State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, was honored Monday by a group of veterans on behalf of her late Vietnam-veteran father, as well as thanked for a bill she introduced to help aging veterans and other seniors.

The presentation took place as Rep. McCombie was holding "traveling office hours" with residents at Colona City Hall.

The local veterans presented her with a T-shirt commemorating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as a Vietnam service coin. Rep. McCombie's father, John "Jack" Reagan, served two tours of duty in Vietnam, beginning in 1967. He died in 2012.

Rep. McCombie was also thanked for her bill, introduced last month, that would raise the income limit for eligibility for the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption, which offers seniors a reduced property-tax bill. Read more.
Members frustrated by the Majority's unwillingness to address the budget impasse or reforms, called for immediate action. Here's what several members had to say:

 
Leader Jim Durkin: "Stop this insanity. For too long, the majority party has shirked their responsibilities – whether its raising the income tax under the guise that it would pay down old  bills and put people back to work – or passing reckless unbalanced budgets year after year.

Simply raising taxes and increase spending without any reforms didn’t work then - and it won’t work now.

We need to actually reduce spending and demand property tax relief and include reforms to grow jobs and our economy."



Rep. Joe Sosnowski (Rockford): “One thing we cannot do is pass an unbalanced budget that includes tax increases and no responsible reforms that provide taxpayer relief. We can bring manufacturing jobs back to the Rockford area and other parts of the state by insisting that economic reforms be part of any final budget agreement.”


Rep. Tony McCombie (Savanna): “So as we return to Springfield today, I urge my colleagues to resist the failed attempts of the past. No more unbalanced budgets. No more tax increases. Let's start fresh and put aside the political rhetoric and work together! Together we can balance a budget AND take on the major issues facing our state. Together we can make Illinois a growth state and one of the best in the nation.”


Rep. Ryan Spain (Peoria): “...it is simply not acceptable to kick this can down the road by passing tax increases without meaningful cost reforms.  That’s not what any of us were sent here to do - we were sent here to fix the problems.”


Once again, Leader Jim Durkin called for action on the state budget and implementation of reforms. "We're ready to work.  We were ready in January and ready now – but we can't do it alone." Watch the video:

Budget – Pension Reform
House Republicans offer comprehensive pension reform proposal and CPS relief. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin today called on Speaker Michael Madigan and the House Democrats to join the House Republicans in passing comprehensive pension reform that would provide significant savings for taxpayers and $215 million to the Chicago Public Schools for a one time pension parity payment.
Marker is located on the grounds of the Savanna public
library on the SE corner of Madison & Third Streets. 
State Representative Tony McCombie honored Helen Scott Hay, a trailblazing nurse from Savanna, in a speech on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives.

“In honor today of National Women’s Month I want to take a moment to recognize an incredible women from Savanna, IL, Helen Scott Hay.” said Rep. McCombie. “She was a nurse who devoted her life to helping other people by teaching in the nursing profession, serving in the Red Cross during World War I and training nurses all over the world!”

After her work with the Red Cross, Helen Scott Hay moved back to her hometown of Savanna where she continued to serve the community in various ways – even as principal of Savanna High School. Before Helen Scott died in 1932 after a full and meaningful life devoted to helping others, she exercised her right to vote.  Read more.

Rep. Jimenez with Computer Banc Executive
Director David Fowler
Computer Banc is teaming up with State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, other area lawmakers, and state officials and agencies to help improve children’s access to digital literacy tools. The pilot program aims to repurpose surplus government computers to provide children low cost learning tools for education readiness both at school and at home. Rep. Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) said she is excited to work with Computer Banc on its idea to get more computers to schools at a low cost and help children access vital technology.
Read the rest of the story.
"If Illinois is ever to achieve to its potential, it must effect dramatic change."

Illinois is badly trailing the leading states in job growth and lower unemployment.

