Today, Nick Sauer (R-Lake Barrington) took the oath of office to represent the 51st District in the Illinois House of Representatives. Sauer, who won the November 8, 2016 election, will replace the retiring Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein), who officially stepped down as State Representative yesterday.

“I want to thank the voters and residents of the 51st House District for entrusting me with the responsibility to be your voice in Springfield,” said Sauer. “I would also like to thank my predecessor, Ed Sullivan, for being a stalwart defender of taxpayers and fiscal responsibility in the face of heavy resistance while he represented us in Springfield.”

Sauer continued, “Although Illinois is facing many challenges right now, I believe there is ample opportunity for improvement. I will continue to serve the public with the same optimism and determination that guided me during my time on the Lake County Board to produce the common-sense, bi-partisan solutions needed to move our state forward.”

Today, State Representative Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein), who in August of 2015 announced that he would not seek reelection in 2016, has submitted his formal resignation to step down from the Illinois House of Representatives effective December 29, 2016 at 12:00 p.m.

“It has been an honor of a lifetime to represent my hometown and the rest of the 51st District as a member of the General Assembly for the last fourteen years,” Sullivan said in his resignation letter. “I have been proud to serve the State of Illinois in the same hallowed chamber as my Great-Grandfather, former State Representative Thomas Bolger. Thank you for all the opportunities you have afforded me in the House as they have allowed me to be the best Representative possible.” Read more.

191 new laws take effect January 1, 2017. Here is a preview of 26 Illinoisans should know about:

Social media right to privacy 
Public Act 99-610, House Bill 4999
Amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it illegal for an employer or prospective employer to request or require an employee or applicant to access a personal online account (such as Facebook) in the presence of the employer. It is also illegal to request or require that an employee or applicant invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee, or applicant, or join an online account established by the employer.
Bipartisan legislation to encourage economic development, preserve and revitalize historic structure

Governor Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 1488, legislation to extend the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program. The program allows for an income tax credit to be awarded for the restoration and preservation of a qualified historic structure located in a River Edge Redevelopment Zone.

“The River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program is an important tool for municipalities to utilize to spur economic development while saving and restoring historic buildings,” said Governor Rauner. “We’re pleased that the legislature moved to extend this program, but hope that we can provide even more support to local municipalities through a balanced budget with reforms to grow jobs, lower property taxes, improve schools and enact term limits.”

 Senate Bill 1488 is effective immediately and extends the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program for one year, to sunset on January 1, 2018.  A River Edge Redevelopment Zone is a specific area designated by the State of Illinois in cooperation with a local government to safely revive and redevelop environmentally-challenged properties that will stimulate economic revitalization and create jobs in Illinois. River Edge Redevelopment Zones are located in Rockford, Aurora, Elgin, Peoria and East St. Louis. The program is administered at the state level by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Read more.
Budget – FY17
As year-end deadline approaches, talks are suspended. Many facets of state spending are moving towards limbo with the approach of New Year’s Eve. December 31 is the expiration date for the so-called “stopgap budget” that is authorizing much of the State’s spending activities during the final two quarters of calendar year 2016. The “stopgap budget,” which was enacted in summer 2016, was meant to serve as a bridge to cover the first half of the 2017 fiscal year while budget negotiations took place. However, high-level budget talks have been suspended. Governor Bruce Rauner stated on Wednesday, December 14, that based on his face-to-face contacts with leading Democrats, negotiations are not being productive at this time.
Governor Bruce Rauner today announced the Bureau of Administrative Hearings at Central Management Services unveiled its new website providing the public information on the administrative hearing process. The website, which stems from an Executive Order signed in April, will make it easier for Illinoisans to learn about their rights, prepare themselves for hearings and provide feedback to the Bureau about what changes can improve the administrative process.

“This pilot is a win for Illinois taxpayers,” said Governor Rauner. “Our administrative hearing process is broken. This website provides needed transparency and timeliness to the process. This is another huge step in our IT transformation efforts.”
Budget – FY17
Leaders meetings do not generate budget agreement. With the “stopgap” six-month budget for the first half of FY17 scheduled to expire on December 31, pressure is being placed on key Illinois officials to develop a budget agreement. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Governor Bruce Rauner, and other leaders were meeting almost daily in Chicago. Key issues include cash flow for State spending areas covered in the “stopgap” budget. Renewed appropriations are required if these areas are to get funding in January 2017 and following months. However, no agreement has yet been reached.
Budget – FY17
Governor Rauner renews call for property tax freeze and term limits. Substantial segments of Illinois state spending are scheduled to run dry with the expiration of the so-called ‘stopgap” State budget that is covering the first half of FY17. This period of time will end on December 31, 2016, and further State action will be required to keep those facets of State spending in operation. However, meetings between Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, have not yet succeeded in achieving the level of agreement necessary for a budget bill to move forward.
Top: Reps David Leitch, Don Moffitt & Michael Tryon
Bottom: Reps Dwight Kay, Ed Sullivan & Adam Brown
Remarks by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to the Illinois House of Representatives on Republican lawmakers who will be leaving the General Assembly in January:

