January 15, 2016
I hope you had a great week and your 2016 is off to a great start, allbeit pretty chilly.
Illinois saw firsthand the havoc flooding creates for people, property, communities and infrastructure in December and early January, after the Midwest experienced several days of heavy rain. Rivers became lakes, levees broke, property and infrastructure were severely damaged or wiped away, and worse, several people were killed.
While our area dodged much of the heavy rain that caused these floods, it’s not a matter of “if we will have another flood,” but “when we will have another flood.”
Consider this: The state of Illinois has the largest collection of inland bodies of water and rivers in the continental United States. Twelve percent of surface in Illinois is mapped as a flood plain. My38th Senate District, which stretches from Bureau County on the west to Will County on the east, has about 130 miles worth of river frontage, one of the most in the state. Ottawa alone is the watershed for 12,000 square miles.
Flooding is serious and it requires a serious approach to prevent losses of property, infrastructure and life. Several years ago, a number of communities along the Illinois and Fox Rivers lived the hardships that come with severe flooding. Many of our neighborhoods, businesses and infrastructure were destroyed. The Morris Hospital had to close. Thousands of lives were impacted, property was lost, tokens of precious memories were gone forever, and infrastructure had to be rebuilt. The flood in 2013 cost LaSalle and Grundy Counties alone more than $150 million.
That’s why after that flood, my office teamed up with local leaders across the 38th Senate District and started the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance (IVFRA). The IVFRA brings communities, local governments, and emergency personnel together to prepare for extreme weather events, especially floods, through education, communication, and the purchasing of flood prevention materials. The IVFRA includes LaSalle, Grundy, Bureau, and Putnam counties. The IVFRA already has good resiliency plans in place right now for the region. The IVFRA is also hoping to soon secure grant funding for communities to help prevent flood losses.
Towns in my district have also been working on flood damage prevention ordinances that would fit their specific needs. As a direct result of the IVFRA, there are also now 24 new Certified Floodplain Managers in my district.
The IVFRA is already receiving statewide and national exposure – first, from the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management, and also from the Association of State Flood Plain Managers. The City of Ottawa also received $25,000 in the “Solutions Search” national contest seeking ways to reduce the risk of weather-related disasters in communities, especially flooding.
All this is proof that our efforts in the 38th District, particularly the IVFRA, are doing great things and can be a model for other river communities. Having local flood-fighting experts, the newest flood-fighting materials, and having each community on the same page will go a long way the next time rivers start to rise. It will also save local governments, municipalities and people a lot of money.
The goal is simple: be prepared now and know how to properly fight flooding, so when our next flood occurs, we can save lives, property, homes and infrastructure.
I am very happy our communities are taking a proactive approach, so we can prevent what happened in 2013.
Check out this video for more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_h5wq_wG3M
I hope you have a great weekend!
State Senator Sue Rezin
Polar Bear Plunge for the Make a Wish Foundation
I took the plunge! Wow, was it cold! Thanks to my son Zach (and my family coming for support) and all who took the Polar Bear Plunge this past weekend in Ottawa for the Make a Wish Foundation! Looking like $100,000 raised! Thank you to everyone!
And you can mkake a child’s dream come true! The Make a Wish Foundation of Illinois is always in need of wish granters and help: http://illinois.wish.org/ways-to-help
Top: My son, Zach, and I gearing up for the plunge!
Middle two: Craziness! But, for a great cause!
Bottom. My daughter Elexa (bottom), Zach and his girlfriend, and I warming up.
In the District
Had a great time at the Special Connections/Trinity Services Dueling Piano event!
Coming up in the District
Senate Week in Review January 11 – 15, 2016
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Senators returned to the Capitol for the first time after their holiday recess, and as the 2016 legislative session officially begins, many of the issues from 2015 still remain, according to State Sen. Sue Rezin. Republicans are taking a stand against the scourge of human trafficking by adding some much-needed publicity to the worldwide awareness efforts.
Also this week, Senate Leader Christine Radogno addressed the City Club of Chicago about the state’s long-term fiscal challenges, and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability produced a sobering report about manufacturing in Illinois and the state’s tax receipts.
The Senate Republican Caucus’ newest member, State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), passed his first legislative measure to dedicate an Illinois highway after a fallen hero. A number of other memorial resolutions were also passed this week in Springfield.
Human trafficking awareness efforts
In the greater Chicago area, between 16,000 and 25,000 women and girls are estimated to be exploited by human trafficking each year. The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old. Ninety-five percent of victims experienced physical or sexual violenceduring trafficking.
Those startling statistics are reasons why Illinois Senate Republicans took part in a video discussing the tragic effects human trafficking has on its victims. January 11 was observed as Human Trafficking Awareness Day, while the entire month of January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-West Dundee) has taken the lead on these issues by working with a number of her female legislative colleagues to raise awareness and help facilitate regional trainings that help law enforcement and local communities identify and address human trafficking situations.
Uniting on this issue, women Senators from both sides of the aisle have come together to sponsor House Bill 2822, which creates a state task force that will address ways to combat this terrible crime and the negative effects it has communities throughout Illinois. House Bill 2822 has passed the House and awaits further consideration in the Senate this spring.
To learn more about the Senate GOP’s human trafficking efforts, please visit https://youtu.be/VYEKlQJuO6E. For social networking purposes, use the “hashtag” #ILAgainstHumanTrafficking.
Senate Leader Radogno addresses the City Club
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) discussed the challenges facing Illinois during her address at the City Club of Chicago on Jan. 11. Despite the state’s seven-month budget impasse, Democrat majority legislative leaders are failing to negotiate on much-needed reforms and are cancelling legislative session days.
Leader Radogno discussed the fiscal forecast for Illinois as“bleak” if the legislative majorities refuse to come to the table. With no meaningful reforms or revenue enhancements, Illinois is projected to have a $5 billion hole in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget and by June 30, 2016, the state could have $9 billion in unpaid bills. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget recently released three-year fiscal projections mandated by state statute, and those numbers are even more disturbing.
Illinois’ current “auto-pilot” budget – the result of a number of court orders and consent decrees – will move the state’s backlog of bills to $25 billion by June 30, 2020. Leader Radogno also said she believes House Speaker Madigan will do anything to maintain the “status quo” despite the catastrophic fiscal damage, if no action is taken.
To view Leader Radogno’s address, visit: http://senategop.state.il.us/News/RecentNews/TabId/121/p/65281/v/2000/video-radogno-addresses-city-club-of-chicago.aspx
Manufacturing numbers in Illinois continue decline
The Commission of Government Forecasting and Accountability (CoGFA) released its December report showing a number of disturbing trends with Illinois’ economy and the state’s fiscal health. CoGFA’s report shows that Chicago manufacturing indicators are falling to lows that have not been witnessed since the initial aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession.
Chicago unemployment numbers ticked up slightly during the fourth quarter of 2015, but are still down in comparison to the same final quarter of 2014. The most ominous observation from the monthly report was that “corporate income tax and sales tax have failed to meet even modest expectations.”
To obtain more of the CoGFA report visit http://cgfa.ilga.gov/Upload/1215revenue.pdf.