Legislative Update: September 4, 2018

Eleven Olsen Bills Signed into Law During 2018 Spring Session
The legislative success I achieved this year is a direct result of my commitment to bipartisanship in Springfield. I have worked hard to cultivate respectful and productive relationships with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. During the 2018 Session, I filed a comprehensive legislative agenda that protects taxpayers, enhances government transparency, improves the Illinois business climate, increases protections for vulnerable segments of our population, assists our military families, and enhances public safety. I am pleased to announce that the Governor has now signed all eleven of my bills that reached his desk into law.

These new laws include:
  • HB 2222 (P.A. 100-0746): Provides consistency with regard to residency requirements for elected officials in Illinois, specifically addressing oversight within the Public Library Act. 
  • HB 4805 (P.A. 100-0640): Reduces costs to specific Illinois businesses, and protects consumers who use money transmitting services like Western Union and PayPal by bringing the Surety Bond requirement for businesses more in line with the actual costs associated with risk. 
  • HB 4867 (P.A. 100-0659): Adds a new layer of transparency to the caseloads of guardians of adults with disabilities by requiring potential guardians to disclose to the court the number of adults with disabilities over which the potential guardian is currently appointed. If the court determines that an individual is appointed guardian over more than five adults with disabilities, the court is required to notify the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission within one week. 
  • HB 5031 (P.A. 100-0955): Improves the efficiency of state government by removing a duplicative reporting requirement between state agencies and human service providers. 
  • SB2543 (P.A. 100-0793): Promotes government consolidation and taxpayer savings by simplifying the process for dissolution of a mosquito abatement district. 
  • SB 2587 (P.A. 100-0930): Improves public health and saves Illinoisans’ money by adding dentists to the list of health care professionals who can perform over-the-phone “tele-health” services in Illinois. 
  • SB 2658 (P.A. 100-0821): Assists military personnel and their families while addressing the state’s teacher shortage by increasing the period of time during which a provisional educator endorsement is valid to three years for a service member or spouse who is certified in another state. 
  • SB 2721 (P.A. 100-0979): Improves state government efficiency by streamlining the process of regulatory oversight and aligning the licensing process of financial technical (fintech) companies by entering Illinois into a newly-created interstate compact with Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. 
  • SB 2826 (P.A. 100-0714): Strengthens and updates the Illinois Human Rights Act and protections for women by clarifying that "order of protection status" includes status as a person protected under any order of protection existing in Illinois law.
  • SB 3134 (P.A. 100-0730): Addresses flooding issues in the suburbs by creating a commission to study flood control practices and conduct a survey in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. 
  • SB 3236 (P.A. 100-0807): Improves transparency by requiring a school district’s administrative costs be reflected on school report cards.
Olsen Joins Celebration for New Eagle Scout
I recently had the opportunity to join members of the community as Boy Scout Troop 95 celebrated its newest Eagle Scout, Theodore Schneider. The Eagle Court of Honor was held at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Downers Grove. It is always an honor for me to recognize these outstanding young leaders. Congratulations Theodore! 

Olsen Senior Fair Scheduled for September 20
On Thursday, September 20, I am partnering with the Downers Grove Park District for a free Senior Fair. The event will be held from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM at the Park District’s Lincoln Center Gymnasium, 935 Maple Avenue in Downers Grove. Seniors and those who help care for them can visit more than 20 booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors. They can also register for a chance to win a door prize. In addition, helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will be distributed. No pre-registration is necessary. For additional information, please contact my office at (630) 737-0504.

Olsen Joins DuPage Area Lawmakers to Help Loaves & Fishes with Collection of Personal Care Items
This month I am partnering with several of my DuPage County Republican colleagues to assist Loaves & Fishes with the collection of personal care items. Loaves & Fishes is a not-for-profit food pantry that feeds up to 800 DuPage County families per week. At Loaves & Fishes, families in need can visit the pantry and shop for free in a grocery store-like setting. Unfortunately, the pantry is experiencing a shortage of personal care items to supplement the food staples families need. Items in short supply right now include: 
  • diapers and wipes 
  • laundry detergent 
  • toilet paper 
  • shampoo 
  • toothpaste 
  • household cleaning products 
My legislative office at 633 Rogers Street, Suite 108 in Downers Grove is one of nine legislative offices in DuPage County that are serving as drop-off loction for Loaves & Fishes donations. While my general office hours are 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday, my staff and I are often out of the office tending to legislative business and attending local events, so please call prior to stopping by. Click here to view a full list of drop-off locations for this collection event.

