the number of vending machines used in their business. Instead, puts the burden on the Dept. of Revenue to request the information if needed. Also requires a retailer to request an additional sub-certificate or sub-certificates if he or she increases the number of vending machines used in the business.

Veterans Affairs Clean-up (HB 1445/PA 97-0297): Creates “The Department of Women’s Veterans Affairs” within the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Removes the Commission to encourage more programs to address Persian Gulf War Veterans; removes language pertaining to the John Joseph Kelly Veteran’s Home and erroneous language pertaining to provisions of contract of work service at the Anna Veterans Home; requires the Veterans’ Memorial Commission to make recommendations to ensure maintenance and preservation of veterans’ memorials.

Victim Impact Statements (HB 1928/PA 97-0299): Expands the list of people who can present victim impact statements under the Open Parole Hearings Act to include any friend of the victim or any concerned citizen. Establishes that victim impact statements are be considered public documents under the Freedom of Information Act. (HB 3300/PA 97-0572): Allows victims or their representatives to file victim impact statements for consideration at sentencing, and to receive notice of sentencing hearings, for certain motor vehicle violations that resulted in personal injury or death—even if no misdemeanor or felony criminal charges were filed.

Video Cameras in Vehicles (HB 3403/PA 97-0499): Allows video cameras in cars featuring entertainment or business applications to be displayed on the front monitor so long as the images are not viewable by the driver while operating the vehicle.

Voting (SB 98/PA 97-0275): Offers residents at Federal veterans’ facilities voting assistance either through absentee or on-site voting. The bill ensures that the incapacitated voter provisions that apply to long term care facilities and the state veterans homes will also apply to residents of the state’s five Federal veterans’ facilities.

Warrant Fees (HB 2581/PA 97-0175): Addresses confusion surrounding a current law. Specifies that State Police are to receive $70 of the $75 fee that is collected from cases where a person fails to appear on an arrest warrant if ISP is the arresting agency. Establishes that when an arrest warrant is issued, payment of the $75 fee will be a condition of release (unless otherwise ordered by the court).

Weapons Possession (SB 1589/PA 97-0237): Requires mandatory prison for the unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a convicted felon or DOC inmate on parole or mandatory supervised release.

Youth Post-Release Placement (SB 1292/PA 97-0518): Gives the juvenile court that presided over a delinquency hearing the ability to require the Dept. of Juvenile Justice to report periodically back to the court about the Department's efforts to secure post-release placement of youth committed to Dept. of Juvenile Justice facilities.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why Sen Sandack (R) is Voting Against Tax Breaks for Sears/CME

by Sen Sandack

The slightly revised bill is not tax relief for all; rather tax favoritism for a few. Rather than rolling back that ill-fated increase for everyone, the legislature and Governor are selecting a couple of companies for preferential treatment... and offering indiv...idual and family taxpayers a couple bucks too. But that doesn't cut it because a week's pay was taken by that tax increase. To get $5 or $10 bucks "back" is essentially making change; not providing tax relief. Besides, we know what's coming next-- every big employer will soon be asking Springfield for their corporate relief.

Ameren Begins Implementation of Plans to Modernize the Electric Grid

Peoria, Ill., (Dec. 13, 2011) – Ameren Illinois is focusing on 2012 and beyond as it begins to fulfill its promise with the enactment of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, formerly known as Senate Bill (SB) 1652. To lead this effort, Ameren Illinois has named Michael L. Moehn, senior vice president of Customer Operations.

The Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act is a statewide commitment with a formula ratemaking approach that will create more than 2,400 jobs and require approximately $3 billion of investment over the next 10 years to modernize the state’s electric system including the installation of smart grid. .

“The enactment of this law is good for customers because it will improve the quality of their service, reduce outage frequency and length, and it will introduce them to new technologies, which could save them money on their bills,” said Scott A. Cisel, president and CEO, Ameren Illinois. “This enactment is also a nice shot in the arm for the state’s economy with the creation of 2,400-plus jobs.”

Ameren Illinois is referring to implementing the new law as its Modernization Action Plan (MAP). The MAP will ensure a more secure and reliable delivery system, benefitting customers, co-workers, investors and the environment. MAP will serve as the blueprint that will guide Ameren Illinois through its 10-year infrastructure modernization.

Moehn will assume his new role on January 1, 2012. He will report to Cisel.

“Michael will have responsibility for all electric and gas operations, technical services and customer operations in Illinois and his team will be leading the operations and customer service implementation of MAP,” Cisel said. “Michael has led Ameren’s strategic planning efforts and has overseen the creation of our risk management structure. He brings strong project management and financial skills to Ameren Illinois’ strong performing operations and customer service teams.”

