During testimony on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) presses school officials to explain why they will not support education funding reform legislation that ensures more fair and equitable funding for all Illinois students.
Asking tough questions during testimony on education funding reform, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) points out how the alternative proposals to Senate Bill 1, Senate Bill 1124 and House Bill 4069, actually ensure more funding goes to every school district in the state.
Please come to this year’s free senior fair to receive helpful guides, literature and other resources from a variety of state, county and local government agencies. General Assembly staff members will be available to assist constituents with their state government concerns. Attendees are encouraged to sign in for a chance to win a door prize. Refreshments will be served.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate declined -0.1 percentage points to 4.6 percent in May and nonfarm payrolls increased by +2,400 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. April job growth was revised little to show a decrease of -7,300 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of -7,200 jobs.

May’s modest monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. Payroll growth has been sluggish thus far this year.
State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) has said Governor Rauner’s call for a special session to resolve the budget impasse provides an opportunity to reopen the education funding reform debate and fix the problems with Senate Bill 1.

Prior to the Governor calling for a special session to convene on June 21, several pieces of legislation were released to address the budget impasse. One of those pieces of legislation is House Bill 4069, which utilizes the evidence based funding model that was being negotiated in SB 1 before it was hijacked by special interests and filled with special benefits for Chicago.

“Although I wish the Governor didn’t need to call a special session, this represents a good opportunity to move forward,” said Jesiel. “The lack of a budget vote at the end of May risked causing irreparable damage to the state, but now we have a chance to reopen discussions and finally do the right thing. It also gives us the opportunity to reestablish school funding reform discussions and ensure that we pass reform that provides fair and equitable funding for all children in Illinois regardless of zip code.”
Chicago Beyond is looking to support organization’s with ideas/approaches that help youth succeed. They are now accepting applications nationwide for the second annual Go Innovate Challenge. The Go Innovate Challenge is a competition designed to identify and support transformative, innovative programs, ideas and approaches that have the potential to dramatically impact life outcomes for young people. To participate, interested organizations simply need to submit a 90-second video that describes the program, idea, or approach.

Formed in 2016, Chicago Beyond is a venture philanthropy fund that was created to transform the lives of marginalized young people through two critical issues – safety and educational attainment. The Go Innovate Challenge is part of Chicago Beyond’s effort to build a diverse portfolio of great ideas and partners – from established organizations with proven results to the newest and most innovative early-stage programs and organizations.
One day after House and Senate Leaders unveiled a compromise balanced budget plan to end the budget impasse, Governor Bruce Rauner called lawmakers back to Springfield for a 10-day special session from Wednesday, June 21st through the June 30th fiscal year deadline.

"Republicans in the General Assembly have laid out a compromise budget plan that I can sign," Governor Rauner said in a video announcing special session. "It provides a true path to property tax reduction and it reforms the way our state operates to reduce wasteful spending. It will fund our schools and human services, while spurring economic growth and job creation. It is a true compromise - and one I hope the majority in the General Assembly will accept."
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Republican Caucus Whip Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), Deputy House Republican Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and House Republican Conference Chairperson Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) have introduced a package of bills to end the budget impasse. The bills represent a compromise balanced budget and reforms that address the priorities of both parties, and urged the General Assembly to return to Springfield to vote on this proposal. State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) said she is evaluating the proposal.
Small Business Administration - Prime 2017
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued Program Announcement No. PRIME-2017-01 to provide training and capacity building grant programs to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs). The PRIME Act authorizes the SBA to provide funding to qualified organizations for the purposes of: (i) providing training and technical assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs; (ii) providing training and capacity building assistance to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) and programs; (iii) aiding in Research and development of best practices for microenterprise and technical assistance programs for disadvantaged entrepreneurs; and (iv) for other activities as the SBA Administrator determines. Click Here.
On June 10, 2017, North Point Marina held a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony following an agreement signed earlier this year to put the marina under the private management of Westrec Marinas. The move it expected to provide an economic boost to the surrounding communities. State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) played an integral role in launching the request for proposal by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that led to the private management and was on hand to cut the ribbon for the grand opening.

