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House Votes To Ban Cell Phones Behind The Wheel
The Illinois House has approved a bill banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. The 64-46 vote sends the bill to the Illinois Senate. Supporters say a state law would end the uncertainty faced by drivers moving through communities that may or may not have bans in place. The bill contains exemptions for emergency personnel and hands-free devices, as well as for drivers parked on the shoulder or sitting in traffic with a vehicle in "neutral" or "park."
State Police boost Night Patrols
The Illinois State Police are ramping up their night patrols all this month. They'll be out on Illinois highways looking for people who aren't strapped in, and those who are driving unsafely. They're also keeping an eye out for drunk drivers and people who may be behind the wheel without a license. The increased night patrols are designed to keep the roads safe.
State Closing More Unemployment Offices
Federal budget cuts and falling unemployment claims have prompted the Illinois Department of Employment Security to close seven offices across the state. The move leaves 192 people without jobs, but they'll have chances to fill jobs in other state offices. Today's closures include offices
in Centralia, DeKalb, East St. Louis, Galesburg, Jacksonville, Mattoon and Murphysboro. Including these closings, the state has shuttered fifteen unemployment offices over the past eighteen months.
Program Aimed At Helping New Homeowners Get Into The Market
A new state program is offering to give a helping hand to first-time home buyers dealing with down payments and closing costs. The initiative offers first-timers a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and up to six-thousand-dollars for down payment and closing costs. Home buyers can also receive a federal income tax credit of up to 18-thousand-dollars over the life of the loan under the SmartMove Trio program.
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