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CHILDREN
School bus safety law helps protect Illinois students. The nation was horrified last fall by the story of a girl and her younger twin brothers who were struck and killed on the side of a highway while attempting to board a school bus in Rochester, Indiana. The heartbreaking story was made even worse by the knowledge that it was not the only such incident in the United States in the recent past. That same week there were fatal bus stop accidents in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, and another crash in Florida in which three students were seriously injured.
Elias Kent Kane. Photo from the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.
August 26 is the birthday of the first Illinois state Constitution. It marks the date in 1818 on which delegates to the first Illinois Constitutional Convention adopted the state’s founding document. It was this brief document which set in motion the creation of a government for the nation’s 21st state.

Our first Constitution was largely drafted by Elias Kent Kane, a Yale graduate and a lawyer from New York. Illinois’ first Constitution was heavily influenced by the founding document of Kane’s home state, as well as those of Ohio and Kentucky. When the Constitutional convention met at Bennett’s Tavern in the territorial capital of Kaskaskia, Kane was among the 33 delegates from 15 counties, with Judge Jesse Thomas serving as presiding officer. Delegates drafted, debated and approved the first Constitution in the space of three weeks. It was not submitted to the people for approval. Its adoption was celebrated with speeches in the capital city and the firing of 20 cannon rounds.

The nation was horrified last fall by the story of a girl and her younger twin brothers who were struck and killed on the side of a highway while attempting to board a school bus in Rochester, Indiana. The heartbreaking story was made even worse by the knowledge that it was not the only such incident in the United States in the recent past. That same week there were fatal bus stop accidents in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, and another crash in Florida in which three students were seriously injured.
CHILDREN
Governor signs Davidsmeyer bill to create Pediatric Cancer License Plate that funds cancer research. Senate Bill 946, sponsored by Senator Steve McClure and Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, was signed into law Thursday by Governor Pritzker in honor of Jerseyville resident Jonny Wade, who passed away from cancer at age eight. The legislation authorizes universal special license plates and license plate decals to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer treatment and research.
Ella Park Lawrence with the Illinois State Flag.
Ella Louise Park Lawrence was a great patriot. Her ancestors came to America in 1639, and eight members of her family fought in the Revolutionary War. Her father, George, moved to Illinois when he was young, but eventually settled in Missouri. In the years before the Civil War he ran an abolitionist newspaper – an act of extreme courage in a sharply divided state like Missouri. As the nation split over the issue of slavery and then descended into civil war, George Park taught his children, including his three-year-old daughter Ella to love and respect the flag of the nation so many were fighting to save.

Young Ella never forgot that lesson, and as she grew up she was known to present stars-and-stripes flags to her school and her classmates. She returned to Illinois in 1874 to attend Knox College. There she met her future husband, George Lawrence, and they and their family lived in Galesburg, where they had five children, four of whom tragically died while still young.

Lauryn Russell is a 13-year-old student from Mercer County in northwestern Illinois who has faced a medical challenge made even more difficult by the laws of her home state. When she was 7 years old, Lauryn contracted Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness that is characterized by headaches, fevers, rashes, joint pain and fatigue. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 30,000 Lyme disease cases in the United States each year, but also says that reported cases are likely only a fraction of the true number of cases, which could be as high as 300,000.

BUDGET
COGFA publishes annual Budget Summary. The report published on August 1 covers the State budget passed for FY20, the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2019. Like the State’s monthly budget summaries (see below), the annual Budget Summary is published by the nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). Unlike the monthly reports, however, the annual Summary is an overview of the entire State budget, including the public-sector operations for which the various budget line items have been appropriated. It is an anticipatory document for the Annual Report on FY20 to be published by the Office of the Illinois Comptroller after the fiscal year comes to an end.