Legislative Update: May 15, 2017

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.

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