State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is co-sponsoring two measures this year that seek to take the legislative map-drawing process out of the hands of politicians and ensure a fair and transparent method for creating legislative districts and maps.

HJRCA 46 would provide for the creation of an independent legislative redistricting commission, which would lead a detailed review process of maps submitted by any Illinoisan who would wish to suggest a map. The commission, appointed equally by the four legislative leaders from the Republican and Democratic caucuses, would provide the public with necessary data and tools with which to create map proposals. A multi-faceted scoring rubric would be used to rank all submissions with higher scores generated by maps that keep municipalities and counties together and which are compact in nature. The three highest-scoring maps would be brought to the House and Senate, where a three-fifths majority vote would be required for passage of one of the three maps. In the event that consensus is not reached, the highest-scoring map would be certified by the Secretary of State and become law.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for fair maps in Illinois,” said Olsen. “It could very well be the most important thing we could do as lawmakers to restore integrity and true democracy to our election process. This legislative solution takes political influence out of the equation and allows citizens and the commission to drive the process. Most importantly, HJRCA 46 takes into account previous fair maps proposals that have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts, and addresses those specific points in a manner that should withstand a court challenge.”

According to Olsen, HJRCA 46 retains and repurposes the current constitutional participants in the mapping process (redistricting commission, General Assembly, Secretary of State) in order to conform with Illinois court decisions about citizen-led map initiatives. The amendment also increases the number of Representative districts to 119 from 118.

“We must put an end to gerrymandering, which allows partisan politicians to draw maps that protect themselves and all but guarantee a continuation of majority status,” Olsen said.

In addition to HJRCA 46, Olsen joined all members of the House Republican Caucus on Wednesday in filing HR 995, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process for the upcoming redistricting cycle. Both proposals would apply to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the elections to be held in 2022.

Olsen spoke on the House floor regarding these measures on Thursday. His floor comments can be seen here.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is offering one local college student or rising high school senior an opportunity to do a paid internship in his Downers Grove office this summer.

“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,” said Olsen. “The intern will accompany me to community events and gain a solid understanding of how legislators reach out to their constituents and gain their input on matters that affect the lives of Illinoisans.”

Interested individuals should send the following to Olsen’s 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 (optional) 

Applications will be accepted through Friday, May 11 at 4:00 PM.

“This is a unique opportunity for a high school senior or college student to gain a great deal of experience about the legislative process,” said Olsen. “I look forward to reviewing the submissions from this year’s pool of applicants.”

The 81st District is located predominantly in DuPage County with a small portion stretching into Will County. The District includes portions of Bolingbrook, Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge. For more information about the Olsen summer internship, please contact his Downers Grove office at (630) 737-0504.
State Representative David S. Olsen received unanimous House approval today on legislation that provides consistency with regard to residency requirements for elected officials in Illinois.

HB 2222 puts in place a one-year residency requirement for library trustees and disqualifies from service any candidate convicted of a felony or who is delinquent in taxes or fees owed to the library district.

“Today’s Illinois Library Act contains very few qualifications for library trustees,” said Olsen. “Residency requirements and disqualification language for those convicted of felonies is common in other local government codes, and my bill simply provides consistency for those who wish to serve as a library trustee.”

According to Olsen, the idea for the legislation was brought to him by Lisle Library District Trustee Tom Hummel. “This bill closes a loophole in the state statute and strengthens the language on the residency requirement to run for library trustee,” said Hummel. “It’s great we have a representative like Rep. David Olsen, who pays close attention to detail.”

If approved by the Senate and signed into law, the provisions of HB 2222 will apply beginning with candidates in the 2019 consolidated election. The bill now moves to the Senate, where State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove) will sponsor the bill.

Click here to watch video of Olsen presenting the bill.
Committee Deadline Passes in Springfield
The House was in session April 9-13 for a hectic week of committee and floor action. It was also a busy week for me, as two of my bills were passed by the full House and six bills were approved in their respective House committees - all on unanimous, bipartisan votes. The bills advanced through committee were: 
  • HB 2222: Provides consistency with regard to residency requirements for elected officials, by putting in place one-year residency requirements for library trustees. 
  • HB 4191: Provides that a person is immune from civil liability for property damage caused from forcible entry into a vehicle to save a dog or cat that is at risk of death due to extreme temperatures. 
  • HB 4867: Requires disclosure and notification when an adult with disabilities is assigned a guardian who is serving as guardian over more than five adults. 
  • HB 5165: Clarifies that the Human Rights Act applies to local governments. 
  • HB 5170: Updates various terms within the Illinois School Code and repeals an outdated provision that prohibits a regional superintendent from working in another profession. 
  • HB 5477: Requires animal shelters and animal control facilities to report information regarding dogs and cats received from other states or countries. 
I’m shown in the photo above with Alex Burke from the Department on Aging as we presented HB 4867 before the House Judiciary-Civil Committee on Tuesday, April 10. All six of these bills, in addition to others that received favorable committee votes in March, now move to the floor of the House for final action.

Pro-Business & Pro-Consumer Bill Marks Rep. Olsen’s First Approved Bill of 2018
On Wednesday, April 11, I received unanimous House support of my first approved bill of 2018. HB 4805 is a bill that reduces costs to specific Illinois businesses and protects consumers who use money transmitting services like Western Union and PayPal. The legislation brings the Surety Bond requirement for money transmitters more in line with the actual costs associated with risk by reducing the bond amount. By reducing the current $100,000 minimum bond requirement to the greater of $50,000 or 1% of all Illinois-based money transmission activity, we will reduce costs to existing businesses and lower costs for new companies that would like to do business in Illinois. Additionally, changing the basis for calculating the Surety Bond Requirement will better protect Illinois consumers who use money transmitter services. 

