On January 1, 237 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Unfortunately, a balanced budget is not among them.

Several of the new laws affect children, veterans and the elderly. Others affect drivers and consumers. Here's a quick look at some of the more notable laws taking effect on Friday, January 1.

For a full summary of the new laws, click here. To read the complete text of every new law, click here.
By Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) - Back in May, we had our first meeting of what has become known as the Lakefront Economic Development Group. The purpose of this group was to bring together local leaders from Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and Zion to discuss their mutual interests and goals for how to revitalize our beautiful natural resources at Illinois Beach State Park and North Point Marina. At our first meeting we brought in officials from the Department of Natural Resources, DNR Coastal Management, the EPA, CMAP and others.

Lots of discussion has led to a wonderful exchange of ideas and the bringing in of new people to this core group such as tourism officials and how to seek grant funding for projects. The group has discussed everything from regulatory changes, to general repairs and alternative funding resources, and the flow of ideas has led to the three communities working together to bring together the common goals of their own community plans.
The digital driver’s license would contain the same information as what is found on a plastic driver’s license. It would display as an app on the license holder’s smartphone. The Illinois move follows a policy push in the neighboring state of Iowa, where lawmakers have created a pilot program intended to push for the implementation of electronic digital driver’s licenses in the Hawkeye State as soon as 2016.

The Electronic Driver’s License Task Force, convened this fall to help Illinois to look into this technological possibility, was created this year by SJR 11, sponsored in the Illinois House by Rep. Steven Andersson. Any movement toward digital driver’s licenses will have to be implemented by the Driver Services division of the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. If the resolution creating this Task Force is amended by SJR 36, the Task Force will be asked to report to the General Assembly on its findings no later than May 1, 2016.
Top Box Food Express is coming to Zion! The Top Box Foods program is held at the Shiloh Center at 2600 Emmaus in Zion once a month. The next event will be Wednesday, December 16 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm. Top Box is working in partnership with the Coalition for Healthy Communities, to bring nutritious, affordable food to all of our residents. Top Box is a community-based non-profit that sells delicious, and healthy boxes of food for up to 40% off prices you’d find at the grocery store. Top Box is a community supported, once a month shopping experience that is open to everyone. Click here for details.

Boxes available:
Garden Box - $10

3lb bag of Golden Delicious apples
5lb bag of red potatoes
1lb bag of carrots
4 pack of corn
2 medium onions
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
2 acorn squashes
4 sweet potatoes
1 pint of grape tomatoes
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced in September that his office would suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminders to the public due to the lack of a state budget. In order to receive a reminder, you must sign-up to receive electronic notices through the Secretary of State’s web site www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Click here to sign up, you will need your Registration ID and PIN number found on your current registration card. If you do not have your current registration card, please call the Public Inquiry Division at 800-252-8980 to obtain your Registration ID and PIN number.
"Gurnee and Waukegan mayors on Monday praised legislation out of Springfield that will release billions of dollars tied up amid Illinois's budget stalemate — including money some towns use to fund snow-clearing operations."

As with the State-managed pension funds overseen from Springfield, many local public-sector retirement funds are posting significant unfunded liabilities. “Unfunded liabilities” are defined by actuaries as balance sheets where the present value of the actuarial liabilities of the system – the cost of future pension payments that must be paid to persons vested in the system – exceed the present value of the actuarial assets of the system. Actuarial assets are the financial assets actually in hand, multiplied by a prudent estimate of future investment returns.
An AP analysis of the Urbana-Champaign campus (UIUC) of Illinois’ largest state university indicates that admissions of students who gave an Illinois address as their home address recently increased by 11% over the previous year. The year-over-year increase used the 2014 UIUC fall term as the baseline and the 2015 fall term as the active population.

