Legislative Update: June 11, 2018

Olsen to Partner with Local Assessors for Free Property Tax Event
This Saturday, June 16, I will be partnering with local tax assessment experts for a free seminar on understanding how your property taxes are determined and learning how to appeal property assessments. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Woodridge Public Library, 3 Plaza Drive in Woodridge. Joining me at this informational session will be Downers Grove Township Assessor Greg Boltz, Lisle Township Assessor John Trowbridge and DuPage Township Assessor Jean Kelly. After a presentation and facilitated questions, attendees will also have the opportunity to consult individually with their local assessor or their staff about property-specific issues. This is always a very well-attended event. Due to space constraints, RSVPs are requested. If you would like to attend the property tax forum, please RSVP by calling my office at (630) 737-0504. 

Plans are coming together for additional community outreach events. Please mark your calendars now for these free events:
  • July 19: Mobile Office Hours: 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM, Indian Prairie Public Library, 401 Plainfield Road, Darien 
  • July 25: Jobs Fair: 9:00 AM until Noon, CORE Fitness Center, 16028 127th Street, Lemont
  • September 20: 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 
House Adjourns 2018 Spring Session
Following more than four months of committee and floor action, the Illinois House adjourned on Thursday, May 31. This was the second and final main session of the 100th General Assembly, which was sworn into office in January 2017. As of May 31, the House members of the 100th General Assembly have sponsored 5,913 bills and 1,166 resolutions. In addition, State Senators have sponsored more than 5,000 bills and resolutions. Many of these bills have been passed by both houses and sent to the Governor to become law.

On Monday, June 4, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bills into law. This bipartisan budget cuts spending by $1.2 billion and includes no new taxes or fees. It marks the first time in several years that lawmakers have come together and approved a balanced budget prior to the scheduled May 31 adjournment date of the General Assembly. Here are a few highlights from the new budget that will take effect on July 1:

Investment in K-12 Schools and Colleges/Universities
  • Additional $350 million investment into K-12 education 
  • $50 million in support of early childhood education 
  • 2% increase in funding for higher education institutions—to reduce pressure to raise tuition 
  • A new, merit-based scholarship program, “AIM High,” funded by $25 million from the state and $25 million from universities to help keep students in-state 
  • $4.3 million for veteran grant reimbursements to apply to all Illinois community colleges, and continues to fund the MAP Grant Program for students with financial need 
Pension Reform
  • Caps end-of-career salary increases to prevent pension spiking 
  • Funds a voluntary pension cost of living adjustment (COLA) buyout, modeled after Missouri's successful plan (Estimated savings of buyout: approx. $455 million) 
  • Makes full pension payment 
Capital and Roadways
  • $2.5 billion into the Department of Transportation’s road program to make much-needed repairs to roads across the state 
  • Provides funding for State Police to hire 100 new police cadets to keep roadways and communities safer 
  • $53 million for Quincy Veterans’ Home (largest veterans’ home in Illinois) to fund its renovation and eliminate the presence of Legionnaires' disease 
While the budget is not perfect, and we have much work still to do with regard to reforms to stimulate Illinois' economy, it provides a foundation to build upon in the future, and is a product of true partisan compromise at the Capitol.

The House and Senate will return to Springfield on Tuesday, November 13 for Veto Session, which is the six-day period set aside for consideration of the Governor’s vetoes of bills passed by both houses. In addition, committees and task forces of lawmakers will continue working throughout the summer and fall, and will hear witnesses offer testimony and guidance on key and ongoing State issues.

I will be spending a great deal of time in my district office so I can meet with constituents about issues of concern. If you would like to come in and talk please call my office at (630) 737-0504 to make an appointment.

