House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) and State Rep. David Olsen (R-Downers Grove) are hosting their next Coffee and Conversation event in Darien with Mayor Kathleen Weaver to visit with constituents and discuss their thoughts about state and local issues.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olsen Meets Tom Skilling at Climate Discussion at Downers Grove North High School
Last week I had the opportunity to meet WGN Meteorologist Tom Skilling when he visited Downers Grove North (DGN) High School for a panel discussion on climate science with Congressman Bill Foster and Nobel Prize winning Professor Don Wuebbles. This panel was only one part of an outstanding day of professional development for science teachers across DuPage County, hosted by the DGN Science Department.
Lawmakers finished a busy week in Springfield yesterday with dozens of bills moving through the committee process and several bills receiving final floor action. State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) had four pieces of legislation move out of various committees with successful votes, and those items are now headed to the floor of the House for final action. Olsen gave an interview shortly after adjournment on Thursday, where he discussed the progress of his legislation.

State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) has been chosen to serve on a bipartisan Firearm Public Awareness Task Force. The panel, which previously assembled during the 97th General Assembly to study concealed carry issues, has now been reactivated to study the escalation of gun violence in Illinois.

Specifically, the 22-member task force is assigned to gather data and study:
  • The previous report compiled by the Firearm Public Awareness Task Force on concealed carry issues 
  • Shootings in Illinois by region and what might be contributing to more shootings in one area of the State compared to others 
  • Gun dealers and gun sales that may have led to illegal usage or straw purchases, including the number of guns and ammunition sold and any registry concerning ammunition purchases 
  • The transportation of firearms, especially newly manufactured firearms as they are transported through Illinois (including the study of the repeated gun thefts at the Norfolk Southern Rail Yard) 
  • Mental health laws and treatments for those individuals who have access to firearms 
  • Current laws on handguns and rifles and states with best practices 
“I supported the recreation of this task force when it was brought to the floor of the House for a vote last week, and I am pleased to be asked to serve,” said Olsen. “As one of ten lawmakers on this bipartisan panel, I look forward to our work, with hopes that we can develop solid recommendations to decrease gun violence throughout our state.”

In addition to their specific areas of study, members of the task force will hold public hearings to gather public input, and will issue a written report of its findings and recommendation to the General Assembly prior to the conclusion of the 100th General Assembly in January of 2019.
The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office is offering Illinoisans an opportunity to submit artwork for consideration to be emblazoned on a special 2018 Illinois Bicentennial medallion. The contest timeline to submit a design is now through May 1, 2018. All designs must be submitted via the official online form located here. Submissions will be judged initially by the treasurer's office based on content uniqueness, creativity, quality, accuracy, and completion. Contestants must be Illinois residents and may only submit one design. The top five designs will be made available for the public to vote on between June 1, 2018 and June 15, 2018 on the treasurer's office website. A final winner will be announced on June 18, 2018.

The contest winner will be announced via press release and on social media, and the contest winner will be notified prior to the official announcement. Please read all contest terms and conditions. Questions should be directed to Maria Oldani via e-mail (moldani@illinoistreasurer.gov) or phone (217-782-9598).
Olsen Files Comprehensive 2018 Legislative Agenda
Legislators’ bills are now working their way through the Springfield legislative process, and this year my legislative agenda includes 22 House Bills and four House Resolutions that will protect taxpayers, enhance government transparency and improve the Illinois business climate. You can read about my taxpayer protection bills here, and you can read about my government improvement and transparency bills here. Bills that aim to improve the business climate include: 
  • HB 5003: Ensures local governments provide appropriate notification of potential zoning or land use changes to allow adequate time for public review and input by both businesses and residents. 
  • HB 5139: Provides a framework to encourage the creation of new small businesses in Illinois by allowing limited access to the Illinois marketplace to test innovations in financial products or services without excessive regulation. 
  • HB 5738: Reduces fraud by increasing the penalty for transacting business in Illinois without authority, and sets monthly fines for businesses that fail to issue an annual report. 
A full list of my bills for the current 100th General Assembly can be found here. To follow bills that include 2018 bill action, look for legislation with a “last action date” of 2018.

House Takes Action in Wake of Mass Shooting at Florida School
The Second Amendment is a core element of our Bill of Rights that protects Americans’ right to own and keep firearms. Applications of this right have been upheld in both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court. In that context, government has the authority and responsibility to put limited regulations in place to protect public safety and ensure this basic right is preserved for all. In the wake of continued violence in our cities and mass shootings across the nation, we cannot throw our collective hands up, wish times were better and do nothing to try to stop gun violence. Conversely, we must also not make hasty, ill-considered decisions that trample upon the constitutional rights of Americans. 
Several bills intended to address gun violence were brought forward in the Illinois House last week. I weighed each bill carefully with an aim to support measures that improve public safety without impeding core constitutional rights. In that vein, I was able to support several pieces of legislation, including a bill to implement a state licensing system for gun dealers and a bill to prohibit bump stocks. I opposed other bills which were too broad and were not appropriately targeted toward improving public safety.