"It was a great day for a Grand Opening," said Jesiel. "The results of the investment from Westrec are already starting to show."
The downgrades imposed by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, move Illinois to the brink of “junk bond” status. The rating status, which in Moody’s terminology is “Baa3” and in S&P’s wording is “BBB-“, comes with a “negative outlook,” a formal warning by both debt-rating firms that a further demotion of Illinois’ status to non-investment-grade is both possible and relatively imminent. The moves, announced on Thursday, June 1, followed the Democrat-controlled General Assembly’s failure to enact a FY18 budget by the May 31st deadline.
SB 886 contains provisions to allow the State to sell one of its principal pieces of property, the city block in downtown Chicago that currently contains the James R. Thompson Center. The 1.2 million-square-foot office building is currently home to 2,200 State of Illinois workers. However, the 1985 building has not been maintained and requires hundreds of millions of dollars in overdue upkeep and maintenance.

The building’s footprint, which is bounded by LaSalle, Lake, Clark, and Randolph Streets, could be re-used for development. A new building on the site could house private-sector workers, and its owner or operator would pay property taxes to Chicago Public Schools and other public-sector entities that face financial challenges in 2017. As a State building, the Thompson Center currently does not pay property taxes.
On the final day of the scheduled spring session, House Democrats rushed a vote on a new school funding formula, Senate Bill 1, which would provide Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with a $500 million bailout while offering empty promises to the rest of the state’s public schools.

The Democrats’ bailout bill would provide CPS with a more than $500 million windfall that will only continue to grow in future years. With the State already owing Illinois schools more than $1 billion this year and no way identified to pay for the new formula, Republicans stood in opposition to SB 1.
A Letter to the Editor by State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) 
When the month of May began, I was actively involved in ongoing negotiations with colleagues from both sides of the aisle. These negotiations involved rank-and-file members working together to craft legislation to reform Illinois’ school funding formula that would be part a broader budget proposal.

The good faith and cooperation of these negotiations gave me hope that we could actually tackle this critical issue and use it as a catalyst to craft a balanced budget and begin the financial healing process our state so desperately needs. Unfortunately, these final days of session have shown Springfield at its political worst.
Legislation sponsored by State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) to appropriate funding for domestic violence shelters passed the House this week. House Bill 3259 appropriates funding from special funds to aid victims without the need for a tax increase.

“Through House Bill 3259, critical funding will be provided to keep facilities open that care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. In Lake County, this includes places like A Safe Place and Haven,” said Jesiel. “Although Springfield has been beleaguered by gridlock lately, the passage of this legislation demonstrates the good that can happen when bipartisan participation is fostered. By working across the aisle, we managed to fund essential services through special funding sources without increasing taxes or adding to the deficit. I hope we can use this approach to solve the wider budget crisis and move Illinois forward.”
A letter to the editor by State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor)
We are days away from the end of the spring legislative session. We cannot allow another session to end without a budget. Illinois’ social service providers, our schools, our universities, and our job creators are suffering and need the certainty of a balanced budget.

Throughout this process, I have argued that we must change direction in crafting a truly balanced budget. We cannot pass an unfunded, loosely organized budget that repeats the mistakes of the past that have led to billions of dollars in debt and unfunded pension liabilities of $130 billion that equate to 10 percent of the entire nation’s pension debt.

How can we say that we care about schools, but refuse to overhaul a funding formula that sees Illinois contribute the least of any state to local schools, leaving our children’s futures overly reliant on severely stressed property taxpayers? This is what the old way has given us and we must change course, so we can provide quality service in a way that improves education and stops the rot of skyrocketing taxes that drive families and job creators out of Illinois. We can change this; we can stop the flow of businesses, seniors, families and college graduates out of Illinois by acknowledging the failures of the past and striving to come together.
From SWALCO: The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) will be hosting a one day only special electronics recycling collection event for broken and unwanted electronics. This one-day special event will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2017 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Gurnee Public Works Facility located at 1151 Kilbourne Road in Gurnee.

Recycling fees will be assessed for televisions and cathode ray tube monitors ($35 for TV’s 21” and larger, $25 for TV’s 20” or smaller, and $25 for each cathode ray tube monitor) all other acceptable electronics will be collected at no cost. Cash, check or major credit cards are accepted for payment of applicable recycling fees.
You may have seen an article circulating in a local paper recently that claims 37 Lake County school districts will lose money under the developing proposal to reform how Illinois funds our schools. Unfortunately, the content of this article was based on inaccurate and misleading information.

