Through a unanimous veto override vote on Wednesday, legislation sponsored by State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) that provides transparency and clarity regarding the counselors that work in Illinois schools is one step closer to becoming law.

HB 4514, which received near-unanimous approval in the House and unanimous approval in the Senate earlier this year, seeks to protect the title of “school counselor” by providing that only persons duly licensed and endorsed as a school counselor may use the title in a school setting. “Individuals who do not hold the appropriate credentials and have not had the proper training should not serve in the role of school counselors,” said Olsen. “Parents and students deserve assurances to know that those calling themselves school counselors have had the proper education that meets the requirements of the State Board of Education.”

The bill received an amendatory veto by Governor Rauner in August, who called for a study to determine the labor market impacts of protecting the title of “school counselor.”

With the 107-0 override vote in the House on Wednesday, HB 4514 now moves to the Senate, where a three-fifths override vote would be required for the bill to become law.
Lawmakers Convene for 2018 Veto Session
Legislators return to Springfield today to begin the six-day 2018 Veto Session. We will meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, and then for the final three days the week after Thanksgiving. Of the 612 bills that were approved by the House and Senate this year, 83 bills were vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority.

Rep. Olsen Earns High Marks on 2018 Scorecard by Illinois Technology & Manufacturing Association
Last week I was recognized by the Illinois Technology & Manufacturing Association for my 2018 votes that support the manufacturing industry and overall economy in Illinois. The manufacturing industry provides critical jobs to Illinoisans, and it is an honor to be recognized for my voting record in this area. This year legislators were scored on their votes on 10 pieces of legislation that impacted the manufacturing sector, and those earning a score of 70 or higher were recognized. Only 39 members of the House of Representatives earned recognition this year. 

Upon announcing this year’s award winners, TMA President Steven Rauschenberger said, “Representative Olsen has demonstrated an understanding of issues that matter to job retention and creation of new high wage opportunities. Illinois needs more legislators like Olsen who care about the impact of the legislation they vote on.” Click here to view a list of the legislation included on the scorecard and a full ranking of every Illinois State Representative and Senator.

Rep. Olsen Visits Almost Home Kids Center in Naperville
On October 29 I had the pleasure of visiting Almost Home Kids, an organization that provides respite and transitional care for children with complex medical conditions. Many thanks go to CEO Debbie Grisko for taking the time to provide me with a better understanding of the important work of this valuable community organization. Click here to learn more about this organization’s mission and goals. 

IL Department on Aging Assists Seniors for Medicare Open Enrollment
The Illinois Department on Aging's (IDoA) Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is reminding seniors of the free counseling assistance available to Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers during Medicare Open Enrollment occurring October 15th through December 7th. During open enrollment, eligible adults can adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage, move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan - or vice versa - switch between Medicare Advantage plans, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty; all of which can be overwhelming and confusing. With over 350 SHIP offices across Illinois, the agency stands ready to refer clients to their closest site, which can schedule an appointment to assist with open enrollment. SHIP counselors work through the Medicare.gov system to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. Contact SHIP, by calling 1-800-252-8966, weekdays 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM. For more information about SHIP, including a list of SHIP locations, visit the website at: http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx. To compare 2019 drug and health plans on your own and to find out more about Medicare options, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at: www.medicare.gov. Medicare customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at: 1-800-633-4227.

Local Officials Participate in Groundbreaking Ceremony
Green Bay Packaging recently broke ground on their new facility located at Finley & Warrenville Roads in Downers Grove. I was pleased to be in attendance for the official groundbreaking ceremony along with Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, representatives from the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation, and many company leaders. It is always great to see new businesses choosing our region for their growth!

Olsen Visits Local Schools
Recently I had a wonderful time speaking with eighth grade social studies classes at O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove about Illinois state government and how laws are made in our State. These students were very engaged and had great questions. Last week I also had an opportunity to talk with third grade students from Saint Joan of Arc School in Lisle about the role as a lawmaker and Illinois state government. I have no doubt that these future community leaders will be the next leaders in business, government, and not-for-profits! 

Illinois Report Card Released
The figures for 2018 were presented as part of the current school-accountability push championed by the Illinois General Assembly. School reform measures, including the school funding formula rewrite of 2017-18, include a massive increase in the metric data that Illinois parents, taxpayers, employers, and educators can use to gauge the effectiveness of individual schools and the state school system as a whole. The Illinois Report Card, released every year since 1996, contains reports on the overall performances of Illinois schools and school districts. Since 2014, the Illinois Report Card has contained enhanced metric data intended to provide a comprehensive look at the productivity and success of Illinois schools and school districts. Data within the Report Card is sorted by school, school district, city, or county. Due to the passage of my SB 3236 (PA 100-0807) this year, school districts must now also publish their administrative costs on their report cards. This new layer of transparency will allow stakeholders to see important data that was previously not required for inclusion.

Illinois Report Card data indicates record Illinois school performance on a variety of measures. Data from a record number of enrolled students was reported, and subgroups also showed record high numbers. More Illinois students are heading to four-year and community colleges than in any previous year in which this data was compiled. In data collected on the Illinois high school Class of 2017, compilers followed how many of these graduates had gone on to college. Twelve months after high school graduation, the Report Card shows that nearly three-fourths of Illinois’ young adults had enrolled. In addition, more students took high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which include potential college credits, in 2017-18 than in any previous year.

Rep. Olsen Attends Veterans Day Marker Dedication and Observance Ceremonies
On Veterans Day this past Sunday I was in attendance for the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial Marker at Downers Grove American Legion Post 80, and on Monday I returned to the legion hall in Downers Grove for a Veterans Day remembrance ceremony. I am honored to stand in support of the moms, dads, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and everyone else who has answered the call to serve our country and defend the freedoms we 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 and that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will continue to be protected gifts for Americans. Here I am pictured with American Legion Post 80 Commander Rick McLaren, Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, and American Legion Division Commander Chris Benigno with the newly-dedicated Blue Start Memorial Marker.

SAT Became Statewide Standard for Class of 2018
In an effort to standardize the data generated by high schools throughout Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) now mandates that most Illinois high school students take the standardized Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). This mandate first became completely effective for students in the Class of 2018, the student group that was enrolled in high school classes targeted toward graduation at the end of the 2018 spring term. A report from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the nationwide testing and assessment organization that operates the SAT exam, says that 98% of all Illinois students in the Class of 2018 took the SAT at least once.
State Representative David S. Olsen was recognized on Monday for his 2018 votes on bills that affect the manufacturing industry and overall economy in Illinois.

