While many bills were approved and signed into law in 2016, several very worthwhile initiatives failed to receive fair consideration in the House or Senate. House Speaker Mike Madigan controls the Rules Committee, and he uses it to block any bill he does not wish to have considered by lawmakers. Bills that would seem like common sense to you and me were blocked this year by the Speaker. The list below represents a sampling of the “should haves” that will not be, thanks to far-reaching hand of the House Speaker:

HB 5744 – If the General Assembly fails to pass a balanced budget by the end of the regular session each year, lawmakers would have been required to stay in continuous session every day until a balanced budget is passed. 

HJRCA 7 – A constitutional amendment that would have created term limits for leaders of the Illinois General Assembly: Would have limited the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House, or Minority Leader of the Senate to a total of 8 years in any one office and 12 years combined in 2 or more offices.

HJRCA 27 - A constitutional amendment that would have created a redistricting advisory commission separate from the legislature to change the way legislative districts are drawn to create a more fair and representative map.

HB 5794 – Would have created the offense of illegal electronic monitoring to protect victims of domestic violence from being stalked by their abusers by placing electronic tracking software or spyware on their electronic communication device.

HB 6198 - When applying for a property tax exemption, social security benefits would not have impacted income status and would have helped prevent senior citizens from being taxed out of their homes.

HB 4118 – Would have changed the property tax code by lowering the eligibility age from 65 to 55 to participate in the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption.

HB 4119 – Would have changed the property tax code to allow disabled Illinoisans to participate in the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption.

HB 5008 / HB 6241 – Would have helped senior citizens stay in their homes by increasing the maximum income limitation under the Senior Citizens Assessment (property tax) Freeze Homestead Exemption from $55,000 to $75,000.

HB 6582 - Electronic Voter Registration: After providing state services, agencies would have had to inform individuals of qualifications for voter registration in Illinois and could present an opportunity for voter registration.

HB 4574 –Would have created penalties for fraudulently using the benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer card (EBT) or LINK card intended for SNAP recipients.

HB 4505 – Would have prevented pension double-dipping, which occurs when a retired public employee who is receiving a state funded pension is employed by a different public entity so they receive a pension and a salary at the same time.

HB 4639 –Would have amended the procurement code to make it easier for institutions of higher education to save money by banding together to make bulk purchases. Since Illinois has been a member of one buying pact in particular (MHEC), universities, colleges, school districts, park districts, libraries, cities and counties have saved over $190 million on their purchases.

HB 2531 - Job Creation Finance Act, would have allowed municipalities to designate job creation areas in exchange for a sliding scale of tax incentives based on the number of jobs created and maintained.

HB 1558 - As a result of the tornado in Gifford, for commercial/industrial property that has been rebuilt following a tornado disaster, this bill would have provided for a partial reduction in Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) if the square footage of the rebuilt structure is at least 10% larger than the original structure.

HB 4041 – Would have allowed for due process of a red light camera ticket by allowing a vehicle owner to contest the ticket and receive proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the violation occurred.

HB 6602 – Would have forfeited a persons' survivor benefits for any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with the service of the member from whom the benefit results.

HB 5021 – Would have limited the amount a person who has been convicted of assaulting a peace officer, fireman, corrections officer, or DHS employee (among others) can have their sentence reduced.

HB 4215 – Would have created the Illinois College Procurement Reform Act to allow public universities to procure funding to meet their needs that is not dependent on the current restrictions of the Illinois Procurement Code for state agencies.

HB 4569 – Would have ensured that disabled adults have the right to communicate and interact with other people unless their guardian can show the court good cause to prevent another person from interacting with the disabled person.

Again, this is just a small sample of the hundreds and hundreds of bills that never had a chance to be heard, discussed, nor voted upon in 2016. Lawmakers go to Springfield to represent the priorities and needs of the approximately 108,000 people in each district. When one man can derail a piece of legislation, that process of fair representation is restricted.

I am putting the final touches on my 2017 legislative agenda and will be announcing those bills in the coming weeks. Since taking my oath of office in early August, I have worked hard to cultivate relationships on both sides of the aisle with hopes that all of my legislation will receive wide, bipartisan support. As the new 100th General Assembly is sworn in on January 11, I will also be supporting efforts to eliminate the rule that allows the Speaker of the House to control the movement of bills for all 118 State Representatives.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and please know that I am eager to return to Springfield where I can work on behalf of the people of Illinois’ 81st District. If my office may be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at (630) 737-0504 or through the contact form found at www.repolsen.com.

On January 1, 2017, 191 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Be aware of what’s coming so you can be in compliance. Watch below to learn about some of the more noteworthy laws coming your way on January 1st.

Olsen Recognizes Innovative Teaching Practices in District 58

In addition to my role as your State Representative in Springfield, I also serve as chair of the Grants Committee for the District 58 Education Foundation. Last week I was proud to help recognize educational excellence by awarding a record-breaking 31 grants to 46 teachers and staff from Downers Grove School District 58. Each grant supports highly innovative teacher-driven projects that align with the District’s curriculum and strategic goals. This year’s grants included makerspaces, 3D printers, classroom libraries, thermal energy cameras, a podcast studio, a recording studio, a writing toolkit, a cello, cooking experiences for special needs students, and a program to promote parent engagement.

