Ag-boosting measures signed into law. At the Du Quoin State Fair on Saturday, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Industrial Hemp Act, Senate Bill 2298, adding Illinois to a growing number of states that permit growth of cannabis cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper- and fabric-making, biodegradable plastics, construction materials and health food.

The governor also signed House Bill 5749, easing weight-limit restrictions on state highways during harvest time, improving the competitive outlook for Illinois farmers and agricultural commodities haulers. Both measures will enhance one of the state’s leading industries: farming.
 From Illinois Digital Archives, Illinois State Library - General
Collection: Record of the Illinois National Guard (33rd Division)
and Illinois Naval Militia.

Soldiers in the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Brigade Combat Team wear a circular shoulder insignia which features a gold cross against a black background. This simple design got its start from Illinois soldiers who served our nation overseas a century ago. It has been worn on battlefields from World War I to Afghanistan, by troops who earned accolades from some of the most celebrated generals in American history. It marks the proud history of the 33rd Division of the U.S. Army.
When Ryan Spain became the youngest at-large member in Peoria City Council history, he garnered a reputation for educating himself on all sides of the issues. After following a legend into the Illinois House of Representatives, he is doing the same thing by working with members of both sides of the aisle on such issues as comprehensive redistricting reform.

Rep. Helene Miller Walsh appointed to 51st House District seat. With her business experience, passion for public service, and commitment to fighting for her community, Representative Helene Miller Walsh brings a valued perspective and unique skill set to the governing process. Rep. Miller Walsh graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs with an emphasis on Middle Eastern Affairs, and a minor in Economics.
In east-central Illinois near the Piatt County village of Bement sits the Bryant Cottage State Historic Site. The house was built in 1856 by Francis E. Bryant, and legend has it that it was in his parlor that his friend Senator Stephen Douglas sat down with former Congressman Abraham Lincoln to plan out what would become the most famous debates in American history.

Illinois’ unemployment rate drops to 4.2%. The numbers also showed that Illinois’ economy created 3,700 new nonfarm payroll jobs in July 2018. The new 4.2% unemployment figure approaches the 4.0% benchmark traditionally used to signify “full employment,” and come as a signal that Illinois is continuing its recovery from the 2008-09 economic crash and Great Recession. The numbers were compiled and posted on Thursday, August 16, by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
Earthquake Hazard Map from USGS
This year, Illinois celebrates its bicentennial of statehood. One part of the celebration is a review of 200 years of Illinois history. Of course, while statehood occurred 200 years ago, Illinois history extends long before that date. In fact, one important development in our state’s history which has substantial implications right up to today began thousands of years ago with the first rumblings from the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Scientists have tried many different methods of studying the history of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, the source of a series of earthquakes along a fault line running from Illinois through Missouri, Tennessee and into Arkansas. They have found signs of significant earthquakes hundreds or even thousands of years ago. What is certain, however, is that just seven years before Illinois became a state, the New Madrid Fault was the source of three of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the United States. Something else that is widely believed among scientists is that the possibility still exists of another major earthquake in the same area.
Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed legislation that streamlines veteran identification services and makes it easier for homeless veterans to access needed medical benefits. Rauner also made Nov. 4th GI Bill of Rights Day to pay tribute to the American Legion committee, chaired by the 29th Governor of Illinois, that wrote the historic Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944.

“We should seize every opportunity to streamline services to better honor and support those who selflessly gave so much to our country,” Rauner said. “Providing a free medical record for homeless veterans will help them more easily access the critical services and benefits they earned, and the ID designations and license plates represent tokens of our gratitude for the monumental sacrifices made by Illinois veterans to protect our freedoms.” 
New law brings hundreds of state jobs back to Sangamon County. Gov. Bruce Rauner followed through with his promise to bring state jobs back to the capital city with the signing of House Bill  4295 Thursday. The legislation moves hundreds of state jobs to Springfield.

“It is a matter of state pride,” Rauner said. “This bill preserves the heritage of Springfield as Illinois’ capital city while boosting our local economy. It promotes Lincoln’s hometown and his vision as one of the original lawmakers who advocated for making Springfield the capital of Illinois.”
A 1892 campaign poster showing the Cleveland-Stevenson
(Cleve and Steve) ticket.
Illinois has been the home of four U.S. Presidents. Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Reagan and Obama all called Illinois home at some point. All four were chosen for a second term in the Oval Office. Each achieved the ever-lasting fame that comes with the Presidency.

History has not been as kind to the two Illinoisans who served as Vice President.

Neither of Illinois’ two Vice Presidents achieved the stature of Lincoln. Neither got a second term and neither have long passages in the history books, if any at all. There is no Mount Rushmore for Vice Presidents. But both were highly accomplished and very prominent men of their times. One was the patriarch of an Illinois political dynasty, while the other helped organize a World’s Fair and won a Nobel Peace Prize.
New lottery game to benefit families of fallen police officers. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill this week to create a new Illinois Lottery scratch-off game from which proceeds will fund police memorials, support for the families of officers killed or severely injured in the line of duty, and protective vest replacements for officers.

“Our police officers stand in the face of danger every day to keep us safe. We are proud to stand with them and support their families when they are faced with a devastating loss,” Rauner said. “This new ticket will help fund scholarships for their children and honor their bravery at memorial parks across the state.”
Abraham Lincoln c1846
A visitor to Springfield might take some time to stop by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site or Lincoln’s Tomb. Lincoln, after all, spent a big part of his adult life in Springfield. He represented the area in the state legislature and in Congress. His children were born there, the only home he ever owned is there, just down the street from his law office and the Capitol building where he gave one of his most famous speeches.