On September 7 of this year, one of the country’s three main credit agencies, Equifax, announced a cybercrime that exposed 145.5 million U.S. residents to the potential of identity theft. Of those who had their names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and other personal pieces of sensitive information compromised, 5.6 million were from Illinois. On Thursday, legislation that helped prevent Illinoisans from becoming victims of identity theft sailed through the Illinois House in a unanimous vote.

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 4095, said Illinoisans should have the right to protect themselves when data breaches of this magnitude occur without having to pay fees. “The Equifax breach was massive,” said Breen. “The sheer volume of information that was left exposed could have had devastating consequences for Illinoisans. As lawmakers, it is our duty to make it as easy as possible for our residents to protect themselves from identity fraud.”

In Illinois, credit agencies can currently charge up to $10 each time a consumer freezes their credit report, but HB 4095 would now set that fee at $0, prohibiting credit agencies from charging those who need to freeze their reports. The legislation also requires that consumers be allowed to request a credit freeze by either phone or online communication, not just via certified mail. “As soon as information about the Equifax data breach was made public, a bipartisan group of lawmakers went to work on legislation to help Illinoisans protect themselves,” Breen said. “It was a pleasure to help write this bill and I appreciated the unanimous support it received in the House.”

HB 4095 now moves to the Illinois Senate, where it will be considered when lawmakers return to Springfield on November 7. If approved in the Senate and signed into law, the provisions of the bill would take effect immediately.
Lawmakers are back in Springfield today to begin a six-day veto session that will take place from October 24-26 and November 7-9. It is the time-frame during which bills that received either a partial or full veto by the Governor can be reconsidered. Some new legislation may also be considered.

Back home in the 48th District, State Representative Peter Breen's End of Session Report began arriving in mailboxes this week. The comprehensive report includes a summary of legislative activity in Springfield during the spring 2017 session and during the special summer session. The report also includes information about Breen’s outreach efforts in his home district in DuPage County.

If you did not receive a copy of the Breen 2017 End of Session Report, click here to view a digital version.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is seeking input on the state's rest areas.

To enhance traveler safety and comfort, IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, which serve more than 36 million visitors annually. IDOT wants to make sure these service centers are kept clean, safe, and updated with travel-related amenities to enhance the travel experience for Illinois residents and visitors.

Illinois' rest areas and welcome centers are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles, and commercial trucks, among other services.

Help shape the future planning of rest areas by completing IDOT's Illinois Rest Area Survey.

For a paper copy of the survey please call 402-399-1405.
Strong majorities of Illinoisans, especially folks in the suburbs and downstate, oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, but with the signing of House Bill 40 at the end of September, Illinoisans will be put on the hook for an estimated 75% of the state’s 40,000 annual elective abortions, a cost of roughly $30 million. I wasn’t going to let that pass without responding, so I drafted legislation that would create the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” This new Act would prohibit units of government in Illinois from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions, reversing key provisions of HB 40. My bill is pending as HB 4114.

I modeled the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act after the federal “Hyde Amendment,” named after the late Henry Hyde, who served DuPage County in the U.S. Congress for decades. The Hyde Amendment prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for abortions sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Abortions under these circumstances constitute roughly 1% of all abortions.

While the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act reverses the substantive provisions of HB 40 and prevents taxpayer funding for abortion at all levels of government, it adds new public policy language on abortion, not including controversial 1975 “trigger language” about Roe v. Wade that was at issue in HB 40. That “trigger language” in HB 40 had no legal effect—and there’s no need to reopen a theoretical debate about abortion language from over 40 years ago. Instead, I wanted to start fresh with updated language and concepts that reflect the majority position of Illinoisans, especially folks in the suburbs and downstate, who care very deeply about this issue.

I will be pressing for full debate and a floor vote on HB 4114 during the upcoming fall veto session later this month, before HB 40 goes into effect in 2018.

Breen Chosen to Serve on PANDAS Advisory CouncilThis year I championed legislation that will provide insurance coverage for medically-advised treatments for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorder and Syndrome Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS/PANS). That bill was signed into law over the summer. Because of my advocacy in that area, I have been appointed to serve on an advisory council that studies PANDAS/PANS and advises the Illinois Department of Public Health on research, diagnosis, treatment and education relating to the disorder and syndrome. I will be serving as part of a combined group of lawmakers, medical professionals and family members with children with PANDAS/PANS to increase public awareness and education of the condition. Since we have families right here in the 48th District who are coping with PANDAS/PANS on a daily basis, I look forward to our work and hope to shine a light of understanding on the impact and treatment of this condition.

