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January 26, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan today signed legislation that frees various school districts, libraries and municipalities throughout Illinois to proceed with voter-approved construction projects.

Acting on the first two bills sent to his desk by the General Assembly, Ryan signed Senate Bill 560 and Senate Bill 200, measures that correct inadvertent errors by local officials that have held up local government construction projects in Lake, McHenry, Winnebago, Hamilton and Wabash counties.

"School districts, libraries and municipalities throughout Chicago's Northwest suburbs, in the Rockford area and in Hamilton and Wabash counties were being held hostage by innocent mistakes that have prevented them from proceeding with various construction projects," Ryan said. "These two bills clear up those mistakes and allow these local officials to go forward with their projects."

Among the construction freed up by the new laws are projects in Waukegan Unit School District 60, Grayslake High School District 127, Big Hollow School District 38 in Ingleside, the Algonquin Public Library, the Village of Fox River Grove, the Village of Johnsburg and school districts in Hamilton County and Wabash County.

The two new laws, which are effective immediately, extend the legally-required public notice period for bond issue referenda that were voted on last November. In several cases, county officials misread existing state law spelling out when a county must publish public notices about a referendum. In most cases, the counties published the notice too soon to meet the letter of the law.

The local governments in question only found out about the errors after the various bond referenda had been approved by voters. Unfortunately, the errors prevent the local governments from selling any bonds that would fund the construction projects.

Senate Bill 560 also extends the implementation date for the state's new teacher certification system from January 1 to July 1, 1999.

The extension of the implementation date for the teacher certification program was needed because the certification evaluation system has not yet been fully developed. The system was not in place by the old effective date, January 1, but should be in place by July 1. The certification program calls for all teachers to meet continuing education requirements for re-certification.

Senate Bill 560 was sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Patrick O'Malley, R-Alsip; and in the House by state reps. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago; Tom Johnson, R-West Chicago, Jerry Mitchell, R-Rock Falls, Joseph Lyons, D-Chicago and Larry Woolard, D-Marion.

Senate Bill 200 was sponsored in the Senate by state sens. Steve Rauschenberger, R-Elgin and Terry Link, D-Highwood; and in the House by state reps. Dave Winters, R-Rockford and Michael Boland, D-East Moline.


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