GENERAL ASSEMBLY
General Assembly takes step to reduce administrative expenses, consolidate operations. Under the setup in place in Springfield’s Capitol Complex heading into Fiscal Year 2019, the Illinois General Assembly had two separate nonpartisan research offices. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the General Assembly’s budget-monitoring and research arm, was in place to examine and oversee trends involving Illinois’ tax revenues, budgets, and spending. As a nonpartisan oversight panel with jurisdiction over cash flow issues, CGFA was in close contact with the General Assembly’s appropriations and revenue committees.
Brothers George and Joseph Fifer in their union army uniforms during the
Civil War. Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
In the decades following the Civil War, Illinois, like most northern states, saw veterans elected to many positions throughout government. At first, Joe Fifer of Bloomington was no different. A wounded veteran of Vicksburg, an attorney and briefly a state senator, Fifer had gone back to his law practice in Bloomington when his term ended.

Fifer may have spent the rest of his career in McLean County courtrooms if not for a shocking personal attack on him from Washington, and his equally ferocious defense, which gained him national fame and launched him into the Illinois Governor’s office.
PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
Funeral services held, National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush. George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away at his Houston home on Friday, November 30that the age of 94.

President George H.W. Bush was the last veteran of World War II to serve as president. Bush spent decades in public service, as a congressman, ambassador, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Vice-President for two terms under Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States from 1989-1993.
Photograph taken from a Japanese plane shortly after the
beginning of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On a Sunday morning in December 1941, the United States Pacific Fleet was devastated by a surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The fleet’s eight powerful battleships; America’s guardians of the seas for more than a generation; were sent to the bottom of the harbor in a matter of minutes, and 2400 Americans lost their lives.

In the aftermath, the United States government set about two tasks: rebuilding the fleet in order to strike back, and assigning blame for the disaster. It did not take long to find two villains: Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet and the Illinois-born Lieutenant General Walter C. Short, commanding general of the Hawaiian Department of the U.S. Army.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
General Assembly concludes 2018 veto session. The November 2018 veto session came to an end on Thursday, November 29 with final actions on many bills vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Some of the vetoes were overridden; however, many of these veto actions were allowed to stand after sponsors could not gather the three-fifths majorities of both houses required for an override. This was the final week available for a House or Senate bill sponsor to submit a motion to override a veto and have the motion called on the floor of the General Assembly, so the remaining vetoed bills are now all dead for the year.
Rep. Steven Andersson
During his two terms serving the 65th District, Rep. Steve Andersson was a strong supporter of local government—advocating for local control and better government practices. A lifelong resident of Geneva, Illinois, Steve has been an advocate of historic preservation efforts in his hometown community and across Illinois, which resulted in a new Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit to improve Illinois communities while retaining the culture and history of the state.
Blues Brothers
When Elwood Blues needed to throw the police off his trail he provided a false address on his drivers’ license renewal. As a result, when State Police showed up to arrest him for one or two (or a few dozen) moving violations, they wound up at 1060 W. Addison in Chicago. That is, he sent them to Wrigley Field.

That scene in the legendary 1980 comedy The Blues Brothers didn’t just happen at the intersection of Clark and Addison. It also occurred at the intersection of the top movie in Illinois history and the state’s top building, as voted on by participants in the Illinois Bicentennial’s Top 200 of Illinois contest.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Jim Durkin re-elected as House Republican Leader. The 57-year-old Durkin has led the House Republican Caucus since 2013. Leader Durkin was re-elected unanimously by his House Republican colleagues in a meeting held in Springfield on Tuesday, November 13. The choice will be finalized when the 101stGeneral Assembly officially convenes in January 2019.
The 1919 Chicago White Sox team photo
Ninety-nine years ago Illinois sports fans watched what appeared to be an epic upset: the Chicago White Sox, heavily favored to win the World Series, had dropped the series to the Cincinnati Reds. How such an outstanding team could have fumbled away what looked like a sure-thing championship defied comprehension.