The request for the change was brought to my attention by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The bill received unanimous committee support by the House Financial Institutions Committee in early March and unanimous support from the full House of Representatives on Wednesday in a 113-0-0 vote. The bill now moves to the Illinois Senate for consideration where it will be sponsored by State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet).

Olsen Bill that Removes Redundant Provisions at DHS Sails through House
On Thursday I received unanimous House approval of HB 5031, which repeals redundant and irrelevant statutory language and requirements in the Department of Human Services (DHS) Act. Under current law, each State human services agency, Human Services, Public Health, Health and Family Services, and Aging is directed to adopt joint rules to establish a cross-agency prequalification process for contracting with human service providers. Recent legislation has rendered this collaborative effort on cross-agency prequalification and master service agreements unnecessary. 

A few years ago the legislature worked with the four human service agencies to develop a new, more efficient process governing the oversight of the selection and monitoring of grant recipients. This new process ensures quality programs and limits fraud, waste, and abuse. It was formalized with the passage of the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act, which is administered by Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) and not the individual agencies. HB 5031 now heads to the Senate where it will be sponsored by Senator Pam Althoff (R-McHenry).

Olsen to Offer Summer Internship
This summer I will once again be 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 (optional) 
We will be accepting applicants through Friday, May 11 at 4:00 PM.

Constitutionally-Mandated Revenue Estimate Absent as Budget Discussions Begin
With just six weeks of session remaining in the 2018 session year, the General Assembly has yet to fulfill its constitutional requirement to adopt a revenue estimate. This estimate is of critical importance, as it is supposed to guide budget discussions to ensure a balanced budget, which is also mandated through the Illinois Constitution. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Madigan on February 7, emphasizing the need for the House of Representatives to agree on a revenue estimate immediately.

Speaking to the press on Monday, April 9, Governor Bruce Rauner framed his overall legislative agenda around the State’s need for a balanced, full –year budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The Governor’s call came in the context of widespread rumors in Springfield that some seek a partial budget or a deficit budget.

Illinois’ budget picture has been clouded by the State’s continuing inability to enact permanent reforms to its pension systems. Illinois is legally responsible for $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, an expense which must be paid by state taxpayers. The unfunded pension crisis is a key element in the continuing decision by New York’s three major credit-rating agencies to rank Illinois debt at close to “junk bond” level.

Rep. Olsen Joins House Republican Leader Durkin in Opposing Progressive Income Tax Proposals
A 2018 WalletHub study shows that Illinois has the highest effective state and local tax burden in the nation. On April 10, I joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) in filing HR 975, a measure that opposes progressive income tax legislation currently pending in the General Assembly. I am proud to be a Chief Co-Sponsor of the resolution. 

These progressive income tax proposals would raise taxes for most Illinoisans, including the vast majority of people living in the 81st District. Sadly, over the last few decades we have seen that the leadership of this state cannot be trusted to fairly implement a progressive tax system because the state refuses to control spending. By implementing a progressive income tax, we would be driving our higher income earners out of Illinois and saddling middle class families with a huge tax increase, all without any spending controls whatsoever. There are currently two progressive income tax proposals pending in the Senate and one proposal pending in the House.

Durkin, Olsen and Curran to Partner on Free Recycling/Document Shredding Event
On Saturday, May 5 I will partner with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and State Senator John F. Curran for a free recycling and paper shredding event. Between the hours of 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon, people will have an opportunity to drop off up to two bags of document to be shredded and deliver electronics and other items for recycling. Televisions and computer monitors will not be accepted. The event will be held at Burr Ridge Middle School, 15W451 91st Street in Burr Ridge. Click here to view a full list of items that will be accepted, and please note that due to the size of the shred truck we will have to adhere to a strict two-bag per vehicle limit for document shredding. For additional information, please call my office at (630) 737-0504. 

Downers Grove Officials Visit State Capitol
Last Wednesday I was visited in Springfield by several members of the Downers Grove Village Council, who were in town to share information on issues facing municipalities. After discussing issues of importance, I was able to bring them to the floor of the House for an up-close look at where we conduct State business. I’m shown in this picture with State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove), State Representative Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), Downers Grove Commissioners Marge Earl, William Waldack, Nicole Walus, and Bill White, and Downers Grove Plan Commission Member Richard Kulovany. 

Representatives Olsen and Connor Pay Tribute to Woodridge Park District Commissioner
Last week it was my privilege to honor the life of Jim Duffy of Woodridge through a resolution which was approved in the House. Jim was a valued community servant who was elected to the Woodridge Park District Board of Commissioners in 1987. He served his community with distinction for more than 30 years and believed every Woodridge resident should have a park within walking distance of their home. Click here to read the resolution.

Olsen Experiences a Day in the Life of a Firefighter at Fire Ops 101 Event
On Saturday I spent an outstanding day at the Associated Firefighters of Illinois Fire Ops 101 Program, where I experienced firsthand the challenges firefighters face in their day-to-day work. Thank you to Scott Cavenaile and Rob Pekelder from the Downers Grove Professional Firefighters Association for inviting me, and the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois for hosting this excellent program for community leaders. I’m shown in this photo with Scott Cavenaile, Rob Pekelder and Downers Grove Village Manager David Fieldman, who also participated in the Fire Ops 101 class. 

