May 16, 2005

SPRINGFIELD (May 16)—A bill to that would require railroad crew-van operators to carry at least $250,000 in uninsured-motorist insurance on each passenger passed the Illinois Senate unanimously today and now goes to Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his signature to become law.

H.B. 2510 already passed the Illinois House by an 86-25 vote March 10. The measure had been strongly backed by the UTU as a means to protect railroad employees when traveling in vehicles owned by contract carriers.

“H.B. 2510 requires only the governor’s signature in order to go into effect,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Joseph C. Szabo. “I said that this bill was an express and it reached its final terminal on schedule. It just hasn’t tied up yet.”

Szabo also said H.B. 2449, which would make it illegal for railroad officials to delay, deny, or interfere with an injured rail worker’s medical treatment, is expected to move to the Senate floor for a vote by the end of the week.

“H.B. 2449 is like a local,” Szabo said: “It’s finishing up its final setout but it’s not back at its home terminal yet.

“But it appears to be on schedule,” he added, indicating that the Senate floor amendment transferring enforcement to the Illinois Commerce Commission is expected to be approved on a bipartisan vote and that the bill itself should be ready for final adoption by midweek.

“We’ve got one down and one just about ready to go,” Szabo said. “It is now time to make that final push on phone calls urging your state senator to vote ‘Yes’ when H.B. 2449 comes up for a final vote.

“Because of the efforts of our members – visiting, calling, writing and emailing their legislators – I’m feeling cautiously optimistic,” Szabo said. “Our phone outreach worked in getting H.B. 2449 passed in the House, and it can work in the Senate too. This is in your hands.”

Members can easily obtain names and local phone numbers for their state senators by using the UTU Web page’s on-line search feature. Just go to: