Senate Week in Review: November 24 – 28, 2014

Slow it down this Thanksgiving

Motorists traveling in suburban Illinois this Thanksgiving holiday will be sharing the road with 8.3 million other drivers. While construction on tollways will be suspended beginning Wednesday at noon, transportation officials are urging motorists to play it safe. In 2013, 723 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in Illinois—there were seven fatalities.

Illinois State Police across the state will be targeting drunken drivers, speedsters and distracted drivers—so no texting or talking while behind the wheel. And, as always, buckle up. Motorists looking for information on winter road conditions can find updates at the Illinois Department of Transportation, and Illinois State Police have provided a comprehensive list of travel safety tips on their website.

Winter road conditions: http://wrc.gettingaroundillinois.com/pages/wrc.htm

Travel safety: http://www.isp.state.il.us/traffic/traffictips.cfm

Red-light cameras

Chicago drivers hopeful the Illinois Supreme Court would uphold a legal challenge to red-light cameras in the Windy City will be disappointed to learn that in an unusual one-page finding the state’s high court was unable to deliver a ruling on the issue. After two judges recused themselves, and the rest of the seven-member court declared itself divided, the state’s high court dismissed the appeal meaning a lower court ruling permitting red-light camera stands.

Red-light cameras are a source of controversy across the nation, and Chicago has one of the country’s most extensive red-light camera programs. While proponents say they improve safety on city streets, critics question the accuracy and effectiveness of the cameras—and suggest they are better at generating revenues for cash-strapped cities than promoting safer driving.

Fracking regs receive legal boost

As the state continues to travel down the long road to fracking, the industry received a boost from a Madison County judge on Nov. 21, who ruled against a lawsuit introduced by some southern Illinois landowners seeking to slow down the implementation process of the state’s fracking regulations.

Fracking, which is shorthand for high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, is a process that injects water, sand, and chemicals into oil wells to help release additional oil deposits for extraction. Supporters say fracking could lead to a new energy boom in Illinois, and lead to massive economic growth for the entire state. However, opponents argue that the process isn’t well understood and could lead to significant environmental problems.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources can now move forward with the first stages of the permitting process.

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