Governor Presents Budget Address Before Joint Session of House and Senate
On Wednesday, February 14, Governor Bruce Rauner outlined his Fiscal Year 2019 budget plan before a joint session of the House and Senate. The annual budget address always takes place in mid-February, and the speech marks the beginning of budget discussions for the next fiscal year. After the speech I gave an interview and presented my thoughts about the Governor’s proposal. My comments focus around the need for an agreed revenue estimate before any discussions of spending occur, and bipartisan participation and compromise as we work toward a balanced budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2018. You can watch that interview here.

On the day of the address, which also happened to be Valentine’s Day, many members of the House and Senate wore red in recognition of heart health and Illinois’ “Go Red for Women” event. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and I was pleased to show my support by donning a red tie. I am shown in this picture with many of my colleagues from the General Assembly.

President’s Day Celebrated Across the Nation
With an eye towards the Prairie State’s history in the White House, today Illinois is celebrating President’s Day. General Washington’s victories at Yorktown and other battlefields helped force Britain to officially cede Illinois Territory to the new United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, making it possible to create the future state of Illinois thirty-five years later. Washington’s Birthday is the official federal holiday now commonly celebrated as President’s Day, and 2018 marks the first President’s 286th birthday. One of Washington’s veterans, James Monroe, as President signed the bill in 1818 that made Illinois the 21st state.

The first President who lived in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, was elected in 1860 when Illinois as a state was only 42 years old. Lincoln, whose 209th birthday was observed last week on February 12th, has become a symbol of the State’s bicentennial celebration. The most recent President who lived in Illinois, Barack Obama, returned to Springfield in February 2016 to deliver remarks to a joint session of the General Assembly. A historical plaque was unveiled last week in the Illinois House chamber to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the address.

Legislators Rush to File 2018 Bills Prior to February 16 Deadline
Friday, February 16 marked the deadline for bills to be filed for the 2018 session year. This year my legislative agenda includes 19 recently-filed bills on a variety of subjects, including initiatives that improve government transparency, protect taxpayers, improve the Illinois business climate, and improve the safety and welfare of animals. I will be highlighting these bills in the coming weeks. You can always follow the progress of my legislation by clicking on this link. The list of bills includes all bills filed during this 100th General Assembly. To view the bills filed for this session year look for those pieces of legislation filed in 2018.

ComEd Launches New Energy Efficiency Programs
ComEd has introduced new energy efficiency programs to help public sector and income-eligible customers manage their energy use and save on their electric bills. The energy efficiency plan includes an investment of up to $1.4 billion over four years to substantially expand and create new energy efficiency offerings.

The plan offers 30 programs that are expected to help ComEd residential, business and public sector customers achieve 11.8% in total energy savings by the end of 2021 and stimulate job creation. Programs include a variety of energy efficiency options, such as rebates on appliances, instant lighting discounts and savings on installation of HVAC and weatherization. Over the life of the energy efficiency measures, customers are expected to save over $7 billion on bills and reduce carbon emission by over 96 billion pounds.

Income-eligible programs for customers at or below 80% area median income include:
  • Home energy upgrades: Eligible customers can receive free home energy assessments and upgrades, which may include weatherization improvements, LED bulbs, thermostats, advanced power strips, faucet aerators, efficient showerheads and pipe insulation.
  • Multi-family units: Building owners and managers serving income eligible tenants can receive comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits in common areas and tenant spaces.
  • Public housing buildings: Public housing authorities can receive technical and financial assistance to make improvements to their properties.
  • Food pantries: Com-Ed will partner with local food banks to distribute free LED bulbs and power strips to eligible customers at food pantries.
  • Energy Savings Kits: Free do-it-yourself kits which include LED bulbs, power strips and faucet aerators, plus information on energy-saving actions customers can take to reduce their energy bills, will be available to eligible customers at participating community action agencies.
To learn more about ways to save on energy bills, visit www.ComEd.com/WaysToSave.

State Board of Education Looks Toward Potential Expanded Use of College Admissions Tests
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is currently considering taking a major step that could be seen as simplifying the student testing regimen that is now imposed on Illinois high school students. This could be done through the relatively straightforward pathway of identifying an existing standardized test for college aptitude, such as the SAT exam, and using it as the standard test to be administered to all students in 9th grade, 10th grade, and 11th grade.

