Latest News

State Representative Peter Breen’s 2018 voting record in support of business and manufacturing has earned him high praise from Illinois’ Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA). During Breen’s four years in office his cumulative score with the TMA is 93%, among the highest in the General Assembly.

“A thriving manufacturing industry is critical to improving the Illinois economy,” said Breen. “It’s an honor to be recognized for my work to help these job creators, by improving our manufacturing climate and reducing burdens placed on them.”

This year legislators were scored on their votes on 10 pieces of legislation that impacted the manufacturing sector, and those earning a score of 70 or higher were recognized. Only 39 members of the House of Representatives earned recognition this year.

TMA President Steven Rauschenberger applauded Breen for being a champion for the manufacturing industry, and said, “Representative Breen has distinguished himself as a legislator who cares about jobs and employment opportunities in Illinois. He has an open door and an open mind when issues important to his constituents are at issue.”

The Technology and Manufacturing Association assists Illinois’ $100 billion manufacturing sector through advice, education, and other programs and also advocates for legislation to help the industry succeed in Illinois. Close to 20,000 manufacturing firms provide over half a million jobs statewide in Illinois. Click here to view a list of the legislation included on the scorecard and a full ranking of every Illinois State Representative and Senator.
Breen Addresses Huge Spike in "Failure to Appear in the Court" Cases in DuPage County
The safety of your family is very important to me, so when I learned that DuPage recently experienced a significant spike in instances where accused people who are out on bail have failed to appear in court, I went to work with DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and State Senator Michael Connelly to remedy the problem. Hunting down and bringing bail jumpers to justice uses precious police and prosecutorial resources—and our communities are less safe with these individuals at large.

This week Senator Connelly and I filed identical bills in the House and Senate that seek to amend the Bail Reform Act to help ensure that those charged with crimes actually appear in court when required to do so. The new Bail Reform Act that took effect in Illinois on January 1 of this year was part of a national movement to improve the pre-trial justice system in this country. While that Act includes some beneficial provisions, one specific change has disincentivized defendants from appearing in court. Under these new bail guidelines, they would rather take their chances and flee justice than appear on court-mandated dates to face their charges. This is unacceptable.

Failure to Appear in Court instances in DuPage County for more serious Category A offenses, which include murder, home invasion, and aggravated violent felonies, jumped by 83% during the first seven months of 2018 as compared to the same timeframe in 2017. Category B offenses jumped 71% during that same time. The current law stipulates that failure to appear offenses are imposed at one Class lower than the original crime for which a defendant is charged, and often judges are not sentencing offenders to jail time for skipping bail.

Poposed changes to the Bail Reform Act through my HB 5980 include:
  • Individuals who are out on bail and fail to appear in court would be charged with a “failure to appear” offense of the same Class (instead of the next lower Class) of the original crime with which he/she has been charged 
  • “Failure to Appear” offenders would not be eligible for probation for bail jumping 
State Sells $250 Million in Build Illinois Bonds
Proceeds from the largely tax-free debt offering will be used to finance capital infrastructure investments. No new taxes will be required to pay off the bonds, which will mature in equal stages from 2019 until 2043. The Build Illinois Bond Act sets aside a slice of revenues from existing sales taxes to service the bonds. Prior to using money from its sales taxes for day-to-day operating purposes, the State has pledged to its bondholders that it will use a portion of this sales tax money for long-term capital investment.

Many investors see Illinois sales tax revenues as a relatively secure revenue source, and despite the State’s overall fiscal challenges the bonds were rated several significant notches above the “junk bond” level. S&P Global Ratings rated the new issue at AA-, and Fitch Ratings rated the issue at A-. The bonds were sold to Wall Street investors on Tuesday, October 16. Money from the debt issuance will be used for long-term investments such as roads, bridges, and educational infrastructure.

Senator Nybo and Representative Breen Team Up for 4th Annual “Support Our Troops” Drive
This year State Senator Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) and I are once again partnering with the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the local Lilac Post 5815 for our fourth annual “Support Our Troops” collection drive. Items collected through the end of November will be delivered to military personnel serving overseas near or before Christmas. Our shared legislative office at 929 S. Main Street, Suite 105A in Lombard will serve as the drop-off location for items to be donated to U.S. troops. Donations will be accepted through November 30 during normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Senator Nybo and I would also like to send care packages specifically to local soldiers from the area (IL Senate District 24 or IL House District 48). Friends and family with loved ones from the area who are currently serving in the military are encouraged to contact my office at (630) 403-8135 with their names and addresses.

