As always, you can contact me via webform at www.repbennett.com, or by phone at (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac) or (815) 432-0106 (Watseka).
New State job-creation agency is officially unveiled
‘Intersect Illinois’, the name of the new agency, reflects our state’s position as a focus of U.S. nationwide transportation infrastructure. Intersect Illinois was created as a spinoff from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and will be in charge of “selling” Illinois to potential job creators.
Though just officially named and unveiled by the Governor’s office, Intersect Illinois has already begun selling Illinois as a place to work and invest. Last week, Amazon.com announced their decision to open a new 750,000-square-foot order fulfillment center in Romeoville.
Illinois State Police reports on implementation of concealed carry law
In 2013, Illinois became the 50th and final state to allow the concealed carrying of guns by license, permit, or as a right. In Illinois, persons seeking to carry a concealed firearm must undergo training and get a license from the State Police, including instruction in firearm safety. More than 181,000 Illinois residents had obtained concealed carry licenses as of June 1, 2016.
There may be some tweaks ahead for the new law. Gun owners continue to be concerned about interstate concealed-carry permissions and reciprocity with other states. Some states, such as Arizona, allow persons to carry concealed weapons as a right without a training or licensure requirement. On the other hand, some other states (led by California and New York) have tougher concealed-carry licensure requirements than Illinois, and so may be hesitant to honor an Illinois license.
Illinois jobless rate declines to 6.2%, but total Illinois jobs also decline
Since the commencement of the 2008 economic downturn, Illinois’s job-creation and jobless figures have lagged behind the numbers enjoyed by the other 49 states. This pattern continued in June 2016, with the State’s nonfarm payroll totals declining by 2,200 jobs from May 2016. Illinois continues to have fewer (6,003,600) payroll jobs within State lines than were counted sixteen years ago in September 2000. June 2016 statewide unemployment rates dropped from 6.4% (May 2016) to 6.2% (June 2016), but the drop is because the State’s total labor force continues to decline due to outmigration and persons of labor age leaving the Illinois job market.
Jobs numbers compiled in June by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) show continued weakness in manufacturing, with more than 9,000 Illinois factory jobs lost between June 2015 and June 2016. This 12-month trend line indicates a continued shift by the Illinois economy from manufacturing employment to employment in leisure, hospital, professional services and business services.
Throughout Illinois when measured by region, the overall job-creation picture showed a gain of 39,700 new payroll job positions on a year-to-year basis, but Job gains were concentrated in metropolitan Chicago and adjacent Lake County. Job losses were concentrated in downstate counties, with a net loss of 16,500 jobs in the largely-rural counties of Illinois. There was also significant weakness in the traditionally-farm-machinery-oriented Quad Cities metropolitan area, with a net loss of 5,500 jobs in the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island area. Declining prices for crude oil and corn-based ethanol weighed upon economic trends in these areas.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security continues to work to improve Illinois’ jobless picture and enable people who are between jobs to find new employment. Applicants for new employment and Illinois unemployment benefits are requested to post an online resume on the Illinois Job Link webpage as part of their contacts with the Department.
Motorists can now choose their birthday for their registration renewal date
Good news for Illinois motorists – Since the Secretary of State suspended mailed vehicle registration reminders to cut costs, many have been stuck paying late renewal penalties, but that should soon change.
This past week the governor signed into law legislation I passed to allow motor vehicle owners to “opt out” of the current 12-month registration sticker renewal cycle and to choose instead a new sticker based upon their birthday to make renewal deadlines much easier to remember. The new birthday renewal law will go into effect when the Secretary of State’s office gives it an official approval and adopts administrative rules to implement the new re-registration policy.
Secretary of State Jesse White also announced this week that with money now flowing from the stop-gap budget passed in June, his office will resume mailing registration renewal reminders.
Waterfowl seasons announced
The first waterfowl season will allow the taking of Canada geese and will open on September 1. Other seasons will open thereafter. The seasons open and close according to a schedule devised by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in order to maintain the populations being hunted.
Licensed hunters are requested to adhere to bag limits and other regulations established for this purpose. The seasons cover a variety of ducks, geese, mergansers and teal.