State Budget Update

Governor Rauner introduced his 2015 budget on Wednesday that included massive cuts to already underfunded programs such as community mental health services, Medicaid health coverage, people with special needs, mass transit funding, public universities, wards of the state who are 18-21 years old, childcare services for children over the age of 6 and homeless youth. Although he has proposed additional funding for early childhood education and p-12 education, he also proposed cuts to Advanced Placement, Arts/Foreign Language, Agricultural Education, After School Matters, the Parent Mentoring Program, Lowest Performing Schools, Children’s Mental Health Partnership, National Board Certified Teachers, Special Education and Orphanage Tuition.    

Our State has serious budget issues that need to be addressed but I fear that this budget puts too much of that responsibility on working families and the most vulnerable people in our state.  I have supported state budgets that have made hard choices but have maintained acceptable levels of state services, including human services, education funding and assistance to families in need and I will continue to do so.  

As Chair of the House Human Services Committee I will work to ensure that everyone in our state has access to the resources they need.  I look forward to working with fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle to adopt a budget that addresses our budget shortfalls and pension liabilities while protecting our citizens and promoting economic development, strong education and protection of our natural resources.     

New Session, New legislation

The 99th General Assembly is underway and I have introduced several bills for which I am very excited. 

HB 198 – Creates a $75 fine for the parking of non-electric vehicles in charging station spaces designated for electric vehicles.

HB 1359 – Protect patients by automatically and indefinitely suspending health care workers licenses who have been found guilty, or have entered a plea of guilty in a criminal prosecution.

HB 2667 – The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act is designed to provide families and communities the tools and resources they need to live healthier lives.

HB 2607 – Creates the policy framework to create thousands of jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency arenas and comply with federal carbon reduction rules. 

You can see all my legislation at:
http://ilga.gov/house/RepBills.asp?MemberID=2177

Coffee and Conversation in Wilmette

You’re invited to join me and Rep. Laura Fine for a cup of coffee while hearing information about state services and programs, sharing your ideas and concerns, and learning more about what’s happening in your State Capitol. 

The event will take place at the Wilmette Public Library (lower level) on February 24th from 10-11am.