In a unanimous vote on Friday, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) passed legislation that is estimated to save Illinois small businesses and not-for-profits millions of dollars in electronic filing fees. HB 3514 would amend state law to end the practice of charging “expedited service fees” of $25, $50, or more on every electronic filing with the Secretary of State’s office.

“Our current law treats every e-filing with the Secretary of State’s office as an expensive ‘expedited service,’ regardless of whether the filing requires expedited handling,” said Breen. “By making e-filing free, we will save our small businesses and non-profits millions of dollars and encourage greater use of electronic filing over filing by paper mail.”

While presenting the bill on the House floor, Breen explained that business owners should be encouraged, rather than discouraged, from filing electronically. “Electronic filing reduces errors, saves paper, and saves money. As such, those who conduct business in this state should be encouraged to e-file,” Breen said. “They certainly should not be charged extra fees to electronically file, over and above what they would be charged if they filed in person at the Secretary of State’s office.”
This week in Springfield House Democrats pushed through poorly-written legislation that would put the State of Illinois into the workers’ compensation insurance business. In response to the party line vote of approval for HB 2622, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has issued the following statement:

“This was another ‘gotcha’ vote orchestrated by House Democrats who want to go home to their legislative districts next week and say they voted for worker’s compensation reform. HB 2622 is a fake reform measure that will look good in political mailings and newsletters, but will do nothing at all to reduce workers’ compensation costs in Illinois.”

“Despite having over 300 entities already providing workers’ compensation policies in our state, HB 2622 would put the taxpayers of Illinois on the hook for a $10 million loan for the creation of a new workers’ compensation insurance company. The bill sponsor presented no business plan and no information for how they would seek paying clients. Our state’s inability to work within a balanced budget is well documented. There is absolutely nothing that would indicate that this $10 million investment would deliver the returns promised by the sponsor.”

“We need real workers’ compensation reform in our state to curb fraud and abuse of the system. Illinois employers pay $2.23 per $100 of payroll, making us the most expensive state in the Midwest for worker’s compensation costs. If we want to stop businesses from leaving our state, we need to provide them with real relief—not fake, irresponsible, do-nothing laws that ignore the true problems with the current system.”
This week in Springfield, House Democrats used their majority status to push through damaging legislation that would allow state employees and those who rely on Medicaid to have access to abortions during healthy pregnancies. If approved and signed into law, the provisions of HB 40 could impact the Illinois Medicaid budget by up to $60 million.

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) led the House Republican resistance to the bill.You can watch Breen's full floor debate on HB 40 here.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) received unanimous House approval on Tuesday for legislation that ensures consistency in sentencing when an individual is found guilty of driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license, if driving privileges were suspended or revoked for committing aggravated Driving under the Influence (DUI) resulting in a death or for committing reckless homicide.

According to Breen, today there are cases where an individual caught driving on a suspended license when the license was suspended due to an aggravated DUI resulting in death are receiving lesser sentences than those who are driving on a suspended license due to a reckless homicide. “It’s an issue of equity and fairness,” said Breen. “Those who ignore a license suspension or revocation after killing someone while driving drunk should, at a minimum, face the same penalty as an individual in a similar situation who committed reckless homicide.”

Breen continued, “I’m proud of the wide, bipartisan sponsorship of HB 3084, which brings into accord our laws in cases where someone is caught driving on a suspended license, as a result of having killed someone in an automobile collision,” said Breen. “It’s common sense legislation that cleans up our statutes.”

The bill, which was recommended for approval in March by the House Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee, was brought to Breen’s attention by DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. “It was my pleasure to work with State’s Attorney Bob Berlin on this bill,” Breen said. “It’s passage would ensure that those who drive drunk and kill someone will face equitable treatment in these types of cases.”

The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration. Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) will carry the bill on Breen’s behalf in the Senate.
Today in Springfield, a bill that would allow taxpayer funds to be used to pay for abortions for Medicaid recipients and for state workers on state-funded insurance plans cleared the House in a 62-55 vote. In response to the narrow approval of the bill, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has issued the following statement:


“Today, Mike Madigan and his Illinois House Democrats voted to spend taxpayer funds to abort healthy babies. Our best estimates show that taxpayers would pay for over 30,000 abortions if this bill is signed into law, at an impact of $60 million to our Medicaid system. Despite the dire financial straits facing our state, Illinois Democrats today put their political patrons in the abortion industry ahead of fiscal sanity and a balanced budget.”

“According to the Workers’ Action Guide published by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Medicaid provides medical coverage for pregnant women who make less than 213% of the federal poverty level. The latest numbers from the Guttmacher Institute, released in May 2016, indicate that 75% of women who receive abortions have income under 200% of the federal poverty level. Based upon this information, and published documentation from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services about the cost and frequency of abortion procedures, the $60 million price tag would decimate our Medicaid budget.”
In response to the recent incident at O’Hare International Airport when a ticketed and seated passenger was forcibly removed by government officials from a flight, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has taken steps to prohibit that type of scenario from ever playing out again at Illinois airports. The self-proclaimed head of the “Frequent Flyer Caucus,” Breen is one of the most seasoned travelers in the General Assembly, logging tens of thousands of airline miles annually.

“When passengers take their seat on an airplane, they are entrusting our nation’s commercial airlines to deliver them safely to their destination,” said Breen. “That trust was broken last week, when a private commercial airline used government personnel to drag a peaceful passenger out of his seat. While this treatment should never happen anywhere in the country, we can't let this happen at Illinois’ most prominent passenger hub, O’Hare airport. Passengers traveling to or through Illinois should be confident they will be protected during their time in the Land of Lincoln.”

