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Concerned over the number of Illinois high school graduates who are pursuing college educations in other states, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is co-sponsoring legislation that would control tuition hikes, increase financial aid for lower income students and increase overall graduation rates by students from Illinois who attend the University of Illinois.

“Today we are seeing an alarming number of Illinois high school graduates who are continuing their educations in other states,” said Olsen, a 2011 University of Illinois graduate. “The lack of a budget and the uncertainty it provides for our colleges and universities is being perceived by many Illinois families as too great a risk, and as a result their children are leaving the state to attend college and are often not returning to begin their careers in Illinois.”

Through HB 2996, a five-year commitment would be established between the State of Illinois and the University of Illinois, to accomplish the following:

State of Illinois’ Obligations:

1. Allocate stable funding (starting at FY15 levels) to the University annually during each year of the agreement

2. Create an Illinois Excellence fund to support the University’s efforts to retain and recruit top tier faculty

3. Reform the Procurement Code in ways that provide the University with flexibility and improve efficiency

4. Amend the Property Control Act in ways that ease cumbersome regulations

5. Reinstate the Certificate of Participation Program to finance academic buildings

University of Illinois’ Obligations:

1. Maintain specified graduation and retention rates

2. May not increase tuition and fees by more than the rate of inflation

3. Illinois residents must comprise at least 50% of any enrollment growth

4. Admit 14,000 Illinois HS graduates to UI-UC, 11,800 to UIC, and 1,500 to UIS annually

5. Commit at least $170 million to in-state financial aid through the Invest in Illinoisans program

6. Provide annual report to the State on key indicators

“Our institutions of higher learning are in crisis, and this initiative, which was brought to us by the University of Illinois, would go far in reinstating confidence with our flag ship University,” Olsen said. “The controls placed on tuition increases and the greater access to student financial aid that are provided through this bill will improve affordability and access for Illinois students that we would like to keep in our state.”
Yesterday at the Capitol, Democrat State Senators approved a budget package that increases revenue by $5.4 billion. The bills were approved strictly along party lines. In response to the Senate approval of SB06, SB09 and SB42, State Representative David S. Olsen has issued the following statement:

“The budget bills that were approved in the Senate yesterday are not the result of bipartisan compromise. They represent a continuation of the status quo.”

“Every legislator, regardless of party affiliation, wants to end the budget stalemate and approve a budget package that addresses our State’s needs. But I fear that simply increasing revenue through tax hikes, without pairing those increases with much-needed reforms that grow jobs and improve our Illinois economy, will only drive more people out of Illinois. I would have preferred to see a true compromise where Republicans and Democrats met in the middle to resolve their differences.”

“Taxpayers simply cannot afford to take on an additional tax burden without also receiving some tax relief in other areas. I look forward to continuing the budget conversations in the House with hopes that a more reasonable budget package can be achieved.”
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 Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
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.
The lack of a balanced budget with reforms affects every Illinoisan. Click here to watch House Republicans from all areas of the state talk about how the budget impasse is negatively impacting services in their region.
On Monday, May 15, State Representative David S. Olsen 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.

Members of the House of Representatives returned to Springfield last week to begin the final 3 ½ weeks of the spring session. In the House, we began reviewing the 225 Senate Bills that were properly approved in that chamber and have now moved over to the House for consideration. Similarly, members of the Senate are now beginning to deliberate on House Bills that were approved prior to our April 28 deadline. Because the first step for all bills is a thorough vetting before a substantive committee, last week we spent most of our time hearing bills at the committee level.

We still have not reached agreement on a balanced budget with necessary reforms, so I was disappointed when it was announced that the scheduled session day on Friday, May 12 would be canceled. With the House, Senate and Governor all in Springfield and such urgent problems facing our State, we should have remained at the Capitol.

Olsen to Offer Summer Internship
This summer I am offering one rising high school senior or college student an opportunity to do a paid internship in my Downers Grove office. As an intern for the 81st Legislative House District, this individual will learn about the inner workings of a legislative office while assisting my District Office Director and me with important projects. If you know someone who would be interested in gaining this type of experience, please send the following to my Downers Grove office at 633 Rogers Street, Suite 108, Downers Grove, IL 60515:
  • Letter of interest
  • Two names plus contact information for references
  • A resume
We will be accepting applicants through Monday, May 22 at 4:00 PM.

Rep. Olsen to Carry Four Senate Bills through Remaining Session Weeks
As Senate Bills make their way through the House review process, I’m pleased to announce that I will be carrying four bills in the House on behalf of Senate colleagues. These bills include:
  • SB 928: Improves transparency with regard to total price in cases when a condominium unit is being sold, by increasing the types of information that must be made available to prospective purchasers.
  • SB 1285: Makes technical changes to clarify statutes and improve efficiency within the Department of Revenue.
  • SB 1428: Simplifies the process for individuals to receive a high school equivalency certification from community colleges.
  • SB 1968: Clarifies that the vice-chairman of a community college board shall perform the duties of chairman if there is a vacancy in the office of the chairman, and also clarifies the process when a vacancy occurs on a community college board by stating the elected successor shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. 
Olsen Attempts to Jump-Start Budget Process by Co-Sponsoring Three Revenue Estimate Resolutions
Nothing is more important in Springfield right now than the adoption of a full and balanced budget. Budget implementation is a multi-step process, and step one involves lawmakers coming to agreement on a revenue estimate. To that end, last week I signed on as a co-sponsor of three pieces of legislation that provide revenue estimates that can be used as the starting point for the creation of a full budget.