“The manufacturing industry provides critical jobs to Illinoisans, and as lawmakers we need to do everything we can to ease the regulatory burdens that have been driving these businesses out of our state,” said Olsen. “It’s an honor to be recognized for my voting record in this area, and I will continue to stand up for these job creators as bills move through the legislative process in Springfield.”

This year legislators were scored on their votes on 10 pieces of legislation that impacted the manufacturing sector, and those earning a score of 70 or higher were recognized. Only 39 members of the House of Representatives earned recognition this year.

TMA President Steven Rauschenberger applauded Olsen for his voting record, and said that Olsen has proven himself to be a champion for the manufacturing industry. "Representative Olson has demonstrated an understanding of issues that matter to job retention and creation of new high wage opportunities. Illinois needs more legislators like Olson who care about the impact of the legislation they vote on."

The Technology and Manufacturing Association assists Illinois’ $100 billion manufacturing sector through advice, education, and other programs and also advocates for legislation to help the industry succeed in Illinois. Close to 20,000 manufacturing firms provide over half a million jobs statewide in Illinois. Click here to view a list of the legislation included on the scorecard and a full ranking of every Illinois State Representative and Senator.
Rep. Olsen Serves as “Principal for a Day” at Pierce Downer Elementary School 
Earlier this month I had the unique opportunity to step into the shoes of an elementary school principal and experience a day in the life of a top school administrator in Downers Grove Grade School District 58. I spent the day on October 16 at Pierce Downer Elementary School in Downers Grove, where I talked with students, teachers and support staff. I look forward to participating in the Principal for a Day program every year, as it provides me with a glimpse into the lives that principals and teachers live daily at the schools in the 81st District. In addition to time spent talking with teachers and support staff, I visited four classrooms and talked with 4th, 5th and 6th graders, the Enrichment class and student council about my job as a State Representative and the importance of being an involved citizen. This marked the third consecutive year I have participated in the Illinois Principals’ Association’s Principal for a Day program. 

On Friday morning, I visited with students from the Government Club at Bennet Academy in Lisle. I spoke about my background in politics and the impact young people can have on public policy. We had a great conversation and this group of high school students asked some great questions!

Olsen Recognized for Support of Environment

A few weeks ago I joined a bipartisan group of my House and Senate colleagues at the Illinois Environmental Council’s (IEC) annual leadership dinner, where we were recognized for our efforts in Springfield in 2018 in support of the environment. I was proud to be recognized for earning a 100% rating from the IEC for bills that were supportive of our environment without having a negative impact on Illinois businesses.

In announcing the award winners earlier this fall, IEC Executive Director Jen Walling said, “Representative Olsen voted 100% of the time with the environmental community on several pieces of key legislation this year. The IEC is honored by Representative Olsen’s dedication to Illinois’ environment and we look forward to working together in the future.” Click here to view the full scorecard and the list of scored bills.

Rep. Olsen Sponsors Annual Event to Support of Local Adolescent Support Organization
Earlier this month I was able to sponsor and attend the Navigate Adolescence: Helping Kids and Parents Thrive annual pancake breakfast. This is a wonderful local not-for-profit that is devoted to providing kids and their parents the tools needed to navigate adolescence with confidence, resilience and kindness. Click here to learn more about this outstanding local organization. 

Illinois Unemployment Rate Matches Record Low
The recent 4.1% unemployment figure reported by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) matches the lowest number ever posted for this figure, a widely-cited index of economic health and activity in Illinois. Preliminary data, which is subject to revision as more numbers come in, indicates that nonfarm payroll total employment increased in the Land of Lincoln by 2,800 jobs in September as opposed to August 2018. The same figure, when counted on a year-to-year basis (September 2017 to September 2018) showed a net gain of more than 50,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

September 2018 job creation was especially strong in education, construction, and manufacturing. The Illinois manufacturing economy created an estimated 2,300 net new jobs in September 2018 alone, and created 14,600 new factory jobs over the past 12 months. It should be noted, however, that the Illinois manufacturing sector is not as dominant as it was in February 1999, the last time our State’s unemployment rate was 4.1%. Illinois’ overall job universe has adjusted over the past two decades. In line with overall worldwide trends towards automation, many Illinois jobs have moved from factories to offices and service-related employment opportunities.

Rep. Olsen Attends Plaque Ceremony for Penner Building in Downers Grove
On October 20, I joined members of the Downers Grove Historical Society as we dedicated a new plaque recognizing the Penner Building in downtown Downers Grove as a historic site. According to the Historical Society, Penner came to America from Germany in the late 1800's. He and his wife lived on Maple Avenue in Downers Grove for over 50 years and raised their five children here. He ran a business on Main Street for 30 years and added his name to the top of this building in about 1920. 

Metropolitan Planning Council Applauds Olsen’s Sponsorship of School District Transparency Law
The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), a Chicago-based organization that partners with businesses, communities and units of government to address the region’s toughest planning and development challenges, highlighted a piece of my legislation this month that improves school district transparency. You can read the MPC article here

SB 3236, now listed in the Illinois State Statutes as Public Act 100-0807, requires the school report cards published annually by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to now include the most current data collected relative to a school district’s administrative costs. The previous law required ISBE to publish data on school report cards regarding student and workforce demographics, financial and curriculum information, and other data such as average class size, a breakdown of students’ racial and ethnic backgrounds, percentage of low-income, special education and limited English proficiency students, operating expenditures, per-pupil state pension contributions and various other data. Beginning with the October 2018 report cards, administrative costs will also be included.

Representative Olsen Supports West Suburban Community Pantry at Annual Event
It’s always a pleasure to support West Suburban Community Pantry and the good work they do to feed the less fortunate in our community. I am shown in this photo with WSCP Board Member Judy Pokorny and her husband Jack Novak their annual Chef's Challenge fundraiser earlier this month. 

State Sells $250 Million in Build Illinois Bonds
Proceeds from the largely tax-free debt offering will be used to finance capital infrastructure investments. No new taxes will be required to pay off the bonds, which will mature in equal stages from 2019 until 2043. The Build Illinois Bond Act sets aside a slice of revenues from existing sales taxes to service the bonds. Prior to using money from its sales taxes for day-to-day operating purposes, the State has pledged to its bondholders that it will use a portion of this sales tax money for long-term capital investment.

