Demmer’s Dispatch: August 5, 2019

Illinois State Fair Opens Thursday, August 8 for 11-Day Run

The celebration will take place on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Booths and displays will once again portray the experiences of life in Illinois, and tickets for many concerts, races, and other events are still available. A wide variety of vendors will sell festival food and the famous “butter cow” will once again be available for public viewing.

Click here to view the State Fair web site to learn more about entertainment, rides, attractions, competitions and vendors that will be available at this year’s Illinois State Fair.

Daily parking will be available for $5, and admission rates are as follows:

  • Children (0-12) – FREE
  • Adults (13-59) – $10 (Fridays & Saturdays)
  • Adults (13-59) – $ 5 (All other days)
  • Seniors (60+) – $3

The free admission day schedule includes:

  • Sunday, August 11 (Veterans & immediate families free with proper ID)
  • Monday, August 12 (Seniors FREE)
  • Friday, August 16 (1st Responders’ with proper ID)

The fair will run daily through August 18.  Attention will then shift to the DuQuoin State Fair in Southern Illinois, which will be held from August 23 until September 2.  

Tackling Student Debt, Keeping Graduates in Illinois
Through highly targeted student assistance programs, Illinois is helping college graduates minimize student debt while at the same time addressing the critical shortage of teachers, nurses and public defenders. Designed to meet specific needs in our state, these programs invest in college graduates who promise to work in Illinois in these areas of need.

College students who plan to enter one of the targeted fields or graduates who are working in one of these fields should take a look at these specialized repayments programs designed to keep them working and thriving in Illinois. Learn more about these programs at The Caucus Blog.

Governor Signs Demmer Legislation Improving Patient Access to Prescribing Psychologists

Access to quality mental health services in rural or underserved parts of the state is a real problem in many parts of Illinois. I’m pleased to report that the Governor recently signed into law a bill I championed this year that will improve access. SB 1135 was signed into law as Public Act 101-0084 on July 19.

In 2014, a law took effect that provided for a new classification of clinical psychologists who could write prescriptions for patients, but as the first groups of students moved through the steps of this new licensing process, many found the requirements difficult to achieve due to limited locations where clinical training could take place. SB 1135 expands the list of educational settings where clinical work can be done and should increase the number of prescribing psychologists who enter the workforce.

The new law also adds prescribing psychologists to the list of health care professionals who can provide telehealth services to Illinoisans. Citizens across the state have benefitted from telehealth services for many years, and while clinical psychologists were on the list of available telehealth providers, prescribing psychologists were not. Especially in underserved and rural areas, the ability to access this higher level of psychological care by phone and computer certainly improves access. Through telehealth services, licensed medical professionals can evaluate, diagnose, and interpret electronically transmitted patient-specific data so that treatment recommendations can be made. In addition to the improved access and time-savings that accompany telehealth services, there are also potential cost savings. At a time when we face a shortage of mental health professionals in Illinois, this new law will go far in improving access.

June 2019 Unemployment Rate Drops in Illinois
The Illinois Department of Employment Security report for June 2019 indicates that the jobless rate dropped in the most recent 30-day period, decreasing from 4.4% in May to 4.3% in June. This approaches the 4.0% level that is usually taken to indicate “full employment.” There was a net increase of 11,400 Illinois jobs during the month, with new jobs concentrated in leisure, hospitality, trade, transportation, utilities, professional services, and business services. People seeking new opportunities in these and other job areas may utilize Illinois Job Link to match their resumes with posted job offers from more than 10,000 Illinois employers. 

Positive job figures were reported from eleven of the fourteen major Illinois metropolitan areas. On a year-over-year basis, Illinois gained 94,700 nonfarm payroll jobs from June 2018 through June 2019. However, the new growth was not evenly distributed throughout Illinois. More than 80% of the net new jobs (80,400 jobs) were created in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. More than half of the remaining net new jobs were created in Downstate metropolitan areas such as Peoria and Champaign-Urbana that have State universities or teaching hospitals, rather than in rural areas and smaller towns. Job creation continues to focus on tertiary services, and new job creation continues to move to service-oriented hub locations within Illinois.

Summer Events Continue in 90th District

During these summer months, my office has been hosting mobile office hours throughout the 90th District. I attend these events personally as my schedule permits. While we make at least one stop in a 90th District community each month, my legislative assistant is also available on an as-needed basis to travel to any of the communities in the district for one-on-one meetings. You can set up an appointment in your community by calling my district office in Dixon at (815) 561-3690.

Highlighting my summer events schedule this year is a Children’s Health & Safety Expo on Saturday, September 21. This free family event will take place from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM at Regan Middle School, 620 Division Street in Dixon. As details are finalized for this year’s expo I’ll share them.

Please mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, August 20: Mobile Office Hours: 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at Rock River Center, 810 S. 10th Street in Oregon
  • Tuesday, September 10: Mobile Office Hours: 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at the Hub City Senior Center, 401 Cherry Avenue in Rochelle
  • Saturday, September 21: Children’s Health & Safety Expo: 9:00 AM until Noon at Reagan Middle School, 620 Division Street in Dixon
  • Tuesday, October 22: Mobile Office Hours: 11:15 AM until 12:15 PM at Fox Valley Older Adult Services, 1406 Suydam Road in Sandwich
  • Tuesday, November 12: Mobile Office Hours: 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at the Hub City Senior Center, 401 Cherry Avenue in Rochelle
  • Tuesday, November 19: Mobile Office Hours: 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at Rock River Center, 810 S. 10th Street in Oregon
  • Tuesday, December 3: Mobile Office Hours: 11:15 AM until 12:15 PM at Fox Valley Older Adult Services, 1406 Suydam Road in Sandwich
  • Tuesday, December 17: Mobile Office Hours: 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at Rock River Center, 810 S. 10th Street in Oregon