Legislative Update: March 12, 2018

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.

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