Legislative Update: September 20, 2018

Rep. Breen Named “Champion of Free Enterprise” by Illinois Chamber of Commerce
One of my primary focuses in the General Assembly has been promoting small business and job growth. I was pleased to learn earlier this month that I have been named a “Champion of Free Enterprise” by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce for my 2017-2018 record in support of policy initiatives that support Illinois businesses and in opposition to measures that seek to over-regulate and overburden our state’s job creators. 

Upon announcing my selection as an award winner, Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce said, “While many Illinois lawmakers provide lip service to the need for pro-growth reforms, Representative Breen is committed to supporting and defending Illinois employers throughout the State. Representative Breen's leadership on the 5G Internet legislation was extremely beneficial and ensures consumers throughout Illinois will stay on the forefront of wireless technology.”

Click here to view a summary of all bills that were scored.

Breen Joins DuPage Area Lawmakers to Help Loaves & Fishes with Collection of Personal Care Items
This summer, my office sponsored its first joint shred truck and food collection event, which was so popular, we’re going to make it an annual event. Your generosity resulted in over 800 individual food and personal care items being donated to the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry. Together, we “Packed the Pantry” so full that the various items didn’t fit in the collection room! 

This month I am partnering with several of my DuPage County Republican colleagues to assist Loaves & Fishes with the collection of personal care items. Loaves & Fishes is a not-for-profit food pantry that feeds up to 800 DuPage County families per week, including many from the 48th District. At Loaves & Fishes, families in need can visit the pantry and shop for free in a grocery store-like setting. Unfortunately, the pantry is experiencing a shortage of personal care items to supplement the food staples families need. Items in short supply right now include:
  • diapers and wipes 
  • laundry detergent 
  • toilet paper 
  • shampoo 
  • toothpaste 
  • household cleaning products 
My legislative office at 929 S. Main Street, Suite 105-A in Lombard is one of nine legislative offices in DuPage County that are serving as drop-off locations for Loaves & Fishes donations. The office is typically open between the hours of 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

More than 100 Taxpayers Attend Rep. Peter Breen’s Property Tax Seminar in Glen Ellyn
We had a standing-room-only crowd of over 100 residents at our recent free property tax forum in Glen Ellyn. Those in attendance learned about the tax assessment process and how to challenge an inaccurate assessment. I was joined at the event by Milton Township Assessor Chris LeVan and York Township Assessor Deanna Wilkins, along with their staff. The assessors explained the process that ties the value of folks’ homes to the eventual tax bill that arrives in their mailboxes. They also outlined the exemptions that can be used to lower assessments and the steps required for appealing an assessment. Following the presentation, we all took questions from audience members on a variety of topics. Feedback was very positive, and everyone left with a better understanding of the process.” Click here to view the Power Point presentation that was used during the forum. 

Grant Money Delayed Since 2009 for Ray Graham House Improvements Released for Payment
State funds awarded to the Ray Graham Association for infrastructure and safety improvements that have been delayed since 2009 are finally on their way to this fine local nonprofit. The funds were initially awarded as part of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s (DECO) Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Plan, but only a portion of the funds were ever delivered.

The Ray Graham Association was awarded an $11,000 grant in 2009, but the money never arrived. They eventually received $2,750 in 2014, but the balance remained bottled up in Springfield. Through action announced by the Governor’s Office on Management & Budget (GOMB), the remaining $8,250 has now been authorized to be released.

The Ray Graham Association supports more than 2,000 DuPage County residents and their families annually by providing a supportive and independent living environment for those with developmental disabilities, and by helping children and adults with disabilities live a successful and rewarding life.

College of DuPage to Receive More Than $700,000 in State Funds for Campus Renovation and Improvement Projects
DuPage County residents pay some of the highest taxes in the country, and we regularly send significantly more dollars to Springfield than we get back for local service delivery. But recently, we were able to secure some of those state resources for vital improvement projects at the College of DuPage (COD). 

More than $709,000 in State funds included in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget for use by the Illinois Community College Board are headed toward COD, to assist with a variety of improvement and renovation projects at the college’s primary Glen Ellyn campus and at the Carol Stream campus. This is $709,000 that would have had to be procured through other sources, like higher property taxes, without the funding from the state.