Moehn previously was senior vice president of Corporate Planning and Business Risk Management since 2008. His responsibilities included corporate modeling, corporate project risk management, corporate strategic planning, pricing and analysis, merger and acquisition transactions and resource planning. Prior to assuming this position, he served as vice president of Corporate Planning since 2004.

Moehn holds a bachelor of arts degree in accounting from Saint Louis University, a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University, and a certificate in nuclear reactor technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Moehn is also a 2008 Eisenhower Fellow. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Ameren Illinois has been providing energy delivery service for more than a century. We deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in Downstate Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) Warns of Growing Danger of European Nations' Debt Crisis Affecting US Banking System


WASHINGTON - Following the failure of European leaders to build decisive consensus on managing the growing European sovereign debt crisis, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) wrote to Treasury Secretary Geithner about the ‘systemic risk’ this crisis poses to U.S. banks and other financial institutions.

Under the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a new ‘Financial Stability Oversight Council’ must review and mitigate ‘systemic risks’ that could threaten U.S. banks or other financial institutions. Sen. Kirk, a junior member of the Senate Banking Committee, called on Secretary Geithner, the Chairman of the new Council, to conduct a “thorough analysis of the risk posed to U.S. financial institutions by the European sovereign debt crisis”.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, the European countries in crisis (Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy) directly owe U.S. banks $180.9 billion and are exposed to a further $586.6 billion in indirect risks posed by this crisis. Senator Kirk wrote, “events are moving so quickly that real-time, dynamic oversight of the European sovereign debt crisis needs to be a FSOC priority right now”. The letter also referenced Fitch Ratings warning that the U.S. banking industry faces “serious risk” and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco warning that, “a European sovereign debt default may well sink the United States back into recession.”

The full text of the letter appears below:

December 12, 2011

The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner


Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Geithner:

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) was established to monitor emerging threats to the stability of the financial system and identify risks in U.S. financial institutions. Additionally, the Office of Financial Research (OFR) was created to assist the Council in collecting the necessary data to assess systemic risk. I believe the European sovereign debt crisis could now pose a systemic risk to the U.S. financial system and warrants enhanced monitoring by FSOC. I request a thorough analysis of the risk posed to U.S. financial institutions by the European sovereign debt crisis.

In recent months, U.S. financial markets experienced significant volatility. Many shocks in equities and bond valuations were related to developments in the Euro-zone. We have already witnessed one firm, MF Global Inc., file for bankruptcy as a result of over-exposure to European sovereign debt. Fitch Ratings warned that the U.S. banking industry faces “serious risk” from the European sovereign debt crisis. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco tells us, “a European sovereign debt default may well sink the United States back into recession.”

With multiple signals that the crisis in the Euro-zone does indeed present a risk to the U.S. economy and financial sector, what monitoring and research is FSOC undertaking or requiring covered financial institutions to conduct to assess this systemic risk? Certainly, the Bank for International Settlements and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation provide data that can be compiled to show U.S. financial exposure on a static basis. However, events are moving so quickly that real-time, dynamic oversight of the European sovereign debt crisis needs to be a FSOC priority right now.

In 2011, FSOC reported on concentration limits on large financial companies, secured creditor haircuts and the Volcker Rule. The S&P Credit Watch warning against European sovereign debt has the potential to eclipse the risks of the other subjects examined by the Council. This is the type of research and analysis that I believe FSOC must undertake and make publicly available.


Mark Kirk

United States Senator

Gov Quinn Statement on Tax Credits for Sears/CME

SPRINGFIELD – December 12, 2011. Governor Quinn today issued a statement in support of an economic growth and tax reform package currently before the General Assembly.

“I commend the House, Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, Leader Tom Cross, Rep. John Bradley and Rep. David Harris for their bipartisan and diligent work to pass a package that will bring much-needed relief to working families in Illinois and help employers put more people back to work.”

“Before veto session, we brought the leaders to the table with the goal of delivering help for both hard-working families and employers. This package meets those standards and is a win for the people of Illinois.”

“Investing in working families is good for Illinois. The Earned Income Tax Credit will put more money in the pockets of everyday working people, which in turn allows them to invest that money back into their local communities. Improving the value of the standard personal exemption will provide relief to those trying to make ends meet. Investing in employers is also good for Illinois, and this package is targeted to spur job creation and economic development all over the state.”

“I encourage the Senate to take swift action tomorrow.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ICC Approves Merger of Nicor Gas and AGL Resources, But Condidtionally

The Illinois Commerce Commission voted unanimously today to approve the merger of Nicor Gas and AGL Resources as long as certain conditions are met as part of the reorganization.

Chief among those conditions are those that require base rates to remain fixed at current rates for three years following the closing of the reorganization, and that if there are savings as a result the merger, they will be flowed through natural gas rates to Illinois ratepayers.

