Senate Week in Review: April 15-19, 2019

State lawmakers are working back in their districts until April 30, when they return to Springfield to finish the spring legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn May 31.

So far this legislative session, several measures sponsored by Senate Republicans have advanced to the House of Representatives after receiving approval from the Senate, including a bill that increases awareness of Scott’s Law.

Also, as severe weather season ramps up, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is offering tips to better prepare for recovery in situations like the massive flooding in March in several northwestern Illinois communities.

In other news, women older than 25 who are seeking to earn undergraduate college degrees are encouraged to apply for the Conference of Women Legislators $2,500 scholarship.

Scott’s Law reminder in SOS renewal notices

To promote on-the-job safety for Illinois State Troopers, the Senate has passed legislation that would require the Secretary of State to include information about Scott’s Law with every vehicle registration notice it sends to motorists. 

Senate Bill 947 is an effort to make Illinois’ roadways safer by informing drivers about Scott’s Law, which states that drivers must move over, if possible, and slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped along the roadway.

The legislation is a response to the recent tragic deaths of three Illinois State Troopers who have been hit in accidents while their cars have been stopped along the roadway. The number of Troopers hit by vehicles has drastically increased in 2019, with 16 reported incidents in the past three months. In 2018, eight troopers were hit; 12 were hit in 2017; and five in 2016.

Scott’s Law, enacted in 2002, is named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department, who was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while assisting at a crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

A person who violates Scott’s Law can be fined up to $10,000.

IEMA tips for disaster recovery

April is Recovery Preparedness Month, and IEMA has released a guide to help residents be prepared to quickly and efficiently recover from weather-related disasters like recent flooding at levels many northwestern Illinois communities have not seen in decades. 

Here are five tips from IEMA:

Get Organized. Secure and organize financial and critical personal, household, and medical information. Having these items in a safe place can expedite insurance claims and other emergency expenses.
Savings. Having some money saved is the best financial defense against disasters. Saving a little bit at a time can go a long way. A “rainy day” fund can help you invest in your family’s safety. 

Insurance. Obtain property (homeowners or renters), health, and life insurance if you do not have them.  

Inventory. Make an inventory of your possessions using photographs and/or videos of your belongings. 

Communication. Develop a Family Communication Plan that outlines how you will contact one another when a disaster strikes. 

COWL’s $2,500 scholarship program for women

The Conference of Women Legislators (COWL) is encouraging Illinois women who are seeking to earn undergraduate college degrees, to apply for one of their $2,500 scholarships. Applicants must be ages 25 or older.

COWL is a bipartisan, bicameral, nonprofit organization of women legislators in the Illinois General Assembly. The group’s yearly Scholarship Award Program is a part of its mission to promote economic independence, community service, and leadership development.

Scholarship applicants are required to enroll in an Illinois accredited college or university for a minimum of six credit hours to qualify, making the scholarships available to part-time and online students.

Applications must be postmarked or emailed by April 30. Awardees will be notified by May 31.

More information and application materials can be found at

Brian Stewart

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