The UIUC admissions office had to make changes in other variables in order to achieve this significant change in the population of students who accepted their admission to UIUC. A slight drop was recorded in average figures posted by admittees on the primary test, the ACT, used by UIUC for admissions purposes. The university also offered slightly more generous packages of financial aid to many of its admitted students, with financial aid increasing by $5.4 million over the previous year. UIUC financial aid is concentrated among students from low-income families and under-represented identity groups.
State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) has called the House’s action to pass Senate Bill 2039 a show of maturity, as the House voted last week to release motor fuel tax receipts and other funds designated to fund local road and public safety projects, including 9-1-1 services.

Much was made of the passage of House Bill 4305 in the House in November, only to see the House Speaker put a hold on the bill, preventing it from moving to the Senate. House Bill 4305 contained the same language as the amendment to Senate Bill 2039. The passage of Senate Bill 2039 in the House and moving it to the Senate means the Senate can act without a 3-day waiting requirement and promptly move the bill to the Governor for passage.

“While meaningful progress on most budget issues has stalled in Springfield this year, I was glad to see the House show some maturity and bring members on both sides of the aisle together in supporting Senate Bill 2039,” said Jesiel. “Building consensus is the way our system is supposed to work and I expect the Senate to act without delay as they convene today and allow the Governor to sign the legislation.”
The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center offers advice on preventing diabetes through screening and healthy living. The health department is encouraging residents to take the free Prediabetes Screening Test at www.prediabetesrisk.com as a first step toward determining one’s risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, but it should not replace regular visits with a doctor.

The Prediabetes Screening Test takes less than one minute to complete. Those who score a five or higher are at increased risk for having Type 2 diabetes. They should talk with their doctor to see if additional testing is needed. A person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.
On Monday, Representative Sheri Jesiel had the opportunity to tour the Grove at the Lake and see how the facility provides vital living and rehabilitation services to so many senior citizens in the 61st District.

The ZB Guide has the story, click here.

Wishing you and your family a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving! 

Attend this 5-day interactive workshop series. This series covers the entire job search process from researching careers to landing your next job. Attend all 5 days to earn a certificate!
Seating limited. Call 847.377.3439 to reserve a seat.

Monday, Dec. 7 to Friday, Dec. 11 10am to 12pm
Job Center of Lake County 
1 N. Genesee St. 
Supported by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and the ISACorps of near peer mentors, high schools and other organizations across the state have been hosting numerous events to encourage and prepare prospective students for college and the costs that come with it.

On December 7, financial aid presentations will be presented in both English and Spanish at Zion-Benton Township High School:
-Financial Aid Presentation at Zion-Benton Township High School, 3901 W 21st St, Zion, IL 60099; 6-7 PM
-Financial Aid Presentation (Spanish) at Zion-Benton Township High School, 3901 W 21st St, Zion, IL 60099; 7-8 PM

Visit www.isac.org/calendar to stay up-to-date.
The face-to-face meeting is scheduled to bring together Governor Bruce Rauner and the leaders of the four General Assembly legislative caucuses, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 18, the meeting has been reset for Tuesday, December 1. The new time will allow preparations to continue over the Thanksgiving holiday.

In addition to budget issues, questions dividing Illinois leaders include workers’ compensation, property tax relief, public-sector labor pay and benefits, tort reform, election process reform, and term limits. Many key items of House Republican advocacy have been barred from discussion and debate within the Illinois General Assembly in recent years. The role of House Speaker Madigan has come under discussion as an element in the overall operation of Illinois state government, often characterized in recent years as one of the “worst in the nation.” Illinois currently has the lowest bond and credit ratings of any of the 50 states.
The Ventra App is the first ever to allow customers to pay for rides on all three transit systems with a few taps on their mobile devices, transforming the way Chicagoans take transit each day. The free app, which was developed jointly by CTA, Metra and Pace, will provide a "one-stop shopping" experience that essentially puts a Ventra vending machine as well as a Metra ticket vending machine in customers' pockets. The app will be available for use on Apple and Android smartphone and tablet devices via the App Store and Google Play.

