Legislative Update: November 14, 2016

This has been the most unique political campaign season of our lifetimes. But with the election now over, lawmakers are refocusing their efforts on addressing Illinois’ most pressing problems. In the 48th District, I was reelected to serve for a second term. I sincerely appreciate the trust placed in me, and I will continue reaching across the aisle to find common ground on the important problems facing our state.

Tomorrow, lawmakers return to Springfield for the fall veto session. During this year’s spring session, 438 substantive bills were approved by both chambers of the General Assembly and reached the Governor’s desk for final action. Of those 438 bills, 24 received a total veto, and nine received an amendatory, or partial, veto from the Governor. Veto Session is the time when we will reconsider many of these bills and possibly consider other legislative issues that remained unaddressed during the spring session, such as the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Act Tax Credit program, which that will expire in December without General Assembly action.

According to the Governor’s office, many of the bills that received vetoes this year sought to add new spending to the Illinois budget, while other bills were deemed as duplicative or unnecessary, and still others included language that the Governor felt was harmful to taxpayers. I have spent the days leading up to veto session reviewing the vetoed bills and the reasoning behind each veto.

Tuesday’s election will significantly change the landscape in Springfield in 2017, as the House Republican caucus saw a net gain of four seats and the Senate Republicans a net gain of two seats. The gains in the House are extremely significant. By reducing the House Democratic caucus membership from 71 to 67, House Speaker Mike Madigan will no longer have a veto-proof majority. While the Speaker will still hold a majority for the next General Assembly, he will no longer be able to rely solely on his caucus to override gubernatorial vetoes. The significance cannot be overstated. For the first time in many years, when the new General Assembly is sworn in on January 11, all paths toward bill approval and overall progress must rely on bipartisanship and compromise. In particular, the temporary stopgap spending bill the General Assembly approved in June will end at the conclusion of this calendar year. The rationale for the delay in reaching a full balanced budget was Senate President John Cullerton’s assertion that compromise could not be reached until after the election. With the election over, it’s time to get the budget balanced and Illinois turned around.

Breen Partners with Senator Nybo for Second Annual “Support Our Troops” Drive
This month, Senator Chris Nybo and I will partner with the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the local Lilac Post 5815 for our second annual “Support Our Troops” collection drive. Items collected throughout the month of November will be delivered to military personnel serving overseas near or before Christmas.

The legislative office I share with Senator Nybo at 929 S. Main Street, Suite 105A in Lombard will serve as a drop-off location for items to be donated to U.S. troops. Donations will be accepted through November 30th during normal business hours of 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

We would also like to send care packages specifically to local soldiers from the area (IL House District 48 or IL Senate District 24). 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/ear buds, DVD movies or television shows, small video games, international calling cards 
  • Baby wipes, deodorant, Kleenex, lotion, toothpaste/toothbrush, 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, aerosol cans/containers, food items that could melt or spoil, and fragile items cannot be accepted.