State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is renewing his efforts to eliminate red light camera technology with the filing of two bills in Springfield this week.

HB 4372 would prohibit the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) from approving any red light camera installation until the requesting municipality or county provides proof that a significant increase in public safety will result from the use of the automated traffic law enforcement system.

“If red light cameras are about public safety, let’s see the data,” said Breen, a long-time opponent of the technology. “While there is no compelling evidence of improved safety, we are definitely seeing the influx of cash into municipal and county coffers.”

Breen also filed HB 4373, a measure that would ban red light cameras entirely in DuPage County. “I hear regularly from folks who feel red light cameras are nothing more than a hidden tax on drivers, meant to bring in revenue to local units of government,” said Breen. “The cameras tag unsuspecting motorists with traffic tickets that no police officer on the scene would ever give.”

Both bills are awaiting assignment to a substantive committee.
Parents who choose to send their children to K-12 private or parochial schools in Illinois may soon be able to use their Illinois Bright Start program funds to help offset those costs rather than only using those funds for college, due to a new bill filed today by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard). The bill was filed in Springfield as HB 4376.

The new Republican federal tax law clears the way for states to allow residents to use 529 plan accounts for K-12 education expenses, in addition to their current allowed use for college expenses. In Illinois, the 529 plan (Bright Start) specifically only allows funds to be used for higher education or post-secondary training.

“Today’s Bright Start Program does not provide for the recent changes in federal tax law that allow families to use their 529 plan account for K-12 educational expenses,” said Breen. “My bill expands the Illinois Bright Start Program’s definition of ‘qualifying expenses’ so that families may enjoy the full tax benefits newly available through the Republican federal tax law. Expanding the use of these tax-free funds will be help hard-working Illinois families save for their kids’ education.”

Breen’s legislation also provides for a rollover of 529 plan funds into an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account for an individual living with a significant disability. Whereas 529 plans may only be used for education, ABLE accounts may also be used for housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services and health care expenses. “These types of accounts really help folks living with disabilities to maintain their independence and quality of life,” Breen said. “Individuals with disabilities and their families often rely on public benefits for income, health care, housing and other assistance, and eligibility is largely based on meeting an income threshold. ABLE accounts allow families to create a long-term plan with defined tax benefits for covering the significant costs associated to living with a disability.”

Breen hopes to garner wide bipartisan support for his bill and is pressing for its immediate consideration in the appropriate House committee in the coming weeks.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) announced today that $5,159 in state-sponsored school library grant money has been approved for school districts located in the 48th Legislative House District.

The School District Library Grant Program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for students attending public schools in Illinois. The state legislature has authorized up to a $.75 per pupil expenditure for qualifying schools. The grant award is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the official enrollment as of the previous September 30th of a school district.

“Initiatives that put print and digital educational material in the hands of school children are vitally important,” said Breen. “I am pleased to know that a portion of this year’s school library grant allocation will be put to good use right here in the 48th District.”

Specifically, the following grants will be processed by the Secretary of State’s Office next week and then forwarded to the Comptroller’s office for payment:
  • Community Consolidated School District #89: $1,560.75
  • Glen Ellyn School District #41: $2,551.50
  • Lisle Community Unit School District #202: $1,046.25
More than 50 adult women and some of their teenage daughters turned out on Thursday evening for a self-defense and self-awareness class that was co-sponsored by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and One Light Self-Defense.

Held at Park View Elementary School in Glen Ellyn, participants learned valuable techniques about where to hit an attacker, how to release a hold, and methods to improve awareness and avoid potential attacks. “Despite some bad weather moving into the area, our turnout surpassed what we were expecting, which tells me that this type of class is being very well-received by the people in the community,” said Breen. “I believe everyone left with a better understanding of how to protect themselves during potentially dangerous situations. I have already received requests to bring this event back to the area.”

While the class was free, donations were taken at the door to benefit Family Shelter Service of Wheaton, a local organization supporting women and children fleeing domestic violence situations. “We raised about $400 for Family Shelter Service, and that money will be put to good use right here in the 48th District,” Breen said.
January is National Blood Donation Month, and the recent cold weather has added an additional strain to an already-low blood supply. Each unit of blood that is donated can save up to three lives, and while approximately 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, fewer than five percent of the eligible public actually donates. Click here to find the location of an upcoming blood drive year you.

To be eligible to donate blood in Illinois, donors must:
  • Be 17 years of age or older (16 year-olds may donate with parental consent)
  • Be in good health on the day of the donation
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be free of cold and flu symptoms
  • Present a photo ID with a birth date
  • Not have a history of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at any age
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has been selected to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court’s new Commission on Pretrial Practices, as the appointee of the House Republicans. The panel will review Illinois’ criminal pretrial detention systems and make recommendations for improvement.

Breen, an attorney specializing in Constitutional law, will join three other members of the General Assembly representing the other Illinois House and Senate caucuses, several judges, members of law enforcement, and representatives of the Department of Corrections on the 25-member commission.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected to serve alongside some of Illinois’ most respected individuals in their fields of expertise on this important commission,” said Breen. “I look forward to providing input as we study and evaluate current pretrial detention practices and discuss ways to improve the system to ensure fair and equal treatment of defendants as they await trial.”

According to Breen, the panel will conduct a comprehensive review of the criminal pretrial system and make recommendations about how Illinois laws and Supreme Court rules and policies can be amended and adjusted, to ensure that pretrial practices in all jurisdictions in the State of Illinois are applied consistently and equitably. The ultimate goal of the commission is to produce legislative and rule changes that will provide for a fair, efficient, transparent, and accountable system based on evidence-based practices.

The Commission is required to hold its first meeting within the next two months, and must issue a preliminary report of its findings to the Illinois Supreme Court within the next 12 months. A final report, complete with recommendations, is to be delivered to the Illinois Supreme Court within 24 months.

“We can balance a defendant’s Constitutional presumption of innocence, and the need to protect society and victims of crime,” added Breen. “The creation of this commission is extremely important for all involved in the criminal justice system, and for the taxpayers who fund that system. I look forward to having a voice in improving our pretrial system, in ways that will improve outcomes for everyone in Illinois.”