More than 500 bills signed this year; time for flu shots

Over 500 bills signed from 2018 spring session
Last week the Governor took action on the last of the 612 bills which passed both houses of the legislature this spring. Overall, he signed 529 bills into law and issued a veto on 83. I was proud to have nine bills which I sponsored pass both houses this spring. All nine were signed into law by the Governor.

Next month, the House and Senate will return to Springfield for possible action on the 83 bills which were vetoed by the Governor. Of those vetoes, 53 were “total vetoes,” meaning that the Governor rejected the bill in its entirety. The other 30 were “amendatory vetoes,” bills which the Governor sent back to the legislature with specific recommendations for change.

The House and Senate can attempt to override the total vetoes with a three-fifths majority vote. On the amendatory vetoes, the legislature can vote by a simple majority to agree to the Governor’s changes, or reject them with a three-fifths vote and enact the bill as it passed both houses. We can also opt to take no action, which would mean the bill would not be enacted in any form and its sponsor would have to try again with the new General Assembly in January.

The fall session is scheduled to convene on November 13.

Public Health reminds Illinoisans about flu shots
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends everyone six months and older be vaccinated against influenza, better known as the flu. Vaccines for this year’s flu season are now available in most locations. In a change from last year, the nasal spray flu vaccine is a recommended option this year for those seeking a vaccination. In each of the past two years, concerns were raised about the effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine, but this year it is again being recommended.

According to IDPH Director Nirav Shah, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, so it is best to get your flu shot early. In a typical season, most flue cases show themselves between December and February, but cases have been seen as late as May. While the contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza can range from mild to severe illness, some cases can be so severe as to require hospitalization.

IDPH is reminding Illinoisans that an annual flu vaccine is the best way to avoid catching the flu. Getting a vaccination can reduce your chance of getting sick and having to contend with visits to the doctor, missing school or work, or some of the more serious consequences of the illness. IDPH reminds us that by getting the vaccination you not only protect yourself from the flu but also those around you, including young babies and others who may not be able to be vaccinated themselves.

To find information about where to get a flu vaccine locally, contact your health care provider or local health department.

Friend of Agriculture award
It was a great honor this week to receive the Friend of Agriculture Award from the Illinois Farm Bureau Activator. I was glad to be with Livingston County Farm Bureau members Dennis Haab, Dick Haab, Don Immke and the new Livingston County Farm Bureau Manager Chris Bunting for the presentation. Illinois agriculture feeds the world. It is not only essential to our state’s economy today, it is the key to our future! I appreciate this recognition from the Farm Bureau and I look forward to continuing to stand up for agriculture in Illinois.

How much do we owe? 
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $7,622,214,187 in unpaid bills to state vendors. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be approximately $130 billion.

Pontiac Health Fair
I appreciated the chance to drop by the St Mary’s Catholic Church in Pontiac as they hosted the Evenglow Lodge Senior Health Fair. Several groups and agencies from around the area were in attendance. My legislative aide David Littlefield and I were glad to be there to help. The event was very well run and well organized, and it provided a lot of useful information.

Department of Agriculture hosts Illinois grain tour
This week the Illinois Department of Agriculture hosted buyers from four different countries on a statewide tour to help boost export sales of Illinois grain. There were more than 20 buyers altogether, representing South Korea, Peru, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Over the past five years, these Illinois Grain Tours have led to over $200 million in sales for Illinois of such products as grain, oilseeds and agricultural equipment. According to Agriculture Director Raymond Poe, close to half of the corn and soybeans that are grown in Illinois are sold in export markets. These sales bring in billions of dollars in sales to Illinois. The tour helps Illinois farmers connect with additional markets and gives foreign investors a first-hand look at Illinois’ agricultural facilities.

The tour included stops at the Melvin Price Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River in Alton, GSI’s grain storage manufacturing facility in Assumption, farms in Sangamon and LaSalle Counties, an ethanol facility and the Chicago Board of Trade.

Did You Know?
Chicago hosted the “Century of Progress” World’s Fair in 1933 to celebrate the city’s 100th anniversary. It was during this week 85 years ago that President Franklin Roosevelt came to Chicago to visit the fair and wish it “success in helping to bring about a binding friendship among the nations of the earth.” It was the second World’s Fair to be held in Illinois: the first was in 1893.