Veto Session Summary

Fall Veto Session Concludes with Action Taken on Several Vetoed House and Senate Bills
Lawmakers were in Springfield last week for the final days of the 2017 fall veto session. Of the vetoes issued by the Governor during the spring legislative session, a significant number were overridden. I supported a number of the overrides, including the creation of the “Debt Transparency Act.” However, I opposed those overrides that would increase red tape on businesses and hurt our state’s economy. 

Legislators will spend the next few months in their home districts tending to the needs of local constituents. Members of the House of Representatives report back to Springfield on January 24, and Senators will return on January 30 for the 2018 regular session.

“Support Our Troops” Collection Underway in 48th District
There’s still time to make the holidays brighter for U.S. military members serving overseas, by donating items to my “Support Our Troops” drive. We are partnering with the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the local Lilac Post 5815 for this third annual drive, and items collected through November 30 will be delivered to military personnel serving overseas near or before Christmas. We have had good participation so far, but I’m hopeful we will be passing along many more boxes of gifts and supplies when the collection drive is completed at the end of the month. 

People from the 48th House District or the 24th Senate District (Sen. Chris Nybo’s district) may drop off their donations at our shared legislative office at 929 S. Main Street, Suite 105A in Lombard. Donations will be accepted through November 30 during normal business hours of 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

As we have done in the past, we would also like to send care packages specifically to local soldiers from our district. Friends and family with loved ones from the area who are currently serving in the military are encouraged to contact our office 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.

Our troops overseas are very deserving of care packages that let them know that folks back home are thinking of them and appreciate their service and sacrifice. For more information about the collection drive, or to leave contact information for a specific member of the service, please call my office at (630) 403-8135.

General Assembly Sends Comprehensive Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation to Governor
Members of the House and Senate approved a comprehensive piece of legislation last week that seeks to address the culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. SB 402 includes a mandate for annual sexual harassment training sessions for State Constitutional offices, state employees, lawmakers and lobbyists. The bill also includes a provision brought forward by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, which would create a telephone hotline for persons seeking relief in cases of sexual harassment. Examples of help that the hotline could provide include assistance in filing a sexual harassment complaint, referral of a victim to counseling, or referral of a victim to protective services. House members received their training on November 8 and Senators received their training on November 9.

SB 402 was part of a package of sexual harassment reforms passed in the wake of allegations of misconduct at the Capitol. Other bills that seek to change the culture in Springfield include HJR 83, a resolution that condemns the culture of sexual harassment and calls on all lawmakers to work together to change the culture, and HR 687, which creates a task force on sexual discrimination and harassment. I voted in favor of all three items.

Legislative Inspector General Appointed
The Legislative Ethics Commission, a bipartisan working group within the Illinois General Assembly, has appointed Julie Porter as a special legislative inspector general. A former federal prosecutor in Chicago, Porter will play a key role in the General Assembly’s internal disciplinary process for members and staff. The appointment came in the wake of a nationwide inquiry into sexual harassment in American workplaces.

Reports of sexual harassment can be made on a confidential basis to the Legislative Ethics Commission. With approval of the Commission, the special legislative inspector general (LIG) will examine the reports. If a complaint appears to be valid, the LIG may conduct further inquiries, and may initiate a remediation process. In some situations, the remediation process may require a referral of a specific report and case to law enforcement.

Mark You Calendar for Jan. 11 Women’s Self Defense & Self Awareness Class in 48th District
On January 11, 2018, I will be sponsoring a free Women’s Self Defense & Self Awareness Class for adult women in the 48th House District. Teenage daughters will be able to accompany their mothers to this event. My staff and I are finalizing the location, but this will be a 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM interactive class, where participants will learn valuable techniques about where to hit an attacker, how to release a hold, and methods to improve awareness and avoid potential attacks. My hope is that those who attend will leave with a better understanding of how to protect themselves during potentially dangerous situations. Additional information about the event will be posted to my web site at reppeterbreen.org

Bicentennial Campaign will Honor 200 Illinois Veterans
State officials have announced the launch of HONOR 200, a signature program of the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration, honoring the work of 200 veterans whose contributions are above and beyond the call of duty.

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs will work with veteran's organizations throughout the state to promote HONOR 200 and solicit nominations for those who will be recognized as part of the program. Nominees will be evaluated on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community. Anyone can nominate an Illinois Veteran. Written nominations can be sent to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60601 or on-line at www.illinois.gov/veterans.

The Official Illinois Bicentennial Celebration will begin this December 3rd, 2017 with events in Springfield and Chicago. The celebration will continue with programs and events throughout 2018, ending with the Bicentennial Birthday Party on December 3rd, 2018 at the United Center. The HONOR 200 veterans will be recognized during the Birthday Gala. For information on the Bicentennial and to find out how your community can participate go to www.illinois200.gov.

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