Representative Peter Breen took part in a vigorous debate yesterday concerning Senate Bill 1229, an AFSCME-sponsored measure to restrict the bargaining power of Gov. Bruce Rauner and the State of Illinois in relation to the AFSCME union contract negotiations now underway. The bill would amend the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act to force the State to accept pay and benefits determined by an arbitrator if the governor is unwilling to accede to the union’s demands.

Representative Breen voiced his strong opposition to the bill, which he described as “a bald-faced power grab and a budget busting bill.” Breen further noted that the legislation “is not a good faith effort in preventing a labor strike” and referenced the $350,000 in contributions that the sponsor of the bill had accepted from AFSCME interests in the past two election cycles. Click below for the full debate.

Today Representative Peter Breen passed Senate Bill 1683 out of the House, which ensures that the Illinois Director of Labor has the power to enforce the Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Act. The U.S. Department of Labor requested the legislation, to ensure that the Director is able to require attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence under oath, during workplace safety inspections and investigations. By adopting this bill, the State of Illinois will be eligible for $5 million in federal funding to assist in enforcing safety standards.

“These additions to the Occupational Safety and Health Act will better ensure that our workers in Illinois are protected at their job sites. By adopting appropriate powers to conduct thorough investigations, our Director of Labor will be able to crack down on bad practices, and our state will receive an additional $5 million to assist with workplace safety.”

Senate Bill 1683 previously passed the Senate unanimously. The bill also unanimously passed in the House today. The bill will now proceed to Governor Bruce Rauner for his consideration.
This week, Representative Peter Breen passed Senate Bill 90, a bill to protect disabled seniors under the care of the court system from having their estate plans changed without oversight from a judge. The bill amends the Probate Act to allow a court to appoint an attorney to assist disabled seniors under a guardianship, to help those seniors alter their wills free of undue influence.

“Unfortunately, disabled seniors have been victimized by scammers who coerced them into deathbed changes to their wills to disown their families and instead direct their assets to these scammers,” said Breen. “We’ve seen this time and time again, including in the recent situation over the last wishes of baseball great Ernie Banks. This bill will ensure that our disabled elderly residents are protected from wrongdoing in their estate plans, and to guarantee that the fruits of their lifetime of working and saving are not stolen away at the ends of their lives.”

Breen worked with probate judges from DuPage and Cook Counties on the measure, along with staff from the Illinois State Bar Association and the Cook County Public Guardian’s office. There was no opposition to the bill, and it unanimously passed in the House. The Senate will now take up the measure.
On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, Governor Rauner, the Acting State Fire Marshall Matt Perez, and the Illinois General Assembly honored firefighters who died in the line of duty and 39 other firefighters for bravery and service to their communities at the 22nd annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighter Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony. Rep. Breen presented an Illinois House Certificate of Recognition to Firefighter Christopher Guare from the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company who achieved the Medal of Honor award, the highest award given to firefighters by the State of Illinois. Guare was one of seven firefighters who were selected for their acts of outstanding heroism, by which they demonstrated selflessness and personal courage above and beyond the call of duty, under adverse conditions, with the possibility of extreme personal risk.

Today, Illinois State Representative Peter Breen issued a strong letter to his colleagues in opposition to Senate Bill 1564, legislation which would reverse protections in the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Breen, a constitutional attorney, was the first to identify the threats posed by the bill to Illinois’ pregnancy resource centers.

In his letter today, Breen carefully analyzes SB 1564, showing the following:

· SB 1564 will force health care professionals and facilities in Illinois to participate in abortions, either by performing abortions or by referring or directing patients to abortion clinics;

· SB 1564 makes the conscience rights of health care workers contingent on the policies of their institutions;

· SB 1564 imposes a new mandate on every doctor’s office, pharmacy, and community clinic in Illinois, along with most of the state’s pregnancy resource centers;

· SB 1564 will result in a flurry of lawsuits and the possible loss of Illinois’ federal health care funding; and

· The examples cited by the ACLU do not support the broad scope of SB 1564.

“The situations raised by the activists supporting SB 1564 at best call for a scalpel—a limited response—but SB 1564 instead takes a hatchet to our health care workers and our law,” said Breen in the letter.

SB 1564 has been assigned to the Illinois House Human Services Committee and is expected to be heard in committee within the next week.
Governor Bruce Rauner recently announced his decision to restore $26 million in cuts that were previously made in an effort to rectify the gaping hole in our State budget.

"I applaud Governor Rauner for restoring this funding, which provides essential services for our most vulnerable Illinoisans," said Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard). “While there are many tough decisions to come, the work of the governor in ensuring the continuation of these programs demonstrates his strong and competent leadership, the same leadership that the people of Illinois recognized and embraced in Bruce Rauner when they chose him to be our governor."

Governor Rauner moved quickly to reinstate these programs once he received a revised estimate showing additional state revenue, from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. These additional funds will now be directed to restore funding for important programs such as autism funding, funding for indigent burials, and epilepsy programs, among others.

The General Assembly and Governor Rauner are now working on next year’s budget, which begins on July 1, 2015.