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SPRINGFIELD – A measure that would give Cook County taxpayers the ability to easily access public records passed the Senate Executive Committee unanimously Wednesday.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) is the lead sponsor of the initiative.

“The passage of this legislation indicates a positive step in the direction of accessible, transparent government,” Hastings said. “To put it simply, hardworking taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent. I look forward to additional dialogue and collaboration with my colleagues to further solidify a government that works for our people first and foremost.”

Senate Bill 583 would include the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County under the Local Records Act, providing greater transparency to the public regarding how the clerk’s office uses its public funds. The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is a non-judicial office of the judiciary and not a local government or public body currently subject to FOIA.

Additionally, the legislation requires all clerks of circuit courts to accept credit card payments over the internet for fines, penalties, court costs and other costs, providing convenience for a county’s citizens when paying fines and fees.

“As we move forward from the previous administration, it’s important to regain public trust in the clerk’s office by being more transparent, and this is one of the first steps we’re taking to do that,” said Iris Y. Martinez, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. “I’m thankful to my former colleague, Senator Hastings, for assisting our office to better serve the public.”

This measure now moves to the Senate floor for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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FRANKFORT – Each year, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources selects schools across the state to receive grants for field trips. This year, Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) is congratulating two local schools, Arcadia Elementary School and Rich Township High School STEM Campus, on being selected as winners.

“This Biodiversity Grant Program provides students with a chance to expand their education outside of the classroom,” Hastings said. “I am incredibly grateful that the students at these two schools are being extended this excellent opportunity.”

The program allows schools to take students to state parks, museums, and other natural resource locations to gain hands-on experience with nature and conservation in Illinois.

Students from Arcadia Elementary School’s 4th through 6th grade classes will take a trip to Central Park Wetlands in Park Forest, a local park that contains a restored wetland area.

Students in 11th and 12th grade from Rich Township High School’s STEM Campus will be visiting Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, an 891-acre protected area with a range of different habitat types.

Both trips will provide students with an opportunity to gain in-person experience with biodiversity issues they are learning about in the classroom and expand their knowledge of Illinois and its natural resources.

More information about the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program is available from the IDNR Division of Education at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-524-4126. The 2022 application form will be available on the IDNR website within the months to come.

 

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – A measure spearheaded by State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) that would sufficiently honor members of the Illinois National Guard in death passed the Senate Veterans Affairs committee Tuesday.

“The presentation of a flag, whether it’s a state flag or the American flag, to the families of fallen soldiers is a crucial tradition that dates back centuries,” Hastings said. “No soldier’s life should go unrecognized, so I am pleased my colleagues on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee saw fit to extend this privilege to more of our state’s fallen National Guardsmen and women.”

Under current law, members of the Illinois National Guard serving on federal duty or training status are to have a state flag presented to their next of kin upon their death, should they die while serving. Senate Bill 505 adds State Active Duty to this provision, ensuring that all who lose their lives in service of their state and country are properly memorialized.

“Those men and women who serve our state and country honorably and pay the ultimate price for those causes are worthy of the highest form of recognition,” Hastings said. “This change to the current law is a gesture that will make a massive difference to the loved ones of our fallen heroes.”

This legislation will now be considered before the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

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FRANKFORT – Following Governor JB Pritzker’s annual budget address, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) offered the following statement:

“The proposal outlined by Governor Pritzker today is just the start of what will certainly be a challenging negotiation process. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our people with generational economic challenges, and there is no question that this is going to be an incredibly difficult year for the state of Illinois. That is why our focus must be providing critical services to the people we represent, improving the unemployment system, assisting small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and putting people back to work through investment in infrastructure projects.

This is going to be a delicate budget making process, but the situation we find ourselves in calls for a reassessment of how we spend money in Illinois. I look forward to working to implement a budget that tightens the state’s belt, restricts reckless spending, and puts us back on track.”

Category: Press Releases

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CONTACT SENATOR HASTINGS

Welcome to the official website of Senator Michael E. Hastings. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Hastings directly or you may call any of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

Springfield Office:
111 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9595

East Office:
813 School Ave
Matteson, IL 60443

District Office:
20855 South LaGrange Road
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-5431

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