Senator Terry Link speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – A longtime champion of stricter tobacco legislation, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) moved today to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.

“For the first time in years, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise,” Link said. “Raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 will cut down on access for teenagers and curb the next generation of adult smokers.”

It has been more than 10 years since Link’s Smoke Free Illinois legislation banning smoking in most public places went in to effect. Since Smoke Free Illinois, there has been a 20 percent decrease in hospitalization of various smoking-related diseases. But with the advent of e-cigarettes, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise for the first time in years.

“Smoke Free Illinois was a major step forward in improving the health of our residents and making Illinois a better place to live,” Link said. “Tobacco 21 builds on those efforts and moves us one step closer to a healthier, smoke-free Illinois.”

Limiting access to cigarettes has proven effective in reducing the rate of tobacco use among teens. In October 2014, Evanston became the first Illinois community to adopt Tobacco 21. Since then, tobacco use among high schoolers has dropped by 37.5 percent.


Category: Releases

05042017CM1433WebResizeGURNEE – Lake County schools will have a new tool available to help them alleviate the substitute teacher shortages thanks to State Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills).

House Bill 4742, which will allow the use of recruiting firms to help find substitute teachers, was signed into law Saturday and takes effect immediately.

“The substitute teacher shortage has immediate consequences for the quality of education our children receive in Lake County schools,” Link said. “This new law will help us recruit qualified teachers to guarantee students receive the best possible educational possibilities.”

Previously, Illinois law did not allow a school district to contract with a recruiting firm to find substitute teachers. The new law simply does away with the outdated prohibition. It takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

“Recruiting firms are a modern method to employ workers. Giving our school districts another tool to fill temporary positions will help ensure children do not miss out on vital learning opportunities,” Link said.

In order to qualify for the program, a district must demonstrate to ISBE that due to its substitute teacher shortage it is unable to find an adequate amount of substitute or retired teachers and has exhausted all other efforts.

All substitute teachers provided by a recruiting firm must follow all mandated state laws, rules and screening requirements and be paid on the same wage scale as other substitute teachers not provided by the firm. Link said this will help ensure teachers are fit to be in the classroom.

One in five Illinois teaching positions previously have gone unfilled. Experts claim that licensure requirements have led to a smaller pool of available teachers and substitutes.

Link also supported House Bill 5627, which will ease restrictions to ensure more qualified teachers – such as licensed out-of-state educators – are available to Illinois schools.

“We need excellent educators in our classrooms,” Link said. “These new laws will work to reduce unnecessary barriers to becoming an educator and help Illinois see an influx of teachers in schools across our communities.”

Category: Releases

051816CM0737RGURNEE—Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Illinois law will require children under the age of two to be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint seat.

The measure supported by State Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) was signed into law Friday.

“It’s our duty to ensure the safety of our children,” Link said. “This new law prioritizes the safety of our children should disaster strike. Every life we save is priceless.”

House Bill 4377 requires anyone transporting a child under two years old to secure the child in a rear-facing seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is more than 40 inches tall.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, rear-facing child safety seats give better support to the head, neck and spine of infants by distributing the force of the collision over the entire body.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that a child remain in rear-facing car seat as long as possible and never travel forward-facing until they are two years old or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their child safety seat.

This will reduce the risk of severe neck injury and lifelong disability.

“Experts agree that rear-facing car seats can reduce severe and life-changing injuries,” Link said. “It’s our duty to exercise responsible practices and policies to help save lives and keep our children safe.”

House Bill 4377 passed the House and Senate with unanimous support.

Category: Releases

04262017CM0333CHICAGO— America has the highest rate of gun violence of any developed nation and State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) is working to make Illinois a leader in changing that statistic.

Link championed a measure that will empower families and law enforcement to take steps to protect their loved ones and the general public. The bipartisan measure, House Bill 2354, was signed into law on Monday and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

“We need to put a stop to gun violence in our nation,” Link said. “This new law will empower families and law enforcement to prevent senseless tragedies.”

The Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act will allow a family member or a law enforcement officer to alert the courts that an individual with access to a firearm poses a significant danger of personal injury to themselves or others.

If the court finds evidence to show the individual is indeed dangerous, a judge can require that person to temporarily turn over any firearms in their possession.

“Instituting commonsense gun laws will help save lives,” Link said. “Illinois citizens will now have  a fair and responsible method to take action if they see alarming behavior.”

Illinois’ law is modeled after a similar law in California that allows a court to intervene if it is found likely that a person may, in the near future, cause personal injury by owning a firearm.

House Bill 2354 passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Category: Releases

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