Update from the Capitol 4-28-15

Last Friday was “3rd Reading Deadline” in the House and Senate – the deadline for the House to pass bills over to the Senate, and for the Senate to pass bills over to the House.  From here on until the end of the 2015 spring session, the House will be dealing with Senate bills, and vice versa.  In addition, budget talks are heating up and my office has scheduled Town Hall Meetings and Traveling Office Hours throughout the district in the coming weeks to help make sure our district’s priorities and opinions are heard loud and clear. Please check out the schedule below and join us!


Productive Deadline Week
In all, the Senate advanced 251 bills to the House, and the House sent 331 measures to the Senate before last Friday’s deadline. I passed two additional bills through the House last week. House Bill 1588 was an idea initiated in our district. It will help protect seniors and the disabled from both physical and financial abuse. It’s reprehensible that the most vulnerable in our community are often targeted for abuse and fraud. To add insult to injury, the high burden of proof in criminal cases often discourages prosecution, and leaves victims and their loved ones without a good way to seek justice and to recover financially. My legislation allows senior or disabled victims of physical or financial abuse to take their case directly to civil court, and increases the financial damages they can recover. House Bill 3944 also won unanimous House approval. It will allow accent lighting on motorcycles in Illinois that will help improve visibility and safety.

As the end of session gets closer, bill actions may move faster and break quicker than they did earlier in session.  Check out The Caucus Blog  for frequent updates on Illinois House legislative action.

Funding Restoration Considered for Autism, Stop-Smoking programs
This past week the General Assembly also took steps to restore some funding for a number of programs that had lost funding through emergency budget measures. The Senate passed Senate Bill 274, which authorizes Gov. Bruce Rauner to restore $26 million to certain hard-hit State programs, including  the Illinois Tobacco Quitline, grants to service providers for children with autism, funds that help provide burial services to persons who pass away without assets or a family or friends to pay for their interment, the Illinois Safe Sleep program to educate young mothers against infant SIDS, and money for programs that help persons challenged by compulsive gambling.
The House could consider the legislation this week.

Make Your Voice Heard
As the pace picks up at the Capitol, my staff and I will be out and about in the district hosting Town Hall Meetings and Traveling Office Hours to make sure you have an opportunity to ask questions, voice your opinion and make your voice heard.

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings include:

Ford County
Thursday, April 30, 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Ford County Courthouse, 201 West State Street, Paxton

Vermilion County
Monday, May 4, 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Hoopeston City Hall, 301 W. Main Street, Hoopeston

Upcoming Traveling Office Hours stops include:

 Monday, May 4
Chebanse Village Hall, 9:45am to 10:45am
Clifton Village Hall, 11:00am to Noon
Ashkum Village Hall 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Thursday, May 7
El Paso Public Library, 9:00am to 10:00am
Minonk Filger Public Library, 10:30am to 11:30am

Road Construction Season Begins
When the frost season ends, the time for pouring concrete begins.  The six-year road plan continually updated by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) includes many projects to rebuild, repair, or repave Illinois roads and to rebuild many Illinois bridges.

Be careful out there! More than 4,300 motor vehicle crashes happened in Illinois work zones in 2014.  29 persons, including three road workers, were killed.  State law includes enhanced traffic penalties for moving and other violations detected in construction zones.  IDOT has posted information on 2015 road work zone safety issues on their website.