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.
The House of Representatives recently approved HB 261 in a unanimous vote. This legislation will allow schools to save money by providing rental or mortgage assistance to homeless students as opposed to providing transportation to and from school to these students. The bill is also a tool to keep students enrolled in their “school of origin” even if they do not have permanent housing or are “temporarily” living outside of the school’s attendance area. HB 261 is now awaiting a hearing before the Senate’s Education Committee.

State Representative David S. Olsen was a co-sponsor and strong supporter of HB 261, and spoke in favor of the bill when it was presented on the floor of the House. You can watch his floor comments here.

According to State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove), nothing is more important in Springfield right now than the adoption of a full and balanced budget. To that end, this week the freshman lawmaker 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 implementation of a budget is a multi-step process, and step one involves lawmakers coming to agreement on a revenue estimate,” said Olsen. “The Illinois Constitution is clear; the responsibility for crafting and adopting a budget rests solely with the General Assembly. That process begins with the approval of a revenue estimate that tells us how much money we have to spend.”

Olsen is co-sponsoring HJR 49, HJR 50 and HJR 51. 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,” Olsen said. “I couldn’t agree more, and hope lawmakers will choose one of the three revenue estimates presented through these resolutions, and then do the work we were sent here to do.”

In outlining the critical need for the approval of one of the resolutions, Olsen pointed to Article VIII, Section 2 of the Illinois Constitution, which states: Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year. “The adoption of a revenue estimate is required by law, and the fact that the General Assembly has not adhered to that requirement for the last two years is inexcusable,” said Olsen.

At this point, all three pieces of legislation are being held in the House Rules Committee and have not been assigned for a hearing.
State Representative David S. Olsen recently passed a transparency bill that will allow taxpayers to follow their tax dollars from the state budget to individual projects in specific legislative districts.

HB 682 directs the Illinois Comptroller to create and maintain an online, searchable database which provides information regarding the receipt of local initiative dollars. Specifically, the database would include for each initiative recipient:
  • The name of the initiative recipient 
  • The location of the initiative recipient and the primary location of the performance of the local initiative 
  • The State Representative and State Senator within whose legislative district the primary location of the performance of the local initiative is located 
  • The amount of the local initiative 
  • The funding agency and the funding source 
  • The purpose of each local initiative 
  • The portion of the local initiative spent by the initiative recipient, and the portion that lapsed upon completion of the local initiative.
Shortly after the bill was approved with wide, bipartisan support, Olsen was interviewed about the merits of the bill. Click here to listen to the interview.
The General Assembly reconvened last week for what will be a series of session days concluding on May 31, the adjournment date mandated by the Illinois Constitution. Discussions of the State’s revenue picture, spending needs, and budget responsibilities are expected to dominate discussions during these final weeks of the spring session. The General Assembly website continues to provide real-time updates on schedules of the Illinois House and Senate, and the progress of bills and other actions being considered by the Illinois House and its committees.

The content of several of the bills being brought forward for consideration in the House right now is disappointing. Nothing is more important than coming together and passing a balanced budget, yet few items considered last week actually addressed this challenge. With time running out, we must do better. Neither side can do it alone; that’s the reality with a divided government. I know that Leader Durkin and my House Republicans colleagues are ready – we ask that leaders on the other side of the aisle work with us to fix the issues that have been plaguing our state for too many years.

Olsen Transparency Bill Clears IL House
When State project money flows to local units of government or non-government entities, taxpayers have the right to know which legislative districts are receiving the initiative funds and how the money will be used. Last Wednesday I passed important transparency legislation that addresses that very issue. HB 682 directs the Illinois Comptroller to create and maintain an online, searchable database which provides information regarding the receipt of local initiative dollars. Specifically, the database would include for each initiative recipient: 
  • The name of the initiative recipient 
  • The location of the initiative recipient and the primary location of the performance of the local initiative 
  • The State Representative and State Senator within whose legislative district the primary location of the performance of the local initiative is located 
  • The amount of the local initiative 
  • The funding agency and the funding source 
  • The purpose of each local initiative 
  • The portion of the local initiative spent by the initiative recipient, and the portion that lapsed upon completion of the local initiative 
The provisions of HB 682 are contingent upon an approved budget being in place. Once we have a budget, and if a capital bill is approved by the General Assembly, HB 682 will go far in shining a light of transparency on a process that many feel is currently quite convoluted. If signed into law, HB 682 would take effect on January 1, 2018. Shortly after the bill’s passage I gave a radio interview during which I spoke in detail about the bill. You can listen to that interview here.