Other conditions require the new company to maintain certain jobs, management personnel, training and quality assurance programs and pipeline safety program staff across the Nicor service area for three years and in some cases five years. Specifically, the order directs that the company maintain the same number of full-time equivalent employees and Illinois management personnel in the areas of corrosion control, technical compliance, locating services, transmission integrity management program and the distribution integrity management program for five years. The company also must to maintain the current level of training and quality assurance programs for compliance monitoring activities.

The Commission also adopted conditions that require the reorganized company to maintain economic development activity, social and charitable giving and that an Illinois representative be named to the new company’s board of directors. The company’s CEO will be required to appear annually before the Commission to report on compliance with the conditions in the Commission order.

The Commission ordered Nicor Gas to discontinue solicitation of inside pipe repairs on behalf of an affiliate company, the program known as Comfort Guard, when customers call.

The Commission found it to be an unjustified subsidy of the affiliate company, determined that call center personnel fail to provide pertinent information to customers and that the practice hinders competition for repair services, since Nicor call center personnel have an advantage in selling the service to the utility’s customers when they call.

Section 7-204 of the Public Utilities Act requires the Commission to find that the proposed reorganization will not adversely affect the utility’s ability to provide adequate, reliable, efficient, safe and least-cost public utility service.

The Public Utility’s Act states that the reorganization must not result in unjustified subsidization of non-utility activities by utility customers, will not significantly impair the utility’s ability to raise necessary capital on reasonable terms or to maintain a reasonable capital structure; allocates costs reasonably between utility and non-utility activities in a manner that can be easily identified by the Commission; does not adversely affect competition in the Illinois market; and that it will not result in adverse rate impacts on retail customers.

The Commission order determined Nicor ratepayers should not pay any of the costs associated with the merger and reorganization.

Lt Gov Shelia Simon (D) Statement on Blagojevich Sentencing

CHICAGO – December 7, 2011. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today said the sentencing of former Governor Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges will not kill the state’s pay-to-play culture unless it prompts serious ethics reform.

"We cannot rely on a prison sentence to deter corruption,” Simon said. “Illinois needs stronger ethics laws to kill pay-to-play politics. It's time we expose conflicts of interest before they cost taxpayers, and clear the way for true public servants to rebuild trust with the public. Increased transparency, coupled with the threat of serious prison time, can end these shameful courtroom battles. Together we can put this chapter behind us, restore integrity to government and live up to our legacy as the Land of Lincoln.”

Simon is a former Jackson County prosecutor and served on the Illinois Reform Commission, which was created in 2009 in the wake of Blagojevich's arrest and helped pass the state's first campaign finance limits law. She will work with the General Assembly to pass legislation in 2012 to strengthen the state’s financial disclosure law.

Atty-Gen Lisa Madigan (D) Statement on Sentencing of Rod Blagojevich

Chicago – Based on his convictions - for numerous crimes he was caught on tape committing during just one six-week period - Blagojevich deserves a lengthy prison sentence. Unfortunately, though, it cannot fix the damage he inflicted on our state over his six years as governor. Blagojevich became governor by promising ethical reform, but from the start, he relentlessly used his position to pursue illegal and morally bankrupt schemes motivated by power and greed. His conduct was disgraceful, and the cost to the state has been devastating. Blagojevich refused to govern responsibly and, instead, put Illinois up for sale. He tarnished the state’s reputation nationally and internationally, and he destroyed the public’s trust in government. May today’s sentence put an end to corruption in the Illinois’ governor’s office.

Statement by Treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) on the Sentencing of Rod Blagojevich

“Rod Blagojevich brought the 14 year sentence on himself. He deceived the people of Illinois far too long for what the jury substantiated as his own personal gain. Today’s sentencing is proof that such corrupt, embarrassing behavior will no longer be tolerated in Illinois.”..

Blagojevich Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison, Fined $20,000.

Judge Zagel sentenced former Gov Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in federal prison. In his sentencing remarks, Zagel told the courtroom that many good fathers are bad citizens. But Zagel appeared to take into account Blagojevich's apology and acceptance of guilt, as he sentenced him. Giving him 14 years in Federal prison, which means Blago will have to serve at least 11.9 years in jail, but the thinking was Blago would have had more time, but for his apology before the court prior to his being sentenced.

Reporters in the courtroom say Blago was red-eyed as he sat with his wife Patti, awaiting his sentencing. In addressing the court, Blago said he was sorry for his actions, including trying the case in the media. Blago also apologized to his brother Rob, who was a defendent in the first trial, but was found innocent.

Judge Zagel in his remarks prior to sentencing noted that the position of Governor is more important than any other position, aside from the President, and said Blago's actions undermined the confidence of citizens in their government.

In a statement just prior to the announcement of sentencing, Sen Mark Kirk (R) said that this is a big victory for US Attorney Pat Fitzgerald, who now has sent a second IL governor to jail.