“ON TO 2050” Draft Plan Comment Period Opens June 15
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Panning (CMAP) is nearing competitions of the “ON TO 2050 comprehensive regional plan. A draft version will be available for public viewing and comment from June 15 until August 14. CMAP is holding a series of ten open houses and one public hearing, so people can discuss the proposal with CMAP staff. CMAP will also present for comment the draft 2019-2024 Transportation Improvement Program and air quality conformity analysis of proposed transportation projects. The draft plan will be posted on June 15 at this link, which will also include an area where the public can submit written comments. All open houses will take place from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM, and three of them will be held in or around the 81st District. Those open house locations include: 
  • Tuesday, July 10: Downers Grove Park District Lincoln Center, 935 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove 
  • Wednesday, July 11: New Lenox Village Hall Community Room, 1 Veterans Parkway, New Lenox 
  • Wednesday, July 18: LaGrange Village Hall Auditorium, 53 South LaGrange Road, LaGrange 
The public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25, from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM at the MAP headquarters in Chicago, located at 233 South Wacker Drive, 8th Floor.

Rep. Olsen Attends Grand Opening for New Neonatal ICU at Good Samaritan Hospital
On Friday it was a pleasure to join State Senator John F. Curran and Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital President David Fox to celebrate the opening of the hospital’s new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at their Downers Grove facility. This newly renovated unit includes private rooms for families and much-improved spaces to provide excellent care for infants. 

Legislation Co-Sponsored by Olsen that Improves Treatment for Child Sex Abuse Victims Sent to Governor
Landmark legislation to improve access to emergency room treatment for pediatric sexual assault victims has been sent to the Governor. I was a proud co-sponsor of this bill.

Today, access to pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and physicians is extremely limited—particularly in downstate rural areas. HB 5245 addresses that issue by ensuring that pediatric sexual assault victims are able to receive timely care from health care professionals who specialize in providing treatment for children victimized by sexual assault.

New Law Brings Independence, Transparency to Legislative Sexual Harassment Investigations
HB 138, approved by both houses of the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor on Friday, will close loopholes in existing law, especially with relations to the Illinois General Assembly, on issues of sexual harassment. The bill makes the office of Legislative Inspector General a full-time position, lengthens the window of time within which a survivor of sexual harassment may file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, toughen harassment training for Illinois state legislators and their staff, requires annual reporting of sexual harassment reports, and makes other changes. I was pleased to support this measure when it came before the House on a concurrence vote.

A full list of all of the reforms included in the bill can be found here.

Olsen Speaks at BP Naperville Complex
Last week I had an opportunity to visit the BP complex in Naperville and speak with their employees about the recently-completed legislative session. I am shown in this photo with State Senators Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) and Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), who joined me as part of the panel discussion. 

New BNSF Train Schedule Takes Effect Today
Metra’s BNSF Line between Aurora and Chicago Union Station is the first Metra line to have the new federally-mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) safety system fully operational. As a result of this new system, train times have changed. Those changes officially took effect this morning. Click here to view the new schedule, and click here to learn why this new federally-mandated safety system required changes to the schedule.

Governor Rauner Announces $11 Billion State Infrastructure Plan
Last week the Governor announced a plan to invest $11.05 billion in the state's roads and bridges over the next six years, including $2.2 billion of state and federal funding in the upcoming fiscal year. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Multi-Year Proposed Highway Improvement Program will focus on projects that provide the greatest economic benefit to communities and take advantage of long-term strategies that save money over time.

The governor announced the plan's release at Peoria's McClugage Bridge at eastbound U.S. 150, which will be replaced in 2019 at a cost of $205 million with the completion of the final design this year. Based on current funding levels, the FY2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the state. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges. One key element of the plan is a $148.4 million allocation toward bridge work and other improvement on I-80 through Will County.

General Assembly Places Construction of New Quincy Veterans Home on Fast Track
The original Quincy Veterans Home, a skilled-nursing-care facility set aside for exclusive use by Illinois veterans and their spouses, was built in 1886 to house veterans of the American Civil War. The facility is reaching the end of its useful life and its plumbing system is failing. Some of the residents have fallen ill, and some have died, from the bacterium “Legionella” that can live in older pipes and HVAC systems. In a two-pronged process, SB 3128 provides for immediate remediation of the continuing problems at the existing Veterans Home, including the digging of a new well for clean water. At the same time, SB 3128 starts a fast-track process to construct a completely new Veterans Home at Quincy. The bill contains procurement language intended to make sure that the design and building of the new Home start as soon as possible. The House vote on Thursday, May 31 was 110-3-0. I voted in support of the bill.

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