Rep. Breen Moves Three Bills to Senate Prior to House Bill Deadline
This past Friday was the deadline for passing House Bills, and in the flurry of activity, I was successful in passing the following out of the House: 

HB 4711: Cleans up the Counties Code and Municipal Code to ensure that neighbors bringing lawsuits against a zoning or building code violator sue the correct parties, keeping local tax dollars from being used for unnecessary county or municipal lawyer costs and fees.

HB 5054: Requires a consistent speed limit of 70 m.p.h. for cars on all Illinois tollways, with the exception of I-294, which is due for reconstruction. The bill would also require permission by the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to post limits below 70 m.p.h. on those tollways.

HB 2040: Allows Soaring Eagle Academy in Lombard to use its multi-purpose bus to transport K-12 students to curriculum-related, vocational and recreational activities; current law only allowed the transport of students in grades 9-12.

I will also be serving as the Chief House Sponsor for a number of Senate Bills that will be considered in the House in the coming weeks.

Breen Helps Craft Bipartisan Legislation to Remove Firearms from Individuals Deemed an Immediate Threat
We are all outraged over the senseless violence occurring in our schools and other public spaces. Too often we learn after-the-fact that the offenders showed signs of severe mental instability and expressed a desire to cause harm. This year I was the leading Republican negotiator for legislation filed on Thursday that would allow family members or law enforcement personnel to seek an emergency “firearms restraining order” to remove firearms from individuals posing an immediate and present danger to themselves or others. This is one of those rare places for common ground for those on both sides of the firearms issue, and I am proud to now be a Chief Co-Sponsor of this important legislation. 

HB 2354 is carefully crafted to provide Illinoisans with a means to prevent a dangerous person’s access to firearms, while still respecting folks’ Second Amendment rights. If approved and signed into law, family members or law enforcement can petition the court for an emergency firearms restraining order at an initial hearing that would have to take place as soon as possible after the filing of the petition and during a timeframe not to exceed 14 days. Those who petition for the emergency order must show that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing harm to themselves or others. If probable cause is established through a court hearing, the judge will enter an order that will allow the Illinois State Police (ISP) to suspend or revoke the Firearms Owner Identification card of the respondent and, if necessary, issuing a search warrant to remove any firearms from the person’s residence.

The respondent must then be given a full hearing within 14 days, where it must be proven by a strict clear and convincing evidence standard that the person is dangerous. If so, the emergency order is extended to a six-month order, which may be renewed on continued proof of danger. But if the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Penalties for perjury would also apply to those who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

This bill fills a gap in our current law to ensure that firearms are kept out of the hands of those who would do grave harm, and its specific provisions are carefully balanced to protect civil liberties and prevent misuse of this new firearms restraining order process. Compromise bills like this are possible in Illinois when state lawmakers focus on policy over politics.

Breen Leads Opposition to Tax Plans that would Hike Income Taxes for Most Residents of 48th District
I recently joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and other House members in filing HR 975, a measure that opposes a proposed “graduated” income tax on Illinois residents. I am the leading Chief Co-Sponsor of the resolution.
Illinois taxpayers in general and specifically here in DuPage County are already significantly overburdened by the combined weight of every taxing body at the state and local level. I'm constantly encountering people who tell me they plan to leave this state as soon as the opportunity allows. Taking hard earned money from our residents has a negative effect on the incentive to grow companies and even enhance or choose a career in this state. Our residents don't require more fiscal discipline, our government does. 

A recent WalletHub study indicates that Illinois already has the worst state and local tax burden in the nation, yet leading Democrat proposals would raise income taxes on DuPage County residents to 6%, 7%, 8%, or more, with no end in sight. The politicians who have overspent our money, overtaxed our residents, and overregulated our businesses will take more and more from us until we’ve got nothing left. Instead of this proposed ‘graduated’ income tax and other tax increases, we need to reduce the tax burden on our residents, at every level. There are currently two graduated income tax proposals pending in the Senate and one proposal pending in the House.

