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May 19, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today praised the General Assembly for approving the creation of the Illinois Century Network, an initiative that will integrate and expand data, voice and video communications with schools and libraries.

House Bill 2088 passed the House 117-0 and now moves to the governor's desk. The bill previously passed the Senate on a 58-0 vote.

Ryan included $25 million in funding for the Illinois Century Network in the FY 2000 budgets of the Board of Higher Education and State Board of Education. Once the appropriations are approved by lawmakers, implementation will begin.

"The Illinois Century Network will create a high-speed, high-capacity network in Illinois, something that is long overdue," Ryan said. "This network encourages a partnership between elementary and secondary education, colleges and universities, libraries, museums, research institutions, state and local governments, and other entities that provide services to our citizens."

"By creating this network, we set up a mechanism to learn, work, conduct business and serve citizens in new ways," Ryan said. "The potential applications are only constrained by the limits we place on ourselves."

Ryan praised the leadership of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board and the State Board of Education for working together to create the background and support for the Network.

This program will be built upon the current technology investments made by the state through the State Board of Education "Linc-On" system and other regional and statewide networks. The Century Network will expand bandwidth and access to users. The education community is working with the Department of Central Management Services to ensure that the Network will be integrated with existing state systems, avoiding costly duplication.

Sponsors of House Bill 2088 include representatives Constance "Connie" Howard, D-Chicago; Judy Erwin, D-Chicago; Robert "Bob"-Biggins, R-Elmhurst; D-, George Scully, D-Flossmoor; Lou Lang, D-Skokie; Tom Ryder, R-Jerseyville; Jeffrey Schoenberg, D-Evanston; Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville; Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, Dale Righter, R-Mattoon; Bill O'Connor, R-Riverside; Coy Pugh, D-Chicago; and Randall "Randy" Hultgren, R-Wheaton; and Senate sponsor Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Downers Grove.


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