Prior to the votes, I spoke about the importance of balancing Constitutional rights with enhanced public safety. Click here to watch my floor comments.

Olsen Working with Metra on Service Reliability Issues
I hear almost daily from constituents who are paying higher rates this year for a lower quality of Metra rail service. Delays have become more frequent, and for the thousands of 81st District residents who rely on Metra to get to and from work every day, frustration is extremely high. On February 15 I sent a letter to Metra Chairman Norman Carlson and expressed my concerns about regular service disruptions at the Downers Grove Main Street, Belmont and Fairview Avenue train stations, as well as at the Naperville, Lisle and Westmont stations which are also widely used by residents of the 81st District. In the letter, I asked Chairman Carlson to specifically respond to the following questions: 
  • Why have there been significant delays on the Metra BNSF line in recent months? 
  • What is Metra doing to restore service reliability on the BNSF line in the near term? 
  •  What long term plans does Metra have to improve service reliability? 
  • What steps can the General Assembly take to improve Metra service? 
You can read that letter here.

Chairman Carlson responded to my office on February 23 with this letter. In his response letter he pointed to ice, snow and the use of road salt as contributing factors, and said freight trains, which also use the lines, cause some additional delays. Chairman Carlson added that many delays are the result of mechanical problems such as locomotive failure or broken hoses, and that because the BNSF line has an intricate infrastructure which allows for more frequent trains, more express trains and greater interaction with freight trains, there are more opportunities for problems which often have a domino effect on the timing of other trains. He assured me that Metra and BNSF leaders are actively working to address these issues to improve service reliability.

I appreciate the speed with which Chairman Carlson responded to my concerns and I look forward to continuing to work with him on solutions that will improve service reliability on the BNSF and all Metra rail lines.

Illinois House Passes Bills Intended to Assess Hospitals for Federal Healthcare Funding
Under current federal law, part of Illinois’ federal funding for health care is raised through an assessment process. Funds are collected from Illinois hospitals and used as seed money to request matching funds from Washington, D.C. SB 1573 and SB 1773 allow this assessment program to continue with cash flows reflecting ongoing changes in health care and the health care professions. On Wednesday, February 28, the House passed SB 1573 by a vote of 110-0-1 and passed SB 1773 by a vote of 107-0-0.

Passage of these two bills was necessary because the current 2008 hospital assessment program will sunset on June 30, 2018. Enactment of this legislation will bring $3.5 billion in federal money into our State to support its healthcare infrastructure. Through a six-month-long cycle of meetings chaired on a bipartisan basis by members of the Illinois General Assembly, Illinois hospitals agreed to the specifications of the new assessment system. One key element of the new assessment system is a program of enhanced funding for challenged Illinois hospitals, including rural and inner-city safety-net hospitals. Of the money generated by these measures, 58% is expected to go to safety-net hospitals.

Olsen Presents Proclamation Recognizing Eating Disorders Awareness Week at Downers Grove South High School
Eating disorders are serious, biologically-based illnesses that affect millions of people every year and can be life-threatening. Last week I visited Downers Grove South High School and presented a proclamation recognizing the week of February 25 as Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Illinois. The proclamation from Governor Bruce Rauner was presented to Linda Lewaniak of the Chicago Eating Recovery Center and several student leaders from Downers Grove South. I was glad to be able to shine a light on the importance of research, diagnosis and treatment of these disorders which too often remain in the shadows. In addition to the Governor’s proclamation, this year I filed House Resolution 710 recognizing the week of February 25 as Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Illinois. The resolution received unanimous House support on Thursday. 

Darien’s Jim Kiser Named 2018 Citizen of the Year
Two weeks ago it was my privilege to be on hand as the Darien City Council proclaimed resident Jim Kiser as their 2018 Citizen of the Year. Jim is an active community volunteer and has been involved with the Darien Lions Club for many years. He also helps the local Chamber of Commerce with their annual Darienfest, and has been an active member of Our Lady of Peace parish for more than 20 years. I’m shown in this picture with Jim, Mayor Kathleen Weaver and Congressman Peter Roskam. 

Olsen Tours Association for Individual Development Facility in Aurora
I had a wonderful time recently as I toured the Aurora office of the Association for Individual Development (AID). The staff does tremendous work every day toward their mission of helping empower individuals with physical, developmental, intellectual and mental health challenges to enjoy lives of dignity and purpose. The association was organized in 1961 by the parents of eight children with special needs, and today the organization has grown to serve more than 6,500 children and adults annually throughout the greater Fox Valley. AID services include job training and employment, autism services, housing supports, counseling, health care services, psychiatric and crisis intervention services, and family and community support. 