Just prior to being sentenced, Blagojevich told the court, "My life is ruined. My primary reason for living now is my daughters."

The Blagojevich's have two daughters, a 8 year old and a 15 year old. This sentencing today will mean that Blago will miss his daughters' teenage years, and possibly miss a wedding.

Judge Zagel allowed Blagojevich to remain free until mid-February, which means he can have the holidays with his family and get his affairs in order.

Jim Ryan Ad from 2002 Campaign Shows Concerns About Blago's Ethics When He First Ran for Gov

Thanks to Dan Curry for bringing this to our attention. Here's an ad that then IL Atty-Gen Jim Ryan ran against Rod Blagojevich back in 2002, when Blago first ran for Governor and won. Ryan was then the GOP nominee for governor.

As we can see in the ad, there were ethical concerns about Rod even before he was first elected. If only we would have known then, what we know now !

President Barack Obama on the 70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

from the White House, Dec 7, 2011

Seventy years ago today, a bright Sunday morning was darkened by the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, Michelle and I join the American people in honoring the memory of the more than 2,400 American patriots—military and civilian, men, women and children—who gave their lives in our first battle of the Second World War. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families for whom this day is deeply personal—the spouses, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters who have known seven decades without a loved one but who have kept their legacy alive for future generations.

We salute the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor who inspire us still. Despite overwhelming odds, they fought back heroically, inspiring our nation and putting us on the path to victory. They are members of that Greatest Generation who overcame the Depression, crossed oceans and stormed the beaches to defeat fascism, and turned adversaries into our closest allies. When the guns fell silent, they came home, went to school on the G.I. Bill, and built the largest middle class in history and the strongest economy in the world. They remind us that no challenge is too great when Americans stand as one. All of us owe these men and women a profound debt of gratitude for the freedoms and standard of living we enjoy today.

On this National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we also reaffirm our commitment to carrying on their work—to keeping the country we love strong, free and prosperous. And as today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan come to an end and we welcome home our 9/11 Generation, we resolve to always take care of our troops, veterans and military families as well as they’ve taken care of us. On this solemn anniversary, there can be no higher tribute to the Americans who served and sacrificed seventy years ago today.


VIDEO: Cong Aaron Schock (R-IL) on MSNBC on Transportation Funding and the Payroll Tax Cut Proposal

MSNBC Video from Weds morning, in which IL Congressman Aaron Schock (R), talks about the Payroll Tax cut proposed by President Obama, and why Schock is urging a six year bill to fund Transportation projects.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Text of President Obama's Remarks in Kansas on the Economy

Osawatomie High School

Osawatomie, Kansas

12:59 P.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please, please have a seat. Thank you so much. Thank you. Good afternoon, everybody.

AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to start by thanking a few folks who’ve joined us today. We’ve got the mayor of Osawatomie, Phil Dudley is here. (Applause.) We have your superintendent Gary French in the house. (Applause.) And we have the principal of Osawatomie High, Doug Chisam. (Applause.) And I have brought your former governor, who is doing now an outstanding job as Secretary of Health and Human Services -- Kathleen Sebelius is in the house. (Applause.) We love Kathleen.

Well, it is great to be back in the state of Tex -- (laughter) -- state of Kansas. I was giving Bill Self a hard time, he was here a while back. As many of you know, I have roots here. (Applause.) I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Obamas of Osawatomie. (Laughter.) Actually, I like to say that I got my name from my father, but I got my accent -- and my values -- from my mother. (Applause.) She was born in Wichita. (Applause.) Her mother grew up in Augusta. Her father was from El Dorado. So my Kansas roots run deep.

My grandparents served during World War II. He was a soldier in Patton’s Army; she was a worker on a bomber assembly line. And together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over the Great Depression and over fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, and responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried -- no matter who you were, no matter where you came from, no matter how you started out. (Applause.)

And these values gave rise to the largest middle class and the strongest economy that the world has ever known. It was here in America that the most productive workers, the most innovative companies turned out the best products on Earth. And you know what? Every American shared in that pride and in that success -- from those in the executive suites to those in middle management to those on the factory floor. (Applause.) So you could have some confidence that if you gave it your all, you’d take enough home to raise your family and send your kids to school and have your health care covered, put a little away for retirement.

Today, we’re still home to the world’s most productive workers. We’re still home to the world’s most innovative companies. But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments -- wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t -- and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.

Now, for many years, credit cards and home equity loans papered over this harsh reality. But in 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We all know the story by now: Mortgages sold to people who couldn’t afford them, or even sometimes understand them. Banks and investors allowed to keep packaging the risk and selling it off. Huge bets -- and huge bonuses -- made with other people’s money on the line. Regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this, but looked the other way or didn’t have the authority to look at all.

