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Governor Rauner proposes major public safety package to reinstate death penalty and extend 72-hour wait to all guns. Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked the Illinois General Assembly to reinstate the death penalty for mass murderers and those who kill law enforcement officers.

The proposal is part of a precedent-setting public safety initiative that the Governor unveiled in an amendatory veto (AV) of House Bill 1468 which also urges legislators to:
Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced that 327 Opportunity Zone census tract recommendations submitted by the State of Illinois have been approved by the U.S. Treasury Department. These zones cover more than 85 counties throughout the state and aim to support the future of Illinois through economic growth and investment.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for communities throughout Illinois,” Rauner said. “These zones include some of the most underserved areas of the state that have the greatest potential for improvement. They represent a broad cross-section of Illinois that includes rural, urban and suburban in-need communities that are ripe for investment and job creation.”
Governor Bruce Rauner today issued a disaster proclamation for nine counties impacted by the Rend Lake Conservancy District water main break. The governor announced the proclamation during a visit to the Williamson County Emergency Operations Center in Marion. He also visited the Rend Lake Conservancy District, where district officials updated him on water restoration.

The proclamation ensures state support for affected communities will continue until all water supply issues are resolved. Counties in the proclamation include: Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Saline, Washington, White and Williamson.
State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) once again rose to speak on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday to address issues related to Southern Illinois University. This time though, Bryant had a much different message.

“Last week, I spoke against a package of bills that attack SIU Carbondale’s campus,” Bryant said. “I didn’t think that this week I would be defending SIU-C against yet another attack, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Bryant went on to say that evidence revealed in an op-ed in today’s Southern Illinoisan make it quite clear that President Dunn is not working for the Carbondale campus, and that he is in fact colluding with officials at SIU Edwardsville to work against it....

...After offering a strong defense of her constituents and the Carbondale campus, Bryant called on Dunn to resign his post as SIU President. Read the rest of the story and watch video of Rep. Bryant's remarks..

Better Care Illinois Behavioral Health Initiative announced. Gov. Bruce Rauner announced this week that Illinois has received federal approval to launch a sweeping $2 billion behavioral health initiative designed to deliver better outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders.

The Better Care Illinois Behavioral Health Initiative is the culmination of a 30-month long Rauner administration effort to involve state health agencies, legislators and behavioral health organizations in a coordinated plan to help people with disorders that require treatment of the whole person.
State Representative Randy Frese's district is the home of the Quincy Veterans facility. Over the past couple of years it has been in the news because of a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak. We get his reaction to the situation and also hear how proud he is of the facility.

On the personal side, it’s going to be a busy summer for his family….as he has two daughters getting married, and third daughter who is going to make him a grandfather for the first time….and she’s having twins.

For the past four years as a state legislator, I have watched Democrats introduce bill after bill on the House floor that spends taxpayer money.

In 2015, my first year as an Illinois representative, I repeatedly stood up and asked Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie why we don’t first determine how much taxpayer money we have to spend before we start spending it.
My questions were brushed aside with flippant answers along the lines of “We’ll do that when we actually do a budget.”

Well, I’m still waiting.

That brushoff didn’t sit well with me or my fellow Republican legislators at that time. It still doesn’t and it shouldn’t. Taxpayers should hate it. Budgeting based on how much money we wish we had is how politicians got Illinois into this mess in the first place.

This isn’t some inconsequential issue. Illinois has a balanced budget requirement. The only lever that taxpayers and the minority party have to pull is the revenue estimate that locks in a cap on spending. Doesn’t that make it obvious why House Speaker Michael Madigan and the Democrat caucus have avoided it? No cap, no accountability. Read the rest of Rep. Keith Wheeler's commentary in the Chicago Tribune.