May 22, 2015
I hope you had a great week. To all of those who graduated this month or who are about to graduate, congratulations! I wish you nothing but the best as you prepare for the next chapter of your life. This is a special time of year because these graduations show how so many of our young people have worked hard to earn their diploma, and they can celebrate their accomplishments with family and friends. It’s times like this, I am reminded the future of our country is in good hands.
Speaking of our country, this weekend is also very special, as we honor all our brave men and women who served our country and who are no longer with us. Memorial Day is Monday, a time to not only honor their service, but to thank them and our all veterans for their service. We throw out the word “hero” so often in our society, but it’s people who risk their lives for complete strangers and who are fighting for something right, they are true heroes.
Please consider remembering your loved one in our Remembrance Wall in Springfield next week.
As a way to honor loved ones and friends who have served in the U.S. Military, we encourage you to submit a photograph and written remembrance of your deceased veteran to be displayed on the Illinois State Capitol Memorial Day Remembrance Wall. Your contributions will be displayed in the State Capitol Rotunda starting on Memorial Day,Monday, May 25 through Saturday, May 30.
Any deceased veteran will be honored. Please email a photo and written remembrance (Max: 250 words) along with the following information: name, military branch (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy) and conflict served (Afghanistan and Iraq,September 11, Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, Peacetime, Other) toMemorialDay@senategop.state.il.us. Military photos preferred but not necessary.
May God bless all our veterans, our country, and continue to bless you and our communities.
I hope you have a great weekend!
State Sen. Sue Rezin
Happy Memorial Day and THANK YOU to all our brave men and women who served our country and are serving now! God Bless you and may God Bless our great country!
In the 38th Senate District
Congrats to Megan LeBlanc from Morris Community High School! She received the Dr. Keith and Senator Sue Rezin scholarship. My husband, Keith, and I are privileged to award a scholarship to each high school in the 38th Senate District each year.
From the Statehouse
Top: HOW COOL IS THIS!? More than 200 miles of biking! This group rode from Chicago to Springfield, right to the Governor's Mansion. They are part of Bikes N’ Roses, a youth-centered outreach program created by Community United in Chicago.
Next: Speaking live with WCIA 3 News and Jessica Kunz, talking about solving our state's budget crisis, freezing property taxes, and helping our energy producers (especially nuclear) with their energy future.
Next: Great to have elementary students from Streator Elementary in Springfield this week. They also got to meet Sen. Jason Barickman and Gov. Rauner.
Next: Sue Speaking during the Disability Rights Conference, at their Independent Living Day in Springfield. I think our priority – as a society and as a government – must be showing compassion to those who are most vulnerable and need our help. This group is such an inspiration!
Last: Sue on the Senate floor with one of her peers.
Helping the working class - freezing property taxes are reforming state government
Check out this video about how high our property taxes are, what I would like to see, and what our priorities should be as we enter the final week of session.
SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW: May 18-22, 2015 May 22, 2015/ls
SPRINGFIELD – After weeks of meetings with legislative Democrats and Gov. Bruce Rauner in an attempt to find common ground on pressing issues, Senate and House Republicans filed legislation May 22 implementing major portions of Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, according to State Sen. Sue Rezin said.
The legislative package introduced in the Senate would: freeze property taxes; enact term limits; eliminate partisan gerrymandering; and advance pro-jobs economic reforms.
Underscoring the need for continued progress less than two weeks from the General Assembly’s scheduled May 31 adjournment, Republican legislative leaders stressed the need for bipartisan budget negotiations and an end to “business as usual” gamesmanship.
Governor’s reform legislation introduced in Senate, House
With the end of the 2015 session looming, a major package of legislation was introduced on May 22 that would freeze property taxes, improve Illinois’ jobs climate, and transform state government with term limits and redistricting reform.