As its source, the article cited an Illinois State Board of Education analysis to claim that Lake County schools would lose funding. However, that analysis was not for the proposal currently being developed; it was based on old legislation from a previous General Assembly, Senate Bill 231. I was opposed to that legislation and it was never called for a vote in the House.
In an effort to advance the state budget process, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor), along with 39 other House colleagues, has sent a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The letter, which was sent last week, calls on the Attorney General to use the power of her office to force the Illinois General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate prior to the filing and passage of any spending bills. Jesiel and her fellow signatories are seeking the Attorney General’s action to prevent further damage to the state’s finances and the many social service providers who serve the most vulnerable.

In the letter, Jesiel and her co-signers cite several prior court rulings and instances which set precedent for the Attorney General to intervene to ensure the Illinois Constitution is upheld. Both the Constitution and state law require the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate on which to base a balanced budget for the forthcoming fiscal year. This action has not occurred in either of the past two years and has not been done for the forthcoming fiscal year either.

“The Illinois Constitution makes it very clear that a revenue estimate must be adopted in order to appropriate funding for a budget,” said Jesiel. “Without an estimate, any proposed budget is merely guess work that further exacerbates our financial problems since we won’t know if we have the funds necessary to meet the anticipated appropriations. This is backward budgeting that will only perpetuate the uncertainly already facing our social services network, taxpayers and job creators.
Every year children die of heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, while unattended in vehicles. Young children are particularly at risk because their bodies can heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults.

The auto industry is spreading the message on the dangers of heatstroke and working to educate parents and caregivers about the risks of leaving children unattended in a vehicle — even for just a few moments.

Together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safe Kids Worldwide, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers offers information and tips to help prevent these tragedies from happening. Click Here to find out more.
From the Better Business Bureau and ComEd: With the return of warm weather, deceptive door-knockings and utility scams are kicking into peak season.

The Better Business Bureau and ComEd, which have a long standing business alliance of more than 90 years, are teaming up to warn consumers around the Chicago and Northern Illinois areas to watch out for fraud.

According to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker Risk Report “Home Improvement Scams” were the #1 riskiest scams in the USA.

Steve Bernas, president and CEO of BBB Chicago and Northern Illinois says, “Consumer safety is at the core of our mission and deceptive door-knockers often con consumers into agreements for shoddy home services or make attempts to steal money and I.D. information with false claims regarding their alarm, cable, or electric services.”
By State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor)
It is time to act on school funding reform before the regular legislative session ends on May 31.



For years, multiple legislative commissions and committees have studied the obvious inequities of Illinois’ school funding system. I served on the two most recent incarnations. What we know for certain, Illinois has the most inequitable school funding system in the nation. Due to this, students are essentially forced to play a zip code lottery that determines whether they learn in a classroom equipped with an iPad for every student or one where students share decades-old textbooks. This zip code lottery is essentially determined by the property wealth of the school district, creating a huge disparity in the quality of education between the property-rich and property-poor districts. The challenge needs to be tackled by the legislature, and there is bipartisan agreement that it must happen soon.

The Illinois House reconvened this week for a two-week period dedicated to the consideration of Senate bills in the House. The Senate has sent 345 bills to the House, less than 16% of the 2,209 bills filed in the Senate this spring. These bills have been assigned to House committees for further discussion and debate. Under normal House rules, Senate bills have to get out of House committee no later than Friday, May 19, in order to be eligible to become law this spring. In a few cases, a few Senate bills may be granted extended deadline consideration, but this should not be counted on. The current status of all of these bills can be tracked on the General Assembly website, ilga.gov.
Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, age 54, is currently under investigation. Allegations include reports that Mautino, who prior to his appointment was a state representative, used or allowed associates to use campaign funds for non-campaign purposes. 

In order to protect the integrity of campaign funds, substantial reporting requirements are placed on campaign committees. They have to report substantially all of their larger contributions and spending. The reports are contained in mandated filings that must be deposited with the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBEL). 

As part of the overall investigation, questions have been asked about the reports filed by former Rep. Mautino and his campaign committee. An ISBEL hearing officer officially found this week that the Mautino committee willfully violated the informational requirements that surround at least one of these required filings. The hearing officer had the right to recommend that the State Board of Elections impose a fine on the campaign committee, which remains in existence pending conclusion of the investigations. The ISBEL will consider this recommendation and take final action. 
A joint statement from the bipartisan group:
"The finances of the state of Illinois are in crisis, and we must do better. The time for resolution is now. We are a bipartisan group of House members committed to seeing that happen.