The Ventra App will offer our customers a wide range of functionality never before available on their phones, including mobile tickets for Metra, Ventra account management, loading of transit value/passes, and real-time transit tracker information for CTA, Metra and Pace. Customers will be able to use Ventra account funds, pre-tax transit benefits provided by employers, and/or credit and debit cards to purchase transit to ride CTA, Metra and Pace.
Here at the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) we have been busy preparing our equipment, training our drivers, and planning our snow removal response effort for the upcoming winter season. The LCDOT snow plows went out on a dry run last week to make sure everything was operating as it should, and to make sure there were no hazards or unforeseen obstacles along the routes.

When you are driving in snow and icy conditions, you will be sharing the road with LCDOT snow plows. We hit the road before the snow starts to fall, and we run the routes in 12 hour shifts until roads have returned to normal conditions. The two most important things to remember:
On Thursday, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct, operate and maintain a 600 kV, 4,000 MW capacity, high voltage electric transmission line.

The 780-mile Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission line will span from Kansas to Indiana. The proposed line spans much of south-central Illinois, including right-of-way in Pike, Scott, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Shelby, Cumberland, and Clark Counties. The project will provide direct access for high capacity wind generation to the electricity markets.

The ICC’s order requires that Grain Belt Clean Line secure funds to cover total project costs before construction commences, prohibits project expansion without Commission approval, and requires further Commission approval prior to recovery of any project costs from Illinois retail ratepayers through regional cost allocation. The ICC also directed Grain Belt Clean Line to take specific actions to address landowner concerns that included potential impacts from the construction of the line on irrigation operations, soil compaction and erosion, wetland areas, and timber land.
This important statute, which will be amended by HB 1285 and/or SB 1941, covers the procedures that take place when a worker is laid off or otherwise subjected to no-fault unemployment. Many of the benefits created by the Illinois unemployment insurance (UI) statute were scheduled to sunset at the end of 2015, creating an incentive for Illinois business and labor to come to the negotiating table. Away from press scrutiny, and meeting under the guidance of a team headed by Rauner cabinet member Jeff Mays, longtime advocates for both sides described some of their concerns with current law. Relief for some of these concerns was contained in the agreed language of this week’s legislation. Governor Rauner’s announcement that an agreement had been reached was made on Monday, November 9. Key members of the General Assembly participated in the meetings on behalf of both political parties and all four caucuses.

In Illinois, most people in this position are granted the right to receive unemployment insurance (UI) for up to 26 weeks in any one-year period after they are laid off. UI payments are overseen by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, which provided staff support for the agreement. Under an important provision of the agreement, the new UI law will explicitly protect the interests of employers that terminate an employee who has demonstrated grossly negligent conduct and thereby engaged self or co-workers, or damaged an employer’s property. Under the revised UI law, these individuals will not be eligible to receive UI payments. There is an appeal process that provides administrative review, upon separation, to former workers who believe they were improperly treated.


Donations: Celebrate Veterans Day by donating care packages or certain items to the men and women who are currently serving for us from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at FitNation, 1655 Nations Drive. Enjoy fun patriotic crafts, write a letter or draw a picture to send over to our troops. Most common items in need include personal letters, Halloween candy, Beanie Babies/Trolls, knit/crochet scarves, and paracord bracelets. Light refreshments will be provided. Cost is $6. Children under age 3 and veterans with a valid ID, and individuals bringing in care package items are admitted free. Details, 847-623-7788.

Ceremony: American Legion Post 771 will celebrate Veterans Day jointly with the village of Gurnee at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the America Legion, 749 Milwaukee Ave. Special guest speaker is U.S. Air Force Veteran Terry Waddell-Moenter of Gurnee American Legion Post 771. Details, 847-244-9282.
General Assembly watchdogs chart continued budget picture.
The nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the in-house budget agency of the Illinois General Assembly, released their October 2015 fiscal report this week. The CGFA “Monthly Briefing” covers ongoing State revenues, particularly key State General Funds revenue numbers, and ongoing trends likely to affect future State revenues. For example, the October briefing includes a discussion, based on nationwide trends and economic models, of the likely health of the 2015 Christmas retail selling season and its expected impact on State sales tax revenues.