Breen Files Constitutional Amendment to Ensure Fair Maps for House and Senate Districts
Gerrymandered legislative maps allow politicians to unnaturally divide communities in favor of partisan interests rather than keeping towns and counties together and being as compact as possible. The photo to the left shows Iowa maps as compared to Illinois maps. Iowa does not allow politics to influence map-making. There is significant bipartisan support for a fair maps system. In fact, a Paul Simon Institute poll indicates that 72% of Illinoisans oppose the current method by which legislative districts and maps are drawn in Illinois. 

I recently filed HJRCA 46, a Constitutional Amendment that takes politics out of Illinois’ legislative map-drawing process and instead ensure a transparent, objective, and fair process for adopting legislative maps. My proposal, drafted in cooperation with Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), would invite everyone in Illinois to submit proposed maps, which would be ranked by how few towns and counties are split to form districts, and then by compactness of districts drawn. The House and Senate would then have the option of adopting one of the top three fairest maps, or else allowing the top-ranked map to go into law. If the General Assembly does not put fair maps on the ballot in 2018, my fair maps amendment is drafted to meet the legal requirements for a potential citizen-led ballot initiative in 2020.

HJRCA 46 would amend the Legislative Article of the Illinois Constitution to make the Legislative Redistricting Commission the primary driver of the mapping process, instead of the General Assembly. The commission would provide tools to the public to draw and submit maps and then apply the objective scoring rubric to submitted maps, presenting the top three to the General Assembly. HJRCA 46 retains and repurposes the current constitutional participants in the mapping process—the commission, General Assembly, and Secretary of State—in order to conform with Illinois court decisions about citizen-led fair map initiatives. The amendment also adds one member to the Illinois House, from 118 to 119, both to give the body an odd number of legislators and to meet the Illinois court requirement that any citizen-led amendment must include a “structural” change.

While there are other Illinois fair maps proposals, this proposal is the only one with specific, objective standards written into it, to guarantee the mapping process stays entirely transparent and fair. If approved, the Constitutional Amendment would apply to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the election that is held in 2022.

In addition to HJRCA 46, I also signed on as a co-sponsor of HR 995, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process by the upcoming redistricting cycle.

Breen Questions Jail Voting Bill as Democrats Ignore Republican Victims’ Rights Bills
Last week the House considered legislation that would require election authorities to provide ballots for those incarcerated in county jails. I questioned the sincerity of Democrats on criminal justice, since they’ve refused to consider any Republican bills protecting victims of crime, instead solely allowing consideration of their own bills, which focus on the rights of criminals. You can click here to view my full floor comments on HB 4469

Republican bills that were summarily dismissed, without due consideration, included HB 4586, which would have added protections to DCFS and Adult Protective Serve employees, bringing their protections to the same level as those provided to police, fire and other emergency responders who protect our most vulnerable. That bill was filed after a DCFS worker was brutally beaten to death while performing the duties of her job last fall.

Breen Welcomes FFA Students from Across Illinois to the Capitol for Agriculture Day
Earlier this month it was my pleasure to welcome Future Farmers of America (FFA) students from across Illinois to the Capitol to celebrate Agriculture Day. Agriculture is Illinois’ leading industry, and we are a leading producer of everything from soybeans and corn to pigs and hogs. The state’s climate and soil also enable farmers to grow and raise many other agricultural commodities, including cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Data from the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) states that as of February 2017, Illinois had 72,200 farms covering nearly 27 million acres - about 75 percent of the state's total land area. Marketing of Illinois' agricultural commodities generates more than $19 billion annually. 

Breen Joins Governor for Signing of Bill that will Bring 5G Wireless Technology, Jobs and Economic Growth to Illinois
On April 12, I joined Governor Bruce Rauner for the signing of SB 1451. This new law will standardize and streamline regulation of small wireless cell facilities, paving the way for 5G wireless and other technology in Illinois. Video of the event is posted here.