Except for one possible explanation which was too terrible to believe.
This week Illinoisans chose statewide officials, members of Congress and the members of the 101st General Assembly. Here are a few facts which reflect Tuesday’s place in Illinois history.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker will be the 43rd chief executive of the state of Illinois. He will be the 21st Democrat to become Governor in Illinois’ history, and the first since Governor Pat Quinn was picked in 2010. Pritzker’s victory marks the first time that a challenger has defeated an incumbent in two consecutive general elections since 1968-1972 when Richard Ogilvie defeated incumbent Samuel Shapiro, only to fall four years later to Dan Walker (Walker would lose four years after that, but in a primary).
BUDGET
State revenue up in October. The monthly report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) monitors State cash flow and economic trends. The CGFA numbers depict continued healthy revenue numbers in October 2018. Personal income tax receipts during the month were up by $145 million from October 2017, an increase of 9.9%. Sales tax receipts increased by $71 million during the same time-span, a year-over-year increase of 10.7%. The State’s sales tax numbers reflect receipts from an increasing proportion of retail sales made online to Illinois addresses. Enforcement of Illinois sales taxes on online sales is now permissible under nationwide sales tax law. The sales tax law change was approved by the Supreme Court earlier this year in its “South Dakota v. Wayfair” sales tax decision. The positive numbers in Illinois’ two largest general revenue cash flow streams signaled a continued atmosphere of prosperity and low unemployment in many regions of the state. 
Election Day crowd at Springfield Marine Bank in 1966.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
Next Tuesday is Election Day. It will be the 52nd time that Illinois voters have gone to the polls to choose a governor. While we won’t relive the many colorful stories of 200 years of Illinois politicians, here are some facts about elections in our state from 200 years of Illinois history.

Two hundred years ago in October 1818, Illinois held its first statewide election. It was to put in place a government for when statehood became official a few weeks later. Shadrach Bond was chosen as the first Governor and Pierre Menard as the first Lieutenant Governor. While that first election was held in the fall, an early 20th-century Illinois Blue Book reports that for a time in the 1800s, gubernatorial elections were held as early as the first Monday in August.
EDUCATION
State Board of Education approves recommendations to expand and diversify highly qualified teacher workforce. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has approved specific recommendations to expand and diversify the state’s highly qualified teacher workforce. The recommendations remove barriers and create new avenues of entry into the profession, while maintaining high standards.
Cover from Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds
Vinyl LP released in 1968
On October 30, 1938, an invading army from Mars landed in the marshlands of northern New Jersey. The invaders assembled invincible war machines, and proceeded to lay waste to all the human forces which tried to stop them. They moved inexorably toward New York City, with panicked millions desperately trying to flee their deadly heat rays. A radio reporter, choking on Martian poison gas, used his last breath to warn listeners of reports of Martians landing in Chicago and St. Louis.

Or so you might have been led to believe if you had your radio tuned to CBS.


JOBS
Illinois unemployment rate matches record low. The 4.1% unemployment figure reported by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) matches the lowest number ever posted for this figure, a widely-cited index of economic health and activity in Illinois. Preliminary data, which is subject to revision as more numbers come in, indicates that nonfarm payroll total employment increased in the Land of Lincoln by 2,800 jobs in September as opposed to August 2018. The same figure, when counted on a year-to-year basis (September 2017 to September 2018) showed a net gain of more than 50,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.
The Illinois Centennial Banner.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives
As the 100th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood neared, celebrations were being held throughout the state. All of this was going on against the backdrop of World War I, which America had entered the year before.

What had initially been planned as a huge celebration had very nearly been cancelled until Governor Frank Lowden issued a proclamation which called on Illinoisans to strengthen themselves against the current struggle by recalling the great challenges of the past. The state that had done so much to bring about victory in the Civil War would now celebrate its past while facing the trial of the First World War.
ECONOMIC GROWTH
Illinois Innovation Network expands to DeKalb County. Northern Illinois University (NIU), already home to many centers of graduate education and research, has announced plans for a $23 million business-development incubator and innovation center. NIU will construct the center to serve as a hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, the growing web of broadband-linked innovation centers being set up in locations throughout the state. Much of the center’s construction cost will be funded by NIU, by gifts made to NIU, and by private investments made by venture capitalists.
Image from the program cover of “The Wonderful Story of Illinois” pageant.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
A celebration one hundred years in the making almost didn’t happen.