Naperville School District 203 Wins Top Ranking in Best of Best Study
Congratulations to Naperville’s Community Unit School District 203, which was recently ranked #1 on the list of Illinois’ 100 best school districts by Backgroundchecks.org, an online portal that helps users find public records and run background checks. The ranking, which evaluated 9,577 districts, was made from data on students’ math and reading test scores from the Center for Education Policy Analysis, dropout rates and school funding from the National Center for Education Statistics and area poverty rates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Olsen Joins Lawmakers for School District 58 Legislative Meeting 
On April 6 I joined Senator John F. Curran and representatives from Congressman Peter Roskam and Congressman Bill Foster’s offices for a meeting of the District 58 Legislative Committee in Downers Grove. The event was rescheduled after a snowstorm in February caused a cancellation of the annual Legislative Breakfast. Each year the school district brings elected officials together for a discussion about local and state issues of importance, especially those issues that impact K-12 education. We engaged in a great conversation and I appreciated hearing feedback from those who are immersed in the field. 

Area Realtors Visit Springfield for Annual Lobby Day
Last Tuesday, realtors from across Illinois visited Springfield and spoke with lawmakers about their spring legislative session priorities. I had a great conversation with a large group from DuPage County when they stopped by my office in the Stratton Building.

Springfield, IL… State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) today unanimously passed House Bill 5031 to repeal redundant and irrelevant statutory language and requirements in the Department of Human Services Act.

“This bill helps to clarify and streamline Illinois law to reflect other recent statutory changes,” said Rep. Olsen. “Wherever possible we should seek to make state government more efficient and effective in providing services to Illinoisans – and this bill is a small step in that effort.”

Under current law each State human services agency, Human Services, Public Health, Health and Family Services, and Aging is directed to adopt joint rules to establish a cross-agency prequalification process for contracting with human service providers. Recent legislation has rendered this collaborative effort on cross-agency prequalification and master service agreements unnecessary.

A few years ago the legislature worked with the four human service agencies to develop a new, more efficient process governing the oversight of the selection and monitoring of grant recipients. This new process ensures quality programs and limits fraud, waste, and abuse. It was formalized with the passage of the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act, which is administered by Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) and not the individual agencies.

Olsen’s bill removes a remaining provision in the Department of Human Services Act that is unnecessary and contradictory with the passage of the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act.

HB 5031 passed the House on a 110-0-0 vote. It now heads to the Senate where it will be sponsored by Senator Pam Althoff (R-McHenry).
On April 5, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) partnered with State Senator John F. Curran and representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to discuss the assessments used in Illinois public schools. A recording of the event can be found here.
State Representative David S. Olsen’s (R-Downers Grove) first approved bill of 2018 is a pro-business bill that reduces costs to specific Illinois businesses and protects consumers who use money transmitting services like Western Union and PayPal.

HB 4805 brings the Surety Bond requirement for money transmitters more in line with the actual costs associated with risk by reducing the bond amount. “By reducing the current $100,000 minimum bond requirement to the greater of $50,000 or 1% of all Illinois-based money transmission activity, we will reduce costs to existing businesses and lower costs for new companies who would like to do business in Illinois,” said Olsen. “Additionally, changing the basis for calculating the Surety Bond Requirement will better protect Illinois consumers who use money transmitter services.”

According to Olsen, the request for the change was brought to him by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The bill received unanimous committee support by the House Financial Institutions Committee in early March and unanimous support from the full House of Representatives on Wednesday in a 113-0-0 vote.

The bill now moves to the Illinois Senate for consideration.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) today in filing HR 975, a measure that opposes progressive income tax legislation currently pending in the General Assembly. Olsen is a Chief Co-Sponsor of the resolution.

“The General Assembly cannot continue spending money frivolously and expect Illinois taxpayers to pick up the tab with more tax increases like this progressive income tax proposal from the Democrat Party,” said Durkin. “It is our constitutional duty to protect our constituents, and we will remain firm as a caucus on blocking any progressive tax measures.”

Olsen echoed Durkin’s remarks, and added, “These progressive income tax proposals would raise taxes for most Illinoisans, including the vast majority of people living in the 81st District. The people I represent simply cannot afford to pay more taxes.”

According to Olsen, a recent WalletHub study showed that Illinois already has the highest effective state and local tax burden in the nation. “Quite honestly, the leadership of this state cannot be trusted to fairly implement a progressive tax system,” Olsen said. “We have seen over the last few decades that the state will not control spending. By implementing a progressive income tax, we would be driving our higher income earners out of Illinois and saddling middle class families with a huge tax increase, all without any spending controls whatsoever.”

There are currently two progressive income tax proposals pending in the Senate and one proposal pending in the House.
General Assembly Returns to Springfield for Busy Committee Week
Lawmakers return to Springfield today for a very busy week of committee hearings and floor action. Friday, April 13 is the deadline by which all House Bills must receive approval by a substantive committee. I will personally be presenting bills before the Judiciary-Civil, Human Services, Cities & Villages, Elections & Campaign Finance, Agriculture & Conservation, and Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committees this week.