As part of our work, the council will issue a report to the General Assembly each year that includes recommendations concerning:
  • Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder
  • Mechanisms to increase clinical awareness and education among physicians, school-based health centers and providers of mental health services
  • Outreach to educators and parents
  • Development of a network of volunteer experts to assist in education and outreach
This photo was taken at this year’s PANDAS Dash 5K run/walk to support families with PANDAS/PANS. On the left is Kate Drury of Lombard, whose son, Charlie, developed PANDAS/PANS after a case of strep throat at the age of eight. Margie, Matthew, & I were honored to be able to participate in this great event!

Rep. Breen Meets with Small Business Advisory Council
Earlier this month it was a pleasure to speak at a breakfast meeting of the Western Suburbs Chapter of the Small Business Advisory Council about issues in Springfield and how the SBAC could be effective advocates on behalf of small business. We had a lively discussion about how Illinois is considered to be “business unfriendly,” and how I am working through my role as State Representative and House Republican Floor Leader to improve the business climate. Many members shared their concerns and ideas, and I appreciated their feedback and suggestions.

Lombard Senior Fair Draws Large Crowd
Each year I enjoy attending the Village of Lombard’s annual senior fair. I’m shown in this photo with Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio and Senior of the Year recipients Anna Weselak and Dennis McNicholas. These two volunteers give a great deal of their time and talents in making sure the Lilac Village remains a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. Congratulations to them both!
Today, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) filed the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would prohibit units of government in Illinois from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions, reversing key provisions of the recently enacted House Bill 40. Breen and McConchie are pressing for full debate and a floor vote on the measure during the upcoming fall veto session later this month, before HB 40 goes into effect in 2018.

“With the signing of HB 40, Illinoisans will be put on the hook for roughly 75% of the state’s 40,000 annual elective abortions,” said Breen. “Strong majorities of Illinoisans, especially folks in the suburbs and downstate, oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act will respect both their pocketbooks and their consciences. Considering the average cost of $1,000 per Medicaid abortion, we don’t have the $30 million required to cover 30,000 abortions every year.”

“The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act is a critical piece of legislation that respects the moral and fiscal concerns of our residents,” said McConchie. “In states that have legalized Medicaid abortions, over 50% of all abortions become taxpayer-funded. The residents in my suburban district are overwhelmingly opposed to this new spending scheme.”

The legislators are relying on data from the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, about income levels of those seeking abortions and payment data from other states that provide elective abortion funding. Guttmacher indicates that 75% of women seeking abortions are below 200% Federal Poverty Level, and that, in states with elective abortion, over 50% of all abortions are paid for by Medicaid. See, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/characteristics-us-abortion-patients-2014. Because Illinois’ Medicaid system extends eligibility to pregnant women up to at least 213% Federal Poverty Level, those who will be eligible for taxpayer funded abortions may be even higher than 75%. See, http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=14091 (pregnant women considered at least family size 2, as Illinois law counts unborn children in family size). The legislators also received information from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services showing that the average cost, over the past five years, for a Medicaid abortion and ancillary services is approximately $1,000 per procedure.

Breen drafted the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act on the model of the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for abortions sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Abortions under these circumstances constitute roughly 1% of all abortions. Federal law already requires states to provide Medicaid abortions under these three conditions, and the proposed Act recognizes those federal provisions.

While the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act reverses the substantive provisions of HB 40 and prevents taxpayer funding for abortion at all levels of government, it adds new public policy language on abortion, not including controversial “trigger language” about Roe v. Wade that was at issue in HB 40.

“The ‘trigger language’ in HB 40 had no legal effect, and there’s no need to reopen a theoretical debate about language from over 40 years ago. Instead, we wanted to start fresh with updated language and concepts that reflect the majority position of Illinoisans, especially folks in the suburbs and downstate, who care very deeply about this issue,” Breen added.

“This controversial and culturally divisive act should not be one that taxpayers should be forced to fund,” said McConchie. “Likewise, there is no good reason for taxpayers to be on the hook for someone else’s personal decision.”

Additionally, while the federal government typically matches a state’s Medicaid expenses, it will not do so for elective abortions. Breen has stated previously that, based on the estimated direct cost to the state of $30 million for abortions, the true impact to the Medicaid system is actually double that, $60 million in lost medical services.

Within an hour of the filing of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, numerous legislators from across Illinois joined the bill as cosponsors. The bills are pending as HB 4114 & SB 2241. Legislators are also considering legal action in the coming weeks to challenge whether HB 40 can be effective before June 1, 2018, due to it being held beyond the May 31 deadline set by the state constitution for the passage of bills. The current effective date is set at January 1, 2018, and legislators estimate the five-month difference in effective dates could prevent taxpayer funding of 10,000 abortions or more.
After championing legislation this year to provide insurance coverage for medically-advised treatments for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorder and Syndrome Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS/PANS), State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has been appointed to serve on an advisory council that studies the disorder and advises the Illinois Department of Public Health on research, diagnosis, treatment and education relating to the disorder and syndrome.