There have been many ideas submitted both inside and outside the Statehouse. The key question for any of them is 'do they have the votes to pass?' The Senate offers one set of ideas in the form of a grand bargain negotiated by both Democrats and Republicans in that chamber.

We believe a solution that can pass the House and Senate and be signed by the Governor needs to include a package of bills that fundamentally addresses the needs of the state, and most importantly provides a normal, full-year budget for our state agencies, schools, and social service providers.
Governor Bruce Rauner announced today that Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin have filed legislation that will direct all future property tax receipts from the redevelopment of the James R. Thompson Center (JRTC) to Chicago Public Schools. The bill numbers are SB 2209 and HB 4044

"The JRTC is sucking up valuable space, time, and money," Governor Rauner said. "No one likes working here. It's expensive to maintain and it's a drain on taxpayer resources. The legislation introduced today gives us yet another reason to move swiftly in selling this building. Every day of delay just postpones Chicago's ability to earn millions in property taxes."
An Illinois based not-for-profit, the Computer Banc, is an organization that takes donated computers and refurbishes them for low income families, schools, veterans and others in need of digital technology. In the past year, the Computer Banc started a program to work with the State of Illinois to take surplus government computers, refurbish them and sell them to schools at drastically reduced cost for use in the classroom. The pilot program recently provided three central Illinois schools with 140 computers. The state is now working with Computer Banc to provide state and federal surplus computers to expand the program.

For the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, the program is expanding to provide 2,000 computers to schools across the state for only $85 per computer:
  • 2,000 computers at $85 each are available for August 1 delivery. Additional computers will be available on a monthly basis on the first of each subsequent month. Each computer comes with a 1-year warranty. 
  • The computers come preloaded with Google Chrome, Testnav functionality for required assessments, as well as offline curriculum featuring over 1,500 eBooks, Illinois State Museum modules and early learning educational games. 
  • For additional information, visit www.ComputerBanc.org, or contact Executive Director David Fowler at (217) 528-9506 or director@computerbanc.org.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced this week that six firms have responded to their request for information on who would be interested in developing an airfield in southeastern Will County. The initiative, which was not a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) process, was explained as a way for IDOT to gauge continuing interest in the project. Since 2001, the State of Illinois has acquired more than 4,454 acres of land northeast of Peotone, Illinois. Most, but not all, of the land needed to build a modern airport has been acquired at a cost of $95 million. 

While development proponents have long dreamed of reducing Illinois’ air traffic congestion through the construction of a third Chicago-area airport, hopes have faded somewhat during the sixteen years that the “Peotone airport” has been under development. The airline industry has sharply reduced its positive attitudes toward new U.S. airport development. Major passenger carriers operating in Illinois have moved their focuses toward more efficient usages of existing runways and gates at Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare International Airports. 
The “fun state” gauge used aggregated data on the availability of options for entertainment, nightlife, restaurants, and other leisure-time activities, adjusted for population. Tourism-oriented states such as Nevada (ranked #1 of 50) and New York (#5 of 50) tended to do well. Illinois outdid all of the states that border it, with the nearest nearby rival, Wisconsin, scoring 21st. The Prairie State’s overall 16th slot was an aggregate of its score on “entertainment and recreation” (10th of 50) and its score on nightlife (24th of 50). By contrast, Indiana scored 47th in entertainment and recreation, and 45th overall. Numbers were released on Tuesday, May 2.
From SWALCO: The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) will be hosting a one day only special electronics recycling collection event for broken and unwanted electronics. This one-day special event will be held on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Mundelein Public Works Facility located at 440 East Crystal Street in Mundelein.

Recycling fees will be assessed for televisions and cathode ray tube monitors ($35 for TV’s 21” and larger, $25 for TV’s 20” or smaller, and $25 for each cathode ray tube monitor) all other acceptable electronics will be collected at no cost. Cash, check or major credit cards are accepted for payment of applicable recycling fees.
The new program aims to create home-visiting opportunities for newborn babies and their families. The first support visits implemented by the pilot program will be carried out by the Stephenson County Health Department, which is based on the northwestern Illinois city of Freeport. 