Many investors see Illinois sales tax revenues as a relatively secure revenue source, and despite the State’s overall fiscal challenges the bonds were rated several significant notches above the “junk bond” level. S&P Global Ratings rated the new issue at AA-, and Fitch Ratings rated the issue at A-. The bonds were sold to Wall Street investors on Tuesday, October 16. Money from the debt issuance will be used for long-term investments such as roads, bridges, and educational infrastructure.

Olsen Joins Hoffman Estates Mayor at Benefit for Leyden Family Service and SHARE Program
Last week I was pleased to attend an annual dinner at the White Eagle Events & Convention Center in Niles benefitting Leyden Family Service and the SHARE Program. I appreciate the invitation to show my support of this wonderful community organization that provides critical mental health services. I’m shown here with Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod and Leyden Family Service Executive Director Bruce Sewick. 

Big Jump in Illinois ACT Scores
The aggregated Class of 2018 scores by Illinois high school students on the ACT exam, one of America’s Big Two college-prep examinations, showed a dramatic increase in Illinois high schoolers’ performances. The Illinois members of the high school class of 2018 who took the ACT exam prior to graduation scored an average composite score of 23.9 points out of a possible score of 36.0 – a number that soared 2.5 points from the Class of 2017 average of 21.4. The Illinois Class of 2018 also average marked a considerable advance over the national average of 20.8.

The increase, although inspiring, was statistically affected by changes in Illinois high school testing policies that accompanied the altered performance of the Class of 2018. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has instituted statewide policies that encourage school districts to have their high school students take the ACT’s principal competitor, the Standardized Aptitude Test (SAT) exam, and to use aggregated SAT data as a benchmark of overall district-by-district student performance. Illinois high school students are now expected to take the SAT as a universal standardized test, and the SAT test is paid for by the State. In conformity with these expectations and budget policies, the SAT is now administered to almost all Illinois high school juniors except those whose individualized education programs (IEPs) do not include standardized tests.

This week State Representative David S. Olsen stepped into the shoes of an elementary school principal and experienced a day in the life of a top school administrator in Downers Grove Grade School District 58.

Olsen spent the day on October 16 at Pierce Downer Elementary School in Downers Grove, where he talked with students, teachers and support staff. “I look forward participating in the Principal for a Day program every year, as it provides me with a unique glimpse into the lives that principals and teachers live daily at the schools in the 81st District,” said Olsen. “In addition to time spent talking with teachers and support staff, I visited four classrooms and talked with 4th, 5th and 6th graders, the Enrichment class and student council about my job as a State Representative and the importance of being an involved citizen.”

The Principal for a Day program, in place since 2004, is a statewide initiative sponsored by the Illinois Principal’s Association to provide state and federal elected officials with an opportunity to observe, interact, and serve as an administrator in schools within their legislative districts.

This marks the third year that Olsen has participated in the Principal for a Day program.


The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), a Chicago-based organization that partners with businesses, communities and units of government to address the region’s toughest planning and development challenges, highlighted legislation this week sponsored by State Representative David S. Olsen that improves school district transparency. Read the MPC article here.

SB 3236, now listed in the Illinois State Statutes as Public Act 100-0807, requires the school report cards published annually by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to now include the most current data collected relative to a school district’s administrative costs. “School district taxes comprise the largest portion of every property owner’s tax bill, and they deserve full transparency so they can see how their money is being spent,” said Olsen. “School districts have this information, so it only makes sense that it would be made easily accessible to taxpayers.”

According to Olsen, the previous law required ISBE to publish data on school report cards regarding student and workforce demographics, financial and curriculum information, and other data such as average class size, a breakdown of students’ racial and ethnic backgrounds, percentage of low-income, special education and limited English proficiency students, operating expenditures, per-pupil state pension contributions and various other data. Beginning with the October 2018 report cards, administrative costs will also be included.
Rep. Olsen Provides Legislative Update for Will County Governmental League
On October 11, I shared an update on efforts to save money for taxpayers through effective government consolidation at the Will County Governmental League annual legislative breakfast. I’m proud of the bipartisan work I led this year to ease barriers to consolidation of mosquito abatement districts, and look forward to continuing to find more ways to save money while preserving essential government services. I appreciate the invitation and enjoy working with Will County’s government officials to improve our great state! 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women, and October has been designated annually to help raise awareness of this disease. The State of Illinois has established the Illinois Breast & Cervical Cancer Program to ensure all women have access to screenings. This program, which offers free screenings, is available to eligible women who live in Illinois, do not have insurance, and are ages 35-64 years old. To enroll and schedule an appointment, call the Women’s Health Line at 800-574-0466 or click here

CGFA Releases Healthy State Revenue Numbers for September 2018
The Commission on Budget Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) is the nonpartisan budget-forecasting arm of the Illinois General Assembly. Working with the Department of Revenue and other State revenue collectors, this office monitors the State’s cash flow and determines its balance with the State’s spending patterns and budgeted expenditures. CGFA’s report on state revenues in September 2018 was published earlier this month.

In September 2018, Illinois continued to enjoy healthy revenue numbers, driven by almost 6.1 million non-farm payroll jobs maintained by Illinois employers in FY18. Weekly employee paycheck earnings, on which state income taxes are paid, rose by 2.3% over the course of FY18. September 2018 State personal income tax payments totaled more than $1.8 billion, up $218 million from September 2017. This jump in September personal income tax receipts made up well more than half of the overall $240 million increase in general funds tax receipts and transfers-in during September 2018 as opposed to September 2017.

Corporate and sales tax receipts also increased significantly. Other key revenue sources, led by cigarette taxes, liquor taxes, Lottery revenues, and riverboat receipts taxes, were flat-to-down, and there was a sharp drop in overall Federal aid for the month as compared to the year-earlier period. September 2017 had seen a temporary spike in federal Medicaid reimbursements to Illinois, a cash-flow number that could not be replicated in September 2018.

Local Cub Scouts Meet with Olsen to Learn about State Government
Earlier this month I had a great time meeting with Cub Scout Pack 86 and answering their questions about state government and my role as a legislator. Their enthusiasm and energy was infectious! These bright young men had very good questions and I was impressed with their interest in being involved citizens. 

