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It’s just a bill

Friday, Mar 31, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Sen. Sue Rezin’s SB76 to lift Illinois’ moratorium on nuclear power plant construction passed 39-13. Capitol News Illinois

“The bill is going to come to the House with a lot of momentum,” Rezin said in an interview after the bill passed. “The unions are out and working their members to explain the importance of the bill and to just explain the technology.” […]

Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, said the bill was “still not fully baked,” adding that the question of what is done with nuclear waste still doesn’t have a solution.

“Whether it’s one pound or a thousand pounds, it’s still nuclear waste,” he said. “We can’t wait for a national strategy, in my opinion.” […]

Some of the state’s largest environmental groups, including the Illinois Environmental Council, oppose the measure. Jack Darin, the head of the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, told Capitol News Illinois earlier this month that his organization doesn’t believe nuclear energy is “clean energy,” citing concerns over the environmental impact of nuclear waste.

A similar bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights. That measure, House Bill 1079, was approved in committee with a bipartisan majority, 18-3, although it hasn’t been heard by the full House.

* SJ-R

Legislation from state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, passed with only one dissenting vote, 55-1, and would change several stipulations of supplier licenses.

Under the Sports Wagering Act (SWA), signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker in 2019, applicants owed a nonrefundable license and application fee of $150,000 dedicated to the IGB. Currently, these initial licenses last for four years before the license holder would have to pay another $150,000 annually to maintain them. […]

Senate Bill 1462 from state Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, would also deal with licenses and passed in a 44-12 vote mostly along party lines. Senate Minority Leader John Curran was among the six Republicans backing the legislation.

The bill updates eligibility standards for those seeking an occupational license, specifically with regard to their criminal record. IGB would be required to consider length of time since conviction, number of convictions and the severity of the charges among other factors when reviewing an individual’s application through the legislation.

* WAND

The Illinois Senate unanimously approved a plan Thursday night to help address the shortage of firefighters and EMTs.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) worked with Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Moline) to create an EMT training, recruitment, and retention task force.

They hope this group can address the impact this shortage is having on the state’s EMS and health care systems. The bill also requires the task force to recommend how EMT testing and certification requirements affect recruitment and retention efforts. Senate Bill 761 notes that the group should also discuss how apprenticeship programs can be utilized to help recruit and retain EMRs, EMTs, and paramedics. […]

Nine members of the task force would represent rural and ground ambulance providers while three members would bring the perspective of hospitals. The proposal also calls for members representing the State Board of Education, community colleges, and a statewide association of nursing homes.

* Sen. Martwick…

State Senator Robert Martwick has passed a measure that would prohibit companies from using personal data gathered from retirement plan participants to sell products and services that are not related to the plan.

“When an employee deposits their money in a retirement savings account, they trust the people handling their money are working in their best interest,” said Martwick (D-Chicago). “As we have seen throughout history, unfortunately, this is not always the case.”

The measure enacts a series of strict conflict of interest provisions. Included in the measure are rules regarding companies who perform contracted recordkeeping services for public employee deferred compensation plans.

Current law does not prevent the recordkeeping companies from making use of the personal data provided to them to solicit plan holders. Martwick’s measure would ensure that they could no longer act outside the plan holder’s best interest, and solicit them with services they do not need.

“Account holders’ data should be kept safe from being used for financial product marketing and predatory practices from large financial corporations,” Martwick said.

Senate Bill 1646 passed the Senate Thursday sand now goes to the House for further consideration.

* Scott Holland

When it comes to government, simple solutions are in short supply.

Consider House Bill 2500, which passed 107-0 March 24. State Rep. Harry Benton, D-Plainfield, filed the plan to waive animal shelter adoption fees for Illinois veterans, allowing one free dog or cat adoption every two years. […]

I’m not a veteran but we have two rescue mutts. Our fee covered micro-chipping, vaccines and the spay/neuter procedures at a partnering veterinarian. The rescue and its volunteers incurred expenses transporting the dogs to the suburbs and foster care, plus general website and office costs. […]

Perhaps the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare could certify veteran adoptions and send checks to the rescues, or the veterans could qualify for 1:1 state income tax credits. It’s easy to imagine the pushback if the state ordered county health departments to create veteran pet adoption funds, even if they could pass it along through increased rabies tag fees.

