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.