One hundred years ago, Illinoisans were planning the celebration of the Illinois Centennial, the 100th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood. A commission had been created by the 48th General Assembly in 1913 to begin planning and coordinating the commemoration of the anniversary, which would fall on December 3, 1918. Excitement for the big day was building, as communities all across the state planned their celebrations.
BUDGET
CGFA releases State revenue numbers for September 2018. The Commission on Budget Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) is the nonpartisan budget-forecasting arm of the Illinois General Assembly. Working with the Department of Revenue and other State revenue collectors, this office monitors the State’s cash flow and determines its balance with the State’s spending patterns and budgeted expenditures. CGFA’s report on state revenues in September 2018 was published on Tuesday, October 2.
Chicago after the fire, 1871   
As the last raindrops struck the smoldering embers of Chicago on October 10, 1871, the city’s civic and commercial leaders were confronted with one of the greatest challenges any community can face.

Two days earlier, a fire had broken out on the west side. Fed by violent winds, it had quickly spread, sweeping across the city, jumping the river and raging out of control for 34 hours. It had killed at least 300 people, destroyed 18,000 buildings and left a third of the city homeless. Despite the best efforts of the fire department and the city’s residents, it had overwhelmed every human obstruction, and if not for this day’s rainstorm it would likely have continued on.
TAXES
The Tax Foundation issues mixed rating for Illinois’ tax structure. The Washington-based nonpartisan study institute monitors the tax laws of all 50 states, and issues comparative rankings based on what they find. States are ranked not only on the financial burdens imposed by their tax laws but also by the administrative burden of filling out income-reporting forms and complying with each tax.
Frontispiece of the 1973-74 Illinois Blue Book
showcasing Illinois State 
Symbols.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
In recent years, Illinois has added a number of items to its list of official state symbols. Oftentimes, these ideas are produced by local student groups seeking to bring some recognition to an important part of their community or the state as a whole. Some good examples are the 2015 designation of sweet corn as our Illinois State Vegetable and the 1980 selection of the white-tailed deer as the state animal.

Illinois has had a roster of state symbols from its beginning as a state, starting with our state seal. Some of the early state symbols included our state bird, state tree, state flower and state song. This is the story of how those early symbols were chosen.
JOBS
Illinois unemployment rate matches lowest on record. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in August and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -5,200 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The July job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show no growth. (+0 jobs versus +3,700 jobs).
Our guest today says its time for Illinois lawmakers to “put their money where their mouth is,” stop talking about rooting out “waste, fraud and abuse” in Illinois government and actually do something about it.

We will hear about 63rd District State Representative Steve Reick’s legislation which creates the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Act. In addition to other matters related to Springfield, we will hear about his attempt at being a walk-on with the University of Illinois basketball team and how his passion for cooking led to cooking up some quail tacos for colleagues and staff in Springfield.


By the late 1970s, technology was making everything bigger and faster. Skyscrapers were reaching farther into the sky than ever before. The space shuttle was preparing for its maiden voyage. The joint British-French Concorde was transporting passengers across the Atlantic at supersonic speeds. Jumbo jets like the Boeing 747 and the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 were carrying more passengers farther and faster than was dreamed possible a generation before.
HURRICANE FLORENCE
Illinois prepared to assist states impacted by Hurricane Florence. Governor Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that Illinois is prepared to provide personnel and other support to states that may be impacted by Hurricane Florence.