Illinois House Posts Schedule for 2017 Spring Session
The newly-elected and re-elected members of the Illinois House will convene in Springfield on Wednesday, January 11, to take the oath of office. House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office has posted a session calendar for the House to follow when we introduce new bills next spring and debate them in committee and on the floor. The House will also consider bills sent over from the state Senate. The spring session is scheduled to end on Wednesday, May 31. 

In addition to the session work of the new 100th General Assembly, the 99th General Assembly may well have a few last things to do in January. Two lame duck session days have been posted on the schedule for Monday, January 9, and Tuesday, January 10. It is not yet known for what purposes these days will be used.

As we prepare for this new term, I look forward to working with both new and returning legislators on important initiatives that will benefit our communities and all of Illinois.

Chamber630 Closes 2016 with Holiday Members’ Luncheon
Last week I joined local business leaders for the annual Chamber630 Holiday Luncheon which was held at the Seven Bridges Golf Club in Woodridge. Chamber630 is one of the largest business organizations in DuPage County, with over 700 members involved with a variety of business types and sizes, from small, family-owned companies and start-ups, to large international corporations. The Chamber offers top notch marketing opportunities, legislative advocacy, workforce development and a connection to the residential and business communities in all of DuPage County with a focus on the communities of Downers Grove and Woodridge. It’s a pleasure to be involved with this group. I’m shown in this picture with Chamber630 President and CEO Laura Crawford.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As we end 2016 and prepare to usher in 2017, I hope you are able to spend quality time these coming weeks with family, friends and other loved ones. While this has indeed been a difficult year for the State of Illinois, we have much for which we can be truly grateful. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a bright and prosperous new year! It is my privilege to serve you in Springfield.
General Assembly Concludes 2016 Veto Session
The 1970 Constitution of directs lawmakers to come back to Springfield twice each fall for veto session. The first week was held the week prior to Thanksgiving, and the second week was held from Tuesday, November 29 until December 1. During this fall session, legislators reconsider bills that received either a partial or a full veto by the Governor during the spring session. These days marked my first session days in Springfield as the State Representative for the 81st District.

Of the many bills that were brought back for reconsideration, only one, SB 440, received the supermajority vote required to override the Governor’s veto. SB 440 amends the Chicago Police and Firefighter Articles of the Pension Code to address Tier II survivors’ annuity and issues related to cost-of-living adjustments, widow annuities and other death benefit provisions. I was proud to support this bill.

Rep. Olsen Votes Against Energy Bill, Citing “Too Much Risk” for Rate Payers
Illinois lawmakers approved a comprehensive energy bill on Thursday that will allow nuclear energy plants in Clinton and in the Quad Cities to remain operational as part of a broad package of measures that support clean energy in the state. SB 2814 was approved in the House and Senate in the final hours of veto session, and Governor Bruce Rauner has said he will sign it.

I support clean energy initiatives, but voted against the bill due to its scope and because the costs associated with the massive bill will be absorbed by rate payers. Additionally, I have concerns with any policy initiative that chooses winners and losers. Rather than creating more regulations, we should be reducing regulations so that the electricity market can work and we can benefit from lower rates in a truly market-driven system.

While I was disappointed that the energy bill was the focal point of our veto session when we have no budget and social service agencies aren’t getting paid, I was pleased with the bipartisanship and compromise that was shown by the legislative leaders and Governor in crafting an agreed bill. We need to insist that the same process be extended to the creation of a balanced budget with necessary reforms, once and for all. Now that we know that compromise legislation like the final version of the energy bill is possible, there is no excuse for the ongoing budget stalemate.

Lawmakers Sent Home until January 9; 1 ½ Weeks After Stopgap Budget Expires
After observing bipartisanship and compromise in action on the energy bill, I was extremely disappointed that House Speaker Mike Madigan sent us home before a budget deal was reached. Emergency stopgap spending is in place only until December 31, at which point there will be no spending authority for many critical budget areas as we head into 2017. Upon our adjournment on December 2, the Speaker said we will return for a lame duck session on Monday, January 9. In a recent interview I was asked to weigh in on the Speaker’s decision to send us home rather than continue to work on a budget. Click here to hear that interview.

Annual Bonfield Express Thanksgiving Race a Huge Success in Downers Grove
Every Thanksgiving morning I join thousands of runners from across the region as we run or walk through the streets of Downers Grove for the Bonfield Express Thanksgiving 5K. This annual event is sponsored by the Bonfield Express Foundation, a local charity that works to build character and community commitment in high school students. The group provides scholarship assistance to high school seniors to help build future community leaders. Through the generosity of donors, the Foundation has distributed more than $300,000 in scholarships and has begun funding programs for local grade school students.

