Stadelman bills to revive local journalism industry continue to draw attention

State Senator Steve Stadelman spoke this week to Rockford Rotary about important policy initiatives he's pursuing this session in Springfield, including two pieces of legislation that are receiving national attention and could help revive the state's local journalism industry.

Senate Bill 3591 would establish the Journalism Preservation Act, requiring mega companies like Google and Meta to compensate local news organizations for content they share and profit from. Senate Bill 3592 would create the Strengthening Community Media Act to offer an array of hiring incentives including tax credits for news employers who expand their reporting staffs and for small businesses that advertise with local news organizations.

Together, they're being called "the most expansive package of local journalism policy" in the country.

"The decline is staggering," Stadelman told Rotarians during their regular lunch meeting at Veterans Memorial Hall in downtown Rockford, "and Illinois leads the nation with a loss of 85 percent of its newsroom employees."


Stadelman pointed out the role local newsrooms play in the fabric of communities, their economies and keeping voters informed and local government accountable.

"The other thing that's happening is that our politics have become much more polarized, and I think the reduction in local journalism is a big reason for that," Stadelman said. "When you don't have reporters on the ground, when you have vaccuum in local news, where do people turn? Social media. And we know that there's not always accurrate information on social media."
Other issues Stadelman discussed with Rotarians included legislation he's working to pass that would protect consumers from having medical debt appear in their credit reports along with an update on the return of passenger rail between Chicago and Rockford that's taking place because of $275 million in state funding Stadelman secured to pay for for track upgrades and stations in downtown Rockford and Belvidere, among other costs of the project.

Fresh from our inbox ... 

  • "Thank you for trying to help local newspapers. I strongly recommend the book WHAT UNITES US by Dan Rather. He points out that a local paper keeps a community informed and together. Social media fragments society. The early leaders of our country knew how important newspapers were for good government." -- Merry Blake, Freeport
  • "I wanted to thank you for introducing bills to protect and encourage local journalism. We need more local journalism to keep us connected as a community." -- Bethany Oliveri, Rockford
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$44 million in state grants available for EV charging stations: Stadelman

State Senator Steve Stadelman this week announced $44 million in grants that are now available to bolster public electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state.

“These grants present a remarkable opportunity to enhance Illinois’ infrastructure while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint,” Stadelman said. “Investing in public, EV-charging infrastructure is not only essential for supporting electric vehicle adoption but also for fostering economic growth and sustainability in our communities.”

This marks the second round of grants available through the historic Stadelman-backed Rebuild Illinois, and authorized under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

Eligible applicants include units of local government and private organizations that are incorporated in Illinois and are in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State. Proposed charging stations must be owned by the applicant and open to public use. Required forms and information can be found on the Driving a Cleaner Illinois webpage.

“By working together with municipalities, businesses and community organizations, we can accelerate the deployment of EV charging infrastructure and make sustainable transportation options more accessible to all Illinois residents,” Stadelman said.


Mulford Road bridge over I-39 closing next week

Weather permitting, replacement of the bridge carrying Mulford Road over Interstate 39 and U.S. 20 in Rockford will begin the week of April 8. The project is part of a $98.8 million reconstruction of the I-39/U.S. 20 interchange.


The project will require closing Mulford Road between Sandy Hollow Road and Linden Road. A marked detour will direct motorists to use Harrison Avenue, Perryville Road and Linden Road. The bridge is scheduled to reopen in September.


Reconstruction of the I-39 and U.S. 20 interchange began in July 2023. Work this year will realign the northbound and southbound I-39 ramps connecting with U.S. 20, add lanes on both routes and build several new bridges. Completion is expected by the end of 2024.



In case you missed me on Facebook ...

Steve Stadelman
April 4 at 2:56 PM

Congratulations to David Ruffin and Ethnic Heritage Museum for their work to place a headstone on the grave of Robert Parker, who was born a slave in Missouri and who fought to save the union as a U.S. Army private. Following his military service, Parker lived until his death on this date in 1891 in Rockford with his wife, Mary. His grave in Cedar Bluff Cemetery had gone unmarked for 133 years. I was honored to present a Certificate of Recognition from the Illinois Senate as part of today's dedication that featured Civil War re-enactors and the beautiful vocals of Dorothy Paige-Turner.


Steve Stadelman
April 4 at 4:51 PM

Summit of Hope community expo at the UW Health Sports Factory brought together resources for high-risk populations to address barriers to success. The goal of the event, organized by the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Winnebago County Chairman’s Office of Criminal Justice Initiatives, is to increase public safety. I was glad to be able to spend some time talking with vendors and attendees this morning.