State Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — The governor signed legislation by State Sen. Linda Holmes and Attorney General Lisa Madigan to streamline some state laws to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in Illinois.

“Simplifying and streamlining codes makes it easier to comply with laws, and making accessibility laws easier to follow will help ensure equal access for people with disabilities who live in and visit our state,” said Holmes. “I applaud Attorney General Madigan’s leadership on this issue and thank the governor for signing it into law.”

Attorney General Lisa Madigan called for the legislation, sponsored by Holmes, to update the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act (EBA). First enacted in 1985, that statute authorizes the Attorney General’s Office to enforce accessibility laws mandating that public buildings and multi-story housing units in Illinois be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

“Our commitment to equality for all must extend to making sure people who have disabilities have equal access to facilities within their communities,” Madigan said. “People who have disabilities lead active lives, and our laws should enhance their ability to do so.”

The legislation that passed today amends the EBA to update state law with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design and streamlines the existing state statute so architects have an easier time referencing the law.

Changes to the Environmental Barriers Act under this update include:

  • Updating definitions to conform with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and corresponding updates to the Illinois Accessibility Code;
  • Replacing an outdated state standard for accessibility with an easier-to-use standard that mirrors the ADA;
  • Clarifying which version of the EBA and the Illinois Accessibility Code applies to new construction and alterations; and
  • Updating the enforcement provisions to reflect the current emphasis on working with businesses to resolve issues and alleviate future barriers for individuals with disabilities.

The legislation was Senate Bill 2956. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Category: New Releases

Residents will have a chance to learn more about their property taxes during a series of upcoming question-and-answer sessions with Naperville Township Assessor Warren Dixon.

Dixon is inviting property owners to join him for coffee on multiple dates in July, August and September. Guests will be able to ask him questions about property tax assessments, exemptions and appeals, and they can learn more about the factors that affect property taxes.

These informative sessions will take place between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. as follows:

  • Monday, July 18 at the Pomegranate Cafe, 55 S. Commons Drive, Aurora
  • Monday, Aug. 15 at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, 305 Jackson Ave., Naperville
  • Monday, Aug. 22 at the Pomegranate Cafe, 55 S. Commons Drive, Aurora
  • Monday, Sept. 12 at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, 305 Jackson Ave., Naperville
  • Monday, Sept. 19 the Pomegranate Cafe, 55 S. Commons Drive, Aurora

For more information, contact Dixon's office at 630-355-2444 or visit the Naperville Township website at napervilletownship.com.

Warren Dixon PDF Flyer 

Category: News

Holmes 7.1.2015Aurora Beacon-News - June 1, 2016 | Original article
By Steve Lord

Legislation awaits Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature that would give the city of Aurora, Sho-Deen Inc. and ComEd more time to relocate an electric substation along the Fox River downtown that could pave the way for new development.

The bill passed the Illinois Senate this week unopposed, after previously passing the Illinois House. It is a specialized piece of legislation giving Aurora, developer Sho-Deen Inc. and ComEd until Aug. 1, 2020 to relocate a substation that sits in the middle of about a 30-acre piece of property along the river that Sho-Deen intends to develop.

The entire 30 acres is south of Benton Street downtown. The city and Sho-Deen have a development agreement on the property signed almost 10 years ago. The development came to a halt due to the recession and the housing market bust, but Sho-Deen and the city have been talking recently about starting the project up again in some fashion.

[The legislation] was sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, and was co-sponsored in the House by state Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) and Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego).

"The River Edge Redevelopment Zone program was designed to help developers take old, unused property and renovate it to meet today's needs," Holmes said. "We're simply making sure developers have enough time to make use of these incentives."

The relevant section of the law was set to expire in July 2017 and is would be extended to Aug. 1, 2020 under the new bill.

The legislation does not address extension of the River Edge Redevelopment Zones altogether. Those expire at the end of 2016, and Holmes has another bill in the Senate to extend that deadline, too. Chapa LaVia and Kifowit have supported similar legislation in the House.

Read the full article here.

Category: Latest

Beagle2The Associated Press - May 24, 2016 | As published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  — A bill that would've required universities in Illinois to offer healthy feline and canine test subjects to rescue organizations has provoked a dispute between its Democratic sponsor and the University of Illinois.

The initial legislation from state Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora stalled after the university said it already has adoption procedures in place and several lawmakers questioned whether it was a solution in search of a problem, the Chicago Tribune  reported.

The measure is nicknamed "the beagle bill" because beagles are the breed of dogs most commonly used for experiments and the adoption effort is bolstered by the Beagle Freedom Project, an animal rights group that's successfully lobbied for similar legislation in Minnesota, Connecticut, Nevada and California. The goal is to prevent animals from automatically being euthanized when labs are done testing on them.

Holmes argues that the University of Illinois doesn't support the measure because it has a vendetta against the Beagle Freedom Project and it doesn't want a spotlight shone on animal testing at its facilities.

University of Illinois officials deny any mistreatment of the school's research animals.

Spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the university's research animals are used in trials to test ingredients used in pet food. She said most of the animals are adopted and only some are euthanized so researchers can collect internal tissue for futher analysis.

Between 2011 and 2015, 24 dogs owned by the university for research purposes were adopted, five were euthanized and one remains on campus, according to data released by the school.

Holmes made several changes to the bill after the initial version was shot down. Last month, she proposed requiring universities to publicly post animals available for adoption online, and most recently proposed requiring universities to make their animal research protocols public.

But the University of Illinois continues to argue that the legislation isn't needed when most of its animals already found homes.

The changes were met by conflicting opinions from lawmakers who didn't see the need to override experts and others who didn't see any harm in enforcing new regulations.

Read the original article as published at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here.

Category: Latest

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