Legislative Update: April 23, 2018

Olsen Passes More Bills as House Bill Deadline Approaches
As we approach the April 27 deadline for the passage of House Bills out of our chamber of the General Assembly, I am happy to report that two more of my bills, HB 2222 and HB 5477, received successful House votes last week. Due to a limitation on the number of bills we were permitted to call, I handed HB 5477 off to my colleague Rep. Christine Winger (R-Bloomingdale), who presented the bill on the floor of the House.

This week we will spend most of our time on the floor of the House as we finish considering House Bills filed in 2018. Lawmakers will then return to their home districts for one week. When we return to Springfield on Tuesday, May 8, our attention will turn toward Senate Bills that successfully advanced out of that chamber. Those bills will then have two weeks to pass through our House committee process and one additional week to be brought to the House floor for a vote. Only legislation that has received a successful vote in the House and Senate will move to the Governor’s desk for final action. During this time budget discussions also begin to take center stage.

Rep. Olsen Champions Legislation to Ensure Fair Maps in IL
There is overwhelming bipartisan support in Illinois for fair maps. Ensuring fair maps may very well be the most important thing we can do as lawmakers to restore integrity and true democracy to our election process. This year I am co-sponsoring two measures that seek to take the legislative map-drawing process out of the hands of politicians and ensure a fair and transparent method for creating legislative districts and maps. The graphic is very telling. In Iowa, political influence has no part in creating their map. In Illinois, the opposite is true. Which map looks fairer? 

HJRCA 46 would provide for the creation of an independent legislative redistricting commission, which would lead a detailed review process of maps submitted by any Illinoisan who would wish to suggest a map. The commission, appointed equally by the four legislative leaders from the Republican and Democratic caucuses, would provide the public with necessary data and tools with which to create map proposals. A multi-faceted scoring rubric would be used to rank all submissions with higher scores generated by maps that keep municipalities and counties together and which are compact in nature. The three highest-scoring maps would be brought to the House and Senate, where a three-fifths majority vote would be required for passage of one of the three maps. In the event that consensus is not reached, the highest-scoring map would be certified by the Secretary of State and become law.

This legislative solution takes political influence out of the equation and allows citizens and the commission to drive the process. Most importantly, HJRCA 46 takes into account previous fair maps proposals that have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts, and addresses those specific points in a manner that should withstand a court challenge. HJRCA 46 retains and repurposes the current constitutional participants in the mapping process (redistricting commission, General Assembly, Secretary of State) in order to conform with Illinois court decisions about citizen-led map initiatives.
In addition to HJRCA 46, last week I joined all members of the House Republican Caucus in filing HR 995, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process for the upcoming redistricting cycle. Both proposals would apply to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the elections to be held in 2022. 

I recently spoke on the House floor regarding these measures. You can view that video here.

I also have posted an online petition on my web site where citizens can weigh in on this important issue. Click here to sign the petition in favor of fair maps.

Rep. Olsen Passes Bill to Add Residency Requirement for Library Trustees through Passage of HB 2222
Today’s Illinois Library Act contains very few qualifications for library trustees. Residency requirements and disqualification language for those convicted of felonies is common in other local government codes, and this year I filed legislation that provides consistency for those who wish to serve as a library trustee. On April 17, I was pleased to receive unanimous House approval on HB 2222, which puts in place a one-year residency requirement for library trustees and disqualifies from service any candidate convicted of a felony or who is delinquent in taxes or fees owed to the library district. The idea for the legislation was brought to my attention by Lisle Library District Trustee Tom Hummel. State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove) will now carry the bill in the Senate. If approved by the Senate and signed into law, the provisions of HB 2222 will apply beginning with candidates in the 2019 consolidated election. 

Last week HB 5477 was also approved. The bill requires animal shelters and animal control facilities to report information regarding dogs and cats received from other states or countries. Currently, Illinois shelters and rescues are not required to report to the Department of Agriculture on the numbers of dogs they are importing or where these dogs originate. The intention of this legislation is to keep better record of dogs and cats in our State’s animal shelters and control facilities with the hopes of preventing the spread of disease and dog bites/attacks.

