Photo from the Naperville Heritage Collection, Illinois  Digital Archives.
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When the Illinois General Assembly is in session, Representatives and Senators make their way to the Illinois State Capitol building at the corner of 2nd and Monroe in Springfield. But they haven’t always met there. In fact, this building is actually the sixth different structure in Illinois which has served as the state capitol since the first General Assembly met almost 200 years ago.

Illinois’ first capital city was the Mississippi River town of Kaskaskia. It was here in 1778 that George Rogers Clark defeated the British during the Revolutionary War. The town soon became the administrative center for the area, and eventually the territorial capital of Illinois. At statehood in 1818, it was the logical choice for the first state capital. Governor Shadrach Bond took the oath of office as Illinois’ first chief executive in Kaskaskia.
Here are a few of the editorials from Illinois newspapers:

From the Springfield Journal-Register:
New education funding formula will benefit Illinois’ children

Education funding reform has been a long time coming in Illinois, and the state is finally on the cusp of it arriving.

After plenty of political theater — including last-minute amendments, sitting on the bill, a far-overreaching amendatory veto by the governor, missing the first two payments to school districts for the new academic year, and three dramatic votes in the House before it garnered enough “yes” votes to pass — Illinois lawmakers have approved a new way to fund the state’s K-12 schools. Keep reading the editorial.
The bipartisan compromise on the education funding bill that passed in the House of Representatives ensures, for the first time in decades, that all children in Illinois will have access to education that is funded fairly and equitably.

Last night the House passed a historic compromise education funding plan that ensures all children in Illinois will have access to a high quality education. Read more about SB 1947.

Here is what some of our members are saying about it.

Rep. Christine Winger
“Today’s agreement is a historic step forward for education funding, one that will help our students have the opportunities they deserve to succeed while also ensuring all school districts are treated fairly.”
Legislative leaders, Governor reach agreement in principle on historic education funding reform. The four caucuses’ legislative leaders negotiated face-to-face this week on a path forward for Illinois’ public school funding formula. An agreement in principle was announced on Thursday, August 24.
House Democrats play games with education funding. Following the Senate’s vote on Sunday to override Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the Illinois House met in session on Wednesday, ostensibly to act on education funding reform.

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s House session was nothing more than political theatre.

Rather than negotiate a compromise to achieve fair and equitable funding for schools throughout Illinois, Speaker Madigan once again chose to do nothing.

State Reps. Michael McAuliffe, Christine Winger, Peter Breen, Grant Wehrli, and Keith Wheeler today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.
The Illinois General Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget tore a page from the script of “Casablanca,” the 1942 Oscar-winning movie, but lawmakers likely didn’t realize it.

In the movie, nightclub owner Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, reproaches Signor Ferrari, played by Sidney Greenstreet, for always withholding a percentage of Rick’s liquor shipment.

Smiling, the sly, rotund Ferrari responds, “Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.”

The new state budget, approved July 6, casts the Illinois Department of Revenue in the role of the cagey Ferrari.

In the role of Rick are local governmental officials who wonder why 2 percent of certain local sales tax dollars, collected by the Department of Revenue, are suddenly being withheld.

Why, it’s simple.

Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.

In this case, those new “carrying charges” were authorized by Illinois lawmakers, mainly Democrats, who overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the state budget. Read the rest of the Sauk Valley Media Editorial.
As more and more Illinoisans are fleeing the state due to the crushing tax burden, today State Representative David S. Olsen  joined Governor Bruce Rauner, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in DuPage County as he signed into law a bill that makes it easier for units of government to consolidate or dissolve.

“What we are doing today will allow us to more effectively serve the people we represent,” said Olsen. “It is a great first step, and I look forward to continuing this bipartisan effort to make government more responsive and cost-effective for the citizens we represent.” Read more.
General Assembly to convene next week on education funding reform. The Illinois Senate will convene on Sunday, August 13, to consider a possible override vote on Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the controversial education funding reform bill.

The Illinois House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, August 16, for possible action on SB 1 and related legislation.
State Representative David S. Olsen joined Governor Bruce Rauner on the campus of the University of Illinois today for the signing of legislation that will streamline and reform regulations that govern how Illinois buys billions of dollars in goods and services each year.

SB 08, now known as P.A. 100-0043, addresses the state’s procurement system and includes multiple provisions that will quicken the process and reduce costs. “These reforms to the state’s purchasing system will ease burdensome regulations and save our public institutions money,” said Olsen, at the bill signing on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s engineering campus. “I am proud to have co-sponsored this pivotal piece of legislation and am pleased that I could join the Governor for the bill signing at my alma mater. The University of Illinois and our other colleges and universities will benefit greatly from the cost-saving measures included in this bill.” Read more here.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of State Representative Mike Fortner:

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Mike Fortner throughout his time in the Illinois General Assembly. He has been a leading voice on important issues such as energy policy, election reform, local government and technology. Mike used his background and expertise to serve the public good and he has been a tremendously effective legislator. We will all miss his professorial intellect, wit and ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the lives of Illinois families. I wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Fortner to serve as the Minority Spokesperson for numerous House committees, including: Cities and Villages; Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT; Economic Opportunity; Elections & Campaign Finance; and Tollway Oversight. Fortner has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2007.

