Legislative Newsletter: May 7, 2018

Legislators Begin Final Weeks of Legislative Session
Lawmakers return to Springfield on Tuesday to begin the final 3 ½ weeks of the spring session. During this time we will consider Senate Bills that successfully passed out of that chamber and affirm or reject Senate amendments made to House bills we previously approved earlier this year. Budget discussions will become more intense as the May 31 adjournment date draws nearer. I will be serving as Chief House Sponsor of 11 Senate Bills that are now beginning to work their way through the House committee process. I will keep you apprised of the status of these bills as they clear the steps of the approval process.

Summer Internship Offered in 81st District
As a reminder, I am still collecting letters of interest from college students and rising high school seniors who are looking for paid summer internship opportunities. I am offering one local student 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.

Close to $369,000 in Library Grants Benefiting 81st District
We are very fortunate in the 81st District to have wonderful community libraries. I am pleased to announce that $368,837.50 in state-sponsored per capita grant money has been approved for libraries serving the 81st Legislative House District. The Public Library Per Capita Grants Program was established to assist public libraries to improve and increase library services within their service areas. Grant amounts of up to $1.25 per person served are available, on an annual basis, to all Illinois local public libraries through an application process. 

Libraries serving the 81st Legislative House District that will receive funds include:
  • Downers Grove Public Library: $61,516.25 
  • Indian Prairie Public Library District: $53,161.25 
  • Lisle Public Library District: $35,630 
  • Naperville Public Library: $177,316.25 
  • Woodridge Public Library: $41,213.75 
Since 1979, this annual grant program has provided funding to support the day-to-day operations of Illinois’ public libraries. According to the Secretary of State’s office, most libraries have chosen to use the money to fund library materials, programs and personnel.

Olsen Co-Sponsors Legislation to Allow for Emergency Firearms Restraining Orders
As we look back on recent acts of gun violence in schools and other public places, we see that often times there were warning signs. In many cases the individual who committed the crime made comments to others, made posts on social media or exhibited behaviors that suggested they were capable of using guns to cause harm to others. Recently I joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in sponsoring HB 2354, a measure that would provide for the removal firearms from mentally unstable individuals while protecting the Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners. 

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement would have the legal means to remove these troubled individuals’ access to guns. Specifically, family members or law enforcement could petition the court for an emergency firearms restraining order, and the case must be heard as soon as possible but in a timeframe not to exceed 14 days. Those petitioning for an emergency order must show probable cause that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others by owning or having access to firearms. If probable cause is established at the hearing, the court would issue an emergency firearms restraining order and may issue a warrant directing law enforcement to search the respondent’s property and seize his/her firearms. At that point, the Illinois State Police (ISP) would have the authority to suspend or revoke the respondent’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card.

If an emergency firearms order of protection is issued, a full court hearing would need to occur within 14 days, at which time a determination would be made regarding a six-month firearms restraining order. Whereas proof of probable cause would trigger an emergency order, the six-month firearms restraining order would require clear and convincing evidence, a higher standard of proof. Respondents would have an opportunity to petition the court to transfer his/her firearms to a person who does not live at the same address and who is lawfully able to possess firearms, and upon the expiration of any firearms order of protection, the FOID card and concealed carry license would be returned without delay. Additionally, if the allegations are not proven at the hearing, the record of the case would be expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties for perjury would apply to those who would make false statements in a petition for a firearms restraining order.

Founders Day Celebrated in Downers Grove
I had a wonderful time over the weekend as the Village of Downers Grove wrapped up its celebration of Founders Day. With the beautiful weather, hundreds came out to celebrate our community’s heritage. Children and families were able to enjoy self-guided walking tours of historic sites in the area, a family bike ride, petting zoo, old-time games, and pioneer trade displays. 

On Saturday, Civil War Captain Walter Blanchard was honored as Founder of the Year for his military service and leadership at a dedication ceremony at his grave site at the Main Street Cemetery. Blanchard was one of Downers Grove’s earliest settlers. His family arrived in 1836 when they purchased 103 acres of farm land. He also served as Supervisor of Downers Grove Township and as a probate judge for DuPage County until he joined the army, and eventually raised one of the State’s first regiments, the 13th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. During the Civil War, he was injured and died from injuries sustained fighting for the Union during battle. 

Revenue Numbers Published for April 2018
Legislators routinely rely on financial data provided by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), a nonpartisan budgeting arm of the Illinois General Assembly. COGFA works with the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and other State agencies to track Illinois general funds revenues on a month-to-month basis. The data gathered by COGFA is reported to the General Assembly annually and is supposed to be used by the House and Senate to adopt a revenue estimate to control spending in the appropriations process. While budget discussions are underway, the General Assembly has not yet approved a revenue estimate. State law in Illinois actually requires us to adopt a revenue estimate:
The House and Senate by joint resolution shall adopt or modify such estimates as may be appropriate. The joint resolution shall constitute the General Assembly’s estimate, under paragraph B of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution, of funds estimated to be available during the next fiscal year (25 ILCS 155/4(a))
A revenue estimate is also required by Subsection (b) of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution of Illinois:
Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.
With less than four weeks remaining in the legislative session and no approved revenue estimate in place, I recently joined Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and other House Republicans in filing a resolution that urges lawmakers to immediately adopt COGFA’s revenue estimate so it serve as the starting point of legitimate budget discussions for Fiscal Year 2019. HJR 124 adopts the COGFA revenue estimate of $37.672 billion for fiscal year 2019.

