Legislative Update: October 2, 2017

Hotline Created to Track Family and Friends in Las Vegas During Mass Shooting
Today we all woke to the horrific news of a mass shooting in Las Vegas that left more than 50 people dead and hundreds of others wounded. A crowd of 22,000 had gathered outside of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino for a country music concert when the shots were sprayed into the crowd shortly after 10:00 PM Las Vegas time. Families who need to locate missing loved ones who were in Las Vegas last night may call (866) 535-5654 to reach a hotline. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

Rep. Olsen Attends Annual Legislative Forum at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Last week I joined State Representative Patti Bellock and Senator John Curran for a legislative forum sponsored by the nurses of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. I enjoy this annual event and was so glad to engage with such an informed group on issues ranging from healthcare to the budget.

I enjoyed talking to the nurses about the passage and recent signing of HB 313 (Public Act 100-0513), which allows Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who have completed 250 hours of continuing education and have logged at least 4,000 hours of clinical experience with a physician or at a hospital to qualify for “full practice authority.” This new law, which I was proud to support, removes over-burdensome regulations that have caused some highly trained nurses to seek employment in other states. It increases regulatory efficiency, improves licensing processing times, and most importantly it helps retain the best and brightest nurses here in Illinois. In rural areas especially, this new law should improve access to quality healthcare.

Legislation That Helps Fight Heroin and Opioid Abuse in Illinois Signed into Law
Too many Illinois families have been devastated by the tragic effects that result from heroin and prescription opioid abuse. This year I was proud to co-sponsor legislation that will provide the public with easier access to information about this growing epidemic. HB 3161, signed into law recently as Public Act 100-0494, requires the Illinois Department of Human Services to create and maintain a web site to educate the public on the dangers associated with heroin and prescription opioid use.

This new web site will be a valuable tool as we fight a raging crisis in the suburbs and across Illinois. By educating the public about this health threat we can do a better job of saving lives and preventing future drug-related deaths.

At a minimum, the web site is required to include:
  • Information on the warning signs of heroin and prescription opioid addiction; 
  • Helpful hints for parents on how to discuss the dangers of heroin and prescription opioid addiction with their children; 
  • Information on available treatment options and services; 
  • A listing of the toll-free number established by the Department to provide information and referral services for persons with questions concerning substance abuse and treatment; and 
  • Links to flyers and resources for download.
Public health officials counted 1,889 people who died from opioid overdoses in Illinois in 2016.

Governor Signs Controversial Abortion Bill
On Thursday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 40, highly controversial legislation that changes Illinois law to provide taxpayer-funded elective abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees. Current law dictates that state funds may only be used for abortion procedures in cases where the life of the mother is at risk and in cases of rape or incest. I voted against this bill when it was considered in the House and continue to strongly oppose it. This bill goes against longstanding bipartisan consensus that taxpayers should not fund elective abortions.

Olsen Hosts Successful Mobile Office Hours Event in Woodridge
We had another nice turnout for my latest mobile office hours event last week in Woodridge. Many thanks to the Woodridge Public Library and Director Pam Dube (shown in the photo to the left) for hosting the event. I always enjoy these opportunities to speak with my constituents, and I appreciate the feedback and suggestions I receive. I try to host mobile office hours once each month so constituents I represent have a local opportunity to talk with me about issues that are important to them. Visit my web site at www.repolsen.com to learn about future events around the 81st District, or you can always make an appointment to meet with me at my district office by calling (630) 737-0504.

Chicago Business Community Unites Behind Push for $5 Billion Amazon Headquarters Campus
Amazon.com has stated that they need additional workspace, not available at their current headquarters complex in Seattle, for management-level employees of the global retailing firm. Amazon expects that the overall economic activity to be sparked by their new “second headquarters” could create as many as 50,000 new jobs. Many Chicago leaders believe that the city’s workforce, with its skill set in logistics solutions, makes Chicago the ideal place for Amazon’s new campus. A bipartisan panel of more than 600 Illinois business leaders is working to sell Illinois to the online retailing giant. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has repeatedly expressed his support for this significant job-creating opportunity for our region.

Olsen Presents House Recognition to Friends of the Edwards House
On September 26 it was my pleasure to recognize members of Friends of the Edwards House for receiving the 2017 Landmarks Illinois Richard Driehaus Preservation Project of the Year Award for Advocacy at their landmarking seminar. Thanks to Chair Rich Kulovany and the entire board for all the work they have done to advocate for historic preservation in Downers Grove!

