Governor Rauner Presents State of the State Address
This week in Springfield, Governor Bruce Rauner presented his State of the State Address before a joint session of the House and Senate. During the 35-minute speech, he struck an optimistic tone and spoke of the great opportunity afforded to us as legislators during these difficult times. The key line in the speech, in my opinion, is when the Governor said we have a moral obligation to work together for change. Those words strike at the center of our purpose as lawmakers in Springfield. We do need to work together and we do need to respect each other’s points of view. Only then will we move forward in a bipartisan fashion and make Illinois a place where people truly want to live and stay. 
While the budget impasse monopolizes political discussions right now, Governor Rauner pointed to some legitimate accomplishments that have occurred during the last two years. Progress that has been made in the areas of education funding, ethics reform, government efficiency and transparency and job creation stand as proof that positive change is possible. As legislators, we need to build on those accomplishments.

Following the Governor’s remarks, I spoke on camera and gave my reaction to the address. You can watch that video here.

Madigan’s House Rules Adopted on Party-Line Vote
On the day before the State of the State Address, the House convened to adopt the rules that will govern the movement of legislation during the 100th General Assembly. House Democrats used their majority status to push through a set of House Rules that strengthen the power of Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and muffle the voices of rank-and-file legislators and the constituents they represent. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and several members of our caucus proposed rules that would have improved transparency and allowed all lawmakers, regardless of party affiliation, to have their bills heard. The Republican proposal included the following measures:
  • Allowing the discharge of bills from the Rules Committee when at least 71 lawmakers (a supermajority) vote to allow a bill to be brought forward for consideration
  • Requiring public advanced notice of Rules Committee hearings
  • Creating a public review period for committee amendments
  • Extending the public review period for floor amendments
  • Requiring a public review period on all budget bills
  • Requiring a year-round review of the state budget and spending
  • Automatic referral of Bills to a substantive committee during the first year of every General Assembly
  • Requiring the second reading of bills to occur in open session rather than in perfunctory session
These reasonable changes would have ensured that every lawmaker could more fully represent his or her constituents and would have also provided a much-needed new layer of transparency as bills move through the legislative process.

Despite the adoption of the Speaker’s rules, I remain hopeful that my 2017 legislative initiatives will be given a fair hearing in Springfield. I will urge bipartisanship at every step and work with colleagues from both sides of the aisle on legislation that is good for our district and for all of Illinois.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan Files Suit to Stop State Workers’ Pay
On Thursday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit seeking to stop state worker pay during the budget impasse. Specifically, she is asking that a preliminary injunction that allowed state workers to be paid during this time with no budget or appropriation be dissolved. If successful, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza would lose the authority to approve payments to state employees as of February 28.

Shortly after news of the lawsuit was made public, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) in a statement said, “The timing of the Attorney General’s action is questionable in light of the current attempts to resolve the budget impasse. This decision clearly undermines the legislature’s duty to negotiate a bipartisan solution.”

The Chicago Sun Times broke the news Thursday evening. You can read that article here.

Following Governor Bruce Rauner's State of the State Address on Wednesday, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) said he felt the key line in the speech was "We have a moral obligation to work together for change." Olsen went on to talk about how working together will transform Illinois into a state where people want to stay, relocate and go to school. You may listen to the full interview here.
Today in Springfield, Governor Bruce Rauner presented his third annual State of the State Address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. Following the Governor’s 30-minute speech, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) issued the following statement:

“The key line for me from the Governor’s speech today was his comment that we all have a moral obligation to work together for change. That really summarizes what we’re here to do, and I think the Governor set the stage for that kind of bipartisanship today.”

“While the need for a truly balanced budget with reforms remains in the forefront of what we need to accomplish as a legislature, I was pleased that the Governor reminded us all that in the face of these challenges we are also afforded great opportunity. I appreciated his optimistic tone, and hope his positivity can serve as the first step toward renewed bipartisanship, which is something every Illinoisan deserves.”

“The Governor pointed to some very real accomplishments that seem to be getting lost in the conversation. Last year funding for Pre-K-12 Education was the highest it has ever been, and solid progress has been made in the areas of ethics reform and government efficiency. These are tangible accomplishments that are already making a difference. These positive steps, combined with the ‘Intersect Illinois’ jobs initiative that is recruiting employers like Amazon to expand in our state, is proof that positive change is happening. ”
On January 17th, Representative David S. Olsen toured Joliet’s Center for Disability Services, which serves Will County and the surrounding areas in Kankakee, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Ford and Iroquois Counties. The organization, founded in 1955, is dedicated to advancing the independence of people with a variety of disabilities. Over time the center’s services have expended to the point where today the center offers a wide range of services for individuals and families impacted by intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, traumatic brain injuries, autism and other developmental disabilities. The center’s dedicated staff offers a Melvin J. Larson Education Center, a family support program, a respite care program and adult services, which include developmental training and residential services. The center is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Olsen is shown in the photo with Director Sue Knaperek.


Historic 100th General Assembly Sworn In on January 11
On Wednesday I stood with House Republicans and Democrats from across Illinois as we were sworn in to office for the 100th General Assembly. The two-hour inauguration ceremony was held at the University of Illinois Springfield campus. As my first vote of the 100th General Assembly, I voted for Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) to serve as Speaker of the House for 2017-2018. While all 51 Republicans supported Durkin in the House Speaker vote, 66 of the 67 Democrats voted for Mike Madigan to retain his position of power. As a result, Speaker Madigan will now become the longest-serving Speaker of the House in the history of our nation. Regardless of my disappointment over the choice for our leader, I plan to work in a bipartisan fashion with all members of this new General Assembly on bills that will grow jobs, improve government transparency and protect taxpayers and seniors.

