Curran hosts students at Capitol to try their hand at lawmaking
Several high school students from the 41st Senate District got to see what it’s like to try to propose and pass laws at the Illinois State Capitol April 30, as part of State Sen. John Curran’s (R-Downers Grove) Youth Advisory Council.
“This is program is designed to engage young people in the process of government, and open their eyes to future careers in public service,” said Sen. Curran. “It’s a great opportunity to come to the Capitol on a busy session day and learn first-hand how their state government works.”
The students spent part of the day hearing from lawmakers, lobbyists and others involved in state government, before getting the chance to conduct a mock committee hearing in an actual Senate committee room about a proposal that they developed at a previous event in the fall.
“I thought it was really interesting to see how the government works, and meet the people behind it and hear their philosophies on it,” said Lyons Township High School student Greg Smith.
“I really think it’s a great experience to see how government works on a very personal level, and learn how the system works,” said Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family student Liam Giles.
During the hearing, the students debated and voted on their mock legislation just as an actual Senate committee would do. They were then able to wrap up the day with a tour of the Capitol complex.
“Getting the opportunity to emulate the kind of activity that occurs in the statehouse every day, that gives you a better understanding of what happens here and what your politicians are doing,” said Lyons Township High School student Lars Lonnroth.
“I really liked seeing the various rooms and we got some insight into how the voting and committees worked,” said Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family student John Beecher. “It gives you a real insight into how a career in politics would work.”
“I loved learning the inside of politics in Springfield, I loved meeting all the Senators, it was super cool to see the state building,” said Lyons Township High School student Ethan Aylesworth. “I’d recommend this to any student who wants to learn more about politics.”
Sen. Curran’s Youth Advisory Council Program will begin again in the fall. Interested students in the 41st Senate District are encouraged to talk to their teachers or school administrators about taking part in the program.
“It’s always great to meet the students, hear about what issues they are concerned with, and see them connect with what is happening in government,” said Sen. Curran. “This is a great way to help give the next generation of leaders a head start.”
Senator Curran recently met with the members of his Veterans Advisory Committee, which is a group of veterans from the district that provide input on legislation.
Also during the week, Senator Curran met with members of the Northern Illinois Home Builders Association at the Capitol.
Police Memorial Held in Springfield
The 2019 Illinois Police Officers Memorial Ceremony was held on May 2 in Springfield. This annual ceremony honors the brave men and women who have given their lives in the performance of their duty.
On the west lawn of the Illinois State Capitol stands a monument to these dedicated public servants. Inscribed on the monument are the names of fallen heroes. This year, four current names and two historic names will be added to the monument.
The four current names to be added this year include Commander Paul Bauer, Officer Samuel Jimenez, Officer Conrad Gary and Officer Eduardo Marmolejo, all of the Chicago Police Department. Historic names include Constable Benjamin Martin of the Moqeaqua Police Department, and John Shaw of the Virden Police Department.
Legislation to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome passes Senate
A bill aimed preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by putting stricter requirements in place following an investigation where a child has died suddenly and unexpectedly, recently passed the Illinois Senate. An unsafe sleep environment is often a large contributor to infant deaths and is labeled as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Supporters of the bill say that often, even in situations where there are unsafe factors present at the scene where the infant passed, the death is often ruled as SIDS without further investigation. In situations like this, valuable information that could help prevent infant deaths in the future isn’t being captured.
Senate Bill 1568 would require coroners to conduct an autopsy following the investigation as well as list any environmental factors that may have contributed to the child’s death. The bill would also require the Department of Public Health to publish current data that it receives from coroner reports so that the public has access to reporting concerning SIDS.
Illinois resident Ashley Lamps inspired this legislation and now runs a foundation that advocates for SIDS awareness and the use of safe sleep practices. To learn more or to help in any way you can, visit the Aden Lamps Foundation website.
Senate Bill 1568 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
IDHS decals to fund pediatric cancer research
In an effort to increase funding for pediatric cancer research, the Illinois Senate passed legislation recently that would authorize the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to issue a decal for pediatric cancer awareness.
Senate Bill 946 would create the decals, which would have an original issuance fee of $25; with $10 to the awareness fund and $15 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund. The renewal fee would be $25 with $23 to the fund and $2 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund.
The legislation was inspired by a Jersey County family’s struggle with pediatric cancer. Jonny Wade was diagnosed at age seven and passed away in 2015 after bravely battling the disease for nearly a year. His family has continued to advocate for further research in Jonny’s memory.
Senate Bill 946 is currently in the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Legislation seeks to ensure schools, taxing districts receive all property tax money committed
Legislation aimed to ensure Illinois schools receive all of the property tax money committed to them through the tax extension process passed out of the Illinois Senate recently.
Senate Bill 1043 seeks to address the concern that school districts, as well as all other taxing bodies, are losing funding due to refunds issued by county treasurer’s offices for Certificates of Errors and appeal adjustments, both of which are out of the control of the taxing district.
The reduction in a taxing district’s expected levy revenue is a result of the cancellations and abatements administered by the state and county offices. These adjustments, made after a taxing body's levy is approved and the tax bills are sent, are preventing taxing districts, such as schools, from receiving 100 percent of their publicly approved levy extensions.
The bill is currently in the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Coalition of Illinois Agencies Unveil Illinois Monarch Conservation Action Plan
Recently, a coalition of Illinois agencies revealed plans and unveiled a new pollinator habitat near the Illinois Department of Agriculture building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The purpose is to preserve Monarch butterflies.
Also, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new pollinator habitat at the Fairgrounds. Monarch butterflies are important because they help pollinate plants that produce fruit and important food that we consume.
For more details on the Illinois Monarch Project, go through the report available at www.ilagformonarchs.org