Aug 20
Wednesday

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
Senator 26th District
108B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-8010
(217) 782-4243 FAX
 
District Office:
111 North Avenue
Suite 211
Barrington, IL  60010
(847) 277-7100
(847) 277-7101 FAX
New Law Sets Speed Limit at 70 MPH in 2014

On January 1 Illinois’ traffic will move a little faster as the state’s speed limit increases to 70 MPH under a new law.  Senate Bill 2356, co-sponsored by Senator Duffy, will bring Illinois’ speed limit in line with most of the rest of the country.

The new law updates speed limits to reflect the reality of current driving speeds in Illinois and other states. Interstates were designed for a higher rate of speed, and currently there are 34 states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher.  All of Illinois’ neighboring states, except Wisconsin, have speed limits of 70 mph.  Fifteen states have speed limits of 75 mph and one state has a speed limit of 85 mph.

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Bipartisan Committee Tackles Education Formula

On Monday, August 19, the bipartisan Senate Advisory Committee on Education Funding met in Springfield to hear testimony from the Illinois State Board of Education and others concerning disparities in education funding in Illinois.  The committee was formed in response to a Senate Republican study of school funding that drew attention to shifts in school-aid funding and called into question certain school financing decisions that have been largely made behind closed doors and without public scrutiny.

School funding in Illinois is a complex and multi-faceted system involving several funding formulas that, in recent years, have been skewed so that some districts benefit disproportionately.  The general state-aid formula, created as a “resource equalizer” was intended to provide equal state funding to school districts across the state. Over the past decade specialized formulas for property tax and poverty grants have skyrocketed and core education funding has flatlined.  As a result, more and more state dollars have been directed to schools in Chicago and away from downstate and suburban school districts with little or no debate among public policy makers.

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New Law Sponsored by Duffy Targets Transit Board Pensions

On July 23, the Governor signed a bill sponsored by State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) that will prohibit future members of Chicago-area mass transit boards from receiving pension benefits or health insurance benefits.  Members of these boards have been mired in scandal in recent years and, according to Duffy, taxpayers shouldn’t be picking up the bill for pensions and health benefits for “political appointees of political friends.”

House Bill 140 eliminates the generous healthcare and pension benefits given to the appointees of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board, Suburban Bus Board (Pace), Commuter Rail Board (Metra) and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Board, who oversee Chicago-area mass transit operations. Those currently in office will still keep their benefits; however, if current officeholders accept a reappointment, they will lose the benefits they had accrued.

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Medicaid Expansion Signed By Governor

Legislation signed in to law July 25 will add nearly 350,000 people to Illinois’ already overburdened Medicaid program. The expansion is a component of the federal Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) that had been deemed optional by a Supreme Court ruling. Senator Duffy voted against this legislation in the Senate.

Under Senate Bill 26, adults whose incomes are lower than 138% of the Federal Poverty Level will be eligible for Medicaid beginning January 1, 2014.  This expansion is in addition to the 250,000 people added to the rolls as a result of a previously approved Cook County waiver to allow early implementation of Obamacare.

Many Republicans have voiced concerns that the state is embarking on a costly new expansion that will be impossible to maintain in the coming years, and that putting too much strain on the system will limit resources for those who truly need them. They reminded their colleagues that even as Washington waves dollar bills in front of their eyes, the program is neither free nor affordable in a state that teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

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New Website Answers Common Concealed-Carry Questions

 

Click on the image above to have your questions about Illinois' new concealed-carry law answered. 

With a new concealed-carry law finally on the books many Illinois residents have questions about the law.  The Illinois State police have set up a new website with information on qualifying and applying for a license, associated costs, regulations and prohibitions, and more.  The site can be found at www.isp.state.il.us in the right sidebar.

The website also provides information about where to obtain firearms training, what the training course consists of, the type of firearm residents will be able to carry, information for businesses and property owners, and how long it will take to receive a concealed-carry license.

Illinois residents are cautioned that though ISP has begun working on establishing the licensure process for concealed carry, at this time it is still illegal to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. ISP estimated that it could take six months to set up the system, and another three months to process and screen applicants.

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