Education Town Hall Draws Large Crowd in Downers Grove
On Thursday, April 5, more than 100 people joined Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove), Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Director of Assessment & Accountability Rae Clementz, ISBE Director of Legislative Affairs Sarah Hartwig, and me for a productive town hall meeting that focused on the assessments used in Illinois public schools including PARCC and the SAT. In my conversations with constituents in the 81st District, I find that many residents have questions and concerns about the assessments used in our public school classrooms. I was pleased to partner with Senator Curran and ISBE to provide information and offer residents an opportunity to deliver feedback and have their questions answered. Thanks to all who came out for this informational event. You can view the presentation slides from the event here, and video of the event will soon be available on my web site. I’ll also soon share on my web site written responses from ISBE to questions we were unable to cover at the forum. 

Rep. Olsen Champions Legislation to Strengthen Cyberstalking Law
Stalking has grown beyond physical shadowing to also cover conduct on social media. This year I am proud to be the Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 5829, which expands the definition of these criminal acts and the course of conduct that encompasses them, to cover the sending of unwanted messages via social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Stalking and the liability atmosphere created by this conduct are now also encompassing Illinois institutions. HB 5829 would grant standing to churches, workplaces, and schools to initiate citizen complaints intended to conclude in a charge of stalking. The bill would also authorize a court to order that a violator subject to a stalking no contact order must submit to a mental health evaluation or wear an electronic monitoring device as a condition of receiving the no contact order.

Olsen Helps Kick Off Child Abuse Prevention Month
Last Thursday I was honored to attend the Child Abuse Prevention Month blue bow kick-off event at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. This year’s theme, “Supporting Great Childhoods”, is a call to action to help prevent child abuse and neglect by providing parents and families with support for children to thrive. 

In FY2017, there were 252,568 calls to the Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline resulting in an average of 1,500 investigations per week in Illinois. The impact of abuse on children manifests itself in many ways. Children may experience a range of emotional, psychological and physical problems and trauma as a result of being abused or neglected. Abused and neglected children are more likely to be self-destructive or aggressive, to abuse drugs and/or alcohol or become young offenders.

Please call the 24-hour Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873) or TTY 1-800-358-5117) if you suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect. If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first. More information can be found online at the DCFS Child Protection web site.

Olsen and Curran Host Second Coffee & Conversation Event
We had another great turnout last week when Senator John F. Curran and I hosted our second Coffee & Conversation event. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), and Darien Mayor Kathleen Weaver joined us for the event, which was held at the Blueberry Hill Breakfast Café in Darien. We had good conversations with many constituents about issues of importance in Illinois. 

Taxpayers to Receive Full Benefit of Prepaid Property Taxes
Shortly after the U.S. Congress passed legislation in December eliminating the unlimited property tax deduction on itemized returns in favor of a capped $10,000 deduction for 2018 and beyond, suburban homeowners flooded county treasurers' offices to prepay their 2017 property taxes payable in 2018 to maximize their 2017 federal tax deductions. However, an IRS advisory issued in late December raised question whether homeowners could deduct those payments. Congressman Peter Roskam wrote a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department seeking clarification on the issue. Click here to read Roskam’s letter and click here to read the U.S. Treasury response. I am happy to report that Illinois homeowners who prepaid property taxes at the end of 2017 can definitely deduct that payment from their itemized income tax returns.

Rep. Olsen Visits Community Adult Day Care Center
On Thursday it was my pleasure to visit Community Adult Day Center in Downers Grove. The center is a nonprofit organization that offers families a quality, affordable care option or complimentary support to in-home care or assisted living and may help adults stay in their homes longer. The center, located in the heart of the 81st District, has provided an interactive, safe, and compassionate environment for adults who cannot safely be left alone, with a focus on their mental, physical, and emotional well-being since 1986. Community Adult Day Center operates Mondays through Fridays and serves residents from across our district and beyond. Click here to learn more about this wonderful community organization. 

Hundreds Brave Cold Weather to Participate in 2018 Mustang Trot 5K
Cold weather over the weekend did not stop a large group of runners and walkers from coming out for the 2018 Mustang Trot 5K, sponsored by the Downers Grove South Key Club. Proceeds from the event benefited the LUNGevity Foundation. LUNGevity is the nation’s leading lung cancer-focused non-profit, where dedicated professionals are working to change outcomes for people with lung cancer through research, education and support. I was glad to run in this annual 5K with Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and Downers Grove Village Commissioner Nicole Walus. 

State Board Finalizes Evidence-Based Funding for Fiscal Year 2018 On Thursday, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issued vouchers to the Illinois State Comptroller, paving the way for $295 million in tier funding from the new Evidence-Based School Funding Formula to flow to the most under-resourced school districts in Illinois. “Implementing a radically new funding formula required extraordinary effort by ISBE staff and school districts,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I deeply appreciate Governor Rauner and the General Assembly’s commitment through the passage, cleanup, and distribution of this historic first year of Evidence-Based Funding.” Click here to view the complete model of fiscal year 2018 Evidence-Based Funding calculations. You can learn more about the Evidence-Based Funding formula here.

First Illinois Laws Available for Public Viewing
When Illinois became a state in 1818, its first General Assembly had to enact a law code to govern the new state. The first law code was enacted in the then-state capitol of Kaskaskia in southwestern Illinois. A law code totaling 387 pages was composed in lead type, set up letter by letter by a print shop. The law code had to provide for the needs of a frontier state. For example, a law printed on page 111 orders all county sheriffs to “quell and suppress all affrays, riots, routs and insurrections, and all species of crimes and breaches of the peace.” 