The Republican Caucus is sad to be losing the services of six well-respected members of this body who are retiring at the end of this General Assembly.

Between them, they have 92 years of experience serving their districts and the people of Illinois.
Many bills that come before the General Assembly are designed to take a popular idea and apply it to Illinois law. But just because an idea is popular, legislators should not rush to pass the bill. Often there are details worth looking at, details that legislators should get right before jumping onto the popular bandwagon. That’s the case with Senate Bill 250 which would create Automatic Voter Registration in Illinois.

AVR, as proposed in Senate Bill 250, would automatically register voters who interact with any number of state agencies, including people who apply for a driver's license or update their address at a Secretary of State motor vehicle office. Since not everyone may want to be registered, people are given the ability to opt out. However, people who would be registered at the DMV do not get to opt out immediately. Instead, their data is sent on to the State Board of Elections and they are later sent a letter asking them to return a post card if they want to opt out. In the meantime, their data is already in the election system and those people who do not want to be in the system will not get the digital privacy we all deserve. Read the rest of the letter to the editor by Mike Fortner in the SJ-R.
While some have already begun their holiday shopping, others will kick off the season on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Online shopping has become the norm and so has identity theft so here are a few tips to improve your online security:

Reset your online shopping passwords on all previous accounts and be sure to use a different password for each account. Create “strong” passwords that are at least 8 characters long and uses a mix of numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters. Find out more about creating strong passwords.
When Gov. Bruce Rauner took office nearly two years ago, he unveiled an ambitious, 44-point agenda that promised to transform state government through measures that included overhauling the sales and gas tax, lifting the cap on charter schools and giving struggling towns the ability to declare bankruptcy.

The rookie Republican politician also laid out plans to gradually increase the minimum wage, amend the state constitution to make it easier to limit costs associated with the state's employee pension system, limit expensive payouts in personal injury lawsuits, and set term limits for lawmakers and statewide officers.

Several items on that agenda have since been shelved, as Rauner and the Democrats who control the General Assembly remain deadlocked on a state budget. The historic impasse has squeezed budgets at state universities, threatened social service providers and sent the state's debt soaring — and there's little indication the stalemate will end anytime soon.

That's because the fight is less about numbers than ideology. While Rauner's wish list has shrunk, it remains a prerequisite to a larger budget deal. The governor contends the state can't tax or cut its way to prosperity without enacting "structural reforms" to boost businesses and grow the economy. Read the rest of the story in the Chicago Tribune.
General Assembly – Veto Session
First week of veto session held in Springfield. The Constitution of Illinois asks State lawmakers to spend two session periods of three days each in Springfield each fall. The veto session weeks, which straddle Thanksgiving, give the General Assembly the opportunity to consider and approve or reject the total and amendatory vetoes signed by the Governor earlier in the summer.

Action remains uncertain on some of the issues discussed this week, and both the House and the Senate final action on many of the measures considered in this first week of veto session will take place during the 2nd and final week of the session. The General Assembly is discussing the stabilization of Illinois’ electrical generating infrastructure, workers’ compensation, legislative term limits, and many other issues. The General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, November 29.
Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) was re-elected unanimously by acclamation to the position of House Republican Leader by his peers. The House Republican Caucus for the incoming 100th Illinois General Assembly convened for the first time Tuesday night for the vote, including 12 new members.

“It is an honor to have the confidence of my peers to continue serving as the House Republican Leader. After picking up five seats, we are very excited and re-energized to work with the Governor on passing a comprehensive balanced budget and reforms to create jobs, lower property taxes and better schools. I am proud to lead the House Republican Caucus through these very challenging times."
As a founding member of the Illinois Diabetes Caucus, State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) celebrated Illinois Diabetes Awareness Day on November 14 by discussing the Healthy Illinois 2021 State Health Improvement Plan and then joining colleagues for a 12,000-step walk through Springfield.