This legislation ensures that consumers in Illinois stay on the forefront of wireless technology. Illinoisans will now have greater access to 5G technology, allowing for more data to be transferred faster than ever before. Besides faster internet and devices, it has been forecasted that 5G and smart cities investments will create nearly 100,000 jobs and bring in nearly $9 billion in investment to Illinois over the next seven years. Small cells are lower-profile wireless signal alternatives to traditional cell towers that can be attached to existing structures. Their deployment will help lay the foundation required to support the technologies of the future, such as the next generation wireless systems known as 5G. The technology will also help provide Illinoisans with faster download speeds, improved call quality and support Telemedicine, connected cars, distance learning, smart homes, smart farms and Smart Cities, creating a more connected network across the state. 

It is important to note that this bill still ensures local governments retain their role and authority in the permitting process of telecommunications equipment by allowing them to exercise their zoning, land use, planning, and permitting authorities within their territorial boundaries, including with respect to wireless support structures and utility poles.

Breen Delivers State Proclamation to Lombard’s Soaring Eagle Academy
In addition to the work I have done to expand Soaring Eagle Academy’s ability to transport K-12 students to activities on their multi-purpose bus, earlier this month on April 16 I had an opportunity to visit with the staff and students at the Lombard school. I worked with Governor Bruce Rauner’s office to create an official State Proclamation recognizing the month of April as Autism Awareness Month in Illinois, and I was pleased to present the proclamation to the folks at Soaring Eagle Academy in appreciation for their work. You can read the proclamation here.

Soaring Eagle Academy is a safe and nurturing environment where each student and family, teacher and therapist, and other professionals from the community have the opportunity to work together to honor the abilities of every child. Together, they respect, embrace and empower students as they guide, learn and teach. Students are cared for physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally while engaged in meaningful learning.
The mission of Soaring Eagle Academy is to provide an academic and social learning environment for students with special needs that supports their individual strengths and learning styles and integrates learning and interaction within Developmental Language Models and Developmental Individual-Difference Relationship-based approach principles. You can learn more about Soaring Eagle Academy here

Chicago-Area Homeowners Pay Higher Property Taxes than 93% of U.S.
Homeowners in the Chicago area are paying higher property tax bills, on average, than 93% of the country, according to a new report. The average 2017 tax bill on a single-family home in DuPage County was higher than nearly 98% of the 1/414 U.S. counties covered by the report, released earlier this month by Attom Data Solutions. In nearby Lake County, tax bills were higher than nearly 99 percent. Kane and McHenry County tax bills came in 96% higher, Cook County bills were 94% higher, and Will County bills were 93% higher.

The report covers only counties with 10,000 or more single-family homes. The report includes a county-by-county map of the average property tax bill for single-family homes. Read more in Crain's.
When State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) learned that Lombard’s Soaring Eagle Academy could not legally transport its K-8 students on its multi-purpose bus to off-site educational activities, he went to work on a legislative solution. Today Breen received unanimous House support of his bill that rectified the problem.

Soaring Eagle Academy is an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)-approved therapeutic day school that caters to the unique educational needs of autistic children. Current law limits its ability to transport students off-site to only those in 9th through 12th grade. HB 2040 would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to allow Soaring Eagle to transport students in grades K-8.

“Not all learning takes place within the walls of schools, and students should have access to curriculum-related, vocational and recreational activities that compliment what they’re learning in their classrooms,” said Breen. “It was a pleasure to carry this legislation on behalf of an educational institution in my district that serves students from throughout northern Illinois.”

Soaring Eagle Academy serves students from 40 different municipalities through a curriculum that was developed through guidelines set by ISBE. The school is a not-for-profit institution that addresses the physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs of autistic students.