Recommended items to be included in the care packages include:
  • Books, magazines, crossword and word search puzzles, coloring books, colored pencils, dominoes, checkers or chess games 
  • iTunes gift cards, headphones or ear buds, DVD movies or television shows, small video games, international calling cards 
  • Baby wipes, deodorant, Kleenex, lotion, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, female hygiene items, shaving cream, razors 
  • Beef jerky, powdered drink mix, coffee, granola or protein bars, trail mix, dry snacks, mixed nuts 
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, air fresheners 
  • Footballs, basketballs, soccer balls and frisbees 
Because the items will be mailed, the collection drive will not accept aerosol cans and containers, food items that could melt or spoil, and fragile items.

Illinois Unemployment Rate Matches Record Low, Tied for 32nd Nationally
The recent 4.1% unemployment figure reported by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) matches the lowest number ever posted for this figure, a widely-cited index of economic health and activity in Illinois. The national average unemployment is now 3.7%, with Illinois ranking 32nd, behind Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Indiana. Preliminary data, which is subject to revision as more numbers come in, indicates that nonfarm payroll total employment increased in the Land of Lincoln by 2,800 jobs from August to September 2018. The same figure, when counted on a year-to-year basis (September 2017 to September 2018) showed a net gain of more than 50,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

September 2018 job creation was stronger in education, construction, and manufacturing. The Illinois manufacturing economy created an estimated 2,300 net new jobs in September 2018 alone, and created 14,600 new factory jobs over the past 12 months. It should be noted, however, that the Illinois manufacturing sector is not as dominant as it was in February 1999, the last time our State’s unemployment rate was 4.1%. Illinois’ overall job universe has adjusted over the past two decades. In line with overall worldwide trends towards automation, many Illinois jobs have moved from factories to offices and service-related employment opportunities.
State Senator Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) and State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) are once again partnering with the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the local Lilac Post 5815 for their fourth annual “Support Our Troops” collection drive. Items collected throughout November will be delivered to military personnel serving overseas near or before Christmas.

“Supporting our troops is as easy as buying some of the suggested items the next time you’re in the store, and bringing them to our legislative offices. Your thoughtfulness will mean so much to the men and women who are a long way from home, especially during the holiday season,” Nybo said. “Rep. Breen and I want the brave young men and women who serve in our military—now and in years past—to know how much we appreciate their leadership and their commitment to freedom.”

The Nybo/Breen shared legislative office at 929 S. Main Street, Suite 105A in Lombard will serve as the drop-off location for items to be donated to U.S. troops. Donations will be accepted through November 30 during normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“By donating to this drive, we can show our appreciation and respect of those serving this country overseas,” said Breen. “It’s a small way to make a big difference as these brave men and women spend the holiday season away from their families and loved ones.”

Nybo and Breen would also like to send care packages specifically to local soldiers from the area (IL Senate District 24 or IL House District 48). Friends and family with loved ones from the area who are currently serving in the military are encouraged to contact the Nybo/Breen office with their names and addresses.

Recommended items to be included in the care packages include:
  • Books, magazines, crossword and word search puzzles, coloring books, colored pencils, dominoes, checkers or chess games 
  • iTunes gift cards, headphones or ear buds, DVD movies or television shows, small video games, international calling cards 
  • Baby wipes, deodorant, Kleenex, lotion, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, female hygiene items, shaving cream, razors 
  • Beef jerky, powdered drink mix, coffee, granola or protein bars, trail mix, dry snacks, mixed nuts 
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, air fresheners 
  • Footballs, basketballs, soccer balls and frisbees 
Because the items will be mailed, the collection drive will not accept aerosol cans and containers, food items that could melt or spoil, and fragile items.

For more information about the collection drive, or to leave contact information for a specific member of the service, call Sen. Nybo’s office at (630) 969-0990 or Rep. Breen’s office at (630) 403-8135.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is partnering with DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Lisle) to address a dramatic increase in the number of people in DuPage County who have decided to “skip bail” and not appear in court.

“The Bail Reform Act that took effect in Illinois on January 1 this year was part of a national movement to improve the pre-trial justice system in this country,” said Breen. “While that Act includes some beneficial provisions, one specific change has unfortunately resulted in a significant spike in instances when defendants out on bail fail to appear in court.”

According to Breen, the new Bail Reform Act provides two classifications for criminal offences: Category A (more serious felonies, mostly Class X, 1, & 2) and Category B (mostly Class 3 & 4 felonies). When comparing instances of failure to appear in court offenses from January 1 through July 30 of 2017 and 2018, Category A offenses jumped by 83% and Category B offenses jumped by 71% during the similar seven-month timeframes. Breen believes the increase is a direct result of bond requirements and penalties that no longer provide adequate incentive for the accused person to appear in court. Felonies in DuPage County have spiked in 2018. Category A felonies, which include murder, home invasion, and aggravated violent felonies, have jumped 21% year over year. Category B felonies are up 8% over last year.