The goal of ISBE in making this change would not be to demonstrate that a high school underclassman is ready to go to college, but to further utilize what is already a significant data set compiled by the SAT’s administration to Illinois 11th-graders to gather additional information about Illinois school performance and student academic growth. From the point of view of Illinois students and their families, the incentive would be that the students could take the additional aptitude tests for free. There is substantial belief that performances on college aptitude tests may, under some circumstances, improve upon retesting. The proposal would allow this retesting to be done at no cost to the student or the student’s family. This aptitude test proposal is being considered by ISBE and has not yet been approved as State policy.
On Wednesday, Governor Bruce Rauner presented his annual budget address before a joint session of the House and Senate. His revenue and spending plan serves as the starting point of Fiscal Year 2019 budget discussions. After the speech, Rep. David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) spoke about the importance of developing an agreed revenue estimate and bipartisan cooperation as the General Assembly works toward approval of a balanced budget before the end of Fiscal Year 2018 on June 30. Click here to watch Olsen's interview.
Click here to watch the live stream of Governor Rauner's annual budget address at noon.
Annual Budget Address Scheduled for Wednesday, February 14
The 2018 legislative session is now firmly underway, and on Wednesday, February 14, the Fiscal Year 2019 budget process will officially begin with Governor Bruce Rauner’s annual budget address. The address serves as a blueprint from which budget discussions for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2018- June 30, 2019) should begin. The Illinois Constitution requires that expenditures not exceed available revenues. I look forward to hearing the Governor’s recommendations and will support efforts to move ahead promptly with an agreed revenue estimate that will help guide our budget discussions.

The budget address will be streamed live. You can tune in to the Governor’s noon speech by going to www.ilga.gov and clicking on the House audio/video link.

Rep. Olsen Chosen to Serve on National Bipartisan Democracy Reform Task Force
In 2018, millennials will be the largest generation in America, but 67% of them are fearful of America’s future because of our current governmental system. I am honored to have been selected to serve alongside eleven other young state legislators from across the nation who will serve on a National Bipartisan Democracy Reform Task Force. The young lawmakers on the task force were chosen from the general assemblies from all 50 states, not only because we are millennials, but because of the interest we have taken in addressing issues that are important to this age group, such as fair legislative maps, government accountability, and access to voting. As a group, we will reach across state and party lines to find innovative solutions to government reform and we will share our findings with lawmakers across the United States. It is a privilege to have been selected for this service.

The task force is part of Millennial Action Project’s (MAP) national effort to support young elected officials as they work to break through partisan gridlock and reestablish political cooperation on issues that millennials care about. Its policy goals of redistricting reform, access to voting and government accountability are important themes which help guide my own legislative agenda in the Illinois House. I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion with other young lawmakers from across the nation to develop solutions that will make government work more effectively for all people. In addition to myself, task force members include: 

  • State Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-FL)

  • State Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-AR)

  • State Rep. Stephanie Clayton (R-KS)
  • State Senator Frank LaRose (R-OH)
  • State Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-WI)
  • State Senator Art Linares (R-CT)
  • State Rep. Caroline Simmons (D-CT)
  • State Senator Stanley Chang (D-HI)
  • State Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-NC)
  • State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-WI)
  • State Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-GA)
Additional information about this and other initiatives by the Millennial Action Project is available at: www.millennialaction.org.

School Counselors Week Celebrated Across Illinois
Last week I visited my alma matter Downers Grove South (DGS) High School and presented the school’s counselors with a copy of Governor Bruce Rauner’s proclamation designating February 5-9 as School Counselors Week in Illinois. I’m a 2007 graduate of DGS, and my personal experiences with the school counselors at Downers Grove South were very positive, especially with my counselor Mrs. Blei. I was always encouraged to set high goals for myself and to dream big. School counselors make an impact on students every day and it was my pleasure to present the Governor’s proclamation to the counselors at DGS and to Assistant Principal for Student Support Services Vince Walsh-Rock, who also serves as the President of the Illinois School Counselors Association. The text of the proclamation is posted on the DGS web site, and can be found here.

Olsen Attends State of the Village Address in Woodridge
On Thursday I had the privilege of attending Village of Woodridge Mayor Gina Cunningham’s annual State of the Village address. In addition to outlining the successes in the village over the last year, Mayor Cunningham recognized 11-year-old Ryan Gustis for his work to help the homeless through his “Backpack Project.” His project encourages people to pack supplies, like blankets, hand warmers, chap-stick and snacks, in backpacks that can be donated to homeless people. What an impressive and generous young man! I'm proud to represent this outstanding community with my colleague State Rep. John Connor. I’m shown in this picture with Mayor Cunningham, State Senator Connor and Ryan Gustis.

