SPRINGFIELD – To improve access to information about human papillomavirus (HPV) for young people in Illinois, state Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) introduced legislation in a Senate committee meeting.

“This legislation ensures that all sixth-grade students in Illinois receive information about the HPV vaccine and its importance in preventing dangerous illnesses later in life,” Holmes said. “Since 2007, only girls have received information about the vaccine. If we want to decrease cases of HPV and associated conditions like cervical cancer, we need to do a better job of educating younger generations.”

Holmes’ legislation requires students entering sixth grade to be given information about the HPV vaccine from a doctor. Starting in 2007,  state law began requiring only female students to receive this information. The Centers for Disease Control has recommended and approved the vaccination for males since 2011.

“Annually, HPV causes 30,700 cancer diagnoses in both men and women,” Holmes said. “Updating the law to include boys will raise awareness about the vaccination and ensure that it is administered around age 11 or 12, when the immune response is best. This legislation does not require anyone to be vaccinated, but it will give more information to all students and their families, saving lives down the road.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 2866, was approved by the Senate Public Health Committee. It awaits consideration by the full Senate.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 2018 budget address:

“The governor’s latest budget proposal is full of accounting tricks and irresponsible cuts that will create burdens for taxpayers in the future. By shifting a large portion of pension costs to local school districts, Rauner’s latest budget could lead to higher property taxes and greater educational inequality.

“The proposal also does little to address the state’s backlog of bills, which was most recently reported at nearly $9 billion with more than $900 million in late fees.

“I look forward to working with colleagues in both parties to pass a more fair and responsible budget.”

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SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address:

“In his address, Governor Rauner bragged about a veto that would have gravely harmed communities across the state had it been allowed to stand. By refusing to support the budget, Rauner refused to support programs like state-subsidized childcare for working families. Early childhood education centers across the state were forced to close their doors due to Rauner’s inability to lead or budget realistically. One of those centers was the Child Development Center in Aurora, which was licensed to provide care to 74 children. I hope that this year will be different.”


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State legislators in front of the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier.

During a visit to Chicago’s Navy Pier, a group of Illinois legislators learned about the importance of tourism in Illinois’ economy. Navy Pier is the most visited attraction in Illinois and the Midwest with 9.3 million visitors each year.

Lawmakers were given a tour and presentation detailing redevelopment efforts and new investments as part of the attraction’s 100-year anniversary. State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, emphasizes the importance of tourism in Illinois' economy.

“As we look at ways to strengthen Illinois’ economy and create jobs, we cannot overlook the tourism sector, which continues to thrive,” Holmes said. “State government should be looking for opportunities to partner with tourist destinations like Navy Pier whenever possible to create jobs and sustain economic growth.”

Navy Pier, Inc. President and CEO Marilynn Gardner and Chief Development and Strategy Officer Patrick Sheahan led the tour, showing legislators the new Centennial Ferris Wheel, recently renovated event spaces and the future site of a hotel with views of the lake and the skyline. They also heard a presentation from Navy Pier officials regarding the Centennial Vision plan, which lays out changes and investments for the 21st century.

In total, over 3,000 employees work at 77 businesses and five nonprofits located on Navy Pier. In 2016, the tenant partners including attractions, boats, restaurants, retail and others, generated over $123 million in total gross sales and an estimated $12.6 million in sales tax revenue.

“We are grateful to lawmakers for taking the time to visit Navy Pier and see firsthand its remarkable transformation into a leading cultural district,” Gardner said. “The impact and legacy of Navy Pier is more than just our phenomenal programming. It's about place making – enhancing our unique space, ensuring it remains the People’s Pier, and bringing it to life with dynamic and eclectic experiences that inspire discovery and wonder.”

Navy Pier’s impressive tourism numbers are part of an ongoing positive trend in Illinois. In 2016, the state welcomed 110 million domestic visitors who supported more than 300,000 jobs statewide. Chicagoland is doing particularly well at attracting tourists, exceeding the national average for tourism industry growth in recent years.

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