Maybe pet food and supply companies could get tax credits for donating to a fund that would cover the adoption fees, perhaps with an annual cap on expenditures. The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars or other groups might consider helping such an effort, although it’s not as if those groups are presently flush with excess cash. […]

We’re not talking about huge sums, but whenever government pledges waiving a fee, it’s fair to ask who ultimately pays and if there might be a better option.

* Scott Reeder at the Illinois Times

The options for disposing of human remains in Illinois are limited. You can be buried, entombed or cremated. But a bill pending before the Illinois General Assembly would add another option: composting.

That process turns human remains into soil over the course of a few weeks. Companies that offer this service place a person’s remains in a container with wood chips, straw and other organic material and heat it to accelerate the growth of bacteria that breaks down the body.

LeNette Van Haverbeke, a representative of Illinois Cemetery and Funeral Home Association, told lawmakers that many in the field “oppose human composting as lacking the traditional dignity afforded to the dead.”

Call me a cynic, but could it be that some in the funeral home industry don’t like this idea because it limits their ability to upsell grieving loved ones on expensive caskets, vaults and burial plots?

* Sen. Mike Simmons…

To encourage cooperative housing developments, State Senator Mike Simmons advanced a measure out of the Senate on Thursday.

“Many communities across Illinois are experiencing a severe shortage of affordable housing,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “Cooperative housing models help to fill that gap by providing lower-income individuals access to long-term permanent housing.”

Senate Bill 1484 creates the Cooperative Housing Fund, which would be used by the Illinois Housing Development Authority to award up to $5 million in grants to organizations developing cooperative housing for residents with an income less than or equal to the median income within the municipality.

This measure will promote cooperative housing, a form of housing where entities own the residential building, but its residents are shareholders of the entity. Cooperative housing provides a viable alternative to homeownership for low- to middle-income earners who may not be able to buy a home, while adding a key affordable housing option to those who need it.

* Senate Majority Leader Lightford’s SB16 passed the Senate yesterday…

Building upon her steadfast leadership to take a more holistic, trauma-informed approach in schools, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford passed a measure to equip schools with the training and resources they need to meet the diverse trauma and mental health needs of students. […]

Schools across the state would be equipped with training and resources to meet the diverse trauma and mental health needs of students, under Lightford’s measure. The Illinois State Board of Education would create a Children’s Adversity Index, which would measure community childhood trauma exposure across the population of children 3-18 years old by May 31, 2025.

ISBE, under the bill, would create a committee to make recommendations amending education licensing requirements to include training on adverse childhood experiences, trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and creating trauma-responsive learning environments and/or communities.

* Naperville Sun

The Illinois House has approved a measure sponsored by state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, of Naperville, that would allow the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to deny grant funding to public and school libraries if they ban books or fail to devise policies against removing titles from their stacks.

The 69-39 party-line vote in the Democratic-led House reflected the partisan divide on the book-banning issue both in the state and nationally. The bill is now being considered by the Senate. […]

Republican state Rep. Martin McLaughlin called the bill “a complete go-around and end-around on the local control and authority” of elected library boards.

“I think it’s (a) very blatant attempt to strong-arm our local communities and how they want to direct their libraries to operate and function,” said McLaughlin, of Barrington Hills. “I don’t understand why we have local elections anymore if a bill like this passes.”

Moments before the bill passed, Stava-Murray called the “local control” argument “disgusting,” saying it is “a dog whistle for allowing statewide or nationwide racist or bigoted policies to persist.”

* Sen. Ann Gillespie…

To further prevent discrimination while looking for a place to live, State Senator Ann Gillespie passed legislation out of the Senate on Thursday that prohibits the consideration of immigration status during a real estate transaction.

“Those looking to rent or purchase property in Illinois should not be treated differently because of their immigration status,” said Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “Putting these protections in place will promote fairness to ensure people are not unjustly denied housing.”

