January 16, 2015
This was a very special week in Springfield. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year. On Monday, Bruce Rauner was sworn in as Governor. Wednesday was in the inauguration of the new General Assembly. This is the 99th General Assembly in the state’s history.
I enjoy this week because it reminds me why I ran for office. Walking into the Senate chamber, standing at my desk, debating, and voting on issues that matter to you is such an honor. I love and take this job very seriously, and I want to thank you for allowing me to represent you.
I hope you can make it down to Springfield during the spring session to visit our state’s capital. People tell me it’s interesting to see first-hand how state government works. Hearing the debates on the Senate and House floors, seeing the passion on lawmakers’ faces when they talk about legislation, and learning about the legislative process makes for an interesting time in the Statehouse. In addition, the actual Statehouse is an incredible building. If you love history and architecture, you have to come check it out. If you do come to the capitol, make sure to let my office know so I can meet you and answer any questions you have.
Springfield is also a neat town with all its history. It’s one of the many reasons I love calling Springfield a little “home away from home.” I encourage you to not only visit the capitol during a day when lawmakers are in session, but to also check out the Lincoln Museum, Lincoln’s home, Dana Thomas House, and the several other historic sites. We have a lot of national treasures in our state, and what’s in Springfield is at the top of the list.
I hope you have a great weekend and your New Year’s resolutions are going great as well!
State Senator Sue Rezin
Top: Sue with Honey Skinner and Governor Rauner and First Lady Rauner.
Next: Sue with constituents Bob and Barb Vickrey
Next: Sue Coby Jobe from the Comptroller’s Office and Comptroller Munger
Next: Sue at the Rauner celebration with Chip Englander (Chip is in the middle)
Next: Sue Interviewing with Mike Flannery with FOX 32 Chicago
Bottom: Sue Interviewing with Mary Ann Ahern with NBC 5 Chicago and Monique Garcia with the Chicago Tribune
Senator Rezin to Co-host Citizens Utility Board’s “Check Your Bill Day”
Experts from the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) will check resident’s phone, electric, and/or gas bills to see where they can save money, if they are overpaying for anything, if there are odd charges on their bill, or if they using too much energy in their home. The event is free. Residents MUST physically bring their bill. It’s Tuesday, January 20th from 11am to 2:00pm. It’s at the Spring Valley City Hall (Community Room). That is located at 215 North Greenwood in Spring Valley.
Senator Rezin Appointed Assistant Leader
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno announced this week her leadership team for the 99th General Assembly. State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Peru) will serve as an Assistant Senate Republican Leader.
“I am honored and excited Leader Radogno appointed me Assistant Republican Leader,” Senator Rezin said. “I look forward to working closely with Leader Radogno and the other members of our Republican caucus in my new position. Our caucus, under the leadership of Leader Radogno, is committed to bi-partisan cooperation. I am confident both parties will come together, build positive working relationships, and improve our state for the people of Illinois.”
“Senator Rezin is a hard worker with enthusiasm and new ideas on how to make government work better for the people of Illinois,” Leader Christine Radogno said.
Senator Rezin Set Priorities for 2015 for the State and the 38th District
Now that there is new leadership in the Governor’s Office and the new 99th General Assembly has been sworn into office, State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Peru) says it’s time to get to work.
“With our state in a fiscal crisis, we have no time to waste,” Senator Rezin said. “The solutions to our problems will be difficult, especially when it comes to the state’s budget. It will be painful the first few years. That said, it is necessary for our state’s future, and I am optimistic our future is bright.”
Beyond the budget, Rezin’s priorities this year for the state include passing pro-businesses reforms, creating jobs, focusing more on the energy sector, boosting the economy, and easing the burden on residents with lower taxes, less spending, and fewer regulations.
“I am tired of people moving out of Illinois, seeing neighboring states thrive, and entrepreneurs not choosing our state to start their businesses,” Rezin said. “That stops this year with a new attitude in Springfield.”
