With just nine days remaining until our scheduled adjournment date of May 31, one would think that we would be spending long days on the floor of the House considering legislation and debating budget bills. Sadly, that’s not the case. Over the last two weeks combined, we only spent a total of 5 hours and 54 minutes in session on the House floor. During this time, not one vote was taken that would address our state’s most pressing needs.
The Senate has begun sending over some budget-related bills that were formerly part of the so-called “grand bargain,” but unfortunately the bills approved so far do not represent a complete budget for our State. The Senate is continuing to debate and amend bills and I am hopeful that we will be able to consider a full package that addresses revenue, expenditures and necessary reforms. Last week some House Republicans were asked why we felt it was so important that we pass a balanced budget with reforms. Click here to watch a short video we put together.
Rep. Olsen Welcomes Local Students to Springfield
On Monday, May 15, Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) and I welcomed students from Benet Academy in Lisle to the State Capitol. The group spent the day in Springfield and the students were able to watch both the House and Senate in action during the afternoon. I had a nice time talking with them and I hope they enjoyed their day at the Capitol.
Olsen Bills Begin to Pass in IL Senate
Last week one of my bills was approved in the Senate, and it is now awaiting the signature of the Governor. Other HBs are still pending in the Senate, and this week I will be presenting SBs for which I am serving as the Chief House Sponsor to substantive House committees. The bill that awaits final action by Governor Bruce Rauner is:
HB 2427: This is a recycling bill that will save townships money by allowing for the recycling of brush, wood chips and leaves within unincorporated areas. Current law provides for the collection, transport and disposal of the materials gathered through land maintenance, but there is no provision for recycling. In Downers Grove Township the highway department spends up to 20% of its budget to dispose of the waste materials. Once it is signed into law, the township will be able to deliver the wood chips directly to facilities or places for a much lower cost than what they currently spend on disposal. This bill received unanimous, bipartisan approval in both the House and the Senate.
Public Servants Honored in May 22 Ceremony
On Sunday, May 22, I was proud to join elected officials from the DuPage County Board, DuPage Forest Preserve District, Village of Downers Grove and Downers Grove Park District, along with representatives of civic and community organizations including the League of Women Voters and Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance to honor two outstanding public servants for their many years of dedication, and particularly for their efforts to preserve Lyman Woods in Downers Grove. Former Downers Grove Mayor Betty Cheever and former DuPage County Board Member and Forest Preserve Commissioner Wallace H. "Wally" Brown were recognized with benches dedicated in their honor to be placed at the Lyman Woods preserve.
Children’s Health & Safety Expo Set for First Saturday in June
Don’t miss the Traveling World of Reptiles Show, Touch a Truck exhibits, interactive safety demonstrations and more at an upcoming Children’s Health & Safety Expo I am hosting with our State Senator Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).
The annual event is scheduled for Saturday, June 3 from 9:00 AM until noon at Lakeview Junior High School, 701 Plainfield Rd. in Downers Grove. Admission is free, and there will also be free giveaways at the event.
Demonstrations at this year’s expo include the Traveling World of Reptiles Show and the Darien Police K-9 Unit. The LIFESTAR Chicago medical helicopter will also be there from 9:30-11:30 AM. More than 20 “Touch-a-Trucks” will be at the Safety Expo, and kids are invited to see, touch and get behind the wheel of their favorite vehicle. Local professionals will be available to answer questions about the equipment and the work they do. For more information about this or other upcoming events, please call my Downers Grove office at (630) 737-0504.
Online Giant to Hire 2,000 More Workers in Illinois
Amazon, which already employs approximately 5,000 full-time-equivalent positions, looks to increase this headcount by 40% over the next 12 months. Amazon, which specializes in the general retailing of nonperishable goods, works with home delivery centers such as UPS and the Postal Service to direct-deliver goods to customers. Key to the Amazon business plan is a network of fulfillment-center warehouses with most-frequently-ordered goods in proximity to delivery vans.
While Amazon’s inventory management and logistics are highly automated, the actual movement of goods from shipping containers to warehouse pallets, and from pallets to delivery vans, is done by workers. The newly-hired workers will be assigned to new fulfillment centers in Waukegan and Monee, and in existing warehouses in Joliet, Romeoville and on Chicago’s Goose Island. Some of the new hires, who possess specialized and professional skills, will get the chance to work in Amazon’s downtown Chicago corporate office.
Full Summer/Fall Calendar of Events Coming Together in 81st District
Mark your calendars for these summer and fall outreach events that will be held in and around the 81st District. All events are free:
- Teletown Hall Meeting: May 24, 6:30 PM (tentative)
- Children’s Health & Safety Expo: Saturday, June 3, 9:00 AM until noon, Lakeview Junior High School, 701 Plainfield Road, Downers Grove
- Senior Fair: Thursday, June 29, 10:00 AM until noon, Lincoln Center, 935 Maple Ave, Downers Grove
- Document Shredding Event: Saturday, July 15, 9:00 AM until noon. Sharing Connections, 5111 Chase Ave, Downers Grove
- Jobs Fair: Wednesday, August 9, 9:00 AM until 12:30 PM, CORE Fitness Center, 6028 W 127th St, Lemont
- Veterans Resource Fair: Saturday, November 4, 9:00 AM until noon, American Legion Post 80, 4000 Saratoga Ave, Downers Grove
- Understanding & Appealing your Property Tax Bill: Date and time TBD
Illinois is one of five states to receive a federal training grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility to combat drug-impaired driving. The $20,000 grant, to be administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, will fund 10 Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) classes statewide. This is the second year Illinois has received the funding.
The ARIDE program trains law enforcement officers to detect impairment caused by more than just alcohol. The advanced training will help officers identify drug-impaired drivers that otherwise could have been pulled over but not arrested because warning signs were missed. The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Mobile Team Units will conduct 10 classes at 10 different locations to give access to law enforcement agencies in every region of the state. Each class will train up to 25 officers. The ARIDE curriculum was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with input from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. Since 2009, more than 1,300 officers have received ARIDE training in Illinois.
DCFS Chief Pledges Reform in Investigation Procedures
The changes, pledged by Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) Director George Sheldon, are meant to help investigators crack down on persons who commit serial child abuse. One key change will give field investigators, under some circumstances, access to records of past unproven allegations against persons who are the subject of current inquiries. The change follows press reports that some children have been badly hurt or even killed by serial abusers. In some cases, the serial abusers were investigated by DCFS for child abuse or neglect prior to perpetrating the final criminal offense, but DCFS did not take effective steps prior to the final offense to save the child whose case was the subject of the investigation.
Under the overall criminal law principles, a person is innocent until proven guilty. In some cases, application of this principle means that investigation records of a DCFS inquiry subject are expunged or even shredded. This, in turn, creates tragic heartache if the subject of the expunged investigation is actually guilty of an escalating pattern of child abuse. Under the DCFS changes, it will become much more difficult to shred these records; and in some cases these records may be reopened, read, and used to build a case file against an investigation subject.