Governor Rauner issued a state disaster proclamation on December 29th for seven counties to ensure continued state support to help affected communities respond and recover from flooding caused by the recent heavy rains.  Counties included in the proclamation include Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair.

“These counties have significant issues related to flooding that is already occurring or could occur over the next several days,” Gov. Rauner said. “We are committed to help local responders in these and other impacted counties ensure the safety of people affected by this unusual December flooding.”

According to the National Weather Service, rainfall between December 23-28 averaged approximately seven inches in the declared counties.

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield was activated Monday to ensure state personnel and equipment could be deployed quickly to support local emergency responders. Resources provided to date include nearly 400,000 sandbags, 160 rolls of plastic, 1,200 tons of sand, and numerous pumps and generators to support flood-fighting efforts in several counties.

For updates on the current situation, visit the Ready Illinois website at

These 237 piece of legislation were signed into law and will take effect in 2016.

Clarifying “Discovery” Court Procedures (P.A. 99-0110, HB 95)
Provides that discovery and depositions shall be in accordance with rules of the Illinois Supreme Court. This law expands the definition of “discovery” to include physical and mental examinations and the taking of any depositions.

SMLCR Act Bond Increased (P.A. 99-0224, HB 123)
Amends the Surface-Mined Land Conservation and Reclamation Act by increasing the amount of any bond that is required to be filled out with the Department of Natural Resources by an operator to any amount between $600 and $10,000 per acre (Currently $600 to $5,000). Also changes the name of the Fluorspar and Underground Limestonee Mines Act to the Fluorspar Mines Act.
State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) was honored on Monday, December 14th with the President’s Award from the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association (CBHA) in recognition of his advocacy on mental health and substance use issues.

“This recognition was awarded to Rep. Leitch by the CBHA Board of Directors as the first time the award has been presented since 2008,” said CBHA CEO Marvin Lindsey.  Mr. Lindsey went on to say that Rep. Leitch has been an, “unwavering clear voice in the Illinois Legislature who has unselfishly enriched the lives of countless men, women, families and the community and state.” Read more.

FY16 Budget
Legislative leaders meet with Governor Rauner for second round of budget talks.  The second week of budget talks took place behind closed doors in Chicago on Tuesday, December 8.  The meeting yielded some mild optimism and word that more talks — including among the Governor’s and legislative staff — are planned for the near future.

The leaders agreed to meet again next week to further discuss the major outstanding budget and budget-related issues facing Illinois.  The State continues to operate in FY16 (began July 1, 2015) without a constitutional balanced budget.
The Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be careful this holiday season and watch out for scammers.  Here are top scams identified by the BBB.

Look-alike websites: When shopping online, make sure to use only legitimate websites. Watch out for URLs that use the names of well-known brands along with extra words.

Fake shipping notifications: These can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords. Don’t be fooled by a holiday phishing scam. 
A meeting of Gov. Bruce Rauner and four legislative leaders in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon yielded some mild optimism and word that more talks — including among governor’s and legislative staff — are planned for the near future.

But the Republican governor and the Democrats who lead supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly still seem far apart on their core positions.

“This was a good meeting,” House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said after the session in the governor’s offices at the James R. Thompson Center.

But the speaker also said there were no breakthroughs: “We all know from experience that when you get into a budget impasse of this nature that it’s a bunch of small steps, there’s not going to be any big leaps to success.” Read the entire story in Reboot.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Monday said legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor will allow her office to swiftly process payments for local governments, 911 emergency phone services, Lottery winners and domestic violence shelters.

Approved by the House last week, SB2039 unanimously passed the Senate Monday, and was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner.
FY16 Budget
Governor Rauner, legislative leaders hold budget summit; December cash flow affects talks.  The summit, which included House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, was held on Tuesday, December 1 at the State Capitol in Springfield.  There was a frank and full exchange of views on issues dividing the four caucuses, including the need for property tax relief, workers’ compensation reform, public-sector labor-management relations, and a reformed system to elect and re-elect State lawmakers.
Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) shared her experience and leadership on health care policy at a recent Healthcare Summit in Washington, D.C. hosted by Women in Government. During the summit, Bellock met with other female legislators from across the country to discuss the numerous national, regional and local issues surrounding health care.

