ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Plans unveiled for Illinois Innovation Network. Governor Bruce Rauner and the University of Illinois System unveiled plans Thursday for an Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to help ignite the state’s economy through a $1.2 billion network of research universities, businesses, and public sector partners focused on the development of solutions in computing and big data, advanced materials, food and agriculture, and biosciences and health.
Abraham Lincoln’s work as a prairie lawyer, state legislator and President of the United States is well known. What is not as well-known is another important contribution which Lincoln made to Illinois just a few years before he was elected President. In 1857, Abraham Lincoln helped create Illinois’ system of public, higher education.

Of course, Lincoln didn’t do it alone. Nor did it happen all at once. In fact what Lincoln did was far from dramatic: as the attorney for the Illinois Board of Education he prepared the paperwork for the bond that would pay for the establishment of a teachers college (or a “normal school” as it was known at the time) in McLean County. It was the beginning of Illinois State University.
Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive “Veteran” on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license. Read more:

The state representative who requested a review of property assessments in every Illinois county said Tuesday she expects a written response this week.

In August, Rep. Jeanne Ives, sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Revenue asking for the review. The request came after Coles County began reassessing commercial property for the first time in 16 years and after a school superintendent from Perry County told lawmakers his county had not reassessed property since the early 1980s, even though state law requires those reassessments every four years. Read the story here.


The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking input on the state's rest areas.

To enhance traveler safety and comfort, IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, which serve more than 36 million visitors annually. IDOT wants to make sure these service centers are kept clean, safe, and updated with travel-related amenities to enhance the travel experience for Illinois residents and visitors.

Illinois' rest areas and welcome centers are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles, and commercial trucks, among other services.

Help shape the future planning of rest areas by completing IDOT's Illinois Rest Area Survey.

For a paper copy of the survey call 402-399-1405.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, State Representative Patti Bellock introduced and passed legislation this year, HR 254, to support and commend the efforts of those people and organizations who work tirelessly to help victims break free of the devastating effects of domestic abuse.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October of 1981, and was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Since 1989, October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Month. Read more.

To learn more, please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence online at www.ncadv.org.

BUDGET
State report: Budget out of balance by $1.7 billion. The state’s fiscal year 2018 budget is out of balance by $1.7 billion, according to a fiscal policy report released Thursday by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The imbalance might have been avoided if the General Assembly had enacted $2 billion in reforms proposed by the Rauner Administration and Republican leaders earlier this year.

The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report provides a five-year economic outlook based on the budget along with state and national growth forecasts. The GOMB compiles the report, which is available for public view at https://www.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Pages/PolicyReports.aspx.
House Leader Jim Durkin announced that he is appointing Representative Avery Bourne  and Representative Dave Severin to fill seats in a recently established task force that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. A new law, sponsored by Bourne, created the task force to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in our home state to be burned here as well.

“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here,” said Representative Bourne. “Through this taskforce we are working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs.” Read more.

In case you missed it:
New Task Force Studying Ways To Keep Illinois Coal In Illinois
Bourne’s Bill to Promote Illinois Coal Passes House, Awaits Senate Action
Area Lawmaker proposes legislation that would allow for use of Illinois Coal in state
On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized two armed vessels which would put to sea with a crew of 80 men for a period of three months. Their mission would be to interdict Royal Navy ships bringing supplies to the British Army forces then fighting George Washington’s colonial army. This legislation created the United States Navy.

Since that day, American sailors have defended freedom around the world; on, above and beneath the surface of the sea. Today, for only the second time in history, some of those sailors protect our country aboard a ship which carries the name USS Illinois.
The City of Canton is pleased to report the recent receipt of over $500,000.00 in late payments from the State of Illinois, issued for water and sewer service to the Illinois River Correctional Center.

State Representative Mike Unes notified the City of the release of funds Friday, which came as a result of his work with the Comptroller’s office on Canton’s behalf. This is one of the largest and most recent of such payments that Representative Unes has secured to help repay what is owed to the citizens of Canton.

