Spring Session Summary

As the spring legislative session concluded yesterday May 31 on the constitutionally-mandated date, lawmakers left Springfield without sending a budget to Governor Rauner. It is unacceptable, and highlights just how immense the divide is between the political parties in the House and Senate. I came to Springfield committed to bipartisanship; I was determined to reach across the aisle and end the budget stalemate. Today I am extremely disappointed that a compromise could not be reached prior to our May 31 deadline. For the third year in a row, rather than adjourning until the fall veto session, we will be in continuous session as we enter the summer. Prior to May 31, a simple majority vote was needed to approve a budget. When the clock turned to June 1, the threshold for budget approval increased to a three-fifths majority vote. Budget approval just became significantly more difficult.

Unfortunately, Democrats could not come to agreement on a budget to bring to the floor so we did not even have the opportunity to vote on a proposal. We must find a way to close the gap that is preventing a compromise budget from becoming a reality. I remain hopeful that if we all put politics aside, we can craft a true compromise budget that addresses the State’s needs, but also provides a framework that will turn Illinois around and stop the hemorrhaging. All parties need to return to the table for negotiations immediately.

Olsen Sends Three Bills to Governor Rauner during First Legislative Session
While gridlock was constant on major issues in the State, there were opportunities for bipartisanship on individual member initiatives. In fact, I spoke of these in a recent interview. This year I was pleased to pass five bills in the House of Representatives. Three were also approved in the Senate and have now been forwarded to Governor Bruce Rauner for his signature. My 2017 bills that are on the Governor’s desk include:

HB 512: Increases the period of time when public ballot questions must be published to not more than 60 days (currently 30 days) and not less than 10 days before the election when the question will be put before voters.

HB 2427: Saves townships money by allowing for the recycling of brush, wood chips and leaves within unincorporated areas. For example, Downers Grove Twp. currently spends a significant portion of its annual budget on disposal of materials and would be able to save money.

SB 1486: Clarifies language and removes obsolete and duplicative language in the School Code with regard to the State Board of Education.

Automatic Voter Registration Bill Co-Sponsored by Olsen Sent to Governor
Ensuring that every eligible citizen has an opportunity to cast their ballot in elections is crucial to our system of democracy. I was proud this year to sponsor important legislation that has the potential to help increase voter participation. SB 1933 would lead to automatic voter registration when Illinoisans who meet certain requirements visit Secretary of State’s Offices or several other state agencies. The bill also includes a provision for opting out of becoming a registered voter. Also importantly, SB 1933 includes language that protects the sanctity of the voting process and takes important steps to reduce the potential for fraud. The House vote to approve the bill was unanimous.

Consolidation Legislation Co-Sponsored by Olsen Clears House; Moves to Governor’s Desk
With a growing number of Illinoisans being taxed out of their homes, I was proud this year to co-sponsor legislation that makes it easier for units of government to consolidate or dissolve. Illinois currently has more than 7,000 individual units of government. That’s about 1,000 more units than any other state. SB03 accomplishes several objectives including:
  • Allows for the dissolution of coterminous townships
  • Expands a successful DuPage County consolidation model statewide
Many of the provisions included in SB03 were recommendations included in final report of the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force of 2015, which sought to remove obstacles to consolidation and provide clear and modernized standards for consolidation. There is still much more to do save taxpayers money, but this bill was a good first step. The vote off approval for the bill in the House was 75-34-1. This bill will now be sent to Governor Bruce Rauner for final action.

Olsen to Host Free Kids Health & Safety Expo this Saturday
Don’t miss this year’s FREE Children’s Health & Safety Expo I am co-hosting this Saturday with Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). The June 3 event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at Lakeview Junior High School, 701 Plainfield Road in Downers Grove.

Admission is free, and there will 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. Also, the LIFESTAR Chicago medical helicopter will be there from 9:30am - 11:30am. 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.

Expo participants include Action Towing, Big Brothers Big Sisters, City of Darien, College Illinois, Commonwealth Edison, DLD Dance, Darien/Woodridge Fire Protection District, doTerra, Downers Grove Township Highway Department, DuPage County Circuit Court Clerk, DuPage County Health Department, DuPage County Highway Department, DuPage County Office of Homeland Security, DuPage County Regional Office of Education, DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, Edward Jones, FACES 54, Hruska Insurancecenter, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Illinois Comptroller’s Office, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Illinois Life Span, Illinois Secretary of State Police, Illinois State Police, Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Treasurer’s Office, Juice Plus, LIFESTAR Chicago, PACE, Reclaim 13, Sparkles Entertainment, Tri-State Fire Protection District, True Balance Karate, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Village of Burr Ridge, Village of LaGrange, Village of Lemont, Village of Western Springs, Village of Willowbrook, Village of Woodridge.

For more information, please call my office at (630) 737-0504.

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