Cave-In-Rock Ferry to remain open
This week, a new two-year contract was reached between the owner of the Cave-In-Rock Ferry, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Illinois Department of Transportation to keep the Ferry in operation through Fiscal Year 2022.
“The ferry is a critical connection for commerce and travel between Southern Illinois and Kentucky and it was imperative that all parties come together to resolve this issue,” said Sen. Fowler. “I want to thank my legislative colleagues in Kentucky and in Illinois for being involved and proactive to ensure the ferry remained open. I also commend Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Gray and Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Osman for all their dedication and hard work to address and resolve this issue swiftly.”
After weeks of deliberation and discussions, the new contract was agreed to on June 30. The Cave-in-Rock Ferry reportedly transports approximately 500 vehicles each day across the Ohio River.
IDOT suspends some construction for July 4
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently announced changes to construction operations across the state for the 4th of July holiday weekend.
IDOT has announced that lanes previously closed for construction will reopen, where possible, in an effort to minimize travel disruptions.
Beginning at 3 p.m. on July 2, non-emergency closures will be suspended until 11:59 p.m. on July 5.
Click here to see a list of construction zones impacted.
Keeping July 4 Safe and Fun for Everyone
As the July 4 holiday weekend approaches, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police are asking that drivers be responsible and drive sober.
As part of their ongoing “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, drivers are encouraged to wear their seat belts, obey the law and do their part to put an end to impaired driving.
To help ensure a safe holiday for all, consider following these tips:
- Ask a sober friend or family member for a ride, call a cab, take public transportation, use a ride-sharing service or stay where you are until you're sober.
- Don't let others with you drive impaired.
- Promptly report impaired drivers to law enforcement by pulling over and dialing 911.
- Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears a seat belt. It is your best defense in a crash.
New Laws Taking Effect July 1
As July begins, some new laws take effect in the state of Illinois. These new laws range from fines for texting while driving, to school curriculum changes and a law to ensure that current federal laws and regulations regarding epilepsy are more consistently enforced in Illinois schools.
Below are the new laws you should be aware are taking effect this month:
Seizure Smart School Act (HB 1475/PA 101-50): Creates the Seizure Smart School Act to ensure that current federal laws and regulations regarding epilepsy are more consistently enforced in Illinois schools.
Texting While Driving Accident Fine (HB 2386/ PA 101-90): Provides that when a person violates the state law prohibiting the operation of an electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle, and the violation results in an accident causing great bodily harm to any person, the operator shall have his or her driver’s license suspended for a period of one year, and shall be assessed a fine of at least $1,000.
Pyrolysis or Gasification Pilot Project (HB 2491/PA 101-141): Allows for the creation of a pilot project for a pyrolysis or gasification facility in Will County or Grundy County.
Sexual Harassment & Discrimination Prevention (SB 75/PA 101-221): Addresses sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, protects hotel and casino employees from sexual harassment by guests, and updates government ethics laws.
LGBT History Curriculum (HB 246/PA 101-227): Requires that, in public schools, the teaching of history must include a study of the roles and contributions of LGBT people. Provides that textbooks authorized under the textbook block grant program must be non-discriminatory as to any characteristics under the Illinois Human Rights Act and must include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Senator Fowler voted against this measure.
Dry-cleaning Fees (SB 171/PA 101-400): Increases the fees for dry-cleaning solvents and for licensure of dry-cleaning facilities. Extends the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Program until Jan. 1, 2030. Transfers duties of the Drycleaner Response Trust Fund Council to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Human Rights Employer Definition (HB 252/PA 101-430): Amends the Employment Article of the Illinois Human Rights Act. Changes “employer” definition to any person employing one (currently 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. Exempts places of worship from “employer” definition. Adds an effective date of July 1, 2020. Senator Fowler voted against this measure.
Right-of-Way Violation License Suspension (HB 2383/PA 101-470): Provides that a violation of a right-of- way where an accident causes bodily harm or death at a crosswalk or crosswalk in a school zone shall also include a driver’s license suspension for a period of one year.
IMRF Document Posting (HB 3263/PA 101-504): Directs the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) to post certain documents on its website. Requires municipalities with a website to post a link to the IMRF information on their website.
Dry-Cleaning Fees Trailer (SB 718/PA 605): Makes technical changes to SB 171/P.A 101-400.
License to Work Act (SB 1786/PA 101-623): Creates the License to Work Act which removes provisions from the Illinois Vehicle Code that allow for the suspension of a driver’s license for certain violations. Under this legislation licenses will no longer be suspended for; failure to pay 10 parking tickets, or other fines resulting from certain local vehicle violations; failing to pay 5 tolls or penalties for tollway violations; failing to pay fees to the Illinois Commerce Commission; motor fuel theft; being adjudicated a "truant minor" who is "in need of supervision, addicted, or delinquent;” an offense committed by a juvenile to further the criminal activities of an organized gang involving the use of a driver's license or permit; damaging, removing any part of, tampering with, going into, on or working or attempting to work on a vehicle without authority to do so unless the person exercised physical control over the vehicle such as caught driving; being convicted of criminal trespass to a vehicle if the person was not in actual physical control; being adjudged to be afflicted with of suffering from any mental disability or disease; certain violations of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 if the person was not an occupant of the vehicle.
Government Emergency Administration Act (SB 2135/PA 101-640): Creates new acts and amends several others to provide government with the tools needed to continue serving the people and better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Establishes a commission to advise and review efforts to revive the economy with members appointed by leaders of the four caucuses of the General Assembly. Allows for a study about providing free broadband Internet access to all Illinois residents. Under certain circumstances, allows for remote witnessing and notarization. Gives the Secretary of State the power to extend various expiration dates if there is a statewide disaster declaration based on a pandemic or similar emergency. Changes how museums, aquariums and zoological parks provide free access to the public. Creates a task force to study the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on businesses and the need for changes to business interruption insurance policies. Allows for municipal appropriation deadliness to be extended during an emergency.) Senator Fowler voted against this measure.