Tryon was joined at a press conference on Monday by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and IL Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. Together, they spoke about the startling increase in diabetes diagnoses in the United States. “In Illinois, approximately 800,000 people age 18 and older have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and it is estimated that another 500,000 people are living with the disease and don’t know it,” said Tryon. “Nationally the statistics are equally troubling, with an estimated 23.6 million people diagnosed with Type I or Type II Diabetes.” Read more.
Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series Champions
Cubs win 2016 World Series. The 2016 Fall Classic took all 7 games to play, with Game 7 being an instant classic, fought out into a tiebreaking 10th inning. The Chicago Cubs came back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to become the world champions of baseball, beating Cleveland on the road and breaking a trophy drought that went all the way back to 1908. The Cubs will hold a victory parade and rally in Chicago on Friday, November 4. Illinoisans of all sports fandoms are now congratulating loyal Cub fans.

November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Illinois hasn’t had a winter without at least one winter storm in the past century. To help people prepare for potentially dangerous snow, cold and ice this winter, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the NWS and local emergency management agencies will highlight winter weather preparedness throughout November.

“Winter weather can turn dangerous rapidly, so the best time to prepare is before that first snowstorm or ice event,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Many injuries and fatalities related to winter hazards can be prevented if people take just a few minutes now to prepare.”
Budget – Unpaid Bills
State of Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills hovers above $9 billion. As of Wednesday, October 26, the State was in possession of more than $9.1 billion in unpaid bills payable from general funds. Unpaid obligations of the State of Illinois include money due to a wide variety of medical service and social service providers. These are entities, most but not all of which are part of the private sector, which provide services to Illinois residents under state and federal laws (such as Medicaid) and have the right to be paid for them.

Surveys of prescription drug abusers tell us that a majority of those with opioid addictions started by stealing unused prescription medication from friends and family.

The Illinois Medical Society (ISMS) has taken action to educate Illinois physicians and the public on ways to curb this epidemic. Last week, in partnership with ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company, ISMS distributed more than 11,000 kits promoting the importance of disposing of unused medications. The disposal kit contains information for doctors and patient materials highlighting the importance of proper disposal and what should be done with unused medications. The kit is also accessible for free download by anyone at
Governor Bruce Rauner today announced a comprehensive plan to promote economic growth and job creation by cutting the red tape in Illinois. He signed Executive Order 16-13 to review all agency rules and regulations by the newly-created Illinois Competitiveness Council.

“For years, Illinois has added layers and layers of burdensome rules and regulations to a never-ending bureaucracy,” Governor Rauner said. “It’s an endless line of red tape that creates a barrier for small businesses and entrepreneurs. By cutting the red tape, we are creating an environment where they can succeed.”
Budget – Debt Refinancing
Underwriters agree to help refinance some Illinois debt. The $600 million in variable-rate bonds that will be refinanced are stapled to a set of “crocodile” clauses. Hidden under the dark water of the 2003 bonds’ contractual covenant are a series of punishment terms in which the State of Illinois promised to pay an enormous penalty ($150 million) should its credit standing fall below letter-of-credit level. A consortium of four banks has agreed to refinance the debt under terms that will replace the letters of credit requirement that was stapled, by covenant, to the old debt.
Governor Bruce Rauner today announced significant steps that continue the administration’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system and reduce the rate of recidivism. He instructed the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to repurpose the Illinois Youth Center Murphysboro into a Life Skills and Re-Entry Facility and close the F House at Stateville Correctional Center. The focus of the new minimum security facility will be preparing offenders for a successful transition out of the corrections system through educational, vocational and life skills training.
Recognizing the seismic risk in Illinois and the need for residents to be prepared for a major earthquake, Governor Bruce Rauner has declared Oct. 20 Great ShakeOut Day in Illinois to encourage people to participate in an international earthquake drill at 10:20 a.m. that day.

“On Oct. 20, millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe will take a few minutes to practice how to stay safe when an earthquake occurs,” said Gov. Rauner. “In addition to the seismic zones impacting southern Illinois, many residents travel to places in the U.S. and around the world that are at risk for earthquakes. That’s why I encourage everyone to learn more about earthquake preparedness and to take part in the Great ShakeOut drill.”
Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, the world's largest supplier of automotive interior components, is establishing a new manufacturing facility in Belvidere, State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) announced today. The new plant, opening in 2017, is expected to bring $28.1 million of new capital investment and lead to the creation of 400 new jobs.