Mayor Kent McDowell expressed his gratitude for Rep Unes’ efforts, in saying: “Receiving this money is just extremely important to our budget and finances, and I am beyond thankful for Rep Unes’ hard work and dedication towards making sure that we finally receive what is owed to us. I have no doubt that he will continue to go above and beyond for our city, and am confident that no other representative in the State of Illinois works harder for local families.” Read the rest of the story.
*Generals Grant and McClernand (center of group) in front
of the Cairo post office early in the war.
On the day after the Stars and Stripes were hauled down from Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln confronted a serious problem. The country was now at war with itself, and the small and widely-scattered regular United States Army lacked the forces necessary to fight even the three-month war which practically everyone expected. Looking for help, Lincoln turned to the governors of the northern states for troops. His home state of Illinois would be among the most enthusiastic in answering his call.

In 1861, the regular Army numbered about 16,000 soldiers. State militias, which had been the backbone of the American military since the Revolution, would be called into action again. Lincoln issued a call to the governors for 75,000 volunteers. In that first year of the Civil War, Illinois would meet and then exceed its quota, and some Illinois soldiers would get their first taste of battle.
Gov. William Stratton meets with actor Howard Keel in 1957.  Photo from
 Illinois State Fair Museum Collection, Illinois Digital Archives – A service 
of the Illinois State Library and the Office of the Secretary of State
When Governor Joel Matteson moved his belongings into the brand new Executive Mansion on Jackson Street in Springfield in 1855, he was a member of a very exclusive club. In the first two hundred years of Illinois history, that club would grow to only 42 members. That membership would include Civil War Generals, members of Congress, state legislators (and not just from Illinois), farmers, lawyers, a prosecutor of Al Capone, and a personal secretary to the President of the United States.

Eleven years after Matteson left office, Illinois broke ground on a new state capitol building just a couple of blocks west of the Executive Mansion. Today, the second floor of the capitol building is decorated with portraits of the former Illinois governors. Here is a brief history that only scratches the surface of the stories surrounding this very interesting group of leaders.
JOBS
EDGE tax credit overhaul gets Gov. Rauner’s signature. Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation (HB 162) that overhauls the EDGE Tax Credit Program and provides much-needed transparency and taxpayer protections.

“The EDGE Tax Credit Program overhaul is a bipartisan job creation program that is innovative and competitive for businesses,” Gov. Rauner said. “This legislation is another tool to use in our quest to bring high-quality and good-paying jobs to Illinois. It is crucial for the future success of our state that we make Illinois a more business friendly environment through pro-growth measures.”
Photo from Galena Area Historic Photos Collection, Illinois Digital Archives –
A service of the Illinois State Library & the Office of the Secretary of State
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, some parts of Illinois received a very light rain, less than a quarter of an inch in most places. These were last remnants of the once-powerful Hurricane Irma which had caused so much destruction across the Caribbean and in Florida just a few days before. The storm came inland, losing strength as it moved over land, drifted northwest across Georgia and Alabama, and then into the Ohio Valley where it finally dissipated mid-week.

As surprising as it might sound, Illinois frequently finds itself in the path of tropical weather patterns. Of course, in the middle of the continent, Illinois never gets hit as hard as coastal states do, but storm damage from the remnants of these tropical systems is not unheard of in Illinois. One storm a few years ago was even strong enough to damage a monument in Randolph County dedicated to our first governor. 
Residents and Businesses in Stephenson and Contiguous Counties Can Apply for Low-Interest, Long-Term Loans to Boost Recovery