Bellock's landmark legislation – the SMART Act reforming Illinois' Medicaid system and new laws requiring mental health parity and MRSA infection control have all been recognized on a national level.
As snow and ice season bears down on Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police and the Illinois Tollway are teaming up to alert motorists to be prepared and to remember: “Winter Weather – Get it Together.” By taking steps now to be ready to drive in wintry conditions, the traveling public can do its part to ensure a safe and successful winter driving season.

“With temperatures dropping and some of the state already experiencing a first blast of winter, drivers should be aware of what they can do to keep safety their No. 1 priority,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “That means buckling up, slowing down, increasing traveling distances, and preparing to stay home if the weather is bad. By remembering the basic winter driving skills, together we can make this winter the safest one ever on Illinois roads.”
On Tuesday, Representative Steve Andersson asked for a moment of silence on the floor of the House of Representatives to acknowledge and remember those affected by the November 13th terror attacks in Paris.

Watch his moving tribute of the victims and condemnation of the terrorist attack.

State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Springfield) formally took the oath of office Wednesday as the new representative of the 99th District in the Illinois House.

“This is such an exciting opportunity to work for the people of Sangamon County,” Jimenez said. “I am looking forward to getting started.”

The oath was administered by Judge Carol Pope in the Illinois House chamber with Jimenez’s family, friends and new colleagues in attendance. Jimenez moved to Springfield when she was 5 years old. She attended Cathedral Grade School and is a graduate of Ursuline Academy, SIU Edwardsville and the University of Illinois at Springfield.
With the holiday season in full swing, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies are offering tips to help people stay safe now and into the new year.

“December can be a fun but hectic time of year,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Throughout the month, we’ll be offering tips to help people stay safe, as well as provide ideas on gifts that can help friends and family stay safe during all types of emergencies.”

Joseph offered several ideas for preparedness gifts including:
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon all for which we are grateful. Here are a few quotes on gratitude and thanks to get your started:
"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action." ~W.J. Cameron
"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." ~Edward Sanford Martin
“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~Henry Ward Beecher
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is joining Illinois State Police (ISP) and local law enforcement agencies to remind motorists to buckle up and drive sober during one of the heaviest travel periods of the year. With one of the biggest party nights of the year on Wednesday and more people on the roads through Sunday, police throughout the state are stepping up their enforcement of seat belt law violators and impaired drivers during the long holiday weekend.
The holiday season is upon us and shopping is about to commence. Before you head out on Black Friday be sure the gifts you intend to buy are safe for your family.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office recently released the 2015 Safe Shopping Guide to aid you in your gift buying decisions. The guide provides detailed descriptions of toys, baby products, children’s clothing and other items recalled by the U.S. Consumer Produced Safety Commission.

Since technology gifts continue to be at the top of our children’s wish list, the guide also includes helpful information for parents considering the purchase of a smartphone, tablet, video game or other Internet-accessible devices for their children.

Before you shop, arm yourself with the 2015 Safe Shopping Guide.

FY16 Budget
Leaders’ budget meeting with Governor moved to December 1. The face-to-face meeting is scheduled to bring together Governor Bruce Rauner and the leaders of the four General Assembly legislative caucuses, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 18, the meeting has been reset for Tuesday, December 1. The new time will allow preparations to continue over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Standing at the front, cordoned-off entrance to the former Illinois Youth Center, State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, shared plans for the facility to be reopened and converted into a work camp for adults.

Bryant's announcement came Thursday afternoon before a small crowd that included some Murphysboro and Jackson County officials, a handful of corrections officers and a candidate for the 58th Senate District seat, Sharee Langenstein.

The facility, which was opened in 1997. was closed in 2013 as a cost-saving measure by then-Governor Pat Quinn. That facility could house 150 juveniles and employed up to 135 people.

"I have introduced legislation that would provide the funding and administrative support necessary to re-open and repurpose this institution as an adult correctional facility," Bryant said of House Bill 4340. "(Former Governor) Pat Quinn's mistake needs to be corrected so we can reduce the overcrowding in our correctional facilities across the state." Read more in the Southern Illinoisan.

More on this issue:

IL Rep. files legislation to reopen Murphysboro correctional facility
Bryant pushes to reopen IYC as adult prison
Bryant announces bill to reopen Murphysboro correctional facility
Front line correctional officers joined Rep. Terri Byant in
support of her legislation to reopen and repurpose the
shuttered Murphysboro correctional facility.
Calling it a necessary step in reducing Illinois’ overcrowded prison population, State Rep. Terri Bryant (R - Murphysboro) announced Thursday that she has filed legislation aimed at reopening and repurposing the shuttered Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro.