Senate Bill 1817 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to provide that it is a civil rights violation to consider immigration status when renting or selling property, including a refusal to engage in a transaction, receive or transmit offers, or negotiate terms of a deal. It would also prohibit a third party loan modification service provider from refusing to engage in loan modification services or altering the terms of such services based on a person’s immigration status. Inquiry or use of immigration status would still be allowed when required by either state or federal law. […]

The measure will now move to the House for consideration.

       

19 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:05 am:

    ==blatant attempt to strong-arm==

    Exactly what do you think the book banners are doing? They are doing just that. A few of them don’t like something so they believe it is their right to ban the books from libraries. It’s an insidious pattern and it has be stopped.


  2. - Homebody - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:19 am:

    I don’t agree with every bill being passed, but wow comparing what is happening in blue states to red states these days, I am so happy I live here.


  3. - H-W - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:28 am:

    Re: Illinois Times story on human remains.

    Is it legal to bury a body without a casket in Illinois? Is it legal to bury a body in a wooden casket without embalming the body first?

    I ask (sincerely) because I honestly do not see why a casket is necessary, and in part, because the idea of embalming a body has always seemed to me, morbid. Certainly more morbid than the idea of ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

    The idea of composting would seem akin to burial without a casket and embalming fluid.


  4. - very old soil - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:41 am:

    H-W, yes and yes. Minimum of 18 inches of cover. You can bury a body on your property if local zoning allows (still need a funeral director)


  5. - DuPage - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    These small nukes are similar to ones that power navy nuke-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. These military nukes are very secure by nature of being on military ships. The proposed small civilian nukes would need armed guards 24/7/365. Terrorist-types could take radioactive material and use it to make “dirty” bombs.
    Illinois does need cheap and abundant electric power, so bring in the power lines for large-scale wind and solar power from the states to the west of us. There is no need for small, insecure nukes in Illinois.


  6. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    If you would like more info about human composting, the Science Vs. podcast took an in-depth look last fall. (30 minute listen)

    https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/76helb5/should-we-compost-human-bodies


  7. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:49 am:

    ===EMT training, recruitment, and retention task force.===

    I could save them some time. What should be a robust public service has been privatized and the pay is garbage. Shortages, especially in rural areas, are due to volume not being high enough to support the business.

    This is another problem that exists because we continue to pretend that private entities can some how deliver public goods and services better than governments. (Please ignore the no work contracts that private companies are providing in an effort to bribe legislators.)


  8. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 11:52 am:

    I support renewables but also would welcome the new generation of nuclear plant designs, to keep Illinois a net exporter of energy instead of an energy importer. That’s important for our industry in Illinois. The new reactors are designed from physics principles to be inherently safe and meltdown-proof; even if you shut off all the cooling systems, the reaction just stops. The waste problem is basically solved in two ways: vitrification, where the waste is turned into inert ceramic glass blocks that can be safely buried, or re-processing in a thorium reactor, which consumes most of the waste while providing heat and power. What’s left over has a much shorter half-life and is easier to contain and store. I’d be happy to live next to one of these plants; they are way cleaner than the coal-fired one near me now. The new, standardized small modular format designs also make construction much simpler and cheaper than when every plant was bespoke built from scratch, thus the ROI comes a lot sooner. The Illinois nuclear plant fleet is aging out and we need to replace some of these plants to keep a good baseload capability in tandem with using wind and solar as peaker plants. If we’re talking about being carbon-neutral, this is the way forward.


  9. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:25 pm:

    “some in the funeral home industry don’t like this idea because it limits their ability to upsell grieving loved ones on expensive caskets, vaults and burial plots”.

    Yes.


  10. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 12:35 pm:

    DuPage; new nuclear plants would be as secure against terrorists as they are now.and the fuel isn’t laying around in easy to steal form. Your scenario is something from Hollywood fantasies.


  11. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 1:02 pm:

    @Dupage

    The new nukes would be subject to all the strict regulations, including security regulations, that all the old nukes are subject to. Unless there’s a change in regulation, which is not present in this bill, so you’re debating a non-existent bill.

