Senator Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement following a Wednesday vote in the Senate to restore funding and original entry requirements to the Child Care Assistance Program.

“Governor Rauner’s decision to roll back accessibility to the Child Care Assistance Program is harmful to families who are doing all they can to work and ensure their children are cared for,” Holmes said. “Delays in funding have already caused the closure of a day care center in my district earlier this year. We can’t tell our working families that it’s better to just stay home. That’s why I support this measure and call on the House to pass it.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 570. It proceeds to the House for consideration.

Category: New Releases

041213br0086rNew regulations ensure safe disposal of syringes and other sharp waste

SPRINGFIELD — The governor signed today a law to improve waste disposal worker safety and prevent the potential spread of disease, enacting a plan put forth by State Senator Linda Holmes.

“‘Sharps,’ like syringes, are a fact of life for one out of 12 Illinoisans, and that means one out of 12 Illinoisans is disposing of them somehow,” Holmes said. “I applaud the governor’s decision to affirm a law that ensures our sanitation workers are not being exposed to potential biohazards as they do their jobs.”

For proper disposal, syringes and other “sharps” should be collected in an appropriate sharps disposal container and can be disposed of in your regular trash. Even when placed in the appropriate plastic container, sharps should never be disposed of with recyclables.

Under the new law, disposing of sharp waste like syringes in recycling would be prohibited. It would also permit local governments to establish sharps collection points at medical centers and police or fire stations and to create a U.S. Postal Service-approved sharp waste mail-back program.

The legislation was Senate Bill 793. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Category: New Releases

Senator Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — In an effort to curb the spread of invasive species and protect the environment, State Sen. Linda Holmes supported legislation signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner this week that adds more plants to the state's list of exotic weeds.

The Exotic Weeds Act prohibits the sale of invasive flora that threaten the ecosystem in Illinois.

“One of our most important duties as a government is the protection and preservation of our environment for future generations,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “I'm pleased the governor has affirmed the expansion of this list.”

The updated Exotic Weeds Act adds a variety of new plant species to the list, including varieties of exotic bush honeysuckles, olives, salt cedar, poison hemlock, giant hogweed, Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese, giant and Bohemian knotweed, among numerous others.

The legislation was Senate Bill 681. It becomes effective Jan. 1.

Category: New Releases

Senator Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — Working alongside Attorney General Lisa Madigan to crack down on unlicensed employment agencies, State Sen. Linda Holmes advanced a plan out of the Illinois Senate Wednesday.

“There are employers out there flouting the law, exploiting some of the most vulnerable workers in some of the lowest-paid jobs,” Holmes said. “I’m gratified to work with Attorney General Madigan to toughen enforcement and protect jobseekers. I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this important legislation.”

The legislation seeks to address regulations that have not seen substantive updates in decades and that currently provide inadequate tools for the Attorney General’s Office to enforce compliance.

Workers who have been placed by such unregulated agencies have alleged numerous instances of abuse they have suffered at the hands of employers, including being made to work 6-day work weeks of 12-hour shifts to pay off referral fees, being referred to jobs that pay below the minimum wage, being housed in crowded and substandard conditions and being denied medical treatment for on-the-job injuries.

“My office initiated this legislation after uncovering instances of low-income and immigrant workers being subject to dangerous and often illegal working conditions. They were placed in those conditions by employment agencies that were frequently operating without licenses,” Madigan said. “This bill will strengthen our laws so that we can stop licensed and unlicensed employment agencies from taking unfair advantage of Illinois workers.”

In addition to providing civil penalties for such violations, Holmes’ proposal directs the Department of Labor to create and maintain a database of employment agencies with suspended or revoked licenses, requires employment agencies to keep records of their placements longer and provides whistleblower protection to employees who report misconduct.

The legislation is Senate Bill 1859. It proceeds to the House for consideration.

Category: New Releases

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