State Representative John Cavaletto announced that House Bill 1744 was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner to transfer ownership of the former Animal Disease Testing Lab in Centralia to Kaskaskia College for one dollar. If the college ever were to close or decided not to use the building for educational purposes, then ownership would revert back to the state.

“I am very pleased that a perfectly good building that sat empty and unused for too long has been converted into the Agriculture Department home at Kaskaskia College,” said Rep. Cavlaetto. “This is one of those situations where we were sad to see the local testing lab closed but that closure created an opportunity to help the college in its needs for more space for educational programs,” Cavaletto added.

Pictured with Governor Bruce Rauner at the Capitol are (l-r): State Rep. Charlie Meier (108th District); George Evans, Dean of Career and Technical Education; Bill Hawley, Chairman of the Kaskaskia College Board of Trustees; State Rep. John Cavaletto (107th District); Aaron Heinzmann, Agriculture Professor; Dr. Penny Quinn, President of Kaskaskia College; Bill Waggoner, Agriculture Professor; Greg Labyak, Vice President of Instruction Services; Nancy Kinsey, Vice President for Administrative Services; and Laura Wedekemper, Member of the Kaskaskia College Board of Trustees.
Some changes to Illinois’ fledgling concealed-carry law that clarify some of its ambiguities took effect with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature.

Senate Bill 836, which took effect earlier this month, addresses a number of issues raised by gun-rights groups, such as privacy, mental illness and dealings with law enforcement. It was the first set of changes made to the law since its approval in June 2013.

Illinois’ concealed-carry law, which took effect in 2014, is among the more stringent in the nation. In-state applicants have to take a 16-hour course – or eight hours for honorably discharged veterans – and pay a $150 fee to the Illinois State Police. It forbids carrying in a number of locations, mandates increased mental health reporting requirements and allows local law enforcement to object to granting licenses to people they feel are a danger to themselves or others.

The most significant changes deal with the process of applying for a concealed-carry permit. The new law clarifies that the privacy waiver that applicants have to submit applies only to personal records, such as criminal and psychiatric history, that have direct bearing on the applicants’ qualification to carry a concealed handgun. It also provides a mechanism by which someone with a “mild” developmental disability who otherwise meets the legal requirements can appeal a denial.

Another change allows a concealed-carry holder to meet the legal obligation of notifying a police officer during an investigative stop by showing his or her permit. Also, police and other first responders now have the ability to ask anyone lawfully carrying a firearm to secure it for the duration of the contact.
While state law still requires having a state-issued firearm owner’s identification card to legally possess or purchase weapons and ammunition, people with concealed-carry permits no longer have to physically possess their FOID card, and can present their permit to make said purchases. Click here to continue with the article from Northwest Herald.
 An Illinois appeals court has upheld the state's rules for the high-volume oil and gas drilling technique known as fracking. The appellate court sided with a Madison County judge who rejected an environmental group's legal challenge.

The 5th District Appellate Court on Friday issued an opinion agreeing with a November ruling in favor of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' rules on hydraulic fracturing. The State Journal-Register has more here.
State Representative John Cavaletto announced that House Bill 1790 was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner. Cavaletto’s legislation amends the Educator Licensure Article of the School Code to provide for a 5-year renewal for career and technical educators.

“There was a need to allow for Centralia High School and others around the state to be able to keep technical and career education instructors to teach our children and grandchildren practical skills for success in the working world,” commented Rep. Cavaletto. “Many of the best teachers for learning skills in areas like welding, for example, are people who come from the working world with years of experience and not just the book knowledge,” he added.

This change in the law provides that individuals who were issued the career and technical educator endorsement on an Educator License with Stipulations or a part-time or provisional career and technical educator license on or after January 1, 2015, the licensed may be renewed if the individual passes a test of basic skills. Provides that individuals who were issued the provisional career and technical educator endorsement on an Educator License with Stipulations or a part-time or provisional career and technical educator license on or after January 1, 2015, the license may be renewed if the individual passes a test of basic skills and has completed a minimum of 20 semester hours from a regionally accredited institution.
State Rep. John Cavaletto toured the Mid America Motorworks facility in Effingham on Monday where they provide Corvette, Volkswagen (VW) and Vintage Porsche automobile parts for customers in America and around the world. They also are home to the annual Corvette Funfest event in September.