The PANDAS Advisory Council was created in 2015 through Public Act 99-0320 in the 99th General Assembly, and Breen will serve as part of a combined group of lawmakers, medical professionals and family members with children with PANDAS/PANS to increase public awareness and education of the condition. “It’s an honor to be chosen to serve on this important advisory council, especially since we have families right here in the 48th District who are coping with PANDAS/PANS on a daily basis,” said Breen. “I look forward to our work and hope to shine a light of understanding on the impact and treatment of this condition.”

According to Breen, he initially learned about the disorder after meeting Kate Drury of Lombard, whose son, Charlie, developed PANDAS/PANS after a case of strep throat at the age of eight. “In Charlie’s case, after being treated for strep throat, his immune system essentially began to attack his brain, which led to obsessive-compulsive and other harmful behaviors. The family had to pay out-of-pocket for years due to the relative unknown nature of the condition. On the heels of our recent legislation requiring insurance coverage of PANDAS/PANS, my hope is that we can highlight this disease so that other families obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment much sooner.”

As part of their work, the council will issue a report to the General Assembly each year that includes recommendations concerning:
  • Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder
  • Mechanisms to increase clinical awareness and education among physicians, school-based health centers and providers of mental health services
  • Outreach to educators and parents
  • Development of a network of volunteer experts to assist in education and outreach
“No child should have to suffer through the neurological effects of this syndrome, and I look forward to helping to improve public understanding and treatment options available for those diagnosed with PANDAS/PANS,” Breen said.
Breen Responds to Rauner Authorizing Taxpayer-Funded Abortion on Demand
Last Thursday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 40, highly controversial legislation that provides for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand for Medicaid recipients and state employees. Immediately following the press conference where Rauner pledged to sign the bill, I spoke to the media about a promise Rauner made back in April that he would veto HB 40.

Rauner promised the people of Illinois that he had “no social agenda,” and as such he firmly committed to legislators, the public, and even to Chicago’s Cardinal, Blaise Cupich, that he would veto HB 40 if it reached his desk. But he broke that commitment, signing a bill that puts taxpayers on the hook to pay for an expected 20,000-30,000 aborted lives per year. Furthermore, he signed the bill knowing it lacked a revenue source during a time when the budget was already out-of-balance. The backlash against the Governor was swift and continues to grow.

My opposition to his decision generated a great deal of media coverage in many media outlets, including the Washington Post, the New York Times and on Fox News. Use the links below to access a few of the more local articles and opinion pieces which include portions of my response to the signing of HB 40.

Chicago Sun Times’ Tina Sfondeles

Chicago Tribune’s Kristen McQueary

Chicago Tribune’s John Kass

Rep. Breen to Partner with Senator Nybo and Local Groups for 3rd Annual Drive to Benefit Overseas Troops
I’m pleased to announce that Senator Chris Nybo and I will once again be partnering with the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the local Lilac Post 5815 for a third annual “Support Our Troops” collection drive. Items collected throughout the months of October and November will be delivered to military personnel serving overseas near or before Christmas. Our shared legislative office at 929 S. Main Street, Suite 105A in Lombard will serve as the drop-off location for items to be donated to U.S. troops. Donations will be accepted through November 30 during normal business hours of 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday. By donating to this drive, we can show our appreciation and respect of those serving this country overseas. It’s a small way to make a big difference as these brave men and women spend the holiday season away from their families and loved ones.

As we have done in the past, Senator Nybo and I would also like to send care packages specifically to local soldiers from the area (IL Senate District 24 or IL House District 48). Friends and family with loved ones from the area who are currently serving in the military are encouraged to contact our 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. Thank you in advance for your participation in this year’s drive!

Breen’s Property Tax Event in Glen Ellyn Draws Large Crowd
Nearly 100 taxpayers from the 48th Legislative House District attended a free property tax forum I hosted in Glen Ellyn recently. The event offered attendees an opportunity to learn about the tax assessment process and how they could challenge an assessment they believe is too high.

I was joined at the event by Milton Township Assessor Chris LeVan and York Township Chief Commercial Assessor Jerald Rudman. Together we spoke to residents about the process that ties the value of their homes to the tax bill they receive, and outlined several exemptions and freezes that could lower tax bills in certain circumstances. We also outlined the steps required for appealing an assessment and took questions from the audience.

District 48 Summer Readers Treated to Pizza Party and Mini Golf in Glen Ellyn
We had a great turnout for our third annual summer reading party, which was held recently in Glen Ellyn. Students in grades pre-K through 5th grade who read eight or more books during their summer vacation from school were invited to join us for pizza and miniature golf at the Maryknoll Park Clubhouse in Glen Ellyn. We all had a wonderful time and I was pleased to see so many local children who kept their reading skills sharp over the summer! Many thanks to several local businesses, including Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin Donuts, Enchanted Castle, Zak’s Pizza, Walgreen’s and the Lombard Roller Rink, for either donating items or offering them at a reduced cost for the party.