November 19, 2015
I hope you had a great week are looking forward to a relaxing weekend before Thanksgiving week
Business as usual returned to the Statehouse lastweek in at least once piece of legislation (House Bill 4305) that directly impacts your community. Unfortunately, thanks to House Speaker Michael Madigan and political reasons, your community continues to fall victim.
Republicans and Democrats – from both the House and Senate - and Governor Rauner, compromised last week, agreeing to send millions of dollars - much needed and long awaited state money to your community. This money has been delayed since our budget impasse began July 1.
This gasoline and gambling tax money that is sitting in the state’s coffers, should have been released by now, but it hasn’t. This is money that is rightfully owed and money that will help local governments, mayors, road crews, 911 Call Centers, and lottery winners, just to name a few.
On Nov. 10, the legislation that would free up this money passed the Illinois House overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote. Instead of the agreed upon legislation being immediately taken up by the Senate the same day, so we could get it to the Governor’s desk, House Speaker Michael Madigan used one of his top Lieutenants to place a procedural hold on the legislation, so it couldn’t move to the Senate. So now, this very important piece of legislation – in which practically everyone is on board with - is trapped in the House.
This is deplorable, wrong, and I completely understand your anger. I share in your frustrations.
I am ready to vote for this legislation. I know with winter fast approaching and local budgets tight, especially because many communities would use these funds to purchase road salt, this legislation is very important. It should have been a slam dunk, especially after a compromise was met.
The Illinois Senate still needs to approve House Bill 4305, but the Senate isn’t scheduled to meet again until mid-January. If Speaker Madigan does the right thing and undoes his hostage takeover of the legislation, I am hopeful we will return in December to vote on it.
But this is just another example of why things are not moving as quickly as you and I would like at the Statehouse.
I share your frustrations as I believe we need to pass a balanced budget as soon as possible.
I hope you have a great weekend.
State Sen. Sue Rezin
Update for farmers and agriculture community regarding cover crop seeds
News regarding the sales tax situation for cover crop seeds for our farmers and agriculture community. From the Illinois Farm Bureau:
“The Illinois Department of Revenue recently issued a general information ruling stating that purchases of cover crop seed, when used in a manner that the resulting cover crop provides a benefit, such as nutrients, and becomes part of the next crop, are exempt from sales tax. Illinois Farm Bureau requested information from the Department on this issue because the sales tax exemption relative to cover crop seed was unclear due to the fact that cover crops, in many instances, are not harvested or resold.The Department also advised that seedssold for grass waterways and buffer strips are not exempt because they do not impact the subsequently planted crop. Therefore, sales tax must be collected for the gross receipts of those types of seedsales and remitted to the Department.”
38th District Doing Great Things!
If you or if you know someone interested in culinary arts, please check out JJC's nationally recognized program! The program is unbelievable and has produced some of the best cooks, chefs, and food preparers around. More on page 12:
National Video Features Ottawa and our Flood Alliance!
Please, go to my Facebook page, and check out an incredible video, which tells of our efforts to reduce flooding in Ottawa and which resulted in us establishing the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance (I posted it on Nov. 17).
In the District
Thanks to Jared Schaefer, News Director at WSPY and FOX Valley Headline Makers, for having me on to talk about the budget, our Flood Alliance, and heroin epidemic.
I always enjoy my time in Kendall County!
My mom brought home her puppy bulldog! #lovedogs #lookatthatsmile
Senate Week-in-Review: November 16-20, 2015
Springfield, IL –Illinois’ budget impasse is heading toward its sixth month, as a Nov. 18 meeting with the Governor and other legislative leaders was postponed to allow House Speaker Michael Madigan time to attend a family funeral out of state.
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced late last week that the budget meeting will be moved to early December.
Meanwhile, the Rauner Administration continued to work collaboratively with Illinois labor unions, with the administration announcing that another set of new collective bargaining agreements have been reached with several unions.