As parents and students begin preparing for a new school year, they can take comfort in knowing that Gov. Bruce Rauner has a plan that ensures schools open on time, while also providing them with record funding levels through a new, improved school funding formula.

Time is of the essence. It is imperative this plan becomes law so school aid payments can be sent on time, while also ensuring all school districts are treated fairly and equitably. Because Democrats sat on this measure for two months, the Illinois Senate now has little more than a week left to act. Therefore, we are encouraging our Democratic colleagues to support this plan as it provides the most immediate and best path forward.

Senate Bill 1, in its original form, provided special favors to the Chicago Public Schools at the expense of the other 851 school districts in Illinois. This is not the best way to move forward with fixing our antiquated school funding system. That is why the governor, once he finally got Senate Bill 1 sent to his desk, swiftly upheld his commitment to treat all school districts fairly and equitably through his amendatory veto. Read the entire letter from Republican Leaders Durkin & Brady in the Chicago Tribune.

Gov. Rauner issues amendatory veto to ensure school funding bill is fair, equitable for all students. Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto to Senate Bill 1, the school funding bill. The matter now heads to the Illinois General Assembly, where the governor has respectfully requested that lawmakers uphold his changes. If these changes are upheld, Illinois will achieve historic education funding reform.
State Senators Jason Barickman and Dan McConchie, and State Representatives Avery Bourne and Bob Pritchard today released the following statement in response to State Senator Andy Manar’s Springfield press conference:

"We've long known that Democrats would attack the Governor's amendatory veto. The question is whether they'll work with us in good faith on a bipartisan agreement. The time for pointing fingers is over. We need to work together, in good faith, to reach a bipartisan solution to this unnecessary crisis. Schools and school children need to know that their government is being responsive to their needs. We stand ready to work together to finish the job. There's too much at stake to wait any longer."

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement on the recent retirement announcement of State Representative Bob Pritchard:

“I have served with Bob in the House of Representatives since 2003, his dedication and values of hard work have made it a privilege serving with him. Even though Bob is not seeking re-election, his work in the legislature is not finished yet. Bob has and continues to work diligently on issues which are important to our state and the next generation. His expertise and passion to find a solution that is beneficial to both schools and tax payers is invaluable, which is why I recently appointed him to serve as a lead negotiator on education funding reform. Bob is a friend whose work ethic and values will be missed in the General Assembly.”

Representative Pritchard has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2003. Pritchard currently serves as Republican Spokesperson on the following three committees; Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education; Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies; and State Government Administration.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of Assistant Republican Leader Bill Mitchell.

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Bill Mitchell since he first came to the Illinois General Assembly in 1999. He has always been a passionate advocate for downstate Illinois, standing up for the priorities and values of his constituents. Bill’s advocacy was instrumental in helping keep the Clinton nuclear power plant open. As a member of my leadership team, Bill continues to provide me with a perspective that is much needed in the Capitol. More importantly, Bill Mitchell is my friend and someone whose opinion I’ve always respected. I wish him all the best as he looks forward to a well-deserved retirement at the completion of his term.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Mitchell to the position of Assistant Republican Leader in 2015 and again in 2017. Mitchell also serves as Minority Spokesperson for the House Insurance: Property and Casualty Committee. He has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1999.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin joined The Steve Cochran Show on WGN Radio this morning to explain the current state of the education funding plan and what needs to happen next to ensure schools open on time.

Listen here.

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Executive Order 2017-04 to improve and streamline Illinois state government. This action reaffirms the administration’s commitment to transforming administrative law in Illinois. The goal of enhancing justice was the driving force behind the Administrative Hearings Executive Order.

Administrative hearings govern hundreds of important interactions between the state, its citizens and businesses. They are quasi-judicial proceedings, and some look identical to trials. More than 150,000 administrative hearing matters are opened each year across state agencies. These hearings cover wage disputes, child support claims, professional licensing decisions, permits, and the range of State services and benefits available to Illinoisans.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of Deputy Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale):

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Patti Bellock since she first came to the Illinois General Assembly in 1999. Patti has brought the common-sense approach of a mother and grandmother to her public role, combining a keen understanding of how the law impacts people’s lives with a depth of knowledge and expertise in key policy areas unequaled among her peers. Patti’s unparalleled work ethic has been a tremendous asset to our caucus, particularly over the past four years in her role as our Deputy Leader, the first woman in Illinois history to serve in that post. Patti will long be remembered as an extraordinary leader and a tireless advocate for Illinois families; particularly on health care, disability and budget issues. Patti and I have been personal friends for many years, so I wish her and her family all the best as she looks forward to the next chapter in her life at the completion of her term.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Bellock to the position of Deputy House Republican Leader in October 2013. Leader Bellock also currently serves as a budget negotiator for the House Republican Caucus, Minority Spokeswoman for the House Human Services and Human Services Appropriations Committees, respectively, as well as being the co-chair of the Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force. She has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1999.