Senate Week in Review: August 20-25, 2018

Legislation sponsored by State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) to expand Illinois’ current axle weight limitations to compete with neighboring states was signed into law on August 25. 

“Axle weight limits was one of the biggest issues mentioned in both my agricultural and trucking advisory committees, with members of those industries voicing their frustrations about current regulations,” said Senator Fowler. “By expanding current restrictions on axle weights, we are allowing Illinois’ agricultural and trucking industry to be more competitive.”

House Bill 5749 will require the Illinois Department of Transportation to issue special permits authorizing the movement of loads of agricultural commodities that may exceed the current axle or vehicle gross weight limits by ten percent between September 1 and December 31

“This legislation is reflective of a real need in our trucking and agricultural industries, and I’m proud to have been the chief-sponsor for this legislation in the Senate,” said Senator Fowler. “This is an issue we know has been an ongoing concern for many in my district, and I’m excited that this weight limit expansion will provide much-needed relief for our farmers and truckers.”

In other news, a recent report conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business gave Illinois an A-ranking for the continued growth of Southern Illinois’ tourism industry.

According to the NFIB’s August 2018 Small Business Scorecard, the tourism industry in Southern Illinois is now the seventh largest part of the state’s economy.

“Tourism is critical to Southern Illinois’ economy, and I’m excited to see the industry continue to grow,” said Senator Fowler.

Senator Fowler currently works to highlight the many tourism destinations in the region with his ongoing “Southern Illinois Treasures” video series. All of the video segments can be found on Senator Fowler’s website, senatorfowler.com.

State News

Two-year registration available for Illinois drivers

A new law that gives motorists the option to register their vehicles for more than one year at a time aims to make vehicle registration more convenient while saving the state money. 

Under House Bill 4259, motorists will be able to register their vehicles for one or two years. It also allows owners of trailers to register their trailer up to five years. The price per year would be the same, but motorists would be able to pay multiple years up front and would not have to change their sticker every year.

The cost-saving initiative was signed into law on Aug. 20 and will take effect beginning in 2021.

Blaze pink helps hunters stay safe

Hunters’ apparel selection will now include blaze pink under legislation recently signed into law.

House Bill 4231 allows for blaze pink to be worn as an alternative to orange during firearm deer season and upland game season.

Current law required hunters to wear solid blaze orange caps and upper garments to help increase visibility and improve safety. However, proponents of the legislation argued that blaze pink is a viable and safe alternative color.

According to a study conducted by a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor, spectrometric analysis showed that blaze pink tested with similar visibility as blaze orange, if not better in certain instances.

The measure, which received unanimous support in the Senate and the House, was signed into law on Aug. 18 and will take effect immediately.

Changes to Medicare cards

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare recipients can expect to receive new Medicare cards that better protect private information moving forward.

The Center is removing Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards, replacing the number with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. Citing medical identity theft as the main reason for the change, CMS says they can better protect private information by removing SSN from the cards.

Current benefits will not be affected by this change and recipients will receive their new cards in the mail.

More information about the new Medicare cards can be found at the CMS.gov website.

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/.

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