April 2, 2015
First of all, how about these temperatures this week? It’s about time! I hope you got outside, went for a walk, hit up your local park, or ate lunch or dinner outside. It sure felt great!
This week and next week, lawmakers are away from Springfield, working in their district. We return to Springfield the week of April 13 for the remainder of the spring session, in what will be one of the most important couple of months in our state’s history.
Solving our budget crisis, pension liability, backlog of bills, helping our business climate, and helping working families are all things we must accomplish this year. This week, when speaking at the City Club of Chicago and appearing live on Chicago Tonight (WTTW), I said despite the fact the tax increase Democrats passed a few years ago raised $30 billion, will are still in a financial mess and our economy is in trouble. We’re still not fully funding education. We still can’t pay bills on time. That changes this year.
Our district can be leaders in helping turn around our state. We are the Energy and Chemical Corridors of America. Our assets in the 38th District of natural gas, wind, nuclear, and solar plants is unmatched anywhere in our country. Our corridor can be and should be at the top of the list when it comes to recruiting business here and providing tax revenues for the state. I am optimistic we can continue turning our state around in the next couple of months. Having bi-partisan government in Springfield benefits everyone.
I hope you and your family have a joyous Easter. We are truly blessed to live in a country where we can all celebrate our religious beliefs freely.
I hope you have a great weekend!
Senator Sue Rezin
Talking budget issues on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight:
Touring the Cook County Jail
Before touring the Cook County Jail today, my fellow legislative colleagues, Cook County Sheriff Dart, and Cook County President Preckwinkle had a round table discussion.
Rezin tours Cook County jail, highlights need for criminal justice reform
Chicago, IL – Calling Illinois’ criminal justice system “in need of some change,” State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Peru) organized a tour of the Cook County Jail with Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, fellow legislators, and people involved in the criminal justice system.
“The best way to really get a ‘feel’ for how overcrowded Illinois’ prisons really are, is to see it first hand,” Rezin said. “Getting input from prison wardens, correctional officers, community leaders, judges, and others in the criminal justice system about how to improve the system is how we should approach reform.”
City Club of Chicago
Sue at the City Club of Chicago talking issues going on in Springfield with Sen. Pam Althoff, Sen. Dan Kotowski, Sen. Kwame Raoul.
SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW:
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner’s task force aimed at reducing the number of local governments in Illinois recently held its first meeting, and a major credit rating agency is reacting favorably to the effort, according to State Sen. Sue Rezin said.
In other news, the Governor announced he is teaming with nationally-known fitness expert Jake Steinfeld to launch a new campaign to promote youth fitness. And the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is reminding residents that spring is a good time to review severe weather preparedness information.
Also during the week, state lawmakers have resumed public meetings with local school officials and residents in communities across Illinois to discuss education funding reform. The meetings will build on the public forums Senate Republicans hosted last fall. The 2015 forums will focus on how two new proposals, Senate Bill 1 (Senate Bill 16 in 2014) and Senate Bill 1403 (Illinois Vision 20/20 policy platform), would have on school districts property taxpayers, especially those in suburban counties.
Moody’s reacts favorably to local government consolidation
Moody’s Investors Service is reacting favorably to Gov. Rauner’s local government consolidation efforts, according to an article in The Bond Buyer.
Gov. Rauner created the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force by Executive Order in February to find ways to reduce Illinois’ more than 6,900 units of local government. Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti is chairing the Task Force, which had its first meeting March 26.
Moody’s in its weekly credit outlook March 26 noted that Illinois has the most local units of governments – 6,963 – of any state. Its analysts noted: “Any reduction in the number of distinct local governments that provide similar services would lower the overall costs supported by Illinois taxpayers. Further, the governor tasked the commission with reducing unfunded state mandates on local governments, potentially resulting in greater fiscal flexibility for the sector.”
The Task Force has been charged with identifying ways to help local governments consolidate and eliminate duplicate governmental bodies, school districts and taxing authorities. Senator Rezin says streamlining these services will help cut waste and use taxpayer dollars more efficiently. The Task Force has also been asked to find ways to reduce the number of unfunded mandates the state imposes on local communities.
Task Force members include State Senators Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington), Dale A. Righter (R-Mattoon), Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero) and Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), and State Representatives Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), Jack D. Franks (D-Woodstock), and Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Westchester), as well as representatives of local governments, local government advocacy groups, and education officials.
Rauner working to help children get fit
On March 30, Gov. Rauner announced that he is teaming with fitness expert Jake Steinfeld and his National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils to help reduce childhood obesity in Illinois.
The Foundation recognizes innovation in youth fitness in elementary and middle schools. Three schools in Illinois will be selected by the foundation as “National Champion Schools” andwill be awarded with $100,000 in fitness equipment. This includes strength training and cardio equipment and interactive exercise games, which will be installed within the school.
The organization accepts applications from public, and public charter, elementary and middle schools, and the evaluation committee reviews the nomination form to assess the school’s level of economic need, integration of physical wellness into the school curriculum, creativity in programs and community outreach. The nomination form can be found here.
In 2011, Steinfeld worked through public/private partnerships to create the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils to provide schools with real incentives for change, according to the Foundation Web site.Since its launch in 2012, the Foundation has opened youth fitness centers in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C.
In 2015, Steinfeld’s Foundation is working to open the fitness centers in Illinois, as well as centers in Texas, Arkansas and Florida.
Severe weather preparedness
To help people prepare for severe weather, IEMA has joined with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies to increase awareness of these severe weather hazards.
IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding along with recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events.
The Guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling 217/785-9925.Preparedness tips and information are also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois).?
IEMA Director James K. Joseph said Illinois experienced 48 tornadoes in 2014, which resulted in two injuries and nearly $5 million in damage to homes and crops. In 2013, the state saw 54 tornadoes, including 25 twisters on Nov. 17, a vivid reminder that tornadoes and severe storms can happen anytime of the year.