During a press conference in front of the facility, which was closed in 2013 by Democrat Governor Pat Quinn, Bryant detailed her support for an accompanying resolution to study the effectiveness of work camps and adult rehabilitation facilities in reducing recidivism rates. Read more.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has named State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) a “2015 Legislator of the Year” for her efforts to curb repeat drunk driving. Wheeler was the chief sponsor of House Bill 3533, which prevents repeat drunk drivers from prematurely reobtaining a driver’s license and increases the length of time breathalyzer ignition devices (BAIID devices) must remain in their vehicles. Read more.

Governor Bruce Rauner has issued the following statement regarding Illinois’ acceptance of Syrian refugees after the terror attacks in Paris:

“Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
Republican state Rep. Raymond Poe was named Friday to be the new director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Poe, 71, of rural Springfield, said he will start the job Monday.

"I'll definitely miss (the legislature), but I think it's a lot easier moving up to an agency director rather than moving out of a home," Poe said. "This isn't total closure yet because I'll still be working with the legislature."

Poe has been in the Illinois House since 1995. He's a member of several key committees, including Agriculture and Conservation, Higher Education Appropriations, and Personnel and Pensions. He is also the ranking Republican member of the Business and Occupational Licenses Committee.
A lifelong farmer, Poe fits Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's criterion that the agency's director be someone with direct agricultural experience. The last director under former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, Robert Flider, did not have an agricultural background.

Poe said the monthslong gridlock over a new state budget didn't influence his decision to take the job.
"I've been here 21 years, and it's time to move on," he said. "It's time for new blood, young blood."
State Journal-Register has the story.
FY16 Budget
House Democrats block budget compromise, put politics above solutions.  For months, the Democratic opposition to change in Springfield has called for “reasonable” discussions and compromise regarding the budget impasse.

It’s clear by their actions this week, with a compromise very much on the table, that majority Democrats in the House have absolutely no intention of compromising and would rather put partisan politics above budget solutions.
Gov. Bruce Rauner is halting a practice that let companies get tax breaks for keeping or creating jobs at one plant while eliminating jobs at a separate site in Illinois, a move that has happened dozens of times.

While it is common for large companies to operate from multiple locations, the state's leading jobs program long allowed companies to treat every location, division or subsidiary as an independent operation.

The Tribune last month found the quirk in an examination of the Economic Development for a Growing Economy program, or EDGE, a tax incentive designed to create jobs and lure businesses from other states. Read the story in the Chicago Tribune.

With cold temperatures on their way, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal encourages residents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by ensuring their homes have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas byproduct of burning fossil fuels. At elevated levels, carbon monoxide (CO) causes sickness and, if not detected, death. Simply having working carbon monoxide detectors in your home and regularly testing them can prevent awful consequences.
FY16 budget – CGFA
General Assembly watchdogs chart continued budget picture.  The nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the in-house budget agency of the Illinois General Assembly, released their October 2015 fiscal report this week. The CGFA “Monthly Briefing” covers ongoing State revenues, particularly key State General Funds revenue numbers, and ongoing trends likely to affect future State revenues. For example, the October briefing includes a discussion, based on nationwide trends and economic models, of the likely health of the 2015 Christmas retail selling season and its expected impact on State sales tax revenues.
While the winter of 2015-16 is expected to be milder thanks to the effects of El Nino, its unlikely Illinois will completely avoid the cold temperatures, snow and ice that define Midwestern winters.

To help people prepare for potentially dangerous winter weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies will highlight winter weather preparedness throughout November.

“There hasn’t been a winter in Illinois without at least one winter storm in the past century,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Right now, before that first snowstorm or ice event, is the perfect time to prepare yourself, your home and your car for winter.”
“Heroin is no longer a secret,” Illinois State Rep. Patti Bellock told dozens of lawmakers, community leaders and local advocates who gathered at the Robert Crown Center for Health and Education in suburban Chicago on Wednesday to commemorate the inaugural Illinois Heroin Abuse Awareness Day.

“Eight or nine years ago,I wasn’t worried about heroin,” said Bellock, who sponsored the resolution to make November 4th Heroin Abuse Awareness Day — an effort to raise awareness among Illinois residents, and parents in particular, about the dangers of heroin, the deadly drug at the center of a nationwide epidemic.

“When a close friend approached me, distraught because her son was addicted, I was shocked,” Bellock said. “People weren’t aware that heroin was a problem.”