Governor Bruce Rauner today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the state’s request for assistance to help people and businesses in northwestern Illinois recover from severe storms and floods that occurred in July. 
AMAZON.COM
Amazon urged to pick Illinois for its new headquarters. The Seattle-based retailing giant Amazon has announced that it is running out of headquarters space in its current city and would like to open a second headquarters in a centralized U.S. location. The second headquarters could contain as many as 50,000 workers, who would occupy a potential 8 million square feet of office space to be constructed for as much as $5 billion. Amazon has cited good transportation, strong schools, and a tech-oriented workforce as elements in their decision.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Documents Collection,
Illinois Digital Archives – A service of the Illinois State
Library and the Office of the Secretary of State
Illinois has been the home to four U.S. Presidents. That isn’t the most (Virginia claims that honor with eight) but it is still more than most states. But beyond the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, Illinois has been an important step on the path to the White House for a total of eleven presidents who were either nominated or re-nominated in Chicago on their way to victory in November. In fact, in the century-and-a-half since it hosted its first convention, Chicago has hosted more presidential conventions than any other U.S. city.
Click here to take the Survey
As early as Wednesday, October 11th, the Cook County Board could take action to repeal the controversial Sweetened Beverage Tax (Pop Tax) that was imposed earlier this year.

The penny-an-ounce tax applies to both sugar and artificially sweetened drinks sold in bottles, cans or from fountain machines in Cook County.

In a recent poll, 87% of Cook County residents opposed the tax. This new tax was levied on Cook County residents in August of this year and comes on the heels of a 32% income tax hike.

Small businesses in Cook County are also hit hard by the tax as they are seeing sales move across county lines.

Should the Board of Commissioners fail to repeal the Pop Tax, Rep. Michael McAuliffe has filed legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives that would immediately end the tax.

Tell us what you think about the Cook County Pop Tax
Educating children should be a bipartisan issue. Two weeks ago in the General Assembly, it finally was.

After years of working on this issue and months of intense negotiations, the General Assembly passed a landmark school funding reform law that fundamentally will transform the way Illinois funds its schools. This once-in-a-generation school funding legislation is the single most important bipartisan reform Illinois has seen in decades.

As downstate legislators of different political parties, we were proud to work together on behalf of the schools and children we represent in negotiating the final agreement. Illinois will go from having the worst school funding formula in the country to having one of the best. Students in school districts lacking local wealth will be prioritized regardless of ZIP code. That means underfunded downstate districts will get the help they need. Read more.

BUDGET
Governor Rauner announces borrowing plan to pay down bill backlog. After conducting a thorough review of the out-of-balance fiscal year 2018 budget passed by the General Assembly in July, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that he intends to exercise borrowing authority to issue $6 billion in bonds to pay down a portion of the state’s bill backlog.

“Illinois has been deficit spending for many years, resulting in a huge unpaid bill backlog. The state has been, in effect, borrowing from local service providers, including nonprofits and small businesses, because it takes months for them to get paid,” Gov. Rauner said. “My preferred solution has always been for state government to reform its spending, and for a strong, competitive economy to grow family incomes faster than the cost of government.
by Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin

For decades, Illinois state government has had a reputation for partisan gridlock and dysfunction. We’ve seen battles in which the only glaring difference keeping people from coming together was political affiliation.

Yet several weeks ago, it became crystal clear that partisan rancor finally had to be put aside for the sake of far more important priorities.

It’s widely known that leading up to last week, Illinois had one of the most inequitable school funding systems in the nation. For decades, we used a one-size-fits-all approach that led to great disparities in how much money, per pupil, schools received to educate our children. This created a statewide system of winning and losing school districts. But because the needs of students varied greatly from community to community, reforming the way we fund our schools eluded lawmakers.
A bipartisan group of 17 Illinois state legislators is part of a contingent of lawmakers from various states asking the U.S. Supreme Court to "repair the damage partisan gerrymandering has done to the political process."

The Illinois lawmakers, including three Republican state senators from East Central Illinois, are among nearly two dozen groups that have filed amicus briefs in the Wisconsin redistricting case, Whitford v. Gill, that the court is expected to take up in October.

