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The new Illinois law parallels the ban in place for many years on the sale of conventional cigarettes and other tobacco products to children. While the new law includes a wide variety of actual and hypothetical nicotine delivery devices, it is specifically aimed at the sale of e-cigarettes and vaporizers. Possession of tobacco by children under the age of 18 is already illegal, and this new law (effective June 1, 2016) will extend the existing ban to cover newly-invented vape and e-cigarette products. Read more.

Budget – Comptroller’s Report
Comptroller Munger warns of $6.2 billion price for budget gridlock. In a report to Illinois residents on Tuesday, February 2, the Illinois Comptroller projected that Illinois will fall $6.2 billion further behind on its “unpaid bills” in FY16 unless a solution to the budget crisis can be found. Leslie Munger’s office oversees the cash flows of Illinois state government, particularly the “general funds” cash flows that are at the heart of the current crisis. Many of these cash flows are related to State-financed health care, education, and other government services classified as essential.
Rep. Demmer joined other legislators and the Governor
in announcing bipartisan legislation to streamline
local government, leading to more local control.
"These bills will reduce costs and improve efficiency, and that will help taxpayers across Illinois." ~ Rep. Tom Demmer.

Governor Bruce Rauner today joined Lt. Governor Sanguinetti, legislative leaders and local elected officials to announce four bipartisan pieces of legislation to streamline local government delivering more control to local communities.

“Today we are one step closer to empowering our local communities and giving them the necessary tools to rein in their out of control costs,” Governor Rauner said. “These four bills are just the start of delivering more value to taxpayers by reducing layers of redundant bureaucracy. I want to thank the Lt. Governor and the Task Force for their hard work, and I look forward to working with the legislature to get these bills passed.”
The Conference of Women Legislators (COWL) has established a scholarship fund to assist mature women (age 25 and older) who wish to continue their undergraduate education. The goal of the scholarship is to focus on deserving, qualified women whose educations were interrupted due to family concerns and economic problems. Particular consideration will emphasize women who have shown leadership promise through community service.

The one year undergraduate scholarship will cover tuition, books and fees up to $2500 per year, including summer school. Applicants for the scholarship must meet certain requirements to be eligible. In addition to being a woman 25 years of age or older, she must be an Illinois resident and plan to attend an accredited on-campus school in Illinois for at least six semester hours (online college are not eligible).

The scholarship application instructionsapplication & Waiver of Confidentiality can be downloaded from the COWL website.

Application materials must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2016 to be considered and all applicants will be notified by May 31, 2016. COWL Scholarship Program is for the 2016-2017 Academic Year.
Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) filed legislation today to make it clear that when a judge is up for election, retention is the only option to remain on the bench. In order for a judge to be retained under current law, a judge must receive approval from 60% of the electorate.

The legislation introduced by Rep. Charlie Meier is in response to the decision made by three St. Clair County judges Baricevic, Haida and LeChien to avoid retention and the requirement to receive 60% voter approval to remain on the bench. Instead, the three judges chose to run for election which only requires approval from over 50% of the voters in the November 2016 election.

“I feel strongly that the Illinois Constitution intended for elected judges seeking re-election to only have the option of retention,” said Rep. Meier. The loophole these three judges have chosen to take advantage of certainly questions the integrity of the bench. It reminds me of musical chairs however the music stops when these three judges say so. I think our judges should be held to a higher standard which is why my bill seeks to codify Illinois law by permanently closing the musical chair loophole. If a judge wants to remain on the bench, then he or she will have to face the voters and receive approval from 60% of them.” Read more.

State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) was honored on Saturday, January 30th with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northern Illinois Alliance of Fire Protection Districts (NIAFPD) in recognition of his long history of public service advocacy on behalf of fire protection services and fire protection districts.

“This recognition was awarded to Rep. Moffitt by the NIAFPD Board of Directors.  It is the first time the award has ever been presented,” said NIAFPD Legislative Liaison Ronald Kubicki.  Mr. Kubicki went on to say that Rep. Moffitt has been such a, “clear and consistent top advocate in the General Assembly for not only fire protection districts, but for all the fire professionals and first responders in our State. The whole fire service in our state consider him one of our greatest supporters in Springfield. We felt it only appropriate to honor him with this first-time award.  We are so proud to call him our friend and to honor him for his lifetime of service to our State and fire protection services.”
Sen. Pam Althoff and Rep. Dan Brady bring highly anticipated procurement reform measures to ILGA

After a year of working through and carefully evaluating Illinois’ onerous procurement process, a comprehensive reform package developed collaboratively by the Rauner administration, agency heads, legislative leaders and major stakeholders has emerged that has the potential to realize significant savings for Illinois taxpayers.   The legislative package, which will be filed concurrently in both the House and Senate by Rep. Dan Brady (R, Normal) and Sen. Pamela Althoff (R, McHenry) respectively, was unveiled during a press conference at the Illinois State Fairgrounds 4H building. Read more.