There are 253 new state laws with a January 1, 2019 effective date. Many of these new laws simply clarify existing statutes, while others improve transparency and overall government processes. Still others represent entirely new ideas that are now becoming law.

This year I was successful in passing 12 bills into law, more than any other member of the House Republican Caucus. My new laws promote efficiency and cost savings in state government, ease barriers to government consolidation, ensure counselors in our schools are properly qualified, strengthen human rights protections, help our service members, veterans and their families, and so much more. Each of my new laws was a small step toward the goal of making State government more effective, efficient and responsive to the people of Illinois.

Click here to view a list and summary of the 253 bills that become law on January 1.
Illinois Celebrates its 200th Birthday with Grand Bicentennial Party
On Monday, December 3, Illinois celebrities, dignitaries, veterans and citizens came together to celebrate Illinois’ Bicentennial Birthday at a party held on Chicago’s Navy Pier. I was proud to attend this event as the Representative for the 81st District and as a citizen of Illinois. I am shown in the photo to the left at the celebration with my colleague State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst), who represents the 47th District. 

Journalist Bill Kurtis hosted the program, which opened with the legendary Wayne Messmer singing the national anthem and performances from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and many notable Illinois entertainers. Governor Bruce Rauner and Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker were also on hand to welcome a crowd of more than 2,300 attendees.

Rauner noted the contributions of Bicentennial sponsors who made it possible to conduct a year’s worth of Bicentennial activities without spending taxpayer money. The key sponsors included Wintrust, which served as the Official Bank of the Bicentennial, Walgreens, Abbott, Boeing, BMO Harris, Illinois Office of Tourism, Comcast and United Airlines.

As part of the year-long celebration, Illinoisans were polled to determine the top 200 people, places and things in Illinois history. Every two weeks, people had an opportunity to cast on-line votes for the best movies, most inspiring leaders, greatest books, top businesses and much more. Click here to see the top 10 results in the 20 different categories.

Rep. Olsen Congratulates Grove Foundation Grant Recipients
In Downers Grove we are extremely fortunate to have the Grove Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that works tirelessly to enrich the lives of the Downers Grove community. For the last 26 years this group has thrived by identifying, supporting and promoting recreational, educational and community experiences through innovative and collaborative efforts. 2018 was once again a very successful year for the Foundation, and I was pleased to be in attendance on December 10 as grants supporting efforts that serve the many diverse populations within the community were awarded. This year’s recipients include: Sharing Connections, Blessings in a Backpack, GardenWorks Project, Family Shelter Service, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Literacy DuPage, Senior Suburban Orchestra, Samara Care and DuPage PADS. I’m shown in this photo with grant award recipients and members of the Grant Program Committee. 

National Day of Mourning Held for President George H.W. Bush
Earlier this month the world mourned the death of the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. President Bush passed away at his Houston home on Friday, November 30th at the age of 94. Our 41st President’s flag-draped coffin lied in state at the U.S. Capitol from Monday, December 3 through Wednesday, December 5. The 5th was a National Day of Mourning and the date of President Bush’s State Funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Thousands of mourners attended the State Funeral, including the five surviving presidents: Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

The following day, funeral services were held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. After the service, President Bush’s coffin was transported via a special train that carried him to his burial plot near his presidential library, on the grounds of Texas A&M. He was buried next to his wife of 73 years, Barbara, and daughter Robin, who died in 1953 at the age of three of leukemia.

President George H.W. Bush was the last veteran of World War II to serve as president. Bush spent decades in public service, as a congressman, ambassador, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Vice-President for two terms under Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States from 1989-1993.

Health Care Fraud Prevention Initiatives Saves the State Over $218 Million
In its latest report, the Governor’s Health Care Fraud Elimination Task Force showed that it successfully avoided or recouped $218 million in wasteful or fraudulent Medicaid spending. The effort resulted in 39 fraud convictions including $27.8 million in recoveries through criminal prosecutions, civil actions, and/or administrative referrals. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) saved or recouped an estimated $190 million in Fiscal Year 2018. The task force has saved the state more than $665 million since its inception in 2016. 

The Governor’s Health Care Fraud Elimination Task Force was created in April of 2016. Chaired by Executive Inspector General Susan Haling, its purpose is to develop and coordinate a comprehensive plan to prevent and eliminate health care fraud, waste and abuse by deploying a cross-agency, data-driven approach. The Task Force specifically focuses on reducing wasteful spending and fraud in Medicaid, Worker’s Compensation, and State Employee Group Insurance.