Ten Illinois Army National Guard soldiers and two helicopters have deployed to support relief efforts in North Carolina. The crews left from Peoria's 238th Aviation Battalion and Kankakee's 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment. They will provide support for up to 10 days. All costs associated with the deployment will be paid for by the Tar Heel state.
Already having served as student body president at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, as a village board member in Downers Grove, and on the Board of Trustees at the College of DuPage, he is one of the youngest members of the General Assembly and part of a new generation of state representatives in Springfield. Our guest is 81st District State Representative David Olsen.

"Father Marquette and the Indians" painting by Wilhelm Lamprecht, 1869
Many Illinoisans are tempted to snicker when an out-of-stater mispronounces our state’s name. We know that the ‘s’ on the end of the name is silent. Our state’s name and its correct pronunciation are part of the legacy left by the French explorers who in the 17th century became the first European settlers to visit the parcel of land in the middle of North America now known as “Illinois.”

The French had claimed the region sight-unseen in 1671. Two years later, an expedition led by Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet arrived in the area to be known as Illinois. Their group consisted of seven French explorers and two scouts in a pair of canoes. The French had already colonized portions of present-day Canada and had been exploring the Great Lakes region and its nearby rivers.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Mike Marron sworn in as 104th District State Representative. Vermilion County Board Chairman Mike Marron was sworn-in Friday to serve as the new 104th District State Representative. Marron is succeeding retiring State Representative Chad Hays, who had served in office since 2010. Marron, who succeeds both Hays and legendary State Representative Bill Black, thanked both men for their leadership.
On session days, the Illinois Capitol is a crowded place to be. While either house is in session, members of the public tend to gather outside the chamber doors around the rail surrounding the third floor rotunda. Looking up, or down, a visitor to the Capitol has the chance to see statues of some of the towering figures of Illinois government.

Here is a quick jaunt around the center of the Capitol building to explore some of the stories of the figures depicted in the statues that line the 2nd floor and which tower above the center of the Capitol’s rotunda.
AGRICULTURE
Ag-boosting measures signed into law. At the Du Quoin State Fair on Saturday, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Industrial Hemp Act, Senate Bill 2298, adding Illinois to a growing number of states that permit growth of cannabis cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper- and fabric-making, biodegradable plastics, construction materials and health food.

The governor also signed House Bill 5749, easing weight-limit restrictions on state highways during harvest time, improving the competitive outlook for Illinois farmers and agricultural commodities haulers. Both measures will enhance one of the state’s leading industries: farming.
 From Illinois Digital Archives, Illinois State Library - General
Collection: Record of the Illinois National Guard (33rd Division)
and Illinois Naval Militia.

Soldiers in the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Brigade Combat Team wear a circular shoulder insignia which features a gold cross against a black background. This simple design got its start from Illinois soldiers who served our nation overseas a century ago. It has been worn on battlefields from World War I to Afghanistan, by troops who earned accolades from some of the most celebrated generals in American history. It marks the proud history of the 33rd Division of the U.S. Army.
When Ryan Spain became the youngest at-large member in Peoria City Council history, he garnered a reputation for educating himself on all sides of the issues. After following a legend into the Illinois House of Representatives, he is doing the same thing by working with members of both sides of the aisle on such issues as comprehensive redistricting reform.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Rep. Helene Miller Walsh appointed to 51st House District seat. With her business experience, passion for public service, and commitment to fighting for her community, Representative Helene Miller Walsh brings a valued perspective and unique skill set to the governing process. Rep. Miller Walsh graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs with an emphasis on Middle Eastern Affairs, and a minor in Economics.
In east-central Illinois near the Piatt County village of Bement sits the Bryant Cottage State Historic Site. The house was built in 1856 by Francis E. Bryant, and legend has it that it was in his parlor that his friend Senator Stephen Douglas sat down with former Congressman Abraham Lincoln to plan out what would become the most famous debates in American history.