Governor Rauner Renews Call for Compromise and Bipartisanship
With substantial segments of Illinois state spending scheduled to run dry with the expiration of the stopgap State budget on December 31, on Friday I joined several of my colleagues and Governor Bruce Rauner at a press conference in Chicago, as the Governor renewed his plea for an agreed budget deal that includes money-saving and job-creating reforms. Up to this point, meetings between Governor Rauner and the four legislative leaders have not yet succeeded in achieving the level of agreement necessary for a balanced budget with necessary reforms to move forward. 

Illinois House Approves Constitutional Amendment
The amendment, if approved by the state Senate and adopted in the 2018 general election, would increase the voting margin required to increase an income tax rate or a sales tax rate during the so-called “lame duck” session of the Illinois General Assembly. I voted in favor of this amendment. The General Assembly, under current law, can enact “lame duck” tax hikes by simple majority in both houses. If HJRCA 62 were to become law, the margin would increase to three-fifths – the same “supermajority” as is currently required to increase State general-obligation debt, approve amendments to the Constitution of Illinois, and approve amendments to the federal Constitution of the United States. Lame duck sessions are sessions after Election Day when retiring legislators are still in office. The Thursday, December 1 vote by the House to approve HJRCA 62 was 84-18-2. The Senate has not taken action on this measure.

DuPage County Mayors Visit Rep. Olsen in Springfield
Last week I had an opportunity to visit with several DuPage County mayors, when they stopped by the Capitol for a quick meeting representing the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference. I’m shown in this picture with Mayors Rich Veenstra (Addison), Rodney Craig (Hanover Park), Jeff Pryun (Itasca) and David Brummel (Warrenville). This group of community leaders is doing great work on behalf of the people they represent, and it was a pleasure to see them in Springfield.

The Capitol at Christmastime
As legislators returned to the Capitol last week we were able to enjoy the State Christmas Tree and other holiday displays in the first floor rotunda. This year’s dedication ceremony was held on November 29. The two-story tree and other items certainly provided some perspective during these difficult days for our State. The display is open to the public during normal business hours throughout December at the Capitol, located at 301 S. 2nd Street, Springfield. Area singing groups often volunteer to sing over the noon hour during the holiday season. If your holiday travels bring you near Springfield, please try to find time to see the display in the rotunda. 

Legislators will spend the remaining days of 2016 in their home districts tending to the needs of their constituents and I hope you see you around the 81st District. The House and Senate are both scheduled to return to the Capitol on Monday, January 9 for two days of lame duck session prior to the swearing in of the 100th General Assembly on Wednesday, January 11. However, I will continue to urge leadership to bring the legislature back to session earlier to address the budget before the stopgap expires at the end of the year.
Lawmakers left Springfield on Thursday, December 1, and while bipartisanship and compromise were used to craft a comprehensive energy bill that was approved by the House and Senate, and which the Governor said he would sign, that same process did not extend to discussions on Illinois’ most pressing issue- the lack of a state budget.

During a recent interview, State Representative David S. Olsen expressed his disappointment that lawmakers were not kept in Springfield until a budget deal could be reached. “To hear that the next time we’re going to be in session is on January 9th, after the stopgap has expired, is really distressing for me,” said Olsen.

Click here to listen to the complete Olsen interview.
Today in Springfield the House of Representatives approved a comprehensive energy bill that will allow nuclear energy plants in Clinton and in the Quad Cities to remain online, but at a steep cost for rate payers. In response to the 63-38 vote in the House, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) has issued the following statement:

“I am disappointed with the passage of the energy bill today. I have concerns with any policy initiative that actively chooses winners and losers. Rather than creating more regulations, we should be reducing regulations so that the electricity market can work and we can benefit from lower rates in a truly market-driven system.”

“While renewable energy, energy costs and accessibility are important issues that are worthy of our time, I am troubled that this issue has been the major focal point of our fall veto session. Our stopgap budget expires in just four weeks and we still do not have a budget. Our time this week should have focused on finding a compromise to address Illinois’ most pressing issue - the lack of a budget.”
This week Representative David Olsen returned to his former middle school, O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, and spent the day talking with 8th grade social studies students from Mr. Jones’ and Mrs. Brost’s classes. Olsen attended the school from 2001-2003 and was a student in Mrs. Brost’s class. “I really enjoyed returning to my former middle school and connecting with the students,” said Olsen, who spoke to six different classes throughout the day. “Talking to this next generation of leaders was really energizing.”

Olsen spoke to the students about his path to the Illinois General Assembly, his role as the representative voice of 108,000 people from DuPage and Will Counties, and the importance of doing well in school so that a variety of options are available upon high school graduation. “I wanted these students to know that any dream is possible; that I was once just like them. I used to sit in the same classrooms they sit in today.”
Lawmakers from across Illinois welcomed State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) to Springfield on Tuesday for his first day on the House floor as the voice of Illinois’ 81st Legislative House District. Click here to view a video of the remarks Olsen made after his introduction on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Springfield lawmakers cut the first week of veto session short today after House Speaker Michael Madigan cancelled a scheduled Thursday session day. Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) said he was pleased that legislative business was conducted on Wednesday, but disagreed with the decision to send lawmakers home until the next scheduled veto session day on Tuesday, November 29. “Today was a productive day on the House Floor, as we took action on several Senate Bills and resolutions and addressed bills that were vetoed by the Governor earlier this year,” said Olsen. “However, it did not seem appropriate to send us home when the State of Illinois still has no budget and while many other significant issues remain. I hope when we return in two weeks we can work together toward a balanced budget and have that document in place before the current stopgap measure expires at the end of December.”

