State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) wants to make the public aware of several new laws scheduled to take effect January 1, 2015.  220 new laws will take effect this New Year.

Of the 220 new laws taking effect, Rep. Meier highlighted five new laws which may be of  interest to constituents in the 108th district.  Laws such as banning police ticket quotas, mandatory storm shelters for new schools, Gold Star license plates, allowing driver’s to keep their license when ticketed for minor offenses, and improving rural emergency medical services.

“A number of laws scheduled to take effect in 2014 vary from minor tweaks to the law, new laws which are unnecessary, a few that will make some heads turn, and some new laws that make sense,” said Rep. Meier.”

Ban on police ticket quotas

One of the most popular of the new laws which will affect drivers on the road this New Year would be the ban on police ticket quotas (P.A. 98-0650, SB 3411).  The new law prohibits county, municipal, conservation, and state police agencies from implementing ticket quotas.  Officers may still be evaluated on “points of contact,” including the number of traffic stops completed, arrests, written warnings and crime prevention measures.  The ban on ticket quotas is an initiative enacted to refocus law enforcement on public safety instead of revenue generation.

Storm shelters for new schools

“In 2012 and 2013 our state and region was hit by tornadoes and severe storms resulting in several deaths, including damage to farms, homes, churches and businesses,” said Rep. Meier. “Many people were displaced from their homes and had no place to go.  This new law will help our communities help those seeking shelter in times of natural disaster.”

The new law (P.A. 98-0883, HB 2513) requires all new school construction in Illinois to include a storm shelter which meets the minimum requirements of the International Code Council and National Storm Shelter Association.

Gold Star specialty license plates

“Any time we can honor those who have served in the Armed Services I am happy to help make this happen.” said Rep. Meier.

Surviving sons and daughters of military Gold Star recipients are now included among those who may be issued Gold Star specialty license plates by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.  Those already eligible for the plates are surviving widows/widowers, siblings and parents (P.A. 98-0869, HB 5475).

Sign and drive in Illinois

This new law (P.A. 98-0870, SB 2583) institutes “sign and drive” in Illinois by prohibiting the confiscation of a motorist’s driver’s license as bail when stopped and cited for a minor (no jail time) traffic offense.  Since 9/11, the need for appropriate, state-issued photo identification has become a necessity in order to travel, obtain health-care, renting vehicles, etc.  The driver’s license is still the standard, accepted form of photo identification.

Improving rural emergency medical services

“Access to an emergency room in parts of Southern Illinois is not as convenient as populated regions of the state,” said Rep. Meier.  “Allowing rural EMS providers the option to offer more medical services by licensed professionals will help save lives.”

In communities smaller than 7,500, (P.A. 98-0880, HB 4523) an ambulance crew may provide services up to the highest level for which he or she is licensed, regardless of the level of the ambulance itself. The new law gives rural EMS providers more options for staffing their ambulances by allowing Pre-Hospital Registered Nurses to staff the ambulance and offer those services they are licensed to provide.

To view the full list of all new laws scheduled to take effect click here.
Illinois State Representatives Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) and Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) teamed up to introduce a House Resolution encouraging the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) campus to build the agency’s new facility in Illinois.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency plans to build a new campus in the St. Louis region by 2021 and is estimated to generate 3,000 jobs. The federal agency is currently considering four potential locations; Fenton, MO; Mehlville, MO; North St. Louis City; and St. Clair County, IL.

“Illinois has an opportunity to create an estimated 3,000 jobs,” said Rep. Kay.  “We must do all we can to bring these jobs to the metro east which is why we are filing this resolution to encourage and welcome the NGA campus to St. Clair County.”

According to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, anyone who sails a U.S. ship, flies a U.S. aircraft, makes national policy decisions, fights wars, locates targets, responds to natural disasters, or even navigates with a cellphone relies on NGA.

Rep. Meier added, “St. Clair County makes the most sense logistically for the intelligence agency since the proposed site is adjacent to Scott Air Force Base and I-64.  In real estate they say it’s all about location, location, location and the resolution we are filing serves as a reminder that St. Clair County, Illinois serves as the most logical and best location.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency held three public open houses to obtain input.  According to media reports, the open house in O’Fallon, IL had the most turnout, estimating over 150 in attendance. Representatives Kay and Meier attended the open house held December 10th in O’Fallon.

Pending the NGA’s decision, the new intelligence agency campus is estimated to begin the construction process in April 2016.  Representatives Kay and Meier will file the resolution when the Ninety-ninth Illinois General Assembly convenes January 14, 2015.
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) is preparing to donate his 100th pint of blood on December 10th at the Addieville Jaycee/Washington 4-H blood drive in Washington County.  A former Jaycee and current 4-H Leader, Representative Meier helped found the blood drive.