The 17 Illinois legislators who are listed among 65 current and former state legislators from around the country include Republican state Sens. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, Dale Righter of Mattoon and Bill Brady of Bloomington, as well as two Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago and Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood.

Their amicus brief filed Tuesday by a New York City law firm says that only the Supreme Court can "redress the damage done" by the partisan drawing of representative district maps. Read the rest of the story by Tom Kacich in the News-Gazette.
Around the turn of the 21st Century, Illinois’ tourism marketing slogan was “A million miles from Monday,” showcasing the many getaways to be found along the roads throughout the state. Though we don’t quite have a million actual miles of roadway in Illinois, our state does have an extensive highway system that has been developing since before Illinois achieved statehood almost 200 years ago.

Today, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois has 146,890 miles of roads, 16,000 of which are under state jurisdiction. The state has 2100 miles of interstate highway, which is the 3rd most of any state in the country. In Illinois nine million licensed drivers operate 10.2 million registered vehicles to the tune of 105 billion miles of travel in the state each year.
Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Executive Order 17-05, creating the governor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.

The task force will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The task force will look at strategies to prevent expansion of the opioid crisis, treat and promote the recovery of individuals with opioid-use disorder, and reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths.
BUDGET – EDUCATION FUNDING
Historic education funding reform passes. The new school funding formula moves towards an “evidence-based” model based on practices followed in many other states. Illinois’ 852 school districts will be given positive incentives to work hard to improve their students’ performances. The new formula is contained in SB 1947, as amended in the House. Enactment of the measure followed up on two years of bipartisan negotiations between school advocates from both parties and was a response to the school funding discussion that took place during the summer of 2017.
Photo from the Naperville Heritage Collection, Illinois  Digital Archives.
A service of the Illinois State Library & Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
When the Illinois General Assembly is in session, Representatives and Senators make their way to the Illinois State Capitol building at the corner of 2nd and Monroe in Springfield. But they haven’t always met there. In fact, this building is actually the sixth different structure in Illinois which has served as the state capitol since the first General Assembly met almost 200 years ago.

Illinois’ first capital city was the Mississippi River town of Kaskaskia. It was here in 1778 that George Rogers Clark defeated the British during the Revolutionary War. The town soon became the administrative center for the area, and eventually the territorial capital of Illinois. At statehood in 1818, it was the logical choice for the first state capital. Governor Shadrach Bond took the oath of office as Illinois’ first chief executive in Kaskaskia.
Here are a few of the editorials from Illinois newspapers:

From the Springfield Journal-Register:
New education funding formula will benefit Illinois’ children

Education funding reform has been a long time coming in Illinois, and the state is finally on the cusp of it arriving.

After plenty of political theater — including last-minute amendments, sitting on the bill, a far-overreaching amendatory veto by the governor, missing the first two payments to school districts for the new academic year, and three dramatic votes in the House before it garnered enough “yes” votes to pass — Illinois lawmakers have approved a new way to fund the state’s K-12 schools. Keep reading the editorial.
The bipartisan compromise on the education funding bill that passed in the House of Representatives ensures, for the first time in decades, that all children in Illinois will have access to education that is funded fairly and equitably.

 
Last night the House passed a historic compromise education funding plan that ensures all children in Illinois will have access to a high quality education. Read more about SB 1947.

Here is what some of our members are saying about it.

Rep. Christine Winger
“Today’s agreement is a historic step forward for education funding, one that will help our students have the opportunities they deserve to succeed while also ensuring all school districts are treated fairly.”
BUDGET – EDUCATION FUNDING
Legislative leaders, Governor reach agreement in principle on historic education funding reform. The four caucuses’ legislative leaders negotiated face-to-face this week on a path forward for Illinois’ public school funding formula. An agreement in principle was announced on Thursday, August 24.
BUDGET
House Democrats play games with education funding. Following the Senate’s vote on Sunday to override Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the Illinois House met in session on Wednesday, ostensibly to act on education funding reform.