Hurricane Relief Fundraiser Underway in Downers Grove
The Downers Grove North High School I-WILL (Independent Women in Leadership) Club, in coordination with the National Honor Society, Direct Action, and the District 99 community, are sponsoring a fundraiser and supply drive for the those citizens affected by hurricane Florence (Sept 2018) and hurricane Michael (Oct 2018). Through a generous donation from Downers Grove’s Romexterra Construction and its manager Alex Duta (DGN Class of 2014), the group has secured the use of a 65-foot semi-truck trailer that Romexterra will pay to be driven to South Carolina on October 21, 2018 with supplies donated by our community. This will be the third hurricane for which Romexterra has provided support for those in need (Harvey-Texas 2017, Irma – Florida 2017). Fundraising and supply donations will take place at Downers Grove North High School, located at 4436 Main Street in Downers Grove, the week of October 15th according to the following schedule:
  • Monetary Donations: Monday, October 15 – Thursday, October 18 donations will be accepted by students during the lunch periods. Any community member wishing to donate money may contact the school for more details as to how to donate to this cause. DGN will be working with the local Red Cross for coordination of funds. 
  • Supply Donation Times and Locations:
    • Friday, October 19 (8am – 11am) DGN Auditorium Lobby or Purple Gym Lobby
    • Saturday, October 20 (8am -12pm) DGN Main Street Lot (Northwest Corner) 
    • Sunday, October 21 (11am – 2pm) DGN Main Street Lot (Northwest Corner) 
Supply donations that have been requested include: toiletries, diapers, new underwear/socks, first aid items, cleaning supplies, canned goods, new pillows/blankets, box fans, utility knives, and leather work gloves. On Sunday, there will be music and games to celebrate the generosity of our community before the truck heads to South Carolina.

Olsen Joins DuPage County Medical Society for 100th Anniversary Celebration
On October 10 it was my pleasure to join many friends at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the DuPage County Medical Society. This group is committed to advancing quality health care delivery, improving access to care, promoting education and professional collaboration among physicians, fostering improved physician-patient relationships and enhancing public health. The Medical Society is to be commended for the work they do to advance the medical profession. 

Illinois K-12 High-Speed Internet Connectivity Rises to 96%
It was announced this month that 96% of K-12 school districts in Illinois can access the internet at speeds of 100 kbps per student, a substantial improvement from 71 percent just three years ago. Median bandwidths also have markedly improved, increasing 2.5 times since 2015. High-speed connectivity ensures that students have access to more digital resources, which in turn expands learning opportunities. By making high-speed internet accessible, educators and students gain the benefits of greater interactivity, collaboration, engagement and personal instruction. Illinois’ digital advances were reported by the EducationSuperHighway which tracks progress toward K-12 connectivity across the United States. The Illinois Classroom Connectivity Initiative, launched by the Rauner administration in 2016, is an effort to ensure that all districts receive the support and funding to close this school broadband gap. The Fiscal Year 2019 education budget includes a $17 million Broadband Expansion fund to help cover costs of fiber upgrades for school districts. There is also a provision for free technical assistance.

Rep. Olsen Welcomes MedExpress Urgent Care to Downers Grove
Recently I was able to attend the ribbon cutting for another exciting new business in Downers Grove. I joined my friends from Chamber630 and Congressman Peter Roskam as we welcomed MedExpress Urgent Care to our community. MedExpress provides convenient and affordable urgent care services and we are glad to have them in our community. Best wishes to the valued caregivers and support staff at MedExpress for many successful years in Downers Grove! 

Department of Homeland Security Approves Illinois Drivers’ Licenses for One More Year of Air Travel
In spite of the fact that Illinois’ drivers’ licenses are out of compliance with various REAL-ID mandates intended to maintain and increase security of U.S. air travel, the federal agency has granted Illinois a further extension of almost one year, until June 1, 2019, to move further towards compliance with these mandates. During this extension period, federal agencies will be allowed to accept currently valid Illinois drivers’ licenses as adequate ID-card identification for admittance to federal buildings, nuclear power plants, and commercial aircraft takeoff and landing space. Illinois drivers’ licenses are printed and issued by the Illinois Secretary of State.

As part of its movement towards REAL-ID compliance, the Secretary of State’s office has already consolidated the way that it produces and prints out the license cards. The cards, which were once printed and handed out on the spot to applicants at local Secretary of State Driver Services offices statewide, are now manufactured in a secure facility and mailed to approved applicants. Illinois is being urged to adopt further components of the REAL-ID Act. These additional mandates impose separate sets of additional verification information that new drivers’ license applicants, and applicants for license renewal will be required to provide.

Representative Olsen Joins in Celebration of DG Township 2018 Senior VIP
Earlier this month it was a privilege to support the Friends of Downers Grove Township Seniors charity as they recognized Dr. Floyd Mizener as the 2018 Senior VIP. This is a great organization that supports the transportation needs of seniors in our township. I’m shown in this first photo with Downers Grove Township Supervisor Mark Thoman, and the second photo shows Dr. Mizener accepting his award. 

Illinois State Fire Marshal Wants You to Have a Fire Free Fall
Fall is officially here and so are cooler temperatures. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is offering a few tips that will help Illinoisans stay safe as temperatures continue to drop.
  • Remove leaves and debris such as sticks, branches and shrubs from the roofs and gutters of homes as they act as fuel to a fire. These items should also be cleared before lighting a bonfire. 
  • It is recommended that all recreational fires, such as bonfires, be contained in a pit, with sidewalls, and do not exceed three feet wide and two feet tall. 
  • If your community allows leaf burning on your property, avoid burning leaves and debris on windy days, as wind can cause a fire to get out of control quickly. 
  • Always follow your local ordinances when burning and disposing of yard waste and remember, embers from burning leaves can spread and start a larger fire. 
  • All fires are recommended to be a minimum of 15 feet from structures and combustible materials and should remain attended at all times. This helps ensure the fire is controlled and prevents it from spreading. 
  • Make sure all Fall and holiday decorations are flame retardant and use a battery light instead of a candle in jack o' lanterns. 
  • Anyone opting to use a space heater to keep warm should be sure it is placed at least three feet away from other objects, such as curtains, and always be sure to unplug it when it's not in use. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) space heaters account, annually, for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires. 
  • All fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected before use to ensure everything is in proper working order. Utilize a fireplace screen to keep sparks from floating out of a fireplace and always put out a fire before going to bed or leaving the house. 
Additional fire safety tips can be found on the NFPA website or on the Office of the State Fire Marshal website.