Olsen Advances Legislation to Increase Time Frame for Public Notification for Ballot Referenda
Based on an incident last November involving legal challenges to successful referenda in the suburban area, I passed legislation in the House last week that increases the period of time during which taxing bodies must publish public questions that will be put before voters. HB 512 would amend the election code to provide that public questions must be published not more than 60 days (currently 40 days) and not less than 10 days before the election.

In the November 2016 election, voters in the Bloomingdale Park District, Lombard Library District, Hinsdale Elementary School District 181 and Salt Creek Elementary School District 48 each approved referendum proposals that appeared on their respective ballots. In each instance, the required posting of the question appeared three days earlier than the election code’s narrow posting window. Especially with early voting growing in popularity in Illinois, providing greater notice to voters improves the process and the ability for voters to become informed on local issues. HB 512 passed in a unanimous vote. The bill now moves to the Senate.

University of Illinois Undergrads Showcase Research Projects at Capitol
University of Illinois students from the Urbana-Champaign, Springfield and Chicago campuses were at the Capitol last Tuesday to share their undergraduate research projects with legislators. I had the opportunity to speak with Grace Wackerman of Western Springs, who is a freshman studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about her outstanding research project about the power grid in Illinois. Amazing work!

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 as soon as possible 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
The deadline for applications is Monday, May 22 at 4:00 PM.

Olsen Supports Bill to Help Close Gender Pay Gap
In spite of steps that have been taken over time to ensure equal pay between men and women in the workplace, statistics show women still make less as compared to their male counterparts. On Wednesday, I joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in approving legislation that should help close the gender pay gap that exists in the Illinois workplace. HB 2462 would strengthen the existing Equal Pay Act of 2003 by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their previous salary history, including benefit and other compensation costs. The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex for issues such as hiring or firing. The Act is enforced by the Department of Labor, and while the 2003 law closed the wage gap to a degree, a disparity still exists. It is my hope that the passage of HB 2462 will further close that gap. The vote of approval for HB 2462 was 91-24, and the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. To hear more about this bill, click here.

Olsen Attends Fundraising Event for Family Shelter Service
On Saturday, April 22, I had a wonderful time at the Family Shelter Service annual gala in Naperville. This valuable community agency was founded in 1976 and supports victims of domestic violence throughout DuPage County. I’m shown in this photo with Family Shelter Service Executive Director Judie Caribeaux, my mother Pam Stephan and Downers Grove resident Grant Sahr. You can learn more about the great work this agency is doing by visiting their web site at www.familyshelterservice.org

Olsen Joins Community Leaders for Library Anniversary Celebration
Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) and I recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Woodridge Library by sharing a proclamation at their celebration event. The Library is an outstanding community resource for Woodridge, and we look forward to another great 50 years to come! 

Hate Crime Bill Co-Sponsored by Olsen Moves to SenateLast Thursday, an important piece of bipartisan legislation that strengthens penalties for those who commit hate crimes was approved in the House and sent over to the Senate. I was proud to serve as a Chief Co-Sponsor of this bill. HB 2390 would increase the amount of damages for which a defendant can be held liable and includes language that would ensure that sentences for multiple convictions would be served consecutively rather than concurrently. The bill also includes an educational provision, so that rather than just being penalized for their crime, defendants would face an educational sentence so they could learn why their actions were wrong.

