Legislative Update: November 18, 2015

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the horrific attacks on innocent human life in Paris, France on Friday night. These gruesome acts of terrorism stand as a reminder that we must take steps as a nation and as a state to ensure our people’s safety.

In case you missed it, on Monday, Governor Bruce Rauner issued the following statement:

“Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Last week the General Assembly was back in Springfield for the conclusion of the 2015 Veto Session, and while several bills were heard in both legislative chambers, none of the bills that were brought back for reconsideration due to a veto by Gov. Rauner were overridden.

Bill to Keep State Museums Open - SB 317 - Does Not Include Enforcement Mechanism
Following the inability to pass a balanced budget earlier this year, the Rauner Administration announced in June a series of budget reductions, including the temporary closing of the Illinois State Museum and all branch locations. The museum closures officially took place on October 1. On November 10, members of the House voted 82-32 on a bill that supposedly required the executive branch of our government to keep open all branches of the state museum, including the small museum branch at the Thompson Center in Chicago.

I'm not against the state museum, but after reading the bill, I realized it didn't actually force anyone to do anything. In the floor debate of this bill, I pointed out that SB 317, as written and approved by the Senate, did not include an enforcement mechanism that would require the museums to be open to the public during any set hours. In fact, I interpret the language of SB 317 as having no impact whatsoever upon the status quo condition of the museums. The bill does not change state law or state practice, and ultimately does nothing to provide public access to the museums. Even apart from that, it doesn't make sense for the General Assembly to demand that the museums stay open when we haven't put together a balanced budget to properly fund state government, including the museums.

Senator Nybo and Representative Breen Host Successful “Support Our Troops” Drive
On Monday morning I met volunteers from the local Lilac Post 5815 and the Ladies Auxiliary at my Lombard office to box up donations gathered during my recent “Support Our Troops” Collection Drive. In all, we filled more than 30 large boxes with items that will be sent to overseas troops.

Community members were extremely generous with their donations, and gathered items will be packed up into care packages that will be sent to overseas troops in time for Christmas. A very special thank you goes out to Blistex, Inc. in Oak Brook for their donation of three cases of lip balm/chap stick.

My office is still collecting names and addresses for local military personnel, so we can ensure they receive care packages. If you have a friend or loved one currently serving away from home, please call my office at (630) 403-8135 and provide us that information. Due to security regulations, we can't get names of our local service members from the military, so folks locally are our only source.

In the top photo, I’m shown loading the truck with Tony Maroney, Senior Vice Commander of Local Post 5815, and the post’s Junior Vice Commander, Dennis Jensen. In the other photo, I’m proud to stand next to Chris Breyne of the Ladies Auxiliary, Commander George Miller of the Lilac Post 5815, Dennis Jensen and Tony Maroney. Thank you to all who donated so generously to this collection for our troops! I am certain that these care packages will brighten their Christmas season as they serve and protect our nation.

Rauner to Host Budget Meeting for Legislative Leaders of House and Senate
A December 1 meeting will be hosted by the Governor and will be attended by House Speaker Mike Madigan, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. The five will discuss the budget impasse and attempt to work toward a compromise that is acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats. The meeting will take place in Rauner’s Capitol office at 8:30 AM on the 1st, and the Governor has suggested that the meeting include both public and closed door conversation. Rauner has suggested broadcasting the first hour of the meeting, during which the Governor and each legislative leader would make a 10-minute statement. The group would then retreat to a closed meeting so that negotiations could take place in private. At the conclusion of the negotiation session, the Governor suggested that closing remarks be broadcast publicly. Here's hoping for more meetings like these, which are key for us to reach public consensus on how to turn Illinois around.

As your voice in Springfield, I’m working to make our state and our communities the best they can be. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my district office at (630) 403-8135, or visit reppeterbreen.org and click the Contact button.