Interestingly, more than half of the 51 Republican House members have served for less than three years. Twelve House Republican members participated in their first inauguration ceremony this week, while an additional 16 Republican House members were inaugurated for only the second time. Seven new Democrats also took their oath for the first time on Wednesday. As part of this newer, younger House Republican Caucus, we are committed to utilizing a fresh approach as we work collectively to enact necessary reforms that will put Illinois back onto a path toward financial stability and make our state a place where residents and businesses thrive. Prior to entering the auditorium at UIS, I gave a radio interview and outlined my goals for the 100th General Assembly. You can listen to that interview here.

After the formal ceremony, I attended several receptions, including one held by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin in his Capitol office. The 12 newest Republican State Representatives and their families were able to gather is this smaller setting and discuss their shared goals for the next two years.

Olsen 2017 Legislative Agenda Taking Shape
On the first day of the new General Assembly on Wednesday, I filed my first 12 bills. I have a comprehensive 2017 legislative agenda which includes several pro-jobs initiatives, bills that improve government transparency and measures that protect taxpayers and seniors. You can follow the progress of these and other bills that have not yet been finalized at www.ilga.gov, and by clicking on House Members, and my name.

The bills which I filed on January 11 include:

  • HB 287: Requires that property tax bills detail on a separate line item for each taxing district the dollar amount of tax due that will be used toward contributions to a public pension fund for that district’s employees. 
  • HB 288: Addresses voter fraud by providing that any person who knowingly files an application to vote, accepts a ballot, or enters a voting machine on more than one occasion on the same election day where the ballot or machine lists any of the same candidates and issues (except to legally give assistance, to replace a spoiled or rejected ballot, or at the direction of a judge of elections), shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony. 
  • HB 289: Increases the Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption from $5,000 to $7,000 for taxable year 2017 and indexes the exemption amount to the Consumer Price Index.
  • HB 290: Requires any unit of local government serving a population of 5,000 or more and any school district with an enrollment of 500 or more students to maintain an Internet website and post to that website certain information that affects taxpayers and stakeholders. 
  • HB 291: Eliminates pensions for future part time elected officials.
  • HB 292: Requires that over the counter medications that are prescribed by a physician, a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner, or any other medical care provider shall be covered under the State's medical assistance program. 
  • HB 293: Prevents the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) from accepting any new participants beginning January 1, 2018; thus phasing out this pension system.
  • HB 294: Provides that members of a County Board of Election Commissioners shall serve in an unpaid capacity.
  • HB 295: Clarifies that for purposes of determining their pensions, teacher’s salary does not include expense reimbursements, expense allowances, or fringe benefits such as car allowances or mileage reimbursements.
  • HB 296: Improves transparency and accountability during the State budget process by requiring the Commission on Governmental Forecasting and Accountability to publish fiscal statements prior to the creation of a budget.
  • HB 297: Increases to 60 days (from the current 30 days) the time period during which taxpayers in counties outside of Cook can file a challenge of their property assessment valuation, provided they submit an appraisal.
  • HB 301: Requires all State agencies that wish to hold a public hearing regarding rulemaking to post on its Internet website certain requisite information to provide the public with notice of the proposed rulemaking. It also provides that if an agency decides not to initiate a public hearing, it shall post the requirements to request a public hearing, along with information on the proposed rulemaking, on its Internet website. 
I will be in my District Office all of next week, but will return to Springfield the week of January 24 for legislative business and the annual State of the State Address, which will take place in House Chambers on Wednesday, January 25. As always, it is my pleasure to serve you. If my staff or I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at (630) 737-0504, or through the contact form found at www.repolsen.com.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) was sworn into office today for the historic 100th Illinois General Assembly during an hour-long inauguration ceremony held at the University of Illinois Springfield campus. Olsen was appointed to the 81st District seat in July of 2016 and was elected to the seat in the November election last year.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve in this Centennial General Assembly,” said Olsen. “While I am looking to the future with high hopes for a better Illinois, I am very aware that the issues that have been pressing for many years – the need for balanced budgets, pension reform and an improved business climate – remain our biggest struggles today.”

Olsen is part of a newer House Republican Caucus, where more than half of the 51 members have served less than three years. Twelve House Republican members participated in their first inauguration ceremony today, while an additional 16 Republican House members were being inaugurated for only the second time. “We are committed to utilizing a fresh approach as we work collectively to enact necessary reforms that will put Illinois back onto a path toward financial stability and make our state a place where residents and businesses thrive,” Olsen said.

A 2011 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Olsen holds degrees in Finance and in Management. His professional background is in the field of ethics and compliance for the commodities trading industry. At just 28 years of age, Olsen has served as a Commissioner and as Mayor Pro Tem in his hometown of Downers Grove, and he is currently finishing a term on the College of DuPage Board. Apart from his elected positions, he also serves on the Board of Directors for the District 58 Education Foundation and is active with his local Chamber of Commerce. 

Olsen is finalizing a comprehensive 2017 legislative agenda which includes several pro-jobs initiatives, bills that improve government transparency and measures that protect taxpayers and seniors. Follow his legislation at http://ilga.gov/house/RepBills.asp?MemberID=2287.