Realtors from 81st District Visit Springfield on Lobby Day
Realtors from throughout the 81st District were in Springfield last week as part of the Illinois Association of Realtors’ annual lobby day. Hundreds of professional realtors from across the state met with lawmakers about their legislative priorities for the 100th General Assembly. I was glad to spend some time with a group from the 81st District. We had a productive conversation and I hope they enjoyed their time at the Capitol. 

Illinois Awarded $16 Million Grant to Fight Opioid Crisis
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) was recently awarded a federal grant for over $16 million to fight Illinois’ opioid crisis. The grant is funded through the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes an estimated $1 billion to states over the next two years to combat the nation’s opioid crises. Grants will be administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant program.

The grant supports new treatment and recovery services, including the establishment of an Opioid Crisis Line and expanded medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder. The funding will also support opioid-related enhancements to the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), the launch of a statewide opiate awareness campaign, new pilot programs to provide medications to treat opioid use disorder, and pre-release and post-release services for individuals who are incarcerated in county jails. In addition, this award will support a widespread expansion of the training of first responders to an opioid overdose and the availability of the overdose reversal medication Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan.

Drug overdose deaths in this country nearly tripled from 1999 to 2014. Among the 47,055 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the U.S. in 2014, 28,647 (60.9 percent) involved an opioid. Like many states, Illinois has recently experienced a notable increase in drug overdose deaths that can primarily be attributed to an increase in opioid overdose deaths. Provisional death records data obtained from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) show 2,278 drug-related overdose deaths during 2016. This represents a 44.3 percent increase over the 1,579 drug-related overdose deaths that were reported by IDPH for 2013. Through the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, The Illinois Department of Human Services and many other state agencies are coordinating the state’s efforts to develop a statewide opioid epidemic preparedness and prevention strategy.

Olsen Attends Swearing In Ceremony for New Lisle Officials
Yesterday I was honored to attend the swearing-in ceremony for new Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak and for newly elected Trustees Anthony Carballo, Kelly Dixit, and Marie Hasse. I’m shown in this photo with (L-R) State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), Mayor Pecak and State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville). Congratulations to all newly-elected public officials! I look forward to working with you with regard to our shared constituencies.
State Representative David S. Olsen of Downers Grove joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers last week in approving legislation that should help close the gender pay gap that exists between men and women in the Illinois workplace.

In an interview after the vote, Olsen explained that in spite of the Equal Pay Act of 2003, a wage gap still exists between women and men in the workplace. HB 2462 would strengthen the Act by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their previous salary history, including benefit and other compensation costs.

You can listen to the interview here.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) took steps to improve voter access to ballot initiative information on Friday, by passing a bill that increases the period of time during which taxing bodies must publish public questions that will be put before voters.

According to Olsen, Chief Sponsor of HB 512, the bill was filed in response to legal challenges that occurred last year after it was learned that four successful ballot initiatives did not meet narrow public posting requirements. “In November, there were four cases when referendum results were called into question when it was learned that in each instance the official publishing of the question occurred three days prior to the state-required posting period,” said Olsen.

HB 512 would amend the election code to provide that public questions must be published not more than 60 days (currently 40 days) and not less than 10 days (currently 30 days) before the election. “Especially with the growing popularity of early voting in Illinois, providing greater notice to voters improves the process and the ability for voters to become informed on local issues,” Olsen said. “I was pleased to see unanimous support of the bill.”

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) served as the Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill, and said the issues that surfaced after the November election brought the need to broaden the publication calendar to light. “Clearly, adequate notice about referendum questions needs to be provided to voters, and the changes proposed in HB 512 make it easier for taxing bodies to meet publication requirements.”

HB 512 now moves to the Senate.
This week State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) passed transparency legislation that would allow Illinois taxpayers to follow their tax dollars from the Illinois budget to individual legislative district initiatives.