Summer Internship Offered in 81st District
This summer I am offering one local college student or rising high school senior an opportunity to do a paid internship in my Downers Grove office. As an intern for the 81st Legislative House District, this individual will learn about the inner workings of a legislative office while assisting my District Office Director and me with important projects. The intern will also accompany me to community events and gain a solid understanding of how legislators reach out to their constituents and gain their input on matters that affect the lives of Illinoisans. 

Interested individuals should send the following to my Downers Grove office at 633 Rogers Street, Suite 108, Downers Grove, IL 60515:
  • Letter of interest 
  • Two names plus contact information for references 
  • A resume (optional) 
Applications will be accepted through Friday, May 11 at 4:00 PM. The 81st District is located predominantly in DuPage County with a small portion stretching into Will County. The District includes portions of Bolingbrook, Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge. For more information about the Olsen summer internship, please contact my Downers Grove office at (630) 737-0504.

Rep. Olsen Named Legislator of the Year by Illinois School Counselor Association
Recently I was proud to be named Legislator of the Year by the Illinois School Counselor Association (ISCA). It is such an honor to receive this award for my support of school counselors in the legislature. My personal experiences with the counseling staff at Downers Grove South (DGS) High School were extremely positive. They helped put me on the path that led me to the General Assembly by always encouraging me to set high goals and to dream big. I accepted the award at the Illinois School Counselor Association’s annual conference in Springfield on Friday, April 13. I’m shown in this photo with Vince Walsh-Rock, President of the Illinois School Counselor Association, who also serves as the Assistant Principal for Student Support Services at DGS. 

Olsen Attends Eagle Court of Honor
I recently had the opportunity to honor Matthew Bair on becoming the newest (and 87th) Eagle Scout from Troop 95. I am pictured with Scoutmaster Andrew Flowers and Matthew at Faith United Methodist Church in Downers Grove. We are very fortunate to have service-oriented youth like Matthew living in our area. They are truly the next generation of leaders! Congratulations Matthew! 

Illinois Ranked Highly in Preparations for Health Care Emergencies
The 2018 National Health Security Preparedness Index, underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ranked 18 states – including Illinois – as ranking higher than the national average in preparations for threats to health security. The survey measured 140 separate variables to generate an overall threat assessment score. The numbers included not only health measurements obvious to laypersons, such as the numbers of board-certified pediatricians, but also status assessment that many of us mentally classify in a place different from public health – such as the physical status of Illinois roads and bridges. Illinois’ overall high score was partly driven by especially healthy numbers in the coordination and timely response of first responders to emergencies. Examples of this type of response include Illinois emergency-room and airport security responses to the outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa in 2014.

Free Recycling/Document Shredding Event Set for May 5
Please mark your calendars for Saturday, May 5, when I will partner with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and State Senator John F. Curran for a free recycling and paper shredding event. Between the hours of 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon, people will have an opportunity to drop off up to two grocery size bags of document to be shredded and deliver electronics and other items for recycling. Televisions and computer monitors will not be accepted. The event will be held at Burr Ridge Middle School, 15W451 91st Street in Burr Ridge. Click here to view a full list of items that will be accepted, and please note that due to the size of the shred truck we will have to adhere to a strict two-bag per vehicle limit for document shredding. For additional information, please call my office at (630) 737-0504.

Olsen Talks with District 203 Students about Citizenship
I spent a wonderful morning on April 16 with Mr. Sniadecki’s 8th grade U.S. History class at Jefferson Junior High School in Naperville. We discussed the importance of all citizens being involved in their communities and having an understanding of their government. I appreciate the invitation to speak to this engage group of learners. They had some great questions!

Illinois Top 200 Survey Names Wrigley Field as Illinois’ Top Building
Participants in the Illinois Bicentennial’s Top 200 survey were asked to pick their favorite building in Illinois, and the winning choice was Wrigley Field, the century-old Major League Baseball park that became the home of the Chicago Cubs in 1916. After many generations of mixed results, the storied Friendly Confines became the home of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Other Illinois buildings were also supported by survey participants. Coming in second was a building owned by the people of Illinois, Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House, which contains artistic motifs that celebrate Illinois’s ecology and landscapes, and is fitted with more than 100 pieces of Wright-designed furniture, lights, and art glass. The Wilmette Baha’i Temple, Chicago’s Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, and Chicago’s Robie House were honored with selection slots #3 through #5.

No comments :