Copies of the 1819 law code continue to exist to this day and can be accessed through the “Laws of Illinois” website operated by Western Illinois University (WIU). The Laws of Illinois website, which provides access to laws and legal texts from throughout Illinois’ history, was recognized this week as an official Illinois Bicentennial Project.

Illinois State Police to Begin Providing Prescription Drug Collection Receptacles The Illinois State Police (ISP) is teaming up with the Save a Star Drug Awareness Foundation to help decrease prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse. Five ISP District headquarters across the state will house receptacles for people to drop off their unused and unwanted prescription medications. ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz says the receptacles will be placed at their District headquarters in Des Plaines, Elgin, Joliet, Collinsville, and LaSalle. People will be able to drop over-the-counter and prescription medications into the receptacles, including controlled substances, pet medications, drug samples, vitamins, liquids and creams. For safety reasons, needles, thermometers, IV Bags, bloody waste and hydrogen peroxide cannot be accepted and should not be deposited into the receptacles. The initiative is another step in the state’s effort to reduce opioid-related deaths in Illinois by 33% in three years.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) and State Rep. David Olsen (R-Downers Grove) are hosting their next Coffee and Conversation event in Darien with Mayor Kathleen Weaver to visit with constituents and discuss their thoughts about state and local issues.

The event is on Wednesday, April 4 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Blueberry Hill Breakfast Cafe in Darien. All residents are encouraged to attend and bring any questions they have for their state and local officials. Coffee, snacks and different refreshments will be provided.

"With only two months left of this year's legislative session, it is important that we hear straight from our constituents about top issues and priorities in their communities," said Durkin. "Only through a collaborative, bipartisan process will we be able to see real change in Illinois, and I look forward to working together in ensuring residents of our communities see their priorities addressed in Springfield."

"Numerous residents have written in to my office about different state issues, from public safety to education, so our Coffee and Conversation event is a really nice opportunity to sit down and discuss their priorities and concerns at the state and local levels," said Curran. "Even more advantageous, there will be four public officials in one room to answer questions. I'm looking forward to getting more input and insight from my district, so I can best represent their interests when I return to Springfield on April 10."

"These events provide us with a valuable opportunity to meet with the people we represent in Springfield," said Olsen. "I look forward to talking with constituents about the issues that are important to them."

For more information about this free event, please contact Leader Durkin's office at (630) 325-2028, Senator Curran's office at (630) 796-2623 or Representative Olsen's office at (630) 737-0504.
Parents, teachers, school administrators and other interested constituents from Illinois’ 81st House District and the 41st Senate District are invited to join State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove), State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove) and representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for an Education Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, April 5.

The event, which will focus on the assessments used in Illinois public schools, will take place from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM at the Downers Grove Park District’s Lincoln Center, 935 Maple Avenue in Downers Grove. Representatives from ISBE will present information about assessments, including PARCC and SAT, and a question and answer period will follow.

“As I speak with people throughout the 81st District, I find that many have questions and concerns about the assessments used in our public school classrooms,” said Olsen. “I am pleased to partner with Senator Curran and ISBE to provide information about PARCC, SAT and other assessments, and offer residents an opportunity to deliver feedback and have their questions answered.”

“With standardized testing playing such a dominant role in a student's academic career, it's crucial parents and teachers are kept informed about the latest processes and know what students can expect-from the K-8 Testing to the ACT's and SAT's,” said Curran. “We're so glad to have ISBE here, as one of the top education resources, to address the concerns parents in our area have about the required testing.”

RSVPs are appreciated for this meeting. If you would like to attend, please RSVP at the Olsen office at (630) 737-0504 or at the Curran office at (630) 796-2623.

In honor of Women’s History Month, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is paying tribute to Lottie Holman O’Neill, the first female legislator in the Illinois General Assembly.

Lottie Holman O’Neill lived most of her life as a resident of Downers Grove, and represented the entire area that is now known as the 81st District as a lawmaker in Springfield. “Lottie Holman O’Neill was a leading voice that took the women’s equality movement to new heights, and it is a privilege for me to now sit in the seat that was once occupied by this extraordinary woman,” said Olsen. “Representative O’Neill sponsored pivotal legislation establishing an eight-hour work day for women in Illinois and was also a fierce advocate for disabled children and for parks, as well as for schools and civil rights. She eventually moved from the House to the Senate, where she retired in 1962 after 40 years in the General Assembly – making her the longest-serving female elected official in America at the time. Widely respected by lawmakers from both chambers and from both sides of the aisle, Senator O’Neill ultimately became known as the “conscience of the Senate.”

A statue of Lottie Holman O’Neill can be found in the Illinois Capitol in the Second Floor Rotunda. Click here to learn more about Illinois’ first female lawmaker.
Long before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote nationwide, a young woman named Lottie Holman O’Neill from Downers Grove was paving the way for women to not only vote, but hold public office.

Originally from Pike County in western Illinois, Lottie Holman O’Neill married in 1904 and moved to Downers Grove to pursue a career. She became an activist for equal voting rights, working with the League of Women Voters during the debate on the 19th Amendment.

In 1913, women were granted the right to vote only for President of the United States, but that wasn’t good enough for Lottie. She wanted women to have access to every race on every ballot. Her persistence paid off, when Illinois became the first state in the union to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Inspired to enter politics by U.S. Rep. Jeanette Rankin (R-Montana), who became the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1916, in 1922 Lottie O’Neill declared her candidacy for the Illinois House of Representatives. She was successful in her bid for a Statehouse seat, and upon her swearing in Lottie Holman O’Neill became the first woman to serve as a legislator in Illinois.