The company will supply interior cockpit components to the Jeep® Cherokee, which will be built at the FCA US Belvidere assembly plant.

"The Boone/Winnebago County area is home to the best workforce in the State of Illinois," Representative Sosnowski said. "We are excited to welcome Yanfeng's new investment and the 400 new, good-paying manufacturing jobs it will bring to our district.” Read more.
Chicago – Teachers’ Strike Possible
95% of eligible Chicago teachers vote to strike. The strike authorization vote was announced by the Chicago Teachers Union on Monday, September 26. The financially troubled Chicago Public Schools district (CPS) employs approximately 25,000 teachers and union-eligible ancillary personnel. CPS observers said that the union is taking a series of legal steps that could result in a strike as soon at October 11, although CPS has several potential legal steps they could take to try to prevent or delay the strike. CPS, in its opposition to the proposed strike, points to an 8.75% pay hike that it is offering to teachers and educators over a four-year period.
Budget – Unpaid Bills
Backlog of unpaid bill hits $8.6 billion. The unpaid-bill count, tracked on a day-to-day basis by the office of Comptroller Leslie Munger, hit more than $8.6 billion this week. The red-ink number is closely watched by holders of Illinois debt paper and by international credit rating agencies and firms that rank worldwide debtors by chances of insolvency. For example Moody’s, the world’s largest credit-rating firm, currently ranks Illinois general obligation debt backed by general funds at Baa2, two ranks above “junk bond” level. Moody’s adds that they have a “negative outlook” on Illinois’ current Baa2 rating. Analysts at Moody’s report that Illinois’ “structural budget gap” currently equals at least 15% of Illinois general fund and pension expenditures.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is one of three House Republicans who will serve on a newly-created Human Trafficking Task Force in Illinois.

The bipartisan and bicameral task force, created through Public Act 99-0864, will consist of 12 members of the General Assembly, a representative from the Chicago Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and the Director of the State Police or a designee of the Director’s choosing. The group will conduct a study on the human trafficking problem in Illinois and will hold hearings to help develop a state plan to address the growing issue. Read more.
State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) today applauded the new path Governor Bruce
Rauner set towards commemorating the Illinois Bicentennial in 2018. Executive Order 2016-10, signed by the Governor today, officially creates a state Bicentennial Office and streamlines the current Bicentennial Commission; a move Butler says is key towards a successful celebration.

“The Bicentennial is a tremendous opportunity for us to tell the story of Illinois to the nation and the world,” said Butler.  “Illinois is truly a crossroads for our country, blessed with an abundance of talented individuals and a wealth of natural resources that make us the envy of other states.   I’ve pushed to make sure we don’t miss this opportunity to tell our story.”  Read more.

Jobs – Illinois labor force

Illinois payroll drops by 8,200 jobs in August. The monthly jobs and unemployment report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) showed a 30-day drop of 8,200 in Illinois’ seasonally-adjusted nonfarm payroll jobs. This key employment number declined from 6,016,900 in July 2016 to 6,008,700 in August.
Chicago – Vista Tower Groundbreaking
Ground broken on residential skyscraper designed to be 1,186 feet tall. When completed, Vista Tower will be the third tallest building in Chicago behind the Willis Tower (1,450 feet, plus antenna masts) and the Trump International Hotel and Tower (1,389 feet). Although largely designed for residential use, the Chinese-financed tower will also contain luxury hotel space. Designed by prizewinning architect Jeanne Gang, the Wacker Drive tower will be 95 stories tall.
Elections – Foreign Hackers
FBI says hackers, believed to have been from Russia, sought entry into Illinois election databases. Access from abroad was to databases operated by the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) to monitor and enforce Illinois election law and election results. The foreign incursion included the possible theft of voter-identification data, including parts of voter Social Security numbers, from as many as 90,000 Illinois voters. The ISBE currently does not believe the access changed any of the data within the database or moved the dials on any of the ways the Board tries to monitor and enforce election law. For example, the Election Code requires disclosure of a wide variety of contributions to campaign committees and the ISBE keeps databases of these disclosures.
General Assembly – Redistricting
Independent Maps referendum language thrown out by Illinois Supreme Court. The 4-3 decision, which fell along partisan lines, found that the Independent Maps amendment to govern the way Illinois draws its lines for General Assembly seats should not appear on the November 2016 ballot. The decision, which cannot be appealed to any higher panel, will make it impossible for Illinoisans to speak out on the process used to elect members of the Illinois General Assembly.
Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) wants the public to know that the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center located in Centralia, Illinois is “alive and well”. Murray Center is the only State Operated Developmental Center (SODC) serving central Illinois and parts of southern Illinois. According to State Representative Charlie Meier, “The good news is Murray Center is accepting new residents on an individual basis and has recently welcomed a new resident thanks to a referral by State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro).”

