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State kicks off year-long Illinois Bicentennial celebration at Navy Pier

Gov. Rauner and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission kicked off the state’s year-long tribute to Illinois’ 200th birthday at Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier on Dec. 3.

Get covered before Illinois open enrollment ends on Dec. 15

Illinois residents have until Dec. 15 to enroll in a health insurance plan for 2018, and the Department of Insurance (DOI) has redesigned the online enrollment process to make selecting and enrolling in the right health care plan quick and easy.

Capital Development Board to release grant funds

Gov. Rauner announced during the week that he has ordered the Capital Development Board (CDB) to release grant funds to more than 20 capital projects statewide.

IDOT seeks feedback in online survey

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) published their annual Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey online this week and is seeking feedback from Illinois residents on the state’s transportation system.

Employment reports mixed

A recent Illinois Department of Employment Security report indicated a slight drop in the state’s unemployment from 5.0% to 4.9%, which represents an increase of 3,400 non-farm payroll jobs. Jobs growth varies according to region, however.

Strengthening economic ties with Japan

On Nov. 29, Southern Illinois lawmakers and local officials traveled with Japanese Consul General Naoki Ito to meet with key educational and manufacturing leaders in southern Illinois.

Bonds issued to pay down debt

In November, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) issued bonds totaling $6 billion to be used to pay down the state’s $16 billion bill backlog.

Safe holiday shopping

As the holiday season gets under way, shoppers are encouraged to review the annual Safe Shopping Guide released by the Illinois Attorney General’s office for information about dangerous toys and children’s products that have been recalled throughout the year.

Two Property Tax Assessment Appeal Seminars for Wheeling Township

Senator Tom Rooney is joining the Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak to host two property tax assessment appeal seminars for taxpayers seeking to appeal their 2017 property tax assessments. Wheeling Township is open for appeal November 13, 2017, through December 12, 2017.

Disability Parking Enforcement

The holiday season also brings out holiday shoppers and once again this year, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office announced it will conduct statewide parking “stings.” Secretary of State Police will target drivers who illegally park in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities.

Seat Belt Enforcement

The Thanksgiving Day holiday, Nov. 23, marks the start of the holiday season. Illinois’ two agencies that deal with traffic safety are encouraging and warning motorists to “click it or ticket.” Thousands of additional travelers will be on Illinois roads and highways over the next few weeks.

Small but Important Victory

One positive legislative victory this year was the bipartisan support for the extension of the state’s EDGE program, short for Economic Development for a Growing Economy. The program has been cited in the past by industry publications as an important tool for business expansion and job creation. EDGE was created in 1999 and is the state’s primary jobs incentive program. It’s credited with creating nearly 34,000 jobs and retaining another 46,000 since its inception. The extension was signed into

Slight Improvement in Jobs

A recent report by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) indicates a slight drop in the state’s unemployment from 5.0% to 4.9%. It’s not a huge change, but does represent an increase of 3,400 nonfarm payroll jobs. IDES adds that September job growth figures were revised upward showing a smaller decline in jobs, -7,900 rather than the -10,800 jobs initially reported.

Legislation Addressing Sexual Harassment Signed Into Law

On Nov. 16, the Governor signed legislation introduced in response to recent allegations of sexual harassment in and around the Statehouse. House Bill 137 will give the Legislative Inspector General power to investigate all complaints submitted during the last three years.

Brady Appoints Members to New Senate Task Force

Also this week, Brady announced the appointment of five Senate Republican lawmakers who will serve on the newly established Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention to help address the problem surrounding the issue of sexual harassment in Springfield.