May 1, 2015
May is the last month lawmakers are scheduled to be in session in Springfield. With many difficult decisions to be made, especially concerning the budget, a question I get asked a lot is, “Will lawmakers be done by May 31st, the scheduled adjournment date?” I definitely don’t hope so, but it is a possibility. I remain hopeful both sides of the political aisle can come together, the bi-partisan government the people of Illinois voted for, to fix our budget problems in a timely manner and start to restore fiscal sanity to our state and transform Illinois back to an economically vibrant state.
I know many of you have reached out to me concerned about the prospects of cuts and some of Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposals. The direction our state has taken over the past 12 years under one party rule not only didn’t work, but it was a train wreck. We need to go in a completely different direction. Like so many of you, I am tired of sky high property tax rates, completely unbalanced budgets, and thousands of people and jobs leaving our state. That’s why I want to see all that change. It’s time we balance our budget, not overspend, don’t waste taxpayer money, freeze property taxes, and completely reform Illinois. Our state desperately needs it. It will require very tough choices and votes, but I am committed to turning our state around and spending only what taxpayers send to Springfield in a responsible way.
I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the beautiful temperatures! Remember to gather items in your house or business you want to recycle. I am hosting a recycling event in Ottawa Saturday. More details below.
State Senator Sue Rezin.
Recycle Day in Ottawa Saturday!
Join Senator Sue Rezin and Mayor Robert Eschbach in donating gently-used household items to local charities and businesses. Electronics recyclers will be on hand to take those bulky computers and other items you no longer want. Shredding truck available-limited to two boxes. NO TELEVISIONS will be accepted. Informational legislative brochures will also be available.
When: Saturday, May 2nd 9 a.m. – Noon
Where: Woodward Memorial Parking Lot, 300 Woodward Memorial Drive, Ottawa
Devine Owens Electronics Recycling will be available to collect your old electronic items that can no longer be disposed of in landfills. Please see list below for acceptable and non-acceptable electronic items.
The following items WILL BE ACCEPTED for electronics recycling:
*All computer related equipment
*Typewriters, fax machines, printers
*Scanners, copiers, overhead projectors
*Blenders, can openers, food processors
*Sewing machines, irons, toasters
*Power hand tools, stationary power tools
*Coffee makers, grinders, heaters
*Vacuums (emptied of debris)
*Electric weed whips, mowers, hedge clippers
*Electric leaf blowers, lawn edgers
*Cameras, DVRs, tape recorders
*Alarm panels, alarm sensors
*2-way radios, telephones, cell phones,
*Cables, satellite dishes, pagers
*PDAs, transmitters, receivers
*Answering machines, GPS
*Surge protectors, VCRs, radios
*CD & DVD players, camcorders
*Stereo equipment, Ipods, MP3 players
*Remote controls, hair dryers
*Electronic toys and games
*Tape players, keyboard, amplifiers
The following items WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED for electronics recycling:
*Refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners, TVs
*Car and acid filled batteries
*Washing machines, dryers
Devine Owens Electronic Recycling, LLC
LaSalle County LEO
Illinois Valley PADS
Ottawa Police Department
From the Statehouse
Top: Sue walking the gardens at the Governor’s Mansion during the Illinois Municipal League Reception.
Next: Sue with students from Augustana College outside the Senate Chamber.
Next: Sue with students from Illinois Valley Community College in her Springfield office..
Next: Sue with Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich in her Springfield office.
Next: Sue speaking at the Illinois Association of Park Districts in Springfield.
Next: Sue speaking at Illinois Association of Park Districts in Springfield.
Next: Sue speaks with WICS-TV, ABC Springfield, about energy legislation.
Bottom: Sue speaks with WCIA-TV, CBS Champaign, about energy legislation
In the District
Sue speaking at the Grundy Economic Development Council Legislative Breakfast.
Legislation co-sponsored by Rezin focusing on youth concussions unanimously passes Senate
Springfield, IL – With firsthand experience of the increasing speed and violence of youth sports, State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) is working to help young people who suffer concussions.
Sen. Rezin is co-sponsoring Senate Bill 7 to require schools to develop policies and procedures to help young athletes and non-athletes who suffered a concussion return to the classroom. Doctors would have to clear a student before he or she could return to the classroom or participate in athletics. The legislation would also require school districts, based on their resources, to create a concussion oversight team consisting of coaches, trainers, and medical professionals and requires schools to create an emergency action plan in the case of a serious injury.
“My son Zach has had three concussions in his young life, all happening on the football field,” Sen. Rezin said. “We need to address how our kids can successfully return to the classroom after a concussion because I saw it firsthand with Zach, how challenging it was for him to focus and absorb information.”
“With each concussion, it was harder and harder to return,” Zach Rezin said. “My first concussion, my junior year in high school, I was out of school for two weeks. My second concussion, which happened my senior year, was an even bigger challenge. My third concussion, in my freshman year of college, required me to take a medical leave of absence from school. Because of all this, I had to stop playing.”
Senate Bill 7 passed the Senate unanimously April 30 and now heads to the House of Representative for consideration. The legislation would impact elementary, middle, and high schools.
“After my third concussion, when I tried to go to class, I would feel like I was trapped and a little pain would turn into a lot of pain,” Zach Rezin said. “I would start to get double vision. I would have to leave the room. When speaking, I would have to really think about what I would want to say, instead of just naturally saying it. So I went home to take it easy.”