Rep. Olsen and Sen. Curran Attend Nurses Legislative Forum
Earlier this month I joined State Senator John F. Curran, hospital leadership and nurses from Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove for their annual Legislative Forum. We discussed healthcare issues, especially work being done in our legislature to address behavioral health, workplace safety and nursing licenses. This was my third annual visit to answer questions from this very engaged audience. Thank you for the invitation! 

ComEd Provides Tips to Avoid Scammers
ComEd has published a list of important tips to help customers protect their personal information and avoid falling victim to scams. Here’s what you need to know:

ComEd representatives never call customers to ask for cash or to request the purchase of a prepaid credit card to make a bill payment. If you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be a utility representative and says your account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment is not made, it is a scam if the individual instructs you to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card and then call him back to make a payment. In these cases, the scammer will ask for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number. This information grants instant access to the card’s funds.

In addition, never give social security or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you send money to another person or entity other than your local utility provider. If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police, then call your local utility (ComEd 1-800-EDISON1). Never call the scammer back. For more tips, visit ComEd.com/Scams.

Olsen Attends Bolingbrook Legislative Breakfast
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to attend a Bolingbrook Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast. Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) and I provided a comprehensive overview of the past legislative session and our expectations for the year to come. A strong business community is the backbone of success for our region, so I’m always glad to hear from my friends at the Bolingbrook Chamber. 

Partners Join to Create Illinois Safe Disposal Pathways
Illinois patients sometimes face headaches in the disposal of unneeded opioid painkillers. These medications, although they are an essential part of medical treatment in situations such as post-operative pain, should not be left to hang around in a medicine cabinet.

Five partners – Walgreens, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pfizer, Prime Therapeutics, and AmerisourceBergen – have joined with Illinois law enforcement to set up a series of widely distributed “Safe Medication Disposal” kiosks for safe disposal of unneeded prescription medications, including opioids. Eighty-two such kiosks have been set up in Illinois Walgreens drug stores, with additional disposal locations provided at major police headquarters lobbies throughout the state. No questions are asked, and medicines deposited in the kiosks are safely and promptly disposed. Law enforcement, as well as several major firms that play key roles in Illinois health care, are happy to help get these drugs out of settings where they could wind up on the street.
Eighty Three Bills Vetoed from 2018 Session
The 529 new laws signed in spring and summer 2018 are now part of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. A total of 612 bills passed both houses this year; almost 90 percent of them were signed, but 83 bills were vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority. The General Assembly will consider Rauner’s vetoes in the November 2018 Veto Session, which gets underway in Springfield on Tuesday, November 13. 

LIHEAP to Accept Applications for Heat Assistance on October 1

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Office of Community Assistance is now accepting applications and scheduling appointments for this year’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including: 
  • Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application. 
  • A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly). 
  • A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information. 
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members. 
  • Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services. 
Click here for additional information.

Rep. Olsen Named “Friend of Agriculture”
Efforts that support agriculture are very important in Illinois, and as a legislator I am committed to helping those in the agriculture industry with their goal of improving food production practices and ensuring a plentiful and safe food supply. It was an honor recently to be recognized for this commitment, when I received the “Friend of Agriculture” award from the DuPage County Farm Bureau. Created in 1913, the DuPage County Farm Bureau is one of the oldest bureaus of its kind in the United States. This valuable local organization currently includes approximately 15,000 members. I am pictured here with DuPage County Farm Bureau members Sam Lilly and Bill Pauling. 

ISAC Helps Students Navigate College Applications & Financial Aid
October is “College Changes Everything” (CCE) month in Illinois, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is taking steps to help make it easier for students to file timely applications for both college admission and financial aid. October 1 is now the federal government’s release date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the key to securing aid for college, including the federal Pell Grant and the state MAP Grant, plus work-study opportunities, federal student loans, and even grants from the colleges themselves. 

There is always a lot of demand for limited state and school based financial aid, so students seeking support for the 2019-20 academic year should file their FAFSAs as soon as possible after October 1, 2018, for the best chance of getting funding. On October 1, the U.S. Department of Education also unveiled the myStudentAid Mobile App, making the application more accessible to students and families whose primary Internet access is through a smartphone.

During CCE Month, ISAC offer hundreds of workshops for students and families across Illinois, including college application workshops, financial aid presentations, and FAFSA completion workshops where applicants have expert guidance through the entire process. Please visit studentportal/isac.org/events to search by ZIP Code for free public events nearby.

Rep. Olsen Joins Local Officials in Ribbon Cutting for Bicentennial of Illinois Law Exhibit at COD
It was an honor to be in attendance September 21, as the College of DuPage (COD) debuted a traveling Bicentennial of Illinois Law Exhibit at the college’s Student Service Center in Glen Ellyn. The exhibit features prominent lawyers and cases in Illinois history and a historical look back at the judiciary’s first 200 years in Illinois. The exhibit is one of several bicentennial activities sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission to commemorate 200 years of the Illinois judicial branch. The traveling exhibit will remain at COD through October 26. I am shown in this photo with Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission member Kirk Dillard, DuPage States Attorney Bob Berlin, Second District Appellate Justice Joe Birkett, COD General Counsel John Kness, Second District Illinois Supreme Court Justice Bob Thomas, 18th Circuit Judge Jeff MacKay, State Representative/COD Board of Trustees Chair Deanne Mazzochi and COD President Ann Rondeau. 

Olsen Joins Rotarians for Celebration of GroveFest’s Success
On September 20 I joined local elected officials and members of the Rotary Club of Downers Grove for a celebration of the success of this year’s GroveFest, our annual community festival held in downtown Downers Grove during the last weekend in June. We met at Alter Brewing Company, where the Rotary Club distributed financial support to many local not-for-profit organizations. I am shown in this photo with Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and Village Commissioner Marge Earl, along with members of the Rotary Club. 

Rep. Olsen Celebrates Westmont Business Community at Chamber Open House
I had a great time on Wednesday, September 19 when I visited with residents and business owners at the Westmont Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Fall Open House. The event was held at the Westmont Park District Fitness & Racquetball Club. I am shown in this photo with Westmont Chamber Executive Director Larry Forssberg, Westmont Village Trustee Harold Barry, and members of the Westmont Chamber. 