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s House session was nothing more than political theatre.

Rather than negotiate a compromise to achieve fair and equitable funding for schools throughout Illinois, Speaker Madigan once again chose to do nothing.

State Reps. Michael McAuliffe, Christine Winger, Peter Breen, Grant Wehrli, and Keith Wheeler today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.
The Illinois General Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget tore a page from the script of “Casablanca,” the 1942 Oscar-winning movie, but lawmakers likely didn’t realize it.

In the movie, nightclub owner Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, reproaches Signor Ferrari, played by Sidney Greenstreet, for always withholding a percentage of Rick’s liquor shipment.

Smiling, the sly, rotund Ferrari responds, “Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.”

The new state budget, approved July 6, casts the Illinois Department of Revenue in the role of the cagey Ferrari.

In the role of Rick are local governmental officials who wonder why 2 percent of certain local sales tax dollars, collected by the Department of Revenue, are suddenly being withheld.

Why, it’s simple.

Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.

In this case, those new “carrying charges” were authorized by Illinois lawmakers, mainly Democrats, who overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the state budget. Read the rest of the Sauk Valley Media Editorial.
As more and more Illinoisans are fleeing the state due to the crushing tax burden, today State Representative David S. Olsen  joined Governor Bruce Rauner, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in DuPage County as he signed into law a bill that makes it easier for units of government to consolidate or dissolve.

“What we are doing today will allow us to more effectively serve the people we represent,” said Olsen. “It is a great first step, and I look forward to continuing this bipartisan effort to make government more responsive and cost-effective for the citizens we represent.” Read more.
EDUCATION FUNDING
General Assembly to convene next week on education funding reform. The Illinois Senate will convene on Sunday, August 13, to consider a possible override vote on Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the controversial education funding reform bill.

The Illinois House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, August 16, for possible action on SB 1 and related legislation.
State Representative David S. Olsen joined Governor Bruce Rauner on the campus of the University of Illinois today for the signing of legislation that will streamline and reform regulations that govern how Illinois buys billions of dollars in goods and services each year.

SB 08, now known as P.A. 100-0043, addresses the state’s procurement system and includes multiple provisions that will quicken the process and reduce costs. “These reforms to the state’s purchasing system will ease burdensome regulations and save our public institutions money,” said Olsen, at the bill signing on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s engineering campus. “I am proud to have co-sponsored this pivotal piece of legislation and am pleased that I could join the Governor for the bill signing at my alma mater. The University of Illinois and our other colleges and universities will benefit greatly from the cost-saving measures included in this bill.” Read more here.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of State Representative Mike Fortner:

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Mike Fortner throughout his time in the Illinois General Assembly. He has been a leading voice on important issues such as energy policy, election reform, local government and technology. Mike used his background and expertise to serve the public good and he has been a tremendously effective legislator. We will all miss his professorial intellect, wit and ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the lives of Illinois families. I wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Fortner to serve as the Minority Spokesperson for numerous House committees, including: Cities and Villages; Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT; Economic Opportunity; Elections & Campaign Finance; and Tollway Oversight. Fortner has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2007.

As parents and students begin preparing for a new school year, they can take comfort in knowing that Gov. Bruce Rauner has a plan that ensures schools open on time, while also providing them with record funding levels through a new, improved school funding formula.

Time is of the essence. It is imperative this plan becomes law so school aid payments can be sent on time, while also ensuring all school districts are treated fairly and equitably. Because Democrats sat on this measure for two months, the Illinois Senate now has little more than a week left to act. Therefore, we are encouraging our Democratic colleagues to support this plan as it provides the most immediate and best path forward.

Senate Bill 1, in its original form, provided special favors to the Chicago Public Schools at the expense of the other 851 school districts in Illinois. This is not the best way to move forward with fixing our antiquated school funding system. That is why the governor, once he finally got Senate Bill 1 sent to his desk, swiftly upheld his commitment to treat all school districts fairly and equitably through his amendatory veto. Read the entire letter from Republican Leaders Durkin & Brady in the Chicago Tribune.