Earlier this year, Peggy Strong, a retired teacher from Murphysboro visited with State Representative Terri Bryant to discuss her daughter’s special healthcare needs.  Peggy’s daughter suffers from several acute chronical medical diagnoses which collide together according to Peggy, and she was concerned her daughter was not receiving the type of care a CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) could provide, which is why Peggy began looking for a new home that could provide the level of care her daughter needs and deserved. Read more.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Energy Assistance recently announced that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will begin accepting applications for winter heating assistance for seniors and people with disabilities beginning September 1, 2016.

LIHEAP and the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program are funded as part of the stopgap funding plan signed into law by Governor Rauner.
Health – Affordable Care Act
Aetna withdraws from Obamacare individual marketplace in Illinois. The withdrawal follows the financial failure of ACA cooperative Land of Lincoln Health, and leaves an increased number of Illinois counties where only one or two health insurance providers are willing to participate in the marketplace. Aetna announced its departure from marketplaces in Illinois and 10 other U.S. states on Tuesday, August 16. The withdrawal from the ACA insurance marketplace could affect as many as 838,000 exchange enrollees nationwide.
New law to honor Gabby Galbo will require hospitals to be better prepared to treat sepsis

Governor Bruce Rauner on Thursday, at a press conference at Presence Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, signed Senate Bill 2403, known as Gabby’s Law, to require Illinois hospitals to be better prepared to recognize and treat patients with sepsis or septic shock.

The legislation is named in honor of Gabby Galbo of Monticello, who passed away in 2012 due to untreated sepsis. Following her death, Gabby’s parents, Liz and Tony, began work to pass this legislation, which received unanimous support in both the Senate and the House, to honor her memory.
New foundation is a win for taxpayers and the agricultural community as a whole

Governor Bruce Rauner today, on Agricultural Day at the Illinois State Fair, applauded the launch of a new not-for-profit, Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, to emphasize capital improvements at the Springfield and Du Quoin fairgrounds.
Governor Bruce Rauner on Sunday, took action on several bills as part of Veterans Day at the 2016 Illinois State Fair. The bills strengthen Illinois’ commitment to our veterans and their families by providing needed assistance and honor to those who have sacrificed so much for our country and our state.

“The selflessness of our American heroes can never truly be repaid, but here in Illinois we are making it easier for our men and women to return home and have prosperous futures,” said Governor Rauner. “We are investing in our veterans’ futures while never forgetting those we have lost along the way.
Rep. David Leitch's work with parents of suicide victim
led to new law designed to spare others
Mike and Kim Predmore, whose youngest son, Chris, killed himself in his Illinois State University dorm room nearly two years ago, don't want other parents to go through what they did.

“Chris seemed fine when we moved him in,” said Mike Predmore, sitting with his wife in their Bartonville home. “Three months later, we were planning his funeral.”

With many students soon heading off to college, some for the first time, the Predmores hope parents will talk to their children about whatever stress they might be feeling and look into what services are available at their schools.

They also hope a law they helped get passed, the Student Optional Disclosure of Private Mental Health Act, will lead to more open communication between parents, students and health professionals at colleges and universities. Read more in the Pantagraph.
Budget – FY17 – COGFA report
Report shows continued bleak State revenue picture. The report, one of a monthly series presented to members of the Illinois General Assembly by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, examines the revenue side of the State’s spending picture for FY17. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) is the nonpartisan budget office of the General Assembly, responsible for gathering (or in the case of FY17, gathering and recreating) the money estimates needed to generate and enact a constitutional balanced budget.
Standing in front of his former high school before family, friends and colleagues, David Olsen of Downers Grove was sworn into office Wednesday as the new State Representative for Illinois’ 81st Legislative House District. Olsen, 27, was selected to fulfill the unexpired term of Ron Sandack, who resigned from the seat last week.