In Fiscal Year 2017, members of the Task Force participated in the 2018 National Health Care Fraud Takedown, which was the largest health care fraud enforcement action in U.S. Department of Justice History. The Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s participation led to the indictment of 14 people responsible for approximately $430,000 in fraudulent claims in the Medicaid Home Services Program. Task Force members also participated in the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care Fraud Task Force meetings to share information about data-driven approaches to fighting fraud.

Proposals Made to Increase State Gas Tax to Fund Infrastructure Needs
Illinois’ motor fuel tax on gasoline is 19 cents per gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1990. All revenue from the tax goes to the Motor Fuel Tax Fund. In Fiscal Year 2017, $1.35 billion in State revenue was collected (approximately the same amount as was raised in Fiscal Year 2016). The State continues to face many challenges in maintaining its transportation system, as we’ve seen first-hand with the recent Metra issues.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proposed raising the gas tax by 20 to 30 cents per gallon to fund a new Capital program and infrastructure improvements across the State. That would more than double the current 19 cent per gallon State gas tax. IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn has also called for an increase in the State gas tax by at least 15 cents per gallon.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday, Dec. 12 did not dismiss the possibility of a gas tax hike to help pay for rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, but he also cautioned that a major capital construction program will not come quickly when his administration begins on January 14. Pritzker also said a new capital program and the revenue to pay for it is not something the lame-duck 100th General Assembly should pursue when we return to Springfield on January 7.

Dr. Floyd Mizener Honored for Community Service
Last week my office presented Dr. Floyd Mizener with an honorary House Resolution, in recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the Downers Grove community and State of Illinois. He was also recently honored by the Friends of Downers Grove Township Seniors organization. I could not attend the event personally, but my District Office Director Lynn made the presentation on my behalf at the Downers Grove Lions Club’s holiday luncheon. 

New Laws Taking Effect on January 1
There are 242 new state laws with a January 1, 2019 effective date. One of these new laws is HB 4213. I was proud to support this taxpayer-friendly bill, which addressed an outdated policy that was costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. Up to this point, all state-owned vehicles were required to have their oil changed at 3,000 miles, even though most new cars are designed to go at least 5,000 or even 10,000 miles without needing an oil change. This unnecessary maintenance was wasting taxpayer dollars. The new law directs the Department of Central Management Services to refer to the recommendations in the vehicle’s manual for when to get the oil changed, rather than utilizing a one-size-fits-all policy.

A law to better protect youth athletes from the effects of concussion will also take effect with the new year. HB 4226 puts in place a uniform set of rules for the accommodation of a student who had a concussion during a school athletic activity. Under this law, the Department of Public Health will put together informational brochures to help educate members of the public about how to spot warning signs that indicate that someone has a concussion. I will highlight additional new laws in my next newsletter.

Olsen Attends Crosstown Classic Games in Downers Grove
I had a great time over the weekend at the “Crosstown Classic” basketball games between Downers Grove North and South. I sat with students as we cheered on our teams at this annual high-spirited event. Both teams played well, but the final scores showed Downers Grove South edging out Downers Grove North by a score of 39-36 in the Girls’ Varsity game, and 46-42 in the Boys’ Varsity game. There was incredible energy in the stands, and community spirit was high on both sides of the gymnasium! 

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
Though we’ve had a recent respite from the cold, winter weather, the snow and wind that is common this time of year often makes travel difficult and dangerous. Please be safe in your holiday travels. You can use this link to access alerts about current road conditions that could make travel challenging. 

The countdown to Christmas has begun! You can use this NORAD Santa tracker on Christmas Eve if you would like to follow Santa’s trip around the globe.

Lastly, as we end 2018 and prepare to usher in 2019, I hope you are able to spend quality time these next few weeks with family, friends and other loved ones. While this has indeed been a difficult year for the State of Illinois, we have very much for which we can be truly grateful. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year!
Do you know a teacher who doesn't just impart knowledge, but truly inspires students to learn and succeed? Nominate him or her for a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching at goldenapple.org/awards. Winners will receive a $5,000 cash award, experience a spring quarter sabbatical at Northwestern University, become a lifetime Fellow of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators and be honored on a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) TV program. Applications will be accepted through December 15.
Happy 200th Birthday Illinois!
Today is the 200th anniversary of the state of Illinois’ admission to the union back in 1818. It is the day that caps off a year-long celebration of Illinois’ past and present, and which looks to the future. 

