Springfield, IL. – Summer flood help is coming to southern Illinois; legislation addressing sexual harassment complaints was signed into law and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is focusing on hunter safety as the state’s deer season gets underway. Also during the week, Illinois recognized nurse practitioners and the important healthcare they provide.
Flood Assistance for Jackson County
There is some financial help available for victims of the summer floods, which caused nearly $5 million in damage. Senate Bill 403 was signed into law during the week, providing tax credits of up to $750 for eligible property owners in 18 Illinois counties – including Jackson County where flood damages occurred in July.
The bill creates a natural disaster tax credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes. Qualified properties include a taxpayer’s principle residence or land owned by a small business, but not a rental or leasing business. The allowable income tax credit will be the lesser of $750 or the deduction allowed under the Internal Revenue Code for each taxpayer who owns qualified property in a county declared a state disaster area. The bill provides that township assessors shall issue eligibility certificates for appropriately requesting property owners, and that assessors shall certify to the Illinois Department of Revenue listings of flood-damaged properties.
The other counties affected by the legislation are Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson, and Whiteside – all of which were declared state disaster areas.
Sexual Harassment Legislation Signed Into Law
Legislation prompted by recent allegations of sexual harassment in and around the Statehouse was signed into law Nov. 16. The new law will give the Legislative Inspector General power to investigate all complaints submitted during the last three years. The post of Legislative Inspector General had been vacant since 2015.
It was only recently discovered that during the vacancy, complaints were filed but never addressed. Without the new law, a statute of limitations in current law may have prohibited the new Special Legislative Inspector General from moving forward with some investigations. Senate Bill 402 was also signed into law. It specifically prohibits sexual harassment of legislators and lobbyists. The measure also requires state agencies and lobbyists to adopt a sexual harassment policy, and requires all state officials, employees, and lobbyists to complete in person sexual harassment training on an annual basis. The new law also imposes penalties for violations.
IDNR Urges Safety During Deer Hunting Season
IDNR is making hunter safety a top priority during the fall deer season. The agency reports that most hunting incidents that occur – 23 of the 29 from last year – actually involve hunters falling from elevated tree stands. IDNR requests hunters using tree stands should use a Fall Arrest System (FAS) safety harness, as 80 percent of tree stand accidents occurred due to hunters not using the restraint system. Additional safety tips can be found at http://www.huntercourse.com. The Firearm Deer Season begins Nov. 17-19 and ends on the Nov. 30-Dec. 3 weekend.
Nurse Practitioners Week in Illinois
Nurse Practitioners are essential to providing a quality health care system, especially in rural areas where healthcare access is a critical issue. November 12-18 was declared Nurse Practitioner Week in Illinois, recognizing the life-saving efforts of over 13,500 nurse practitioners in Illinois.
They make a profound contribution to the healthcare system in Illinois, taking on such duties as diagnosing, treating, and prescribing medications to help patients recover. They also provide acute and specialty care. Across the nation, Americans make more than a billion visits to nurse practitioners every year.
In the District This Week
One of the enjoyable parts of being a State Senator is the opportunities I have to meet and speak with constituents. During the week, I spoke with members of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce in Waterloo, toured and met the employees at Red Bud Industries, and spent time at the DuQuoin Elementary School as a “Principal for the Day.”
Reaching out and staying in touch with the people of 58th Senate District is a priority. My District office is located in Murphysboro, at 324 North Street, Suite C. The phone number is 618-684-1100. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.