JOBS
Illinois’ unemployment rate drops to 4.2%. The numbers also showed that Illinois’ economy created 3,700 new nonfarm payroll jobs in July 2018. The new 4.2% unemployment figure approaches the 4.0% benchmark traditionally used to signify “full employment,” and come as a signal that Illinois is continuing its recovery from the 2008-09 economic crash and Great Recession. The numbers were compiled and posted on Thursday, August 16, by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
Earthquake Hazard Map from USGS
This year, Illinois celebrates its bicentennial of statehood. One part of the celebration is a review of 200 years of Illinois history. Of course, while statehood occurred 200 years ago, Illinois history extends long before that date. In fact, one important development in our state’s history which has substantial implications right up to today began thousands of years ago with the first rumblings from the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Scientists have tried many different methods of studying the history of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, the source of a series of earthquakes along a fault line running from Illinois through Missouri, Tennessee and into Arkansas. They have found signs of significant earthquakes hundreds or even thousands of years ago. What is certain, however, is that just seven years before Illinois became a state, the New Madrid Fault was the source of three of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the United States. Something else that is widely believed among scientists is that the possibility still exists of another major earthquake in the same area.
Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed legislation that streamlines veteran identification services and makes it easier for homeless veterans to access needed medical benefits. Rauner also made Nov. 4th GI Bill of Rights Day to pay tribute to the American Legion committee, chaired by the 29th Governor of Illinois, that wrote the historic Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944.

“We should seize every opportunity to streamline services to better honor and support those who selflessly gave so much to our country,” Rauner said. “Providing a free medical record for homeless veterans will help them more easily access the critical services and benefits they earned, and the ID designations and license plates represent tokens of our gratitude for the monumental sacrifices made by Illinois veterans to protect our freedoms.” 
STATE GOVERNMENT
New law brings hundreds of state jobs back to Sangamon County. Gov. Bruce Rauner followed through with his promise to bring state jobs back to the capital city with the signing of House Bill  4295 Thursday. The legislation moves hundreds of state jobs to Springfield.

“It is a matter of state pride,” Rauner said. “This bill preserves the heritage of Springfield as Illinois’ capital city while boosting our local economy. It promotes Lincoln’s hometown and his vision as one of the original lawmakers who advocated for making Springfield the capital of Illinois.”
A 1892 campaign poster showing the Cleveland-Stevenson
(Cleve and Steve) ticket.
Illinois has been the home of four U.S. Presidents. Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Reagan and Obama all called Illinois home at some point. All four were chosen for a second term in the Oval Office. Each achieved the ever-lasting fame that comes with the Presidency.

History has not been as kind to the two Illinoisans who served as Vice President.

Neither of Illinois’ two Vice Presidents achieved the stature of Lincoln. Neither got a second term and neither have long passages in the history books, if any at all. There is no Mount Rushmore for Vice Presidents. But both were highly accomplished and very prominent men of their times. One was the patriarch of an Illinois political dynasty, while the other helped organize a World’s Fair and won a Nobel Peace Prize.
LAW ENFORCEMENT
New lottery game to benefit families of fallen police officers. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill this week to create a new Illinois Lottery scratch-off game from which proceeds will fund police memorials, support for the families of officers killed or severely injured in the line of duty, and protective vest replacements for officers.

“Our police officers stand in the face of danger every day to keep us safe. We are proud to stand with them and support their families when they are faced with a devastating loss,” Rauner said. “This new ticket will help fund scholarships for their children and honor their bravery at memorial parks across the state.”
Abraham Lincoln c1846
A visitor to Springfield might take some time to stop by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site or Lincoln’s Tomb. Lincoln, after all, spent a big part of his adult life in Springfield. He represented the area in the state legislature and in Congress. His children were born there, the only home he ever owned is there, just down the street from his law office and the Capitol building where he gave one of his most famous speeches.
Sandbagging in downtown Alton during the
Great Flood of 1993
Illinois is the crossroads of North America. For centuries, this location has been a great advantage for the settlement and commerce of our state. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is among the busiest in the world. It is here that the major rail lines come together, that the major highways intersect, and the major rivers of the continent converge. But 25 years ago it was that last crossroads—the rivers—that brought about one of the greatest natural disasters in Illinois history.