The theme of the bicentennial festivities was “Born, Built, Grown” a celebration of all the great people and things that have their roots here in Illinois. Illinois has made a mark on history of which we can all be proud. Our place in history includes people like our greatest President and our many accomplished writers, entertainers, veterans, educators, inventors, athletes, political leaders and more. Our history also includes products and innovations which came from Illinois, like the steel plow that revolutionized agriculture in the 19th century or the first nuclear reaction which changed the world in the 20th century.

Today the state faces challenges. But a state which was created by pioneers, which produced the leaders who won the Civil War, and which came through the Great Depression, world wars, natural disasters and many other great adversities in its first 200 years is a state which can meet the challenges of today. The State of Illinois will celebrate its 200th birthday party at the Aon Grand Ballroom at the tip of Chicago’s Navy Pier this evening. Starting at 7:30 PM, the party will bring together singers, dancers, and athletes with connections to Illinois for a star-studded celebration of our state’s triumphs and heritage. Colors and trophies will be presented as reminders of the achievements of these men and women on behalf of all Illinoisans. With a focus on entertainment, sports, and life, the event will be a fast-forward way for Illinois celebrants to experience the past two hundred years in the Land of Lincoln.

General Assembly Completes Fall Veto Session
The November 2018 veto session came to an end on Thursday, November 29 with final action taken on many bills vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Some of the vetoes were overridden; however, many of the vetoes were allowed to stand after sponsors could not gather the three-fifths majorities of both houses required for an override. This was the final week available for a House or Senate bill sponsor to submit a motion to override a veto and have the motion called on the floor of the General Assembly, so the remaining vetoed bills are now all dead for the year. Click here to view a list of all veto action take during the six-day veto session.

The House will re-convene on Monday, January 7 for two days of “lame duck” session to wrap up the duties of the 100th General Assembly. As veto session ended, the 2019 spring session calendar was published. The new 101st Illinois House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, January 9, for its members to take their oaths of office.

As you probably know, I will not be returning for the 101st General Assembly. I will save my farewell comments for a newsletter in a few weeks. Following the closing gavel for veto session, I spoke on camera about my hopes for the future of Illinois. Click here to view that video.

Olsen Enjoys Christmas Tree Lighting in Downers Grove
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is when residents of Downers Grove gather in the downtown area for the official lighting of the Village of Downers Grove Christmas Tree in front of the Main Street Train Station. There is a tremendous turnout for this event every year and it is great to see and talk with so many friends and neighbors. 

Rep. David Olsen Recognized for Service through Honorary Resolution 
On the final day of the fall veto session, members of the House honored all departing members. Each of us received an honorary House Resolution that highlighted our accomplishments and contributions while in office. My most sincere thanks go out to House Republican Deputy Leader Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), who made some very kind floor comments about my time in the General Assembly. You can click here to watch Leader Demmer’s floor comments, and here to read the honorary House Retirement Resolution approved by the members of the House on Thursday.

Illinois Capitol Unveils Holiday Display
While the Illinois Capitol building is beautiful 365 days-a-year, this time of year the rotunda is especially magnificent. Last Wednesday the 2018 holiday display was unveiled in the first floor rotunda. The display features a Christmas tree that extends upward to the second floor of the Capitol, a large menorah, and a nativity scene. If your travels take you to Springfield between now and the new year, visit your Capitol and enjoy the holiday display. Local musicians are often performing in the rotunda to enhance the holiday spirit. 

Thousands Come Out for Annual Bonfield Express 5K in Downers Grove
On Thanksgiving morning, I joined thousands of runners for the 15th Annual Bonfield Express 5K through the streets of Downers Grove. It has become a wonderful community tradition, as we all come together in thanks to raise money for the Bonfield Express Foundation, a local charity that provides scholarship assistance to high school seniors to help build future community leaders. I look forward to this race every year and appreciate how our community gathers to support our next generation of leaders. I also appreciate that in recognition of my House District, race organizers reserved #81 for me! I am shown in this photo with my father Jerry Olsen and Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully. 

