Senate Week in Review: September 24-28, 2018

Illinois has been ranked as the fourth best state in the nation for teachers, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.

Also during the week, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recommending that residents get the flu shot as soon as it is available in their communities, and the Governor has proclaimed October as College Changes Everything® Month.

In other action, most Real Estate Brokerage and related license applications and renewals are now available online, and the Governor has issued Executive Orders eliminating 53 non-functioning boards and commissions.

Best states for teachers ranked

Illinois leads its neighboring states in the teacher-friendliness rankings issued recently by Wallet Hub.

New York, Connecticut and Minnesota are ranked first, second and third, respectively, and Hawaii is rated last.

The study compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, “Opportunity & Competition” and “Academic & Work Environment.”

The study evaluated the two dimensions using 22 relevant metrics, each of which was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for living and working as a teacher. The study then determined each state and the District of Columbia’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.

Illinois ranked second in “Opportunity & Competition” and 21st in “Academic & Work Environment.”

Time to get flu shots

The IDPH is recommending residents ages six months and older get an influenza (flu) vaccine, and nasal spray is once again an option.

“It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “The flu season typically starts around October so we recommend you make plans to get vaccinated now, before flu season begins.”

Flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. Serious cases of flu can result in hospitalization or death. Flu symptoms can include fever or feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, tiredness, and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Check with local health care providers or health departments to find convenient locations for flu shots.

October is College Changes Everything Month® in Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has proclaimed October as College Changes Everything® Month (CCE Month), when the state’s college access and financial aid agency, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and partners will be assisting students with college applications and putting them in the best position possible to receive the funding they need to attend.

In recognition of the Illinois Bicentennial, more than 200 official CCE Month sites across the state will hold both college application and financial aid events.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), the form that determines eligibility for federal and some state and institutional financial aid, becomes available on Oct. 1 for the 2019-20 school year.  Because some state aid, such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP grant) is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, students need to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible in order to have the chance to access as much financial aid as possible. At the same time, students are also completing their college applications.  

During CCE Month, students and families can attend free workshops at their high school or public locations in their community to fill out college applications and/or complete their FAFSAs with direct assistance from college and financial aid experts.

To search by ZIP Code for a free public event near you, visit studentportal/isac.org/events.  Students and parents should also check directly with their high schools for events within their own school.

Real estate license applications/renewals now online

Beginning Oct. 1, IDFPR will no longer accept paper applications for real estate licenses that have already been migrated online and can now be accessed via the IDFPR’s Online Services Portal.

Licenses impacted by this deadline include: Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Managing Broker, • Real Estate Leasing Agents, Real Estate Student Leasing Agents, Real Estate Brokerage Branch Offices, Real Estate Brokerage Corporations, Real Estate Brokerage Limited Liability Firms, Real Estate Pre-License Instructors, and Real Estate CE Instructors.

“The Department continues to transform paper applications online to enhance the user experience and improve operating efficiencies,” said Bryan A. Schneider, IDFPR Secretary. “Making online license submission mandatory is another step toward modernizing the Department and reducing license processing times.”

More than 73,000 Real Estate licensees can take advantage of IDFPR’s online licensure services. For a complete list of professions now online, check www.idfpr.com/onlineresources.asp.

Streamlining state government

On Sept. 21, Gov. Rauner issued Executive Orders eliminating 53 boards and commissions that serve no public purpose and have been inactive for years, some for as long as two full decades.

“This is a matter of good government through transparency,” Rauner said. “The people of Illinois need to understand the ongoing work of the state. They should not be led to believe that people are still at work doing tasks that were completed 10 years ago, or that they are supporting advisory roles for which the need expired in the 1990s.”

Over the years, the State of Illinois has created more than 600 authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, committees, councils, task forces and other similar entities. Many of them have completed their work and no longer operate, yet they still appear in State publications, public-facing websites, and Legislative Research Unit reports as if they were still doing the people’s work.

Earlier this year, Rauner issued an Executive Order abolishing 19 other redundant or inactive boards and commissions.

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