Our state’s unique geography within North America’s river system puts us in a prosperous but also dangerous position. The great rivers of the upper Midwest, the Great Plains, the Rust Belt and the mid-south all come together in or near Illinois. The moisture from our rivers contributes to the rich Illinois farmland that feeds so much of the nation and the world. But it also carries great risk: excessive snowfall in Montana or western Pennsylvania, or heavy rains in Minnesota or Alabama can have disastrous impacts hundreds of miles away in Illinois.
Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst was sworn into office Tuesday as the new State Representative for Illinois’ 47th Legislative House District. She took her oath of office outside of Elmhurst College’s Hammerschmidt Chapel, a mere 4 miles from where she was raised in Villa Park, and 6 blocks from her Elmhurst home.

Elmhurst College Trustee and 4th Ward Alderman Kevin York welcomed guests, and the Honorable Liam Brennan, 18th Judicial Circuit Court Judge, administered the oath of office. Mazzochi was introduced by State Senator Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst). Read more.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Jeff Keicher sworn in as 70th District State Representative. Joined by community leaders, family and friends, Sycamore businessman Jeff Keicher took the oath of office at Dayton Farms on Tuesday to become the new State Representative for Illinois’ 70th District, encompassing portions of Boone, DeKalb, and Kane Counties. Keicher replaces former Representative Bob Pritchard, who resigned July 1 to accept an appointment to the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University.
President Theodore Roosevelt and Governor Richard Yates, Jr. sit on a bench at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. Photo courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Last weekend, the Illinois Governor's Mansion in Springfield re-opened after a multi-year renovation effort. The first tours were conducted on Saturday. The tours feature exhibits highlighting the children who have lived in the mansion and they also include furniture from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the pre-Civil War era. The mansion, which was built in the mid-1850s, has been visited by everyone from Presidents of the United States to a First Daughter’s pet alligator.

Springfield became the state’s capital city in 1839, and before the current mansion was constructed Governors lived in a house at 8th and Capitol streets, an intersection now occupied by the Springfield public library, a fire station and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. In 1853, Governor Joel Matteson took office and made the need for a new residence apparent, as the existing house was insufficient for his family which included seven children.
Joined by community leaders, family and friends, Sycamore businessman Jeff Keicher took the oath of office at Dayton Farms on Tuesday to become the new State Representative for Illinois’ 70th District, encompassing portions of Boone, DeKalb, and Kane Counties. Keicher replaces former Representative Bob Pritchard, who resigned July 1 to accept an appointment to the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University.

Following through on a commitment he made previously, Representative Keicher will sign official paperwork declining state health insurance benefits, as well as opting out of the pension system for state legislators.
Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed legislation that expands the Illinois Veterans’ Home at Quincy and cuts the red tape on future construction projects, allowing the administration to move quickly to build a new state-of-the-art facility at the campus.

“We’re building a brand new facility and making sure our veterans have a safe place to call home,” Rauner said. “Building this new facility should not be caught up in the bureaucratic process. Our veterans deserve the best. They have fought to secure our freedom and we’re fighting to make sure they have the care they need for generations to come.”
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Patti Bellock named DHFS director. Gov. Rauner announced last week that Patricia R. “Patti” Bellock has been named director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Bellock has served in the General Assembly since 1999 and is recognized as one of the body’s leading advocates for Medicaid, health care and social services, areas she will oversee in her new role.
State Representative Avery Bourne was recently named the newest member of ISBE’s (Illinois State Board of Education) Evidence-Based Funding Professional Review Panel. The panel was created with the new school funding formula to annually review data, proposed changes, and the overall implementation of the formula. It is made up of practitioners, experts, legislative leaders, and advocates.

Rep. Bourne stated, “It is an honor to be chosen for the ISBE Panel and I look forward to working with these professionals to make our school funding formula work. School children statewide now have a brighter future because of school funding reform. The work of this panel will make sure the school funding reform is dynamic and continues to provide the best outcomes for students statewide. After our important work to pass school funding reform, now the hard work of implementing it begins.” Read more.