The midwest, and the Chicagoland area specifically, have been among the regions hardest hit by the country’s current drug problem which, according to the CDC, has caused the rate of heroin-related deaths to nearly triple since 2010. Read more on Yahoo News.

Illinois' troubled child welfare system could soon become an investment opportunity for charities, banks and wealthy citizens under a public-private partnership experiment set to launch Tuesday.

The project, first commissioned by former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and embraced by his Republican successor, Gov. Bruce Rauner, aims to remake the way the state delivers services to people in need.

Rather than the government paying providers directly, investors will cover the costs of coordinating and supplying services, with the potential for a return on the investment if their efforts meet goals designed to improve outcomes and save the state money. The idea is among a number of so-called social impact bond initiatives that have cropped up across the country as states search for new ways to pay for costly social services in an era of slashed budgets.

If successful, the program could become a model for transforming the way human services are delivered in Illinois, freeing providers from the uncertainty of the state budgeting process, which in some years — like this one — has left many caught in the middle of a political battle between the governor and legislature. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.
FY16 Budget
Governor Rauner to chair public meeting with legislative leaders on Nov. 18.  The meeting is expected to examine the delayed FY16 budget process.  Although the FY16 fiscal year began on July 1, 2015, a constitutional balanced budget has not been enacted by the Democrat supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate.  The State has continued to operate under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations, and school appropriations, but this has created many operational problems.  Recipients of State services, and providers of goods and services to the State, have been affected by the lack of a legal budget document.  
A piece of history traveled all the way from New York. One of the last beams from the World Trade Center has a new home.

Several local police and fire departments escorted the beam throughout Macon County Saturday. Fourteen years after the September 11 attacks, they had just 14 days to claim a piece of the fallen towers. Read more on Illinois Home Page.
For almost 27 years, state Rep. David Leitch has quietly and competently gone about his business representing the Peoria area’s interests in the Legislature, immersing himself as few others did in the nitty-gritty of sometimes arcane policy issues, providing superior constituent service, bringing home state dollars for some very worthy projects.

He has been that increasingly rare, for the most part non-ideological Republican who believes as conservatives do that “that government is best which governs least,” but that government also can do good, can help make people’s lives better. Consider the longest-serving Republican in the Illinois House, with a short stint in the state Senate before that, “old school,” one of the individual exceptions in a generally dysfunctional Legislature.

With Leitch, 67, announcing his retirement at the end of his term in January, 2017, bipartisan tributes have poured in, from GOP House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, who like others lauded his “wealth of institutional knowledge” — the written and unwritten rules learned at the knee of late Journal Star political reporter Bill O’Connell, who would hitch rides with him to Springfield back in the day — to his local House colleague, Democrat Jehan Gordon-Booth, who noted that she gets “choked up” at the thought of “such a smart warrior for the people” leaving public service. Read the entire Peoria Journal Star editorial.

Credit Ratings – FY16 Budget Crisis 
Fitch, Moody’s downgrade Illinois. Fitch Ratings, whose credit ratings are closely watched by Wall Street and the global investment community, reduced Illinois’ “general obligation” (GO) bond rating from single-A-minus, the former ranking, to one notch closer to junk-bond status on Monday, October 19. The new BBB+ rating is only two notches above the lowest investment-grade rating (BBB-) and is three notches above BB+, which signals non-investment-grade (“junk bond”) status. Illinois’ GO bond rating is the lowest among the 50 states.
After several months of good faith negotiations, Governor Bruce Rauner has agreed to terms on new four-year collective bargaining agreements with the International Union of Operating Engineers, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, and the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers.  The last set of agreements expired June 30, 2015.

The new contracts cover workers at the Departments of Agriculture, Central Management Services, Corrections, Historic Preservation, Human Services, Juvenile Justice, Military Affairs, Transportation, Veterans’ Affairs, and the Illinois State Police.  The employees are all professional tradesmen and women who work as stationary engineers and plant operators, plumbers and steamfitters, and machinists.

The tentative agreements are being submitted to the membership of the trade unions for a ratification vote.  The terms of the tentative agreements are confidential until the end of the ratification process.

As a continuation of the productive negotiating sessions, the trade unions and the Governor’s Office also pledged to form a long-term relationship to improve employer-labor relations in state government.

