Veto Session Wrap-Up and Legislative Update: November 13, 2017

Fall Veto Session Concludes with Action Taken on Several Bills
Lawmakers were in Springfield last week for the final days of the 2017 fall veto session. Of the bills that received a partial or full veto by the Governor during the spring legislative session, more than a dozen were brought forward for successful overrides. These bills, which received a three-fifths majority override vote, are now Illinois law. 

Legislators will spend the next few months in their home districts tending to the needs of local constituents. In addition to meeting with constituents and attending local events, I will spend this time finalizing my legislative agenda for 2018. Members of the House of Representatives report back to Springfield on January 24, and Senators will return on January 30 for the 2018 regular session. My work on behalf of the residents of the 81st District will continue to focus on key issues like property tax relief, pension reform, government transparency, and improving the business climate in our State.

General Assembly Sends Comprehensive Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation to Governor
No woman or man should ever have to feel threatened or harassed in their workplace, and they should never have to accept unwanted advances in exchange for success on the job. Last week I had an opportunity to support and vote in favor of several legislative initiatives that aim to end the culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. I was proud to be a leading Republican co-sponsor of HJR 83, a measure that condemns the misogynistic culture that exists in Springfield and seeks full cooperation by all lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to adhere to a higher standard of behavior. In addition to co-sponsoring HJR 83, I also supported and voted in favor of the following additional bills that address the sexual harassment problem in and around the Capitol:
  • SB 402: Requires annual sexual harassment training for all Constitutional officers, lawmakers, state employees and registered lobbyists, and also includes a provision brought forward by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, which would create a telephone hotline for persons seeking relief in cases of sexual harassment
  • HB 137, Senate Amendment #1: Temporarily lifts the 12-month window during which allegations of misconduct may be investigated, to allows the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) to hear the 27 complaints that were filed between December 1, 2014 and November 3, 2017 when the LIG post was vacant
  • HR 687: Creates a Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment
After the votes last Tuesday, I gave an interview where I discussed the issue of sexual harassment in Springfield and how, as lawmakers, we have a responsibility to address the problem. Click here to listen to that interview.

Legislative Inspector General Appointed
The Legislative Ethics Commission, a bipartisan working group within the Illinois General Assembly, has appointed Julie Porter as a special legislative inspector general. A former federal prosecutor in Chicago, Porter will play a key role in the General Assembly’s internal disciplinary process for members and staff. The appointment came in the wake of a nationwide inquiry into sexual harassment in American workplaces.

Reports of sexual harassment can be made on a confidential basis to the Legislative Ethics Commission. With approval of the Commission, the special legislative inspector general (LIG) will examine the reports. If a complaint appears to be valid, the LIG may conduct further inquiries, and may initiate a remediation process. In some situations, the remediation process may require a referral of a specific report and case to law enforcement.

Olsen Attends Veterans Day Recognition
On Saturday the people across the nation paused to observe Veterans Day. November 11 is a day of remembrance for those who made the brave decision to serve their country and who have taken steps to defend the freedoms we all enjoy. For more than 200 years, America’s Armed Forces have been our surest guarantee that Freedom will continue to be abundant in the United States. From the soldiers who fought bravely during the American Revolution to the men and women of today’s Armed Forces, these heroes have responded bravely to this nation’s call to duty.

This year, the Village of Bolingbrook held a ceremony recognizing all who served our nation in our armed forces, and unveiled a new memorial to Vietnam Veterans dedicated to the late Deputy Mayor and Vietnam Veteran Leroy Brown. I was honored to join Vietnam Veteran and former State Representative Jim Meyer along with many residents at this important commemoration.

Olsen Supports Compromise Property Tax Relief Bill
The taxpayers of Illinois and the 81st District pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. Last Wednesday, I voted in favor of a compromise bill that would have provided much-needed property tax relief to Illinois taxpayers through increases to the residential and senior exemptions and a two-year property tax levy freeze. While SB 851 was not perfect, it represented a small step that could have provided some immediate tax relief. Especially on the heels of the 32% income tax increase that was forced upon us all earlier this year (I voted against that measure), the homeowners and businesses in our area would certainly have appreciated this relief.