Home visits are a way to help children remain healthy and thrive by providing personal contacts between a mother and a trained professional who can answer questions. The program, which is being coordinated by the Illinois Home Visiting Task Force and by FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport, will be implemented by community nurses. Visitation times will be as soon after birth as possible, to enable these questions to be rapidly asked and answered. Illinois Family Connects also plans to create wellness checks for the baby and family, and to put the family in touch with any supportive resources that may be helpful.
The analysis, by the nonpartisan Civic Federation’s Institute for Fiscal Sustainability, contained severe criticism of HB 109. The emergency appropriations bill, pushed through the House earlier this spring session on a partisan roll call, was touted by its sponsors as a “lifeline” to stretched providers of human services. The bill was supposed to substitute for a full-year, constitutionally balanced budget. Analysts for the Civic Federation, however, discovered that the Democrats’ bill would provide only 27.1 cents on the dollar for the human-services funding shortfall based on FY16 spending numbers. 

The majority party’s “lifeline” plan has been proclaimed as providing rescue money to Illinois institutions of higher education. The Institute’s analysts, after running the numbers, stated that the plan would provide only 56.2 cents of the dollars previously allocated by higher education and not paid in FY16. House Republicans opposed the so-called “lifeline” plan as being both ludicrously inadequate to meet its proclaimed purposes and a distraction from the hard work of generating progress toward government reform and a constitutional balanced budget.

From the Jobs Center of Lake County: job search workshops and career events throughout Lake County in May.


5 Steps to Your Next Job
Monday, May 15 to Friday, May 19 10:00 am to 12:00 pm each day
New Location: College of Lake County, Grayslake, building 4

Attend the 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! Register at 847.377.3439 or email elocke@lakecountyil.gov to reserve a seat!
State Representative Sheri Jesiel's (R-Winthrop Harbor) Lakefront Economic Development Group with Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor, Zion and Coastal Management held its first meeting since Westrec took over management of the North Point Marina.

Jesiel said it was a very productive meeting and the group is very optimistic about what the $2 million Westrec has already started to invest into the Marina will mean for future economic development prospects along the lakefront.
From Lake County: Caterpillar has selected Deerfield as home to its new corporate headquarters. Caterpillar initially plans to relocate approximately 100 employees to its new site immediately, but that number is expected to triple in coming years. The move adds high quality jobs and a new global brand to Lake County’s bustling economy. Caterpillar, a Dow Jones 30 company, joins 11 other Fortune 500 companies that call Lake County home.

Lake County Partners and Lake County join the Village of Deerfield in welcoming Caterpillar to the neighborhood and look forward to working together to ensure that the transition is smooth and successful. Lake County Partners is a 501(c)(3) economic development corporation that works to maintain economic vitality in Lake County by creating and retaining quality jobs, stimulating capital investment, and pursuing economic diversity. Read the full news release.
A new study, backed by the Illinois Policy Institute, suggests that the cost of workers’ compensation to Illinois taxpayers is at least $1 billion a year. The total includes at least $727 million/year attributable to local governments and school districts, and an estimated $255 million/year for the State of Illinois. The study was released on Wednesday, April 5.

Workers’ compensation costs are paid by taxpayers as the employers of the thousands of Illinois public sector personnel, including school and university personnel. Under existing law, most employers must cover their employees with workers’ compensation insurance to reflect the actuarial future costs of the employment-related health challenges they may face in the future while employed.
A visitor count carried out during the final six months of calendar year 2016 showed 12.9 million visitors setting foot in Chicago’s iconic park, making Millennium Park the most popular single site in the central region of the United States. The park centers around sculptor Anish Kapoor’s internationally recognized abstract stainless-steel sculpture “Cloud Gate.” Millennium Park topped the Midwest’s second-most-visited tourist attraction, Chicago’s Navy Pier.
The counts carried out by the American Community Survey include movements of former Illinoisans through calendar years 2015. In 2015, 34,220 former Illinois residents moved to the Hoosier State.

Indiana currently possesses features that increase its attractions relative to Illinois. Features of Indiana policy include a working state budget, a statewide property tax limitation law, a “triple-AAA” credit rating, and a job-friendly business climate. More Illinois residents are expected to move to Indiana as these policy factors continue to operate.    
In an executive order, Gov. Bruce Rauner took steps this week to trigger the elimination of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA). The Agency operates more than 50 historic and cultural-heritage sites throughout Illinois. Sites controlled by IHPA include the Hotel Florence, an architectural keystone of the Pullman National Monument in Chicago; Lincoln’s Tomb and Lincoln’s New Salem in Central Illinois; and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cahokia Mounds, east of St. Louis. IHPA was separated out from its former parent, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (then called the Department of Conservation) in 1985.