Bacterial Meningitis on the Rise on College Campuses
Meningitis B outbreaks occurred once again this fall in U.S. colleges and universities. Although the incidents were outside of Illinois, Illinois public health experts urged prompt attention be paid to the infectious disease. Medical care providers reported the infectious bacterium in California, Massachusetts, and Oregon. Meningitis B is a disease that is particularly prone to outbreaks on college and university campuses. Although the vaccine for Meningitis B is optional in Illinois, health directors urge healthy Illinoisans, especially persons living in dormitory-style housing units, to get immunized against the disorder. Meningitis can cause neurological complications and, in rare instances, can be fatal.
On the final day of the fall veto session, House Republican Deputy Leader Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) praised retiring caucus member State Representative David S. Olsen with a floor speech that pointed to the young lawmaker's success through bipartisanship. Click below to watch the floor comments, and click here to read the honorary House Retirement Resolution approved by the members of the House on Thursday.

Following the conclusion of the fall veto session on Thursday, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) spoke about the importance of compromise and incremental change, which will lead to a better Illinois in the long-term. You can use the video link below to watch the interview.


Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Fall Veto Session
Legislators returned to Springfield last week to begin the six-day 2018 Fall Veto Session. Through floor action last week, 17 vetoed House Bills received the requisite number of votes to pass, two failed, and House members accepted the Governor’s amendatory language on one bill. In the Senate, lawmakers successfully overrode 20 Senate Bills while two attempts to override the Governor’s veto failed. The bills that received successful three-fifths override votes now move to the other chamber where another three-fifths vote will be required for the bills to become law. Veto session resumes after Thanksgiving on Tuesday, November 27.


Rep. Olsen Receives Unanimous Veto Override Vote on Legislation to Ensure Properly-Credentialed Counselors are Working in Illinois Schools
Through a unanimous veto override vote on Wednesday, a bill I sponsored to provide transparency and clarity regarding 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. 

Olsen Hosts Downers Grove Youth as Page for a Day
Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of hosting Matthew Ritzert of Downers Grove as my Page for the Day in Springfield. He had an up close and personal opportunity to see the legislature in action as we began the fall veto session.

Slight Increase in Illinois Unemployment Rate for October
Illinois’ unemployment rate moved up from 4.1% in September 2018 to 4.2% in October. The state’s unemployment continued to be slightly higher than the 3.7% nationwide rate for the same month, indicating slightly slower economic conditions in the Prairie State than the rest of the United States. Illinois’ total payroll numbers continued to increase. The count of seasonally-adjusted Illinois nonfarm payroll jobs increased to 6,134,000 in October 2018, up 10,300 jobs from the previous month and up 59,300 jobs from one year earlier. Job growth was especially strong in trade, transportation, utilities, information, and manufacturing. The October 2018 report, by showing both more jobs and higher unemployment, demonstrate that marginal workers are once again returning to the Illinois labor force. A person who is actively seeking work is counted as “unemployed,” even if he or she is in the labor force for the first time or is returning to the labor force after having voluntarily left on a previous date.

Rep. Swanson Leads Veto Override of “Lauryn Russell Lyme Disease Prevention & Protection Law”
My House Republican colleague Representative Dan Swanson led an effort last week to override Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of HB 4515 – the “Lauryn Russell Lyme Disease Prevention & Protection Law.” The override vote was unanimous and I was pleased to support his important bill.

Swanson’s legislation was inspired by Lauryn Russell, a 12-year-old student from Mercer County, who has Lyme Disease and has had to seek treatment out of state due to potential disciplinary action that could be taken against her Illinois physician for treating Lauryn’s post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) or Chronic Lyme Disease. Advocates for Lyme Disease sufferers say the current recommended treatment of the disease, 10 to 21 days of antibiotics, is insufficient for people with advanced or persistent levels of the disease.

Olsen Talks with Students About Job as a Young Lawmaker
Wednesday, November 14, I was able to spend some time with two high school home-schooled students who were in Springfield on a job shadowing assignment. I met Nicholas Doty and Tanner Speer on the House floor and showed them the inner workings of our voting system. These young men had some great questions and I hope they enjoyed their day learning about the behind-the-scenes workings of the General Assembly! 

