June 18, 2015
I know some of you suffered flooding due to the heavy rains this week. Dozens of streets, basements, fields, and parks were all victims from Mother Nature’s wrath of several storms, as storm sewers just couldn’t keep up. I know how frustrating it is to deal with flooding, especially in one’s neighborhood or home. So I wish you all the best in your recovery. While some personal property did have damage, I am grateful there was no human toll from these storms and constant rain. This week is just another reminder of why we established the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance, which brings communities, local governments, and emergency personnel together to help them prepare for extreme weather events, especially floods, through education, communication, education, and the purchasing of flood prevention materials.
Coming up next week in our district, I am hosting a Senior Fair and Job Fair. There will be a free Senior Health Fair on June 24 at the Saratoga Elementary School Gym. Dozens of vendors will be available to provide in-depth information about various state, local and private programs and resources available for our senior citizens. Free health screenings will also be available for anyone interested. Come out June 24 to the Saratoga Elementary School Gym located at 4040 North Division Street in Morris and learn how our senior citizens can live a happier and healthier life. If you have any additional questions, contact my office at 815-220-8720.
Also, those looking for work and employers looking to hire are invited to a free Hiring Event Fair on June 25 at the South Towne Mall Shopping Center located at 1st Avenue in Ottawa. With dozens of employers from the area attending, if you are looking for employment, bring your resume to the event and be prepared to network. If you would like to see what open positions employers are looking to fill, register at IllinoisJobLink.com. If you are interested in registering for the event as an employer, please visit Senator Rezin’s website at www.senatorrezin.com. If you have any additional questions, call my office at 815-220-8720.
I hope you have a great weekend!
State Sen. Sue Rezin
On the 14th, we celebrated Flag Day. Check out this video about proper U.S. Flag etiquette. There maybe a few things in this video you didn’t know!
How about that Stanley Cup Victory! Lucky two of my four kids experienced the win first hand (Tory, Nate, and Lauren, Nate’s girlfriend)! The series, the games, and this team were unlike any other. Loved the experience and couldn’t be happier with the Hawks winning it all!
Senate Week in Review: June 15 – 19, 2015
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six years and a Springfield, Illinois native was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, but these memorable sports milestones were the only cause for celebration in Illinois this week, which yielded little progress on the Land of Lincoln’s budget gridlock, according to State Sen.Sue Rezin.
The Illinois General Assembly met for a one-day session June 9, however, neither chamber addressed the state’s budget issues. Instead the Senate convened a Committee of the Whole focused on college affordability, while the House of Representatives discussed restructuring of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
In other news, on June 17 Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland announced his retirement; Illinois farmers continue to make progress on the state’s crops despite a series of torrential rains that have covered nearly every region; and a new report shows Illinois cities are losing population.
In caucus-related news, Republican lawmakers have been working in their district offices, conducting constituent meetings and holding legislative town hall events. Several bills are awaiting gubernatorial action.
Budget showdown enters third week
Though tens of thousands of people rallied behind the Chicago Blackhawks after their Stanley Cup championship win on June 15, Illinois’ 13 million citizens are probably not going to be throwing a championship-style parade for the two majority legislative leaders any time soon. The state’s fiscal year comes to an end in less than two weeks and lawmakers and the Governor are not any closer to a final solution to the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.
The impasse enters its third week and the Democrat majority leaders have yet to send most of their budget package to the Governor’s desk despite passing it nearly a month ago. However, Governor Bruce Rauner has indicated he will not sign the Democrat lawmakers’ budget, which even House Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton acknowledge is more than $3 billion unbalanced.
Senate Republican lawmakers, like their House counterparts, have continued a steady drumbeat in their quest for meaningful government reforms to help Illinois move beyond the past 12-plus years of one-party dysfunction. They have joined the Governor in consistently expressing a willingness to work together with their Democrat counterparts on the state’s budget, beginning with compromise on job-creating, economy-boosting reforms.
Committee of the Whole on higher education affordability
This week the Senate met for another “rare” Committee of the Whole to discuss higher education affordability.
Senators heard from a number of panelists in the areas of need-based aid, community college funding formulas, and state support of the university system. Republican lawmakers questioned the panelists on how much state tuition, fees and other associated costs had risen over the past decade. Senate Republicans asked witnesses for insight into how to reduce administrative and tuition costs within the state’s higher education system as a way to reduce the cost burden on students and parents in Illinois.
Well-respected Auditor General to step down
Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland announced his intention to step down as the state’s chief fiscal watchdog on December 31. Auditor General Holland has held the position for 23 years and has been a well-respected staple of Illinois government during the tenure of five Governors.
Holland’s January 2009 testimony during the Senate trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich was seen as key to the now-felon’s eventual removal from office. Holland’s service to the people of Illinois was especially critical during the Blagojevich administration’s six years of abject fiscal failure.
His office also handled the more recent audits of the now infamous NRI-scandal, in which former Governor Pat Quinn’s administration handed out $55 million in state grants as part of his questionable and poorly managed crime reduction initiative. In 2014, Holland released a scathing audit of the program that Quinn launched prior to the 2010 election for Governor. Since that time there have been several criminal grand jury probes into the NRI program, as well as a legislative audit of NRI.
Illinois farmers continue to battle weather
Rainy weather continues to hamper farmers’ efforts to get back into the fields to finish planting soybeans and harvesting hay. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, statewide precipitation averaged 3.24 inches, leaving only 2.3 days rated as suitable for fieldwork. The average temperature last week was 75.8 degrees, which is 4.6 degrees higher than normal.
The state soybean crop is now 90% planted, up just two percentage points from last week, and still below the five-year average of 92%. 84% of the soybean crop has emerged from the soil.
Hay producers have finished with 81% of their first cutting of the year, which is identical to the same time period last year, and just one percentage point behind the five-year average.
Illinois losing population
Recent media reports have shown that Illinois is the only state in the Midwestern region that lost population from 2013 to 2014. The Land of Lincoln lost nearly 10,000 residents and an overwhelming number of communities are losing population at an alarming rate. Central and Southern Illinois continues to experience the largest losses, and even Chicago’s population has nearly stagnated for the past couple years.
Some suburban communities experienced population increases, but nothing approaching the Great Recession levels of pre-2008. In fact, only the communities of Naperville and Elgin saw meaningful growth. However, even with this growth the state’s overall population decreased overall, especially then coupled with the losses in Decatur and Rockford.
Bills heading to Governor
Several key pieces of legislation are heading to the Governor’s desk for his approval, as the unofficial bill signing season will be kicking off shortly.
To view more please visit www.ilga.gov and click the tab “Legislative Reports.”