The Illinois Constitution is clear; the responsibility for adopting a budget rests with the General Assembly, and that process begins with the approval of a revenue estimate that tells us how much money we have to spend. HJR 49 uses the non-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) FY2018 revenue estimate of $31.147 billion, HJR 50 uses the FY2018 estimate published by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) of $31.476 billion, and HJR 51 utilizes an average of the COGFA and GOMB revenue estimates, or $31.312 billion, as the starting point for the creation of the FY2018 budget. Our schools, colleges and service agencies are relying on legislators to do their jobs and get a balanced budget put in place prior to our scheduled adjournment date of May 31. We need to take this first step without delay.

Olsen Tapped as Chief Co-Sponsor of Legislation to Help Financially-Troubled Chicago Schools with Proceeds from Sale of Chicago’s Thompson Center
I am proud to stand with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin in sponsoring legislation that would direct all future property tax receipts from the redevelopment of the James R. Thompson Center (JRTC) to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The Thompson Center, which occupies an entire city block in the Chicago Loop, is currently owned by the State. By selling the building, Illinois taxpayers could earn hundreds of millions in the sale and Chicago could generate up to $45 million annually in property taxes. It is estimated that CPS could see an additional $1 billion in dedicated revenue by 2040. The bill was filed earlier this month as HB4044 in the House, and as SB2209 in the Senate.

Olsen Participates in Foster Youth and Alumni Legislative Shadow Day in Springfield
Last Wednesday it was my honor to host Justin Jensen of Plano, IL for a day in Springfield as part of the Second Annual Foster Youth and Alumni Legislative Shadow Day at the Capitol. Justin spent the first 11 years of his life in the foster care system before his adoption in 2006. Our day began with a breakfast, and then Justin shadowed me for most of the day. He was in the gallery while we were in session, and attended committee and other meetings with me throughout the day, including when lobbyists pulled me aside for conversations as we walked the halls of the Capitol. Justin got an up-close look at what it is like to be a lawmaker in Illinois, and said he really enjoyed his day. Foster Youth and Alumni Legislative Shadow Day is sponsored by the IL Department of Children and Family Services, and I thank the Department for allowing me to be a part of a very special day.

Hundreds of Elementary Students Visit Springfield for TECH Day 2017
On Tuesday, May 9, hundreds of students from across the state spent the day in Springfield for TECH Day 2017, where they showcased projects that illustrate the critical role technology plays in today’s educational environment. Technology is a vital tool that helps prepare students to succeed in the digital world that awaits them when they enter the work force as an adult, and the projects on display at the Capitol last Tuesday offered students throughout the state an opportunity to demonstrate their innovative uses of technology in their schools. It was clear from the several booths I visited that technology expands the boundaries of classroom learning, while allowing students to refine collaboration and critical thinking skills. I was truly impressed with the quality of the work on display. I’m shown in this picture with students from Minooka Intermediate School in Minooka.

Olsen Participates in Downers Grove Founders Day Events
Every year I look forward to the activities involved in the Founders Day celebration in my hometown of Downers Grove. This year’s event took place on April 29, and May 6-7. This year, Underground Railroad expert Glennette Tilley Turner spoke to a large group about Downers Grove’s participation during that important part of our history. Many people also participated in bike rides and self-guided walking tours of historic sites in the area. Still others enjoyed a petting zoo and other events at Country in the Park at the Downers Grove Museum.

I was honored to participate in the dedication of a new plaque at the Main Street Cemetery to recognize the role of Downers Grove families in the Underground Railroad. In the plaque dedication photo, I am shown with Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, and Lois Sterba and Liz Chalberg of the Downers Grove Historical Society. I also had an opportunity to engage in some historic games with local children during Country in the Park at the museum.

College of DuPage STEM-Con Event Inspires Local Students
I recently had an outstanding time speaking with College of DuPage (COD) students who had projects included in this year’s STEM-Con, an outreach event at COD designed to educate and inspire elementary, middle and high school students about the fascinating career opportunities available in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These COD students were very impressive, and will lead the way for the next generation of scientific and engineering breakthroughs! In this photo I am pictured with the COD Robotics Club and Congressman Peter Roskam. COD offers a rigorous STEM program that focuses on teamwork and collaboration, and area K-12 students were invited to visit the college on April 29 for some hands-on fun and exciting experiences with hopes of guiding them toward future STEM careers.

Mark Your Calendar for Summer/Fall Free Events
My staff and I are putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive list of summer and fall outreach events in and around the 81st District. Please mark your calendar for the following free events:
  • Teletown Hall Meeting: Joint event with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs): Date and time TBD
  • 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
Again, all events are free and open to the public.