Locally, Rezin’s priorities include making sure power plants in the 38th District continue to thrive, fully securing a buyer and developer for the Hennepin steel site, protecting landowners from a controversial high-voltage overhead transmission line called Rock Island Clean, creating a better business climate for business owners in the 38th District, expanding internship opportunities for local students, fully funding schools, and securing more resources to help communities fight flooding.
“These are my priorities because the people who live in the 38th District are hardworking, family-oriented, have great values, and deserve to see their neighborhoods, schools, and businesses thrive,” Rezin said. “I look forward to making these priorities a reality.”
Senate Week in Review: January 12- 16, 2015
After 12 years of a one-party-rule system, bipartisanship was finally restored to the law-making process when Republican Governor Bruce Rauner was sworn into office on Jan. 12. Years of fiscal mismanagement and partisan decision-making has left Illinois in dire economic straits; however, there is a new sense of optimism that change is coming, and hopefully with it, fiscal recovery, State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Peru) said.
In his first days in office, Governor Rauner took swift action to address the state’s fiscal hole by halting what he called “non-essential” state spending, as well as tightening ethical requirements between state employees and the lobbying industry and increasing transparency of certain Executive branch hires.
The 99th General Assembly was also sworn in this week on Jan. 14, and the following day Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno announced her Leadership team. She affirmed they look forward to collaborating with Governor Rauner and their Democrat colleagues to develop bipartisan solutions for the state’s problems.
Governor Pat Quinn ended his term in office with an 11th-hour veto of legislation that would have established a bobcat hunting season to help better regulate the bobcat population in Illinois. In addition, medical marijuana proponents were dismayed he left office without acting on medical cannabis licenses, which they say could present a roadblock in the implementation of the state’s medical cannabis pilot program.
Governor Rauner ushers in optimism for change
A new sense of optimism radiated throughout the Prairie Capitol Convention Center on Jan. 12, when Governor Rauner became the first Republican governor in 12 years to be sworn into the state’s highest office.
After more than a decade of one-party-Democrat rule, Illinois may finally see bipartisanship restored in the legislative process with the gubernatorial changing of the guard. Governor Rauner has pledged his commitment to serving the people of Illinois by helping to reestablish a once-thriving economy.
In his Inaugural Address, Governor Rauner pointed out the journey to fiscal recovery will not be easy. With a record high state employee pension deficit and the lowest credit rating in the nation, Governor Rauner stressed that tough decisions will have to be made to correct the years of fiscal mismanagement and poor decision-making that landed Illinois in economic crisis.
Joining Governor Rauner in the inaugural festivities, Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti (R) also took the oath of office, along with Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D), Secretary of State Jesse White (D), Comptroller-Designee Leslie Munger (R) and Treasurer Mike Frerichs (D).
Rauner’s first actions target fiscal crisis, tighten ethical requirements, transparency
On Jan. 13, Governor Rauner sought to establish his administration’s commitment to ethical government, signing an Executive Order targeting what’s known as the “revolving door” between state employees and the lobbying industry.
The prohibition, which applies to the executive branch and state agency employees, stemmed from legislation advocated by State Sen. Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) who had introduced similar proposals in the past, which were stymied by Democrat leaders. The revolving door ban, which takes effect Feb. 15, states that employees within government agencies cannot negotiate positions or accept a position in a lobbying firm until one year after leaving their government position.
Executive Order 15-09 will also further restrict gifts to state employees; require all employment contracts to be reviewed and approved by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB); and require state workers to disclose on their statement of economic interests any non-governmental positions they hold. Workers must also divulge a personal interest of more than 5 percent in state property.
Additionally, state employees must disclose any ongoing litigation in which they are a named party with the State, and every agency and employee under the Governor is required to cooperate with the Special Master recently appointed by a federal court to oversee hiring at the Department of Transportation
On Jan. 12, Governor Rauner kicked off his term in office by taking steps to combat Illinois’ financial crisis. Rauner signed Executive Order 15-08, which ordered a financial freeze on all state discretionary spending.