“Our school serves students with autism and flexibility is an essential component of our work,” said Deanna Tyrpak, Executive Director of Soaring Eagle Academy. Thanks to Representative Breen’s advocacy, we will now be able to use our multifunction school activity bus to transport our students on academically and socially relevant field trips. Being able to use our own bus will give us the flexibility, convenience, and cost saving benefit of frequent outings, which is such a positive experience for our students. Representative Breen is a true advocate for children with Autism and we are extremely grateful.”
Today, bipartisan legislation was filed that would allow family members or law enforcement personnel to seek an emergency “firearms restraining order” to remove firearms from individuals posing an immediate and present danger to themselves or others. State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) was the leading Republican negotiator for the bill and has now signed on as a chief co-sponsor of the measure.

HB 2354 is the product of months of bipartisan discussions and negotiations, in hopes of putting together a bill that could be a national model for this type of legislation,” said Breen. “Keeping firearms out of the hands of those who would use them to harm others or themselves is not a Republican or a Democrat issue. We’re all outraged over the senseless violence occurring in our schools and other public spaces. But too often we learn later that the offenders showed signs of severe mental instability and expressed a desire to cause harm. With the passage of this bill, Illinoisans will have a means to prevent a dangerous person’s access to firearms, while still respecting folks’ Second Amendment rights.”

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement who petition for an emergency order must show that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing harm to themselves or others. If probable cause is established through a court hearing, the judge will enter an order that will allow the Illinois State Police (ISP) to suspend or revoke the Firearms Owner Identification card of the respondent and, if necessary, issuing a search warrant to remove any firearms from the person’s residence.

The respondent must be given a full hearing within 14 days, where it must be proven by strict clear and convincing evidence that the person is dangerous. If so, the emergency order is extended to a six-month order, which may be renewed on continued proof of danger. But if the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties for perjury would also apply to those who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

“This bill fills a gap in our current law to ensure that firearms are kept out of the hands of those who would do grave harm,” Breen said. “And its specific provisions are carefully balanced to protect civil liberties and prevent misuse of this new firearms restraining order process. Compromise bills like this are possible in Illinois when state lawmakers focus on policy over politics.”
Legislation sponsored by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) that raises the effective speed limit for automobiles on Illinois Tollways to a consistent speed of 70 miles per hour was approved in the Illinois House today with wide bipartisan support.

HB 5054 would require a consistent speed limit of 70 m.p.h. on all Illinois tollways, with the exception of I-294, which is due for reconstruction. The bill would also require permission by the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to post limits below 70 m.p.h. on those tollways.

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

“This bill is almost identical to a bill I passed out of this chamber by a large margin last year,” said Breen. “Unfortunately, that bill stalled in the Senate. Motorists are already driving on these tollways in the range of 70 m.p.h. and there is conclusive data that indicates that consistent speed limits improve safety on our roadways. The provisions of HB 5054 would allow for a steadier and safer flow of traffic within the Illinois tollway system.”

The House vote on HB 5054 was 105-5. If approved in the Senate and signed into law, the provisions of the bill would take effect immediately.
This week the House considered legislation that would require election authorities to work with county jails across Illinois to allow voting for pre-trial individuals. While debating the bill, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) questioned the focus on allowing people in jail to vote, and pointed to Democrat action over the last few weeks to block several Republican victims' rights bills that sought to enhance criminal penalties.

The video above includes Rep. Breen's full floor comments on HB 4469.

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is taking steps to grant Soaring Eagle Academy, an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)-approved school in Lombard that caters to the needs of autistic students, the ability to transport students in grades K-12 to educational school activities.

Breen filed an amendment to HB 2040 on Monday, after learning that existing law only provides for the transport of Soaring Eagle students in grades 9-12. “This is an ISBE-approved school that caters to the needs of students with unique learning needs,” said Breen. “The school has their own bus, but current law limits their ability to transport younger students. My amendatory language to HB 2040 would expand the transportation availability to also include K-8 students.”
Soaring Eagle Academy was founded by speech language pathologists, Linda Cervenka, Michele Ricamato and Deanna Tyrpak, who collectively have more than 65 years of experience serving children with special needs and their families. They worked with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to determine the guidelines for opening a non-public therapeutic day school, and develop programming, policies, staff requirements and the curriculum, all to meet the standards set by ISBE. The school opened its doors in 2010 to K-8 students, and added a high school transition program for students ages 15-21 in 2011.