Olsen Joins Lt. Governor and Local Dignitaries for Recognition Event at Argonne Laboratory
I recently had an opportunity to join Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Congressman Bill Foster, members of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and representatives of SolSmart at an event honoring several communities for their commitment to encouraging the growth of solar energy by local residents and businesses. Officials from SolSmart presented plaques to representatives of several communities, and Lt. Governor Sanguinetti presented a proclamation from the Governor, congratulating the communities on their commitment to solar energy.

Two local governments within the 81st District were recognized- Will County received the Gold designation and the City of Darien received the Bronze designation. I’m shown in this picture celebrating with the representatives of the City of Darien, including Alderwoman Sylvia McIvor. The adoption of solar energy helps both the environment and the economy, so I look forward to having even more local governments across the State recognized with this designation.

Local Businesses Continue to Thrive in 81st District
On February 5, I was pleased to attend the official opening of Mission BBQ in Downers Grove. Many members of Chamber630 were on hand to wish this new business well as they opened their doors for business. 

A few days prior I joined my friends at Chamber630 again as we welcomed Chicago Wrap to their newly-opened location on Ogden Avenue in Downers Grove. These small business owners help drive our local economy and I appreciate their interest in opening businesses in the 81st District.

To learn more about Mission BBQ, visit their web site at www.mission-bbq.com.

To learn more about Chicago Wrap, visit their web site at www.chicagowrap.com.

Electronic Renewal Process Available for Renewal of Disabled Parking Placards
The Secretary of State’s (SOS) Office is now offering an electronic renewal process for all persons renewing their disabled parking placards. In addition to making the renewal process easier, it will also help to combat fraud. Any current placard holder may start the renewal process prior to their medical re-certification. Then, at the time of their medical visit, the medical professional may complete the process by providing the necessary medical information through documents that can be sent to the SOS office for processing. At this time the electronic renewal process is only available for renewals. It is not available to new placard applicants. The website for these renewals is located at: https://www.ilsos.gov/disabilityplacard/.

The new system does not replace the existing paper system. Patients and medical professionals may still avail themselves of the paper process. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact my office at (630) 737-0504.

TypeOneNation Educational Summit Offers Tips for Living a Full Life with Type I Diabetes
Those living with Type I Diabetes are invited to attend a free educational summit on Saturday, February 24 that features inspirational and educational activities led by national and local experts in the field of Diabetes research. Sessions are geared for adults and teens with Type I Diabetes and parents of children with Type I Diabetes. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with one another, visit with vendors and attend educational sessions on issues impacting diabetes daily care and management. Kerri Sparline, creator and author of “Six Until Me” will serve as the keynote speaker at this year’s conference. Those who attend must register by February 21 at www.typeonenationIL2018.evenbrite.com. The event will be held on Saturday, February 24 at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM.

South Korean Consul General Visits Illinois General Assembly
As the Winter Olympic Games got underway last week in PyeongChang, South Korea, members of the Illinois House were visited by Consul General Jong-Kook Lee of the Republic of Korea. The Consul General joined lawmakers on the House floor and addressed the Illinois House, discussing the strong economic and cultural ties between Illinois and Korea. It was an honor to meet him.

Thirteen Chicagoland Athletes Participate in 2018 Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Games are well underway, and 13 athletes who either live or grew up in Chicago and the suburbs are representing Team USA in a variety of sports. They include:
  • Kevin Bicker, 21, of Wauconda: Ski Jumping
  • Michael Glasder, 28, of Cary: Ski Jumping
  • Casey Larson, 19, of Barrington: Ski Jumping
  • Bradie Tennell, 20, of Carpentersville: Figure Skating
  • Alexa Scimeca Knierim, 26, Addison, and her husband Christopher, 30: Pairs Figure Skating
  • Brian Hansen, 27, of Glenview: Speed Skating
  • Lana Gehring, 27, of Glenview: Speed Skating
  • Emery Lehman, 21, of Oak Park: Speed Skating
  • Shani Davis, 35, of Chicago: Speed Skating
  • Aja Evans, 29, of Chicago: Bobsled
  • Kendall Coyne, 25, of Palos Heights: Hockey
  • Hilary Knight, 28, of Lake Forest: Hockey
Skating for Team USA on the Men’s Olympic Hockey team are the following players who have played either for the Chicago Blackhawks or the Chicago Wolves: James Wisniewski and John McCarthy. Hawks or Wolves players who will represent Team Canada include Rene Bourque, Andre Ebbett and Rob Klinkhammer. One former Hawk will play for Team Sweden: Victor Shalberg. Tony Granato, 53, of Downers Grove and Chris Chelios, 56, of Chicago will be coaching the USA Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. Good luck to these Illinois athletes and coaches and to all who will represent Team USA at this year’s Olympic Games in South Korea!
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) announced recently that he will serve as the Illinois voice on a 13-member bipartisan task force of young lawmakers from across the nation working to advance legislation on fair maps, government accountability and overall access to voting.