It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility all across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we’re still fighting to recover. It claimed the jobs and the homes and the basic security of millions of people -- innocent, hardworking Americans who had met their responsibilities but were still left holding the bag.

And ever since, there’s been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity, restore balance, restore fairness. Throughout the country, it’s sparked protests and political movements -- from the tea party to the people who’ve been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It’s left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. It’s been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women running for president. (Laughter.)

But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what’s at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement.

Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

I am here to say they are wrong. (Applause.) I’m here in Kansas to reaffirm my deep conviction that we’re greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules. (Applause.) These aren’t Democratic values or Republican values. These aren’t 1 percent values or 99 percent values. They’re American values. And we have to reclaim them. (Applause.)

You see, this isn’t the first time America has faced this choice. At the turn of the last century, when a nation of farmers was transitioning to become the world’s industrial giant, we had to decide: Would we settle for a country where most of the new railroads and factories were being controlled by a few giant monopolies that kept prices high and wages low? Would we allow our citizens and even our children to work ungodly hours in conditions that were unsafe and unsanitary? Would we restrict education to the privileged few? Because there were people who thought massive inequality and exploitation of people was just the price you pay for progress.

Theodore Roosevelt disagreed. He was the Republican son of a wealthy family. He praised what the titans of industry had done to create jobs and grow the economy. He believed then what we know is true today, that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. It’s led to a prosperity and a standard of living unmatched by the rest of the world.

But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can. (Applause.) He understood the free market only works when there are rules of the road that ensure competition is fair and open and honest. And so he busted up monopolies, forcing those companies to compete for consumers with better services and better prices. And today, they still must. He fought to make sure businesses couldn’t profit by exploiting children or selling food or medicine that wasn’t safe. And today, they still can’t.

And in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt came here to Osawatomie and he laid out his vision for what he called a New Nationalism. “Our country,” he said, “…means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy…of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him.” (Applause.)

Now, for this, Roosevelt was called a radical. He was called a socialist -- (laughter) -- even a communist. But today, we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign: an eight-hour work day and a minimum wage for women -- (applause) -- insurance for the unemployed and for the elderly, and those with disabilities; political reform and a progressive income tax. (Applause.)

Today, over 100 years later, our economy has gone through another transformation. Over the last few decades, huge advances in technology have allowed businesses to do more with less, and it’s made it easier for them to set up shop and hire workers anywhere they want in the world. And many of you know firsthand the painful disruptions this has caused for a lot of Americans.

Factories where people thought they would retire suddenly picked up and went overseas, where workers were cheaper. Steel mills that needed 100 -- or 1,000 employees are now able to do the same work with 100 employees, so layoffs too often became permanent, not just a temporary part of the business cycle. And these changes didn’t just affect blue-collar workers. If you were a bank teller or a phone operator or a travel agent, you saw many in your profession replaced by ATMs and the Internet.

Today, even higher-skilled jobs, like accountants and middle management can be outsourced to countries like China or India. And if you’re somebody whose job can be done cheaper by a computer or someone in another country, you don’t have a lot of leverage with your employer when it comes to asking for better wages or better benefits, especially since fewer Americans today are part of a union.

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

Remember in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history. And what did it get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class -- things like education and infrastructure, science and technology, Medicare and Social Security.

Remember that in those same years, thanks to some of the same folks who are now running Congress, we had weak regulation, we had little oversight, and what did it get us? Insurance companies that jacked up people’s premiums with impunity and denied care to patients who were sick, mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford, a financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.

We simply cannot return to this brand of “you’re on your own” economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country. (Applause.) We know that it doesn’t result in a strong economy. It results in an economy that invests too little in its people and in its future. We know it doesn’t result in a prosperity that trickles down. It results in a prosperity that’s enjoyed by fewer and fewer of our citizens.

Look at the statistics. In the last few decades, the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent to $1.2 million per year. I’m not talking about millionaires, people who have a million dollars. I’m saying people who make a million dollars every single year. For the top one hundredth of 1 percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6 percent.

Now, this kind of inequality -- a level that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression -- hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, when people are slipping out of the middle class, it drags down the entire economy from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity, of strong consumers all across the country. That’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars he made. It’s also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.

Inequality also distorts our democracy. It gives an outsized voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, and it runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder. (Applause.) It leaves everyone else rightly suspicious that the system in Washington is rigged against them, that our elected representatives aren’t looking out for the interests of most Americans.

But there’s an even more fundamental issue at stake. This kind of gaping inequality gives lie to the promise that’s at the very heart of America: that this is a place where you can make it if you try. We tell people -- we tell our kids -- that in this country, even if you’re born with nothing, work hard and you can get into the middle class. We tell them that your children will have a chance to do even better than you do. That’s why immigrants from around the world historically have flocked to our shores.