In Quality-Of-Life ranking, Illinois Rated Above Average at #22 of 50 U.S. States
The rating was based on a wide variety of metrics that included household income, state unemployment and percentage of state residents with four-year college degrees. The rating was compiled by Delaware-based website 24/7 Wall St. Illinois was highly rated for its household income. The state’s current population decline and unemployment rate – both of them reflections of Illinois’ current slow speed at private-sector job creation – dragged what would otherwise have been a healthy Illinois score back towards the median. The 24/7 ranking criteria tended to favor Northeastern states. The website ranked Massachusetts highest, and gave six of its top 10 state rankings to neighboring states on the East Coast.

Rep. Hammond Advances Critical Consumer Protections to Long-Term Care Application Process
Assistant House Republican Leader Norine Hammond has once again advanced legislation adding important consumer protections to Illinois’ public nursing home care program (long-term care Medicaid program).

After unanimous passage by the Illinois House in the 2018 spring session, HB 4771 came back to the House this November on the veto calendar. Under Rep. Hammond’s leadership, the House voted unanimously to override the amendatory veto and enact provisional Medicaid eligibility status into law. The measure now goes to the state Senate for final action.

Under provisions of Hammond’s legislation, Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) will make critical consumer protection reforms including instituting a system of provisional eligibility, providing a step by step checklist of documents required, departments must provide written receipt of documents turned in, must develop an electronic application process, and ensures applications do not ‘start over’ just because of a change of the applicant’s legal representative. I was proud to support this bill.

Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Debated
A bill is being considered by the General Assembly to strengthen regulations on car sharing, including enactment of legal language specifically adapted towards this fast-growing industry. Illinois already regulates and taxes conventional rental cars, phone-app taxicab services such as Lyft and Uber, and the leasing of cars from car dealers to individual households.

In the case of what is called “car sharing,” the motor vehicle is not really “shared.” It is rented by the owner to a user, with the owner of an intellectual-property phone app serving as the car finder and go-between. The app operator locates the car, tells the prospective driver where to find it, bills the driver, and takes a profit percentage. Many consumer advocates believe that car-sharing services need to be regulated to ensure the safety and drivability of the cars being rented out. At the same time, critics point out that enactment of this bill will create a new set of taxes and regulations. The car sharing regulation bill, SB 2641, may be discussed by the Illinois House in the second week of veto session starting on Tuesday, November 27.

Rauner, Pritzker to make Joint Appearance at Bicentennial Birthday Party
Gov. Bruce Rauner and Governor-elect JB Pritzker will make a joint appearance at the state's 200th Birthday Party on Dec. 3, the day in 1818 when Illinois became the nation's 21st state. Both men rallied around a unity theme in the aftermath of the recent election. "There is no better place to start uniting than at an event that celebrates the greatness of Illinois," Rauner said.

The Bicentennial Commission also announced a change in venue for the official Bicentennial Birthday. The celebration is moving from the United Center to the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. The Birthday Party program will remain largely the same. People attending the affair will be treated to a star-studded presentation of things BORN, BUILT, and GROWN in Illinois.

The highlights include an original Gettysburg Address Rap - "All People are Created Equal" - by Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton, Chicago), performances by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Buddy Guy; a special acoustic performance by Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon; and a Championship Parade featuring star athletes marching with Chicago team championship trophies.

People who have purchased tickets for the United Center may use them for the party at Navy Pier or contact Ticketmaster for a refund prior to Dec. 2. Future ticket purchase opportunities will be announced as they become available. For more information about the Illinois Bicentennial celebration visit www.illinois200.com.

Medicare & Affordable Care Act 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.
Open Enrollment is also underway for all people needing insurance through the Affordable Care Act. During this time period, Illinoisans can enroll in or change plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace for the next year. For more information, call (866) 311-1119 or visit www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov

Happy Thanksgiving!
Lastly, as we enjoy this Thanksgiving week, let us all take a moment to count our many blessings and let those we appreciate know how thankful we are to have them in our lives. I would personally like to express my gratitude to everyone in the 81st District for the privilege of serving as your State Representative for these last few years. It has been a distinct honor. 

For those in your life who show kindness to you and your family without expecting anything in return, this week is the perfect time to extend a gesture of friendship and thanks for the good deeds and overall happiness they bring to your life. On behalf of my staff and me, please accept my very best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

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.