May 8, 2015
I hope you had a great week and have been able to enjoy this incredible weather. Like many of you, I started my “spring cleaning.” It’s amazing how much stuff accumulates over the winter months! I want to say a special thank you to everyone who helped organize and run our Recycling Event in Ottawa last weekend. I know many of you took advantage by recycling some unwanted materials. Thanks for coming out and making our world cleaner!
As the budget debate continues in Springfield, I want to focus on something else this week in this letter, that being our law enforcement. Every year, on the first Thursday of May, police officers from around the state come to the Statehouse lawn, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities. This ceremony, in front of the Illinois Police Officers Memorial Statue, pays tribute to fallen officers and their families. It is such an emotional scene but also one of support. So, a BIG THANK YOU to all our brave men and women in law enforcement who serve and protect on a daily basis. Please check out this video from the ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPErL1dsYM0
Make sure to go to my Facebook page (State Senator Sue Rezin) and see a video I posted. The Senate experienced something I have never seen or heard before, with police officers from around the state performing songs on bagpipes and drums. It is quite the sound and was quite the experience!
I hope you have a great weekend!
State Senator Sue Rezin
Top: Sue with Dean Angelo (President of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police) and LaSalle County Sheriff Thomas Templeton at Thursday’s Illinois Police Officers Memorial Ceremony on the Statehouse lawn.
Next: Sue standing with LaSalle County Sheriff Thomas Templeton at the event.
Next: The Emerald Society playing their bagpipes and drums in the Senate Chamber.
Next: Sue speaking to a large group of energy supports, many of whom are from the 38th Senate District. They were here in support of the Low Carbon Portfolio legislation, which Sue is chief co-sponsor of.
Next: Sue speaking with a nuclear energy worker.
Next: Sue with students from Marseilles and Rep. Frank Mautino for Tech Day at the Statehouse.
Nexxt: Sue speaking in front of a committee about one of her pieces of legislation along wide IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett.
Bottom: Sue with Jessica Vermillion, daughter of Dr. Vermillion from Morris. Jessica was Sue’s page for a day.
Sue’s reaction to the Illinois Supreme Court striking down the pension reform law
“It was important to get a piece of legislation in front of the Illinois Supreme Court, so we could be given a roadmap on how to solve our pension crisis in a constitutional way. Illinois has the worst unfunded pension liability in the country, which contributes to our poor credit rating. We can’t skip pension payments. In the last decade under one party rule, we have missed pension payments. That is unacceptable. I look forward to working with Governor Rauner and my colleagues from both sides of the political aisle to craft pension reform legislation that is constitutional and one that helps our state get back on its financial footing.”
Senator Rezin’s Hiring Event coming in June!
Sen. Rezin’s hiring event is Thursday, June 25 at the South Towne Mall Shopping Center (1st Ave. in Ottawa). It opens at 9:00am for Veterans and 10:00am for the general public. The free event runs until 1:00pm. Make sure to bring your resume and dress for success as there will be on-site interviews and on-site offers! If you have any questions, call Sen. Rezin’s office at 815-220-8720. Job seekers and employers, please register at senatorrezin.com.
Just a reminder!
Senate Week in Review
Resolution Honors WWII’s Powell Brothers
A resolution honoring the seven Powell brothers from Greene County, all of whom served in World War II, unanimously passed the Illinois Senate on May 7. Senate Joint Resolution 2, sponsored by Senator Sam McCann names a section of Route 67 through Greene County the “Powell Brothers Memorial Highway.
“When tyranny threatened the entire globe, seven brothers stood up to defend the cause of freedom,” said Senator McCann. “These heroes deserve to be remembered for their dedication to God and country.”
The seven brothers were scattered throughout the Western European, Russian, and Japanese theaters of combat. Arthur, Earl, Fred, and George Powell served in the Navy. Adrian, Everett, and Max Powell served in the Army Air Corps, the predecessor to the modern Air Force. Everett was shot down in his P-47 Thunderbolt over Belgium, and was held in a German prisoner of war camp for 18 months. All seven brothers survived and returned home after the war.