State Representative David S. Olsen, sworn into office on August 9th as the new State Representative for Illinnois’ 81st District, entered the House Chamber on Tuesday for his first session day as a lawmaker. “It was such a privilege to walk through those doors for the first time as the Representative for my constituents in DuPage and Will Counties,” said Olsen. “I look forward to a productive veto session and to a 100th General Assembly that addresses Illinois’ most pressing issues.”
Today is Veterans Day and it is a perfect time for us to remember, thank, and honor all the men and women currently serving and those who have served our country. It is the anniversary of the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month that the Armistice went into effect with Germany, ending World War I. Since its establishment in 1919, this federal holiday reminds us how important our veterans are, and how grateful we are for their service to our country.

House and Senate Republicans Gain Seats in 2016 Election
With the federal and state elections now in our rear-view mirrors, I am re-energized and eager to go to Springfield so I can represent the constituents of the 81st District. I intend to immediately tackle Illinois’ most pressing issue- the passage of a balanced budget. It is by far the biggest concern looming for everyone who calls Illinois home.

The outcome of Tuesday’s election will change the landscape in Springfield in 2017, as the House Republican caucus will see a net gain of four seats and the Senate Republicans will see a net gain of two seats. The gains in the House are extremely significant. By reducing the House Democratic caucus membership from 71 to 67, House Speaker Mike Madigan will no longer have a veto-proof majority. While the Speaker will still hold a majority for the next General Assembly, he will no longer be able to rely solely on his caucus to override gubernatorial vetoes. The significance cannot be overstated. For the first time in many years, when the new General Assembly is sworn in on January 11, all paths toward bill approval and overall progress will rely on bipartisanship and compromise. I welcome this new era and look forward to working with legislators from both sides of the aisle on issues that affect Illinoisans.

Lawmakers to Return to Springfield for Fall Veto Session
Next week the members of the General Assembly will return to Springfield for the 2016 Veto Session. Veto Session days are scheduled for November 15, 16 and 17, and November 29, 30 and December 1. Before I was appointed to the General Assembly, during this year’s Spring Session, 438 substantive bills were approved by both chambers of the General Assembly and reached the Governor’s desk for final action. Of those 438 bills, 24 received a total veto and 9 received an amendatory, or partial, veto from the Governor. Veto Session is the time when we will reconsider many of these bills and possibly consider other legislative issues that remained unaddressed during the Spring Session, such as the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Act Tax Credit program that will expire in December without General Assembly action. 

According to the Governor’s office, many of the bills that received vetoes this year sought to add new spending to the Illinois budget, while other bills were deemed as duplicative or unnecessary, and still others included language that the Governor felt was harmful to taxpayers. I am spending the days leading up to November 15 reviewing the bills and the reasoning behind each veto.

As your voice in Springfield, my votes during veto session will reflect our area’s priorities of responsible and balanced spending, support of business and economic growth and a reduction of state mandates. I welcome your input on these items, so please do not hesitate to contact my office at (630) 737-0504 or through the “Contact” form found at www.repolsen.com.

Olsen Serves as “Principal for a Day” at Local Elementary School
Recently I had an opportunity to step into the shoes of a school principal and experience a day in the life of a top school administrator. I had the pleasure of spending a day at Eisenhower Jr. High School in Darien, where I was able to connect with students and teachers in several 6th grade social studies classes and also meet with members of the school’s Student Council. These bright and inquisitive students had great questions and I enjoyed my time with them.

The opportunity to visit the school was available through the Principal for a Day program, a statewide initiative of the Illinois Principals Association. The goal of the program is to provide lawmakers with an opportunity to observe, interact and serve for a day at a school within their specific legislative district. It fosters collaboration between legislators and schools and gives us an up-close look at the successes and challenges in our local public schools. It was a wonderful experience and I wish to thank principal Jacob Buck for sharing his day with me.

Olsen Attends Annual Wake Up Your Spirit Breakfast in Lisle
It was a pleasure last week to attend the 14th Annual DuPage Pads “Wake Up Your Spirit” Breakfast at Benedictine University in Lisle. Former Chicago Bear and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Dan Hampton was the keynote speaker at this inspirational event. Proceeds from this annual breakfast provide crucial support services to families and individuals who are homeless and working toward an improved living situation. DuPage Pads provides interim overnight housing and offers a variety of services and programs to help struggling families. I’m shown in the picture above with DuPage Pads Board members, Chamber630 President and CEO Laura Crawford and Maclyn Group Partner Marc Hausmann.
State Representative David S. Olsen has scheduled a fourth mobile office hours event for Thursday, November 3 at the Woodridge Public Library, 3 Plaza Drive, in Woodridge.

