Stadelman signs appeal to Congress to save historic tax credits
State Senator Steve Stadelman joined a bipartisan plea to the U.S. House of Representatives to retain the Federal Historic Tax Credit, which has helped create $3.5 billion in development and 45,000 jobs in Illinois since 2012.

"Rehabilitation projects across our state could be at risk if the FHTC is eliminated," states a letter from the Democratic and Republican co-chairs of the Illinois Historic Preservation Caucus and signed by lawmakers including Stadelman. "The FHTC ... is a proven economic development tool and a local jobs creator. "

The letter to Illinois' delegation on Capitol Hill cites eight Rockford projects at risk if Congress cuts FHTC including conversion of the vacant Amerock building into a riverfront hotel, indoor expansion of the popular outdoor City Market and redevelopment of the abandoned Barber Coleman industrial complex on South Main Street.

Loss of the federal program also jeopardizes the state's River Edge Historic Tax Credit, which Stadelman successfully fought this year to extend through 2022. State law that requires pairing  River Edge with FHTC would have to be amended, and Illinois "likely would not be able to make up the difference of lost credits at the federal level," according to the letter issued last month.

U.S. House members later approved a tax reform bill that included an elimination of FHTC; on Saturday, the Senate passed its own version. Now the two overhaul plans must be reconciled in committee and returned to each chamber for final votes before the end of the year.

State Senators: Time to stop using flawed Crosscheck system
The state's Board of Elections no longer would be allowed to share sensitive voter information with a controversial voter registration system under a new measure introduced in the Illinois Senate.

Senate Bill 2273 would prohibit the state from sharing any voter information with any interstate voter registration program other than the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). In doing so, the state's participation in the controversial Interstate Voter Registration Data Crosscheck Program would be halted. Crosscheck, which was pioneered by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is seen by many as nothing more than an attempt to keep minorities from voting.

State Senator Steve Stadelman said he shares the concerns of the bill's sponsors regarding racial bias and the susceptibility to hackers of voters personal information.

In the news
CBS Chicago: Democratic lawmakers push for bill to stop Crosscheck system
U.S. News & World Report: Democrats unveil plan to remove Illinois from voter database

Memorial for fallen military personnel dedicated at Capitol

goldstartreeA memorial remembering fallen soldiers and their families was recently dedicated at the Illinois State Capitol. The memorial is sponsored by America's Gold Star Families, an organization that helps the families of fallen servicemen and women.

The Tree of Honor, located just east of the rotunda, is adorned with ornaments bearing names and pictures of members of the military from every branch who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The tree was decorated by military families with ornaments commemorating fallen soldiers from every conflict all the way back to the Civil War. It will remain up at the capitol through the holiday season.