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Everyday state, regional or national issues occur affecting the residents of Evanston. Becoming an Evanston Advocate is an effort of the City’s Intergovernmental Affairs Department to engage citizens to become more involved in the process at the state, regional and federal level—informing and promoting initiatives that will enhance the city and its residents.

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Evanston Advocate News

January 4, 2013
Volume 2

The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs works with Federal, State and Regional governmental agencies to form mutually beneficial relationships that work to garner resources and financial support to benefit the residents of Evanston.

Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator:
Matt Swentkofske
P: 847.859.7835

Evanston Advocate Volume II

Welcome to the first edition of the Evanston Advocate for 2013.  Below you will find articles on the new state laws for 2013, an update on the Federal Fiscal Cliff deal and details regarding CTA's work on Purple Line stations in 2012/13.


Springfield News
New Laws in 2013

2013 brings 150 new laws in the state of Illinois. While many have been highly publicized with visible debates in Springfield and throughout mass media others has been signed into law with only the keenest government observers recognizing their passage. Below is a list of some of these laws to demonstrate the range of issues dealt with by our elected officials in Springfield.

Caylee’s Law – Increases the penalty to a Class 4 felony (between 1 and 3 years in State Penitentiary; and/or fine of up to $25,000 if parents or guardians fail to report a child under the age of 13 that is missing or deceased within 24 hours.  A missing child under the age of 2 must be reported missing within one hour.

Cell Phone Use of Commercial Drivers – Drivers of commercial vehicles may no longer text or use a handheld phone while driving statewide.

Damages to Rental Apartments -Landlords can now email itemized bills to tenants for damages to the rental property.

Excessive Speeding – Courts will no longer be able to give a sentence of supervision for motorists convicted of going more than 25 mph over the speed limit in urban areas or more than 30 mph on highways.

Facebook Passwords – Potential employers cannot ask applicants to disclose passwords of media accounts.

Invasive Aquatic Species – Law enforcement officials can now order boat owners to remove plant or animal life from their boats, to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Phone Cramming – Bans third party companies from adding fees to landline and cell phone bills.

Skin Tax - Require strip club operators (that serve alcohol) to impose a $3.00 fee on patrons; the surcharge will be used to fund rape crisis centers in Illinois.

Toll Fees – Ambulances are no longer required to pay tolls on the Illinois Toll Way

Underage Drinking – Increases the penalty to a Class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail; and/or a fine between $500 and $2,500) of parents or guardians who permit underage drinking on property under their control. If the underage drinking results in great bodily harm it could result in a Class 4 felony (Between 1 and 3 years in jail; and/or fine of up to $25,000). If parent or guardian takes all steps to prevent this from occurring, including calling  law enforcement, no charges will be filed.

University Exams for Religious Students – Non-religious universities must now allow students to reschedule an exam or class if there is a religious reason, unless there is “unnecessary hardship” created.

D.C. News

Fiscal Cliff Update

(The excerpt below is from the National League of Cities regarding the Fiscal Cliff)

Following tense days of deliberations by the House Republicans, the House passed The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 on Tuesday aimed at averting the fiscal cliff of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that threatened to throw the economy back into a recession. The House vote came after the Senate cleared the measure at 2:00 a.m. on New Year's Day and clears the way for the bill to be sent to President Obama who said he would sign it. Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hammered out the agreement after weeks of negotiations by others failed.

Among other items, the measure protects the Bush-era tax rates for individuals and families earning less than $400,000, extends jobless benefits for two million Americans looking for a job and delays for two months automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense programs that were set to go into effect on January 2, 2013. [For a summary of the legislation, click here.]

In a rare appearance of bipartisanship, the Senate passed the measure overwhelmingly by a vote of 89 - 8 with three Democrats and five Republicans voting against the bill. The House passed the measure by a vote of 257-167 with 85 Republicans and 172 Democrats supporting it.

While the agreement protects middle income families from tax increases and preserves benefits for two million unemployed Americans, it does not address the automatic spending cuts to important federal programs that cities and families rely upon, and continue to be an option to resolving the nation's fiscal challenges. Many of these programs, which support infrastructure, job training, housing, and education investments, have already been subject to significant cuts in the name of deficit reduction. If the automatic spending cuts are implemented, they will set back the economic recovery.

