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FY15 Budget Solution
Governor Rauner & General Assembly take steps to resolve FY15 budget shortfall. Faced with a $1.6 billion FY15 budget deficit upon taking office, Governor Bruce Rauner almost immediately asked for executive powers to reorganize spending and enable the State to get through the fiscal year, which covers spending needs through June 30, 2015.

Without immediate action, the State would have been unable to make payroll at Illinois prisons, low-income working families would lose their child care assistance, court reporters would be laid off and money for services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled would run out. In addition, inaction would have further delayed and perhaps jeopardized critical categorical school funding and State aid payments.
Without receiving a single competitive bid, the College of DuPage has paid a member of its foundation board more than $630,000 to design and install signs for the school over the past four years — with much of the work made possible through a contract that references her experience as an architect.

That's where it gets tricky.

Foundation board member Carla Burkhart is not an architect. Her company, Herricane Graphics, does not provide architectural services.

A Tribune analysis of records from Burkhart's work at the school since 2011 raises questions about how Illinois' largest community college awards contracts, especially to vendors who serve on the board of the College of DuPage Foundation, the school's private fundraising arm. Ten of the foundation's 22 board members work for companies with financial ties to the college, according to documents obtained under the state Freedom of Information Act.

After questions from the Tribune, the chairwoman of the school's board of trustees, Erin Birt, recently ordered a review of contracts between the school and its foundation members. The publicly funded college does not have a policy regarding contracts with foundation board members.

The college's dealings with Burkhart also have prompted a state investigation.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation recently filed a document with an administrative court against Burkhart, asking her to address the claim that she falsely represented herself as an architect when she signed a contract with the College of DuPage in 2012. Under state law, it's a misdemeanor to portray oneself as an architect without a license. Read the rest of the story in the Chicago Tribune.
A group of southern Illinois lawmakers is showing support for a Salem teenager who is fighting for his life.

Weston McGhee was severely injured in a car accident recently.  His older brother, Wyatt was killed in the accident.  Dense fog that morning is to blame for the crash. WSLITV has the story.

Weston is known for wearing his 'superman' t-shirt under his athletic gear for 'good luck' which is where the idea for these shirts came from. The campaign uses the hashtag #WestonStrong to encourage Weston and support his family to stay strong.

State Reps Davidsmeyer, Brown, Bourne, Bryant, Cavaletto, Meier, Phelps & Reis wore Superman T-shirts on the floor of the House of Representatives on March 26 in a show of support for 14 year old Weston McGhee and his family.
In an attempt to get answers to questions concerning the governance of the College of DuPage, Representative Jeanne Ives introduced a resolution directing the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit.  House Resolution 55 cleared its first hurdle today passing out of committee unanimously and advancing to the House Floor. 

Under the resolution, the performance audit would be paid by the College of
The Illinois House of Representatives passed Governor Rauner's FY15 Budget Fix today. The legislation now heads to the Senate and should be heard later this week. Here's what some of our members had to say:

House Republican Leader 
Jim Durkin
"...Governor Rauner inherited a $1.6 billion budget deficit the day he took office...I am pleased the Illinois House of Representatives began the hard work of straightening out our dire state finances."
Governor Rauner – Department of Agriculture
Governor celebrates National Agriculture Day; new Ag Director confirmed. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is the State agency that oversees Illinois’ production of food and fiber. This week, the appointment of Philip Nelson as new Director of the Department was confirmed. A fourth-generation grain and livestock producer, Nelson is a past president of the Illinois Farm Bureau and past president of the Illinois Soybean Association. The confirmation vote by the state Senate came on Thursday, March 19.
State law would be changed to allow the flying of flags at half-staff for Illinois military personnel killed while training on active duty under legislation sponsored by State Representative Keith Sommer (R-Morton). The bill passed the House Veterans Affairs committee on Thursday by a unanimous vote following testimony from Dale Nannen of Hopedale whose son was killed in a Marine Corps training accident last year.

“This legislation rights a wrong in existing state law which does not allow the Governor to issue an official notice directing the state and national flags be flown at half-staff when an Illinoisan is killed while training on active duty,” Sommer said. “This tribute is owed to all those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.”

The legislation was inspired by the funeral of Marine Corps Major Reid B. Nannen of Hopedale, a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan who was killed March 1, 2014, when his F/A-18C Hornet crashed at the Fallon Grange Training Complex in Nevada. At the time of his funeral, state law only allowed the Governor to direct flags to be flown at half-staff for members of the armed forces killed by hostile fire, not in training. Read more.