And yet, over the last few decades, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity have grown farther and farther apart, and the middle class has shrunk. You know, a few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance had fallen to around 40 percent. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a one-in-three chance of making it to the middle class -- 33 percent.

It’s heartbreaking enough that there are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal. But the idea that those children might not have a chance to climb out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard they work? That’s inexcusable. It is wrong. (Applause.) It flies in the face of everything that we stand for. (Applause.)

Now, fortunately, that’s not a future that we have to accept, because there’s another view about how we build a strong middle class in this country -- a view that’s truer to our history, a vision that’s been embraced in the past by people of both parties for more than 200 years.

It’s not a view that we should somehow turn back technology or put up walls around America. It’s not a view that says we should punish profit or success or pretend that government knows how to fix all of society’s problems. It is a view that says in America we are greater together -- when everyone engages in fair play and everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share. (Applause.)

So what does that mean for restoring middle-class security in today’s economy? Well, it starts by making sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success. The truth is we’ll never be able to compete with other countries when it comes to who’s best at letting their businesses pay the lowest wages, who’s best at busting unions, who’s best at letting companies pollute as much as they want. That’s a race to the bottom that we can’t win, and we shouldn’t want to win that race. (Applause.) Those countries don’t have a strong middle class. They don’t have our standard of living.

The race we want to win, the race we can win is a race to the top -- the race for good jobs that pay well and offer middle-class security. Businesses will create those jobs in countries with the highest-skilled, highest-educated workers, the most advanced transportation and communication, the strongest commitment to research and technology.

The world is shifting to an innovation economy and nobody does innovation better than America. Nobody does it better. (Applause.) No one has better colleges. Nobody has better universities. Nobody has a greater diversity of talent and ingenuity. No one’s workers or entrepreneurs are more driven or more daring. The things that have always been our strengths match up perfectly with the demands of the moment.

But we need to meet the moment. We’ve got to up our game. We need to remember that we can only do that together. It starts by making education a national mission -- a national mission. (Applause.) Government and businesses, parents and citizens. In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class. The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average. And their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma. Which means we shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now -- we should be hiring them. (Applause.) We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools –- we should be demanding more. (Applause.) We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college -- we should be a country where everyone has a chance to go and doesn’t rack up $100,000 of debt just because they went. (Applause.)

In today’s innovation economy, we also need a world-class commitment to science and research, the next generation of high-tech manufacturing. Our factories and our workers shouldn’t be idle. We should be giving people the chance to get new skills and training at community colleges so they can learn how to make wind turbines and semiconductors and high-powered batteries. And by the way, if we don’t have an economy that’s built on bubbles and financial speculation, our best and brightest won’t all gravitate towards careers in banking and finance. (Applause.) Because if we want an economy that’s built to last, we need more of those young people in science and engineering. (Applause.) This country should not be known for bad debt and phony profits. We should be known for creating and selling products all around the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America. (Applause.)

Today, manufacturers and other companies are setting up shop in the places with the best infrastructure to ship their products, move their workers, communicate with the rest of the world. And that’s why the over 1 million construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing market collapsed, they shouldn’t be sitting at home with nothing to do. They should be rebuilding our roads and our bridges, laying down faster railroads and broadband, modernizing our schools -- (applause) -- all the things other countries are already doing to attract good jobs and businesses to their shores.

Yes, business, and not government, will always be the primary generator of good jobs with incomes that lift people into the middle class and keep them there. But as a nation, we’ve always come together, through our government, to help create the conditions where both workers and businesses can succeed. (Applause.) And historically, that hasn’t been a partisan idea. Franklin Roosevelt worked with Democrats and Republicans to give veterans of World War II -- including my grandfather, Stanley Dunham -- the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill. It was a Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, a proud son of Kansas -- (applause) -- who started the Interstate Highway System, and doubled down on science and research to stay ahead of the Soviets.

Of course, those productive investments cost money. They’re not free. And so we’ve also paid for these investments by asking everybody to do their fair share. Look, if we had unlimited resources, no one would ever have to pay any taxes and we would never have to cut any spending. But we don’t have unlimited resources. And so we have to set priorities. If we want a strong middle class, then our tax code must reflect our values. We have to make choices.

Today that choice is very clear. To reduce our deficit, I’ve already signed nearly $1 trillion of spending cuts into law and I’ve proposed trillions more, including reforms that would lower the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. (Applause.)

But in order to structurally close the deficit, get our fiscal house in order, we have to decide what our priorities are. Now, most immediately, short term, we need to extend a payroll tax cut that’s set to expire at the end of this month. (Applause.) If we don’t do that, 160 million Americans, including most of the people here, will see their taxes go up by an average of $1,000 starting in January and it would badly weaken our recovery. That’s the short term.