Lottie’s legislative district included Downers Grove and all of what is now the 81st Legislative House District. The district also included other portions DuPage and Will Counties and extended north into Kane County and went as far east as the Indiana border. 

Representative O’Neill sponsored pivotal legislation establishing an eight-hour work day for women in Illinois. She also was a fierce advocate for disabled children and for parks, as well as for schools and civil rights.

After an unsuccessful Senate run in 1930, Lottie returned to her role in the House of Representatives. However, in 1950 made history again when she ran a second time for the Illinois Senate and became our state’s first female Senator. During her time in the Senate, Senator O’Neill was an opponent of growing state budgets and excessive regulations. She served as a delegate at the 1956 Republican convention, and was outspoken on federal issues as well.

Sen. O’Neill retired in 1962 after 40 years in the General Assembly – making her the longest-serving female elected official in America at the time. Widely respected by lawmakers from both chambers and from both sides of the aisle, Senator O’Neill ultimately became known as the “conscience of the Senate.”
Upon her retirement, Sen. O’Neill declined an invitation to have a statue of her placed in the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse. At the time she said she did not want a statue of her to face the “scoundrel” who beat her in that 1930 Senate race.

Following her death in 1967, a school was named for her in Downers Grove. In honor of this extraordinary woman and her role in the advancement of women in government and rights for women everywhere, the State of Illinois honored Lottie O’Neill by placing her statue in the 2nd Floor rotunda in 1976. In accordance with her wishes, however, she does not face her old rival: he is to her right with Mayor Richard J. Daley between them.
Lawmakers Return to Springfield April 9
While legislators have been working in their home districts these last few weeks, committee hearings and other meetings have continued to take place around the state. During this time I have attended several meetings, including the House Sexual Discrimination & Harassment Task Force and the Rules Committee.

I’m shown here at a March 13 meeting of the Sexual Discrimination & Harassment Task Force, where we are continuing our series of hearings. On this date we heard testimony from representatives of the City of Chicago and the Attorney General’s office. Lawmakers return to Springfield on Monday April 9. We will spend much of that week in committee hearings since Friday, April 13 is the deadline by which all House Bills must have cleared a substantive committee. As always, I will continue to provide updates about the progress of my legislation and other key bills that affect Illinoisans. 

Launch of New Positive Train Control (PTC) Safety System Prompts Revision of BNSF Schedule
Metra’s BNSF Line between Aurora and Chicago Union Station will be the first Metra line to have the new federally-mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) safety system fully operational. Riders should be aware that the enhancement will require a significant revision of the line’s schedule starting this summer.

There are about 30 instances on the existing BNSF schedule in which a train completes a run and turns around to start a new one in less than 10 minutes. In addition to the tasks currently performed between each train run, the engineer will now be required to initialize the PTC system. This new task will extend the time needed to turn the train by five to six minutes, and the existing schedules must be adjusted to accommodate this time. In addition to adjusting for PTC, other schedule changes are being proposed to relieve overcrowding on some of the busiest trains, match the schedule to actual operating conditions and reduce congestion at a choke point on the line near Cicero. As a result, the proposed schedule also includes numerous minor changes to total running times and station stop patterns. There will be no changes to the weekend train schedules at this time.

Copies of the proposed schedule can be found on Metra’s website. Hard copies are also available on trains and at Chicago Union Station. Customer feedback will be accepted via email at BNSFservice2018@metrarr.com until April 15. Metra may revise the proposal based on feedback, with a goal of implementing the new schedule in June or July. More details on the schedule change can be found here. Additional information about PTC, including videos about the project and the schedule change, can be found here.

DuPage County Ranked #1 Healthiest County in IL
Congratulations to DuPage County for being named the #1 healthiest County in the State of Illinois! The 2018 County Health Rankings was released last week and lists DuPage as number one among the 102 counties in the state. DuPage County was ranked #5 last year. The last time DuPage County was ranked #1 on this list was in 2016. The annual rankings are created through a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and compares counties within each of the 50 states on more than 30 factors that affect health, including economics, education, jobs, housing, exercise, access to screenings and commuting times. Click here to learn more. 

Olsen Attends Groundbreaking for School Improvement in District 58
Last week I was honored to join officials from Downers Grove Grade School District 58 as they broke ground on an addition to Lester Elementary School. I was glad to celebrate this future enhancement for student learning with Superintendent Kari Cremasscoli, Lester Principal Carin Novak, Assistant Principal Katie Novosel, District 58 Board Members Darren Hughes, Greg Harris, and John Miller, and Assistant Superintendent David Bein. 

Education Town Hall Scheduled for April 5
Please join me on Thursday, April 5 when I will partner with State Senator John F. Curran and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for a Town Hall Meeting that focuses on the assessments used in Illinois public schools, including PARCC and SAT. The event will take place at the Downers Grove Park District’s Lincoln Center, 935 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove, from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM. Representatives from ISBE will present about assessments and a question and answer period will follow. RSVPs are requested for this event. If you plan to attend, please RSVP at my office at (630) 737-0504. 

Coffee & Conversation Tour Continues on April 4
Senator John F. Curran, Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and I had a great turnout for our first Coffee & Conversation event two weeks ago. A second event has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 4 from 6:00 PM until 7:00 PM at Blueberry Hill Breakfast Café, 7340 IL Route 83 in Darien. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin will also be joining us for the event, so please stop by, say hello, and let us know about issues that are important to you.