HB 682 directs the Illinois Comptroller to create and maintain an online, searchable database which provides information regarding the receipt of local initiative dollars. Specifically, the database would include for each initiative recipient:
  • The name of the initiative recipient
  • The location of the initiative recipient and the primary location of the performance of the local initiative
  • The State Representative and State Senator within whose legislative district the primary location of the performance of the local initiative is located 
  • The amount of the local initiative 
  • The funding agency and the funding source 
  • The purpose of each local initiative 
  • The portion of the local initiative spent by the initiative recipient, and the portion that lapsed upon completion of the local initiative.
To hear Rep. Olsen's interview on the bill, click here.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) passed important transparency legislation on Wednesday that would allow Illinois taxpayers to see exactly how their tax dollars are spent on appropriations to specific local governmental units or not-for profits.

“When State project money flows to local units of government or non-government entities, taxpayers have the right to know which legislative districts are receiving the initiative funds and how they will be used,” said Olsen. “My bill allows taxpayers to follow their tax money from the Illinois budget all the way to the end recipient and project.”

HB 682 directs the Illinois Comptroller to create and maintain an online, searchable database which provides information regarding the receipt of local initiative dollars. Specifically, the database would include for each initiative recipient:
  • The name of the initiative recipients
  • The location of the initiative recipient and the primary location of the performance of the local initiative 
  • The State Representative and State Senator within whose legislative district the primary location of the performance of the local initiative is located 
  • The amount of the local initiative 
  • The funding agency and the funding source 
  • The purpose of each local initiative 
  • The portion of the local initiative spent by the initiative recipient, and the portion that lapsed upon completion of the local initiative. 
When presenting the bill before the House Government Transparency Committee in February, Olsen acknowledged that the provisions of HB 682 are contingent upon an approved budget being in place. “Once we have a budget, and if a capital bill is approved by this body, the provisions of HB 682 will go far in shining a light of transparency on a process that many feel is currently quite convoluted.”

If signed into law, HB 682 would take effect on January 1, 2018.
State Representative David S. Olsen joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers on Wednesday in approving legislation that should help close the gender pay gap that exists between men and women in the Illinois workplace.

HB 2462 would strengthen the existing Equal Pay Act of 2003 by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their previous salary history, including benefit and other compensation costs. “In spite of steps that have been taken over time to ensure equal pay in the workplace, statistics show women still make less as compared to their male counterparts,” said Olsen. “When women look for new employment, disclosing this lower rate of pay only exacerbates the problem.”

According to Olsen, the Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex for issues such as hiring or firing. The Act is enforced by the Department of Labor, and while the 2003 law closed the wage gap to a degree, a disparity still exists. “It makes no sense that in 2017 women are still not earning an identical wage for doing comparable work,” Olsen said. “We need to be doing whatever we can to even the playing field and close the wage gap once and for all.”

The vote of approval for HB 2462 was 91-24. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Legislators spent the last two weeks in their home districts tending to local constituent needs. During this time I had the pleasure of meeting and talking on the phone with many of my constituents about issues of importance. Members of the General Assembly returned to Springfield today to complete the final six weeks of the spring legislative session. This week, State Representatives will finish the process of considering House Bills that have been properly approved at the House Committee level. House Bills that fail to receive approval from the full House by the April 28 deadline will be essentially dead for this year. The Senate follows an identical deadline calendar, so this week our colleagues across the hall will be taking similar action on Senate bills. In May, members of the House will take action on Senate Bills while Senators take action on House Bills. The final month of session is typically a very busy time in Springfield, but I do welcome your comments on legislation. You can always voice your opinions through the contact form at www.repolsen.com, or by phone at (217) 782-6578 (Springfield office) or (630) 737-0504 (Downers Grove office). I value your input, so please do not hesitate to weigh in on legislation that is important to you.

Olsen Joins Cardinal Cupich and Bipartisan Lawmakers for Chicago Walk for Peace
On Good Friday I joined hundreds of Illinoisans for a Walk for Peace through Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Led by Cardinal Cupich, we walked from St. Benedict the African Church on West 66th Street and South Stewart Avenue and through streets that many consider to be among the most dangerous in Chicago. We walked in support of an end to the gun violence that plagues Chicago streets and to show our support for all young people who may be tempted to turn toward a life of violence.

