First week of veto session. The Illinois House met on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. On the agenda were vetoes issued by the Governor to the General Assembly earlier this year. Chief sponsors of the vetoed bills could ask their colleagues to consider voting to override the veto messages. Overriding a governor’s veto requires a three-fifth majority in both houses of the General Assembly. 
State Representative Barbara Wheeler is working in conjunction with the Illinois State Rifle Association on legislation to curtail the presence of so-called “bump-fire stocks” in Illinois. House Bill 4120 prevents the future sale and possession of the device used during the deadly Las Vegas shooting which left 59 people dead.

“I’m the first person to stand-up for our essential right as Americans to keep and bear arms, whether for personal protection, hunting or another sporting purpose,” said Wheeler. “However, the horrific events in Las Vegas showed quite clearly the devastation that can be caused by a rifle attachment like a bump-fire stock in the hands of an ill person. After speaking with firearm experts and the Illinois State Rifle Association, we all agreed that bump-fire stocks have no practical protection or sporting use and should be taken off the market.” Read more.
Plans unveiled for Illinois Innovation Network. Governor Bruce Rauner and the University of Illinois System unveiled plans Thursday for an Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to help ignite the state’s economy through a $1.2 billion network of research universities, businesses, and public sector partners focused on the development of solutions in computing and big data, advanced materials, food and agriculture, and biosciences and health.
Abraham Lincoln’s work as a prairie lawyer, state legislator and President of the United States is well known. What is not as well-known is another important contribution which Lincoln made to Illinois just a few years before he was elected President. In 1857, Abraham Lincoln helped create Illinois’ system of public, higher education.

Of course, Lincoln didn’t do it alone. Nor did it happen all at once. In fact what Lincoln did was far from dramatic: as the attorney for the Illinois Board of Education he prepared the paperwork for the bond that would pay for the establishment of a teachers college (or a “normal school” as it was known at the time) in McLean County. It was the beginning of Illinois State University.
Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive “Veteran” on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license. Read more:

The state representative who requested a review of property assessments in every Illinois county said Tuesday she expects a written response this week.

In August, Rep. Jeanne Ives, sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Revenue asking for the review. The request came after Coles County began reassessing commercial property for the first time in 16 years and after a school superintendent from Perry County told lawmakers his county had not reassessed property since the early 1980s, even though state law requires those reassessments every four years. Read the story here.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking input on the state's rest areas.

To enhance traveler safety and comfort, IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, which serve more than 36 million visitors annually. IDOT wants to make sure these service centers are kept clean, safe, and updated with travel-related amenities to enhance the travel experience for Illinois residents and visitors.

Illinois' rest areas and welcome centers are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles, and commercial trucks, among other services.

Help shape the future planning of rest areas by completing IDOT's Illinois Rest Area Survey.

For a paper copy of the survey call 402-399-1405.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, State Representative Patti Bellock introduced and passed legislation this year, HR 254, to support and commend the efforts of those people and organizations who work tirelessly to help victims break free of the devastating effects of domestic abuse.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October of 1981, and was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Since 1989, October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Month. Read more.

To learn more, please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence online at

State report: Budget out of balance by $1.7 billion. The state’s fiscal year 2018 budget is out of balance by $1.7 billion, according to a fiscal policy report released Thursday by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The imbalance might have been avoided if the General Assembly had enacted $2 billion in reforms proposed by the Rauner Administration and Republican leaders earlier this year.

The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report provides a five-year economic outlook based on the budget along with state and national growth forecasts. The GOMB compiles the report, which is available for public view at
House Leader Jim Durkin announced that he is appointing Representative Avery Bourne  and Representative Dave Severin to fill seats in a recently established task force that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. A new law, sponsored by Bourne, created the task force to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in our home state to be burned here as well.

“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here,” said Representative Bourne. “Through this taskforce we are working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs.” Read more.

In case you missed it:
New Task Force Studying Ways To Keep Illinois Coal In Illinois
Bourne’s Bill to Promote Illinois Coal Passes House, Awaits Senate Action
Area Lawmaker proposes legislation that would allow for use of Illinois Coal in state
On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized two armed vessels which would put to sea with a crew of 80 men for a period of three months. Their mission would be to interdict Royal Navy ships bringing supplies to the British Army forces then fighting George Washington’s colonial army. This legislation created the United States Navy.

Since that day, American sailors have defended freedom around the world; on, above and beneath the surface of the sea. Today, for only the second time in history, some of those sailors protect our country aboard a ship which carries the name USS Illinois.
The City of Canton is pleased to report the recent receipt of over $500,000.00 in late payments from the State of Illinois, issued for water and sewer service to the Illinois River Correctional Center.

State Representative Mike Unes notified the City of the release of funds Friday, which came as a result of his work with the Comptroller’s office on Canton’s behalf. This is one of the largest and most recent of such payments that Representative Unes has secured to help repay what is owed to the citizens of Canton.

Mayor Kent McDowell expressed his gratitude for Rep Unes’ efforts, in saying: “Receiving this money is just extremely important to our budget and finances, and I am beyond thankful for Rep Unes’ hard work and dedication towards making sure that we finally receive what is owed to us. I have no doubt that he will continue to go above and beyond for our city, and am confident that no other representative in the State of Illinois works harder for local families.” Read the rest of the story.
*Generals Grant and McClernand (center of group) in front
of the Cairo post office early in the war.
On the day after the Stars and Stripes were hauled down from Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln confronted a serious problem. The country was now at war with itself, and the small and widely-scattered regular United States Army lacked the forces necessary to fight even the three-month war which practically everyone expected. Looking for help, Lincoln turned to the governors of the northern states for troops. His home state of Illinois would be among the most enthusiastic in answering his call.

In 1861, the regular Army numbered about 16,000 soldiers. State militias, which had been the backbone of the American military since the Revolution, would be called into action again. Lincoln issued a call to the governors for 75,000 volunteers. In that first year of the Civil War, Illinois would meet and then exceed its quota, and some Illinois soldiers would get their first taste of battle.