Importantly for cities and towns, the bill does not call for any changes to the tax exemption for municipal bonds. NLC, city leaders and the state municipal leagues have been vigorously opposing any talk of limiting the exemption, which is essential to the ability of local governments to finance projects in their communities. However, that victory may only be temporary. Congressional and Administration representatives continue to signal that the exemption will be the subject of a tax code reform process that may get underway later this year. 


Regional News

As part of CTA's Station Renewal Program referenced in last month's Evanston Advocate, CTA has been doing various work along Purple Line stations to make improvements. CTA is making major investments to infrastructure in Evanston. The list of work completed/planned in 2012/2013 by Purple Line station is below.
South Blvd. (Purple Line)

The following work is slated:

  • Perform landscaping on the east and west sides of the station house
  • Clean and replace pigeon deterrent spikes and surrounding areas under the viaduct and in front of the station house
  • Repaint the bike racks outside the station
  • Install a new gutter along the west side of the station house
  • Re-caulk around the exterior doors and windows, as needed
  • Replace weathered or damaged Lexan in station house and platform stair enclosure windows, as needed
  • Repair or replace damaged doors, as needed
  • Fix damaged or deteriorated plaster walls and wooden moldings in station house, as needed
  • Remove unneeded clips, brackets, and conduit throughout station
  • Inspect doors and locks throughout station, service/repair as needed
  • Install new recycling bin in station house paid area
  • Remove graffiti and clean brickwork inside station house, as needed
  • Repair deteriorated stair treads and risers, and walls and ceilings of stairway enclosures
  • Clean and relamp light fixtures, replace bulbs throughout station, as needed
  • Remove swinging platform doors from the stairway enclosures
  • Repaint platform canopy columns and support, garbage cans, and sandboxes
  • Patch damaged or missing area of concrete platform deck
  • Repaint windbreak frames
  • Clean debris, remove weeds from track area
  • Complete replacement of canopy roofing (ongoing since weekend of June 8-11)
  • Repaint railings at the ends of the platform
  • Refurbish or replace platform benches, as needed
  • Replace heat lamps on the platform
  • Inspect and clean or replace missing, damaged, outdated, or vandalized signage, as needed

Foster (Purple Line)

The following work was slated:

  • Remove litter, refuse, and weeds around station site/sidewalks
  • Clean and relamp light fixtures, replace bulbs throughout station, as needed
  • Remove graffiti from walls, floors, and other surfaces inside and outside of station, as needed
  • Inspect and clean or replace missing, damaged, outdated, or vandalized signage, as needed
  • Noyes (Purple Line)
  • The following work was slated:
  • Prep, prime, and paint platform canopy structure, including roof supports, columns, and base plates
  • Replace deteriorated sections of corrugated metal roofing underneath elevated track structure
  • Touch up paint on corrugated metal roofing underneath elevated track structure
  • Prep and touch up paint on elevated track structure visible above street-level entrance
  • Clean, paint wooden street-level entranceway/stair enclosure and underside of stairs to the platform
  • Replace rotted wood at base of Customer Assistant booth
  • Clean lenses and polish metal housing of light fixtures throughout the station
  • Replace wooden windbreaks on platform with new galvanized steel and Lexan windbreaks, with perforated metal mesh vandal shield over window panels
  • Add an additional bench to the south end of the platform
  • Refurbish existing metal windbreaks, replace damaged Lexan window panels and cover with perforated metal mesh vandal shield
  • Patch and repair loose or damaged concrete on platform deck, as needed
  • Remove abandoned bikes and bike frames from bike racks at street level, add additional racks
  • Replace damaged Lexan windows in street-to-mezzanine stairway enclosure, including new painted wooden window stops and perforated metal mesh vandal shield over window panels
  • Relamp overhead light fixtures along walkway from sidewalk to entrance stairs

For questions regarding this newsletter please contact Matt Swentkofske at the City of Evanston.

Morton Civic Center
2100 Ridge Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
P: 3-1-1 (847.448.4311 outside Evanston)