“Donating blood is a way everyone can take part in helping save a life. It’s a gift everyone can give during the holidays and throughout the year to help their neighbors and their community regardless of their financial situation,” Representative Meier said.

The average human body contains approximately 10 pints of blood, so Representative Meier’s 100th pint donation is the equivalent of his having donated his entire blood supply 10 times over.

Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region CEO Scott Caswell echoed Representative Meier’s call for everyone to take the time to donate blood this holiday season. “Whether your donation goes to a premature baby with complications, a car accident victim, a child with cancer or another patient, you are giving the precious gift of life,” Caswell said.

According to the Red Cross, winter is historically one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood and platelet to meet patient needs. Holiday activities make it difficult for many regular donors to make time to donate blood or platelets. Seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can cause some donors to become temporarily ineligible to donate, and winter weather can lead to canceled blood drives. Despite these challenges, patients still depend on lifesaving donations every day.

In addition to attending local blood drives, eligible donors can schedule an appointment to give blood using the Blood Donor App, by visiting redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) today vowed to work with parents and legal counsel to continue to fight the planned closure of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. Meier said despite a recent court ruling that would permit the state to resume closure plans, there is still action that can be taken, and cause for residents’ families to be optimistic. Meier stressed that the federal lawsuit continues to move forward with only the temporary restraining order having been lifted.

“Parents, friends and supporters of Murray Center residents are now more organized and more determined than ever to continue the fight for their safety and quality of care. While the July Federal Court ruling was not what we had hoped for, it’s important to note that it upheld guardians’ right to choose what type of facility will provide their loved one the best care. The state cannot simply load them on busses and relocate them against their families’ will, as has been done at other locations. That in itself is a victory,” Meier said.

Meier said while the case continues in federal court, he is personally working on legislation to halt a multi-million dollar contract the Quinn administration has awarded to an out of state company to work on residents’ new placements.

“This contract is just more proof that Quinn’s Murray Center closure plan is not only dangerous, it’s a huge waste of taxpayer dollars – more than three million taxpayer dollars so far to contract with an out of state company for services the Murray Center families don’t need or want,” Meier said. “First of all, the closure issue is far from decided, but Governor Quinn declared this contract an emergency so he could award it without going out for bids. It has been awarded to a company being run out of the basement of a private home in Missouri.”

“Secondly, if the time comes when families need to make new arrangements for their loved ones at Murray, we already have employees on state payroll that are more than up to the task. The families have made it clear that they want to work with the social workers at Murray to come up with the best plan for future care, and they have every legal right to make that choice. I am drafting legislation to halt the unnecessary outside contract and prevent the administration from flushing any more of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars down the toilet,” Meier said.
“I, along with residents’ family members and others, am very, very disappointed with today’s denial of a preliminary injunction to halt the closure of the Murray Developmental Center,” said Rep. Meier.

“Murray Center residents call the facility home, and most are there because they need the level of full-time care Murray Center provides so well. There’s no question that forcing them into a lesser facility, with less monitoring, will place their safety at risk. I will be meeting with parents and others in the coming days to discuss our next step. Make no mistake; we will continue to fight for these residents,” added Meier.

“In addition, while the Governor continues to claim that he is creating jobs, he has just fired 541 state employees. This comes in an area of the state, Marion County, that is in the top 5 in unemployment in the State of Illinois.”

“These families now need all of our prayers that their children won’t meet the same tragic fate as so many others who were in the failed care of Illinois when facilities were closed. Moving forward, I can only guarantee that I will be closely watching over the shoulder of the Illinois Department of Human Services during this transition and in the future to fight for the rights of these residents wherever the state chooses to place them,” Rep. Meier concluded.
A new law spearheaded by State Representative Charlie Meier will help Illinois motorists who require special window tinting for medical reasons cut through the bureaucracy to receive the required special license plates. House Bill 5468 was recently signed into law by the Governor. It will allow motorist needing the special tinting license plates to submit the medical order required once every four years instead of having to obtain the doctor’s order each and every year.

“Motorists living with Lupus and certain other medical conditions need special protection from the sun, even in their cars, so they need permission for darker window tinting than is generally allowed,” Representative Meier explained. “These are not conditions that change from year to year or may be temporary, so it makes no sense to force these motorists to go to their doctors for an order every single year in order to keep their special license plates.”

Rep. Meier said the idea for the new law was brought to him by a constituent who requires the special plates. The new four-year renewal cycle was agreed-to by the Secretary of State’s office and becomes effective immediately.

“Allowing these motorists to submit the doctor’s order every four years instead of each and every year will simplify the process for them and cut a little needless bureaucracy out of their lives, and that’s always a good thing,” Representative Meier said.