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).