“The current law prohibits us from transporting students younger than 9th grade in our multi-function school activity bus for curricular activities, although many districts arrange for even our youngest students to be transported to and from school on the same type of vehicle,” said Tyrpak, a founder of the school who also serves as the executive director. “The passage of this bill will give us the flexibility to allow our students the opportunity to explore curriculum-related, vocational and recreational opportunities within the community with the support of our staff based on their developmental readiness even before they reach 9th grade. It’s not only an advantage for the students, but also a more efficient use of funds to use the bus we already own rather than incurring the expense of chartering a bus.”

Soaring Eagle Academy is a safe and nurturing environment where each student and family, teacher and therapist, and other professionals from the community have the opportunity to work together to honor the abilities of every child. Together, they respect, embrace and empower students as they guide, learn and teach. Students are cared for physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally while engaged in meaningful learning.

Breen said it was a pleasure to work with the devoted staff from Soaring Eagle Academy to formulate the language included in HB 2040. “I recently visited this school and was incredibly impressed by the dedication of the staff,” Breen added. “They seek to provide an academic and social learning environment for students with special needs that supports their individual strengths and learning styles, helping each individual student reach their potential as a lifelong learner and contributing member of the community.”

The bill is scheduled for a committee hearing Wednesday morning at 8:30 in Springfield.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) filed legislation this week to take politics out of Illinois’ legislative map-drawing process and instead ensure a transparent, objective, and fair process for adopting legislative maps. Breen’s proposal, drafted in cooperation with nationally recognized fair map expert, Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), would invite everyone in Illinois to submit proposed maps, which would be ranked by how few towns and counties are split to form districts, and then by compactness of districts drawn. The House and Senate would then have the option of adopting one of the top three fairest maps, or else allowing the top-ranked map to go into law. If the General Assembly does not put fair maps on the ballot in 2018, Breen’s fair maps amendment is drafted to meet the legal requirements for a potential citizen-led ballot initiative in 2020.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for fair maps,” said Breen. “Our legislative districts should keep towns and counties together, and be as compact as possible. Gerrymandered maps are wrong because they allow politicians to unnaturally divide communities in favor of partisan interests. While there are other Illinois fair maps proposals, this proposal is the only one with specific, objective standards written into it, to guarantee the mapping process stays entirely transparent and fair.”

Breen’s HJRCA 46 would amend the Legislative Article of the Illinois Constitution to make the Legislative Redistricting Commission the primary driver of the mapping process, instead of the General Assembly. The commission would provide tools to the public to draw and submit maps and then apply the objective scoring rubric to submitted maps, presenting the top three to the General Assembly. HJRCA 46 retains and repurposes the current constitutional participants in the mapping process—the commission, General Assembly, and Secretary of State—in order to conform with Illinois court decisions about citizen-led fair map initiatives. The amendment also adds one member to the Illinois House, from 118 to 119, both to give the body an odd number of legislators and to meet the Illinois court requirement that any citizen-led change must include a “structural” change.

“The Illinois courts have significantly limited the types of constitutional amendments that the people can put on the ballot, and every potential fair map amendment should be evaluated for its ability to survive the strict judicial scrutiny imposed on citizen-led initiatives,” Breen said. “I’m honored to have the advice and support of Rep. Mike Fortner, a national leader in fair mapping, for this amendment, and with Rep. Fortner’s impending retirement, I intend to continue his fair maps advocacy in the years to come.”