Willowbrook Spring Fling 5K Draws Hundreds of Runners
While I couldn’t participate in the race this year, yesterday I stopped by the Willowbrook Spring Fling 5K to show my support to the runners and walkers. This walk is a popular element of the annual community fair. I’m shown here with Willowbrook Mayor Frank Trilla. 

Mark Your Calendar for Summer and Fall Events
We had a huge turnout on Saturday for the recycling and paper shredding event I hosted with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove). Thank you to all who came out to this successful event. My staff and I have a full calendar of free outreach events for the summer and fall. Please make note of the following:
  • June 2: Children’s Safety Fair: 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, Lakeview Junior High School, 701 Plainfield Road, Downers Grove 
  • June 16: Understanding your Property Tax Bill: 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM, Woodridge Public Library, 3 Plaza Drive, Woodridge 
  • July 25: Jobs Fair: 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, CORE Fitness Center, 16028 127th Street, Lemont 
  • September 22: Joint Senior Fair with Downers Grove Park District: 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM Lincoln Center Gymnasium, 935 Maple Ave, Downers Grove 
  • November (Date TBA): Veterans Resource Fair: Details coming soon 
Please visit my website at www.repolsen.com often for additional information about these and other upcoming events.

Olsen Supports Family Shelter Service at Annual Event
Last weekend I was proud to support Family Shelter Service at their annual gala. This valuable community agency was founded in 1976 and supports victims of domestic violence throughout DuPage County. I’m shown in this photo with Lauren DeSimone of Family Shelter Service. You can learn more about the great work this agency is doing by visiting their web site at www.familyshelterservice.org

Olsen Joins Students for “Our American Voice” Luncheon
On Thursday, May 3, it was my pleasure to join students from Lester Elementary School in Downers Grove who are participating in the “Our American Voice” (OAV) program. OAV is an innovative, ethics-driven leadership platform that helps students develop a deeper understanding of the American democratic process. The program empowers students to appreciate the critical role citizens play in a democratic society and explore how they can work together to solve specific issues and create positive change within their communities. I appreciated the invitation to spend time with these future leaders! 

Downers Grove’s Tivoli Theater Named to Best of the Best List
Congratulations to Downers Grove’s Tivoli Theatre, which recently make the list of 200 great places in Illinois! Thank you to Classic Cinemas for keeping this local gem a focal point of downtown Downers Grove. Click here to view the full list of 200 great places in Illinois. 

Top 200 Historic Sites Chosen in Informal Poll
The Illinois Top 200 Project turned this week to top historic sites. Illinois residents were asked to choose a top Illinois site via an informal online poll. The winning choice was Lincoln’s New Salem, the open-air heritage site operated by the Historic Preservation Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Located in Central Illinois, New Salem was the home of Abraham Lincoln during the formative years of the future president’s young manhood. Here he kept store, sorted mail, and studied law in preparation for his future career.
Other leading candidates included the Pullman National Monument on Chicago’s Far South Side. A reminder of Illinois’ industrial and railroad heritage, the Pullman Monument contains many buildings from the 1880s. In northern Illinois, the John Deere home and blacksmith shop in Grand Detour pays tribute to Illinois inventiveness and craftsmanship. Lincoln’s Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Southern Illinois, U.S. Route 66, the Old State Capitol, Fort de Chartres, Fort Massac, and the President Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home rounded out the top ten sites honored. 

Rep. Olsen Celebrates Opening of Learning Commons West at COD
On May 3 I had an opportunity to join a large group for the grand opening of the new Learning Commons West at the College of DuPage (COD). This new space will be a great resource for students on the west side of the campus. It was great to see COD Board Chairman Deanne Mazzochi, COD President Ann E. Rondeau, and several members of COD leadership, faculty, staff, students and other community members at the ribbon cutting. COD is a leader in community college education not only in this region, but across the state.

Hotline and Network of Legal Services Launched to Assist Veterans and Service Members
The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) is the first-ever statewide hotline and network of legal support services for veterans, active-duty military, National Guard, reservists and their dependents. Through the IL-AFLAN, veterans and military personnel can obtain free legal help for urgent family, housing and consumer problems, as well as issues such as discharge upgrades and benefit appeals. The free hotline can be accessed at 1-855-452-3526 (1-855-ILAFLAN) and is staffed by attorneys Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM. Serving as the entry point to the IL-AFLAN, the hotline will offer legal advice and brief services and then connect veterans and military personnel to legal aid providers near their community. Nine organizations, spanning every major area of the state, have received grants to provide legal aid services as part of the IL-AFLAN. To be eligible for services through this new program, veterans and active duty military members need to have an income less than 80 percent of the Chicago area median income. For a family of four, this translates into $63,000 annually.

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