Legislative Update: September 8, 2016

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.

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