In the long term, we have to rethink our tax system more fundamentally. We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to make the investments we need in things like education and research and high-tech manufacturing -- all those things that helped make us an economic superpower? Or do we want to keep in place the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in our country? Because we can’t afford to do both. That is not politics. That’s just math. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, so far, most of my Republican friends in Washington have refused under any circumstance to ask the wealthiest Americans to go to the same tax rate they were paying when Bill Clinton was president. So let’s just do a trip down memory lane here.

Keep in mind, when President Clinton first proposed these tax increases, folks in Congress predicted they would kill jobs and lead to another recession. Instead, our economy created nearly 23 million jobs and we eliminated the deficit. (Applause.) Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century. This isn’t like in the early ‘50s, when the top tax rate was over 90 percent. This isn’t even like the early ‘80s, when the top tax rate was about 70 percent. Under President Clinton, the top rate was only about 39 percent. Today, thanks to loopholes and shelters, a quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of you, millions of middle-class families. Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as 1 percent. One percent.

That is the height of unfairness. It is wrong. (Applause.) It’s wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker, maybe earns $50,000 a year, should pay a higher tax rate than somebody raking in $50 million. (Applause.) It’s wrong for Warren Buffett’s secretary to pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. (Applause.) And by the way, Warren Buffett agrees with me. (Laughter.) So do most Americans -- Democrats, independents and Republicans. And I know that many of our wealthiest citizens would agree to contribute a little more if it meant reducing the deficit and strengthening the economy that made their success possible.

This isn’t about class warfare. This is about the nation’s welfare. It’s about making choices that benefit not just the people who’ve done fantastically well over the last few decades, but that benefits the middle class, and those fighting to get into the middle class, and the economy as a whole.

Finally, a strong middle class can only exist in an economy where everyone plays by the same rules, from Wall Street to Main Street. (Applause.) As infuriating as it was for all of us, we rescued our major banks from collapse, not only because a full-blown financial meltdown would have sent us into a second Depression, but because we need a strong, healthy financial sector in this country.

But part of the deal was that we wouldn’t go back to business as usual. And that’s why last year we put in place new rules of the road that refocus the financial sector on what should be their core purpose: getting capital to the entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and financing millions of families who want to buy a home or send their kids to college.

Now, we’re not all the way there yet, and the banks are fighting us every inch of the way. But already, some of these reforms are being implemented.

If you’re a big bank or risky financial institution, you now have to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail, so that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. (Applause.) There are also limits on the size of banks and new abilities for regulators to dismantle a firm that is going under. The new law bans banks from making risky bets with their customers’ deposits, and it takes away big bonuses and paydays from failed CEOs, while giving shareholders a say on executive salaries.

This is the law that we passed. We are in the process of implementing it now. All of this is being put in place as we speak. Now, unless you’re a financial institution whose business model is built on breaking the law, cheating consumers and making risky bets that could damage the entire economy, you should have nothing to fear from these new rules.

Some of you may know, my grandmother worked as a banker for most of her life -- worked her way up, started as a secretary, ended up being a vice president of a bank. And I know from her, and I know from all the people that I’ve come in contact with, that the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals, they want to do right by their customers. They want to have rules in place that don’t put them at a disadvantage for doing the right thing. And yet, Republicans in Congress are fighting as hard as they can to make sure that these rules aren’t enforced.

I’ll give you a specific example. For the first time in history, the reforms that we passed put in place a consumer watchdog who is charged with protecting everyday Americans from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders or payday lenders or debt collectors. And the man we nominated for the post, Richard Cordray, is a former attorney general of Ohio who has the support of most attorney generals, both Democrat and Republican, throughout the country. Nobody claims he’s not qualified.

But the Republicans in the Senate refuse to confirm him for the job; they refuse to let him do his job. Why? Does anybody here think that the problem that led to our financial crisis was too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors?


THE PRESIDENT: Of course not. Every day we go without a consumer watchdog is another day when a student, or a senior citizen, or a member of our Armed Forces -- because they are very vulnerable to some of this stuff -- could be tricked into a loan that they can’t afford -- something that happens all the time. And the fact is that financial institutions have plenty of lobbyists looking out for their interests. Consumers deserve to have someone whose job it is to look out for them. (Applause.) And I intend to make sure they do. (Applause.) And I want you to hear me, Kansas: I will veto any effort to delay or defund or dismantle the new rules that we put in place. (Applause.)

We shouldn’t be weakening oversight and accountability. We should be strengthening oversight and accountability. I’ll give you another example. Too often, we’ve seen Wall Street firms violating major anti-fraud laws because the penalties are too weak and there’s no price for being a repeat offender. No more. I’ll be calling for legislation that makes those penalties count so that firms don’t see punishment for breaking the law as just the price of doing business. (Applause.)