Olsen Welcomes New Businesses to the 81st District
During the last few weeks I was able to attend two ribbon cuttings for new businesses in the 81st District. I always enjoy joining my friends from Chamber630 as we welcome new business owners to the area. I am shown in the photo above at the ribbon cutting for the new M/I Homes, Inc. Woodview townhome development in Woodridge, and in the other photo we welcomed Outback Steakhouse to their newest location in Downers Grove. Businesses recognize the western suburbs as a great place to do business and we welcome them to the area! 

Finishing Touches Take Place at the Burlington Station
I recently joined Downers Grove Mayor Pro Tem Bill White for a "topping off" ceremony at the Burlington Station development at Forest and Burlington in Downers Grove. We signed the final steel beam before it was placed at the top of the building. The building is looking great and is a wonderful addition to the area. It is scheduled to be completed later this year. 

Olsen Speaks to Downers Grove North and South Students at Attainable Futures Event
On March 13 I spoke with a group of students from Downers Grove North and South High Schools who participated in the Chamber630 Attainable Futures Program. We discussed the importance of public service in any career path. I'm always impressed by their insightful questions and look forward to seeing great things from these young leaders. The Attainable Futures Program addresses work readiness for high school students, assisting them in career paths, application completion, business etiquette, interview techniques and other important areas that prepare high schools students for careers after high school.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is bringing his mobile office hours tour to Bolingbrook this week with a stop on Wednesday, March 21 at the Fountaindale Public Library District’s Central Library at 300 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook.

A member of Olsen’s staff will have a table at the library from 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM and Olsen will be available to personally meet with constituents from 11:00 AM until 11:30 AM. “The 81st District includes portions of seven different municipalities, so I am very aware that my Downers Grove District Office is not near the homes of many of my constituents,” said Olsen. “By holding office hours in other communities, the people I represent in Springfield can come and share their concerns and ideas.”

The event is part of a series of mobile office hours meant to provide residents of the 81st Legislative House District with easy access to their elected Springfield representative. “I look forward to talking one-on-one with people as I bring my office to them in their own community,” said Olsen. “I can help explain the services my office can provide while learning about their personal priorities.”

No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Olsen’s web site at www.repolsen.com.
Olsen Legislation Moves through Legislative Process
Legislators finished a busy week in Springfield on Thursday, as dozens of House Bills moved through the committee process and several pieces of legislation made their way to the floor of the House for full debates and votes. I was pleased to have four pieces of my own legislation move successfully through various committees last week. These items, HB 4805, HB 5031, HB 5139 and HR 683, now move to the floor for a full vote. Shortly after adjournment on Thursday, I spoke on camera about the progress of my bills. You can watch that interview here

Lawmakers are now back in their home districts for four weeks to tend to local constituent needs. I will be available to meet with constituents during this time, so if you would like to come in and discuss an item of concern, please contact my Downers Grove office at (630) 737-0504.

Downers Grove and Naperville Make Top 100 List of Best Places to Live
Livability.com recently released its 5th Annual list of the Top 100 Places to Live, and both Downers Grove and Naperville were ranked. Downers Grove was #46 and Naperville was #92. For this year’s list, nearly 2,300 cities across the nation were ranked on more than 40 different data points measuring economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care. If you’d like to learn more about the rankings, click here to visit the methodology page, and click here to see the ranking criteria. The full list of 100 cities can be found here

Rep. David S. Olsen Named to Bipartisan Firearm Public Awareness Task Force
Last week I was chosen to serve on a bipartisan Firearm Public Awareness Task Force. The panel, which previously assembled during the 97th General Assembly to study concealed carry issues, has now been reactivated to study the escalation of gun violence in Illinois.

Specifically, the 22-member task force is assigned to gather data and study:
  • The previous report compiled by the Firearm Public Awareness Task Force on concealed carry issues 
  • Shootings in Illinois by region and what might be contributing to more shootings in one area of the State compared to others 
  • Gun dealers and gun sales that may have led to illegal usage or straw purchases, including the number of guns and ammunition sold and any registry concerning ammunition purchases 
  • The transportation of firearms, especially newly manufactured firearms as they are transported through Illinois (including the study of the repeated gun thefts at the Norfolk Southern Rail Yard) 
  • Mental health laws and treatments for those individuals who have access to firearms 
  • Current laws on handguns and rifles and states with best practices 
In addition to the specific areas of study, members of the task force will hold public hearings to gather public input, and will issue a written report of its findings and recommendation to the General Assembly prior to the conclusion of the 100th General Assembly in January of 2019. As one of ten lawmakers on this bipartisan panel, I look forward to our work, with hopes that we can develop solid recommendations to decrease gun violence throughout our state.

El Sierra Elementary School Hosts Career Day
I had a great time visiting El Sierra School in Downers Grove’s Elementary District 58 at the end of February for their annual Career Day. I enjoyed speaking to the students in 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th grade classes about my job as a state legislator and the importance of being an involved citizen. The students were very engaged and respectful, and they had some really great questions. Speaking with these young leaders left me energized and optimistic about the future of our community, state and nation.

Illinois Praised as Good Location for Future Job Creation
The rating was bestowed by “Site Selection” Magazine, a CEO-oriented periodical and database that compiles information on the relative activities of U.S. locations for business relocation and job growth. Illinois ranked third in the number of new and expanded facilities per capital tracked by the periodical database, in a ranking called the “Governor’s Cup” by the magazine.