The brothers were commended by the United States Senate in May of 2014. The family’s hometown, Hillview, erected a memorial flagpole in their honor in 1988.
SJR 2 now heads to the Illinois House for approval in that chamber.
Police Memorial held at Illinois State Capitol
Hundreds of police officers from throughout the state gathered at the Illinois State Capitol on Thursday, May 12, for the 2015 Illinois Police Officers Memorial Ceremony. The annual ceremony honors officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
The memorial statue, which sits on the West Lawn of the State Capitol, serves as a reminder to the people of the State of Illinois of the sacrifices made by the brave police officers who protect our safety.
Watch a video here about this year’s memorial service.
Measure Aims to stop expansion of taxing bodies
State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton) is leading the charge against the expansion of taxing bodies in Illinois.
House Bill 228 will prevent the General Assembly creating any new units of government or subdividing any existing ones. The bill’s sponsor said Illinois has units of government that focus solely on regulating things like mosquitos, tuberculosis, museums, hospitals, exposition halls, and airports.
Illinois leads the nation with 6,963-plus units of government, double the number of neighboring states Wisconsin and Missouri. Illinois’ other three neighbors – Kentucky, Indiana, and Iowa – combined have 1,000 less units of government. Illinois’ total is staggering when compared to California’s 4,425 and Texas’ 5,147, considering the relative size of the Land of Lincoln’s population.
House Bill 228 does not prevent two existing units of government from combining or eliminating and consolidating services into one taxing body.
Senate considers cannabis measures
Legislation to extend the state’s medical cannabis pilot program and decriminalize small amounts of cannabis advanced out of Senate committees this week.
Helping reduce the number of non-violent offenders in the state’s overburdened court and correctional systems is one of the primary objectives of House Bill 218. The legislation would reduce penalties for possession of 15 grams or less of cannabis, making the offense punishable by a maximum $125 fine.
However, opponents point out marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law, and a number of law enforcement organizations are concerned about the impact of a provision in the bill that establishes THC levels—the chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects—that are allowable while driving. Additionally, challengers of House Bill 218 note that the state just approved the medical marijuana program and has not yet had the opportunity to analyze its impact of communities, let alone the impact of decriminalization of cannabis for recreational use.
On a related front, the sponsors of the state’s medical cannabis pilot program are asking for more time to analyze the program’s impact in Illinois. They’ve introduced House Bill 3299, which would extend the current January 1, 2018 repeal date of the program, changing it to four years after the filing of the first dispensary organize registration; likewise, patient registry cards would be extended from one year from that date.
Opponents say it’s too soon to extend the program, noting that at this time there is nothing to examine to see if it is worth extending. Registration for the dispensaries and cultivation centers have only recent been issued, and patients have not yet began using medical cannabis for treatment
Senate action round-up
Action continued on the Senate floor and in committees this week as legislators consider various pieces of legislation before the scheduled May 31 adjournment. Following are several notable measures approved by Senate lawmakers this week, and you can find a full round-up of all the measures that passed in committees and on the Senate floor this week visit the Senate Action Page at the Senate GOP website.
Powell Brothers Memorial Highway (SJR 2): Renames U.S. 67 through Greene County as the Powell Brothers Memorial Highway.
Alternative Nicotine Ban (SB 32):Prohibits anyone under 18 from possessing alternative nicotine products (e-cigarettes). Adds “vapor products” to existing penalties for possession and sales of alternative nicotine products. Allows court to order a minor caught with an alternative nicotine product or a vapor product and his or her parents to attend a youth diversion program if available in the jurisdiction where the offender resides.
Property Owner Rights (SB 1726): Requires additional time and notices to be provided to landowners when a utility or telecom company proposes new lines, equipment or substations. Applies only to future projects and does not place additional requirements on existing/planned projects.