If approved, the Constitutional Amendment would apply to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the election that is held in 2022.
This morning State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) presented the staff and students from Soaring Eagle Academy in Lombard with an official State Proclamation recognizing the month of April as Autism Awareness Month in Illinois. Click here to read the proclamation.

Soaring Eagle Academy is a safe and nurturing environment where each student and family, teacher and therapist, and other professionals from the community have the opportunity to work together to honor the abilities of every child. Together, they respect, embrace and empower students as they guide, learn and teach. Students are cared for physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally while engaged in meaningful learning.

The mission of Soaring Eagle Academy is to provide an academic and social learning environment for students with special needs that supports their individual strengths and learning styles and integrates learning and interaction within Developmental Language Models and Developmental Individual-Difference Relationship-based approach principles. You can learn more about Soaring Eagle Academy here.

SPRINGFIELD…..In the wake of House Republicans filing over 50 “Motions to Discharge” this week on bills the majority Democrats had denied committee consideration, Republican Floor Leader Peter Breen (R-Lombard) received a hearing and unanimous vote in the Judiciary-Criminal Committee to advance his HB 4506, which proposes revisions to preserve Illinois’ Stalking Laws, which were struck down as unconstitutional in large part this past November.

“HB 4506 keeps laws in place that provide adequate protection against crimes, while protecting the First Amendment rights of Illinoisans. The changes that passed committee provide sound, thorough protections for victims of stalking, while shoring up constitutional weaknesses in our current law,” said Breen, a constitutional attorney who has served in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2015. “The ruling has left many victims of stalking vulnerable and without legal protections. My bill, drafted in consultation with the ACLU of Illinois, would be immediately effective, to protect victims of stalking as soon as possible.”

In November, the Illinois Supreme Court, in People v. Relerford, found portions of the stalking statute unconstitutional, as overbroad and impermissibly infringing on the right to Free Speech. HB 4506 seeks to revise the law in accord with the dictates of the United States Constitution. Breen developed his bill, with the help of expert law professors and the ACLU of Illinois, to protect victims of stalking and cyberstalking in Illinois. The bill revises several constitutionally suspect parts of state stalking law, including prohibitions on causing “emotional distress” and content-discriminatory picketing exemptions.

HB 4506 will now be considered by the entire House of Representatives. If approved by the General Assembly, the bill would take effect immediately upon its signing into law.
Today Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 1451 to standardize and streamline regulation of small wireless cell facilities, paving the way for 5G wireless and other technology in Illinois. Video of the event is posted here.

“This legislation sends a strong, competitive message that Illinois is open for business. We want to make Illinois a leader in wireless technology. We are working to grow jobs and our economy and set our community up for future success,” Rauner said.

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) was a Chief Co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation in the House. “The Small Cell Wireless Bill ensures that consumers in Illinois stay on the forefront of wireless technology,” said Breen. “Illinoisans will now have greater access to 5G technology, allowing for more data to be transferred faster than ever before.” 

Small cells are lower-profile wireless signal alternatives to traditional cell towers that can be attached to existing structures. Their deployment will help lay the foundation required to support the technologies of the future, such as the next generation wireless systems known as 5G. Besides faster internet and devices, Accenture has forecast that 5G and smart cities investments will create nearly 100,000 jobs and bring in nearly $9 billion in investment to Illinois over the next seven years.

Wireless demand is expected to increase five times by 2022. Small cell technology will help provide Illinoisans with faster download speeds, improved call quality and support Telemedicine, connected cars, distance learning, smart homes, smart farms and Smart Cities, creating a more connected network across the state.

“Innovative and life changing technologies coming from shop floors across Illinois play a central role in creating manufacturing jobs and maintaining our competitive advantage in the global marketplace,” said Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Manufacturers Association Mark Denzler. “We applaud Governor Bruce Rauner and lawmakers who recognize that manufacturing is very technology-infused and technology-driven today. This new law will keep Illinois on the leading edge and provide opportunities for manufacturers to compete in the current period of innovation known as Industry 4.0.”