Illinois has begun issuing driver’s licenses with veteran’s status. The new cards, announced this week by the Secretary of State, will be voluntary for all veterans who have received an honorable discharge. This includes all DD-214-carrying certified completers of U.S. military service. Qualified veterans are invited, but not required, to work with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain a certified copy of their DD-214. Then, the veteran is invited to present the certified discharge paper at any office of the Secretary of State’s Office of Driver Services when he or she is applying for a new or renewed Illinois driver’s license or State ID card. The newly-printed card will display the driver or resident’s status as a service veteran. The revised card format became effective on Wednesday, July 1.

The new drivers’ license cards are being offered, free of additional charge, to Illinois veterans as the result of bill SB 2837 which directs the Secretary of State to modify its driver’s license/ID card format to include the veterans’ honor designation. The bill became law as Public Act 97-739.

We understand state employees have questions on how their benefits will be impacted as the state budget is no longer in place beginning July 1. The following Q&As were designed to help answer any questions you may have.

Employee Benefits

Q.  Will an employee's health, dental or life insurance be affected?
A.  No. Group insurance coverage during a budget situation will not be impacted. If paychecks are delayed, and as long as the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, insurance premiums will be taken accordingly. The missed payroll deductions will be taken once paychecks are issued.

Q.  What will happen to an employee's contributions to any flexible spending accounts (i.e., MCAP, DCAP) during the budget situation?
Ø  Employees enrolled in MCAP will not be impacted. ConnectYourCare debit cards will continue to work. If the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, deductions should be taken accordingly. If MCAP deductions are missed, they must be made up when the budget situation is resolved.
Ø  Employees enrolled in DCAP may be impacted as reimbursements are limited to the available account balance contained in their DCAP account. If the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, and once all payroll deductions are deposited into the DCAP account, reimbursements can be made for eligible expenses up to the available account balance.

Q.  What will happen to an employee's Commuter Savings Program benefit?
A.  Employees enrolled in the Commuter Savings Program will continue to receive the benefit under this program. Employees will owe any underpaid amount upon their return to payroll.

Workers' Compensation Program

Q.  Will an employee's Workers' Compensation benefits be affected?
A.  No. In the event of a budget situation, Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD) and survivor death benefit payments under the Workers' Compensation Act will continue through July. Work-related injuries should continue to be reported through the procedures in place today.

Deferred Compensation Program

Q. What will happen to an employee's Deferred Compensation contributions during the budget situation?
A.  As long as the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, payroll deductions for Deferred Compensation should be taken accordingly. Deferred Compensation contributions can only be made through payroll deduction. The employee cannot deposit money directly to his or her fund to catch-up the contributions.

Q.  If an individual is currently receiving a distribution from their Deferred Compensation account, will that distribution continue during the budget situation?
A.  Yes. Current distributions and changes to distribution amounts will continue to be processed. To make any changes in distribution, call T. Rowe Price at 1-888-457-5770.

Q.  Will hardship distributions/loans from an employee's Deferred Compensation account be available during the budget situation?
A.  A loan provision is available at any time and allows a participant to have one outstanding loan and borrow a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $50,000 or 50% of their account balance over a five year period. The interest you pay goes back to your account along with the principal amount each month as you repay the loan through Automatic Clearing House (ACH) deductions from your bank. Employees would likely not qualify for a hardship distribution as they will be made whole of any missed payrolls when the budget situation ends.

Q.  How do I borrow from my Deferred Compensation account?
A.  To apply for a loan from your account over the phone, call T. Rowe Price at 1-888-457-5770 to speak to a Representative. There is a $75 processing fee and you will need to supply bank routing and account information for your checking/savings account numbers to set up the automatic ACH deduction. Participants are allowed one outstanding loan at a time. You may repay the full loan balance amount at any time through the prednisone same phone number at T. Rowe Price.

State Employee Compensation

Q. What options exist if certain parties take action to temporarily block pay for state employees?
A. State employees prednisone will be paid for their work. If certain parties take action to temporarily block pay for state employees, there may be an opportunity for employees to get bridge loans from local financial institutions. Credit Union 1, for example, has already agreed to offer no-interest loans for qualifying members of the credit union should salary payments for state employees be delayed. To be eligible to receive 0% interest loans from Credit Union 1, participants must have been members on or before May 1, 2015. Employees who have become members of Credit Union 1 since May 1, 2015, can apply for a loan, subject to normal criteria, rates and terms.