Governor Abolishes 53 Inactive Boards, Commissions; Prohibits Nepotism in State Hiring
Governor Bruce Rauner has issued executive orders eliminating 53 boards and commissions that serve no public purpose and have been inactive for years, some for as long as two full decades.

Over the years, the State of Illinois has created more than 600 authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, committees, councils, task forces and other similar entities. Many of them have completed their work and no longer operate, yet they still appear in State publications, public-facing websites, and Legislative Research Unit reports as if they were still doing the people’s work.

The executive orders, EO 18-10 and EO 18-11, are a follow-up on EO 18-5 that Rauner issued earlier this year abolishing 19 other moribund entities. Collectively, the orders eliminate 72 redundant or inactive boards and commissions so that executive branch operations are more transparent and efficient. The governor has also issued EO 18-12, eliminating nepotism in state hiring. The move brings Illinois in line with more than half U.S. states including Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan. The order prohibits executive agency heads from the practice of nepotism in the appointment, promotion or recommendation of a relative to any agency or department under their control.

Olsen Talks about Work of Millennial Legislators
As one of the younger members of the Illinois General Assembly, I feel I have a responsibility to bring a voice of young adults to our policy discussions in Springfield. I recently had an opportunity to talk with a diverse group of Illinoisans about my work with the Millennial Action Project (MAP) and my service on MAP’s Democracy Reform Task Force. This task force includes 12 young lawmakers from both political parties from across the country. Together, our goal is to advance legislation on redistricting (fair maps), government accountability and access to voting. The group was born from MAP’s initiative to rebuild trust in government in order to encourage civic engagement, particularly amongst younger generations. 

Rep. Olsen Helps Present Awards to Chamber630 “Five with Drive”
As a past winner of the Chamber630 Young Professional of the Year, I was proud to help present this year's "Five with Drive" awards to five outstanding young professionals in our area on September 12. I am shown in this photo with the award presenters and this year’s winners: Matthew Herbeck of Kramer & Herbeck LLC, Adam Hooczko of Alter Brewing Company, Reese Krajniak of the Krajniak Group at Focus Financial, Alysha Sbarbaro of FASTSIGNS and Alan Stern of McGrath Lexus. Congratulations to all the winners!

O’Hare International Airport Ranked as “Most Connected” Airport in Western Hemisphere
Results from the Megahub Index, compiled by flight information database monitor OAG, were released last week. The Index ranks the flight information posted by each airport and counts the number of steps necessary to get from each airport to destinations throughout the world. The results strongly favor “hub-and-spoke” airports that serve as hubs for a wide variety of flights to many destinations.

In terms of international flights, O’Hare scored #2 worldwide (second only to London’s Heathrow) and #1 in the Western Hemisphere in the September 2018 Megahub flight-information ranking index. The index is used by many as a summary guide to gauge the attractiveness of a location, such as Illinois, as a focus for investment and personnel placement. The 2018 Megahub Index scored O’Hare ahead of other major United States airports. In addition to international flight honors, the U.S. sub-ranking scored O’Hare first in U.S. connectivity, with the second, third, and fourth places going to Atlanta, Charlotte, and Dallas.

Rep. Olsen Visits Local Environmental Non-Profit
On September 18 I had an opportunity to visit SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education), an amazing local not-for-profit which helps protect our environment in many important ways. SCARCE is an environmental education and resource center for schools that provides educational programs, books and supplies to schools and non-profits. Thank you to Executive Director Kay McKeen, the staff, and the volunteers for showing me around. You can learn more about this valuable organization at www.scarce.org

Olsen Honors New Eagle Scouts
I always look forward to attending Eagle Scout Courts of Honor for local scouts who have achieved scouting’s highest rank. I recently attended the Court of Honor for Noah Maguigad, who became the 90th Eagle Scout from local Troop 95. His ceremony was held at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Downers Grove and I am shown in this picture with some of Noah’s Benet Academy classmates. Over the weekend I also attended the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for John Drinkwater and Joshua Woods of Troop 181. Congratulations to these outstanding young men! 

Illinois Awarded $29 Million to Fight Opioid Crisis
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is receiving nearly $29 million in new federal funding to help the state fight the opioid crisis.

The federal grant was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It brings to $61 million the total that the federal government has awarded to the state to fund important programs and initiatives meant to improve and expand access to treatment and recovery services for opioid use.

These funds will support the expansion of treatment and recovery interventions across the state, including medication-assisted treatment services for individuals with opioid use disorders who are incarcerated in county jails and hospital resources to link patients experiencing opioid overdoses with treatment programs in their communities. Housing for people in recovery from opioid use disorder and support services for patients at federally qualified health care centers also will receive grant funding. The award will strengthen and enhance the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, the state’s tracking system that helps to prevent the misuse of prescription opioids.

This grant also will expand opioid overdose protocols training for first responders and widen availability of the overdose reversal medication naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan. In state fiscal year 2018 alone, IDHS supported the purchase of more than 18,000 naloxone kits for first responders and bystanders. This award will help IDHS purchase additional naloxone kits.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently awarded the Illinois Department of Public Health almost $3.7 million as part of a Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response: Public Health Crisis Response grant to combat the opioid epidemic.

The funding will enhance the state’s capacity to rapidly respond to the opioid overdose crisis through improved data collection and prevention efforts. The grant will allow Illinois to increase its capacity to identify and report timely, comprehensive syndromic surveillance data on fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses.

If you or someone you know is experiencing opioid use disorder, call the state’s Helpline for Opioids and other Substances at 1-833-2FINDHELP or visit HelplineIL.org.

Olsen Helps Kick Off Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Naperville
It was my pleasure to join friends and neighbors to help kick off the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Naperville. The Alzheimer’s Association does excellent work supporting research and public policy to address this disease that impacts so many people and families. The Naperville walk was one of more than 600 similar events held nationwide each year to raise funds. Here in DuPage County, 2,136 walkers on 243 teams met on the morning of September 16 at North Central College for their three mile walk. While fundraising for 2018 is open through the rest of the calendar year, Naperville is well on its way to meeting its $510,000 fundraising goal. As of this writing, the Naperville event has raised more than $400,000!
October is “College Changes Everything” (CCE) month in Illinois, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is taking steps to help make it easier for students to file timely applications for both college admission and financial aid. October 1 is now the federal government’s release date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the key to securing aid for college, including the federal Pell Grant and the state MAP Grant, plus work-study opportunities, federal student loans, and even grants from the colleges themselves.