CGFA, working in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Revenue, uncovered continued dismal trends in State revenues this October. Illinois general funds revenues were $319 million lower in October 2015 (fiscal year 2016) than they had been in October 2014. General Funds revenues come from income taxes, sales taxes, and other sources. As in previous months, the decline was paced by a year-over-year shortfall in State personal income tax revenues and corporate income tax revenues. The accumulated deficit for the four months of FY16 so far experienced is $1,456 million. The current fiscal year began on July 1, 2015.
The meeting is expected to examine the delayed FY16 budget process. Although the FY16 fiscal year began on July 1, 2015, a constitutional balanced budget has not been enacted by the Democrat supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate. The State has continued to operate under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations, and school appropriations, but this has created many operational problems. Recipients of State services, and providers of goods and services to the State, have been affected by the lack of a legal budget document.

Spokespersons for all four legislative leaders, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, expressed positive interest in the meeting. The gathering was requested by a consortium of nonpartisan advocacy groups. Sponsors of the request included the Better Government Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
Residents of the 61st District wishing to turn in an old U.S. flag and exchange it for a new one may bring their used flag to the district office of State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor).

In honor of Veterans Day, Jesiel is sponsoring the flag exchange to allow residents to obtain a new flag to fly at their home or business, while supplies last. Flags may be exchanged until Tuesday, November 10. Area residents that are not constituents of the 61st District may also bring their flags in for proper disposal, while veterans may receive a new flag even if they do not have one to exchange. The program is free of charge and provided at no cost to taxpayers.
State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) is inviting local residents to join her for a Townhall meeting in Antioch on Monday, November 16. The event will be held at the Village of Antioch Senior Center located at 817 Holbek Drive in Antioch from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event will give residents an opportunity to speak directly with Jesiel about what is happening in Springfield and the 61st Representative District. The event will also feature Lake County Board Member Linda Pedersen. Pedersen represents Lake County’s 1st District.

WHAT:     Townhall Meeting

WHEN:     Monday, November 16
                  6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE:   Village of Antioch Senior Center
                  817 Holbek Drive,
                  Antioch, IL 60002
Budget stalemate continues; Comptroller Munger issues financial update.
Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger told Illinoisans on Friday, October 16 that the State’s unpaid bills, in the absence of budgeted appropriations for FY16, have reached $6.9 billion. Based on the assumption that no significant changes will alter current trends, the State’s backlog of unpaid bills will be about $8.5 billion by December 31, 2015.

Action once again delayed on State budget, other key issues.
The Illinois House and Senate met in fall session on Tuesday, October 20, but House Democrats did not take substantive action on the general funds portion of the FY16 budget. As noted above, the General Assembly took action to select a new Auditor General. Testimony on the budget was heard, and the Democrats moved amendments to a bill to appropriate money from GRF and “other State funds” for various individual line items related to the testimony.
The Lake County sheriff’s office is seeking the public’s help in finishing first in Aftermath’s 4th Annual K-9 Giveaway contest. The winner of the contest receives $5,000 toward a K-9 unit, safety equipment or training program. The Lake County sheriff’s office is currently in second place. The public can vote once a day through Saturday, Oct. 31, by clicking here and entering “Lake County sheriff’s office” in the Department tab and “Waukegan” in the city tab. Add photos of the K9s count as an extra vote. Photos are available on the Lake County Sheriff’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LakeCoILSheriff.
Fitch Ratings, whose credit ratings are closely watched by Wall Street and the global investment community, reduced Illinois’ “general obligation” (GO) bond rating from single-A-minus, the former ranking, to one notch closer to junk-bond status on Monday, October 19. The new BBB+ rating is only two notches above the lowest investment-grade rating (BBB-) and is three notches above BB+, which signals non-investment-grade (“junk bond”) status. Illinois’ GO bond rating is the lowest among the 50 states. Following Fitch’s downgrade, Moody’s Investor Services downgraded its ratings on Illinois bonds. The downgrade has a direct impact on the state budget, as the lower the bond rating, the higher the interest investors must be paid.
Illinois high schools increase their graduation rates - The increase, tallied for school year 2013-2014, reflects a higher number of high school graduates as a proportion of those entering high school. For 2013-2014, the rate for Illinois was 86.0%, up 2.8% from the 83.2% reported in 2012-2013. Higher graduation rates mean fewer dropouts. The new numbers were reported by the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, October 19.

