This week, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) filed legislation to ensure Illinois residents will be notified immediately if an organization or state agency that collects personal information experiences a data breach. A number of high profile data breaches have struck companies like Equifax and Uber, potentially exposing the personal information of millions of Americans to criminal theft.

“Whether it’s a government agency or a private company, they have a responsibility to keep our sensitive personal information safe because these data breaches pose serious risks to financial safety,” said Wheeler. “In the digital age, these risks have increased dramatically and we all have a right to know immediately about a breach so we can protect ourselves.”

Wheeler’s legislation, House Bill 4174, requires any organization or state agency with access to sensitive personal information to inform a person of a data breach within 48 hours. While some organizations that have experienced data breaches have worked quickly to inform people and provide recourse to protect those impacted, other have deliberately failed to do so.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) has announced the launch of HONOR 200, a signature program of the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration, honoring the work of 200 veterans whose contributions are above and beyond the call of duty. 

The IDVA will work with veteran's organizations throughout the state to promote HONOR 200 and solicit nominations for those who will be recognized as part of the program. Nominees will be evaluated on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community. Anyone can nominate an Illinois Veteran up to the July 31, 2018 deadline. Written nominations can be sent to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60601 or on-line at www.illinois.gov/veterans.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law today a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where flood damages were sustained in July.

The bill, signed at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago this morning, creates a natural disaster credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes.

Included counties are Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside — all of which were declared state disaster areas by the governor last summer.

“July’s severe storms pushed rivers and lakes over their banks across a wide swath of Illinois,” Rauner said. “Many home and business owners are still working to restore their properties after the inundation of water, debris and mud they suffered through, in some cases for weeks. In northeastern Illinois counties, the flooding was unprecedented. This tax credit offers a measure of much-needed relief.”

State Rep. Barbara Wheeler said the tax credit will be welcome news.

“Unfortunately for many families impacted by this type of disaster, once the initial shock wears off, the reality of financial hardship caused by the devastation can be just as traumatic as the event itself,” said Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake. “In the past, state government has not always responded quickly enough to provide the relief needed for this financial stress. However, this time the governor and legislature acted quickly, and I know many of the families still trying to recover are grateful.”
Homeowners and business owners impacted by the July 2017 flooding in Lake County may be eligible for loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is opening a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Lake County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 1303 Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville beginning Thursday, Nov. 16.View directions to the EOC. SBA Customer Service Representatives will be on-hand to issue loan applications, answer questions and help individuals complete their applications. Find out more by viewing this SBA news release

The deadline to file an application is now January 12, 2018. Under the SBA assistance program, those in Lake County and the contiguous counties of Cook and McHenry; and Kenosha in Wisconsin can apply for low-interest disaster loans.