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Rockford... On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities. This legislation established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

On Sunday, State Representative John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) and local RAMP leaders celebrated the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA with legislation of their own, which Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law.

“The signing of House Bill 4049 is a great step forward for the disability community. With a signature Illinois laws will now reflect the language being used by individuals with disabilities who make up 20 percent of the population. In taking this step the State of Illinois is recognizing the work of advocates in the Disability Rights movement across the country to elevate, educate, and infiltrate individuals with disabilities to equal status at all levels of the communities in which they live. Disability Rights ARE Civil Rights.”

House Bill 4049 removes antiquated language from current statutes in Illinois and replaces those terms with Person First Language. For example, the law changes all occurrences of "the physically handicapped" to "persons with physical disabilities", changes all occurrences of "the handicapped" or "handicapped persons" or "handicapped individuals" to "persons with disabilities", and changes all occurrences of "handicapping condition" to "disabling condition".

“I was honored that RAMP reached out to me to carry this monumental legislation,” said Rep. Cabello. “Their staff is always going above what is asked to help the community and I deeply appreciate their effort to get this legislation passed. It’s important we continue to recognize the progress that has been made through ADA and that we strive towards reaching full ADA compliance in Illinois.”

House Bill 4049 has an immediate effective date.

SPRINGFIELD, IL – For those in northern Illinois, the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center may be a best-kept secret among outdoors enthusiasts. To highlight this 750-acre hub of youth conservation activities, the Illinois Conservation Foundation is hosting a free open house from Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2. 

“Not enough families know about the programs and resources that the Torstenson Center offers,” said Wayne Rosenthal, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director and ICF Chairman.  “They’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the range of educational activities available to them when we open this beautiful property up to the public.”

Attendees are welcome to come with children and families to take part in conservation-related activities and events.  Children will get a chance for hands-on experiences with archery, crafts, and mammal identification with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police trailer.  They’ll also get to learn about pollinators and outdoors activities, as well as wildlife brought to the event from the Hoo Haven Wildlife Refuge.  

Additional organizations that will be on-site include the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and more.  In addition to scheduled events, the ICF is also offering tours of the full property to see the new catch-and-release fishing pond, the beautiful 11,000 square-foot log cabin and archery range.

“This is a great opportunity to visit several organizations that share a similar mission,” said Eric Schmidt, ICF Executive Director.  “We’re all inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders, and this is a chance to turn ‘screen time into green time’ for area children.”

This event will occur rain or shine, and food will be provided in return for donations to the ICF and Torstenson Center.  The Torstenson Center is located at 13735 Cook Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063.

For more information, please visit or call (217) 785-2003.

Springfield... Legislation aimed at saving local municipalities money has passed both the House and Senate chambers in Springfield.  House Bill 3152, sponsored by State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), permits a law enforcement agency to dispose of controlled substances on location in a “drug destruction device,” rather than transport and pay for the destruction by the Illinois State Police (ISP).

"Currently, ISP are responsible for destroying controlled substances after the trial judge has granted a motion for destruction of evidence," said Rep. Cabello. "The burden for transportation and disposal falls on the arresting police department. For example, the Rockford Police Department spends around $12,000 dollars each time it has to dispose compared to just $4,500 to purchase the Drug Terminator."

The Drug Terminator safely destroys drugs and narcotics with minimal emissions. Once the unit reaches an optimal temperature, the Easy-Feed Cartridge allows the user to continuously add content into the barrel without the threat of smoke and fumes contaminating the surrounding area. The ashes left from the incineration are considered non-retrievable and are disposed via landfill.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) helped craft the legislation to
help meet their air quality standards. The bill now heads to the Governor where it will await his signature into law.

chamber members, Meijer staff and elected officials cut ribbon
Meijer's Store constructed two new facilities in the Rockford area. Today, the Machesney Park location cut ribbon in celebration and anticipation of the grand opening on Thursday. Meijer showed their dedication in investing in the community by making a donation to Harlem High School's turf project. This is the first time Meijer Stores have opened up two new stores consecutively in the same area.
While gathered in Springfield for session, representatives from the Illinois House offered legislation to honor former Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Hiram Grau. Director Grau was appointed to the position in 2011 as the Illinois State Police’s first Hispanic Director.  House Resolution 61 honored Director Grau by thanking him for his service to the State and dedication to public safety.

State Rep. John Cabello & former ISP Director Grau both center
The resolution’s chief sponsor, State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) acknowledged Director Grau’s achievements during his four year tenure.

“Director Grau’s devotion to public safety and service to the State of Illinois will leave a lasting impression for all to follow,” said Rep. Cabello. “His leadership and professionalism led to one of the oldest cold cases in American History, the 1957 murder of Maria Ridulph, to be solved. I wish Director Grau all the best as I know his excellence will continue in his next endeavor.”

During his tenure, Director Grau oversaw the ISP’s implementation of Illinois’ concealed carry program, meeting every statutory deadline.  He authorized the use of non-lethal and state-of-the-art tasers by troopers and renewed the ISP’s efforts on diversity and recruitment.  He expanded joint efforts by partnering the Metro East Police Assistance Team (MEPAT) and Chicago Police Department in a fugitive apprehension initiative.

Prior to becoming Director of the ISP, Director Grau was Deputy Chief of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office of Investigations Bureau, where he oversaw the Narcotics/Special and Municipal Investigations Divisions. He has spent his entire career in law enforcement, 28 of those years with the Chicago Police Department, working his way up through the ranks as Patrolman, Tactical Officer, Gang Crime Specialist, Detective, Undercover Narcotics Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Watch Commander, District Commander, Deputy Superintendent, and Acting First Deputy. He also spent 9 years on the FBI's Street Gang Investigation Squad.

Director Grau has received hundreds of special commendations, awards, and recognitions. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, receiving 4 medals while serving with the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division. He served as Past President of the St. Jude Police League, was a former professor of the Adler School of Psychology (Police Leadership Course), a guest lecturer at the Vietnam Veterans Museum, and a former Leadership Course Instructor for the Chicago Police Department's Executive Development Program.

Director Grau has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice/social justice from Lewis University and a master's degree in business administration from St. Xavier University. He was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the City of Chicago Executive Development Program.

State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) attended a press conference this past Sunday to join State Representative Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford) in response to the recent outbreak of shootings and violence in the Rockford area.

"We need to start looking at the early childhood education," Cabello said. "We need to start there and continue that. If we don't give our children the opportunity helping them salvage later on these are the problems we are going to continue to see."

The legislators were accompanied by local leaders and community members to discuss the problems openly. Legislation was filed today to create the Rockford Violent Crime Task Force.

"This isn't something that we are going to be able to fix overnight," Cabello said. "It is something that we need to make sure we work on as a community together."

Watch the full report at – Rockford’s News Leader.

House Resolution 494 Highlighted:

(1) study and determine the causes of violent crime in Rockford and nearby affected communities.

(2) study and determine the feasibility of deploying the Illinois State Police to Rockford and nearby affected communities and neighborhoods.

(3) develop a comprehensive long-term solution to the effect of violent crime in the Rockford and nearby affected communities.

(4) recommend a plan of action to substantially reduce the incidents of violent crime in Rockford and nearby affected communities.

(5) draft any necessary legislation and make any necessary recommendations for appropriations to place the plan of action into immediate effect.