The legislative package would:
· Freeze Illinois property taxes: currently the second highest of any state
o Supports local control: option to increase through local referendum
· Improve Illinois’ business climate: recently ranked third worst in the country
o Workers’ compensation reform
o Lawsuit reform
· Reform State Government: Illinois called “worst-run state in the country” last year
o Constitutional amendment establishing term limits for legislators and executive officeholders – Illinois would join 15 other states with term limits
o Redistricting reform – Constitutional amendment to create an independent commission for fair and balanced districts
Senator Rezin instead of participating in good-faith negotiations repeatedly offered by Gov. Rauner and Republican lawmakers, Democrat leaders have stalled, played political games, and used the approaching end-of-session deadline as a negotiating tactic to support the same type of bloated, broken budgets they’ve advanced over the last 12 years.
‘Right-to-Try’ legislation on way to Governor’s desk
On May 19, the Senate passed the Illinois “Right to Try” Act to help terminally-ill patients.
House Bill 1335 would give terminally-ill patients access to clinical-trial, experimental medical treatments and medications. “Right to Try” offers hope to citizens afflicted with HIV, ALS, cancer or a litany of other serious conditions.
Typically, the federal Food and Drug Administration has a five-year trial period for the testing of medical and pharmaceutical products and procedures, which to some patients could represent a life-threatening delay. This bill removes that bureaucratic hurdle for patients and their families.
On May 21, after much debate, the Senate passed legislation that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
House Bill 218 would eliminate any criminal penalties or treatment requirements for possession of 15 grams or less of cannabis. Under this bill, a person could be caught with 15 grams of cannabis dozens of times and the toughest punishment that could be given is a $125 fine. In addition, the arrest and records would be automatically expunged each year.
There are concerns from opponents about public safety, social implications, and the negative message it sends to our youth, pointing out that 15 grams of marijuana makes over 35 joints. They emphasized that the legislation replaces criminal sanctions with a civil fine of as little as $55, and expressed concerns that drug dealers will take advantage of changes in the law by only carrying 15 grams or slightly less on their person to prevent breaking any law. They also expressed concerns about the lack of zero tolerance driver’s license sanctions by the Secretary of State, and noted that that regardless of whether states decriminalize cannabis or allow for medical cannabis, using marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law.
Vaccination legislation advances to Governor
Legislation that protects small children from exposure to fatal diseases now advances to the Governor for final approval.
Senate Bill 986 requires all day care workers who care for children under the age of seven to present proof of measles, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines or immunity. This legislation is an effort to protect young children from exposure to these potentially fatal diseases and was introduced in response to a recent measles outbreak in Cook County.
Senate Bill 986 passed the Senate 52-2-0 and the House 112-3-1 and has been sent to the Governor to sign.
Senate passes bobcat hunting legislation
Bobcat hunting and trapping is another step closer to becoming a reality, after legislation passed the Senate on May 21.
House Bill 352 is an initiative of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), which has asked for the bobcat hunting season as a tool to control the growing bobcat population. The scientists and wildlife biologists who maintain and protect bobcat populations view this as a proactive step to safeguard the state’s natural resources before there are serious issues resulting from potential overpopulation.
According to IDNR, currently Illinois is one of only seven states without a bobcat hunting season, and Indiana is currently considering adding a season as well. In 1972, due to concerns over declining bobcat populations, the season was closed. The species was listed as threatened in 1977. The state’s bobcat population is now growing 4-9% per year.
Protecting senior citizens and disabled from exploitation
The Senate has unanimously passed legislation to help exploited senior citizens and persons with disabilities recover assets taken by criminals.
House Bill 1588 changes the civil liability provision of laws on the exploitation of senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. Currently, victims can only file civil cases if a criminal case resulted in a conviction, regardless of evidence. The legislation would waive the requirement of conviction in bringing civil cases to court.
Streamlining Illinois’ adoption process
As a follow-up to 2013 legislation to speed up the adoption process for youth with “unfit” biological parents, a similar bill relating to foreign adoptions is advancing through the General Assembly.
House Bill 3079 streamlines the re-adoption process for inter-country adoptions to comply with the Inter-country Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. It also establishes better practices for post-adoption services that are offered by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
The legislation also removes several state-level redundancies that are covered under the latest federal provisions on inter-country adoptions.
Senate action round-up
Action continued on the Senate floor and in committees this week. A full round-up of all the measures that passed in committees and on the Senate floor during the week is available on the Senate Action Page.