GENERAL ASSEMBLY
House Republicans Call for Independent Redistricting Reform. Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, along with all members of the House Republican Caucus, has filed a resolution demanding an independent redistricting reform solution.

“It is unacceptable that partisan politics involved in the map drawing process have skewed years of election results throughout Illinois,” Durkin said. “We are long overdue for an independent map drawing process that will protect voter rights, create a more transparent process and make legislative races more competitive with more qualified candidates running for office.” 
Our children’s education remains a top priority for Illinois House Republicans, which is why they have taken action to address the growing teacher shortage in our state. First and foremost, our members are committed to ensuring highly prepared and effective educators are teaching our children. To do that, Illinois must address the teacher shortage.

Background
The Illinois State Board of Education said the 2017-18 school year began with about 2,000 unfilled teaching positions across the state.* And a recent survey conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools found that school districts were increasingly having difficulty finding qualified candidates to apply for teaching positions.
Proponents of changing the way Illinois draws political maps had their moment Wednesday, but they appear no closer to getting the issue before voters.

Proposed constitutional amendments have been introduced in both the House and Senate that would take the remapping process away from politicians and put it in the hands of an independent commission.

Senate leaders allowed proponents of the amendment to make their case at a subcommittee hearing Wednesday. However, in the House, the proposals have been locked up in the House Rules Committee and time is quickly running out.

Both the House and Senate would have to vote by May 6 to put the issue on the ballot. The House is not scheduled to be in session the week of April 30 through May 4. Read the rest of the story.
Ensuring the health and safety of Illinois families has long been the hallmark of Rep. Michael McAuliffe’s tenure in the Illinois General Assembly. This session McAuliffe has introduced two bills intended to improve health outcomes for Illinois women and children.

One piece of legislation now moving through the General Assembly removes the obstacles to the implementation of newborn screenings.

Early identification of certain disorders means children will get treatment before the disease progresses and causes irreparable harm. In some instances it will even save lives. One of those disorders is Krabbe disease, a rare neurological illness that is treatable if caught soon after a baby is born but which can be deadly if not treated early. 
TAXES
House Republicans oppose progressive income tax. Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, along with members of the House Republican Caucus, filed House Resolution 975 Tuesday to state their opposition to a proposed progressive income tax on Illinois residents.

“The General Assembly cannot continue spending money frivolously and expect Illinois taxpayers to pick up the tab with more tax increases like this progressive income tax proposal from the Democrat party,” Durkin said. “It is our constitutional duty to protect our constituents, and we will remain firm as a caucus on blocking any progressive tax measures.”
With Democrat J.B. Pritzker saying a progressive state income tax is his top priority, House Republicans are uniting behind yet another resolution pledging their opposition to the idea.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs and all but one of the other 50 House Republicans signed onto the resolution pledging to oppose a graduated state income tax...

...“Taxpayers cannot afford the current increase in taxes,” Durkin said at a Statehouse news conference. “There’s no way the Democrats should even be floating an idea of the progressive tax. Both opponents and proponents know how debilitating this tax would be to Illinois taxpayers.” Read the story in SJ-R.
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, along with 49 other members of the House Republican Caucus, filed House Resolution 975 today to state their opposition to a proposed progressive income tax.

Below is video from the press conference where Leader Durkin along with Reps, Wehrli, Jesiel and Reick introduced the resolution.


Homeowners in the Chicago area are paying higher property tax bills, on average, than 93 percent of the country, according to a new report.

The average 2017 tax bill on a single-family home in Lake County was higher than nearly 99 percent of the 1,414 U.S. counties covered by the report, released yesterday by Attom Data Solutions.

The region's other counties aren't far behind. The average bill in DuPage County is higher than nearly 98 percent, followed by Kane County and McHenry County (both 96 percent), Cook County (94 percent) and Will County (93 percent).

The report covers only counties with 10,000 or more single-family homes. In all, the nation has 3,144 counties, or more than twice the number in Attom's study. The report includes a county-by-county map of the average property tax bill for single-family homes. Read more in Crain's.
BUDGET
COGFA releases March 2018 revenue report. The report covers Illinois revenue and fiscal trends for March 2018, with references to comparable numbers generated by the State and its taxpayers twelve months earlier in March 2017. The numbers were compiled by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), the nonpartisan budget monitoring arm of the Illinois General Assembly, acting in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Revenue.
The Illinois State Police (ISP) is teaming up with the Save a Star Drug Awareness Foundation to help decrease prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse.

Governor Bruce Rauner announced today that five ISP District headquarters across the state will house receptacles for people to drop off their unused and unwanted prescription medications.

“Many people experiment with prescription drugs before turning to more dangerous, illegal drugs,” Rauner said. “These receptacles offer people a smart and safe way to get potentially addictive drugs out of their homes and off the streets.”
By the tens of thousands each year, Illinoisans are fleeing this state’s rising taxes and mediocre jobs climate. Many no longer see Illinois as their fount of opportunity, the place worth investing their lives. They know the math of Illinois’ enormous public debts and the decadeslong soaking its taxpayers face. The next governor, whether incumbent Bruce Rauner or challenger J.B. Pritzker, will lead a shrinking constituency.

Why are people ditching Illinois? What might a governor, a legislature, do to keep them? How should voters who remain here factor this intensifying Illinois exodus into their votes on Nov. 6? We’ve been tracking down expatriates and reaching out to Illinoisans who face a wrenching choice: Do we stay or go? From now until the election, we’ll introduce you to some of these people. Today, from the expats, meet the Carpenters, the Heards and the Salvas. Read the rest of the Chicago Tribune Editorial.