In addition to halting what he called “non-essential” state spending, the newly sworn-in governor also turned his attention to state-awarded contracts and grants. The order suspends agencies’ ability to award, enter, amend or renew any state contracts or grants not specifically required by law, with a few minor exceptions. The contract and grant suspension is issued until July 1, 2015.
Governor Rauner also called for a review of past state agency spending to identify what can be eliminated or modified to help eliminate the state’s current budget deficit. Agencies are required to review all contracts and hiring decisions since Nov. 1, 2014.
To further cut spending, Governor Rauner also called for Central Management Services (CMS) to take stock of the surplus property for auction, determine potential consolidation of state-owned or leased properties, and the Governor called for agencies to be conscious in their energy consumption as a way to conserve state resources.
Finally, Rauner signed an Executive Order requiring CMS to add Rutan-exempt hires under the Executive branch and state agencies as a separate list on the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal (ITAP) website. Rutan-exempt employees are those who can be hired based on subjective standards, which can include political affiliation (or not), and are often placed in high-level administrative and management positions.
99th General Assembly sworn-in
Eight new and returning Senate lawmakers were sworn in Jan. 14 in the Senate Chambers, during the official convening of the 99th General Assembly. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis administered the oath of office.
Two Republican lawmakers were sworn in to serve their first full term in the Senate—Senator Neil Anderson from Rock Island and Senator Chris Nybo from Elmhurst. Six returning Senate Republican lawmakers were also sworn in: Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), Senator Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton), Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) and Senator Chapin Rose (Mahomet).
Republican Leader Radogno announces leadership team
Following her re-election as Senate Republican Leader on January 14, Sen. Christine Radogno announced her leadership team on January 15 for the 99th General Assembly.
“I think we have the right balance on the team,” Radogno said. “We have suburban and downstate members, newer members and those who have a long tenure in the Senate. We are ready to tackle the challenges ahead,” Radogno said.
Leader Radogno appointed the following Senate Republicans members to her leadership team: Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) – Deputy Republican Leader, Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) – Assistant Republican Leader, Senator Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) – Assistant Republican Leader, Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) – Assistant Republican Leader, Senator Sue Rezin (R- Peru) – Assistant Republican Leader, Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) – Senate Republican Caucus Chair, and Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) – Senate Republican Whip.
Governor Quinn vetoed bobcat legislation in final hours
Illinois will not join the other 42 states with a bobcat hunting season, as Governor Quinn vetoed legislation on his last day in office that would have created a bobcat hunting season in Illinois.
Sponsored by State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Carlinville), House Bill 4226 aimed to address the overpopulation of bobcats in the state of Illinois by allowing the Director of the Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to set the bobcat season between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. The bill also sets a limit of one bobcat per hunter per year.
Sen. McCann argued, “This legislation was a win for Illinois. It helps preserve our state’s natural resources, empowers our agricultural community, and will likely spur economic development.”
Despite IDNR’s report that the state’s bobcat population is now growing 4-9% per year, Governor Quinn cited that “Illinois should not reverse its 40-year-old prohibition on bobcat hunting” because it would threaten the ecosystem that relies on a thriving bobcat population.
Under the Rauner Administration, it is possible similar legislation could be proposed during the 2015 spring session.
Failure to Act on Medical Marijuana Licenses
A Jan. 13 press conference highlighted what medical marijuana proponents say could be a roadblock in the implementation of the state’s medical cannabis pilot program.Proponents say Quinn’s failure to act may have doomed the fledgling program, which was advanced as a four-year pilot program.
In fall of 2014, the state received hundreds of applications from those seeking licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana. While it was widely speculated that former Governor Quinn would issue the licenses for dispensaries and cultivation centers prior to January 1, Quinn left office without acting on the licenses.
Advocates for the medical marijuana program said they intend to meet with Governor Rauner and his administration to discuss the future of the program, which a Rauner spokesman said is “under review.” However, Rauner previously stated he most likely would have vetoed the medical marijuana bill.
To date it has been reported that the state has accepted nearly $5 million in fees for applications from those hoping to obtain a license to grow or sell medical marijuana through the program.