Senate Week-in-Review: August 19-23

This week, State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) joined a local business for an expansion announcement, spoke with representatives from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and attended the Marion Chamber of Commerce Legislative Summit.

Senator Fowler attended the Little Tractor & Equipment Company ribbon cutting ceremony to expand facility locations to Marion. The Southern Illinois-based business already has facilities in Metropolis and Harrisburg. The Little Tractor & Equipment is a family-owned business that provides access to outdoor power products such as tractors, mowers and grills. Currently, the company is North America’s number one KIOTI tractor dealer.

Senator Fowler also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art at Southeastern Illinois College on August 23.

Also on August 23, Sen. Fowler attended the 5th annual Marion Chamber of Commerce Legislative Summit. The event, which was held at the Kokopelli Clubhouse, brought together local, regional and state leaders and representatives of the business community in Southern Illinois for an update and Q&A session. Sen. Fowler provided an update on the success of the second-annual Southern Illinois Made Expo.

Earlier in the week, Sen. Fowler met with site superintendents and administrators from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to talk about improvements being made to Southern Illinois state parks. Sen. Fowler commended the group for their hard work, commitment and passion for serving the agency and working toward improving the region’s numerous state parks.

State News

Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking System Bill Signed into Law

A new law providing survivors of sexual assault more transparency during the processing of their rape kits was signed into law on Aug. 16.

The new law came out of the work of the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission and requires the Illinois State Police to establish a statewide sexual assault electronic tracking system. The new system must be operational no later than one year after becoming law.

The new tracking system addresses concerns that Illinois lacked a uniform system across law enforcement agencies to track sexual assault evidence. Under the new law, survivors will be able to access real-time updates about the status of rape kits, providing vital transparency to the process of investigating these serious crimes.

Senate Bill 1411/PA 101-0377 passed the Senate unanimously.

License Plate Decal that Funds Pediatric Cancer Research to be Available to the Public

Illinois motorists will have the opportunity to support pediatric cancer research thanks to a newly signed law. Senate Bill 946/PA 101-0372 allows the Illinois Department of Human Services to issue a decal for pediatric cancer awareness.

Funds from the sale of the decals will go to the University of Illinois’ Cancer Center for pediatric cancer research. The decals will have an original issuance fee of $25 with $10 directed to the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Fund and $15 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund.  The renewal fee shall be $25 with $23 directed to the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Fund and $2 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund.

This legislation was introduced in memory of Johnny Wade of Jerseyville who passed away from cancer at the age of 8.

State Police warn motorists to be aware as school begins

As students across Illinois head back to school, the Illinois State Police are reminding the public to be aware of school buses, crosswalks, and children walking or riding their bikes to school.

Back to school is a good time for motorists to brush up on school zone traffic laws, and to avoid distracted driving. In school zones, the speed limit is 20 miles per hour from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days when children are present.

Pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk, and when a school bus is stopped with its lights activated and stop sign extended, drivers must stop their vehicle before reaching the bus or they could face a $150 fine and a three-month driver’s license suspension.

Drivers are also reminded that under a new law that took effect on July 1, Illinois now has stiffer penalties regarding the use of hand-held devices behind the wheel. First-time incidences of driving while operating a handheld mobile device now count as a moving violation and a driver using a hand-held device while a car is in drive could face a $75 fine.

So please, as kids go back to school make sure they have a safe, happy and healthy year by keeping an eye out and carefully following traffic laws in school zones!

Dale Fowler

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