Legislative Update: April 30, 2018

Olsen Passes Six Bills Prior to House Bill Deadline
Our deadline for approval of House Bills was Friday, April 27. During this year’s spring session I was successful in passing six House Bills that have now moved to the Senate for consideration. Members of the House are in their home districts this week, and when we return to the Springfield on Tuesday, May 8, we will turn our attention to Senate Bills that successfully advanced out of that chamber. I will be serving as Chief House Sponsor of several Senate Bills. Budget discussions will also begin to take center stage as we approach our May 31 adjournment date. And as a reminder, I’m still collecting applications from college students and rising high school seniors to serve as a paid summer intern in my District Office.

Rep. Olsen Passes Good Samaritan Legislation to Save Dogs and Cats Locked in Cars During Extreme Weather
On Thursday I passed legislation in the Illinois House that would provide immunity to Good Samaritans who enter a vehicle in an effort to rescue a dog or cat that is in imminent danger of death or injury due to extreme weather. Click here to view my floor comments as I presented the bill. 

HB 4191 seeks to amend the Humane Care of Animals Act by providing legal immunity to Good Samaritans only after several preemptive measures are taken to save the animal without damaging a vehicle. Before making a forcible entry to rescue a pet, Good Samaritans must:

  • Determine the vehicle is locked and no other reasonable method for the dog or cat to exit exists 
  • Has a good faith belief that forcible entry is necessary because the animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm or death if not immediately removed from the vehicle 
  • Has made a good faith effort to contact a 9-1-1 system operator, law enforcement or the fire department prior to entering the vehicle 
  • Has made a good faith effort to place a notice on the vehicle’s windshield with the person’s contact information, the reason entry was made, the location of the dog or cat and the fact that authorities have been notified 
  • Remain with the animal in a safe location until law enforcement, emergency responders, or animal control arrive 
  • Use the least amount of force necessary to gain entry to the vehicle 
It is currently illegal to confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that places the animal in life-threatening situations, yet unfortunately every year we hear about cases when pets die as a result of being locked in vehicles during extreme temperatures. This proposal would provide private citizens with immunity from criminal liability, criminal trespass, and from civil liability when they are acting as a Good Samaritan.

The following states have “Good Samaritan-hot car” laws that provide civil immunity, criminal immunity, or both to private citizens who break into a vehicle to rescue an animal: California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Similar bills are pending in Alabama, Arizona and Oregon.

Pro-Business Bill Sponsored by Olsen Creates Regulatory Sandbox for Entrepreneurs
Last week I was also pleased to pass pro-business legislation to give financial technology (fintech) businesses in Illinois the ability to experiment with innovative financial products and services. HB 5139 creates a regulatory sandbox where both established and startup fintech businesses can offer their products and services to the Illinois market on a limited scale. Current Illinois law does not allow testing of fintech innovations until all regulatory requirements, including fees and licenses, are obtained. 

Current regulations do not keep up with today’s demands in the fast-paced world of financial technology. Creating an avenue for previously unregulated activity to be brought into the regulated space is crucial to bringing new innovations to market in Illinois. This legislation gives existing and emerging fintech businesses the ability to test their products free from regulatory burdens and fees, while still ensuring consumer protections are in place. Ultimately, this legislation will allow for better interaction and understanding between our state’s regulator and finteh companies.

A regulatory sandbox was recently enacted in Arizona and the concept has also experienced worldwide success in the United Kingdom, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Australia. This legislation will be extremely helpful in attracting new small business, making Illinois more competitive on the national and international stage. The idea for the legislation was brought to my attention by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

“I thank and congratulate Representative Olsen on achieving this important bipartisan result,” said Bryan A. Schneider, IDFPR Secretary. “This legislation will help make Illinois an international leader for safe and innovative financial services. My team and I look forward to working with the members of the Illinois Senate in advancing this bill.”

HB 5139 was approved on a 93-4 vote and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Free Recycling/Document Shredding Event Set for May 5
On Saturday, May 5, 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 Bill that Improves Transparency for Guardian Caseloads Sails through Illinois House
Last week I was successful in passing legislation that adds a new layer of transparency about the caseloads of guardians of adults with disabilities. HB 4867 would require a potential guardian of an adult with disabilities to disclose to the court the number of adults with disabilities over which the guardian is currently appointed. The new provision would also apply to those who wish to be appointed as guardian of the estate of an adult with disabilities. If an individual is appointed guardian over more than five adults with disabilities, the court would be required to notify the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission within one week. The Guardianship and Advocacy Commission would then maintain a list of all notifications it receives for reference by other agencies, units of government, and the public. The need for the bill was brought to my attention by the Illinois Department on Aging.

