Environment

As a recipient of numerous awards from environmental organizations, Senator Link’s record reflects his commitment to providing a safe and clean environment for current and future Illinoisans.
 
When a US Supreme Court ruling put wetlands in Illinois and across the nation in danger in 2001, Link jumped to action to protect our treasured commodity. The Court held that state and local governments, not the federal government, had the authority to regulate isolated wetlands creating a regulatory void. Link went on to become the lead sponsor of the Wetland Protection Act to protect these vital areas from being turned into shopping malls or housing developments. The measure required the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to issue a permit before anyone could destroy or alter wetlands. The IDNR now works in conjunction with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to ensure any proposed activity wouldn’t violate Illinois’ water quality laws.
 
When scientific research proved mercury presented risk to the environment, Link joined with environmental groups to tackle the problem. Due to Link’s efforts in the General Assembly, laws have been put in place to protect Illinois residents against the dangers of mercury – inside and outside of their homes. Link was even able to pass legislation which requires automobile manufacturers to establish a program to collect mercury switches out of used vehicles to be scrapped or recycled. By disposing of these switches in a proper fashion, pollutants in the air have been significantly reduced.
 
Link believes all Illinoisans have the right to access clean air. In 2007, Senator Link worked hard to pass Smoke Free Illinois which banned smoking in public places, places of employment and governmental vehicles. This law provides safer environments for people to work in and creates safer public environments for children and adults over-all.
 

Tax Relief

As a resident of the north suburbs, Link has first-hand knowledge of the burden high property taxes can have on a community. Link created and currently chairs the Illinois Property Tax Reform and Relief Task Force, which studies Illinois property tax systems and investigates means of reducing the reliance on property taxes and alternative methods of funding.
 
Prior to his selection as Chair of the state’s taskforce, Link has fought for ways to reduce the reliance on high property taxes through legislative action. Link has passed legislation to also raise the income threshold for eligibility to the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption for those who make $45,000 or less, an increase of $5,000 for every county of the state. The passage of Link’s legislation eases the financial burdens of those on fixed incomes, such as seniors and the disabled, making it easier for them to stay in their own homes.

Link’s work has also led to a law which puts a cap on large increases in property tax bills in the city of Chicago and state-wide. This legislation spreads them out over time, making it more reasonable for the every-day tax payer. This bill also aids veterans by allowing up to $5,000 Homestead Exemption for those returning from an armed conflict during the year a veteran returns from active duty.
 

Economic Opportunity

A common-sense leader who has long fought to put our state’s fiscal house in order, Terry Link has been at the forefront of issues to promote a better Illinois economy for all of its residents.

To infuse economic growth in areas across the state, Senator Link has sponsored legislation that designates cities as Illinois Enterprise Zones to help stimulate much-needed economic growth and neighborhood revitalization. Enterprise Zones have benefited from sales tax exemptions and tax credits for job creation. These zones have allowed economic expansion and have begun to help reinvigorate economic climates to revitalize communities.
 
To further stimulate economic growth in Illinois, Senator Link passed the Business Location Efficiency Act to encourage companies to locate near public housing and transportation. Providing businesses these tax incentives will help those without transportation an improved opportunity to find work. The law will greatly improve efficiency and benefits for workers, assist businesses with cost containment and work to expose fraud by both business and employees.

Link has also encouraged businesses to hire veterans by creating a state tax credit for employers who hire honorably discharged veterans of Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The tax credit would max out at $600 per eligible hire, but employers can apply the credit to state tax liability for up to five years after hiring an eligible veteran, provided they work at least 185 days in a year.


Building Strong Families

As a father of four and a grandfather of two, Senator Link has worked hard for the passage of legislation to make Illinois be a better place for families to live. Making sure that our children are protected and taken care of is a positive step taken in protecting our own future as well as theirs.
 
To ensure that our school buildings are safe places for our children, Senator Link passed legislation based on findings from a task force he put together in 2005 to set requirements for school building inspectors. Currently, there are no laws that require new school construction inspectors to have any particular qualifications.
 
Whether for a joyous occasion, such the birth or adoption of a child, or the unfortunate reality of serious health conditions, there are situations which require us all to take time off from work. That is why Senator Link sponsored the Illinois Family and Medical Leave Act which provides for a total of 12 work weeks of leave during a year. This time can be used for the birth of a child, placement of a child in foster care or adoption, to care for a spouse, child, parent or other family member with a serious health condition, to allow an employee to recover from a serious health condition. This bill sets requirements like the continuation of payment to employees and the proper way to notify employers of the need for a leave. While an employee’s leave is often unpaid, the value of maintaining job security though a family or medical crisis cannot be underestimated.
 
With the advent of social networking and new technologies, Link has passed legislation to protect children surfing the Internet. Link has passed legislation which requires school districts to incorporate a component Internet Safety to be taught at least once per year to students in third grade or above, beginning with the 2009-10 school year into the school curriculum. That legislation also requires the State Board of Education to make available resource materials on its website for educating children about child online safety, which may take into account other states’ curriculum and curriculum materials suggested by experts.
 
Link has also tackled harassment of Internet users online by expanding the crime of harassment through electronic communication to include “cyber-bullying.”
 
Link also helped pass comprehensive legislation to keep our children safe on and away from the Internet. The bill makes it unlawful to send a travel ticket to a minor without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian. It also creates the crime of solicitation to meet a child and prohibits child sex offenders from knowingly using the Internet to communicate with children.
 

Senior Citizens

Senator Link has fought for numerous years as a legislator to pass laws that help to protect and serve the senior citizens of Illinois. Link has helped pass several pieces of legislation that revolve around prescription drugs, home repair fraud and medical research. Link is dedicated to continuing to find ways to protect the senior citizens of the state.
 
In an effort to fight the influx of counterfeit prescription drugs, Senator Link sponsored legislation strengthening existing state requirements governing the distribution of prescription drugs by prohibiting the alteration of prescription drugs in any way. This bill made it illegal for someone to buy or sell prescription drugs if they are not authorized to do so or if they have changed prescription drugs.
 
Link has also passed legislation to implement stronger standards of licensure for wholesale prescription distributors to include manufacturers distributing their own drugs. The legislation also requires all distributors from the point of origin to the point of sale to have a record of where that drug has been and who has handled it during the distribution process.
 
To help seniors with the cost of prescription drugs, Link’s vote in the General Assembly helped create a program which allows the elderly to join a “buying club.” By paying a fee of $25, you can receive up to 40% off everyday costs of prescriptions.
 
Link was the lead sponsor of the Senior Home Repair Fraud Protection Act which protects seniors from home repair fraud by increasing the criminal penalties for violators. Link also was also responsible for the creation of the Excellence in Alzheimer’s disease Center Treatment Act, under which strategies are developed to treat and prevent Alzheimer disease in Illinois.

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