July 26, 2015 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Celebrations of the signing of the ADA by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990 are took place across the nation.

The ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA and ADAAA also assure equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.

To celebrate this 25th milestone, the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers across the United States offer an ADA Anniversary Tool Kit for use by the public and the media through the ADA Anniversary website (ADAanniversary.org).
Assessment notices have begun to be sent out and will continue through August. The notices will include important information including a summary of the current year’s valuation charges, property characteristics, homestead exemptions received on the previous tax bill, and more. View Newsletter

Filing An Appeal? Use Our Online System
Over half of all assessment appeals that were filed last year were filed using our Online Appeal Filing System! This quick and convenient system allows you to get your appeal information to the Board of Review without the hassle of mailing or hand delivering them to our office in Waukegan. Watch this video for step-by-step assistance for filing an online appeal.
State Representative Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) is inviting local residents for a cup of coffee and a discussion of the issues facing the state and our local communities. Next week, “Java with Jesiel” will be at It’s All Good in Zion on Friday, August 7 from 7:30am to 8:30am. Stop in on your way to work and have your voice heard. All are welcome and coffee will be provided.

WHO:       Local Residents and Rep. Jesiel
WHAT:     “Java with Jesiel”
WHEN:     Friday, August 7, 7:30am to 8:30am
WHERE:   It’s All Good, 2780 Sheridan Rd., Zion
WHY:       Discussion of issues facing Illinois and our communities
Just in time for the 42nd Annual Chatham Sweet Corn Festival, Governor Rauner signed legislation Thursday designating sweet corn as the official state vegetable of Illinois. SB 800 was sponsored in the House by State Rep. Raymond Poe and State Sen. Sam McCann in the Senate. It was brought about through the efforts of the 4th grade students at Chatham Elementary School.

“Sweet corn has been an important part of Illinois agriculture throughout the state’s history,” Poe said. “I am glad to see it get this much-deserved recognition, and am glad to see the hard work of the students from Chatham Elementary pay off.”

A group of Chatham students testified in support of the bill before the House Agriculture and Conservation committee in May. They were on hand in the House chamber when the bill passed 115-0 in May. The students had previously joined Senators for the debate on the bill in that chamber.
Forty emerging leaders from throughout Illinois have been selected as 2015 Edgar Fellows in the fourth year of an initiative to inspire bipartisan, inter-regional cooperation in addressing major challenges for the state in the years and decades ahead. Among the leaders selected are Representatives Tim Butler, Tom Demmer, Sheri Jesiel and Grant Wehrli from the House Republican Caucus.

The Edgar Fellows Program is an initiative of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. It focuses on developing leadership and governing capacity in Illinois. It emphasizes the need to forthrightly address major policy issues without permitting partisan, ethnic and regional rivalries to trump statesmanship. It is designed to influence attitudes and foster mutual understanding. It holds the promise of facilitating bipartisan and cross-regional cooperation as class participants assume more influential public leadership roles.
The Zion Police Department have issued a crime alert regarding multiple instances of counterfeit bills being used at several local stores and restaurants. $5, $10 and $20 bills have been discovered. Though two arrests have been made, Police say incidents continue to be reported. The police are encouraging everyone to carefully scrutinize any currency they receive, especially local businesses. If you have any questions or suspect you may have received any counterfeit bills, please call the Zion Police Department at 847-872-8000.

For tips to spot counterfeit money, visit the U.S. Secret Service website:http://www.secretservice.gov/money_detect.shtml.
Tax Assessment Help Centers:
Throughout the months of August and September, the Chief County Assessment Office will host a number of Tax Assessment Help Centers. The Help Centers provide one-on-one taxpayer assistance in evaluating property assessments. Help Centers on weekdays will typically be from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m., and Saturday sessions will be from 9 a.m. -12 p.m.

Help Center Dates and Locations:
College of Lake County Southlake Educational Center
1120 S. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills
August - 11, 18, 25
September - 1, 8, 15, 22

University Center of Lake County
1200 University Center Dr., Grayslake
August - 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 27
September - 2, 9, 12, 16, 24
SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) passed a bill to promote government efficiency this past spring, which was signed into law by Gov. Rauner today.

In what has become an all too rare occasion in Springfield, members of the Illinois House voted unanimously to advance the legislation that removes a duplicative process in state government. House Bill 4115 allows the Departments of Agriculture (IDOA) and Department of Human Services (IDHS) to provide service station information in one location on the IDOA’s website. A link to IDOA’s list will then be placed on the IDHS website, rather than both needing to maintain full lists on their websites.

