Throughout 2011 Governor Quinn has worked and pushed for more education reform, greater transparency in state government, help for those who were hit with foreclosures and unemployment, election reform and showed the way in helping our military, active and veterans, members. 2011 was not a easy year for him as issues with the budget, spending and reforms, at times became a thorn in his side but battles were won on many fronts that he can be proud of as he goes into 2012. Below are some highlights of Governor Quinn 2011 year:
July 4, 2011, Governor Pat Quinn signed election reform legislation containing three major reforms:
- Allows local school boards to initiate advisory referendum by resolution
- Lowers the petition signature requirement for initiating referenda to a uniform 8 percent of the gubernatorial vote.
- Increased voting access for service members by allowing ballots to be emailed to military voters who are overseas.
July 7, 2011, Signed legislation to reform mass transit in the Chicago region by creating a universal fare card for riders of the CTA, Metra and Pace, and taking the first step towards making free wireless internet available on buses and trains throughout the region.
July 15, 2011, The Governor announced the creation of the Mortgage Resolution Fund (MRF) using $100 million of the state’s $445.7 million in Hardest Hit Fund dollars to purchase notes in the Chicago area. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) board approved the new program, which will enable these loans to be permanently modified to affordable levels.
August 1, 2011, Signed historic legislation to increase education opportunities to children of illegal immigrants in Illinois. The Illinois DREAM Act creates a privately-funded scholarship program for high school graduates from illegal immigrant families who wish to attend college.
August 5, 2011. Signed legislation to boost small businesses owned by Illinois Veterans, by setting an annual goal of 3 percent of every state contract to be set aside for businesses owned by Veterans and service-disabled Veterans.
August 14, 2011, Governor signed legislation to protect the funerals of those who have given their lives for our country. The new law expands Illinois’ Let Them Rest in Peace law to prohibit protests within 300 feet of a funeral site and ensure that no protest can take place within 30 minutes before and after a funeral or memorial service.
September 12, 2011, The Governor vetoed Senate Bill 1652, which would have allowed Illinois’ utility companies to impose billions of dollars in automatic rate hikes every year for the next decade, while eroding more than a century of consumer protections.
September 15, 2011. Announced a program to help approximately 15,000 Illinois homeowners threatened by foreclosure. The Illinois Hardest Hit program utilizes $345 million in federal funds to support working families having trouble making mortgage payments due to unemployment or under-employment.
October 5, 2011, Governor Pat Quinn launched the Advantage Illinois program that will leverage $78 million in federal funding that will allow businesses to bring innovative ideas and new products to market and accelerate job creation and economic growth in Illinois.
December 23, 2011, Governor Pat Quinn announced Illinois earned a $42.8 million federal grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RTTT) program to help bolster Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education across the state and other work to close the achievement gap.