Senator Terry Link speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) advanced a measure today that would cut wasteful spending by eliminating small road districts and allowing for government consolidation.

“Everyone loves to talk about how Illinois has too many units of government,” Link said. “This bill would help fix that. Everyone loves to complain about high property taxes. This bill would help provide property tax relief.”

House Bill 4637 requires that road districts in Lake and McHenry counties must be abolished if they contain less than 15 miles of roads.

“We don’t need a governing body for less than 15 miles of roads,” Link said. “It just doesn’t make any sense. Government consolidation is long overdue, and eliminating wasteful road districts is the perfect place to start.”

The measure also authorizes a petition-initiated township dissolution procedure for each township within McHenry County.


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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.


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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.”

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