Under the terms of Rauner’s Executive Order, most of IHPA will be returned to what is now the Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The consolidation of the two agencies is expected to generate significant administrative savings. A key entity within IHPA, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, will be granted its own Board of Trustees and autonomy directly under the Office of the Governor.
Stay up to date on road construction projects throughout Lake County. The Lake County Department of Transportation offers detailed information and updates on all construction projects happening throughout the county, Click Here.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Democrats once again rammed another stopgap spending plan through the House – it’s precisely why Democrats have been unwilling to negotiate with House Republicans on a full, balanced budget.

We have said all along that it was the plan of the Speaker and the majority party to only pass stopgap spending plans and allow our state to simply limp along to get to the next election – and their most recent actions prove that.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen all of this before. Typically, right before a break or deadline, the majority party decides it’s best to play politics and passes a spending plan that never balances or fails to address the real issues of our state so that they can go home and pretend that they’ve done their job.
Last week, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) advanced legislation through the Illinois House of Representatives to improve protections for students. House Bill 3615 updates the law so students in Illinois schools will be protected from being confronted by an abuser employed by a school.

“When a student is abused, the fear of being confronted by their abuser can keep them from reporting the situation or worse, allow the abuse to continue,” said Jesiel. “House Bill 3615 removes that barrier and ensures no student will have to suffer further abuse or intimidation by being confronted by an abuser at school. I’m glad my colleagues in the House recognized the importance of this legislation by unanimously passing it, and I hope it receives the same level of support in the Senate.”
From the Lake County State's Attorney:
Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim announced that the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, the Lake County Opioid Initiative, and Warren Township Youth & Family Services will be hosting a drug information forum on Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at Woodland Middle School 7000 W. Washington Street in Gurnee, IL.

Joan Sheldon from the Robert Crown Centers for Health Education will be hosting a presentation focusing on the adolescent brain development, heroin and other opioid trends, effects of heroin and opioids on the brain, addiction as a brain disease, adolescent risk and protective factors, and how to prevent adolescent substance abuse including parents' role in discussing substance abuse prevention with their children. The Robert Crown Centers for Health Education's mission is to positively impact the physical and mental health of youth through innovative education programs in partnership with parents, schools and communities.
Watershed efforts in Lake County are an important topic that may be of interest to many area residents, municipal and county leaders. To learn more on what these important efforts are, GFWC Zion Woman’s Club invites all interested residents, businesses, city officials, county leaders or others to join them at their meeting to hear Angela Larsen of The Alliance for Great Lakes speak on this topic on April 4, 12:30 pm, at Grace Missionary Church Fellowship Hall (lower level), 1415 27th Street, Zion.

For additional information, please contact Club President, Regina Orawiec, at (847) 445-6444 or visit: www.zion.gfwcillinois.org.
State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) has joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and more than 20 House colleagues to offer comprehensive pension reform legislation. House Bill 4027 would provide significant savings for taxpayers to address Illinois’ unsustainable $130 billion unfunded pension liabilities. The legislation is modeled after legislation introduced in a bipartisan manner in the Senate.

House Bill 4027 includes:
  • Senate President John Cullerton’s “consideration model” that would require members of TRS, SURS, SERS, GARS, and CTPF to exchange their Tier 1 COLA for the right to have future raises to be counted as pensionable, or keep their COLA and sacrifice future raises as pensionable. This concept previously received union support by the We Are One Coalition;
  • Closes new member participation in the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS); 
  • Offers Tier 1 TRS, SURS, SERS and GARS employees the option to participate in a defined contribution (DC) plan; 
  • Creates a voluntary Tier 3 Hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan for new Tier 2 employees under TRS, SURS, and certain SERS members who do not participate in Social Security.
“Pension reform is essential to solving Illinois’ long-term financial problems,” said Jesiel. “Through this legislation, we can achieve short-term savings of $2.25 billion to help close the current budget deficit and put us on a path to address the unsustainable $130 billion unfunded pension liabilities that are driving residents out of Illinois every day. The bill is consistent with bipartisan legislation in the Senate and the Governor is prepared to sign it. I hope Speaker Madigan will work with us to take this important step toward a balanced budget.”
The Chief County Assessment Office and Lake County Township Assessors Association offer help to senior citizens ages 65 and older who want to complete the 2017 Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Application for taxes payable in 2018 as well as assistance to taxpayers who may qualify to apply for other homestead exemptions. Attend an upcoming outreach session where residents can work one-on-one with a staff member to complete the necessary forms. The Senior Freeze Application is due by July 7. View Upcoming Outreach Sessions.
A statewide survey on drug threats was commenced in April 2016 by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (CJIA). CJIA asked a sample of police chiefs and county sheriffs to identify the drugs in their jurisdictions that they saw most frequently trafficked. Eighty-three chief law enforcement officers responded to the questionnaire. In results published this week, the police chiefs identified heroin and prescription drugs (many of them opiate painkillers) as the most-frequently-trafficked substances within their jurisdictions. The illegal sale of these drugs is a criminal offense under the Controlled Substances Act.
Members of the House Republican Caucus called on House Democrats to respect the wishes of Illinoisans by allowing redistricting reform, HJRCA17, to be called for a vote immediately.