Olsen spoke about the task force in a recent radio interview. You can listen to the interview here.



As the 2018 Winter Olympic Games begin this week in Korea, Rep. Olsen was honored on Tuesday to meet Consul General Jong-Kook Lee of the Republic of Korea. The Consul General joined lawmakers on the House floor and addressed the Illinois House, discussing the strong economic and cultural ties between Illinois and Korea.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) visited his alma matter Downers Grove South (DGS) High School on February 5 and presented the school’s counselors with a copy of Governor Bruce Rauner’s proclamation designating February 5-9 as School Counselors Week in Illinois.

As he shared the proclamation, Olsen, a 2007 graduate of DGS, reflected on how his personal experiences with the high school counselors positively impacted his own future career path. “My personal experiences with the school counselors at Downers Grove South were very positive, especially with my counselor Mrs. Blei,” said Olsen. “I was always encouraged to set high goals for myself and to dream big.”

Assistant Principal for Student Support Services Vince Walsh-Rock, who also serves as the President of the Illinois School Counselor Association, attended the proclamation presentation, and said he appreciated the recognition. “It’s wonderful that our state leaders took the time to recognize the importance and impact that counselors make each and every day,” he said.

The text of the proclamation is posted on the DGS web site, and can be found here.
Illinois State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is among twelve young state legislators from across the country who announced this week the creation of the Democracy Reform Task Force to advance legislation on redistricting, government accountability, and access to voting. The lawmakers, all leaders on the forefront of these issues, are reaching across state and party lines with the goal of finding innovative solutions to government reform and sharing their findings with lawmakers across the nation.

The representatives join Millennial Action Project’s (MAP) national effort to support young elected officials as they work to break through partisan gridlock and reestablish political cooperation on issues that millennials care about. “Partisan gridlock has caused millennials to lose trust in our government and civic institutions, and has caused them to check out of the political process,” said Steven Olikara, Founder and President of Millennial Action Project. “The Democracy Reform Task Force is made up of trailblazers who have shown they will prioritize progress over party. Working together, these young lawmakers will lead the nation in finding innovative, legislative solutions to make our government more accountable, transparent, and functional.”

Olsen said it was an honor to be chosen to be an Illinois voice on the task force. “The task force’s policy goals of redistricting reform, access to voting and government accountability are important themes which help guide my own legislative agenda in the Illinois House of Representatives,” said Olsen. “I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion with other young lawmakers from across the nation to develop solutions that will make government work more effectively for all people.”

The Democracy Reform Task Force was born from MAP’s initiative to rebuild trust in our government in order to encourage civic engagement, particularly amongst younger generations. According to Harvard IOP's 2017 survey, 67 percent of Millennials are fearful of America's future, and just 14 percent believe our nation is headed in the right direction. However, a counter-movement is emerging – led by Millennials – that seeks to disrupt the status quo in government.

The Task Force is a peer-to-peer sharing of ideas and not an endorsement of any particular reform. Democracy Reform Task Force members include: 

  • Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-FL)

  • Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-AR)

