Rep. Swanson’s July 14 Capitol News Update


  • Swanson legislation signed into law
  • Agricultural disaster declared in our area
  • Storm cleanup continues
  • County fair season in full swing

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Fire Protection, Lyme disease bills signed into law

Two pieces of legislation I sponsored this spring, one to help Fire Protection Districts and another to aid in the fight against Lyme disease, have been signed into law.

House Bill 1625 will expand the types of appraisers who can determine the value of surplus real estate before it can be sold by fire protection districts. The change will bring the requirements on fire protection districts in line with those for park districts, road districts and municipalities and will save the fire protection districts both time and money.

The second bill, House Bill 2584 allows the Department of Natural Resources to issue Lyme disease research decals. Proceeds from the sale of the decal will go to the Tick Research, Education and Evaluation Fund which will issue grants to the Illinois Lyme Association.

I was very pleased by the bipartisan cooperation which led to both of these bills being passed and now becoming law. It is good to see that we can bring people together in support of our Fire Protection Districts and the fight against Lyme disease.

Both bills passed the House and Senate unanimously during the spring session of the legislature.

USDA declares disaster in our area

Between the severe weather that hit our area early in the spring and the drought which continues to impact farmers throughout Illinois, our region has had a difficult year. But this week the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered some assistance to people in our area who have been hard-hit by the weather-related problems, issuing four separate disaster declarations for parts of Illinois, including many counties in this area.

The USDA disaster program designates primary counties where a disaster occurred, and then also makes assistance available to affected people in every neighboring county. For example, because Bureau County was declared a disaster area due to the March 31 tornado, producers in Henry County are also eligible for emergency loans if they suffered losses. A declaration was issued for Fulton County due to the April 4 storm, which also makes assistance available in Knox, Warren and McDonough counties. A separate declaration was issued for the entire period of March 31-April 5 for Henry, Mercer and Rock Island counties, which therefore makes assistance available in Knox and Warren counties as well.

Those affected have eight months from the beginning of the declaration to make their applications for disaster loans. For more information, including a full list of affected counties throughout Illinois, please click here.

Cleanup from June 29 storms continues

In the aftermath of the storms which hit our area a couple of weeks ago, I have met some wonderful community leaders, Ameren employees and Emergency service personnel. Starting the day after the storm my travels took me to Roseville, Macomb, Bardolph and Bushnell to assess damage and talk to City leaders or residents.

Many thanks to the men and women at Ameren for working tirelessly restoring power. Throughout Ameren’s territory I understand over 1200 power poles are destroyed. A big blessing through all the severe weather is I have not heard of any injuries. Things can be fixed and be replaced.

County fair season well underway

This year’s county fair season is well underway. We kicked things off in Henry County in late June and tomorrow is the final day of the Knox and Mercer County fairs. The Knox County Fair is the longest continuously-running fair in the state, having gotten its start as the Knoxville Fair back in 1851.

While the fairs in Knox and Mercer counties are ending this weekend, fairs in McDonough, Rock Island and Warren counties are just getting started.

In all, Illinois has more than 100 county fairs, each of them unique, but each also serving as an annual community gathering, agricultural exposition and scene of family fun, performances and delicious (if not always entirely healthy) food and drink.

Find the full list of Illinois’ county fairs here, compliments of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs.

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