Legislative Update: January 8, 2018

Olsen Champions Animal Welfare Bills as Part of Comprehensive 2018 Legislative Agenda
Good Samaritan laws have long been used to provide immunity to those who step in to assist another human being during an emergency, and I recently filed legislation extends similar protections to individuals who assist animals locked in cars during extreme weather. The idea for the bill was brought to me by the Animal Control Division of DuPage County.

HB 4191 would provide criminal immunity to Good Samaritans who damage a vehicle in an effort to rescue a dog or cat that is believed to be in imminent danger due to extreme heat or cold. The provisions would apply only if the individual had made efforts to contact emergency responders prior to taking action to forcibly remove the pet from the vehicle.

I will also be serving as the Chief House Sponsor of SB 2280, a measure that would ban the retail sale of animals obtained from commercial breeders in DuPage and Will Counties. Breeding animals on a mass scale for retail sale with no regard for the health and welfare of the animals is cruel. SB 2280 would improve animal welfare standards, encourage more pet adoptions and responsible breeding practices, and protect consumers, who today are largely unaware of the inhumane treatment many animals are subjected to before they are sold. SB 2280 is the product of collaboration by leaders in DuPage and Will Counties, the Humane Society of the United States, the Puppy Mill Project and several other local animal advocacy groups, and would bring state laws regulating the retail sale of animals obtained from commercial breeders in line with similar laws already in place in Chicago and Cook County. I am shown in the photo above at a press conference announcing the filing of SB 2280.

I am working with State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) on both bills. Senator Connelly will carry HB 4191 in the Senate, while I will carry his SB 2280 in the House. Both bills are awaiting assignment to substantive committees. HB 4191 and SB 2280 are part of a comprehensive 2018 legislative agenda that also includes initiatives to improve government transparency, protect taxpayers and improve the Illinois business climate.

Residents Invited to Participate in School District 58 Strategic Planning
Downers Grove Grade School District 58 is launching a “Vision 58” strategic planning process this month with community forums, focus groups and an online survey designed to obtain input from a broad cross-section of the District 58 community. The District will use the feedback provided to better understand the community’s aspirations for its schools and to inform its new Strategic Plan.

Community forums are open to all District 58 residents, including parents and residents without children enrolled in District 58 schools. Forums will be held on:
  • Monday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at O’Neill Middle School, 635 59th St.: Southside Residents
  • Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at Herrick Middle School, 4435 Middaugh Ave.: Northside Residents
  • Saturday, Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. at the Longfellow Center, 1435 Prairie Ave.: Open to All Residents
District 58’s strategic plan survey will open online in mid-January at www.dg58.org. Paper copies of the survey will also be available at school and district offices. The survey offers parents and residents an opportunity to share their perceptions of District 58 and their vision for its future. The survey will take participants to a third-party website and all responses will remain anonymous.

Communities in 81st District Make List for Best Places to Raise a Family in Illinois
Congratulations to the City of Naperville on being named the #1 Best Place to Raise a Family in Illinois! I have always said the communities in the 81st District are wonderful places to live, work and raise a family, and the report, issued by WalletHub, has listed all seven District 81 communities on their “best of” list. To determine the best places in Illinois for families to put down roots, WalletHub compared cities across 21 key indicators of family-friendliness, including the percentage of families with young children, median family incomes and housing affordability. Click here view the full list.

ComEd Takes Steps to Pass $200 Million in Savings Along to Consumers
On Friday, ComEd filed a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) seeking approval to pass along approximately $200 million in tax savings to its customers in 2018. If approved by the ICC, the average ComEd residential customer can expect to see an estimated $2.53 decrease on monthly ComEd bills. The reduction is the result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017 and became effective on January 1 of this year. The new law decreased the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, reducing the amount of federal income tax ComEd will have to pay. A new rate case process, established by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011 through passage of the Smart Grid law, ensures that cost savings such as these are passed on to ComEd customers. The ICC is moving expeditiously to oversee the process so customers can obtain the lower costs beginning in the first quarter of 2018.

Warming Centers Assist Illinoisans During Bitter Cold
While the sub-zero weather that stalled over Illinois for the last few weeks has finally moved on, the Famers Almanac is predicting that overall this will be a bitterly cold winter. Warming Centers are available to assist families during these dangerous stretches of weather. Click here to find a complete statewide list of warming centers. 

When temperatures dip to below freezing, it is also important to take preventative steps to avoid pipes freezing. It is recommended that when it is very cold outside, cabinets that hide pipes from view be opened, and all water faucets be turned on to a drip or trickle. It is also recommended that thermostats not be set lower than 60 degrees, day or night.

Illinois Drops to the Sixth Largest State
As 2017 came to an end, the U.S. Census announced its end-of-year U.S. state population estimates. These numbers indicate that Pennsylvania has once again passed Illinois to regain its position as the U.S. state with the fifth largest population. Both states have more than 12.8 million residents. 

Census end-of-year estimates are based upon statistical analyses of population trends and are not based on actual physical counting. The U.S. Constitution requires the Census to physically count all Americans once every ten years, with the next true census set to be taken in 2020. Households will receive paper forms in the mail to fill out and send in, with census takers physically fanning out to visit households that do not return the forms.

The end-of-2017 Census announcement marked a reversal from the late 1990s, when Illinois (the 6th largest state in 1990) passed Pennsylvania (the 5th largest state in 1990, as it is again in 2018). Illinois was #5 in the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Both states have had almost stable populations for the past thirty years.

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