Case From Illinois Could Produce Significant U.S. Supreme Court Decision
The case of “Janus v. AFSCME” reflects the belief of some Illinois public-sector workers, including plaintiff Mark Janus, that their free-speech and free-association rights are violated by being forced to pay union dues as a condition of their employment. Janus’s lawyers will share these arguments with the United States Supreme Court. The nation’s high court agreed on Thursday, September 28 to hear the case. A decision could come before the end of the 2017-18 session of the high court.

EDGE Tax Credit Overhaul Signed into Law
Legislation (HB 162) that overhauls the EDGE Tax Credit Program and provides much-needed transparency and taxpayer protections was recently signed into law in Illinois. This bipartisan job creation program incentivizes job creation, growth and competitiveness in the state, and assists with our goal of bringing more high quality and good-paying jobs to the state. The new law extends the program until June 30, 2022.

Safe Disposal of Household Hazardous Medications Outlined on Illinois EPA Web Site
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) oversees the disposal of chemical wastes throughout Illinois. Household medications are a significant concern. Medications can cause problems for the environment if they are allowed to enter the public wastewater stream rather than being disposed of safely.

The IEPA urges all Illinois residents to turn in unneeded medications rather than disposing of them as garbage or flushing them down a toilet or sink. The IEPA’s hazardous waste disposal website contains a checkoff box for residents to find a safe medication disposal location that is convenient to them.

Olsen Tours Woodridge AMS Mechanical Systems Facility
I recently had an opportunity to tour the new Woodridge facility of AMS Mechanical Systems and I was incredibly impressed. It was fascinating to see this new manufacturing facility in action right here in the 81st District - bringing good jobs to our region! I attended their official ribbon cutting a few weeks ago and was pleased to see this new local facility doing so well.

New Law Co-Sponsored by Rep. Olsen Strengthens Protections for Youth Against Sex Offenders
This year I was the leading Republican on bipartisan legislation that provides a critical new layer of protection for children who participate in activities sponsored by local park districts. HB 786 strengthens prohibitions on child sex offenders from volunteering for park district programs. The new law requires all park districts to have volunteers complete an application prior to beginning service, and also requires that the application include a question concerning whether the applicant has been found to be a child sex offender.

While most park districts already take steps to ensure their volunteers meet these guidelines, this new law requires it. We need to be vigilant and close any loopholes that would allow these predators to have access to children, and the provisions of this bill, now known as Public Act 100-0472, will increase protections for those who participate in park district programs. HB 786 received unanimous support throughout the legislative process, and its provisions take effect immediately.

Olsen Attends Back to School Forum in Tinley Park
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to attend a Back to School Legislative Forum hosted in Tinley Park by educational advocacy group Stand for Children. There we had the opportunity to discuss current trends and issues in education, including online and virtual learning, college and career readiness, and school assessment. Education is so important to our district, so I always appreciate opportunities to share ideas with educators and fellow legislators.

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Veterans Expo & Blood Drive
I am pleased to once again to be hosting a Veterans Expo and Blood Drive on Saturday, November 4 in Downers Grove. This year’s event will be held from 9:30 AM until 12:30 PM at the American Legion Post 80, 4000 Saratoga Avenue in Downers Grove. I will be partnering with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) for the event, which will feature more than 30 booths staffed by professionals who provide services to veterans of all ages. Whether you are a veteran or are a family member of a veteran, please attend this informational event to learn about services that are available to those who have served in the military.

Have You Taken My Survey Yet?
Your input and opinions are very important to me and help me represent you in Springfield. If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to participate in a short survey that is currently available on my legislative web site. A paper version of the survey was mailed as part of my End of Session report several weeks ago, and I have received hundreds of responses so far. I will collect survey responses through the end of this month. Click here to get started on this quick survey!

Rep. Olsen Meets with West Suburban Fine Arts Administrators
As a product of the local schools in Downers Grove, I recognize the value of fine arts education. I recently met with the West Suburban Fine Arts Administrators group at Downers Grove South High School to learn about how fine arts education enhances educational and extracurricular opportunities for students in this area. It was an exciting and energizing conversation and I appreciate the invitation.

Time to Seek College Financial Aid for 2018-2019
While the current collegiate year has just begun for many students, now is the time to begin thinking about final aid opportunities for 2018-2019. Students can start applying for financial aid now for the next school year. When students apply through www.fafsa.ed.gov, they are considered not only for federal student aid, but also for State MAP grants and for other college-specific grants. Free expert help is available through the ISAC Student Portal. Some grant programs run out quickly, so apply early to ensure optimal opportunities to secure financial aid for college!

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