Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB3592
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Full Text of SB3592  103rd General Assembly


Sen. Steve Stadelman

Filed: 4/5/2024





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend Senate Bill 3592 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
4    "Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Strengthening Community Media Act.
6    Section 5. Findings.
7    (a) Illinois benefits from robust local news services that
8provide trusted and essential information to the community
9that limits corruption, encourages citizen participation,
10helps combat misinformation, and mitigates community and
11individual alienation.
12    (b) Local news in Illinois and throughout the country is
13struggling with newspaper advertising dropping 82% nationally
14since 2000, contributing to a 57% drop in the number of
15reporters at newspapers and thousands of closures.
16    (c) Local news outlets are trusted sources of information



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1for communities throughout Illinois and advertising spending
2with these outlets carries a substantial benefit for the
3effective dissemination of important government information to
4the communities it serves.
5    (d) Government initiatives to increase spending on local
6news advertising has been manifestly successful in both
7supporting local news outlets and improving the information
8diet of communities in several major cities.
9    (e) Illinois can and will implement such an initiative
10while preserving the editorial independence of local news
11outlets selling advertising space under this Act, and
12recognizes that any diversion of advertising spending that has
13the effect or appearance of an attempt to influence the
14editorial content of a local news organization violates the
15federal and State guarantees of freedom of the press and
16freedom of speech.
17    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
18    "Department" means the Department of Commerce and Economic
20    "Local news organization" means an entity that:
21        (1) engages professionals to create, edit, produce,
22    and distribute original content concerning matters of
23    public interest, through reporting activities, including
24    conducting interviews, observing current events, or
25    analyzing documents or other information;



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1        (2) has at least one employee employed full-time for
2    30 hours a week or more dedicated to providing coverage of
3    Illinois or local Illinois community news and living
4    within 50 miles of the coverage area, who gathers,
5    prepares, collects, photographs, writes, edits, reports,
6    or publishes original local or State community news for
7    dissemination to the local or State community;
8        (3) in the case of print publications, has published
9    at least one print publication per month over the previous
10    12 months, and either holds a valid United States Postal
11    Service periodical permit or has at least 25% of its
12    content dedicated to local news;
13        (4) in the case of digital-only entities, has
14    published one piece about the community per week over the
15    previous 12 months and has at least 33% of its digital
16    audience in Illinois, averaged over a 12-month period;
17        (5) in the case of hybrid entities that that have both
18    print and digital outlets, meets the requirements in
19    either paragraph (3) or (4) of this definition;
20        (6) has disclosed in its print publication or on its
21    website its beneficial ownership or, in the case of a
22    not-for-profit entity, its board of directors;
23        (7) in the case of an entity that maintains tax status
24    under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue
25    Code, has declared the coverage of local or State news as
26    the stated mission in its filings with the Internal



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1    Revenue Service; and
2        (8) has not received more than 50% of its gross
3    receipts for the previous year from political action
4    committees or other entities described in Section 527 of
5    the federal Internal Revenue Code, or from an organization
6    that maintains Section 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6) status under
7    the federal Internal Revenue Code.
8    Section 15. Notice of sale of a local news organization. A
9local news organization shall not be sold to a company without
10giving written notice 120 days before the sales occurs to the
12        (1) affected employees and representatives of affected
13    employees;
14        (2) the Department and the county government in which
15    the local news organization is located; and
16        (3) any in-State nonprofit organization in the
17    business of buying local news organizations.
18    Section 90. The Higher Education Student Assistance Act is
19amended by adding Section 65.125 as follows:
20    (110 ILCS 947/65.125 new)
21    Sec. 65.125. Journalism Student Scholarship Program.
22    (a) As used in this Section, "local news organization" has
23the meaning given to that term in the Strengthening Community



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1Media Act.
2    (b) In order to encourage academically talented Illinois
3students to pursue careers in journalism, especially in
4underserved areas of the State, and to provide those students
5with financial assistance to increase the likelihood that they
6will complete their full academic commitment and elect to
7remain in Illinois to pursue a career in journalism, subject
8to appropriation, the Commission shall implement and
9administer the Journalism Student Scholarship Program. The
10Commission shall annually award scholarships to persons
11preparing to work in Illinois, with preference given to those
12preparing to work in underserved areas. These scholarships
13shall be awarded to individuals who make application to the
14Commission and agree to sign an agreement under which the
15recipient pledges that, within the 2-year period following the
16termination of the academic program for which the recipient
17was awarded a scholarship, the recipient shall:
18        (1) begin working in journalism in this State for a
19    period of not less than 2 years;
20        (2) fulfill this obligation at local news
21    organization; and
22        (3) upon request of the Commission, provide the
23    Commission with evidence that the recipient is fulfilling
24    or has fulfilled the terms of the teaching agreement
25    provided for in this subsection.
26    (c) An eligible student is a student who meets the



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1following qualifications:
2        (1) is a resident of this State and a citizen or
3    eligible noncitizen of the United States;
4        (2) is a high school graduate or a person who has
5    received an Illinois high school diploma;
6        (3) is enrolled or accepted, on at least a half-time
7    basis, at an institution of higher learning; and
8        (4) is pursuing a postsecondary course of study
9    leading to a career in journalism or a similar field.
10    (d) Each scholarship shall be used by the recipient for
11the payment of tuition and fees at an institution of higher
13    (e) The Commission shall administer the Program and shall
14adopt all necessary and proper rules not inconsistent with
15this Section for its effective implementation.".