“We face major challenges with efficiency and wasteful spending in Illinois government,” said Jesiel. “This is a small change, but it is a stepping stone to promote greater efficiency in government and hopefully help lead to more in the future.”
Since the Illinois Constitution was adopted in 1970, state lawmakers have presented themselves to the voters within legislative districts drawn by a partisan process controlled by one political party. Since 2001, the Democrats’ control over drawing the legislative maps has been extremely valuable for them, and increasing use of computer software to draw these key boundaries has meant this advantage has grown over time. In the November 2014 election, the voters of Illinois voted a Republican, Bruce Rauner, into the governor’s office by a wide margin – but the same voters found that after they had cast their votes within these artificially drawn districts, they had elected supermajorities of Democrats to both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate.

A growing number of Illinois political observers, in both parties, are pushing to move this key mapmaking function out of the hands of partisan politicians and into the control of a politically independent redistricting commission. Similar commissions have successfully reduced the role of mapmaker-politicians in states such as Arizona and California. On Monday, June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the constitutionality of the independent redistricting process when drawing maps for elections to Congress.
Announced last week by the Secretary of State, the new cards will be voluntary for all veterans who have received an honorable discharge. This includes all DD-214-carrying certified completers of U.S. military service. Qualified veterans can work with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain a certified copy of their DD-214. Then, the veteran is invited to present the certified discharge paper at any office of the Secretary of State’s Office of Driver Services when he or she is applying for a new or renewed Illinois driver’s license or State ID card. The newly-printed card will display the driver or resident’s status as a service veteran. The revised card format became effective on Wednesday, July 1.

The new drivers’ license cards are being offered, free of additional charge, to Illinois veterans as the result of a bill shepherded through the House by Rep. Mike Fortner. SB 2837 directed the Secretary of State to modify its driver’s license/ID card format to include the veterans’ honor designation. The bill became law as Public Act 97-739.
Current State law grants automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) to members of the Illinois House and Senate, as well as elected statewide officials. In FY16, this law was scheduled to grant pay hikes to lawmakers for $1,356 to $1,905, in addition to their existing salaries and stipends.

On Wednesday, July 1, Gov. Bruce Rauner used his amendatory veto power to strike out the automatic COLA increase for elected State officials and lawmakers. The veto also freezes he lawmakers’ “per diem” daily expense money and travel mileage. The Governor’s action on SB 1354 will be effective through June 30, 2016, unless overridden by the General Assembly.

The Governor’s veto message reads in part: “A balanced budget requires shared sacrifice. My Administration has reduced State personnel costs among agencies under my jurisdiction by $4 million during the first four full months (February through May) of this year, compared to the same period last year.
University Center of Lake County is a unique concept that offers select courses from 20 of Illinois’ top colleges and universities on two campuses. Students can complete their bachelor’s or earn an advanced degree without having to travel too far from home. Convenient, flexible schedules make earning the degree you want while balancing your life, easier than ever before.

Want to learn about the academic programs available here? Attend the Open House on
July 9, 2015, 6 - 8 pm. Gather program information, ask your questions, and see a live broadcast by WXLC. At 6:30 & 7:30, we’ll also offer a free presentation on “Back-to-School Balancing Acts.” RSVP here for the Open House.

Download a flyer
Due to the budget crisis, some projects already under way have been halted. For example, the State has given a green light and a promise of matching State funds to the construction of new classrooms and a gymnasium at South Central Elementary School in Kinmundy, Illinois. However, the current budget crisis has led to a halt in State funding, even though building work is going on during the summer construction season. School districts affected by this halt in State payments for ongoing building work could face a severe cash crunch.

Representative John Cavaletto, who represents Kinmundy and is one of the lawmakers for school districts affected by this funds stoppage, is taking action to help his local school district. Cavaletto joined Rep. David Reis and his Republican colleagues in sponsoring HB 4232 this week, which makes reappropriations from the School Construction Fund and the Capital Development Fund for ongoing school construction and improvements for fiscal year 2016. Monies for capital projects, such as roads and school construction, are funded by levies on products and services such as motor fuel, alcoholic beverages, and video gaming. This money is legally separate from money in the cash-short State general funds, which are funded by income taxes, sales taxes, taxes on casino gambling, and other sources. The relatively healthy nature of the legally separate capital funds of the State make it financially possible for capital projects to move forward even in the absence of vitally required overall budget action.