In an effort to help the public better manage their health insurance needs, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) is informing consumers of the process by which insurance companies terminate a health insurance plan in Illinois and the steps to take in the event a consumer’s health insurance plan is terminated.

When an insurance company chooses to stop providing a particular type of coverage, the company must go through two important processes:

1) Notify the Illinois Department of Insurance of the company’s decision.  The company’s notice must contain: a specific description of the type of coverage affected; the total number of covered lives affected; a draft of the letter that will be sent to the plan sponsors and participants, beneficiaries or covered individuals; time frames for the actions being taken; and any options the plan sponsors, participants, beneficiaries or covered individuals may have available to them under 215 ILCS 97/50.
College of DuPage’s President Robert Breuder has officially reached the end of his COD career. On Tuesday, Oct. 20 the board of trustees held a special board meeting and voted to fire Breuder. This vote voids his severance package, which promised $763,000 at his retirement in May 2016. This also ends Breuder’s paid leave, active since April.

The 4-1 vote passed with elongated applause from the public audience. Trustees Erin Birt and Joseph Wozniak did not attend the special meeting. Trustee Dianne McGuire voted no.
McGuire supported her vote by explaining that she felt the decision to fire Breuder was a “politically driven vendetta.”

Trustee Charles Bernstein defended his vote, responding that Breuder had a hand in everything flagged by the Higher Learning Committee’s accreditation report. “This is not a politically inspired witch hunt,” said Bernstein. “I will cast my vote based on what I see.”

Frank Napolitano, board secretary, spoke of COD’s future. “I look forward to turning the page and looking forward,” said Napolitano.

Breuder is now the third administrator to be fired this semester. His termination comes just weeks after those of finance officials Lynn Sapyta and Thomas Glaser. Read more on the COD Courier.

To mark the beginning of the Medicare Open Enrollment period, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) offers free counseling assistance to help educate Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers about their Medicare insurance options. Medicare Open Enrollment started on October 15 and runs through December 7. During this time, people can shop for a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) for 2016.
Governor Bruce Rauner announced that The Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes Jr., has appointed Col. Michael J. Glisson, as the Illinois National Guard’s Director of the Joint Staff. As a result of the appointment, Col. Glisson will be promoted to brigadier general.

Glisson will replace Brig. Gen. Alicia Tate-Nadeau, who is being appointed as the Assistant Adjutant General – Army. Both Glisson and Tate-Nadeau are traditional Army National Guard Soldiers who will continue their civilian full-time employment outside of the Illinois National Guard. Brig. Gen. Michael Zerbonia, the full-time Assistant Adjutant General – Army and Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard is in a two-star position and is eligible to be promoted to major general.
Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger explains FY16 state payment priorities in this graphic:

James R. Thompson Center 
Governor Rauner asks cash-strapped state to consider selling or leasing Chicago office building.  The governor pointed out that ongoing and deferred maintenance costs of the James R. Thompson Center, Illinois’ principal downtown Chicago office structure, make it a highly expensive place to house State workers; deferred maintenance costs could soon require State taxpayers to invest up to $100 million in the aging building to allow it to continue to operate.
One in four women will experience domestic violence.
October is National Domestic ViolenceAwareness Month. Though 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, many are silent. Help build awareness and end the abuse. Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.

Know the signs of an abusive relationship and spread the word:

  • Exerting strict control (financial, social and/or appearance).
  • Needing constant contact including excessive texts and calls.
  • Emotional abuse including insulting a partner in front of other people.
  • Extreme jealousy.
  • Showing fear around a partner.
  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Frequent canceling of plans at the last minute.
  • Unexplained injuries or explanations that don’t quite add up.

To learn how to help someone in an abusive relationship or to get help for yourself, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit, the largest searchable directory of domestic violence service providers in the United States.

Break the silence. End the abuse.
FY16 Budget
Legislature’s budget commission reports continued shortfall in State revenues. A report for September 2015, compiled by the nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), shows that Illinois general funds receipts fell $382 million short of comparable figures for September 2015. This change reflects reductions in personal and corporate income tax rates that took effect on January 1, 2015, and is one of the pieces of background that lie behind the current State of Illinois budget crisis. Released on Thursday, October 1, the report can be found on page 6 of CGFA’s “September 2015 Monthly Briefing.”
The details may be a bit furry, but state Rep. Margo McDermed has proposed a new state law to make sure that animals used in research have a chance to be rescued and adopted later.

House Bill 4297 also tosses a bit of humanity into a legislature that has been fighting, well, like cats and dogs, McDermed, R-Mokena, said.

