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Budget – FY17
Governor Rauner renews call for property tax freeze and term limits. Substantial segments of Illinois state spending are scheduled to run dry with the expiration of the so-called ‘stopgap” State budget that is covering the first half of FY17. This period of time will end on December 31, 2016, and further State action will be required to keep those facets of State spending in operation. However, meetings between Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, have not yet succeeded in achieving the level of agreement necessary for a budget bill to move forward.
Top: Reps David Leitch, Don Moffitt & Michael Tryon
Bottom: Reps Dwight Kay, Ed Sullivan & Adam Brown
Remarks by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to the Illinois House of Representatives on Republican lawmakers who will be leaving the General Assembly in January:

The Republican Caucus is sad to be losing the services of six well-respected members of this body who are retiring at the end of this General Assembly.

Between them, they have 92 years of experience serving their districts and the people of Illinois.
Many bills that come before the General Assembly are designed to take a popular idea and apply it to Illinois law. But just because an idea is popular, legislators should not rush to pass the bill. Often there are details worth looking at, details that legislators should get right before jumping onto the popular bandwagon. That’s the case with Senate Bill 250 which would create Automatic Voter Registration in Illinois.

AVR, as proposed in Senate Bill 250, would automatically register voters who interact with any number of state agencies, including people who apply for a driver's license or update their address at a Secretary of State motor vehicle office. Since not everyone may want to be registered, people are given the ability to opt out. However, people who would be registered at the DMV do not get to opt out immediately. Instead, their data is sent on to the State Board of Elections and they are later sent a letter asking them to return a post card if they want to opt out. In the meantime, their data is already in the election system and those people who do not want to be in the system will not get the digital privacy we all deserve. Read the rest of the letter to the editor by Mike Fortner in the SJ-R.
While some have already begun their holiday shopping, others will kick off the season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Online shopping has become the norm and so has identity theft so here are a few tips to improve your online security:

Reset your online shopping passwords on all previous accounts and be sure to use a different password for each account. Create “strong” passwords that are at least 8 characters long and uses a mix of numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters. Find out more about creating strong passwords.
When Gov. Bruce Rauner took office nearly two years ago, he unveiled an ambitious, 44-point agenda that promised to transform state government through measures that included overhauling the sales and gas tax, lifting the cap on charter schools and giving struggling towns the ability to declare bankruptcy.

The rookie Republican politician also laid out plans to gradually increase the minimum wage, amend the state constitution to make it easier to limit costs associated with the state's employee pension system, limit expensive payouts in personal injury lawsuits, and set term limits for lawmakers and statewide officers.

Several items on that agenda have since been shelved, as Rauner and the Democrats who control the General Assembly remain deadlocked on a state budget. The historic impasse has squeezed budgets at state universities, threatened social service providers and sent the state's debt soaring — and there's little indication the stalemate will end anytime soon.

That's because the fight is less about numbers than ideology. While Rauner's wish list has shrunk, it remains a prerequisite to a larger budget deal. The governor contends the state can't tax or cut its way to prosperity without enacting "structural reforms" to boost businesses and grow the economy. Read the rest of the story in the Chicago Tribune.
General Assembly – Veto Session
First week of veto session held in Springfield. The Constitution of Illinois asks State lawmakers to spend two session periods of three days each in Springfield each fall. The veto session weeks, which straddle Thanksgiving, give the General Assembly the opportunity to consider and approve or reject the total and amendatory vetoes signed by the Governor earlier in the summer.

Action remains uncertain on some of the issues discussed this week, and both the House and the Senate final action on many of the measures considered in this first week of veto session will take place during the 2nd and final week of the session. The General Assembly is discussing the stabilization of Illinois’ electrical generating infrastructure, workers’ compensation, legislative term limits, and many other issues. The General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, November 29.
Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) was re-elected unanimously by acclamation to the position of House Republican Leader by his peers. The House Republican Caucus for the incoming 100th Illinois General Assembly convened for the first time Tuesday night for the vote, including 12 new members.

“It is an honor to have the confidence of my peers to continue serving as the House Republican Leader. After picking up five seats, we are very excited and re-energized to work with the Governor on passing a comprehensive balanced budget and reforms to create jobs, lower property taxes and better schools. I am proud to lead the House Republican Caucus through these very challenging times."