Rep. Olsen Welcomes Rare Disease Advocates to Springfield
February 28 was Rare Disease Day at the Capitol. I am proud to be a member of the Rare Disease Commission for Illinois and was glad to welcome the advocates to Springfield and speak to them during a morning meeting. The 15-member Rare Disease Commission was created in 2016. We meet at least four times per year, and study issues such as prescription drugs and innovative therapies for children, adults and any specific sub-population with rare diseases, with a focus on providing assistance on health care coverage and responsibilities associated with promoting quality care for individuals with rare diseases. All commission members serve without compensation. 

COD Students Earn Distinguished Project Merit Award
At the end of February I joined Congressman Peter Roskam at College of DuPage (COD) where we honored Architecture Professor Mark Pearson and his students for receiving a 2017 Distinguished Project Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects’ Northeast Illinois Chapter. The students designed, built and installed a gathering pavilion on the COD campus in Glen Ellyn. I am pictured in the photo with architecture student Malak Saadeh, Professor Pearson, Congressman Roskam, COD Board Chairman Deanne Mazzochi, and COD President Dr. Ann Rondeau.
In an effort to improve government operations and transparency in Illinois, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) has filed six “good government” bills that make government operations more efficient and provide greater transparency on how tax dollars are collected and spent.

“The government belongs to the people, so we should be doing whatever we can to make our operations as efficient and transparent as possible,” said Olsen. “These bills should go far in accomplishing those goals.”

Government improvement and transparency bills included in Olsen’s 2018 agenda include:
  • HB 4269: Requires gas purchase receipts to include the pre-tax sale price of a gallon of gas and also an itemized list of any local, state or federal taxes imposed on the gasoline.
  • HB 4866: Creates consistency in the voting process by limiting the need for election authorities to redraw precincts and change polling places. 
  • HB 4867: Requires disclosure and notification when an adult with disabilities is assigned a guardian who is serving as guardian over more than five adults. 
  • HB 5031: Removes a duplicative reporting requirement between state agencies and human service providers. 
  • HB 5165: Clarifies that the Human Rights Act applies to local governments. 
  • HB 5170: Updates various terms within the Illinois School Code and repeals an outdated provision that prohibits a regional superintendent from working in another profession. 
Olsen’s government improvement and transparency bills are part of a comprehensive agenda which includes 22 House Bills and four House Resolutions. You can follow Olsen’s legislation at this link.
Join State Representative David S. Olsen, State Senator John F. Curran and Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully for Coffee & Conversation on Monday, March 5 from 9:15 AM until 10:15 AM at the Downers Grove Library, 1050 Curtiss Street in Downers Grove. Your elected officials will have hot coffee on hand and will be available for short conversations about issues that affect their constituents.
As bills begin moving through the committee process in Springfield, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is hoping to garner support for nine bills that aim to protect taxpayers in Illinois.

“The people of Illinois pay some of the highest taxes and fees in the nation,” said Olsen. “As the lawmaker for the 81st District, much of my 2018 agenda is focused providing Illinoisans with some much-needed relief.”

Olsen’s taxpayer protection bills for 2018 include:
  • HB 4695, HB 5732, HB 5733: Increases the senior citizens homestead exemption to $8,000 statewide (currently the exemption is $8,000 in Cook County and $5,000 in all other counties). It also increases the maximum reduction under the general homestead exemption to $10,000 statewide (currently the exemption is $10,000 in Cook County and $6,000 in all other counties). 
  • HB 4696: Eliminates sales taxes on prescription medication. 
  • HB 5501: Eliminates pensions for part-time municipal employees by requiring a minimum of 1,500 work hours per year to become pension-eligible through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. 
  • HB 4868: Clarifies that expense reimbursements, expense allowances, or fringe benefits are not considered pensionable income in the Teachers Retirement System. 
  • HB 4270: Reduces frivolous lawsuits against people and organizations engaging in charitable work, by removing civil damages liability for those working at free medical clinics. 
  • HB 4780: Reduces the fee retired law enforcement officers must pay for concealed carry permits to align with the fee paid by the general public for a concealed carry permit. 
  • HB 4805: Reduces the cost of the surety bond needed to become a notary public by modernizing the required bond coverage. 
In addition to the above bills, Olsen is collaborating with colleagues from both political parties as a co-sponsor for several other money-saving bills. Olsen’s taxpayer protection bills are part of a comprehensive agenda which includes 22 House Bills and four House Resolutions. You can follow Olsen’s legislation at this link.