Projects receiving funding include:
  • Asphalt and concrete repairs, surface patching and sealing, pavement sealing on roads and in parking lots throughout campus 
  • Electronic lock systems upgrades to replace outdated, deteriorating or damaged access control wiring and addition of new electronic locks on currently unserved egress doors to main campus security 
  • Berg Instructional Center boiler overhaul of equipment over 15 years old to prevent service interruption or complete failure of heating equipment 
  • Miller Homeland Security Center/Health Sciences Center equipment recommissioning to optimize functionality, energy efficiency and to comply with federal guidelines 
  • Replace Student Resource Center electric boiler which is well beyond its useful service life 
  • Technical Education Center flue stack replacement resulting from deteriorating and rusting seals 
  • Berg Instructional Center boiler breeching and asbestos abatement 
  • Carol Stream boiler replacement of a unit that has exceeded its useful life 
  • Technical Education Center building automation system (BAS) replacement of the obsolete system which is original to the building and no longer supported by the manufacturer 
September is Preparedness Month in Illinois
In the case of a public emergency in this area, are you prepared? Would you know how to reach your family and how to remain safe? During closing ceremonies of the 2018 Illinois Emergency Management Agency Training Summit in Springfield, Governor Rauner proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in Illinois. Illinois’ designation aligns with National Preparedness Month. 

The theme for this year’s National Preparedness Month campaign is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.” The state is partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the month-long campaign that encourages Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. Having a plan that includes where to go and how to communicate during disasters, as well as an emergency supply kit, could save the lives of your family, friends, neighbors and employees.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) offers disaster preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. During large-scale disasters, IEMA uses the Ready Illinois website, Facebook and Twitter pages to provide critical information about the incident, including shelter locations, road closures, safety information, photos and more. For more information about emergency and disaster preparedness, visit ready.illinois.gov.

Still Time to Take Breen’s 2018 Legislative Survey
I am still collecting responses to my 2018 online survey. I hope to receive wide participation by the residents of the 48th District. This year’s survey includes some multiple choice questions and an area for an open-ended response. The survey is now open. Please take a few minutes to share your input. You can click here to get started. 

Illinois Launches College and Career Planning Tool
For the first time, Illinois high school students will have access to data that shows how much they might earn if they graduate from colleges and universities located in the state. 

ILCollege2Career.com, unveiled at the governor’s quarterly Children’s Cabinet meeting this month, links employment and higher education data so users can compare the relative earnings value of college degrees. The data is broken down by schools and area of study, so that students can compare the earnings potential of business degrees, for example, from different public and private institutions in the state.

The idea is to help students and parents make college decisions based on an evaluation of real-time successes of a school’s graduates, in addition to other factors such as cost, average debt levels, and likelihood to graduate on-time. The tool will also show the benefits of investing in higher education, as it demonstrates how connected our thriving higher education system is to the workforce development of our state.

ILCollege2Career.com is the product of collaboration between the Governor’s Office, Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

The launch of the web site follows a number of recent education achievements in the state including:
  • $25 million allocated for higher education in Fiscal Year 2019 and merit-based scholarship program AIM HIGH to encourage Illinois’ best and brightest high school grads to stay in Illinois for college 
  • A law that requires the ISAC to develop a three-year pilot program to better educate students on loan amounts, repayment and interest; 
  • A new law that creates a task force to study how student college or career interest data can be collected and shared between high schools and colleges so higher education institutions will be able to enhance their programs and services to support the specific needs of their incoming student body; 
  • Revisions to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) to prioritize access for existing grant recipients, and; 
  • Strengthened degree-advising services that make it easier for students to transfer credits between Illinois schools. 
Opioid Prescriptions Declining in Illinois
The legal dispensing of opioid pain management medications, including OxyContin, declined in 2017. The data was seen as evidence that steps are being taken to reduce opioid abuse in Illinois. In many cases of opioid abuse and addiction, a patient is introduced to opioids through the legitimate use of prescription painkillers. Physicians who provide treatment to persons with one-time pain management needs, such as post-operative patients, are being taught to prescribe lower doses of opioids in smaller quantities. Programs approved by the Illinois General Assembly are being used to improve anti-opioid continuing education efforts for all medical caregivers, including physicians and pharmacists.

This recently-released Illinois opioid data came from the statewide Prescription Monitoring Program, a database monitor operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The database monitor has been recommended to medical care providers since the 1970s, but in 2017 the General Assembly changed the law to mandate prescribing physicians to enroll in the Program. Work done by the Illinois General Assembly, with the consultative input of the Illinois State Medical Society, now ensures that Illinois professional regulators and law enforcement have high-quality, universal data to use to fight against opioid drug abuse and addiction.

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