EDUCATION FUNDING
Gov. Rauner issues amendatory veto to ensure school funding bill is fair, equitable for all students. Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto to Senate Bill 1, the school funding bill. The matter now heads to the Illinois General Assembly, where the governor has respectfully requested that lawmakers uphold his changes. If these changes are upheld, Illinois will achieve historic education funding reform.
State Senators Jason Barickman and Dan McConchie, and State Representatives Avery Bourne and Bob Pritchard today released the following statement in response to State Senator Andy Manar’s Springfield press conference:

"We've long known that Democrats would attack the Governor's amendatory veto. The question is whether they'll work with us in good faith on a bipartisan agreement. The time for pointing fingers is over. We need to work together, in good faith, to reach a bipartisan solution to this unnecessary crisis. Schools and school children need to know that their government is being responsive to their needs. We stand ready to work together to finish the job. There's too much at stake to wait any longer."

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement on the recent retirement announcement of State Representative Bob Pritchard:

“I have served with Bob in the House of Representatives since 2003, his dedication and values of hard work have made it a privilege serving with him. Even though Bob is not seeking re-election, his work in the legislature is not finished yet. Bob has and continues to work diligently on issues which are important to our state and the next generation. His expertise and passion to find a solution that is beneficial to both schools and tax payers is invaluable, which is why I recently appointed him to serve as a lead negotiator on education funding reform. Bob is a friend whose work ethic and values will be missed in the General Assembly.”

Representative Pritchard has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2003. Pritchard currently serves as Republican Spokesperson on the following three committees; Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education; Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies; and State Government Administration.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of Assistant Republican Leader Bill Mitchell.

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Bill Mitchell since he first came to the Illinois General Assembly in 1999. He has always been a passionate advocate for downstate Illinois, standing up for the priorities and values of his constituents. Bill’s advocacy was instrumental in helping keep the Clinton nuclear power plant open. As a member of my leadership team, Bill continues to provide me with a perspective that is much needed in the Capitol. More importantly, Bill Mitchell is my friend and someone whose opinion I’ve always respected. I wish him all the best as he looks forward to a well-deserved retirement at the completion of his term.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Mitchell to the position of Assistant Republican Leader in 2015 and again in 2017. Mitchell also serves as Minority Spokesperson for the House Insurance: Property and Casualty Committee. He has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1999.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin joined The Steve Cochran Show on WGN Radio this morning to explain the current state of the education funding plan and what needs to happen next to ensure schools open on time.

Listen here.

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Executive Order 2017-04 to improve and streamline Illinois state government. This action reaffirms the administration’s commitment to transforming administrative law in Illinois. The goal of enhancing justice was the driving force behind the Administrative Hearings Executive Order.

Administrative hearings govern hundreds of important interactions between the state, its citizens and businesses. They are quasi-judicial proceedings, and some look identical to trials. More than 150,000 administrative hearing matters are opened each year across state agencies. These hearings cover wage disputes, child support claims, professional licensing decisions, permits, and the range of State services and benefits available to Illinoisans.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of Deputy Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale):

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Patti Bellock since she first came to the Illinois General Assembly in 1999. Patti has brought the common-sense approach of a mother and grandmother to her public role, combining a keen understanding of how the law impacts people’s lives with a depth of knowledge and expertise in key policy areas unequaled among her peers. Patti’s unparalleled work ethic has been a tremendous asset to our caucus, particularly over the past four years in her role as our Deputy Leader, the first woman in Illinois history to serve in that post. Patti will long be remembered as an extraordinary leader and a tireless advocate for Illinois families; particularly on health care, disability and budget issues. Patti and I have been personal friends for many years, so I wish her and her family all the best as she looks forward to the next chapter in her life at the completion of her term.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Bellock to the position of Deputy House Republican Leader in October 2013. Leader Bellock also currently serves as a budget negotiator for the House Republican Caucus, Minority Spokeswoman for the House Human Services and Human Services Appropriations Committees, respectively, as well as being the co-chair of the Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force. She has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1999.
Leader Jim Durkin asked the Attorney General in May to
weigh-in on the necessity of having a revenue estimate.
Did the Illinois General Assembly pass an illegal budget? House Republicans are asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan to weigh in on whether lawmakers skipped a vital step in the process.