    I’m not sure whether there’s enough wind and solar elsewhere to replace the coal and natural gas in Illinois, but given that most U.S. states, and all big ones, continue to rely on fossil fuels, I’d be surprised if they have enough to spare.

    @Give Us Barabbas

    Well put. I’d just add that all the nuclear waste produced in the U.S. ever can fit inside a walmart. If placed on a football field it would be less than 10 yards deep. Because uranium is so powerful, the size of the waste is not that large. This is especially true compared to the waste that actively causes climate change from coal and natural gas.

    Maybe there’s a generational difference, but I’m far more afraid of climate change than I am of nuclear waste.


  12. - cermak_rd - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 1:25 pm:

    Dupage,

    I agree with the others, the less IL has to rely on other states (and therefore the laws of other states) the better.

    IL also has renewables, there are a lot of windmills off of I88, for instance. But renewables are known for not always creating the energy when it can be used and not necessarily creating it when it’s needed. I think better power storage will be needed to be able to truly bring in a new era of renewables. They should definitely be in the mix though. But so should nukes, they make a lot of electrity for every KG of waste.


  13. - GADawg - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:10 pm:

    SB 16: put more work on the shoulders of school staff when we’re already facing a teacher shortage, a mental health professional shortage, and retirements in both field that are not being replaced. We have to find a way to fund those mental health services instead of expecting more and more of schools.


  14. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:46 pm:

    ==SB 16: put more work on the shoulders of school staff==

    It’s to move towards a training program for school staff. You opposed to training? Take a breath for crying out loud.


  15. - Sir Reel b - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 2:59 pm:

    I agree with the comments on new nuke plants. Not a perfect solution but in the right direction. And it addresses one of my pet peeves, custom built nuke plants with giant cost overruns. We’re experiencing climate change impacts big time already. We need to decarbonize yesterday.


  16. - DuPage - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:21 pm:

    @ cermack-rd, -JJJJJJJJJJ-, Give Us Barabbas,
    my concern on the mini-nukes is not quantity of the radioactive waste, but the security of the radioactive fuel and waste. Would the owner of the mini-nukes want to pay for security equal to the security of the old nukes? Of course not, they would seek lower standards. Are you familiar with what a dirty bomb is? A small one set off in Chicago could spread radioactive dust for many city blocks especially on a windy day. It could get sucked into the air intakes of buildings in downtown Chicago contaminating these buildings rendering them uninhabitable.
    Wind energy will soon be stored on the new utility-scale battery farms, so any lapse in wind will not be a problem. It will take up to 10 years to get all the renewables completely set up, so we should keep existing large nukes open until the renewables, (wind/solar/hydro/storage) are able to handle the load. If wind farms are in both western Iowa and Illinois (for example) it would be very unlikely for “no wind” to occur at both places at the same time. If they are connected by a power grid, if one area slows down the other area keeps going. When all the renewables are developed, the mini nukes would not be needed.


  17. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 3:43 pm:

    @Dupage

    I think it’s quite the jump to say that lifting the moratorium will result in a slide in regulations for the security of waste. Regulations which have kept us safe for the last 6 decades of nuclear energy production in this state….


  18. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 4:21 pm:

    There’s also a promising new technology being developed for spent fuel rod burial, using vertical boreholes that go super-deep, well below any aquifers, into exceptionally stable zones. It is a big difference from the mountainside facility in Nevada, could be a game-changer. On site fuel rods are heavily protected in units that can withstand incredible force. The dirty bomb thing is for movies and dime novels. What’s not a fantasy are the piles of toxic coal waste out in the open at every coal burning facility in Illinois today, full of toxic heavy metals and even mildly radioactive waste, sitting near open waterways with no protection if the piles collapse or if they shed metallic dusts into your local air. Coal lobbies stopped the state from legislating safer coal waste disposal and mitigation. By comparison an atomic powerplant is way cleaner and safer for everyone, every day.


  19. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 31, 23 @ 4:22 pm:

    @DuPage

    The federal government regulates security at nuclear plants. The owner can’t just willy nilly reduce security requirements. If you are ok with the current security apparatus at existing nukes then you should be ok with it for future nukes.


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