Gov. Rauner Signs School, Daycare Lead-Testing Law

January 16, 2017
In this Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters after meeting with legislative leaders during veto session in Springfield.

In this Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters after meeting with legislative leaders during veto session in Springfield.

Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Illinois elementary schools and day care centers will have to test drinking water sources for lead under legislation that Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed. Rauner signed the measure Monday with civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson in attendance. Rauner says the new law "is a step in protecting our children from the devastating effects of lead exposure."

Jackson called it a "life-saving bill."

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

Governor Bruce Rauner signed the new lead rules at the annual Rainbow Push Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Chicago.

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

The proposal follows the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan, 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.

Story source: AP