Representatives Olsen and Bellock Honor Former Township Assessor
On April 11 Representative Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and I had the privilege of presenting an honorary House Resolution at the Downers Grove Township Annual Meeting to commemorate the life of Theresa Cockrell, who served as the Downers Grove Township Assessor from 1983 until her passing earlier this year. She was a dedicated community servant and she will be dearly missed. 

Theresa was a lifelong resident of Downers Grove and she dedicated more than 35 years of her life to Downers Grove Township, serving first as Township Clerk and then as Assessor beginning in 1983. In addition to her township duties, Theresa was a member of the International Association of Assessing Officials and a past President of the DuPage County Assessors Association. You can read the full text of the honorary resolution here.

Illinois Unemployment Rate Drops below 5.0 Percent
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) reported last week that the jobless rate dropped 50 basis points in March, from 5.4% to 4.9%. The new number marked the first time in 10 years that Illinois’ statewide unemployment rate dropped below the benchmark level of 5.0%.

The falling unemployment rate was not a sign of new jobs being created in Illinois. Although the decline in unemployment was significant, Illinois once again saw a net loss in total nonfarm payroll positions tracked by the IDES. Illinois nonfarm payrolls dropped by 8,900 jobs from February 2017 to March 2017. There were significant slowdowns in construction (down 7,100 jobs), professional and business services (down 3,600 jobs), and government (down 1,900 jobs). The decline in unemployment was entirely accounted for by a net decrease of more than 70,000 workers in the Illinois labor force.

Illinois’s unemployment rate, at 4.9% for March 2017, remains higher than the jobless rate for the nation as a whole, which was 4.5% for the same month. Many U.S. states have even lower unemployment rates. For example, high-tech Massachusetts notched an unemployment rate of 3.6% in March.

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.

Olsen Participates in 911 Call Center Ground Breaking
Earlier this month I was proud to join DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin, public safety officials from across the county, and members of the Downers Grove Police and Fire Departments for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new consolidated DuPage County 911 call center (DUCOMM). The facility is being built on DuPage County’s Wheaton campus, repurposing the former Youth Home building. The $15.8 million project will provide DU-COMM with a state-of-the-art facility, a high-tech communications center that provides a 25-year solution to their agency's facility needs. Consolidating 9-1-1 call centers has saved taxpayers $6.7 million annually, which helps to maximize the use of county tax dollars. 

Olsen Supports Annual Special Olympics Fundraising Race
We had perfect weather on April 15 for the Mustang Trot 5K Race for Special Olympics. Runners had a great run through the streets of Downers Grove, but best of all, we raised money for a terrific cause, the Special Olympics. The event was sponsored by the Downers Grove South High School Key Club. Thanks to the students who organized the race, to all who participated in the 5K, and also to those who came out to support runners. I’m shown in this photo with Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and Village Commissioner Nicole Walus. 

State Capital’s Newspaper Editorializes Against Stopgap Budget
With thousands of state employees, the state capital city of Springfield is among the Illinois locations hard-hit by the lack of a state budget and concerns about what may come next. However, Springfield’s only daily paper has swung out against the “stopgap” budget plan pushed by Speaker Madigan’s House Democrats.

The State Journal-Register wrote on Saturday, April 8 that the appropriations bill was legislative “political theater.” Pointing out that the bill pretends to spend funds that the State does not have, the SJ-R’s editorial board accused Democratic leaders of creating false hopes and “offering crumbs to a person who hasn’t eaten for a week.” The paper made it clear that the only real solution to Illinois’ growing budget dilemma would come through real negotiations involving all of the key stakeholders. The newspaper concluded that the partisan “stopgap” was “not the answer to Illinois’ impasse.”

Governor Announces Police Training Initiative
With hate crimes and hate-crime reports increasing in Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner recently announced an initiative to work in tandem with the Anti-Defamation League to improve the training of Illinois police officers. Illinois police training and retraining courses include hands-on work intended to help law enforcement officers in the rapid identification and investigation of criminal acts motivated by hate toward a victim or victim group’s race, religion or national origin. The hate crime initiative was announced on Monday, April 10, and marks just one of several steps being taken in Illinois to address hate crimes.