Downers Grove South High School Principal Edward H. Schwartz welcomed guests to the ceremony and Associate Judge Ann Celine O’Hallaren Walsh of the 18th Judicial Circuit administered the oath of office. In his personal remarks, Olsen said he is excited to begin this new chapter as the voice of the people of District 81. “I am honored to serve the people of the 81st District in Springfield as your State Representative,” said Olsen. He also noted, “It’s particularly appropriate that I am sworn in at my own former high school- which provided the foundation for my successes and public service. Education is the foundation of opportunity for all Illinoisans, and I intend to fight for local control and full funding for our vitally-important schools.”
Secretary of State Jesse White announced today that his office has reinstated the mailing of vehicle registration reminder notices to Illinois drivers. To offset the cost of the mailings, White is drafting legislation allowing his office to offer advertising space on the mailings. In addition, White is urging the public to sign-up for email notices to further reduce mailing costs.

The Secretary of State’s office discontinued mailing reminders in October 2015 due to the lack of funding as a direct result of the state budget impasse. The stop-gap budget recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor allows White’s office to reinstate the notices.
Motorists who attempt to cross railroad tracks while the gate is down or lights are flashing will see fines doubled under legislation signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) and in the House by State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), SB 2806 seeks to deter those who ignore the signals and cross tracks while oncoming trains approach. “Illinois ranked second in the nation last year with regard to rail crossing fatalities, and it is my hope that these new, steeper fines will make motorists think twice before making the foolish decision to cross railroad tracks when it is unsafe to do so,” said McConnaughay. “It was a pleasure to work with Metra on this life-saving legislation.”
Drugs – cannabis possession
Governor Rauner consults with Illinois State Police on cannabis possession bill. A measure passed by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly this spring will, if signed into law, reduce criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Current law (the Cannabis Control Act) sets up a complex table of penalties for simple possession of cannabis. Under the law, simple possession of less than 10 grams of pot (less than 0.4 oz.) cannot be charged higher than a Class B misdemeanor. Under the law, a judge may sentence someone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor to up to six months in county jail.
Governor Rauner signed legislation this afternoon sponsored by Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) to modernize the organization of Adult Education under Area Planning Councils, an effort that brings Illinois into compliance with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

“This legislation enhances the delivery of adult education programs across the state and reduces the duplication of instructional services by aligning programs more closely with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” said Dr. Karen Hunter Anderson, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board, following the House passage of Rep. Hammond’s legislation in April. Read more.

Budget – FY17
Budget experts warn of continued Illinois deficits. Although Illinois’ lawmakers enacted a stopgap budget in late June to cover the first six months of FY17, budget analysts warn that this move was not equivalent to a constitutional balanced budget for the entire year. In fact, the act of “spreadsheeting out” the money being spent, and comparing it to honest projections of the money coming in, reveals that Illinois’ expected spending will outweigh expected FY17 revenues by $7.8 billion. The Reuters news service believes this is the largest single deficit by a state in U.S. history. Expected spending totals $39.5 billion and expected revenues total $31.8 billion.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 466, sponsored by State Rep. Michael McAuliffe and State Sen. John Mulroe to require insurance plans in Illinois, including Medicaid, to cover breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography. The signing took place today at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

“This bipartisan legislation signifies the commitment of the General Assembly to the fight against breast cancer and protecting women's health,” said Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), chief sponsor of the legislation. “The best way to fight cancer is with early detection; I'm proud we're taking this step that will expand women's access to this important diagnostic tool.” Read more.
Governor Bruce Rauner today signed House Bill 6083 and House Bill 4715, the bills known as Molly’s Law.  These bills strengthen Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act and extend the period of time in which a victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit where the act is intentional and violent in nature.

“Today is an important day for Illinois families seeking justice,” Gov. Rauner said. “This bill provides families a longer timeframe to bring wrongful death actions against perpetrators of intentional violent crimes and gives families access to the necessary public information to find closure in a loved one’s death.”

The heat index is expected to soar this week and so will the need for places to keep cool.

As part of his 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.

In 1995, 739 people died in Chicago during the deadliest stretch of heat ever recorded. Please share this information with those who do not have air conditioning and need a place to stay cool.

Cooling Centers
Find a cooling center near you:

Additionally, Tollway Oasis locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and Department of Human Services cooling centers are open during normal business hours from 8:30AM - 5:00PM, Monday through Friday.

Governor Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 210 which creates the Bath Salts Prohibition Act to help curb the growing number of people selling and consuming synthetic cathinones, popularly known as “bath salts”.

“Bath salts have been on the rise here in Illinois and are being sold under the disguise of normal products,” said Governor Rauner. “This bill will help counteract the growing number of synthetic cathinones producers and help our communities, especially those in rural Illinois, combat this epidemic.”