“This is a startling increase,” Breen said. “The law stipulates that failure to appear offenses are imposed at one Class lower than the original crime for which a defendant is charged, and often judges are not sentencing offenders to jail time for skipping bail. Hunting down and bringing bail jumpers to justice uses precious police and prosecutorial resources—and our communities are less safe with these individuals at large. At a time when serious felonies are increasing in DuPage County, most of which are committed by offenders from out of our county, we have to get serious about improving public safety.”

Proposed changes to the Bail Reform Act include:
  • Individuals who are out on bail and fail to appear in court would be charged with a “failure to appear” offense of the same Class (instead of the next lower Class) of the original crime with which he/she has been charged 
  • “Failure to Appear” offenders would not be eligible for probation for bail jumping 
When presenting the proposed legislation, Berlin said, “For our system of justice to function properly, those who commit crimes must be held responsible. The legislative changes proposed today will not only encourage defendants to appear in court when ordered, but will also help ensure that those individuals who do skip out on their bail will face significant additional penalties.”

Breen added, “Victims of crimes have a Constitutional right to timely disposition of a criminal case involving themselves or a loved one. When those charged with crimes fail to appear in court, victims are denied those rights.”
Eighty-Three Bills Vetoed During 2018 Session
This year, 529 new Senate and House Bills were signed into law. A total of 612 bills were passed in both chambers of the General Assembly in 2018; almost 90 percent of them were signed, but 83 bills were vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority. The General Assembly will consider Rauner’s vetoes in the November 2018 Veto Session, which gets underway in Springfield on Tuesday, November 13.

Rep. Peter Breen Named “Friend of Manufacturing”
After years of neglect and even hostility, it’s time for our state government to support the manufacturing and business community. I have always been a strong voice for these job creators because Illinois’ economic climate depends on their success. I am proud to announce that I have been named a “Friend of Manufacturing” by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) for my votes that impacted the manufacturing sector in 2017-2018. 

Upon announcing the 2017-2018 award recipients, IMA Vice President & CEO Mark Denzler said, “While we often hear from lawmakers that they are concerned about jobs and economic development, the IMA’s Legislative Voting Scorecard will actually show which elected officials support Illinois job creators. The IMA appreciates those lawmakers who have a strong record of support for the manufacturing sector.”

State Representatives were scored on their votes on 23 different bills that were brought to the House floor for a vote during the 100th General Assembly, and those receiving a score of 80% or higher received the award. Click here to view the full scorecard and a list of bills that were judged. It is a great honor to be recognized for my work to help manufacturing companies start and grow in our state and it is a priority for me as I continue my work in the General Assembly.

Breen Meets with Homeowners Association to Discuss Illinois Issues
On October 4, it was my pleasure to meet with members of the Valley View Homeowners Association for a discussion of Illinois’ finances and how we move forward to balancing our budget and reducing our state’s more than $200 billion debt. I appreciate the invitation and enjoyed speaking with these involved residents. 

LIHEAP Now Accepting Applications for Heat Assistance
The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Office of Community Assistance is now accepting applications and scheduling appointments for this year’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including: 
  • Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application. 
  • A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly). 
  • A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information. 
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members. 
  • Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services. 
Click here for additional information.

ISAC Helps Students Navigate College Applications & Financial Aid
October is “College Changes Everything” (CCE) month in Illinois, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is taking steps to help make it easier for students to file timely applications for both college admission and financial aid. October 1 is now the federal government’s release date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the key to securing aid for college, including the federal Pell Grant and the state MAP Grant, plus work-study opportunities, federal student loans, and even grants from the colleges themselves.

There is always a lot of demand for limited state and school based financial aid, so students seeking support for the 2019-20 academic year should file their FAFSAs as soon as possible after October 1, 2018, for the best chance of getting funding. On October 1, the U.S. Department of Education will also unveil the myStudentAid Mobile App, making the application more accessible to students and families whose primary Internet access is through a smartphone.

During CCE Month, ISAC offer hundreds of workshops for students and families across Illinois, including college application workshops, financial aid presentations, and FAFSA completion workshops where applicants have expert guidance through the entire process. Please visit studentportal/isac.org/events to search by ZIP Code for free public events nearby.

Rep. Breen Visits with Lombard Senior Men’s Club
On October 2, I had a nice visit and discussion with members of the Lombard Senior Men’s Club. This group meets regularly on the first and third Thursday of each month. We had a lively discussion about Illinois’ challenges and I appreciated the engagement and thoughtful questions. We were all in agreement that Speaker Mike Madigan has got to go! 