Olsen will personally be staffing a table at the library from 10:00-11:30 AM on November 3. “I enjoy these outreach events because they provide me with an excellent opportunity to connect with the people I represent in Springfield,” said Olsen. “By talking with constituents and learning about the state issues that are important to them, I am able to bring their priorities to Springfield by serving as their voice.”

No appointment is needed, and the event is open to all residents who live in the 81st Legislative House District. The 81st District is located in DuPage and Will Counties, and includes portions of Bolingbrook, Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge. “I look forward to talking one-on-one with people as I bring my office to them in their own community,” said Olsen.

Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Olsen’s web site at www.repolsen.com.
Olsen Joins DuPage Lawmakers at Advocate Good Samaritan Nursing Legislative Forum
Earlier this week I had an opportunity to join other area lawmakers for a Nursing Legislative Forum at Downers Grove’s Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. This annual event brings together legislators and health care professionals so we can brainstorm ways to work collaboratively toward improving access to healthcare and information that can improve overall physical, mental and emotional health. It was a pleasure to talk with these caring individuals and I look forward to working with them in the future.

New Illinois Competitive Council Review of Agency Rules/Regulations Should Find Millions in Savings for Illinoisans by Cutting Through Red Tape
Whenever I talk with business owners and entrepreneurs in Illinois, they complain about Illinois’ unfriendly business practices and the seemingly-insurmountable layers of red tape that hinder the creation, relocation or expansion of business. I’m pleased to announce that this week Governor Rauner launched a comprehensive plan to promote economic growth and job creation by addressing the problem of this burdensome red tape in Illinois. He signed Executive Order 16-13, which will require a detailed review of all agency rules and regulations by a newly-created Illinois Competitiveness Council. The Illinois Competitiveness Council will be comprised of a representative of each of Illinois’ regulatory state agencies. Its goal is to save Illinoisans at least $250 million in direct license fee costs over the next decade, and save Illinois taxpayers and business owners at least 4 million pages in paperwork. It will work to ensure current regulations are up to date and relevant to today’s industries and practices, ensure the language in rules are easy to understand, reduce the amount of unduly burdensome requirements on businesses, social service providers, and citizens through both time and cost, and ensure there is a clear need for existing regulations. In addition, the Illinois Competitiveness Council will look for recommendations to improve Illinois’ licensing environment to promote job growth and job creation. 

Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Massachusetts have all successfully reviewed their rules and cut red tape to give their citizens a more competitive advantage over Illinois citizens. Burdensome and unnecessary regulations, policies and licensing requirements disproportionately impact small businesses, particularly minority-owned businesses. In order to have the greatest impact, the Illinois Competitiveness Council is seeking input from the public on which rules and regulations are the biggest hindrance to people and businesses. Anyone can submit feedback to cut the red tape at www.illinois.gov/cut.

Olsen Celebrates New Businesses and Economic Growth with Local Chamber630
Last week It was my pleasure to attend two events that celebrate economic activity in the 81st Legislative House District. On Tuesday, October 11, I joined Chamber630 officials and other business leaders for a ribbon cutting for the new Zoup restaurant in Woodridge. This new addition to the Woodridge business community offers a variety of healthy soups, salads and sandwiches. 
The next day I attended the Chamber630 general membership luncheon, where new College of DuPage President Dr. Anne E. Rondeau spoke about the college’s plans for the next 50 years. As a current trustee at COD, I was excited to be in attendance as Dr. Rondeau shared future plans for our State’s largest community college as we refocus the College on its core mission of providing accessible, high-quality education to the residents of the district. I’m shown in the photo above with Chamber630 President and CEO Laura Crawford and College of DuPage President Dr. Ann E. Rondeau.

Industry Hotline Offers Insurance Assistance
The Illinois Insurance Hotline is a free and valuable resource available to help Illinois residents make informed decisions about insurance-related issues. The Hotline is a non-profit industry-sponsored outreach that can answer basic questions, provide educational materials and offer direction for more intricate questions about property, casualty, life or health insurance. Residents can reach the Hotline by phone or email for guidance on a wide range of topics, including company contact numbers, financial ratings, complaint records, state mandates, options following a cancellation or non-renewal, the claim settlement process and more. You can contact the Illinois Insurance Hotline by phone at 1-800-444-3338, or by email at insurancehotline@illinoisinsurance.org. The Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

Safe Disposal of Prescription Drugs Event Set for October 22
Surveys of prescription drug abusers tell us that a majority of those with opioid addictions started by stealing unused prescription medication from friends and family. The Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) has taken action to educate Illinois physicians and the public on ways to curb this epidemic. Last week, in partnership with ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company, ISMS distributed more than 11,000 kits promoting the importance of disposing of unused medications. The disposal kit contains information for doctors and patient materials highlighting the importance of proper disposal and what should be done with unused medications. The kit is also accessible for free download by anyone at www.isms.org/Take-Back. The ISMS has also teamed up with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to promote its semi-annual Drug Take-Back Day on October 22. 