HB 4034, filed today in Springfield, would create the Airline Passenger Protection Act. The Act would prohibit Illinois government officials from participating in the involuntary removal by force of any properly ticketed and seated airline passenger, except in certain safety situations. The Act would also forbid any Illinois government from doing business with an airline that allows a paid seated passenger to be removed to give that seat to a non-paying airline employee. The bill directly protects passengers from criminal charges for refusing to yield their properly occupied seats, and allows attorney’s fees for passengers who win civil lawsuits against airlines for improperly removing them from their seats.

“The treatment of the passenger in last week’s incident at O’Hare is inexcusable and must be stopped,” Breen said. “It reflected badly on the airline, the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois.”
The General Assembly has begun its annual Easter Break. When we return to Springfield on Monday, April 24, legislators from the House and Senate have just five days to pass their bills and send them to the other chamber. Any bill that has not cleared its chamber of origin by Friday, April 28 will be essentially dead. In May, we will take action on Senate Bills that successfully passed in that chamber and Senators will take action on legislation sent to them from the House. At this point of the spring session, I have passed four bills out of the House and have six additional bills that could be heard during the final week of April.

Democrats Ignore Republican Plea for Compromise Budget; Push through New Stop Gap Measure
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Democrats once again rammed another stopgap spending plan through the House – it’s precisely why Democrats have been unwilling to negotiate with House Republicans on a full, balanced budget. I was very outspoken during the floor debate on HB 109. You may watch a video of my floor comments here

The funding that Democrats are proposing isn’t even close to what vital programs need. For example, their spending plan includes only 36% of the funding for domestic violence shelters, only 36% for infant mortality programs and only 38% for the senior meals program. To make matters worse, their plan would spend $1.5 million on a program in Chicago that has already been disbanded and more than $500,000 on two programs that are currently ineligible to receive funds due to noncompliance issues with reporting of how state funds were previously spent.

Instead of stopgaps and governing through piecemeal bills—requiring our nonprofits to regularly come on bended knee to beg for money every few months from Mike Madigan and his ruling Democrats—we have to properly fund programs serving the most vulnerable in our society. That can only be done through a balanced budget. Republicans have said over and over again that we are ready and willing to work with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to find an agreement on a budget that balances and respects the priorities of both Republicans and Democrats. But so far Democrats have refused to even begin those discussions.

My hope is that House Democrats will return to Springfield ready to work with us on a balanced budget. Only through a balanced budget can we bring certainty to our state and fix the problems that we all know must be addressed to put Illinois back on the right track.

Breen Visits with Trinity Lutheran School Students on Constitution Test Day
I recently had an opportunity to talk with a group of very bright 7th and 8th grade students from Trinity Lutheran School in Lombard on the day they took their Illinois Constitution test. We discussed the importance of becoming an educated and involved citizen and about the role of an Illinois lawmaker. The students had some very good questions and it was a pleasure to visit their classroom on the day they culminated their studies into the Illinois Constitution.

Breen Receives Wide Bipartisan House Support on Bill to Set Effective Speed Limits on Illinois Tollways to 70 m.p.h.
On Wednesday, I received wide bipartisan support on a bill that would set the effective speed limit for automobiles on Illinois Tollways to a consistent speed of 70 miles per hour. For I-294, which is due for full reconstruction, the speed limit would remain at 60 m.p.h. until after that work is complete.

The General Assembly in 2014 took action to raise the maximum potential speed limit on most interstates to 70 m.p.h. However, the administrative officials charged with implementation of the 2014 laws decided not raise the effective limits on many parts of the tollway system, instead maintaining 55-65 speed limits. While maintaining the ability of the Tollway Authority to adjust speed limits, HB 2938 also adds a requirement of General Assembly approval for any reduction in speed limits, along with ensuring that truck speed limits do not fall more than 10 miles per hour below car speed limits. The House vote on HB 2938 was 109-5. If approved in the Senate and signed by the Governor, the provisions of the bill would take effect 12 months after the bill’s effective date. Click here to watch a video of the bill presentation.

House Approves Breen Bill to Allow Townships to Deliver Wood Chips to Residents
On Wednesday I also passed a bill that would allow townships to deliver surplus wood chips generated through routine tree maintenance to residents. HB 2423 adds flexibility to the process for distribution of the waste materials generated by outdoor township maintenance. The bill also includes requirements for notice to the public before distribution and provisions for either random drawing or first-come-first-served processes to determine which residents may receive the wood chips. This bill will save money for our township highway departments. In York Township, for example, it actually costs more for the township to deliver the wood chips to landfills than it costs to deliver the materials to taxpaying residents who want to use them.
Today in Springfield, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) passed bipartisan legislation that would raise the effective speed limit for automobiles on Illinois Tollways to a consistent speed of 70 miles per hour. For I-294, which is due for full reconstruction, the speed limit would remain at 60 m.p.h. until after that work is complete.

The General Assembly in 2014 took action to raise the maximum potential speed limit on most interstates to 70 m.p.h. However, the administrative officials charged with implementation of the 2014 laws decided not raise the effective limits on many parts of the tollway system, instead maintaining 55-65 speed limits.

“Consistent, realistic speed limits improve safety on our roadways,” said Breen. “Studies show that most folks drive at the speed they believe is safe, whatever the posted limits. Motorists are already driving on these roadways in the range of 70 m.p.h., and the consistency provided through HB 2938 will allow for a more steady, safe flow of traffic on our tollways.”

While maintaining the ability of the Tollway Authority to adjust speed limits, HB 2938 adds a requirement of General Assembly approval for any reduction in speed limits, along with ensuring that truck speed limits do not fall more than 10 miles per hour below car speed limits.

The House vote on HB 2938 was 109-5. If approved in the Senate and signed by the Governor, the provisions of Breen’s bill would take effect 12 months after the bill’s effective date.

To hear Breen speak in greater detail about the bill, click here.