Each year in February the Governor is required to present to a joint session of the General Assembly a budget address which is traditionally used as the starting point of budget negotiations for the upcoming budget year. With Illinois well into its second year without an agreed budget, Governor Rauner began his speech on Wednesday with a quote from President Abraham Lincoln: “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion… We must think anew and act anew.”
During the 40-minute address, the Governor spoke about the bipartisan work being done in the Senate to create a balanced budget built on compromise, and said he was pleased that for the first time, legislators from both parties are standing together to say that Illinois must have structural change to grow the economy and create good jobs. He also said the ultimate budget proposal must be “a good deal for taxpayers and job creators – a grand bargain that fully balances the budget once and for all, and really moves the needle when it comes to job creation.”
Senators from both sides of the aisle are continuing with their negotiations, but whatever proposal is brought forward for formal consideration must be approved by the Senate, the House, and the Governor. I appreciate the spirit of compromise being shown in the Senate, and I look forward to reviewing their final budget package when it is filed as legislation.
You can read a copy of the speech here, and you can view the accompanying documents included in the “Budget Book” here.
Olsen Supports Local Scouting Event
Last weekend I was glad to support Boy Scout Venture Crew 57 at their annual pasta supper and model railroad open house. Based out of St. Paul’s Church in Downers Grove, this group brings together scouts with an interest in model railroading. Each year it is great to see the new and creative additions and changes the boys bring to their model railroad.
Olsen Signs On as Chief Co-Sponsor of Bipartisan Bill to Improve Child Abuse Reporting Requirements
This week I signed on as the lead Republican sponsor of bipartisan legislation that seeks to increase reporting requirements of suspected child abuse in Illinois. HB 3288 would amend the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act by simplifying a confusing patchwork of who is a mandated reporter to a much simpler and easy-to-understand standard applying to all. If any Illinois resident, agency, or organization knows or in good faith suspects a child is being abused or neglected, they must report it. It is important legislation that benefits some of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens – children. When they are victims of abuse and/or neglect, children rely upon adults to be their voice. It needs to be clear in Illinois law that we all have a duty to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect.
Olsen Joins Colleagues in Support of Women’s Hearth Health
Every year in Springfield, lawmakers participate in a “Go Red for Women” Day. We wear red in support of the battle against the number one killer of women - heart disease. I’m shown here with other members of the General Assembly as we gathered to show our support of this important cause before session began on Wednesday.
Olsen Legislation Begins Approval Process
As bills begin to move through the legislative process in Springfield, this week three bills for which I served as Chief Co-Sponsor were approved by the House and sent to the Senate for consideration.
HB 373 amends the Illinois Local Library Act by requiring library boards of trustees to submit financial documents that relate to their annual levy to the governing board of the local municipality no less than 60 days prior to when the tax levy is certified. This legislation is an initiative of village public libraries, and will improve public disclosure of anticipated library tax levies by moving the disclosure date closer to when a levy must actually be approved.
The two other bills relate to the upcoming 200th anniversary of the State of Illinois and the recognition of key dates in our state’s history. HB 434 designates August 26 of every year as “Illinois Constitution Day” in Illinois. The date commemorates August 26, 1818 as the day Illinois ratified its first State Constitution.
HB 489 designates December 3 of each year as “Illinois Statehood Day”, in recognition of Illinois becoming the 21st state to join the Union on December 3, 1818.
Next week I hope to begin presenting my own bills at the committee level.
Olsen Volunteers as Guest Referee at Harlem Wizards Charity Basketball Game
Last Sunday I enjoyed serving as referee alongside Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and DuPage County Board Member Brian Krajewski for a charity basketball event supporting the District 58 Education Foundation. The comedy-filled game featured the Harlem Wizard facing off against a home team of District 58 teachers, administrators and students, and the packed crowd raised money that will go directly to support the local District 58 schools.