This Take-Back initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

You can help combat the opioid epidemic and keep your family safe by disposing of unused medication properly. On October 22 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM, there are several locations hear our district where unused prescription drugs may be safely disposed, including:
  • Naperville Police Department, 1350 Aurora Avenue
  • Westmont Police Department, 500 N. Cass Avenue
  • Hinsdale Police Department, 121 Symonds Drive
  • Lombard Police Department, 235 E. Wilson Street
  • Roselle Police Department, 31 S. Prospect Street
  • Villa Park Police Department, 40 S. Ardmore Street
  • Elmhurst Police Department, 125 E. First Street
Other participating locations for the October 22 event can be found at this link.

Downers Grove South Musician Selected for “All American Marching Band”
It was an honor earlier this month to recognize a sousaphone player from my former high school, Downers Grove South, who was recently selected as one of only 125 high school musicians nation-wide who will play with the All American Marching Band. Noah Tunney will join other top marching band musicians and a group of elite high school senior football players at the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Noah will take to the field at half time for an impressive show that has gained wide notoriety over the years. Congratulations to Noah and to the entire music department at Downers Grove South High School!

Olsen Tours Locally-Based International Manufacturing Company
In my role as State Representative, I enjoy visiting local businesses and talking with the business owners and leaders who create jobs for the people who live in this area. Headquartered in Downers Grove, Flexco makes products that enhance the productivity of belt conveyors that are used all over the world. A privately-owned company, Flexco has been in business for more than 100 years, and employs more than 800 people worldwide, including many right here in our district. I enjoyed touring the facility and learning about how this industry leader continues to grow and provide for customers all over the globe.

UIUC is now the Seventh-Largest Public University Campus in the U.S.
The 44,880-student enrollment figure for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reflects the number of students who have accepted enrollment or re-enrollment at UIUC and are taking classes in the 2016 fall term. Growing demand for the university’s historically STEM-oriented curriculum has made the University of Illinois’ flagship campus a highly desirable place of study for students worldwide. In 2016, 7,600 freshmen students enrolled in UIUC for the fall term.

Many professionals associated with the campus and its infrastructure report that UIUC enrollment is at or near physical capacity. The university’s future expansion plans include areas outside core college education, such as online education and graduate schools. For example, the new Champaign-Urbana-based Carle Illinois College of Medicine will train physicians at teaching-hospital locations affiliated with, but separate from, the current campus.

Teal Pumpkin Project Allows Kids with Food Allergies to Enjoy Trick-or-Treating Fun
For households that participate in trick-or-treating activities, I wanted to bring your attention to a very worthwhile initiative called the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Kids with food allergies are often left out of trick-or-treating fun since most candy is off limits to them. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps make sure all children will come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy. It just takes one simple act: offering non-food treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, as an alternative to candy.

If you wish to participate, please print out the sign below and tape it to your door. This will alert families with children who have food allergies that this is a safe trick-or-treating home.
Last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. This is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.

Click here to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) will be hosting mobile office hours this week on Wednesday, October 19 at the 2035 Naper Boulevard branch of the Naperville Public Library. Olsen will personally staff the event, which will be held from 10:00-11:30 AM.

“These mobile office hours are a great way for my staff and me to be available at convenient locations throughout the 81st Legislative House District,” said Olsen. “I know it is not easy for some residents to travel to my Downers Grove District Office, so we are bringing the office’s services straight to the public. I will be there personally to talk with residents about state-related issues.”

No appointment is needed, and the mobile office hours are open to all residents. “I would encourage anyone who is having problems with a State agency or who wants to learn more about State programs to take advantage of our mobile office hours,” Olsen said.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) will continue his fall mobile offices tour this Friday with an event scheduled at the Indian Prairie Public Library, 401 Plainfield Road, in Darien.

The event is the second of a series of mobile office hours meant to provide residents of the 81st Legislative House District with easy access to their elected Springfield representative.

“The 81st District includes portions of seven different municipalities, so I am very aware that my Downers Grove District Office is not near the homes of many of my constituents,” said Olsen. “By holding office hours in other communities, the people I represent in Springfield can come and share their concerns and ideas.”

Olsen and his staff will have a table set up at the library from 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM and Olsen will be at the library from 11:30 until 12:30.

“I look forward to talking one-on-one with people as I bring my office to them in their own community,” said Olsen. “I can help explain the services my office can provide while learning about their personal priorities.”

No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Olsen’s web site at www.repolsen.com.
I continue to keep a busy schedule as I get to know better the people I represent in the 81st Legislative House District. In addition to the document shredding event, the district office open house, the Veterans’ expo and jobs fair that I hosted this summer, last week I held mobile office hours at the Downers Grove Public Library. I enjoyed meeting constituents who stopped by to say hello and discuss issues that are important to them.

I will be holding my second mobile office hours next week on Friday, October 7, at the Indian Prairie Public Library. I will personally be staffing a table at the library from 10:30 AM until noon. The Indian Prairie Library is located at 401 Plainfield Road in Darien. Again, I welcome visitors who would like to meet their new State Representative and share their ideas and concerns.