“This legislation is so important because we often forget about how difficult it is for young people who have these head injuries to simply study or take notes,” Sen. Rezin said. “Zach’s injuries were not only stressful and emotionally draining for him, but for our family and his friends. His studies are more important than sports. Families I speak with share the same sentiments. This is a serious issue that needs a proactive approach.”
“I’m still in the process of fully recovering,” Zach Rezin said. “I have to use different study techniques and note-taking because of the concussions. I can’t retain as much. It’s harder for me to remember information. I’m just glad it isn’t worse.”
Zach also advises young football players to keep their head up when tackling and keep their equipment maintained.
“The counselor for Zach really helped him with his classes and identified what he was going through and talking to teachers,” Sen. Rezin said. “She was instrumental in showing me that having a plan in place for Zach’s reentry into the classroom was very important.”
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) testified at the Statehouse this week in support of the legislation, as well as Tregg Duerson, the son of Dave Duerson, who was a former Chicago Bears defensive back who suffered head trauma from his playing days and who died in 2011.
Other supporters of Senate Bill 7 include the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and Rush University Medical Center.
Senate Week in Review April 27 – May 1, 2015
Until this year, Illinois has been under one-party rule for 12 years. The decision to over-spend and grow the size of government rests with the majority leaders. The cleanup is another matter. Gov. Rauner was handed a state budget that was out of money on his first day in office.
Not surprisingly, the Democrat majority have used recent budget hearings as an opportunity to highlight the negative impacts of recent spending cuts to balance the state’s current fiscal year budget. The blunt testimony should not be a surprise. Senate Republicans have predicted for years that state government could not continue to increase spending at a pace that was unsustainable.
Earlier this spring, a budget fix was approved to address the $1.6 billion hole in the state’s current year budget. Bipartisan legislative support and leadership from Governor Bruce Rauner brought about Illinois’ first honestly balanced budget in more than a decade. Senator Rezin is hopeful the harsh reality of the crisis will keep the political parties working together to find a solution that is best for all Illinoisans.
Meanwhile, Gov. Rauner’s “working groups” of lawmakers are meeting to discuss ways Illinois can reform government. They are charged with finding ways to eliminate waste, increase efficiency and end the kind of internal corruption, which saw tens of millions of taxpayer dollars squandered on ill-conceived and fruitless programs in recent years.
According to a new consumer/taxpayer report by WalletHub, the online financial website, Illinois ranks in the bottom 10 of states (41st) based on an analysis what taxpayers pay to government compared to the value of what they receive in programs and services.
The Illinois Economy
Another financial assessment to make news comes from the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), an independent public policy research center. IPI’s report evaluated Illinois’ economy on unemployment, economic opportunity, taxes and business regulations.
Key findings include:
· Illinois is experiencing the worst-in-nation employment recovery since the Great Recession.
· 236,000 fewer Illinoisans working today than when the Great Recession began.
· Illinois is one of the nation’s leading out-migration states.
· The state’s over-regulated and uncompetitive business climate has triggered a shortage of work opportunities.
· Illinois has the nation’s most severe pension crisis. State government’s public pension debt tops $111 billion. Local governments face a similar pension debt problem.
· Illinois has the highest average property taxes of any state.
· State-mandated work rules raise the cost of hiring and shrink employment opportunities.
Senator Rezin said in the 1990’s, Illinois was among the leading states for business expansion and job growth and it’s essential that after 12 years of failed policies, Gov. Rauner’s ideas to revive Illinois’s economy, lower the burden of taxes and regulations, make government more efficient and responsive be given a chance. Other states, such as neighboring Indiana, have made similar changes with success.
Fighting Back Against Human Trafficking
It doesn’t seem possible, but slavery still exists in the Land of Lincoln.
Every year, as many as 25,000 people in Illinois are trapped in the modern-day slavery of human trafficking, exploited for sex, drugs, violence, forced labor, or worse. Law enforcement, state and federal authorities, and independent groups are fighting back just as hard. This week at the state Capitol, Republicans and Democrats joined together to host an event to honor the heroes combatting human trafficking in Illinois, and raise awareness of this horrible crime.
The event featured more than 20 organizations that fight human trafficking. Among the featured speakers was Brenda Myers-Powell, Executive Director of the Dreamcatcher Foundation and a former victim herself. “I couldn’t stand being a girl who nobody was looking for,” said Myers-Powell. “My story is beautiful now, because I fight for girls like me.”
According to Sen. Rezin, the event was the first in a series of awareness and advocacy events throughout Illinois, to shine a light on a crime that happens too often in the shadows. Rezin also announced his/her support for House Bill 2822, a bill that creates a Human Trafficking Task Force in Illinois to promote and improve coordination and communication between trafficking fighters. The bill unanimously passed the Illinois House earlier this month and is currently working its way through the Senate.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline is 888-373-7888, and the Illinois DCFS Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline is 800-252-2873.
History was in the making this week as lawmakers welcomed members of the crewand support group of the soon-to-be christened USS Illinois. The USS Illinois, a Virginia-Class submarine, is the first commissioned U.S. Navy vessel to bear the state’s name in nearly 120 years. The last ship to carry the name of Illinois was a battleship put in service in 1897. That ship saw only brief action during the early 1900’s. Another USS Illinois battleship was to be constructed during the World War II-era, but the Navy decided against it as the war was winding down.
Gov. Dan Walker: 1923 – 2015
This week also marked the passing of former Illinois Governor Dan Walker. Walker served as governor from 1973 to 1977. He was known as ‘Walkin’ Dan’ Walker,’ having walked more than 1,000 miles traversing the state during his campaign for governor. Walker was 92.