Saving taxpayers’ money and improving efficiency are the goals of a government reform measure signed into law this week allowing affected county clerk’s offices to absorb the functions of their separate county election commissions.
House Bill 5123 came from DuPage County, where residents passed an advisory referendum in March stating they wanted their county election commission merged into the county clerk’s office, a move that is predicted to save $300,000, improve efficiency and streamline election reporting.
House Bill 5123 will enable that consolidation to move forward, and would allow a similar action in Kankakee County, the only other county in Illinois where a separate county election commission presently exists.
Proponents of the bill say this is a step in the right direction to eliminate duplicative layers of government that are a burden to Illinois taxpayers.
New law expands historic preservation tax credit program
The River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) Historic Tax Credit, which is a vital economic tool that has fostered the reuse of historic buildings throughout the state, has now been expanded to other communities statewide.
Senate Bill 3527, signed by the Governor this week in Peoria, allows for a 25 percent state income tax credit for qualifying rehabilitation projects of historic structures throughout Illinois. Originally, this tax credit was only given to projects in riverfront areas in Peoria, Rockford, Elgin, East St. Louis and Aurora through the RERZ tax credit.
Proponents of the measure say the legislation will not only revitalize historic structures, but also will add jobs and fuel economic development statewide. They also note that, according to Landmarks Illinois, since the RERZ Historic Tax Credit took effect in 2009, it has resulted in $82.1 million in private investment in the Illinois river cities.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs accepting nominations for ‘Honor 200’
Nomination deadline is August 31, 2018
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) is honoring 200 veterans from across the state who have gone above and beyond the call of duty on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited, and provided inspiration to their community.
More than 100 veterans have already been nominated to be recognized as part of Illinois’ Bicentennial celebration, but IDVA is looking for more nominations. Nominees will be evaluated based on their achievements in dedicating their time and energy to build their communities and assist their fellow veterans and service members.
The honorees will be announced in September and will be featured guests at the Bicentennial Party Gala, which will be held at Chicago’s United Center. Anyone can nominate a hero. The Governor’s Office of the Illinois Bicentennial and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs will accept nominations through August 31, 2018.
Written nominations can be sent to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs:
69 W. Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Or apply online by clicking on “Honor 200” at illinois.gov/veterans.
The Official Illinois Bicentennial Celebration began last December 3rd, 2017 with events in Springfield and Chicago. The celebration has continued with programs and events throughout 2018, ending with the Bicentennial Birthday Party on December 3rd, 2018 at the United Center. The HONOR 200 veterans will be recognized during the Birthday Gala. For information on the Bicentennial and to find out how your community can participate go to illinois200.gov.
New law codifies Department of Innovation and Technology
To develop a comprehensive approach to modernize the state’s technology, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 5611, which codifies the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) into law.
Formed by Executive Order in 2016, and now officially recognized as a state agency, DoIT is tasked with protecting the personal and private information of Illinois citizens, streamlining state operations, and improving efficiencies across state agencies.
Since its inception, the agency has encrypted more than 5.8 billion records and launched the first statewide security operations center with 24/7 monitoring aimed at identifying risk and proactively responding to cyberthreats. Furthermore, over half of the state’s financials are now managed on a common system to address decades of lack of interoperability and financial management challenges. Infrastructure and network unification efforts in Illinois have already resulted in savings and cost-avoidance of more than $20 million.
The bipartisan proponents of the bill hope that Illinois can now become a national leader when it comes to using smart technology and making sure Illinois’ citizens personal information is safe.
Click here for additional information on the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology’s strategy.
Senator Schimpf welcomes seniors and vendors to inaugural fair
Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) is urging seniors in and around Senate District 58 to mark their calendars for an inaugural senior health and information fair in Red Bud on Wednesday, August 1. The event will take place from 9-11 a.m. at Red Bud High School Gymnasium.
The fair will offer free health screenings, informational legislative brochures, and refreshments. Plus, participants will have the chance to meet with Senator Schimpf in person and hear about progress in Springfield. So far, nearly 40 different vendors plan to attend.
“I truly hope our seniors utilize this opportunity to meet with some of the area’s finest health professionals and healthcare providers,” said Senator Schimpf. “What better way to spend the morning than by investing in their own personal care and betterment? I’m grateful for all the vendors who’re giving their time to provide these vital services to our seniors.”
Illinois State Fair kicks off August 9
The 2018 Illinois State Fair gets underway Aug. 9 in Springfield. The 11-day event, which brings hundreds of thousands of people though its gates, celebrates agriculture, the state’s number one employer and driver of the state’s economy.
This year’s fair will feature livestock shows, harness racing, carnival rides, a wide variety of live music and entertainers, and dozens of food and product vendors from across the state.
The Illinois State Fair runs August 9-19. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for senior citizens (60+), and free for kids (0-12). Fairgoers looking to get the most bang for their buck on carnivals rides have until July 31 to purchase a mega pass, which is good for unlimited rides all 11 days of the fair.
For daily schedules and lists of vendors, competitions, attractions, and the Grandstand lineup, check out the Illinois State Fair website.