Legislative Update: October 5, 2018

Eighty-Three Bills Vetoed During 2018 Session
This year, 529 new Senate and House Bills were signed into law. A total of 612 bills were passed in both chambers of the General Assembly in 2018; almost 90 percent of them were signed, but 83 bills were vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority. The General Assembly will consider Rauner’s vetoes in the November 2018 Veto Session, which gets underway in Springfield on Tuesday, November 13.

Rep. Peter Breen Named “Friend of Manufacturing”
After years of neglect and even hostility, it’s time for our state government to support the manufacturing and business community. I have always been a strong voice for these job creators because Illinois’ economic climate depends on their success. I am proud to announce that I have been named a “Friend of Manufacturing” by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) for my votes that impacted the manufacturing sector in 2017-2018. 

Upon announcing the 2017-2018 award recipients, IMA Vice President & CEO Mark Denzler said, “While we often hear from lawmakers that they are concerned about jobs and economic development, the IMA’s Legislative Voting Scorecard will actually show which elected officials support Illinois job creators. The IMA appreciates those lawmakers who have a strong record of support for the manufacturing sector.”

State Representatives were scored on their votes on 23 different bills that were brought to the House floor for a vote during the 100th General Assembly, and those receiving a score of 80% or higher received the award. Click here to view the full scorecard and a list of bills that were judged. It is a great honor to be recognized for my work to help manufacturing companies start and grow in our state and it is a priority for me as I continue my work in the General Assembly.

Breen Meets with Homeowners Association to Discuss Illinois Issues
On October 4, it was my pleasure to meet with members of the Valley View Homeowners Association for a discussion of Illinois’ finances and how we move forward to balancing our budget and reducing our state’s more than $200 billion debt. I appreciate the invitation and enjoyed speaking with these involved residents. 

LIHEAP Now Accepting Applications for Heat Assistance
The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Office of Community Assistance is now accepting applications and scheduling appointments for this year’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including: 
  • Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application. 
  • A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly). 
  • A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information. 
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members. 
  • Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services. 
Click here for additional information.

ISAC Helps Students Navigate College Applications & Financial Aid
October is “College Changes Everything” (CCE) month in Illinois, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is taking steps to help make it easier for students to file timely applications for both college admission and financial aid. October 1 is now the federal government’s release date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the key to securing aid for college, including the federal Pell Grant and the state MAP Grant, plus work-study opportunities, federal student loans, and even grants from the colleges themselves.

There is always a lot of demand for limited state and school based financial aid, so students seeking support for the 2019-20 academic year should file their FAFSAs as soon as possible after October 1, 2018, for the best chance of getting funding. On October 1, the U.S. Department of Education will also unveil the myStudentAid Mobile App, making the application more accessible to students and families whose primary Internet access is through a smartphone.

During CCE Month, ISAC offer hundreds of workshops for students and families across Illinois, including college application workshops, financial aid presentations, and FAFSA completion workshops where applicants have expert guidance through the entire process. Please visit studentportal/isac.org/events to search by ZIP Code for free public events nearby.

Rep. Breen Visits with Lombard Senior Men’s Club
On October 2, I had a nice visit and discussion with members of the Lombard Senior Men’s Club. This group meets regularly on the first and third Thursday of each month. We had a lively discussion about Illinois’ challenges and I appreciated the engagement and thoughtful questions. We were all in agreement that Speaker Mike Madigan has got to go! 

Avoiding Scammers: What You Need to Know
ComEd has published a list of important tips to help customers protect their personal information and avoid falling victim to scams. Here’s what you need to know:

ComEd representatives never call customers to ask for cash or to request the purchase of a prepaid credit card to make a bill payment. If you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be a utility representative and says your account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment is not made, it is a scam if the individual instructs you to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card and then call him back to make a payment. In these cases, the scammer will ask for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number. This information grants instant access to the card’s fuds.

In addition, never give social security or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you send money to another person or entity other than your local utility provider. If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up and call the local police, then call your local utility (ComEd 1-800-EDISON1). Never call the scammer back. For more tips, visit ComEd.com/Scams.

Breen Celebrates Summer Reading with Program Participants
Summer reading is vital for children who want to retain skills learned during the school year and improve overall knowledge. Each year I sponsor a “Summer Reading Safari” program where I encourage students in grades Pre-K through 5th grade to read at least eight books during their summer break from school. Those who reach that goal are invited to a summer reading celebration that is held in the early fall. 

This year approximately 60 readers and family members joined me at the Lombard Log Cabin on Main Street in Lombard for a party that included treats provided by Mariano’s, Dunkin Donuts and Culver’s. After presenting each reader with a certificate of achievement, I read two books to the group. A drawing was also held with prizes supplied by Brookfield Zoo, Enchanted Castle and the Lombard Roller Rink.

Governor Abolishes 53 Inactive Boards, Commissions; Prohibits Nepotism in State Hiring
Eliminating duplicative or unnecessary layers of government is an issue that is very important to me. I was pleased to learn recently that Governor Bruce Rauner has issued executive orders eliminating 53 boards and commissions that serve no public purpose and have been inactive for years, some for as long as two full decades.

Over the years, the State of Illinois has created more than 600 authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, committees, councils, task forces and other similar entities. Many of them have completed their work and no longer operate, yet they still appear in State publications, public-facing websites, and Legislative Research Unit reports as if they were still doing the people’s work.

The executive orders, EO 18-10 and EO 18-11, are a follow-up on EO 18-5 that Rauner issued earlier this year abolishing 19 other moribund entities. Collectively, the orders eliminate 72 redundant or inactive boards and commissions so that executive branch operations are more transparent and efficient. The governor has also issued EO 18-12, eliminating nepotism in state hiring. The move brings Illinois in line with more than half U.S. states including Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan. The order prohibits executive agency heads from the practice of nepotism in the appointment, promotion or recommendation of a relative to any agency or department under their control.

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