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.
Committed to reforms that will end political gerrymandering of legislative maps, Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) has signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of a Constitutional Amendment proposal that would allow citizens to have a 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.

“In a true democracy, citizens choose their lawmakers; not the other way around,” said Olsen. “The people of Illinois want a chance to vote for this type of reform, and so far they have been denied that opportunity. I believe HJRCA 60 accomplishes that goal in a way that would withstand a Constitutionality challenge.”

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,” Olsen said. “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, the process would apply to the redistricting effort that will take place in 2021, which affects boundaries for elections in 2022.
State Senator Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), and State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) are inviting area veterans and their families to attend their 2016 Veterans Expo and Blood Drive in Downers Grove. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 10th at the American Legion Post 80, 4000 Saratoga Avenue in Downers Grove. If you are interested in donating blood, you are encouraged to call LifeSource at 877-543-3768 to schedule an appointment.

“This event is for veterans of all ages. Whether you are a younger veteran returning home from service and looking for educational or employment opportunities or an older veteran in need of health care, housing or a new photo ID, we will have a variety of experts on hand to help guide you,” said Durkin.

“We can never forget about the debt we owe to the men and women who fight to protect us,” Radogno said. “That’s why I’m always proud to help cut through the maze of bureaucracy and confusion surrounding the services available to our veterans and their families. I hope we see you on September 10th; we’ll be ready with answers and assistance.”

Thirty-seven community partners will have booths set up under one roof 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 Auxillary, 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.
"Our veterans often face unique challenges when they return from active duty, and this expo brings together close to 40 agencies that can provide assistance and address their specific needs," said Olsen. "I’m honored co-host this important event that could make a real difference in the lives of veterans.”

Additional information on all participants and events can be found on the lawmakers’ websites at www.senatorradogno.org , www.ilhousegop.org or www.repolsen.com. You can also call Sen. Radogno’s district office at 630-243-0800, Rep. Durkin’s office at 630-325-2028 or Rep. Olsen’s office at 630-737-0504.