There is always a lot of demand for limited state and school based financial aid, so students seeking support for the 2019-20 academic year should file their FAFSAs as soon as possible after October 1, 2018, for the best chance of getting funding. On October 1, the U.S. Department of Education will also unveil the myStudentAid Mobile App, making the application more accessible to students and families whose primary Internet access is through a smartphone.

During CCE Month, ISAC offer hundreds of workshops for students and families across Illinois, including college application workshops, financial aid presentations, and FAFSA completion workshops where applicants have expert guidance through the entire process. Please visit studentportal/isac.org/events to search by ZIP Code for free public events nearby.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) was in attendance September 21, as the College of DuPage (COD) debuted a traveling Bicentennial of Illinois Law Exhibit at the college’s Student Service Center in Glen Ellyn.

The exhibit features prominent lawyers and cases in Illinois history and a historical look back at the judiciary’s first 200 years in Illinois. “As we celebrate the Bicentennial of our great State, it is an honor to have the College of DuPage chosen as the site to debut this important and educational exhibit,” said Olsen, a former board member and Vice Chair of the COD Board of Trustees. “The history of Illinois’ most important and influential cases and lawyers is a rich part of our history, and I am pleased to know that Illinoisans from across the state will be able to enjoy it.”

The exhibit is one of several bicentennial activities sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission to commemorate 200 years of the Illinois judicial branch. The traveling exhibit will remain at COD through October 26.

Joining Olsen in the photo are (from left to right): Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission member Kirk Dillard, DuPage States Attorney Bob Berlin, Second District Appellate Justice Joe Birkett, COD General Counsel John Kness, Second District Illinois Supreme Court Justice Bob Thomas, 18th Circuit Judge Jeff MacKay, State Representative/COD Board of Trustees Chair Deanne Mazzochi and COD President Ann Rondeau.

State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) has received the “Friend of Agriculture” award from the DuPage County Farm Bureau. Olsen received the award on September 12 at the farm bureau’s annual meeting at St. Andrew’s Golf Club in West Chicago.

“It was an incredible honor to receive this award from leaders in the DuPage County agricultural community,” said Olsen. “Efforts that support agriculture are very important in Illinois, and as a legislator I am committed to helping those in the agriculture industry with their goal of improving food production practices and ensuring a plentiful and safe food supply.”

Legislators receiving this award recognize the far-reaching benefits of Illinois' agricultural products and the important role farmers play in providing quality food, fiber and fuel for the state, nation, and world. Created in 1913, the DuPage County Farm Bureau is one of the oldest bureaus of its kind in the United States. The DuPage County Farm Bureau currently includes approximately 15,000 members.

“Our local Farm Bureau is a leading voice of agriculture and I appreciate their informational and educational efforts throughout the County. “I am especially appreciative of their programs that educate more than 10,000 students in DuPage County about the importance of the agriculture industry.”
Olsen Senior Fair Scheduled for September 20
This week on Thursday, September 20, I am partnering with the Downers Grove Park District’s Active Adult Center for a free Senior Fair. The event will be held from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM at the Park District’s Lincoln Center Gymnasium, 935 Maple Avenue in Downers Grove. Seniors and those who help care for them can visit more than 20 booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors. They can also register for a chance to win a door prize. In addition, helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will be distributed. No pre-registration is necessary. For additional information, please contact my office at (630) 737-0504. 

Olsen Joins DuPage Area Lawmakers to Help Loaves & Fishes with Collection of Personal Care Items
This month I am partnering with several of my DuPage County Republican colleagues to assist Loaves & Fishes with the collection of personal care items. Loaves & Fishes is a not-for-profit food pantry that feeds up to 800 DuPage County families per week. At Loaves & Fishes, families in need can visit the pantry and shop for free in a grocery store-like setting. Unfortunately, the pantry is experiencing a shortage of personal care items to supplement the food staples families need. Items in short supply right now include: 
  • diapers and wipes 
  • laundry detergent 
  • toilet paper 
  • shampoo 
  • toothpaste 
  • household cleaning products 
My legislative office at 633 Rogers Street, Suite 108 in Downers Grove is one of nine legislative offices in DuPage County that are serving as drop-off locations for Loaves & Fishes donations. While my general office hours are 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday, my staff and I are often out of the office tending to legislative business and attending local events, so please call prior to stopping by. Click here to view a full list of drop-off locations for this collection event. 

Olsen Sits for Interview to Discuss First Term in General Assembly
I recently sat down for a radio interview, where I discussed how my high school and college involvements led me toward public service life, my first term in the Illinois House of Representatives, and how bipartisanship has been the key to my success in getting bills passed. We also discussed my legislative and personal goals for the future. Click here to listen to the full interview. 

September is Preparedness Month in Illinois
In the case of a public emergency in this area, are you prepared? Would you know how to reach your family and how to remain safe? During closing ceremonies of the 2018 Illinois Emergency Management Agency Training Summit in Springfield, Governor Rauner proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in Illinois. Illinois designation aligns with National Preparedness Month. 

The theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month campaign is "Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How."  The state is partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the month-long campaign that encourages Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. Having a plan that includes where to go and how to communicate during disasters, as well as an emergency supply kit, could save the lives of your family, friends, neighbors and employees.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) offers disaster preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. During large-scale disasters, IEMA uses the Ready Illinois website, Facebook and Twitter pages to provide critical information about the incident, including shelter locations, road closures, safety information, photos and more. For more information about emergency and disaster preparedness, visit ready.illinois.gov.

9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Recognizes 17th Anniversary of Terrorist Attack
On September 11, I joined first responders and public officials in Lisle for a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Fire District. As we paid tribute to those who tragically lost their lives and the thousands of people who emerged as heroes in the days and weeks that followed the attacks, I was reminded of how that horrible day brought the country together; how people put their differences aside and embraced each other. 