For nearly two years, state Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, has been pleading with House leadership to adopt a revenue estimate in its budget-making process, which he believes state law requires.

In May, Wheeler and many others asked Madigan to give her opinion as to whether lawmakers need to officially adopt an expectation of how much they'll bring in before they can pass a budget. He did not receive a response, although Madigan was not required to provide one. Read the rest of the story.

A few days ago, state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, wrote a Tribune commentary accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of not caring about the people of Illinois and state government's role in serving their needs. I'm here today to disagree. To borrow the opening construction my colleague used in attacking the governor:

Mike Madigan doesn't care. That's the conclusion I've come to after serving in the General Assembly since early 2015.

It has been clear that he doesn't care about the financial well-being of the residents and businesses of Illinois since he first took office in 1971. Unbalanced budgets, chronic overspending, increased debt load, underfunded pension schemes and expansion of entitlement programs have left Illinoisans paying one of the highest overall tax burdens of all 50 states. And it is still not enough to pay for his reckless ways. Madigan doesn't care.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, rank-and-file House members have been working across the aisle to fix some of the systemic problems connected to our state budget — workers' compensation reform, pension reform, a fair and equitable K-12 education funding formula and meaningful property tax relief — only to have Speaker Madigan swoop in at the last minute and kill the discussions. Why would he do that? The answer is simple, power.

Read the rest of Rep. Grant Wehrli's commentary:
At some point, many of those elected by the people stopped caring about the people and started putting the whims of the political hierarchy above all else.
Their actions have jeopardized the well-being of the state and thrown the liability onto those too often ignored in the halls of the Capitol, the taxpayers.
It was apparent for the better part of two years that the majority was not interested in reform or spending controls. Instead, they wanted a massive tax increase to feed their insatiable need for abusive over-spending. Read the rest of editorial in the Alton Telegraph.
Schools may be at risk of not opening on time in the fall, affecting thousands of students, if the Senate does not immediately send a school funding bill to the Governor for his action. Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti is encouraging Illinoisans to get involved by signing her petition urging the Senate to send SB1 at once to the Governor. 

After a bill passes both the House and Senate it should be sent to the Governor to sign, or veto. However in this case, SB1 was held by the Senate in a parliamentary move to prevent the Governor from taking action. This move has the potential of creating chaos and crisis for our schools and Illinois families.

Tell the Senate to release the bill and prevent the unnecessary stress and pressure on our families by signing the petition.
EDUCATION FUNDING
Governor Rauner calls on State Senate to send him education funding bill. Earlier this week, Governor Bruce Rauner called on members of the Illinois Senate to send him Senate Bill 1, the education funding bill. Democrats in the Illinois Senate are using a procedural quirk to keep the bill from advancing. If the bill is not sent to Governor Rauner’s desk soon, public schools throughout the state may not open in time for the new school year.

As part of Illinois' Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Governor Rauner has made over 120 state facilities available as cooling centers. The cooling centers will provide Illinoisans a place to stay cool and comfortable during hot summer days.

  • Tollway Oasis locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • Department of Human Services cooling centers are open during normal business hours from 8:30AM - 5:00PM, Monday through Friday. 
  • Find a Cooling Station near you: https://www.illinois.gov/KeepCool/SitePages/CoolingCenters.asp

For more information about DHS Cooling Centers, please call the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at (800) 843-6154 during normal business hours.