Dubbed the "Beagle Freedom Bill" because beagles are most popular dog breed used in laboratory research, the bill would require state universities and research facilities associated with state institutions to offer cats and dogs to rescue organizations for adoption instead of euthanizing them. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.
Scammers are trying to collect a phony $125 “fee” by telling businesses in Illinois that the money is owed to the state to process their “Annual Minutes Records Form.”

Businesses are approached by the Illinois Council for Corporations, which sends them a form similar to a legitimate report required by the secretary of state’s office.

“We are concerned that companies are filing the form and paying the $125 fee because they believe they are filing their annual report with us, as required by law,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. WQAD has the story.

Illinois College Application Month (ICAM) kicks off in October with events and activities throughout the month to help students and returning adults increase career opportunities and improve earning power by applying to and going to college. From college application and financial aid workshops to college treasure hunts and college gear day, ICAM activities will provide direct assistance to students with the college search and application process.

Supported by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), ICAM is part of the nationwide American College Application Campaign® (ACAC) initiative which seeks to increase the number of students who are applying to college early in their senior year, especially those who might not otherwise consider it.
Elgin one of five Illinois campuses to receive distinction

Elgin Community College (ECC) in Elgin today was recognized by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) for achieving the Ready to Respond Campus designation after completing the program’s rigorous campus safety criteria.

The Ready to Respond Campus program aims to enhance campus safety through a comprehensive, community-based preparedness and response effort, including public safety, campus administration, faculty and students.  The initiative was launched statewide in 2014 following a pilot program in 2013. Participation in the program is voluntary and open to all institutions of higher education in Illinois.
The state of Illinois is entering its fourth month without a 2016 budget. Welcome to red October.

The pile of unpaid bills continues to rise. Small businesses that provide care to the most vulnerable are laying off workers. Public universities warn of staffing and financial aid cuts. Secretary of State Jesse White said his office can't afford to mail certain notices. And last week, a law enforcement official critical of police training cuts compared Gov. Bruce Rauner to a hostage-taker.

Yes, there are those who believe the freshman governor who inherited the state's decadeslong financial fiasco is to blame for today's wreckage. As if it's easy to cure addicted-to-risk-taking-and-high-spending gamblers.

As the rhetoric heats up, a curious date looms: Oct. 20. Lawmakers won't even return to Springfield until then. They're busy preparing for their re-election campaigns. Budget impasse? What impasse?

They've given taxpayers no confidence that they'll make a serious effort at passing a balanced budget even when they return. The supermajority Democrats in the House and Senate sent Rauner a budget in May, knowing it was wildly out of balance. Like their budget the year before. It was a game of chicken, cavalierly playing with the lives of those who rely on Springfield for help. Read the entire editorial in the Chicago Tribune.
FY16 Budget
Secretary of State suspends mailing motor vehicle registration renewal reminders. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Monday that his office will suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminder notices to the public due to the lack of a state budget.

White noted that by suspending this service, which will save approximately $450,000 per month, his office will be able to prolong the ability to mail vehicle registration renewal stickers, titles and license plates to vehicle owners for a few months longer before the postage account is depleted.
Where do I get the Registration and PIN number?
There are 2 options for obtaining the Registration and Pin Number.   A person may check their current registration card or call the Public Inquiry Division at 800-252-8980 to obtain their Registration ID and PIN number.

What if my renewal is in October or November?  
After registering for our renewal in November, we get an email stating "Your license plate email renewal notification may take one renewal cycle before it is in effect."  Does this mean I will not be receiving a notification next month?
The Southwestern Illinois Employers Association hosted an intimate gathering for association members and Illinois elected officials, including Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sept. 15 at the Olin Center for Excellence.

Additional guests included U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) and Michael Bost (R-Illinois); state Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) and state Reps. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon), C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) and Avery Bourne (R-Litchfield).

Given the current climate in the Illinois legislature, SIEA believes it is critical for business leaders to be informed of legislation under review in Springfield and Washington, D.C. The forum served as an opportunity for them to hear directly from elected officials on the vital issues and challenges facing the state and the nation.

Opening the meeting, Rauner assured business owners that “your success is our success” while noting that “the southwest region should be much stronger economically, based on its location and infrastructure.” Rauner says his efforts to reform the state would promote a healthy business climate and strengthen the economy throughout the state, particularly in the southwestern region. Read more.