A U.S. Department of Labor report last week had modestly good news for much of the country. A handful of states saw a significant drop in their unemployment rates, while 28 states recorded sizable gains in jobs, from January 2016 to January 2017. In fact, 28 states could boast of notable employment gains, ranging from Minnesota's 1.1 percent (32,300 jobs) to Idaho's 4 percent (27,500 jobs).

Not mentioned was Illinois. Read more.

Taxes – Property Tax Burden
With one of the highest tax burdens in the nation, property tax relief must be priority. Speaking at a press conference Tuesday at the Capitol, State Rep. Mark Batinick and his House Republican colleagues drew attention to the number one issue for many Illinois homeowners: the need for property tax relief.
When State Representative Keith Wheeler heard the cost to translate the Illinois General Assembly's website into one other language could be as high as $1.5 million, he knew he could find a better solution. One that was significantly less expensive and more inclusive.

Using a free internet tool he set up a translated version of the website for several different languages. Anyone with access to the internet can now access a translated version of www.ilga.gov in any of the most common languages spoken in Illinois simply by clicking on the links below:

Spanish Español
Arabic عربي               
Hindi  हिन्दी      
Chinese (Simplified) 中文简体               
Chinese (Traditional) 中文繁體                
Japanese 日本語 
Korean 한국어             
Russian Русский 
French Français    
German Deutsch             
Italian Italiano           
Polish Polski        
Greek  Ελληνικά            

Budget – COGFA Report
COGFA reduces State revenue forecast by $657 million. Many State tax revenues streams are earmarked for general funds used to fund key budget areas such as education, public safety, and social services. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, the General Assembly’s nonpartisan budget forecasting arm, reported to the legislature this week on trends in State revenues that will affect the reminder of FY17, ending June 30, 2017, as well as the approaching FY18 (starting July 1, 2017). COGFA uncovered patterns of modest year-over-year gains, or even declines, in many categories of revenue that are closely tied to overall State economic activity. Areas of weak or absent revenue growth included individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, sales taxes, public utility taxes, cigarette taxes, and corporate franchise taxes.
Legislation introduced by state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, enabling construction on existing nuclear power plants has passed unanimously out of the House Energy Committee.

Since 1987, Illinois law has prohibited the construction of new nuclear plants as well as any necessary improvements on existing plants. Rep. McCombie's district includes Exelon's Quad Cities Generating Station north of Cordova. Read more.


Rep. Avery Bourne said Thursday there is renewed urgency for the House to stop delaying action on her bill to ensure that state employees will be paid even without a budget in place.

At a Statehouse news conference, Bourne, R-Raymond, said the Democrat-controlled House should act now that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to decide if workers can be paid without an appropriation by the General Assembly.

"This bill will ensure state employee pay and make sure state employees and their families are no longer used as political pawns," Bourne said. "We feel our legislation is the best approach to avert a government shutdown, to ensure that vital state operations continue, and to make sure state employees continue to be paid for their work. This issue is much too important to stall any longer." Read more.
In 1922, just two years after women were given the right to vote, Lottie Holman O'Neill was the first woman elected to the Illinois State legislature.  She continued to serve in the Illinois House and Senate for 40 years.

Two years later, in 1924, Florence Fifer Bohrer, daughter of Governor Fifer, was the first woman elected to the Illinois Senate.

Floy Clements of Cook County became the first African-American woman to be elected to the Illinois House in 1958.
Governor Rauner – Medicaid Proposal
Gov. Bruce Rauner makes major Medicaid proposal. The proposal to increase the percentage of Medicaid medical cases that move through “managed care” was unveiled on Monday, February 27. The state’s chief executive called for expanding existing Medicaid managed care programs to cover 80% of Illinois’ three million Medicaid patients. This would mark a major increase in managed care from the current percentage of nearly 67%. In Medicaid managed care, private insurance firms serve as “gatekeepers” for treatments, performing a role similar to insurance firms that manage groups of families that receive employment-based health care.