  • Rep. Stephanie Clayton (R-KS)
  • Senator Frank LaRose (R-OH)
  • Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-WI)
  • Senator Art Linares (R-CT)
  • Rep. Caroline Simmons (D-CT)
  • Senator Stanley Chang (D-HI)
  • Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-NC)
  • Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-WI)
  • Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-GA)
  • Rep. David S.Olsen (R-IL)
The Millennial Action Project (MAP) is a national, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to activating young policymakers to bridge the partisan divide and lead a new era of collaborative governance. In 2013, MAP organized America’s first-ever bipartisan caucus for young members of Congress, the Congressional Future Caucus. Shaping the next generation of leadership, MAP's Future Caucus Network has expanded into fifteen state legislatures and grown into the largest nonpartisan organization of millennial elected officials in the U.S. More info available at: www.millennialaction.org.
Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Start of 2018 Session
Members of the General Assembly returned to the Capitol last week for the start of the 2018 legislative session. The highlight of the week occurred on Wednesday, January 31, when Governor Bruce Rauner presented his annual State of the State address before a joint session of the House and Senate. The Governor struck a positive tone as he spoke about the continued need for bipartisan solutions that will grow the Illinois economy and restore public trust.

Following the 45-minute speech I provided my thoughts about the speech in an interview. Click here to view that video.

As the legislative session progresses, I hope you will be engaged with your state legislature and your representative. The Illinois House posts its schedules on the public Illinois General Assembly webpage. The schedules can be found here. And of course I’ll continue to share these updates. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my Downers Grove or Springfield offices to provide your feedback.

Olsen Signs On as Chief Co-Sponsor of Bill to Enact Term Limits for Legislative Leaders
Last week I joined my colleague State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Pontiac) in championing new legislation that would put 10-year term limits in place for legislative leaders. HB 4194 would change state law to allow a member of the General Assembly to serve no more than 10 years as Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, President of the Senate or Senate Minority Leader. If approved and signed into law, the provisions of the bill would take effect with the inauguration of the next General Assembly in 2019. I believe this bill would be a good way to restore some accountability to Springfield and prevent any one individual from accumulating too much power within state government.

I recently spoke about the bill in a radio interview. You can hear that interview here.

Rep. Olsen Speaks at Fire Protection Conference
On January 27 I had the opportunity to speak at the annual conference for the Northern Illinois Alliance of Fire Protection Districts. Thank you to the Alliance for inviting State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) and me to speak. Fire protection is critical to our communities and ensuring these districts are able to carry out their public safety mission is a critical priority in the state legislature. I truly appreciate the work these professionals do to protect us.

Metra Seeks Public Input on Proposed Fare Structure
Metra is seeking input from customers regarding potential changes to fare structure and ticket options at several public forums this February. Input on the proposed changes can also be shared online here. The hearings nearest to the 81st District will be held at the Clarendon Hills Village Hall, 1 N. Prospect Avenue, Clarendon Hills on Thursday, February 15, 4:00-7:00 PM. To learn more about the proposed changes and for a full list of the upcoming hearings, click here.

Great Turnout for Environmental Town Hall Meeting
Last week I joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) and a host of environmental experts from the Illinois Environmental Council, the Sierra Club, Citizens Utility Board, the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Illinois Solar Energy Association for an Environmental Town Hall Meeting in Homer Glen. Many people turned out for the engaging discussion of environmental issues with a particular focus on solar energy and new opportunities for solar technology to be implemented in individual homes and businesses.

Veterans Invited to Health Event in Naperville
Area veterans are invited to join the Hines VA Community outreach team on February 6 for a healthcare event that will be held at the Naperville VFW Post 3873, 908 Jackson Avenue in Naperville. The event will take place from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM, and attendees will be able to receive help with eligibility and enrollment for veterans services, immunizations, minor health screenings and medication reconciliation. This month the team will also have heart healthy recipe books and heart health facts available. To sign up for healthcare benefits, veterans will need to bring a copy of their DD214.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) has signed on as the Chief Co-Sponsor of new legislation that would put 10-year term limits in place for legislative leaders.

HB 4194 would change state law to allow a member of the General Assembly to serve no more than 10 years as Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, President of the Senate or Senate Minority Leader. “The people of Illinois are clamoring for term limits, so I am pleased to be a leading sponsor of this new bill,” said Olsen. “I feel the bill will help restore some accountability to Springfield and prevent any one individual from accumulating too much power within state government.”

House Speaker Mike Madigan is the longest-serving leader of any state or federal legislative body in the history of the United States, having served as Speaker of the Illinois House for all but two years since 1983. “We are experiencing a concentration of power in Illinois that is currently going unchecked,” Olsen said. “Term limits for legislative leaders would allow for a healthy turnover of leadership and ideas.”

If approved and signed into law, the provisions of the bill would take effect with the inauguration of the next General Assembly in 2019.