Illinois has room for improvement in its high school graduation rates. The 2013-2014 report shows 19 states scoring above Illinois. All five neighboring states – Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin – outscored Illinois on high school graduation rates in 2013-2014. Iowa’s graduation rate, 90.5%, was #1 among the 50 states measured.
Pumpkin season across Illinois.
Illinois is the #1 pumpkin-producing state in the U.S. The vine has been grown in sandy, irrigated Illinois soil since Native American days. Pumpkin-friendly soils can be found centered in Tazewell County east of Peoria, which is also the home of the only cannery plant in the U.S. that specializes in the processing of farm-grown pumpkins into pulp for pastries and pies. Other Central Illinois counties that grow many pumpkins are Mason, Peoria, Stark, and McLean. Unfortunately, heavy rain in the summer of 2015 has damaged production this year. After the pumpkin season is over, however, Illinois-grown winter squash will be enjoyed for further months.

Lake County trick or treating.
With Halloween coming up this weekend, kids across the country are getting ready to go trick or treating and bring home bags of yummy candy. In addition to traditional community trick or treating events, special trick or treating events will take place across the county, such as Zion's Trail of Treats on Friday evening. Click here for the designated trick or treating times in your community.
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) will be collecting several hard-to-recycle items at Recycle-O-Rama tomorrow! Electronics, musical instruments, printer ink cartridges, clothing and whole lot more will be accepted! View the complete list of accepted items: http://ow.ly/Tecf1

Where: Lcdot - Lake County, IL Division of Transportation, 600 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville
When:  Saturday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The teletown hall live from Springfield is about to get underway. If you miss the call but still want to join the conversation, call 815-414-9711. ‪#‎jointheconversation‬
State Representatives Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) and Barb Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) invite residents to join them for an over the phone Teletown Hall Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 5:45pm. The event will be broadcast live from Springfield and participants will be able to ask the Representatives’ questions on a number of topics.

A call will be made to households located within the 61st and 64th Legislative House Districts at 5:45pm on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and residents will be able to stay on the line and be connected to a live call with Rep. Jesiel and Rep. Wheeler. “I enjoy these teletown hall meetings because they offer people an opportunity to learn more about issues affecting Illinois, and they can directly ask us questions,” said Wheeler. “With the serious issues now facing our state, I’m looking forward to a lively conversation on a variety of issues.”
Corn Mazes: the child-friendly fall attractions are located in Northern, Central and Southern Illinois. The top-rated mazes honor family, patriotic, and sports-related themes. Two fields (at separate ends of the State) have winding pathways this year to celebrate the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Blackhawks. Richardson Adventure Farm’s Blackhawks-themed 2015 Stanley Cup maze, located near Spring Grove, Ill. in northeastern McHenry County, was rated by design firm DesignCurial as the #2 corn maze worldwide this year. Landowners George and Wendy Richardson dedicate a 33-acre rectangle each year to the family-friendly layouts, turning their designs into the “world’s largest corn maze.” A typical corn maze offers visitors the chance to buy souvenirs and Illinois farm products. Some charge admission fees. The closing day for most corn mazes is the last day of the Halloween weekend.
Many suburban and Downstate school superintendents are issuing statements of support for the push, led by Governor Rauner, to eliminate some of the more than 100 unfunded mandates imposed by Springfield on local school districts and their taxpayers. For example, last week St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Susan Sarfaty agreed that these unfunded mandates are costing her schools money not provided for in these districts’ property-tax-funded budgets.