Grant Money for Downers Grove’s Historic Blodgett House Released for Payment
The Blodgett House in Downers Grove is a historical gem in our community. On Friday I learned that State funds awarded to the Downers Grove Park District for interpretive signs for the Blodgett House that have been delayed since 2009 have been authorized for release by the Governor’s Office of Management & Budget (GOMB). The funds were initially awarded as part of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s (DECO) Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Plan, but only a portion of the funds were ever delivered. 

The Downers Grove Park District was awarded a $15,000 grant in 2009, but the money never arrived. They eventually received $3,750 in 2014, but the balance continued to be delayed. I am pleased to know the remaining $11,250 is now its way to the Park District.

Two Blodgett Houses, one built in 1846 and the other in 1892, are located in Downers Grove’s Wandschneider Park at 831 Maple Avenue. The village’s historical museum is located in the 1892 home. The funds the park district will soon receive will help support interpretive signs so that citizens can continue to appreciate the home for years to come. I hope the final grant supporting the Blodgett House approved in 2009 for interior work will also be released soon.

Rep. Olsen Learns about Infrastructure Challenges through Central Illinois Tour
Providing quality infrastructure is one of the most important responsibilities of government. Earlier this month I joined fellow legislators to gain a better understanding of the infrastructure challenges facing rural communities as we visited bridges, roads, and industrial sites in Menard and Sangamon Counties. State Representatives Margo McDermed (R-Frankfort), Tim Butler (R-Springfield), Marcus Evans Jr. (D-Chicago) and Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Springfield) also participated in the educational event. Thank you to the Transportation for Illinois Coalition for arranging this informative day. 

Olsen Joins Community Leaders at Round Table Discussion to Discuss Opioid Crisis
Illinois is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid crisis. In 2016 alone, opioid-related overdoses took the lives of 1,946 Illinoisans. That’s more than one and a half times the number of homicides and nearly two times the number of fatal car accidents. Tragically, those numbers are still rising. The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported opioid deaths in Illinois increased 13 percent from 2016 to 2017. 

Illinois has set a goal of reducing projected opioid-related deaths by one third over the next three years. It was a privilege last week to join House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), medical professionals, police officers, educators, elected officials and community leaders from across DuPage and Will Counties for a round table discussion to help generate ideas to address and solve this epidemic. Following the discussion, I spoke about the importance of our efforts to address opioid deaths in our state. Click here to watch that interview.

Legislators are already addressing the crisis legislatively. Last week Governor Rauner signed SB 2777, which requires medical professionals to take three hours of continuing education on how to safely prescribe opioid medications. The Governor also recently signed the Alternatives to Opioids Act of 2018, adding those who might otherwise seek opioids for pain management to the list of those eligible for medical marijuana. SB 336 puts in place a pilot program that will not compromise patient safety or diminish medical marijuana program standards, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Licensed physicians must certify an individual has a medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed, and participants must register at a licensed dispensary. The program is limited to individuals 21 and older and dispensations are limited to 2.5 ounces every 14 days and cannot exceed 90 days per physician certification.

Governor Signs Legislation to Help Keep Illinois Students in Illinois
From 1991 to 2014, enrollment at Illinois public universities and community colleges declined by 50,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In an effort to keep more Illinois students in Illinois for college, last week Governor Bruce Rauner signed two pieces of legislation. I was a vocal supporter of both bills.

SB 2927 creates the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program, a merit-based scholarship for Illinois students who attend college in-state. Twenty five million in state funds from the Fiscal Year 2019 budget are earmarked for the program that will then be matched by universities for a total scholarship pool of at least $50 million in merit-based aid. The funds will be disbursed by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to Illinois’ public universities in proportion to their enrollment of undergraduate, in-state students.