Also during the week, people across the nation are gearing up for the holiday season. The state of Illinois is partnering with the USO to bring some holiday cheer to the troops, and small businesses are encouraging holiday shoppers to support their local business community. And with Thanksgiving next week, drivers are urged to travel carefully: AAA is anticipating high volumes of travelers on the road this year.
Budget meeting postponed to December
The previously announced budget meeting between the four legislative leaders and Gov. Rauner, set to take place on Nov. 18, has been postponed.
Speaker Madigan announced late last week he would be unable to attend the meeting because of a family funeral in another state. To allow the Speaker time with his family and to ensure that all legislative leaders are represented during budget discussions, Gov. Rauner rescheduled the meeting for Dec. 1.
Rauner: Illinois temporarily halting Syrian refugees
In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Gov. Rauner has joined dozens of Governors across the country in temporarily suspending the process of accepting Syrian refugees into Illinois.
Citing the importance of homeland security and citizen safety, the Governor has called for a review of the federal acceptance process used by the Department of Homeland Security before any action is taken.
Gov. Rauner’s full statement to the people of Illinois:
“Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
The consequences of the ongoing budget impasse continued to spread during the week, with yet another vendor threatening to cut off services due to the state’s inability to pay its bills on time.
Southwestern Electric Cooperative Inc. located in the southern part of the state has issued the state a final notice letter, saying disconnections will begin if the company does not see payment by Dec. 1. Southwestern notes they are a not-for-profit utility service and without payment from members, they cannot meet their bill demands.
Their pleas for payment echo those of City Water, Light, and Power (CWLP) of Springfield, which is reportedly owed almost $3 million from the state. However, CWLP has not indicated they will act upon their disconnection notices as of yet.
As more and more vendors continue to cut ties with the state or threaten to cut off services to state due to lack of payment, Senate Republicans continue their call for passing a balanced budget tied with structural reforms needed to right the state’s fiscal ship and move Illinois forward.
Rauner strikes deals with several labor unions
The Rauner Administration announced this week that new four-year collective bargaining agreements have been reached with a number of labor unions, including Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1 Chicago, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Mid-Central Illinois Regional Council of Carpenters, and several others.
Emphasizing the Administration’s willingness to work with labor, Gov. Rauner has now negotiated new collective bargaining contracts with 17 different bargaining units, representing more than 5,000 state employees.
Terms of the most recent agreements include:
· The state will expand the existing group health insurance program by offering employees a variety of new options.
· A new performance incentive program to reward employees with bonuses for cost-saving measures and meeting or exceeding performance standards.
· A new, collaborative managed competition program that allows management and the unions to work together to provide low-cost alternatives to outsourcing.
· A reduction in the payout for accumulated unused vacation from 75 to 45 days for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2016.
· Continuation of a 40-hour work week with overtime earned after 40 hours.
· A program to enable the State of Illinois to address minority underutilization in state government.
· Increased training and certification opportunities for employees.
· Continuation of the prevailing rate system administered by the Illinois Department of Labor.
Shop locally to support Small Business Saturday
With the holidays fast approaching, consumers are encouraged to support small businesses by shopping locally during Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28.
First launched in 2010 as a call for shoppers to patronize local, community merchants, Small Business Saturday has since grown – turning out 88 million consumers in 2014 who spent an estimated $14.3 billion at small independent businesses.
Its estimated 45 cents of every dollar spent at a small or independent locally owned business stays in your local community.
To find small businesses in their communities, interested consumers can go here.
Letters for the troops
The State of Illinois is partnering with the United Service Organizations (USO) of Illinois to sponsor this year’s Holiday Card Drive for the Military.
Gov. Rauner and the USO are encouraging citizens to take some time to write a holiday letter to support, encourage, and thank the service men and women serving the nation right now. Letters are being accepted now until Nov. 30.
Letters should be sent to:
USO of Illinois
333 S. Wabash Ave., 16th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604