While the bill passed in the House, it was never called in the Senate prior to the adjournment of veto session. High property taxes is one of the most critical issues that must be addressed in Illinois and I am committed to achieving bipartisan consensus on a solution. Long-term, taxpayers need permanent property tax relief through reforms to State government, and I look forward to continuing to work with my legislative colleagues and units of local government to find permanent solutions to Illinois government’s overreliance on property taxes.

Olsen Partners with Chamber630 for Immigration Employer Compliance Training
On November 1, it was my pleasure to partner with Chamber630 and the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition for an informative event held for business owners to help them ensure they are complying with employment and immigration law. The event was held at the Woodridge Village Hall. These laws are extremely complex and the session was able to bring some clarity to the business owners present on simple steps they can take to protect their employees and their businesses.

Representatives Olsen and Bellock Participate in Family Shelter Run in Downers Grove
I recently joined my colleague State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and other Family Shelter Service supporters at their annual Free to Fly Run/Walk at Midwestern University in Downers Grove to raise money to provide services to victims of domestic violence. We had a wonderful time talking with the people and families that came out to show their support for a great cause.

Olsen Supports Student Loan Transparency Bill
As the cost of a college education continues to increase, the amount of student loan debt students are carrying with them is also rising. in the final week of the fall veto session I voted in favor of SB 1351, which increases transparency within the student loan process and establishes state standards and requirements for servicing federal and private student loans. The following provisions are included in this new law:
  • Creates the Student Loan Bill of Rights 
  • Creates the position of Student Loan Ombudsman within the Attorney General’s Office to provide assistance to student loan borrowers. Sets forth responsibilities 
  • Requires every student loan servicer to be licensed with IDFPR which will qualify, oversee, investigate, exam, and discipline servicers for violating the law,
  • Provides that the Illinois Attorney General will enforce violations of the Student Loan Bill of Rights
Student loan debt is a real issue for many Illinois families, and these new points of law should help ensure students and families are not being taken advantage of as they navigate the loan process. During the floor discussion of this bill I spoke about the importance of transparency in the college student loan process. Click here to watch my floor comments.

Bond Sale Allows State to Pay Off More Than $3 Billion in Past-Due Bills
The money was transferred to the Office of the Illinois Comptroller, which was authorized to sign checks to make the payments. The payment cycle reduced the estimated quantity of past-due bills owed by the State from more than $16.5 billion to less than $13.3 billion. Even after this payment cycle, Illinois continues to owe a significant quantity of past-due bills.

Bicentennial Campaign Will Honor 200 Illinois Veterans
State officials have announced the launch of HONOR 200, a signature program of the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration, honoring the work of 200 veterans whose contributions are above and beyond the call of duty.

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs will work with veteran's organizations throughout the state to promote HONOR 200 and solicit nominations for those who will be recognized as part of the program. Nominees will be evaluated on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community. Anyone can nominate an Illinois Veteran. Written nominations can be sent to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60601 or on-line at www.illinois.gov/veterans.

The Official Illinois Bicentennial Celebration will begin this December 3rd, 2017 with events in Springfield and Chicago. The celebration will continue with programs and events throughout 2018, ending with the Bicentennial Birthday Party on December 3rd, 2018 at the United Center. The HONOR 200 veterans will be recognized during the Birthday Gala. For information on the Bicentennial and to find out how your community can participate go to www.illinois200.gov.

“Turkey Trot Runs” Coming Up Around the 81st District
As Thanksgiving approaches, a number of fun and/or competitive races are coming up in and around the 81st District. I hope you might be able to enjoy some exercise before we all sit down to a hearty Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.

Lisle: Turkey Trot Tune-Up 5k
Downers Grove: 14th Annual Bonfield Express
  • Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23
  • 8:30 AM Start Time
  • Early Online Registration until Thursday, November 16 at 10:00 PM
  • $30 individual/$100 family of four
  • On-site Registration at Good Samaritan Wellness Center, 3551 Highland Avenue, Downers Grove
    • Saturday, November 18 from 11:00 am — 3:00 pm
    • Sunday, November 19 from 11:00 am — 3:00 pm
    • $35 individual/$115 family of four
  • On-site Race Day Registration at Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Avenue, Downers Grove
    • Thanksgiving / Thursday, November 23 from 7:00 — 8:00 am
    • $40 individual ONLY (cash or check only)
  • https://www.bonfieldexpress.com/registration
Naperville: Turkey Trot
Westmont: Westfield Rotary Club’s Ugly Sweater 5K
Happy Thanksgiving!
Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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