Legislative Update: November 13, 2018

Lawmakers Convene for 2018 Veto Session
Legislators return to Springfield today to begin the six-day 2018 Veto Session. We will meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, and then for the final three days the week after Thanksgiving. Of the 612 bills that were approved by the House and Senate this year, 83 bills were vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority.

Rep. Olsen Earns High Marks on 2018 Scorecard by Illinois Technology & Manufacturing Association
Last week I was recognized by the Illinois Technology & Manufacturing Association for my 2018 votes that support the manufacturing industry and overall economy in Illinois. The manufacturing industry provides critical jobs to Illinoisans, and it is an honor to be recognized for my voting record in this area. This year legislators were scored on their votes on 10 pieces of legislation that impacted the manufacturing sector, and those earning a score of 70 or higher were recognized. Only 39 members of the House of Representatives earned recognition this year. 

Upon announcing this year’s award winners, TMA President Steven Rauschenberger said, “Representative Olsen has demonstrated an understanding of issues that matter to job retention and creation of new high wage opportunities. Illinois needs more legislators like Olsen who care about the impact of the legislation they vote on.” Click here to view a list of the legislation included on the scorecard and a full ranking of every Illinois State Representative and Senator.

Rep. Olsen Visits Almost Home Kids Center in Naperville
On October 29 I had the pleasure of visiting Almost Home Kids, an organization that provides respite and transitional care for children with complex medical conditions. Many thanks go to CEO Debbie Grisko for taking the time to provide me with a better understanding of the important work of this valuable community organization. Click here to learn more about this organization’s mission and goals. 

IL Department on Aging Assists Seniors for Medicare Open Enrollment
The Illinois Department on Aging's (IDoA) Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is reminding seniors of the free counseling assistance available to Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers during Medicare Open Enrollment occurring October 15th through December 7th. During open enrollment, eligible adults can adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage, move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan - or vice versa - switch between Medicare Advantage plans, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty; all of which can be overwhelming and confusing. With over 350 SHIP offices across Illinois, the agency stands ready to refer clients to their closest site, which can schedule an appointment to assist with open enrollment. SHIP counselors work through the Medicare.gov system to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. Contact SHIP, by calling 1-800-252-8966, weekdays 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM. For more information about SHIP, including a list of SHIP locations, visit the website at: http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx. To compare 2019 drug and health plans on your own and to find out more about Medicare options, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at: www.medicare.gov. Medicare customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at: 1-800-633-4227.

Local Officials Participate in Groundbreaking Ceremony
Green Bay Packaging recently broke ground on their new facility located at Finley & Warrenville Roads in Downers Grove. I was pleased to be in attendance for the official groundbreaking ceremony along with Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, representatives from the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation, and many company leaders. It is always great to see new businesses choosing our region for their growth!

Olsen Visits Local Schools
Recently I had a wonderful time speaking with eighth grade social studies classes at O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove about Illinois state government and how laws are made in our State. These students were very engaged and had great questions. Last week I also had an opportunity to talk with third grade students from Saint Joan of Arc School in Lisle about the role as a lawmaker and Illinois state government. I have no doubt that these future community leaders will be the next leaders in business, government, and not-for-profits! 

Illinois Report Card Released
The figures for 2018 were presented as part of the current school-accountability push championed by the Illinois General Assembly. School reform measures, including the school funding formula rewrite of 2017-18, include a massive increase in the metric data that Illinois parents, taxpayers, employers, and educators can use to gauge the effectiveness of individual schools and the state school system as a whole. The Illinois Report Card, released every year since 1996, contains reports on the overall performances of Illinois schools and school districts. Since 2014, the Illinois Report Card has contained enhanced metric data intended to provide a comprehensive look at the productivity and success of Illinois schools and school districts. Data within the Report Card is sorted by school, school district, city, or county. Due to the passage of my SB 3236 (PA 100-0807) this year, school districts must now also publish their administrative costs on their report cards. This new layer of transparency will allow stakeholders to see important data that was previously not required for inclusion.

Illinois Report Card data indicates record Illinois school performance on a variety of measures. Data from a record number of enrolled students was reported, and subgroups also showed record high numbers. More Illinois students are heading to four-year and community colleges than in any previous year in which this data was compiled. In data collected on the Illinois high school Class of 2017, compilers followed how many of these graduates had gone on to college. Twelve months after high school graduation, the Report Card shows that nearly three-fourths of Illinois’ young adults had enrolled. In addition, more students took high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which include potential college credits, in 2017-18 than in any previous year.

Rep. Olsen Attends Veterans Day Marker Dedication and Observance Ceremonies
On Veterans Day this past Sunday I was in attendance for the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial Marker at Downers Grove American Legion Post 80, and on Monday I returned to the legion hall in Downers Grove for a Veterans Day remembrance ceremony. I am honored to stand in support of the moms, dads, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and everyone else who has answered the call to serve our country and defend the freedoms we enjoy. For more than 200 years, America’s Armed Forces have been our surest guarantee that freedom will continue to be abundant in the United States and that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will continue to be protected gifts for Americans. Here I am pictured with American Legion Post 80 Commander Rick McLaren, Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, and American Legion Division Commander Chris Benigno with the newly-dedicated Blue Start Memorial Marker.

SAT Became Statewide Standard for Class of 2018
In an effort to standardize the data generated by high schools throughout Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) now mandates that most Illinois high school students take the standardized Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). This mandate first became completely effective for students in the Class of 2018, the student group that was enrolled in high school classes targeted toward graduation at the end of the 2018 spring term. A report from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the nationwide testing and assessment organization that operates the SAT exam, says that 98% of all Illinois students in the Class of 2018 took the SAT at least once.

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