053016CM1136DES PLAINES — A new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) requires the governor to appoint two individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities to the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board.

“Individuals with disabilities need to have a seat at the table and an opportunity to make their voices heard on how to address the needs of Illinois’ workforce,” Murphy said. “I believe that as a state, we need to do more to utilize individuals with disabilities within the workforce. I hope that by having advocates on the board, they will help develop a strategic plan to increase employment among disabled Illinoisans.”

The Illinois Workforce Innovation Board seeks to evaluate and meet Illinois’ workforce needs. It includes a variety of members from the public and private sector who represent the interests of the business community, workers and educational field.

Senate Bill 3222 requires the governor to appoint two individuals who self-identify as individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities to the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board. Currently, nearly 50 members serve on the board.

According to theUnited States Census Bureau, about 7 percent of Illinoisans under the age of 65 have a disability.

This legislation, which was signed into law yesterday, takes effect immediately.

murphySPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) released its 2018 Environmental Scorecard this week. State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plains) has been honored with a perfect voting record. A total of 21 state senators received an award for their voting record during the 2018 legislative session. “Senator Laura Murphy demonstrated a commitment to environmental issues in Springfield this session,” said IEC Executive Director Jen Walling.

The 2018 Environmental Scorecard included numerous legislative measures.  Specific priorities from the Scorecard include:

●  SB2298: Industrial Hemp Act
○  This bill brings new opportunities to farmers as well as benefits to soil by opening new initiatives for sustainable agriculture.
●  SB2773: Renewable Energy Financing
○  This measure enhances the property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program by allowing Illinois to help communities access fund for clean energy projects.
●  HB4790: Use of Compost
○  This legislation increases the use of compost in transportation projects and helps create a market for compost use in Illinois.

“Senator Laura Murphy voted 100% of the time with the environmental community on nine pieces of key legislation,” added Walling. “The IEC is honored by Senator Murphy’s dedication to Illinois’ environment and we look forward to working together in the future.”

IEC releases its scorecard in August of each year.

030216 js 0254DES PLAINES —Mid-sized convention centers will continue to benefit from a state grant which helps them compete with other states under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

“This legislation is designed to spur tourism, economic activity and competition with convention centers in other states,” Murphy said. “Hosting conventions helps local hotels, restaurants and retail merchants. I am pleased that Illinois will benefit from another four years of this grant and hope to see increased economic growth around our convention centers.

House Bill 4990 extends the Municipal Convention Center and Sports Facility Attraction Grant until 2022. Through this program, mid-size convention centers can receive up to $200,000 in reimbursements for incentivizing business. This legislation applies to convention centers in: Schaumburg, Lombard, Tinley Park, Peoria, Springfield, Collinsville, Quincy, the Quad Cities and Rockford.

“My district has already greatly benefited from this program,” Murphy said. “I encourage mid-size convention centers across the state to take advantage of this grant and apply for funding.”

The grant is funded through the Tourism Promotion Fund, housed within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This law takes effect immediately.

Senator Murphy questions tollway officialsAt the urging of State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines), the Senate Transportation Committee convened a subject matter hearing on Tuesday morning in Chicago to discuss potential irregularities in Tollway procurement.

Illinois Deputy Chief Procurement Officer Jan Morrow, Tollway Director Liz Gorman and Tollway Chief of Procurement John Donato testified on procurement policies for engineering contracts and how proposals are reviewed.

“This was a good start to the conversation,” Murphy said. “We discussed the nuts and bolts of how contracts are awarded, but I’d like to see more transparency in the process. When politically connected organizations are awarded contracts, it erodes public confidence.”

The hearing was called following the award of a $6.6 million subcontract to Morreale Communications which was tacked onto an engineering contract. The CEO of Morreale is married to Republican State Representative Michael McAuliffe.

Though the Tollway contended that Morreale Communications disclosed the potential conflict of interest, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) remarked that it is important to avoid the impression of a conflict of interest, which can be just as undermining.

During the hearing, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) questioned some work Morreale was performing, such as writing speeches for the chairman of the Tollway, when the Tollway employs an 11-member communications staff. Donato testified that he believes Tollway communications staff’s budget is $1.6 million annually.

The Tollway was also under fire for a $157 million contract with Omega and Associates, a company which employs the children of Tollway executives. The firm has also contributed to board members’ charities.

“I’ll keep asking questions about these contracts and the award process,” Murphy said. “I believe the Tollway owes a transparent process and efficient use of funds to the public.”

 

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