Next week, Governor Rauner will deliver his first of two very important speeches. On Wednesday, he will deliver his “State of the State” address. On February 18th, he will deliver his “Budget Address.” These two speeches will provide us with a very clear image of what Illinois looks like right now and a roadmap to turn our state around.
You know the fiscal crisis our state is in right now. We have billions of dollars of unpaid bills, our pension liability is the worst in the country, and wasteful spending is all too common. We don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. I believe all of that will turn around this year thanks to a bi-partisan government.
There are dozens of ideas on how we can improve our state’s fiscal picture. I believe that should start with what our district is known for: energy. I consider the 38th District the “Energy and Chemical Corridor of America” and for good reason. We have dozens of energy companies in our backyard, supplying millions of people with power, employing thousands, and giving local economies and the state’s economy a huge boost. I don’t know of any other district in the country that has as many power producers. That’s something we should be proud of as we are looked to as leaders in the energy industry from people across the country.
I believe if we can pass pro-energy legislation that allows our energy sector to continue to grow, that will only be a boom for our economy and for the state’s bottom line. This is something I am taking a leading role on in Springfield. I have already spoken to Governor Rauner and told him about our district and how we are leaders when it comes to energy. I am hopeful the rest of the legislature can see enhancing our energy sector as a way to “power” our budget forward and put on our state on a path of economic recovery.
State Senator Sue Rezin
Top: Sue attended the Illinois Association of Park Districts Awards Luncheon in Chicago. She was invited by Charles (Chuck) J Szoke, Executive Director of the Channahon Park District as their guest.
Next: Sue attended an Education Roundtable for Citizens in Bureau, Henry and Stark Counties. Pictured are Michelle Zeko, Superintendent of Ladd Community Consolidate School, Rep. Frank Mautino, Sue, and Senator Darin LaHood.
Next: Sue honors longtime Streator City Manager Paul Nickolson, who is retiring.
Next: Sue appears live on WSPY Radio in Plano.
Bottom: Sue appears live on Fox Valley News Makers.
Choose a Winning Team on Super Bowl Sunday: Drinking or Driving
As America’s most watched national sporting event, the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb.1, will be celebrated across the country. Because Super Bowl events and parties are likely to include alcoholic beverages, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement throughout Illinois are urging fans to plan, by choosing a designated driver.
Plan ahead for Super Bowl Sunday, by designating a sober driver to get you home safely, because “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.” If you don’t play by the rules, law enforcement has another message – “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
The Illinois State Police and more than 100 local police departments and sheriff’s offices will be out in force this weekend, stepping up enforcement on drunk driving and seat belt compliance.
“The Super Bowl represents a wonderful and fun American tradition — but we all need to be smart and stay safe,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “That means planning ahead and being able to hand your keys over to a sober driver.”
In Illinois over the last five years (2010-2014),18motor-vehicle fatalities occurred on Super Bowl Sunday. Nine of those fatalities, or 50 percent, involved a driver who had been drinking.
“Drunk driving remains one of the highest contributory causes of fatal crashes,” said ISP Colonel Mike Zerbonia. “ISP Troopers will strictly enforce DUI’s during Super Bowl weekend. Choosing alcohol over your safety and the safety of others can only lead to tragic defeat,” he stressed.
The Illinois Department of Transportation suggests the following tips for a safe Super Bowl Sunday:
If you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant
Choose your team: Drinking or Driving
Decide who your sober driver is before the party even begins.
If you choose to drink, pace yourself.
Eat plenty of food and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
Keep track of how much you have had to drink.
If you don’t have a designated driver, call a cab, friend, or family member to come get you, or, if possible, stay where you are for the night and don’t drive until you are sober.
Use your community’s sober ride program, if available.
Always buckle up. It’s still your best defense against other drunk drivers.
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party
Help all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
If you plan to stay sober, offer to drive guests home.
Encourage your guests choosing to drink to pace themselves.
Host your party like the stadium: Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.
Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
Never let a friend drive drunk. Arrange for them to get home safely as well.
You can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
Parents or other adults who provide alcohol to a minor may be legally liable and could face jail time for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.
The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”Super Bowl Crackdown is funded with federal traffic safety dollars and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Be sure to catch the latest episode of The Driving Dead at thedrivingdeadseries.comand go to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news and behind-the-scenes looks at the series.
Senate Week in Review:
The spring legislative session continues February 3 as the Senate returns to Springfield. Illinois’ new Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his first State of the State Address on Wednesday, Feb 4, setting the tone for what Illinoisans can expect this spring. Governor Rauner has already given indications that job growth and fixing the state budget are to be among his administration’s top priorities.
This week, Illinois’ controversial medical marijuana law continued to make headlines over delays in issuing licenses. Also, newly released numbers show which counties have the highest, and lowest numbers of active concealed carry licenses in the state.
Rauner Says Budget is Immediate Concern
In a recent interview with the Illinois Radio Network (IRN), Governor Bruce Rauner continued to emphasize the severity of the budget problems facing Illinois. According to Rauner, dealing with the cumulative effects of years of tax-and-spend budgets and questionable fiscal practices is one of his primary concerns, and one that will be difficult to fix.
Rauner said that the current fiscal year budget is nowhere near balanced, and the state is running out of money with five full months still left in the fiscal year. The Governor noted the previous administration didn’t appropriate enough money to some departments, then told agencies to ignore what was appropriated and spend what they needed to – promising that they would address the revenue shortfall at a later date.
“…that’s a problem that I’ve got to fix, and I will fix it, but it’s going to be hard to do,” Rauner said to IRN.
Rauner has indicated that he will push for reforms to the state’s tax code. The Governor’s State of the State is on Feb. 4, and the Budget Address is scheduled for Feb. 18.
Medical Marijuana Licenses Delayed
A rocky transition between administrations is causing further delays in issuing medical marijuana licenses to patients. Under the 2013 state law legalizing medical marijuana in Illinois, state agencies were required to score and rank applications for the 21 facilities that would be allowed to grow medical marijuana and 60 of the retail stores that would be licensed to sell it.
Recently released internal documents show that the former administration of Governor Pat Quinn evaluated and ranked license applications for growers and dispensaries before leaving office, but for unknown reasons never announced their choices. The internal documentation revealed a sometimes dysfunctional selection process that critics have called secretive and open to favoritism.
Quinn’s administration left the licensing process for Rauner to complete, but the new governor says that his office will need to perform a legal review of how Quinn’s administration evaluated applications before it can complete that process.
Active Concealed Carry Licenses
Recently released numbers from the Illinois State Police give a county-by-county picture of active concealed carry licenses in the state of Illinois. Unsurprisingly, Cook County has the largest number of active concealed carry licenses at 24,751, with Will, Dupage, Lake, and Madison Counties rounding out the top five. At the bottom of the list are Scott, Brown, Gallatin, Schuyler, and Calhoun Counties.
Top 10 Counties for Concealed Carry:
7. St. Clair
Bottom 10 Counties for Concealed Carry: