- Workshop tomorrow for businesses to qualify for state work
- Two new laws focused on safety and accident insurance
- Money management is an important life skill
- Academic and financial advising increase college completion
- Studies report the value of education and parent support
- Sales tax on internet purchases awaits governor’s signature
- Legislation speeds rural emergency response
- Drug Overdose vigil coming to Sycamore
- Engage in discussing education on September 2
August 25, 2014
Workshop tomorrow for businesses to qualify for state work
The Department of Central Management Services will be hosting a free Business Enterprise Program certification workshop Tuesday August 26 to help business owners get certified to do business with the State of Illinois. The workshop will be held in the Zeke Giorgi Center, 200 S. Wyman Street in Rockford from 10 a.m. until noon.
Click here for more information or to register for the event. Registration is not required, but it is recommended.
Two new laws focused on safety and accident insurance
Governor Quinn has signed two bills I supported in the House to address recurring issues. Just in time for the start of school, House Bill 5892 expands the authorization for properly-trained school personnel to use an epi-pen on a person they believe to be experiencing anaphylaxis, a kind of severe allergic reaction that can sometimes be fatal. An epinephrine auto-injector, or epi-pen for short, is a small medical device that can offer a life-saving injection of medicine to stop the body’s reaction to such irritants as a bee sting or food allergies.
Previously, only a school nurse could administer an epi-pen injection and many times a nurse was not present in the emergency. My grandchildren and I have had situations where we needed the epi-pen so we are aware of the importance of prompt application.
House Bill 5692 seeks to reduce the growing number of uninsured drivers. The new law creates an electronic database to enforce the requirement that every driver and motor vehicle have liability insurance. Previously the only way compliance could be monitored was through random sampling of insurance policies by the Secretary of State’s office and police stops.
Drivers might purchase an insurance policy so they could get a license and then cancel the policy. This law creates an electronic database for insurance companies to provide verification to the Secretary of State’s Office when there is a current liability policy on a vehicle and when it is canceled. The Secretary of State can then cancel the license and alert law enforcement agencies of the uninsured vehicle.
My office receives numerous calls each year from victims of motor vehicle accidents complaining that the other vehicle did not have insurance to pay for the repairs.
Money management is an important life skill
When my wife was working at Northern Illinois University, she taught a class in financial planning to help students handle their finances and often new-found responsibility. It’s no secret that people in the 18 to 24 age bracket can amass huge debt quickly perhaps from attending college or using their new credit cards.
A study reported by NIU found that 18-24 year olds spend 30 percent of their monthly income just on debt repayment – double the percentage spent back in 1992 and way beyond the guideline of 10 percent that experts recommend as a debt limit. That’s why I am glad to see NIU and other universities offering their students the opportunity to learn the life skills they need to effectively deal with their finances through such programs as “Financial Cents,” managed by NIU’s Office of Student Academic Success.
NIU also supports a statewide initiative called Econ Illinois that for more than 60 years has helped thousands of teachers at the K-12 level integrate financial literacy concepts into their classrooms. NIU hosts one of the regional Centers of Economic Education for the training of K-12 teachers in financial literacy. Located in NIU’s P-20 Center, the Center for Economic Education collaborates with faculty members in the Colleges of Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.
Econ Illinois not only trains teachers and helps build pathways to careers in financial services of all kinds, but also maintains programs that engage and capture the imagination of students. One such effort is the “Stock Market Game,” which teaches students the principles of how markets work. DeKalb and Sycamore schools have achieved state honors for their classroom work.
Please take a look at the Econ Illinois website and encourage your school to participate in the program.
Academic and financial advising increase college completion
Two years ago I sponsored legislation to study the importance of advising on increasing college graduation for those students receiving state monetary assistance (MAP grants). The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), that manages MAP, assembled a group of experts from public and private colleges and universities to look at best practices and make recommendations.
One of the key recommendations released this month was to provide first generation and at-risk students with additional advisement on academic and financial matters. In addition the group urged colleges and universities to focus on ways to increase college completion. The full list of recommendations can be found here.
