E-newsletter for June 11, 2015

General Assembly Continues Overtime Session
Despite an overtime session scheduled every Tuesday this month, the Illinois General Assembly was able to agree on passing 495 bills before the overtime session began. 269 of the bills were House bills and 226 were Senate bills. This accounts for only a small fraction – 7.8 percent – of the 6,375 bills (4,226 House, 2,149 Senate) filed by House and Senate members so far in 2015.

The Sunday, May 31 deadline significantly governs actions taken by the General Assembly. According to the Constitution of Illinois, a bill must be acted upon before May 31 by both houses if it is to take immediate effect by simple majority. On June 1 and following, a bill – to be effective immediately – must receive a three-fifths majority in both houses. An overtime session can sometimes give lawmakers representing less-populated regions throughout the state and minority party members a more influential seat at the table when discussing legislation because more votes are needed to approve a bill.

No Agreement on State Budget

The General Assembly has 20 days to approve the fiscal year 2016 state budget scheduled to take effect July 1. Illinois’ estimated revenue for fiscal year 2016 is $32 billion. In May, House and Senate Democrats proposed a budget which spends $4 billion more than what state government is estimated to have in the bank account. Stay tuned as I plan to keep you updated when and if an agreement on the state budget is made by July 1.

Illinois to Consolidate 9-1-1 System

Up until now, 9-1-1 systems have been operated by local public safety offices in cooperation with the telecom providers that offer services in each area. SB 96, enacted before the end of the May session by both chambers of the General Assembly, will create a statewide 9-1-1 system that will fall under the authority of the Illinois State Police. The local calling centers and emergency system boards will still operate on the local level, but SB 96 mandates a consolidation plan that will result in the closure of some of the smaller call centers. Consolidating the 9-1-1 centers will save local government tax dollars while improving the reliability and strength of the emergency system.

Members of the Illinois National Guard Deploy to Guantanamo Bay

On Sunday I had the privilege of participating in the deployment ceremony of the Illinois National Guard’s 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

The Springfield based unit is deploying to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as military journalists, their mission is to inform the public about training exercises and events, conduct media engagements, community outreach, and generally report on the U.S. military in Cuba.

Several dignitaries attending the ceremony, included Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Maj. Gen. Daniel Krumrei, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard.

House Back in Session June 16

The Illinois House of Representatives is back in session Tuesday, June 16. You can listen to session LIVE here.

In the News
Discussing the state budget with Jenn Sullivan on ABC 20; June 4, 2015
Session, work comp, Governor’s staff – Illinois News Network; June 5, 2015
National Guard unit headed to Guantanamo – State Journal-Register; June 7, 2015
The TJ Hart Show on WMAY 970 AM; June 8, 2015

Explore the 87th District
The Rochester Rockets girls soccer team stopped by the capitol Thursday with their new Class 1A State Championship trophy.
Enjoyed attending Pigs & Swigs on the square in Lincoln last weekend. Here I am pictured with nationally recognized BBQ champion Mike Mills from 17th Street Bar & Grill.
Amongst heroes Sunday at Camp Lincoln where I participated in the deployment ceremony of the Illinois National Guard’s 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment to Guantanamo Bay.
At the Coca-Cola distribution center in Springfield Monday after touring their facility.