The bill will also help improve wireless service in areas where large cell towers are not the best solution. “This is about communities across Illinois – ensuring they have access to cutting edge technology and equal opportunity to compete for jobs in tomorrow’s economy,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Todd Maisch.

The bill still ensures local governments retain their role and authority in the permitting process of telecommunications equipment by allowing them to exercise their zoning, land use, planning, and permitting authorities within their territorial boundaries, including with respect to wireless support structures and utility poles.

"Illinois retailers need next generation telecommunications infrastructure to provide the customized offerings and services our customers expect. The same infrastructure other states and much of the world already enjoys,” said President & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association Rob Karr. “This legislation makes that possible and propels Illinois into the 21st Century. We applaud Governor Rauner and the members of the General Assembly for making this possible.”

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont have already passed similar technology legislation.

The Illinois bill will compensate local governments at a higher rate than any other state’s small cell law.
During the final week during which bills could be heard in substantive House committees, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) received approval of three House bills. All three measures will now advance to the floor of the House for final action.

“This is the pivotal week when all legislation must advance out of a substantive committee within its chamber of origin,” said Breen. “I am very pleased that three more of my bills have advanced to the next level of the approval process.”

All three bills were heard and approved by the House Judiciary-Civil Committee on Tuesday.

HB 5054 requires a consistent speed limit of 70 m.p.h. on all Illinois tollways, with the exception of I-294, which is due for reconstruction. The bill would also require permission by the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to post limits below 70 m.p.h. on those tollways. “I hear regularly from constituents who wonder why the Illinois Tollway has maintained 55 m.p.h. and 65 m.p.h. speed limits in spite of a law that took effect on January 1, 2014 that raised interstate speed limits to 70 m.p.h.,” said Breen. “Folks on the tollways are already driving in the range of 70 m.p.h., and numerous studies show that a consistent, realistic speed limit improves roadway safety.”

HB 4711 cleans up the Counties Code and Municipal Code to ensure that neighbors bringing lawsuits against a zoning or building code violator sues the correct parties, keeping local tax dollars from being used for unnecessary lawyer costs and fees. “The Appellate Court has repeatedly held that the current law allows residents to pursue legal action against neighbors in serious violation of local codes directly without needing to involve the unit of government doing the zoning,” Breen said. “When residents attempt to join the county or municipality, the cases against them are all eventually thrown out. This bill clarifies the matter for the courts and parties, so governments don’t have to spend tax dollars defending frivolous suits.”

HB 5162 amends the Citizen Participation Act (CPA) to better protect citizen activists from meritless defamation lawsuits, related to their investigations and comments on government issues. “The courts have been inconsistent in their interpretation of the Act. This legislation clarifies the statute to remove ambiguity and ensure clear protections for folks sued over their constitutionally protected participation in government.”

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and other House members today in filing HR 975, a measure that opposes a proposed “graduated” income tax on Illinois residents. Breen is the leading Chief Co-Sponsor of the resolution.

“Illinois taxpayers in general and taxpayers in my district in DuPage County are already significantly overburdened by the combined weight of every taxing body at the state and local level,” said Breen. “I'm constantly encountering people who tell me they plan to leave this state as soon as the opportunity allows. Taking hard earned money from our residents has a negative effect on the incentive to grow companies and even enhance or choose a career in this state. Our residents don't require more fiscal discipline, our government does.”

Breen pointed to a recent WalletHub study that indicated that Illinois already has the worst state and local tax burden in the nation. “Leading Democrat proposals would raise income taxes on DuPage County residents to 6%, 7%, 8%, or more, with no end in sight,” said Breen. “The politicians who have overspent our money, overtaxed our residents, and overregulated our businesses will take more and more from us until we’ve got nothing left. Instead of this proposed ‘graduated’ income tax and other tax increases, we need to reduce the tax burden on our residents, at every level.”

There are currently two graduated income tax proposals pending in the Senate and one proposal pending in the House.