Unfunded mandates targeted by the Rauner push include required drivers’ education, for which schools are supposed to be reimbursed by fees paid by pupils but often are not; daily physical education; and restrictions on school districts contracting out needed non-educational services, such as janitorial work, to the private sector. The Rauner “Turnaround Illinois” property tax relief measure, sponsored by House Republican leadership in the General Assembly as HB 4247, includes language specifically aimed at repealing barriers to use of third-party contractors for budget savings. House Democrats have so far failed to release HB 4247 from the Rules Committee for discussion and debate.
The closure became effective on Thursday, October 1. Like some other State programs and facilities, the State Museum as an institution is not protected by the network of consent decrees and court orders that have kept much of the State’s government operating for three months (July-September 2015) in the lack of an appropriated budget. State Museum personnel will continue to be paid, for now, but the Museum facilities will not be open to the public until further notice.

The Illinois State Museum is a network of educational institutions and facilities that serve adults, families and children throughout Illinois. The facilities celebrate and contain educational displays on Illinois’ natural history and culture. The State’s flagship museum is located in the Capitol Complex in downtown Springfield, with a major secondary museum at the Native American mound site of Dickson Mounds near Lewistown. Museum cultural centers and galleries are located in downtown Chicago; suburban Lockport; and southern Illinois’ Rend Lake.

What a great Kids Fair! Highlights - Air One Helicopter and demonstration by Gurnee Police K-9 Hunter! Thank you everyone who came, hope to see you again next year!
State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) is inviting residents of the 61st District to join her for a Kids Health and Safety Fair at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee on October 3. The free fair will offer helpful information for parents from various state and local organizations, refreshments, prizes, kid’s activities and a special visit by the Air One Search and Rescue Helicopter.

“The event is a great opportunity for the whole family to stop by for a fun filled morning and see some great attractions along with the chance to get some very helpful information,” said Jesiel.

In addition to the health information and the Air One Search and Rescue Helicopter, the event will also feature a “Touch-a-Truck” area with a firetruck and crane truck, amongst others, as well as information about car seat installation and after school activities around the 61st District. Call (847) 855-8600 with any questions.

WHO:       State Representative Sheri Jesiel
                  Families of the 61st District
Representative Jesiel with Ty Kovach, executive director of the 
Lake County Forest Preserves and Katherine Hamilton-Smith, 
director of public affairs and development for the Lake County Forest Preserves.
Last Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to take part in a very special celebration at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The Chiwaukee Prairie Illinois Beach Lake Plain received the Ramsar designation as a “Wetland of International Importance.” This designation has only been given to 37 other sites in the United States, such as the Everglades and the San Francisco Bay.

This is significant for a number of reasons because of the public and private partners on both sides of the Illinois-Wisconsin border that have been working to protect the Lake Plain for more than 50 years. Their efforts mean that the ecological function of Lake Michigan, and the entire Great Lakes system, is able to provide drinking water for tens of millions of people in eight US states and two Canadian provinces, as well as support a huge diversity of plants and wildlife. This effort doesn’t just help other states, but provides us with some great recreation opportunities like the Spring Bluff Forest Preserve, where you can meet one of 63 state-threatened species, like the Blanding’s turtle.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has announced that his office will immediately suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminders to the public due to the lack of a state budget. Those who want to continue receiving a reminder must sign up to receive electronic notices through the Secretary of State’s web site www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Click here to sign up, you will need your Registration ID and PIN found on your current registration card. If you do not have a current registration card, please call the Public Inquiry Division at 800-252-8980 to obtain your Registration ID and PIN number.

FY16 Budget
Comptroller Munger: Early Intervention payments will be made.

IDHS.gifComptroller, DHS agree EI services fall under active consent decree. Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced Wednesday that her office is setting up accounts and will immediately begin making payments to Early Intervention providers as soon as it receives vouchers from the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Munger learned from her Nonprofit Advisory Council last week that Early Intervention services were "slipping through the cracks" of consent decrees requiring payments during the budget impasse, and she contacted DHS officials to discuss what payment options were available. After looking more closely at several active consent decrees, DHS and the Comptroller agreed that Early Intervention services were covered and they immediately began setting up the processes for making payments to providers.

