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Governor signs bill on lead testing
    
    CHICAGO – Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed Senate Bill 550, legislation to protect Illinois children from possible exposure to lead in drinking water.
    SB 550 will require schools and daycares to sample for lead contamination from sources of potable water in school buildings. The oldest school buildings, those constructed before Jan. 1, 1987, must complete water testing by the end of 2017. Schools constructed between Jan. 2, 1987, and Jan. 1, 2000, must complete testing by the end of 2018. Daycares constructed on or before Jan. 1, 2000, and serve children under the age of 6 will also be required to conduct testing. Further, parents and guardians of students must be notified of elevated lead results.
    Elevated levels of lead in children can cause developmental and behavioral disabilities.
    In addition to the requirement of testing within schools and daycares, SB 550 requires community water systems to provide a comprehensive lead service line inventory to Illinois EPA and provide notice to residents when work will be done on water mains, lead services lines or water meters.
    The legislation is the product of a lengthy stakeholder process including the Illinois EPA, Department of Public Health and Department of Children and Family Services, the Illinois Environmental Council as well as representatives from numerous organizations.
    
Measure requires release of presidential returns
    
    SPRINGFIELD – U.S. presidential candidates would be barred from appearing on the ballot in Illinois until they release five years of their income tax returns under legislation introduced by Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston.
    The measure is designed to ensure Illinois voters have important information about the financial interests of candidates who seek the most powerful and influential job in the world.
    Biss said the measure was in reaction to Donald Trump refusing to make his tax returns public.
    The legislation, Senate Bill 982, also requires vice presidential candidates to release their returns. Candidates would file copies of their returns with the Internal Revenue Service at least five days prior to certification of the general election ballot.
    
Consolidation measure forwarded to house
    
    SPRINGFIELD —  A government consolidation effort that used DuPage, Lake and McHenry counties as a model is progressing through the General Assembly.
    Senate Bill 3 has passed the Senate and moved to the House. It would allow counties to dissolve units of township government through a voter referendum.
    DuPage County is projected to save taxpayers more than $100 million over the next 20 years.
    Illinois has more than 1,400 township governments.
    
Senators back changes to procuring goods, services
    
    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois senators have passed a measure to improve the way state government purchases goods and services, which was initiated because of concerns regarding procurement rules that can be difficult for vendors, state agencies and universities to navigate.
    Senate Bill 8 expands the ability of state universities to purchase needed products and services without going through the procurement process. Illinois would be allowed to enter into joint purchasing agreements with other governmental units. Vendors would also be given more flexibility when registering or submitting a bid.
    The measure will have to be passed by the Illinois House before going to the governor.
    
Beiser bill to rename road moves forward
    
    SPRINGFIELD – A resolution introduced by state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, to rename Illinois Route 100 through Godfrey after fallen St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder recently passed the House of Representatives.  
    Beiser introduced House Joint Resolution 1 after hearing from Godfrey community leaders, including Mayor Mike McCormick, that they would like to rename Route 100 after Snyder. A Godfrey native, Snyder was killed in the line of duty when he was responding to a call in St. Louis County last October. Beiser’s legislation designates Illinois Route 100 throughout the village limits of Godfrey as “Officer Blake Snyder Memorial Highway.”
    House Joint Resolution now goes to the Illinois Senate for consideration.
    
Measure targets murky property seizure laws
    
    SPRINGFIELD – The controversial practice of “policing for profit” in Illinois would come to an end under a massive overhaul of the state’s civil asset forfeiture law sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park.
    Senate Bill 1578 would require more accountability of law enforcement agencies that seize property while investigating possible crimes and more transparency on behalf of innocent property owners who want to get their belongings back.
    As currently written, Illinois law incentivizes police agencies and prosecutors to seize cash, cars, land and other property from people suspected of – but not necessarily charged with or convicted of – criminal activity. The property frequently is forfeited and auctioned off, with proceeds going into the police department coffers.
    - Senate Bill 1578 would improve the civil asset forfeiture law by doing the following:
    - Remove all financial incentive for police agencies to seize property.
    - Require probable cause for a civil asset seizure.
    - Require the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to create a searchable public database for seized and forfeited property.
    - Require an annual accounting of expenditures from asset forfeiture proceeds.
    - Create a fund where forfeiture proceeds would be deposited for disbursement to organizations for specific purposes, such as mental health and substance abuse services, law enforcement programs or state’s attorneys.
    - Require a conviction before proceeding with a forfeiture, with limited exceptions.
    - Require that property be returned within five days if a state’s attorney determines the owner is not responsible for the seizure.
    - Require an itemized receipt for seized property be given to the owner.
    - Remove the cash security a person must deposit when petitioning the court for release of the property due to substantial hardship.