As you may recall, I recently signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 2390, which is bipartisan legislation that strengthens penalties for those who commit hate crimes in Illinois. While that bill provides tools for law enforcement in the fight against these heinous crimes, I also recently stood with the Governor and lawmakers from both political parties as we announced that Illinois will be working with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to expand anti-hate education for Illinois K-12 students.

Mobile Office Hours Continue to Promote Community Engagement
Last week I held another very successful mobile office hours event in the 81st District. I enjoy these opportunities when I can talk one-on-one with constituents as I bring my office to them in their own community. Last week’s event was held at the Naper Boulevard Library in Naperville and several people stopped by to say hello and ask questions during the 1 ½-hour event. 

Additional mobile office hours dates will be added to my calendar, so visit www.repolsen.com often to find out when I’ll be hosting an event near you. A member of my staff joins me at these events and can help answer questions about services available through the State of Illinois.
The Illinois House of Representatives adjourned for its spring recess on Friday, April 7. I returned home to the district where I will spend the next two weeks tending to constituent needs. When session resumes on Monday, April 24, legislators from the House and Senate have just five days to pass their bills and send them to the other chamber. Any bill that has not cleared its chamber of origin by Friday, April 28 will be essentially dead. In May, we will take action on Senate Bills that successfully passed in that chamber and Senators will take action on legislation sent to them from the House. 

It is my greatest hope that in May we will also come to bipartisan agreement on a balanced, compromise budget. With session adjournment for summer scheduled for May 31, we still have time to pass a budget and I stand ready to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on this most important task. Adopting a balanced budget prior to May 31 is my first priority.

Democrats Ignore Republican Plea for Compromise Budget; Push Through New Stop Gap Measure
Thursday was a disappointing day in Springfield, as members of the majority party pushed through a new $800 million stop gap measure to channel funds to social service agencies and institutions of higher learning.

Obviously I believe these agencies and institutions deserve to receive their funding, but this stop gap measure only sends very limited funding to specific programs and does not bring us any closer toward a full compromise budget that would end the uncertainty and suffering for these groups. For example, the spending plan includes only 36% of the funding for domestic violence shelters, only 36% for infant mortality programs, and only 38% for the senior meals program. To make matters worse, the plan was also filled with errors. It would spend $1.5 million on a program in Chicago that is no longer in existence, and more than $500,000 on two programs that are currently ineligible to receive funds due to noncompliance issues with reporting of how state funds were previously spent. In spite of the inefficient funding levels and the multitude of errors in the bill, HB 109 passed in a party-line vote of 64-45-1.

We need a budget that provides state agencies and institutions with predictability that extends beyond more than just a few months. During the last few weeks, two different full budget proposals have been filed in the Illinois Senate, yet rather than work toward bipartisan agreement on one of those plans, the House floor action on Thursday suggested the majority party leadership has little interest in working together in a bipartisan fashion to reach an agreement on a full budget.

Because I remain a trustee for the College of DuPage until y term expires later this month, I voted “present” on HB 109 due to a potential conflict of interest. This bill seeks to appropriate dollars to the Base Operating Grant for community colleges, which is directly passed to the institutions, including the College of DuPage. As a Trustee at COD, I have a direct interest in that appropriation and thus it creates a potential conflict of interest. After speaking with the House ethics officer, I determined that a “present” vote on HB 109 was the appropriate course of action.

Olsen Visits with College of DuPage Students During Recent Lobby Day
It is always nice to visit with local constituents who visit Springfield. On Wednesday I was glad to see College of DuPage Student Trustee Luzelena Escamilla and Student Leadership Council President Kiley Pooler, who visited my Springfield office as part of the College of DuPage student lobby day. We discussed a variety of issues related to higher learning and how members of the General Assembly could best assist Illinois’ colleges, community colleges and universities.