Healthy Revenue Numbers Posted in August
The new numbers reflect taxes paid into our State through key State revenue pipelines in August 2018. The figures were posted recently by the Committee on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the nonpartisan budget watchdog arm of the Illinois General Assembly. Measured on a year-over-year basis, August 2018 personal income tax revenues were up $127 million, sales tax revenues were up $54 million, and corporate income tax revenues rose $35 million.

The Illinois private sector makes goods and services that are sold all over the world. After studying current Illinois exports, CGFA summarized the picture in this month’s revenue report. Illinois residents may be surprised to learn that facilities within our State sell almost $6 billion worth of goods and services every month to buyers outside our American borders. The U.S. dollar is an expensive currency for many of our international customers, and so many of these Illinois exports are not commodities: they are specialty goods and services produced by highly trained Illinois workers who are working as team members for an enterprise that enjoys a global high or dominant market share.

Illinois Launches College and Career Planning Tool
For the first time, Illinois high school students will have access to data that shows how much they might earn if they graduate from colleges and universities located in the state. 

ILCollege2Career.com, unveiled at Governor Bruce Rauner’s quarterly Children’s Cabinet meeting this month, links employment and higher education data so users can compare the relative earnings value of college degrees. The data is broken down by schools and area of study, so that students can compare the earnings potential of business degrees, for example, from different public and private institutions in the state.

The idea is to help students and parents make college decisions based on an evaluation of real-time successes of a school’s graduates, in addition to other factors such as cost, average debt levels, and likelihood to graduate on-time. The tool will also show the benefits of investing in higher education, as it demonstrates how connected our thriving higher education system is to the workforce development of our state.

ILCollege2Career.com is the product of collaboration between the Governor’s Office, Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

The launch of the web site follows a number of recent education achievements in the state including:
  • $25 million allocated for higher education in Fiscal Year 2019 and merit-based scholarship program AIM HIGH to encourage Illinois’ best and brightest high school grads to stay in Illinois for college 
  • A law that requires the ISAC to develop a three-year pilot program to better educate students on loan amounts, repayment and interest; 
  • A new law that creates a task force to study how student college or career interest data can be collected and shared between high schools and colleges so higher education institutions will be able to enhance their programs and services to support the specific needs of their incoming student body; 
  • Revisions to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) to prioritize access for existing grant recipients, and; 
  • Strengthened degree-advising services that make it easier for students to transfer credits between Illinois schools. 
Treasurer Launches Money Match Program
In Illinois, the State Treasurer is tasked with safeguarding unclaimed property, such as unpaid life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts and unused rebate cards. Illinois holds more than $2 billion in unclaimed property. The State Treasurer is legally required to get the property to the rightful owners no matter how long it takes for them to come forward.

The Treasurer’s Office wants to make sure you know about a new program, Money Match, that was recently launched to return unclaimed property to Illinois residents more quickly and efficiently. This program was made possible by legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly last year. The Treasurer’s Office is now authorized to work with the Illinois Department of Revenue to match the names of unclaimed property owners with recent tax return records.

Using this proactive matching process, the Treasurer’s Office will automatically return lost money to qualifying Illinois taxpayers without the need to file a claim or gather paperwork. The property must be $2,000 or less in cash with only one owner. If a recent mailing address is identified and confirmed, the person will receive a letter announcing the amount and source of the money and notifying the recipient to look for a check in the mail.

Money Match’s goal is to return more money, more quickly to Illinois taxpayers. Residents will start to receive notification letters as soon as this month. The program expects to return $12 million statewide in the coming weeks. This new matching program comes on the heels of a record-breaking year for ICash of 116,000 successful claims returning more than $180 million in unclaimed property to individuals, businesses and non-profits in Illinois.

Individuals can still search the state treasurer’s database for their name or the name of their business or non-profit at www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH.

Olsen Celebrates DarienFest
Every September I look forward to attending DarienFest, and this year was no exception. While the weather did not cooperate fully, we were able to enjoy some sunshine. This event takes place annually at Darien Community Park. I am shown in this photo with a variety of people from the Darien community.

Opioid Prescriptions Declining in Illinois
The legal dispensing of opioid pain management medications, including OxyContin, declined in 2017. The data was seen as evidence that steps are being taken to reduce opioid abuse in Illinois. In many cases of opioid abuse and addiction, a patient is introduced to opioids through the legitimate use of prescription painkillers. Physicians who provide treatment to persons with one-time pain management needs, such as post-operative patients, are being taught to prescribe lower doses of opioids in smaller quantities. Programs approved by the Illinois General Assembly are being used to improve anti-opioid continuing education efforts for all medical caregivers, including physicians and pharmacists.

This recently-released Illinois opioid data came from the statewide Prescription Monitoring Program, a database monitor operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The database monitor has been recommended to medical care providers since the 1970s, but in 2017 the General Assembly changed the law to mandate prescribing physicians to enroll in the Program. Work done by the Illinois General Assembly, with the consultative input of the Illinois State Medical Society, now ensures that Illinois professional regulators and law enforcement have high-quality, universal data to use to fight against opioid drug abuse and addiction.

Local Moose Lodge Hosts International Supreme Governor
Moose International Supreme Governor Harry Johnston visited Downers Grove Moose Lodge No. 1535 recently to celebrate the Downers Grove chapter being named top lodge in Illinois. I was glad to join in the festivities with Mayor Martin Tully and Commissioners Marge Earl & Nicole Walus. 

Renewed Interest in Issue of Texting while Driving
A recent survey of Illinois high school students shows that an alarming 42% of Illinois teens admit to texting while driving. This number is even higher than the 38% nationwide teen average who admits to the same offense. While texting-while-driving is banned in Illinois, many believe that the law is not fully enforced. The Illinois General Assembly enacted legislation, signed by Governor Bruce Rauner in August 2018, to increase penalties for the violation of texting while driving. Under the new law, first-time convictions for texting-while-driving will be classified as moving violations and, like other moving violations, will be placed on the offender’s permanent driving record. Three or more repeat offenses of texting while driving could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license.

Rep. Olsen Supports Grove Foundation Annual Golf Outing
The Grove Foundation recently hosted their annual golf outing at the Downers Grove Golf Club. I was glad to make time to stop by and visit with the golfers and others supporting the event. This organization is a not-for-profit foundation that enriches the lives of community members by identifying, supporting and promoting recreational, educational and community experiences through innovative and collaborative efforts. I am shown in this picture with Cheryl Prescott, Mary French and Mary Ellen Young.