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By tradition, the advocacy and specialty license plates of Illinois are made from designs of stamped metal that are unique to each group identity and advocacy cause.  As the number of specialty license plate designs has passed 100, Illinois law enforcement has raised intensifying concerns about the use of license plates to identify and track motor vehicles. 

In response to these police concerns, the Illinois General Assembly passed a new law, HB 1081 (P.A. 99-483) to change the overall framework within which future Illinois specialty license plates will be designed and displayed.  In the new framework, which will affect most new specialty plates starting in 2016 and going forward, there will be one overall Illinois stamped-metal specialty license plate design.  Advocacy organizations and affinity groups that get permission from the General Assembly for their own license plate will have the right to work with the Secretary of State’s office on the design of a brightly-colored decal that will be attached to the license plate and which will be unique to each cause or group.  The bill was signed into law by Gov. Rauner on October 23.

Some new specialty stamped-metal plates will continue to be issued.  Illinois drivers who possess standing of honor, such as military service or receipt of a military medal or award, will continue to be eligible to apply for and receive specialty stamped-metal vehicle license plates.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has lifted previous restrictions in place against the legal transport of firewood across Illinois.  The restrictions were meant to delay the spread of the emerald ash borer, a destructive pest beetle from East Asia that wounds and kills North American ash trees.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will host a public meeting for local residents to provide input for the 2017-2022 Multi-Year Program. The Springfield meeting will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday October 14 at IDOT's District 6 office at 126 E. Ash Street. More information from IDOT, including details of other such meetings around the state, can be found here.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced this week that his office will suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminder notices to the public due to the lack of a state budget.

The jobless percentage for August 2015 was down 0.2% from the July 2015 report of 5.8%.  The decrease in the unemployment rate was not, however, accompanied by new job creation.  Total nonfarm Illinois jobs remained flat at 5.92 million.  The August jobless numbers were reported last week.

The 7,565 incoming students that have signed up to begin their class work this fall have created a headcount that is second only to the 7,583 students of 2005.  The overall 2015-16 enrollment of 44,087 – a number that includes both undergraduate and graduate students – is up more than 1 percent from the 43,602 students who signed up in fall 2014.  The University of Illinois reported that the percentage of students who are Illinois residents is up from last year.      

The General Assembly overrode Gov. Rauner’s amendatory veto of HB 1.  Rauner approved most of the bill, but had expressed concerns about the costs of the measure to the public sector, especially to the state-funded Medicaid system.  Proponents of HB 1 agreed that there would be a cost impact, but asserted that overall benefits to Illinois public health – especially the urgent need to equip more first responders with opiate antagonists – justified the veto override.