On Friday, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 1421, which could have resulted in fee increases for drinking water customers in DuPage County to pay for wastewater improvements downstate. The bill would have allowed private utility companies to charge drinking water customers for wastewater improvements, no matter where located and even if the customers receive wastewater services from their local municipalities and not from those private utility companies.

The bill easily passed the Illinois Senate on April 23 by a vote of 40-4-2, but Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) led a floor fight against the bill in the House, almost killing it. The bill eventually passed the House 63-50-2 on May 28, receiving just 3 more than the minimum 60-vote margin needed for passage. Breen then publicly requested that the governor veto the measure.

“Folks shouldn’t have to pay for services and improvements that don’t benefit them,” said Breen, whose 48th District includes Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Lombard, and Lisle, towns with numerous residents served by private utility Illinois American Water. “People don’t have a choice of drinking water and wastewater providers. Because of the monopoly those providers enjoy, the government carefully regulates the types of fees they can charge. This bill would have weakened these careful regulations. Governor Rauner’s veto is a victory for homeowners across the state.”

In his veto message, Governor Rauner noted that, "Whenever we permit utilities to pass on their costs to consumers, we should ensure that costs are passed to consumers who use and benefit from the particular services to the extent possible. Unfortunately, because not all consumers receive both their water and wastewater services from the same utility, Senate Bill 1421 would permit a public utility to pass on wastewater costs to consumers who do not receive wastewater services. This type of subsidy is not appropriate or necessary."

The bill now returns to the Illinois Senate, where it originated. In order to override the veto, 36 votes would be necessary in the Senate and 71 votes in the House. Breen is optimistic that the proponents of the measure will be unable to obtain the additional 8 House votes needed to reach the 71-vote margin needed for override. The sponsors of the bill are Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria) and Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria).
Gov. Bruce Rauner (seated) signs SB90 as Rep. Peter Breen,
(R-Lombard); Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago); Jim Ryan,
Glen Ellyn/Wheaton probate attorney; and Dan Belko,
office of the Cook County Public Guardian look on.
Hailing the “bipartisan approach” taken by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law yesterday a measure that will protect disabled senior citizens from being victimized by scammers who try to talk them into changing their wills for personal gain. Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) carried the bill in the Senate.

SB90, now known as Public Act 99-0302provides for judicial oversight in cases where individuals who have been determined by the courts as no longer being of sound mind and memory seek to amend their wills. “Sadly, there are scam-artists out there who wish to prey on the elderly by coercing them to change their wills to redirect financial and other assets away from their loved ones and toward themselves,” said Breen. “This kind of victimization is an attack on a vulnerable segment of our population, and PA 99-0302will add a critical new layer of oversight that should help ensure that our disabled elderly are protected from wrongdoing in their estate plans.”

The law was inspired by the experiences of area judges and attorneys who specialize in probate and estate. “Probate judges have seen repeated instances where seniors have been exploited by guardians or appointed agents who have talked them into altering their estate plans,” Breen said. “This new law amends the Probate Act to allow a court to appoint an attorney to assist disabled seniors who truly wish to amend their wills. Undue influence is removed, and those under the care of the courts can be sure that the fruits of their lifetime of labor are not diverted away from their loved ones and into the hands of predators.”

Breen credited the passing of the new law to a bipartisan, collaborative effort that he employed to bring together legislators of both parties behind the measure, along with probate judges from Cook and DuPage Counties, DuPage County probate attorneys, the Cook County Public Guardian’s office, and the Illinois State Bar Association.
In response to controversial videos that have surfaced surrounding the harvesting and sale of aborted fetal body parts and tissue, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has filed legislation to amend and clarify the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act as it relates to tissue and body parts that can be legally donated or sold.

HB4266, filed Wednesday in Springfield, would amend the Anatomical Gift Act by expanding the definition of “decedent” to include a deceased fetus or unborn child using definitions outlined in the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975. The proposed new language also expressly prohibits the donation or sale of aborted fetuses and fetal tissue.

“Recent videos have shined a spotlight on the harvesting and sale of aborted baby body parts in our nation’s abortion clinics,” said Breen. “From the lack of informed consent to modifying abortion procedures to harvest more ‘valuable’ organs, these practices are rife with abuse. This bill is a bipartisan attempt to put an end to the trafficking of the remains of these aborted babies.”

Upon its filing, 29 legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties signed on as co-sponsors, including Chief Co-Sponsors Reps. Jerry Costello (D-Red Bud), Dwight Kay (R-Edwardsville), Dan Brady (R-Normal), and Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg). The bill will be read for a first time and then considered by the House Rules Committee.

“The allegations involving Planned Parenthood are incredibly troubling, and as lawmakers we need to do whatever we can to ensure the confidence of Illinoisans in our state’s Anatomical Gift Act,” continued Breen. “This issue extends beyond the abortion debate and addresses important issues of how, and under what circumstances, body parts and tissues can and should be used.”