HJRCA 17 would allow voters to decide, by statewide referendum, to amend the Illinois Constitution to create the Independent Redistricting Commission for the purpose of drawing legislative districts. A poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute last fall found that 72% of voters, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, supported the creation of an independent commission to draw legislative district maps.

Members noted that redistricting reform is directly tied to the state budget and the failure of having unbalanced budgets for more than 10 years.
The Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation directing the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs) program administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). The resolution (HR 34) sponsored by State Rep. Charlie Meier was introduced in light of the abuse and neglect which took place throughout the state in group homes for the developmentally disabled dating back to 2011.

The tragic reports of abuse and neglect came to light thanks to the Murray Parents Association’s work with the Chicago Tribune, sparking an investigation by the newspaper, then followed by the Tribune publishing its story earlier this year titled “SUFFERING IN SECRET: Illinois hides abuse and neglect of adults with disabilities,” in which the newspaper “identified 1,311 cases of documented harm since July 2011 and determined at least 42 deaths linked to abuse or neglect in group homes or their day programs over the last seven years.”
Last week, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) passed two pieces of legislation through the Illinois House to streamline Illinois’ regulatory process. House Bills 3272 and 3273 give greater adjustability to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to administer the Lake Michigan commercial fishing program.

“It is no secret that Illinois’ regulatory system is in critical need of reform,” said Jesiel. “These pieces of legislation help mitigate the restrictiveness of the regulatory system by giving the Department of Natural Resources more flexibility. Through these changes, IDNR will be able to more effectively address changing biological and economic conditions that impact the Lake Michigan commercial fishing program and avoid the bureaucratic red tape that so often holds things back in Illinois.”

Under House Bill 3272, IDNR will have the ability to update the commercial methods permitted to take fish in Lake Michigan based on changing economic and biological factors without requiring new legislation from the General Assembly. This change will allow the department to be much more responsive to changes posed by shifting lake conditions.
The Office of the Comptroller reported this week that Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills has reached $12.8 billion, representing $1,000 for each of the 12.8 million men, women and children who call Illinois home.

Money owed by the State and awaiting payment includes monies to Illinois health service providers, institutions of higher education, providers of social services, and many other program service providers. The last full Illinois General Assembly budget expired on June 30, 2015, and the last partial Illinois budget ceased to operate on December 31, 2016. The Illinois General Assembly is currently debating budget action for FY18, starting July 1, 2017. Challenges facing Illinois budgeteers include a pattern of flat Illinois tax revenues, reflecting few new jobs created, and rising Illinois spending commitments, particularly commitments relating to medical services provided under Medicaid and other programs.
In an effort to make state government and the legislative process more accessible to Illinois residents, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) is providing a link to translate the Illinois General Assembly website, www.ilga.gov, into various different languages.

The Illinois General Assembly website contains legislator profiles, full text of all legislation introduced in the House of Representatives and State Senate, live audio and video feeds of legislative session and committee hearings; as well as a wide variety of other legislative information and support services.

Please click any of the links below to translate the Illinois General Assembly website into your preferred language:

Spanish         Español
Arabic          عربي               
Hindi           हिन्दी      
Chinese (Simplified) 中文简体               
Chinese (Traditional) 中文繁體                
Japanese        日本語 
Korean          한국어             
Russian         Русский 
French          Français    
German        Deutsch             
Italian            Italiano           
Polish             Polski        
Greek             Ελληνικά 
In recognition of International Women’s Day last week, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) spoke of the pervasive impact of human trafficking in Illinois and called on her House colleagues to help raise awareness to end this form of human exploitation.