Studies report the value of education and parent support
Despite recent reports that more Illinoisans looking for work are finding jobs, unemployment rates among different racial groups are significant. The Atlantic magazine reported the findings of a study earlier this month that white male college graduates have a 97.6 percent employment rate, while African-American male college graduates have only a 92.8 percent employment rate. The findings by the advocacy group Young Invincibles point to a “systemic disadvantage” for African-Americans in searching for a job.
The study concluded that “the legacy of racial discrimination across centuries continues to impact economic disparities.” It also found that African-American males’ chances of finding a job increased by a greater amount than their white peers for each level of education attained. For example, an African-American man with a high school diploma would see a 50 percent better chance of finding employment than a high school dropout. Likewise an African American with a professional degree is 146 percent more likely to find a job than if he had just a bachelor’s degree.
In another study published in the Journal of College Student Retention, it was found that first-generation college students receive far less emotional, informational and financial support from their parents than students whose parents have attended college. The study concluded that parents of first-generation college students are not necessarily less caring, they may just lack the experience of how to help or understand the value of a college education.
Students whose parents never attended college are less likely to take college prep courses in high school, discuss college with their parents, or apply to college at all according to the National Center for Education Statistics. First-generation students consistently take fewer classes, complete fewer classes, and earn lower grades than their classmates whose parents attended college. As a result, they’re less likely to graduate.
These findings underscore the important roles school guidance counselors and college academic advisors have with students from these types of backgrounds.
Sales tax on internet purchases awaits governor’s signature
Among the 100 or so bills passed by the legislature and still awaiting action by the governor is SB352, a new attempt to tax purchases on the internet. This bill is similar to one in the U.S. Senate which seeks to level the competitive advantage of internet purchases over local stores regarding the collection of sales taxes.
The Illinois bill mandates online sellers not physically located in Illinois collect sales taxes as long as they have a digital connection with an entity physically located in the state. It is estimated that Illinois loses about $300 million in taxes each year because out-of-state companies willfully evade their responsibility to collect state sales taxes.
Legislation speeds rural emergency response
Legislation signed into law this month should help ambulance services and other first responders in rural communities react faster to time sensitive emergencies such as a heart attack.
House Bills 4523 and 5828 authorizes that with the Department of Public Health approval, an ambulance service provider in communities with less than 7,500 people can operate at the highest level of EMT license or Pre-Hospital RN certification held by any person staffing the ambulance no matter what the service level rating of the ambulance.
The legislation will allow rural EMS providers to respond with the closest vehicle rather than wait for the properly rated vehicle to treat those suffering from health emergencies in rural areas. Treatment during the first hour after a cardiovascular event can reduce or eliminate long-term consequences.
Drug Overdose vigil coming to Sycamore
Far too many Illinois families have encountered the heartbreak of losing a loved one to a drug overdose. Often family members do not know the warning signs of addiction or where to turn for help before a tragedy strikes.
A group of parents and concerned citizens will be holding a vigil Saturday September 6 at 7 p.m. in Sycamore to kick off a Drug Overdose Awareness and Public Forum. Part of a national campaign, this event will share personal experiences, provide information for families and offer sources of help before it is too late. I applaud their efforts and encourage local residents to attend this important event on the DeKalb County courthouse lawn.
The organizers also plan to form a Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education Chapter (N.O.P.E.) with the goal of reaching youth about the power of addiction and life changing consequences.
Engage in discussing educational issues on September 2
As another school year begins, I invite you to join me to discuss educational issues on Tuesday September 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the County Community Outreach Building, 2550 Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb.
The Education Advisory Council is a group of parents, teachers, school administrators and citizens interested in PK-20 educational policy that meets several times during the year. I value your opinions and use the information from our meetings in forming my views about education policies in Springfield.
Come prepared to discuss your views about such current issues as: FY 2015 budget, implementing new learning standards and testing, school mandates, charter schools and virtual learning, new teacher preparation and mentoring, student discipline/expulsion, progress toward a more educated society, and legislative ideas for 2015.
Have a great end of summer and a relaxing Labor Day! The Sandwich Fair begins September 3 and I look forward to seeing you at this last fair of the season.