Governor Signs Multiple Pieces Of Legislation, Including Minimum Wage Question

CHICAGO (AP) — A stroke of Gov. Pat Quinn’s pen has put on the November ballot a measure asking voters if Illinois should boost the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015.

Signed by Quinn on Sunday, the question is non-binding. But Quinn and other Democrats say it’ll give them support to move the idea through the Legislature.

Legislative attempts to raise the minimum wage have failed. Illinois’ minimum wage is $8.25, which is $1 higher than the national rate.

Quinn is seeking re-election, and increasing the minimum wage has been one of his priorities. The efforts coincide with a national push by Democrats.

Republican challenger Bruce Rauner says he’d be open to raising it under the right circumstances.

Business groups oppose raising the rate, saying it’ll kill jobs.

Private schools in Illinois will now have to conduct annual drills to prepare for potential school shootings and review their security preparations.

Legislation signed into law Saturday brings the state’s 1,800 private schools in line with requirements already in place for public schools.

The law is one of the three pieces of legislation that Gov. Pat Quinn signed Saturday during a visit to a middle school in Rockford. The other two also deal with school safety.

One allows a state grant program for security improvements to continue.
The other allows public school districts to share their emergency plans with first responders through devices such as smart phones.

That legislation takes effect Jan. 1.

The others going into effect immediately.

The governor also signed legislation aimed at bringing doctors and nurses out of retirement to help as volunteers in free medical clinics.

The law takes effect immediately, allowing 500 retired health professionals to get volunteer licenses at no cost. Quinn says retired professionals want to help those in need and the state should let them.

The law waives fees for the first 500 volunteer licenses and then allows for a fee waiver or reduction. Health care professionals may not hold a regular license and a volunteer license at the same time. The law also applies to dentists, physician assistants and optometrists.

The Chicago Democrat also signed into law a measure allowing dentists to give flu vaccines under certain circumstances.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)