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Southwest Illinois News is a weekly news publication spotlighting attractions, events, entertainment, tourism, jobs and business developments in Southwestern Illinois
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More Than 250 New Laws Take Effect in Illinois in 2019
SPRINGFIELD, IL (, December 30, 2018 - More than 250 new laws take effect in Illinois, beginning January 1, that will change rules related to gun control, public safety, pet safety, child safety, taxes, transportation, crime, and driving penalties.

Some of the more notable laws include:

  • 72-hour Waiting Period (SB 3256/PA 100- 0606): Creates a 72-hour waiting period on all firearms, not just handguns.
  • Firearms Restraining Order (HB 2354/PA 100- 0607): Allows family members or law enforcement to petition the court for an ex parte order alleging the respondent poses significant danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or another by having in his/her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm.
  • Human Trafficking Lawsuits (SB 3108/PA 100- 0939): Allows human trafficking survivors to bring a civil cause of action against traffickers under existing law.
  • Dual Credits (SB 2527/PA 100-0792): Provides that qualified students can do the following: enroll in an unlimited amount of dual credit courses.
  • Blaze Pink (HB 4231/PA 100-0949): Provides that hunters may wear blaze pink during firearm deer season and upland game season.
  • Rear-Facing Car Seat (HB 4377/PA 100-0672): Requires children under the age of two to be secured in a rear-facing child-restraint system.
  • Route 66 Centennial Commission (HB 66/PA 100-0649): Creates a 20-member Route 66 Centennial Commission to plan and coordinate commemorative events throughout the State to celebrate 100 years of Route 66.
  • Animal Protection (SB 2270/PA 100-0740): Provides that nothing prevents a law enforcement officer from taking temporary custody of an animal that is being put in danger due to extreme heat or cold conditions.
  • Stalking (SB 3411/PA 100-1000): Provides that stalking behavior includes sending unwanted messages via social media.
  • Property Tax Notices (SB 3085/PA 100-1095): Adds that a tax collector will no longer publish delinquent or forfeited property taxes for a property that is exempt from taxation under the Code.
  • DUI Sentencing Factor (HB 4554/PA 100-1053): Makes it an aggravating factor in sentencing for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds or any combination thereof that the individual was driving his or her vehicle the wrong on a one-way street.
  • G.I. Bill of Rights Day (HB 4954/PA 100-0817): Provides that the 4th day of November of each year is designated as "G.I. Bill of Rights Day," to be observed throughout the State as a day in recognition of the landmark legislation that provided benefits to World War II veterans, and would serve as the basis of future legislation to extend benefits to all who serve in the United States Armed Forces.
Southwestern Illinois Region Secures $95.2M in Appropriations for East St. Louis Flood Prevention Project
GRANITE CITY, IL (, December 23, 2018 - The St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District recently celebrated the recent news of $95.2M in the FY2019 workplan, which will bring the East St. Louis Flood Prevention project to its anticipated completion in 2022.

At the press conference, held December 18, Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) said, "This project is vitally important to East St. Louis and the entire Metro East region. Not only does this infrastructure project set the table for future economic development, it also provides protection from flooding to local residents and businesses. This levee project is truly a win-win."

The Metro East Levee System, which is 73.7 miles in length, consists of five levee projects located in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties in Illinois. The levees were authorized and constructed to a height equal to 54 feet on the St. Louis gage, with completion of the original construction several decades ago.

Since that time more than $170M in Federal and local funds have been invested in aged levee infrastructure to reduce risk. The work that remains is correction of underseepage issues with the levee system. This is a critical issue that increases risk of failure.

Initial efforts to remedy the underseepage issues, called the 100-year level improvements, are complete with $74M of new construction invested to date, and the remaining underseepage correction projects are now underway.

This $95.2M Federal appropriation, when combined with the local efforts, will complete all remaining underseepage corrections in the East St Louis Levee.

The Metro East Levees protect 288,000 people/employees, 4,000 businesses, over 56,000 jobs, 111,000 acres, and $13.3B in assets. The funds will not only protect but provide opportunities for local people to work as local contractors.

"The St. Louis District is committed to working with our partners and stakeholders in rehabilitating the Metro East Levee System and improving the quality of life of those we serve," Col. Bryan Sizemore, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District said.

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