"I know the tremendous benefits that Early Intervention services can provide to our delayed and disabled infants and toddlers, and I was extremely concerned when I learned many providers would likely be suspending their vital therapeutic services at the end of this month," Munger said. "My office is working today to set up the accounts and we will immediately begin making payments to Early Intervention providers as soon as we receive vouchers from DHS so we can avoid further hardships."

Early Intervention providers, who work on development strategies with disabled infants and toddlers, are the latest group in a growing list of organizations to be penalized by the ramifications of the budget impasse, now in its third month. Munger announced last week that the current $6.2 billion bill backlog is expected to grow to $8.5 billion by the end of December if the impasse continues.
State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) recently filed House Bill 4288 in an effort to provide economic growth and job creation along Lake Michigan. Following a series of economic roundtables this spring with local leaders from lakefront communities and state agencies, Jesiel worked on crafting the legislation. The bill aims to provide relief from an overly burdensome regulatory system that has interfered with repairs and redevelopment at the North Point Marina and Illinois Beach State Park.

“We are very lucky to have some wonderful natural resources in northeastern Lake County, but they’ve been under-utilized for a variety of reasons,” said Jesiel. “State statute is one of those reasons and this legislation takes a direct approach to getting burdensome government regulation out of the way so we can create jobs and grow our local economy by utilizing what we already have.”

Jesiel’s legislation addresses a key issue preventing repair and redevelopment work for locations like North Point Marina and Illinois Beach State Park that fall under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Under the Illinois Procurement Code, only certain contractors can bid for jobs at locations under IDNR jurisdiction. This provision disqualifies many well suited local contractors from applying for projects and leads to major delays and extra costs to facilities like North Point Marina.
Pictured left to right: State Representative Sheri Jeisel, Tricia Conway, External Affairs Area Manager, AT&T, Deborah Rabine, Director of Development, NorthPointe Resources and Dina Donohue, Chief Executive Officer, NorthPointe Resources.
NorthPointe Resources won an AT&T* “Investing in Illinois Award” for its non-profit work to help people in Illinois. NorthPointe Resources will receive $2,000 from AT&T to be used to provide a wide range of services and programs for individuals with disabilities, emphasizing individual growth, health and well-being.

“There are great non-profit organizations improving lives in Illinois. By supporting these organizations, we’re strengthening the communities we serve,” said Tricia Conway, external affairs manager, AT&T.

State Rep. Sheri Jeisel nominated NorthPointe Resources for the recognition from AT&T Illinois. The AT&T “Investing in Illinois Awards” provide resources and recognition to organizations and programs that improve lives in their communities and the state. They’re advancing education, economic growth, new technologies and other essential community services.
Last week, State Representative Sheri Jesiel was joined by Lake County Board Member Steve Carlson and several local residents at her most recent townhall meeting in Grandwood Park. Residents discussed numerous issues with Jesiel, including the ongoing budget impasse, how to solve Illinois' pension crisis and how to end gerrymandering in Illinois. 

Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 2042 today, which appropriates money for the pass through of federal dollars without adding to the state’s budget deficit. The clean bill allows the state to provide some services to the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Governor Rauner supported and signed this clean pass through bill because it will help those in need without adding to the state’s budget deficit,” Director of Communications Lance Trover said. “While the Governor continues to work on passing a balanced budget with structural reforms to maximize how much we can invest in our schools and important social services, some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens will be able receive additional support.”
The Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act mandates that school with athletic programs develop rapid-response concussion emergency action plans that will enable medical help to be obtained and prompt care available in cases of actual or suspected head injuries. Parallel mandates are placed on youth sports leagues and on park districts that organize youth sports activities. The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and other affected groups will develop rules and policies to implement the new law, which went into effect immediately and will apply to the 2015 high school football season.