Property Tax Relief Bill for Seniors and Veterans Gains Wide Bipartisan Support in IL House of Representatives
This year I am co-sponsoring a bill that provides property tax relief to seniors, veterans and disabled persons. On Thursday, HB 156 cleared the Illinois House of Representatives with wide, bipartisan support. People are aging in place more frequently, and this bill helps seniors stay in their homes. I hear regularly from seniors who are being taxed out of their homes and this bill provides tangible relief for this growing segment of our population. You can listen to my House floor comments on the bill here.

Specifically, HB 156 would amend the Property Tax Code to provide property tax relief in the following ways:
  • Creates an assessment freeze homestead exemption for persons receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and have a maximum income limitation of $55,000. 
  • Provides that the maximum amount of the senior citizens’ homestead exemption shall be $6,000 (currently, $5,000). 
  • Provides that the maximum amount of the general homestead exemption (GHE) is $8,000 in all counties (currently $7,000 in Cook County and $6,000 in all other counties). 
  • Provides that the standard homestead exemption for veterans with disabilities also applies to veterans who are 75 years of age or older and these senior veterans become eligible for an exemption of $2,500;
  • Provides for a revised tier system regarding exemption amounts; currently, the base level includes a $2,500 exemption for veterans with a level of disability between 30%-50%; this bill would lower this threshold to include veterans with a 20%-50% level of disability. 
  • Makes changes concerning the definition of "surviving spouse." 
  • Amends a section concerning erroneous homestead exemptions in Cook County to make conforming changes to reference to the standard homestead for veterans with disabilities and veterans 75 years of age or older. 
  • Creates a statewide long-time occupant homestead exemption for qualifying homeowners that have lived in the same home for eight or more years; benefits are based according to length of occupancy range from 25%-60% of the GHE. Currently, there is a similar program in Cook County only. 
The bill would also increase the senior citizen estate tax deferral to $6,000 (currently $5,000). The vote to approve HB 156 was 108-1.

Olsen Signs on as Chief-Co-Sponsor of Anti-Hate Crime Legislation
On Friday I signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 2390, an important piece of bipartisan legislation that strengthens penalties for those who commit hate crimes in Illinois. Two weeks ago I stood with Governor Bruce Rauner and lawmakers from both political parties as we announced that Illinois will be working with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to expand anti-hate education for Illinois K-12 students. HB 2390 takes additional steps to address hate crimes. The bill increases the amount of damages for which a defendant can be held liable and includes language that ensures that sentences for multiple convictions will be served consecutively rather than concurrently. HB 2390 also includes an educational provision, so that rather than just being penalized for their crime, defendants will face an educational sentence so they may learn why their actions were wrong.

Olsen Meets with DuPage County Board Members in Springfield
Last week it was nice to see DuPage County Board Members Janice Anderson and Liz Chaplin in Springfield. We had a productive discussion about local government funding and the pressing need for a balanced Illinois budget. While not shown in this photo, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and several other county board members were was also in Springfield and I was glad to take time to speak with them.

Rep. Olsen Increases Township Recycling Opportunities through Passage of HB 2427
A recycling bill that will save townships money received unanimous support in the Illinois House on Wednesday. I am the Chief House Sponsor of HB 2427, which seeks to amend the Township Code to allow for the recycling of brush, wood chips and leaves within unincorporated areas of a township. Current law provides for the collection, transport and disposal of the materials gathered through land maintenance, but there is no provision for recycling.

When township highway departments take down dead or diseased trees, the wood is processed into wood chips that many like to use as landscape material. Unfortunately, current statutes do not provide for the recycling of, or free delivery of woodchips or other materials. In Downers Grove Township the highway department spends up to 20% of its budget to dispose of the waste materials. With the passage of this bill, 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.

Local Hospitals Participate in IHHA Lobby Day in Springfield
On Wednesday the first floor of the Capitol was lined with booths staffed by representatives from hospitals and healthcare facilities from across the state who were in Springfield for the Illinois Health & Hospitals Association lobby day. I was pleased to have an opportunity to visit with representatives from facilities located in and around the 81st District. I’m shown in this photo with a group of nurses from Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, with whom I was able to meet outside the House chamber.

