This week, State Senator Jason Plummer (R-Vandalia) is continuing his push for independence in the legislative map-drawing process. Sen. Plummer has signed on as a co-sponsor of a new constitutional amendment, which would place a question on the ballot to allow for the creation of a new, independent commission, taking the process of drawing legislative districts out of the hands of sitting lawmakers.
In other news, a dozen historic sites in Illinois have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, including one in Alton, Illinois.
Additionally, nominations are now being accepted for the Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal is reminding older Illinoisans about the importance of fire safety.
Senate Republican lawmakers join bipartisan push to pass Fair Maps amendment
This week, it was announced that a bipartisan group of lawmakers are coming together to file a new constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 18, which would take sitting legislators out of Illinois’ legislative map-drawing process and prevent them from drawing their own districts.
SJRCA 18 includes the following provisions:
- Establishes an independent, 17-member commission appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, who is charged with drawing the Congressional and General Assembly maps.
- Seven commission members will be nominated from each political party and three commission members will not be affiliated with either political party.
- Allows the public to provide comment and submit maps during the map drawing process for consideration by the Commission.
Senator Plummer, who is a proponent for changing the system for drawing legislative maps, contends that this proposal is the first step in rooting out government corruption and would send a strong message to Illinoisans that the status quo in Springfield is no longer acceptable.
In order for SJRCA 18 to be placed on the ballot this General Election, the full General Assembly must pass it no later than May 3, 2020.
Illinois sites added to National Register of Historic Places
A dozen sites in Illinois have been added to the National Register of Historic Places of 2019 based on recommendations from the State Historic Preservation Office.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of properties that merit special attention and preservation. Every Illinois county has at least one property or historic district listed in the National Register. To be eligible, properties must be more than 50 years old.
The 2019 additions are:
- Chicago Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium District, Chicago, Cook County
- Copley Hospital, Aurora, Kane County
- First Congregational Church, Des Plaines, Des Plaines, Cook County
- Louis Fredrick House Barrington Hills, Lake County
- The Forum, Chicago, Cook County
- Leaning Tower of Niles, Niles, Cook County
- Lilacia Park Historic District, Lombard, Du Page County
- Alton Gas and Electric Powerhouse, Alton, Madison County
- Downtown Urbana Historic District, Urbana, Champaign County
- Hunziker Winery Site, Warsaw, Hancock County
- Paris High School and Gymnasium, Paris, Edgar County
- Rollo Congregational United Church of Christ, Earlville vicinity, De Kalb County
Nominations open for Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame awards hosted by the Illinois Department on Aging.
The Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1994 to honor Illinois residents ages 65 and older for their personal achievements in four separate categories; Community Service, Education, Labor Force and Performance & Graphic Arts.
The Illinois Department on Aging will be accepting nominations now through May 31.
For more information and to download a nomination form, click here.
OSFM stresses importance of fire safety for older Illinoisans
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is reminding older Illinoisans about the importance of fire safety.
People over the age of 65 face the greatest risk of dying in a fire. In 2018, 44% out of the 118 fire deaths in Illinois were people over the age of 60. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), on average, over 1,000 Americans 65 and older die in home fires with the leading cause of these deaths is careless smoking.
OSFM says to keep these tips in mind to create a fire safe home:
- Know two ways out of every room. Practice using both ways.
- Remove any items that may block your way out of the room or your home.
- Discuss your fire escape plan with family and neighbors. Contact your building manager or fire department to discuss your plan if you need extra help escaping.
- Keep eyeglasses, keys, hearing aids and a phone within reaching next to your bed.
- Practice your home fire escape drill twice a year.