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.