Olsen Attends First Committee Meeting Focused on Education
Last week I attended a meeting of the House’ K-12 Education-Curriculum and Policies Committee at the Bilandic Building in Chicago. I was joined by lawmakers from across the state as we heard subject matter testimony from ten experts on new federal education law and its impact on the very important issue of school funding. I was particularly interested to hear from Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Tony Smith, who outlined inequities with today’s funding formula and urged a fair change that will allow every Illinois student opportunities for optimal success. I look forward to being a part of this solution, and will be a strong advocate for a formula that does not punish our local schools for achieving strong academic results while showing fiscal discipline.

New Firearms Trafficking Law Addresses Gun Violence in Local Communities
This summer a new law was signed that should help keep illegally-obtained guns out of the hands of criminals and off our streets. HB 6303 aims to reduce instances of gun violence by enhancing penalties for firearms trafficking. Specifically, HB 6303, signed into law as Public Act 99-0885, will help keep children and communities safe by providing law enforcement with additional tools to use against those who are trafficking guns. The law makes it a felony for a person who has not been issued a FOID card to bring firearms into the state with the intention of selling or delivering them. Furthermore, if the individual trafficking in gun sales has previously been convicted of an unlawful use or delivery of a firearm, gunrunning or firearm trafficking, they will face even stiffer penalties. It is important to note that this law addresses a growing problem without infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens.

Olsen Speaks to Downers Grove South AP Government Students during School Visit
On Wednesday I returned to my alma mater, Downers Grove South High School, and spent time with students from the school’s two AP Government classes. We had a great discussion and these bright students asked some very good questions. I spoke about our State government, the importance of civic engagement, and shared with them my path that led me to the seat I currently hold in the Illinois General Assembly. These future young leaders were very inquisitive, and I was inspired by the opportunity to talk with them and answer their questions.

Enrollment for Winter Heating Assistance Program Now Underway
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now accepting applications for winter heating assistance. The program makes heating bill payments on behalf of households that meet eligibility requirements.

The LIHEAP program is operated by the Office of Energy Assistance within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Illinois residents who need guidance on whether they are eligible for the program, or who wish to apply for admission to the program, should contact the Office of Energy Assistance. In many cases, applicants will be asked to make a contribution toward the total energy bill under the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program within LIHEAP.

Olsen Joins Local Legislative Leaders for Tour of Tyson Foods R & D Facility
I enjoyed joining other area lawmakers for a tour of the Tyson Foods Research and Development Facility in Downers Grove. Tyson Senior Vice President and Senior Director Kent Bearson, and Illinois Manufacturers Association Associate Director of Government Affairs Jerry Peck arranged the tour to help educate us all about the latest developments in food science. It was a fascinating visit and I’m proud that Tyson’s R &D facility calls Downers Grove home.

Olsen to Represent House Republicans on New Rare Disease Commission
In addition to the committees to which I have been appointed to serve in Springfield, last week I learned that I will be the House Republican Representative on a newly-created Rare Disease Commission. The 15-member panel, created through HB 4576 earlier this year, will consist of 11 members appointed by the Governor, with at least five of them having a family member who suffers or did suffer from a rare disease. The President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, Senate Minority Leader and House Minority Leader each make one additional appointment to the commission. The Department of Public Health will provide administrative and other support to the group.

We will serve without compensation and will study issues such as prescription drugs and innovative therapies for children, adults and any specific sub-population with rare diseases, with a focus on providing assistance on health care coverage and responsibilities associated with promoting quality care for individuals with rare diseases. The panel will also recommend legislative solutions to improve care and treatment, screening for newborns and other issues as the commission deems appropriate.
In an effort to reach as many of his constituents as possible, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is hosting the first in a series of mobile office hours this week at the Downers Grove Public Library. Olsen will have a table set up at the library, located at 1050 Curtiss Street, from 10:00 AM until noon. The public is invited to stop by to meet their new State Representative.

“I will personally staff these events so I can talk one-on-one with the people I represent in Springfield,” said Olsen. “I can help explain the services my office can provide while talking with people about the issues that are important to them. I hope to see many residents of the 81st Legislative House District at this or future mobile office hours events throughout the district.”

No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Olsen’s web site at www.repolsen.com.
We had a great turnout a few weeks ago at the Open House I hosted at my Downers Grove office on August 27. I met a lot of new people and enjoyed talking with them about the issues that are
important to them. If you could not attend that event and would like to stop in for a visit, please call my office at (630) 737-0504 and make an appointment. It is my pleasure to serve the people of the 81st District.

Prior to the Open House on the 27th, I had the privilege of presenting an official State proclamation to St. Mary’s of Gostyn in honor of their 125th Anniversary. Their 10th annual 5K Fun Run was held that morning, and rain did not keep a large crowd from participating in the event.

