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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Gov. Rauner Signs Bill Mandating Lead Testing In State Schools And Daycare Centers

"Faucet Drip 1" by Flickr User Eric Norris / (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois schools and daycare facilities soon will have to start testing drinking water for lead.


The bill, signed Monday by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner at a Martin Luther King breakfast in Chicago, requires these two types of institutions to sample for lead contamination in their water sources.


"Dr. King was advocating about dealing with lead more than 50 years ago," Rauner said. "It shows in some ways what little progress we’ve made."


Rauner and the Rev. Jesse Jackson couldn’t help but point out this rare moment of bipartisanship in Illinois.  


"And we will have done something together," Rauner said. "Happy birthday, Martin Luther King. Put your hands together."


School buildings constructed before 1987 must complete testing by the end of this year. Those built afterward have until the end of 2018 to fulfill the requirement. Parents and guardians must be notified if there are elevated lead results.


The proposal follows the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Mich., which shed light on the dangers of lead contamination. Children are most at risk to the effects of elevated lead levels, which can cause developmental delays.