Breaking News Bar

Senate Week in Review: May 16-20 Economic development opportunities highlighted

  • Around 100 locals gathered last week to welcome the new ReaderLink Distribution Center to Marion. ReaderLink secured the 650,000 square foot site of the former Circuit City building.

    Around 100 locals gathered last week to welcome the new ReaderLink Distribution Center to Marion. ReaderLink secured the 650,000 square foot site of the former Circuit City building.
    Courtesy of Dale Fowler

 
SUBMITTED BY LISA SIMS
Office of Sen. Dale Fowler
Posted on 5/23/2022, 6:18 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Young adult entrepreneurs will have an easier time starting and operating new businesses, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) and signed into law by the Governor.

Sen. Fowler participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 16 that means more economic development for Southern Illinois, and on May 18, he was able to visit with students for a unique education event at Unity Point School.

And nominations for the Senior Illinoisan Hall of Fame will continue to be accepted through June 1.

New law paves way for youth entrepreneurs

A new law sponsored by Fowler is paving the way for youth entrepreneurs to start and operate businesses in Illinois.

"The events of the past two years have left their mark on our state's economy, which is not very business-friendly right now. It can be especially tough for young people looking to start their own businesses," Fowler said. "Helping youth entrepreneurs get started and succeed will boost local and state economies, generate jobs and provide revenues for communities."

Senate Bill 2984 adds "youth entrepreneurs" to the groups that can be assisted at Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers though a program established in 2021 to be supported by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

"This new law defines 'youth entrepreneurs' as persons between the ages of 16 to 29 who want to start a business in Illinois. Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers offer guidance to young business owners, providing them with knowledge and mentorship, as well as access to capital and resources," Fowler said. "This layer of support will help youth entrepreneurs transition into self-employment and increase the sustainability of their businesses."

Passed by unanimous votes of the Senate on Feb. 16, and the House of Representatives on March 30, Senate Bill 2984 was signed by the Governor on May 13. The new law has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2023.

ReaderLink opens new Marion Distribution Center

On May 16, Fowler joined local leaders at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the ReaderLink Distribution Center in Marion. With the help of a Community Development Block Grant, ReaderLink is establishing a larger distribution facility in the former Circuit City building. The Center currently employs 25 people, but with the expansion, they are going to hire 74 more for a total of 99.

ReaderLink is the largest full-service distributor of hardcover, trade, and paperback books in North America. Bringing this distribution center to Southern Illinois will ensure more jobs and better economic viability for Southern Illinois! There are only six distribution centers nationwide!

Visiting with students

Fowler joined with State Sen. Terri Bryant of Murphysboro on May 18 for a game of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" at Unity Point School in Carbondale.

"I appreciated the opportunity to visit Unity Point with Sen. Bryant and participate in the game. Let me tell you, those 5th graders are smart," Fowler said. "I really enjoyed spending time learning with the students and their teachers."

Senior citizen nominations due June 1

If you know of a senior citizen deserving of special recognition, nominations for this year's Senior Illinoisan Hall of Fame are being accepted through June 1. Nominations are open to adults ages 65 and older who excel in the categories of community service, education, performance and/or graphic arts, and the labor force.

Established in 1994, the Hall of Fame honors senior citizens' accomplishments and contributions, and each year four Illinoisans are inducted into the honorary hall. More information is available at https://www2.illinois.gov/aging/HallofFame.