Avoiding Scammers: What You Need to Know
ComEd has published a list of important tips to help customers protect their personal information and avoid falling victim to scams. Here’s what you need to know:

ComEd representatives never call customers to ask for cash or to request the purchase of a prepaid credit card to make a bill payment. If you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be a utility representative and says your account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment is not made, it is a scam if the individual instructs you to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card and then call him back to make a payment. In these cases, the scammer will ask for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number. This information grants instant access to the card’s fuds.

In addition, never give social security or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you send money to another person or entity other than your local utility provider. If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police, then call your local utility (ComEd 1-800-EDISON1). Never call the scammer back. For more tips, visit ComEd.com/Scams.

Breen Celebrates Summer Reading with Program Participants
Summer reading is vital for children who want to retain skills learned during the school year and improve overall knowledge. Each year I sponsor a “Summer Reading Safari” program where I encourage students in grades Pre-K through 5th grade to read at least eight books during their summer break from school. Those who reach that goal are invited to a summer reading celebration that is held in the early fall. 

This year approximately 60 readers and family members joined me at the Lombard Log Cabin on Main Street in Lombard for a party that included treats provided by Mariano’s, Dunkin Donuts and Culver’s. After presenting each reader with a certificate of achievement, I read two books to the group. A drawing was also held with prizes supplied by Brookfield Zoo, Enchanted Castle and the Lombard Roller Rink.

Governor Abolishes 53 Inactive Boards, Commissions; Prohibits Nepotism in State Hiring
Eliminating duplicative or unnecessary layers of government is an issue that is very important to me. I was pleased to learn recently that Governor Bruce Rauner has issued executive orders eliminating 53 boards and commissions that serve no public purpose and have been inactive for years, some for as long as two full decades.

Over the years, the State of Illinois has created more than 600 authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, committees, councils, task forces and other similar entities. Many of them have completed their work and no longer operate, yet they still appear in State publications, public-facing websites, and Legislative Research Unit reports as if they were still doing the people’s work.

The executive orders, EO 18-10 and EO 18-11, are a follow-up on EO 18-5 that Rauner issued earlier this year abolishing 19 other moribund entities. Collectively, the orders eliminate 72 redundant or inactive boards and commissions so that executive branch operations are more transparent and efficient. The governor has also issued EO 18-12, eliminating nepotism in state hiring. The move brings Illinois in line with more than half U.S. states including Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan. The order prohibits executive agency heads from the practice of nepotism in the appointment, promotion or recommendation of a relative to any agency or department under their control.
October is “College Changes Everything” (CCE) month in Illinois, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is taking steps to help make it easier for students to file timely applications for both college admission and financial aid. October 1 is now the federal government’s release date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the key to securing aid for college, including the federal Pell Grant and the state MAP Grant, plus work-study opportunities, federal student loans, and even grants from the colleges themselves.

There is always a lot of demand for limited state and school based financial aid, so students seeking support for the 2019-20 academic year should file their FAFSAs as soon as possible after October 1, 2018, for the best chance of getting funding. On October 1, the U.S. Department of Education will also unveil the myStudentAid Mobile App, making the application more accessible to students and families whose primary Internet access is through a smartphone.

During CCE Month, ISAC offer hundreds of workshops for students and families across Illinois, including college application workshops, financial aid presentations, and FAFSA completion workshops where applicants have expert guidance through the entire process. Please visit studentportal/isac.org/events to search by ZIP Code for free public events nearby.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has been named a “Friend of Manufacturing” by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) for his votes that impacted the manufacturing sector in 2017-2018.

“After years of neglect and even hostility, it’s time for our state government to support the manufacturing and business community—Illinois’ economic climate depends on the success of these job creators,” said Breen. “It’s an honor to be recognized for my work to help manufacturing companies to start and grow in our state.”

Upon announcing the award recipients, IMA Vice President & CEO Mark Denzler said, “While we often hear from lawmakers that they are concerned about jobs and economic development, the IMA’s Legislative Voting Scorecard will actually show which elected officials support Illinois job creators. The IMA appreciates those lawmakers who have a strong record of support for the manufacturing sector.”

The IMA is a not-for-profit trade association for Illinois manufacturers. Founded in 1893, it is the oldest and largest statewide manufacturing trade association in the United States. The IMA’s mission is to strengthen the economic, social, environmental and governmental conditions for manufacturing and allied enterprises in the state of Illinois, resulting in an enlarged business base and increased employment.

Illinois State Representatives were scored on their votes on 23 different bills that were brought to the House floor for a vote during the 100th General Assembly, and those receiving a score of 80% or higher received the award. Click here to view the full scorecard and a list of bills that were judged.