Township Leaders Visit Springfield for Lobby Day
On April 25 I was glad to spend time with Downers Grove Township Supervisor Mark S. Thoman, who was visiting Springfield for the day. We had a positive discussion about issues important to our area and how we can more effectively serve our shared constituents. 

Legislators Address Teacher Shortage in Illinois
Our children’s education remains a top priority, which is why the growing teacher and substitute teacher shortage in Illinois has been especially troubling. To combat the shortage, this year I am supporting several pieces of legislation that address the issue.

The Illinois State Board of Education said the 2017-18 school year began with about 2,000 unfilled teaching positions across the state. In addition, Regional Offices of Education report increasingly difficulty finding substitute teachers. Legislative measures have been filed to address some of these challenges. Bills I have supported this year include:
  • HB5627: Recognizes and removes hurdles for out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois, eases requirements for the timing of completion of professional development, eases restrictions for retired educators who wish to substitute teach, and provides for a short-term substitute teachers license for individuals with an associate’s degree or who have at least 60 hours of credit toward a degree at an accredited institution of higher education. I am a proud co-sponsor of this common-sense legislation. 
  • HB 4167: Establishes a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License. This special provision requires applicants to have an associate’s degree and allows them to substitute teach in a classroom for a no more than five consecutive days. This provision would allow more qualified individuals to enter the substitute teaching pool. 
  • HB4280: Establishes the growing future language-educator program. It would allow high schools to hire high school graduates who are proficient in a language other than English and are pursuing an educator license, to mentor and teach English language learners. I am a co-sponsor of this bill. 
  • HB4409: Addresses the shortage of school psychologists by removing the requirements that those who already hold a valid Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential must also take state-mandated tests. 
  • HB5153: Streamlines the hiring process for educators at the Illinois School for the Deaf and Illinois School for the Visually Impaired. 
  • HB5005: Assures salaries of teachers employed by the Department of Juvenile Justice are comparable with teachers in area school districts. It also recognizes state teaching licenses without further testing. 
Rep. Olsen Posts Online Petition for Fair Maps
People often ask me if there is one thing they could do as citizens to make a real difference in helping turn Illinois around. I tell them that educating themselves about the fair maps issue and helping initiate that constitutional change would be tremendously helpful. A fair maps process would eliminate today’s practice where partisan politicians draw maps and essentially choose the constituents they want to represent. Gerrymandered maps protect majority party incumbents and all but guarantee continued control. 

I have posted an online petition for those who oppose gerrymandered legislative maps and support a fair maps process, and would encourage all residents to sign it.

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.

Olsen Congratulates New Eagle Scout at Court of Honor
On April 22 I was pleased to join Bolingbrook Mayor Roger C. Claar and the entire Bolingbrook Village Board at the Levy Center to congratulate Joe Callahan on earning his Eagle Scout rank. Congratulations Joe! I am pictured above with (L to R) DuPage Township Supervisor William Mayer, Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz, Trustee Maria Zarate, Trustee & Deputy Mayor Michael Lawler, Trustee Ricardo Morales, Joe Callahan, Mayor Roger C. Claar, David S. Olsen, Trustee Deresa Hoogland, Trustee Sheldon Watts.

House of Representatives Welcomes British Consul General to Springfield
Earlier this month we welcomed John Saville, the British Consul General to the General Assembly. I enjoyed hearing him speak about his role of maintaining and developing relations between the UK and the United States. Through his office in Chicago, the Consul General deals with a wide range of political, commercial, security and economic issues of interest. Through that office, assistance is provided to British nationals living or visiting Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. 

Olsen Champions Legislation to Expand Lombard School’s Ability to Transport Students
Last week the House unanimously approved HB 2040, which expands Lombard’s Soaring Eagle Academy’s ability to transport students in grades K-12 to off-site educational activities. Soaring Eagle Academy is an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)-approved therapeutic day school that caters to the unique educational needs of autistic children. Current law limits its ability to transport students off-site to only those in 9th through 12th grade. This therapeutic day school serves students from 40 different municipalities in northern Illinois through a curriculum that was developed through guidelines set by ISBE. The school is a not-for-profit institution that addresses the physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs of autistic students.

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