Legislative Update: November 11, 2016

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.

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