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Update from Senator Weaver: August 11

SPRINGFIELD, IL –With the Illinois Senate scheduled to vote this Sunday on a partisan Democrat school funding plan that gives special favors to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) at the expense of suburban and downstate schools, Senate Republicans remain opposed to Senate Bill 1. Saying Senate Bill 1 is not the result of bipartisan compromise, they are reiterating their dedication to developing a school funding formula that treats all school districts fairly and equitably. 

Senate Republicans call for bipartisan compromise, point to Senate Bill 1’s shortcomings

Senate Republican lawmakers say that while they remain committed to finding compromise on a school funding bill that fixes the state’s broken school aid formula, they will not support a vote this weekend on the Democrat majority’s Senate Bill 1—which masks a Chicago school bail out as funding reform. Voting to support Senate Bill 1 in its original form is the only vote the Senate will be allowed to take, according to the Democrat majority.

Senate Bill 1 in its current form directs hundreds of millions of extra dollars to one school district—Chicago Public Schools. 

Stressing that time is off the essence, State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) is calling for all sides to come together to find a compromise that represents real equity and treats all 852 school districts and all students fairly regardless of ZIP code. Until a new “evidence-based” school funding model mandated by the Fiscal Year 18 budget is put into place, public schools will not receive FY18 state funding.

The Illinois Senate is scheduled to convene on Sunday, August 13 at 2 p.m.

Illinois adopts new set of purchasing rules

Illinois now has a new set of rules for its purchasing system. Senate Bill 8 was signed into law this week and makes the state procurement process more efficient and transparent, while also saving money for Illinois taxpayers.

One of the highlights in the new set of rules is the elimination of unnecessary administrative delays for state universities. The new law will also permit Illinois to enter into joint purchasing agreements with other units of government, allowing state and local government entities to save money because of their increased purchasing power.

For years, Illinois has had procurement rules that were often confusing and difficult for vendors, state entities, and universities. The new law removes a lot of the red tape, making it easier for small and midsize businesses to bid on state contracts.

With these new rules, Illinois is now more in line with the best practices followed by other states.

New law allows parolees to receive free birth certificates

In an effort to make it easier for individuals out of prison to re-enter society, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 1413, which allows men and women to receive their birth certificates for no fee upon their release from the Department of Corrections.  

SB 1413 amends The Vital Records Act, which currently charges a $10 fee to search birth records and a $5 fee for a certified copy of a birth certificate. The new law allows for a one-time waiving of the $10 and $5 fees for a person upon release on parole, mandatory supervised release, final discharge, or pardon from the Department of Corrections.

In signing the legislation into law this week, Gov. Rauner noted the difficulties individuals face when trying to find housing or to get a job once they leave prison. He added that the new law removes an unnecessary obstacle standing in the way of an offender’s second chance at life.

Residents ages 16 and 17 allowed to register as organ donors, under new law

Residents ages 16 and 17 can now become organ and tissue donors, under the Drive for Life Act signed into law this week.

Under the Act, Illinois residents 16-years-old and older can join the First Person Consent Organ and Tissue donor registry when they receive their driver’s licenses or state ID cards. While the law gives 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds the right to express their wishes to become an organ donor, parents and guardians will still have the right to give or revoke consent until the donor turns 18.

Illinois joins the 47 other states that allow 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to register as organ donors.

Illinois State Fair kicks off

The 2017 Illinois State Fair is now underway. The fair officially kicked off Aug. 10 with the annual Twilight Parade, which signifies the beginning of the 10-day annual showcase of Illinois agriculture and unique entertainment.

The Illinois State Fair runs August 10-20. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for senior citizens (60+), and free for kids (0-12). For daily schedules and lists of vendors, competitions, attractions, and the Grandstand lineup, check out the Illinois State Fair website. You can also download a free mobile app to receive the same information on your phone.

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