Commentators said Illinois was honored for its transportation infrastructure and relatively affordable real estate. More than 400 new and expanded facilities were tracked moving to or expanding in greater Chicago, exclusive of Lake County, in the 2017 Governor’s Cup rankings. This benchmark, which made greater Chicago the #1 U.S. metropolitan area tracked by “Site Selection” with a population of 1 million or more, powered Illinois’ overall standings. However, Illinois’ strength was not limited to greater Chicago. Three Illinois areas defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as “micropolitan areas,” population centers in predominantly rural environments with a population between 10,000 and 50,000, also scored highly. Strong Illinois micropolitan areas were Ottawa-Peru, Effingham, and Rochelle. All three regions are places where transcontinental railroad service comes together with two or more U.S. Interstate highways.

Consul General for Czech Republic in Chicago Visits General Assembly
Earlier this month we received a visit in Springfield from Borek Lizek, Consul General for the Czech Republic in Chicago. It was a pleasure to meet him and hear his remarks to the House about ties between the Czech Republic and Illinois. The Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago is located on Michigan Avenue. 

Comprehensive Calendar of Summer & Fall Events Planned for 81st District
My staff and I are busy planning a comprehensive list of free community events that will be held throughout the spring, summer and fall months in and around the 81st District. Mark your calendars now for the following free outreach events that will be sponsored by my office in the coming months: 
  • April 5: Education Town Hall Meeting with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE):The focus will be on Standardized Tests in Public Schools, 7:00 PM at the Downers Grove Park District’s Lincoln Center, 935 Maple Ave, Downers Grove 
  • May 5: Joint Community Recycling & Document Shredding Event: 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, Burr Ridge Middle School, 15W451 91st Street in Burr Ridge (click here for a full list of items that will be accepted) 
  • June 2: Children’s Health and Wellness Fair: location TBA 
  • June 16: Understanding Your Property Tax Bill: 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM, Woodridge Public Library, 3 Plaza Dr, Woodridge 
  • July 25: Joint Jobs Fair: 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, CORE Fitness Center, 16028 127th Street, Lemont 
  • September 22: Joint Senior Fair with the Downers Grove Park District: Lincoln Center Gymnasium, 935 Maple Ave, Downers Grove 
  • TBA: Joint Veterans Resource Fair: Time and location TBA 
As the dates draw near, look for more information about each individual event on my web site at www.repolsen.com.

Bicentennial Medallion Art Contest Underway in Illinois
The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office is offering Illinoisans an opportunity to submit artwork for consideration to be emblazoned on a special 2018 Illinois Bicentennial medallion. The contest timeline to submit a design is now through May 1, 2018. All designs must be submitted via the official online form located here. Submissions will be judged initially by the treasurer's office based on content uniqueness, creativity, quality, accuracy, and completion. Contestants must be Illinois residents and may only submit one design. The top five designs will be made available for the public to vote on between June 1, 2018 and June 15, 2018 on the treasurer's office website. A final winner will be announced on June 18, 2018. The contest winner will be announced via press release and on social media, and the contest winner will be notified prior to the official announcement. Please read all contest terms and conditions. Questions should be directed to Maria Oldani via e-mail (moldani@illinoistreasurer.gov) or phone (217-782-9598). 

Illinois Commemorative Stamp Released
The U.S. commemorative postage stamp had its “First Day of Issue” on Monday, March 5. Sold for 50 cents, the stamp shares the white, yellow, blue, and green colors of the Illinois state flag and the words “Illinois 1818.” It features an outline map of Illinois with the sun rising from the State’s southern tip. Twenty stars in the stamp’s corners reflect the U.S. states that entered the union before 1818, with the rising sun of Illinois being the twenty-first star of the National Union. 

Emergency Rooms Log 66% Increase in Illinois Opioid-Related ER Visits in Recent Period
The figures, compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), used July 2016 as a base and September 2017 as an endpoint. The numbers, based on surveys of emergency room (ER) personnel nationwide, were compiled nationwide and broken out by state. During this 14-month period, more than 142,000 patients came or were brought to ERs nationwide for emergency treatment of opiate overdoses.

Overdose drugs include heroin, fentanyl, OxyContin, and other dangerous medications that utilize the painkilling powers of opium. Patients who take opiates are in serious danger of overdosing because of the known tendency of the human neurological system to build up resistance, called “tolerance,” to opiate pain relievers. As time goes by the patient must take more and more opiates to achieve the same outcome. The Illinois General Assembly has taken many steps in recent years to make it more difficult to buy opiate painkillers through prescription pharmacies; however, some patients are responding to these policy changes by increasing their demands for opiates through the illegal drug market. The Controlled Substances Act is the State statute that tries to help law enforcement stamp out illegal opium-based drugs in Illinois.

Recent data shows that nearly 1,950 Illinois residents died from opioid overdoses in Illinois during the period studied by the CDC. Other U.S. states are also seeing sharp increases in opioid incidents and opioid-related deaths.

Olsen Meets Tom Skilling at Climate Discussion at Downers Grove North High School
Last week I had the opportunity to meet WGN Meteorologist Tom Skilling when he visited Downers Grove North (DGN) High School for a panel discussion on climate science with Congressman Bill Foster and Nobel Prize winning Professor Don Wuebbles. This panel was only one part of an outstanding day of professional development for science teachers across DuPage County, hosted by the DGN Science Department.