Olsen to Host Veterans Expo & Blood Drive on September 10
If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran, I would like to invite you to attend my free Veterans Expo & Blood Drive that will be held this Saturday, September 10th. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the American Legion Post 80, 4000 Saratoga Avenue in Downers Grove. Whether you are a new veteran looking for educational or employment opportunities, or an older veteran in need of health care, housing or a new photo I.D, there will be a variety of booths set up at this event to provide assistance.

Approximately 40 community partners will be on site to answer questions and provide information to veterans. Participants include: Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, AIM Center for Independent Living, American Legion Post 80, Covenant Care at Home, Department of Central Management Services, Downers Grove American Legion, DuPage County Circuit Court Clerk, DuPage County Office of Homeland Security, DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, DuPage County Veteran Assistance Commission, DuPage County Workforce Development Division, Habitat for Humanity, Hines V.A. Hospital, Honor Flight Chicago, IBEW Local 701, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Illumident Incorporated, Javita, Larlin School of Healthcare, LifeSource, Magellan Healthcare, Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Office of the Illinois Comptroller, Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois State Library, Office of the Illinois Treasurer, PACE, PAWS Assisting Wounded Warriors, The Soldier Project, Transitional Living Services for Veterans, Unit 80 Women’s Auxiliary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Volunteers of America Illinois.

Special events and offerings will include:
  • Mobile Health Clinic – Hines V.A. Hospital 
  • Obtain a Veteran’s Driver’s License 
  • Information on I-Cash, apprenticeship opportunities, legal support, job opportunities, home ownership, education benefits, the Illinois Family Military Leave Act and much more.
If you are interested in donating blood, you are encouraged to call LifeSource at 877-543-3768 to schedule an appointment. Walk-in blood donation will also be available. For additional information about this free event, please call my office at 630-737-0504.

Olsen Signs On as Chief Co-Sponsor of New Legislative Maps Initiative that Gives Citizens a Primary Role in Mapmaking
Like most Illinoisans, I was disappointed by the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision that found unconstitutional the citizen petition-driven fair maps proposal that was supposed to be on this November’s ballot. I am committed to allowing citizens to have a say on this issue, and this week I signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of a Constitutional Amendment proposal that would allow citizens to have the primary voice in the creation of legislative maps.

HJRCA 60, filed on Tuesday, responds to issues identified as unconstitutional in the recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling against the Independent Map Coalition’s fair maps initiative. Working within the confines of the legislative article of the Constitution, HJRCA 60 offers structural and procedural changes that address the high court’s concerns. The amendment would allow a non-partisan commission as outlined in the Constitution to provide tools and data to citizens to help them create draft boundary maps that would meet Constitutional requirements. The districts would have to be compact, contiguous and substantially equal in population. They would also have to reflect minority-voting strength and promote competition.

Specifically, HJRCA 60 would utilize the non-partisan commission as currently outlined in the statutes, but would tweak its function from actually drawing the maps to providing necessary information, data and software to citizens so that the public could create maps or improve upon previously-submitted maps. Once maps are created, the commission would rank them according to a defined rubric. The top three scored maps would then be forwarded to the House and Senate for their consideration. Legislators would not be allowed to make any changes to the maps once they reach the General Assembly and lawmakers would simply vote each proposal up or down. If no consensus is reached on a map, the Secretary of State would step in and certify the map with the highest rubric score.

This bill gives mapmaking power to the people and takes it out of the hands of politicians. I believe this legislation responds appropriately to the issues identified by our state’s highest court, and offers a much fairer process. Most importantly, it should end partisan control of mapmaking once and for all. If the amendment is approved and the process is implemented, it would apply to the redistricting effort that will take place in 2021, which affects boundaries for elections in 2022.

2016 Jobs Fair a Huge Success
We had a great turnout last week at the Jobs Fair I hosted along with Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Close to 300 job seekers attended the event, which featured more than 90 employers. Our preliminary results indicate that 193 interviews were conducted and that 38 provisional/conditional job offers were extended. An additional five firm offers of employment were offered to individuals on-site. It is estimated that 259 job offers will be made as a result of the jobs fair over the next 12 months. Thank you to all who attended this successful event!

Olsen Tours Tollway Headquarters in Downers Grove
It was my pleasure last week to meet with Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov at the agency headquarters in Downers Grove. I was given a tour which included a close-up look at the dispatch room and the traffic center. We also had a productive conversation about current tollway priorities and about an emerging issue that may require a legislative solution. It is a privilege to have the headquarters for this important agency located in Downers Grove, though just outside our district. The Tollway has a comprehensive web site filled with useful data and information. You can visit the site at http://www.illinoistollway.com/homepage

Mobile Office Hours Scheduled for September 22 in Downers Grove
In an effort to reach as many of my constituents as possible, I will be hosting mobile office hours throughout the 81st District community this summer and fall. I will personally be staffing these events. My first mobile office hours event is scheduled for Thursday, September 22 at the Downers Grove Public Library, located at 1050 Curtiss Street. I will have a table set up at the library from 10:00 AM until noon. Please stop by and say hello so we can discuss any issues you may be having regarding the delivery of state services. I also welcome your comments and suggestions about issues that are important to you. No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted to my web site at www.repolsen.com.