Mobile Office Hours Tour Continues in 81st District
While the legislature is on its spring recess, I will be hosting my next public mobile office hours event in the 81st District. April Mobile Office Hours are set for Wednesday, April 19, from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at the Naperville Public Library, 2035 S. Naper Boulevard in Naperville. My staff and I will be available to hear your concerns and address issues related to state agencies and services. Additional mobile office hours events will be added throughout the year. Visit www.repolsen.com often to learn about these and other community outreach events.

Summer Events Schedule Taking Shape
During the summer months when legislators spend the majority of their time in their home districts, I host a comprehensive series of outreach events in and around the 81st District. The following events are included on my 2017 summer/fall events calendar:
  • 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
All events are free and open to the public.

Enjoy the Spring weather, and best wishes for a happy Easter!
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) has signed on as the lead Republican for anti-hate crime legislation filed in Springfield.

“Sadly, hate crimes are on the rise in Illinois and across the country,” Olsen said. “Those who would attack others, verbally or physically, based on their race, color, creed, religion or other perceived classification, need to know their behavior will not be tolerated and that the consequences for such actions will be severe.”

HB 2390 would increase the amount of damages for which a defendant can be held liable and includes language that would ensure that sentences for multiple convictions would be served consecutively rather than concurrently. The bill also includes an educational provision, so that rather than just being penalized for their crime, defendants would face an educational sentence so they could learn why their actions were wrong.

“Two weeks ago I stood with Governor Bruce Rauner and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers as we announced that Illinois will be working with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to expand anti-hate education for Illinois K-12 students,” said Olsen. “HB 2390 supplements those proactive measures involving our youth with enhanced penalties for those who choose to commit crimes motivated by bias or prejudice against any group or classification of people.”

HB 2390 was recommended for approval by the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee in March and is expected to be considered by the full House when lawmakers return to Springfield later this month.
Legislation co-sponsored by State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) that provides property tax relief to seniors, veterans and disabled persons cleared the Illinois House of Representatives with wide, bipartisan support on Thursday.

“I’m proud to stand with a bipartisan group of co-sponsors for this bill,” said Olsen. “People are aging in place more frequently, and this bill helps seniors stay in their homes. I hear regularly from seniors who are being taxed out of their homes and this bill provides tangible relief for this growing segment of our population.”

Specifically, HB 156 would amend the Property Tax Code to provide property tax relief in the following ways:
  • Creates an assessment freeze homestead exemption for persons receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and have a maximum income limitation of $55,000. 
  • Provides that the maximum amount of the senior citizens’ homestead exemption shall be $6,000 (currently, $5,000). 
  • Provides that the maximum amount of the general homestead exemption (GHE) is $8,000 in all counties (currently $7,000 in Cook County and $6,000 in all other counties). 
  • Provides that the standard homestead exemption for veterans with disabilities also applies to veterans who are 75 years of age or older and these senior veterans become eligible for an exemption of $2,500;
    • Provides for a revised tier system regarding exemption amounts; currently, the base level includes a $2,500 exemption for veterans with a level of disability between 30%-50%; this bill would lower this threshold to include veterans with a 20%-50% level of disability. 
    • Makes changes concerning the definition of "surviving spouse." 
  • Amends a section concerning erroneous homestead exemptions in Cook County to make conforming changes to reference to the standard homestead for veterans with disabilities and veterans 75 years of age or older. 
  • Creates a statewide long-time occupant homestead exemption for qualifying homeowners that have lived in the same home for eight or more years; benefits are based according to length of occupancy range from 25%-60% of the GHE. Currently, there is a similar program in Cook County only. 
The bill would also increase the senior citizen estate tax deferral to $6,000 (currently $5,000).

“There is much more work to do on the issue of tax relief and tax reform, and I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work on future reforms that will allow the most vulnerable among us to enjoy and stay in their homes.”

The vote to approve HB 156 was 108-1.