The fact is this crisis has left a huge deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. And major banks that were rescued by the taxpayers have an obligation to go the extra mile in helping to close that deficit of trust. At minimum, they should be remedying past mortgage abuses that led to the financial crisis. They should be working to keep responsible homeowners in their home. We’re going to keep pushing them to provide more time for unemployed homeowners to look for work without having to worry about immediately losing their house.

The big banks should increase access to refinancing opportunities to borrowers who haven’t yet benefited from historically low interest rates. And the big banks should recognize that precisely because these steps are in the interest of middle-class families and the broader economy, it will also be in the banks’ own long-term financial interest. What will be good for consumers over the long term will be good for the banks. (Applause.)

Investing in things like education that give everybody a chance to succeed. A tax code that makes sure everybody pays their fair share. And laws that make sure everybody follows the rules. That’s what will transform our economy. That’s what will grow our middle class again. In the end, rebuilding this economy based on fair play, a fair shot, and a fair share will require all of us to see that we have a stake in each other’s success. And it will require all of us to take some responsibility.

It will require parents to get more involved in their children’s education. It will require students to study harder. (Applause.) It will require some workers to start studying all over again. It will require greater responsibility from homeowners not to take out mortgages they can’t afford. They need to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

It will require those of us in public service to make government more efficient and more effective, more consumer-friendly, more responsive to people’s needs. That’s why we’re cutting programs that we don’t need to pay for those we do. (Applause.) That’s why we’ve made hundreds of regulatory reforms that will save businesses billions of dollars. That’s why we’re not just throwing money at education, we’re challenging schools to come up with the most innovative reforms and the best results.

And it will require American business leaders to understand that their obligations don’t just end with their shareholders. Andy Grove, the legendary former CEO of Intel, put it best. He said, “There is another obligation I feel personally, given that everything I’ve achieved in my career, and a lot of what Intel has achieved…were made possible by a climate of democracy, an economic climate and investment climate provided by the United States.”

This broader obligation can take many forms. At a time when the cost of hiring workers in China is rising rapidly, it should mean more CEOs deciding that it’s time to bring jobs back to the United States -- (applause) -- not just because it’s good for business, but because it’s good for the country that made their business and their personal success possible. (Applause.)

I think about the Big Three auto companies who, during recent negotiations, agreed to create more jobs and cars here in America, and then decided to give bonuses not just to their executives, but to all their employees, so that everyone was invested in the company’s success. (Applause.)

I think about a company based in Warroad, Minnesota. It’s called Marvin Windows and Doors. During the recession, Marvin’s competitors closed dozens of plants, let hundreds of workers go. But Marvin’s did not lay off a single one of their 4,000 or so employees -- not one. In fact, they’ve only laid off workers once in over a hundred years. Mr. Marvin’s grandfather even kept his eight employees during the Great Depression.

Now, at Marvin’s when times get tough, the workers agree to give up some perks and some pay, and so do the owners. As one owner said, “You can’t grow if you’re cutting your lifeblood -- and that’s the skills and experience your workforce delivers.” (Applause.) For the CEO of Marvin’s, it’s about the community. He said, “These are people we went to school with. We go to church with them. We see them in the same restaurants. Indeed, a lot of us have married local girls and boys. We could be anywhere, but we are in Warroad.”

That’s how America was built. That’s why we’re the greatest nation on Earth. That’s what our greatest companies understand. Our success has never just been about survival of the fittest. It’s about building a nation where we’re all better off. We pull together. We pitch in. We do our part. We believe that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, and that our children will inherit a nation where those values live on. (Applause.)

And it is that belief that rallied thousands of Americans to Osawatomie -- (applause) -- maybe even some of your ancestors -- on a rain-soaked day more than a century ago. By train, by wagon, on buggy, bicycle, on foot, they came to hear the vision of a man who loved this country and was determined to perfect it.

“We are all Americans,” Teddy Roosevelt told them that day. “Our common interests are as broad as the continent.” In the final years of his life, Roosevelt took that same message all across this country, from tiny Osawatomie to the heart of New York City, believing that no matter where he went, no matter who he was talking to, everybody would benefit from a country in which everyone gets a fair chance. (Applause.)

And well into our third century as a nation, we have grown and we’ve changed in many ways since Roosevelt’s time. The world is faster and the playing field is larger and the challenges are more complex. But what hasn’t changed -- what can never change -- are the values that got us this far. We still have a stake in each other’s success. We still believe that this should be a place where you can make it if you try. And we still believe, in the words of the man who called for a New Nationalism all those years ago, “The fundamental rule of our national life,” he said, “the rule which underlies all others -- is that, on the whole, and in the long run, we shall go up or down together.” And I believe America is on the way up. (Applause.)

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END 1:55 P.M. CST