HB 4781 creates a task force to study how students’ college or career interest data can be collected and shared between high schools and higher education institutions. No mechanism is currently in place to easily share information about students’ college or career interests between high schools and higher education systems in Illinois. This data will also allow colleges and universities to enhance their programs and services to support the specific needs of their incoming student cohort through more targeted degree advising and counseling for students. The task force is required to submit the findings of the study to the General Assembly on or before Jan. 30, 2019, and will be dissolved following the submittal.

Olsen Participates in Environmental Town Hall
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Environmental Town Hall meeting I recently attended in Darien with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove). We had a great turnout. The event was hosted by the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) and featured presentations from SCARCE, Sierra Club Illinois and the Metropolitan Planning Council. Topics discussed included flooding, recycling, composting and transportation. I am shown in this photo with Senator Curran, Leader Durkin and the presenters from the various groups.

University of Illinois Springfield Becomes First Hub of Illinois Innovation Network
During the General Assembly’s spring 2018 session, the legislature built a foundation for job creation in the 21st century. Working within the confines of the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, the State allocated $500 million to the new Illinois Innovation Network. The Network will build hubs throughout the state to connect team members with the Discovery Partners Institute. The Institute will be a new high-tech neighborhood to be built in the Burnham Bend in Chicago’s South Loop. Closely affiliated with the University of Illinois, the Institute will consist of teams that will bring together research and innovation projects from all over Illinois.

State and local officials announced on Tuesday, August 28 that the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network will be part of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). Seed money will refit existing office space in Springfield’s downtown, and support for the new hub project from Springfield’s mayor means that the Network may get new, purpose-built space soon for itself. The new hub moves beyond UIS’ existing capacity as an “incubator” for small business to also include ultra-high-speed data links with other incubation locations and future Innovation Network hubs.

City BBQ Now Open in Downers Grove
I was able to join Chamber630 recently for a ribbon cutting celebration for City BBQ in Downers Grove. If you haven’t stopped in yet, welcome them to the village while you enjoy some really good food. I’m told all of their meats are smoked on site. I wish City BBQ the very best as they join the Downers Grove business community. 

Rauner Maintains Consumer Choice in Health Insurance through Bill Vetoes
The Governor’s recent total veto of HB 2624 and amendatory veto of SB 1737 defended growing demand among Illinois residents for short-term, limited duration (STLD) health plan coverage. STLD policies are important to a wide variety of Illinois residents who need health care coverage for a non-standard length of time that is shorter than one year. Many Illinoisans who are in the process of developing their careers know that they will live in Illinois for a limited period of time. They are subject to the overall federal law that mandates that uninsured individual Americans buy health coverage, but the standard one-year length of insurance coverage of plans offered in Illinois under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not meet these non-standard needs.

HB 2624 contained onerous provisions intended to wipe out the ability of STLD health insurers to sell their policies to career-minded young Illinois adults. Governor Rauner’s decision to veto this bill will preserve the ability of all Illinoisans – especially young adults – to purchase health insurance that matches their own individual needs and budgets. I voted against HB 2624 and SB 1737 when they were debated on the House floor.

Olsen Joins District 58 Leaders for Dedication of New Learning Space
Last week Lester School officially cut the ribbon on their new classrooms - which are already being fully utilized for the 2018-2019 school year. I was glad to join Principal Carin Novak, administrators, teachers, community members, and the District 58 Board of Education to celebrate this new learning space. 

Illinois Public Universities to Provide $50 Million in Additional MAP Grant Aid
The cost of this program will be split 50/50 between the Illinois state budget and by the universities where the student beneficiaries are enrolled. Like existing MAP grants, the additional money will provide merit-based student funding to which students and their families will apply based upon financial need. Financial need is determined by formula following the submission by students and their families of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) student aid eligibility form. The MAP grant bill was signed on Sunday, August 26, by Governor Rauner.

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