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Unneeded or expired prescription drugs are often hoarded, sent to an insecure landfill, or flushed down the toilet to potentially contaminate local water supplies. These substances should be placed in secure, monitored landfill storage sites that do not leach into groundwater. Access to these sites is expensive, but law enforcement is taking steps to ensure that owners of unwanted prescription drugs will have free access to safe, secure disposal. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is co-sponsoring the 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be held on Saturday, October 28. Click here and use the “Locate a Collection Site Near You” link to find a convenient drop-off location.
Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Fall Veto Session
After spending the last few months in our home districts, members of the House and Senate will return to Springfield next week from October 24-26 and then again from November 7-9 to take action on pieces of legislation that received either an amendatory (partial) or full veto during this year’s spring legislative session. During the veto session, legislators can agree with a full or partial veto, or we can override it. Not all bills that receive a gubernatorial veto are brought back for reconsideration. A full list of bills that may be brought back for reconsideration appears at the end of the newsletter. 

There are also some pieces of new legislation that may be considered during the six-day fall veto session, including HB 4114, a bill I am co-sponsoring which would create the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” HB 4114 was filed as a direct response to the recent signing of HB 40, which would force taxpayers to pay for abortion services for state employees and Medicaid recipients. HB 4114 is modeled after the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for abortions sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother.

Again, a full list of vetoed bills appears at the end of this newsletter. If you have an opinion about a bill that received a veto this year, please share your comments with me so I can keep your opinion in mind if the bill is brought to the floor of the House for reconsideration.

Representative Reick to Host Three More Mobile Office Hours Events in November and December
I’ve had a good response to my mobile office hours events and appreciate those individuals who have stopped by to share their opinions and suggestions about the State’s government. I have recently added three more events across the 63rd Legislative House District to make it easy for my constituents to have face-to-face conversations with me. My District Office Director joins me at these events and is available to help citizens with issues they are having with state agencies or departments. Find a location near you, and stop by and say hello!
  • Monday, November 6: Harvard Diggins Library, 900 E. McKinley Street in Harvard, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday, November 14: Nippersink District Library, 5418 Hill Road in Richmond, 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon
  • Wednesday, December 13: Johnsburg Public Library, 3000 W. Johnsburg Road in Johnsburg, 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon
The 63rd Legislative House District is geographically very large and includes all or portions of Bull Valley, Chemung, Crystal Lake, Greenwood, Harvard, Hebron, Johnsburg, Lakemoor, Marengo, McCullum Lake, McHenry, Pistakee Highlands, Richmond, Ringwood, Spring Grove, Union, Wonder Lake and Woodstock. Because my Woodstock District Office is not conveniently-located for all residents of the 63rd District, each month I bring my office resources to another community so that those I serve have easy access to their representative voice in Springfield.

Reick and Althoff Complete Series of Town Hall Meetings
Last week Senator Pamela Althoff and I completed our final in a series of three public town hall meetings that were held across the 63rd District. Meetings in McHenry, Woodstock and Marengo all drew nice crowds of constituents eager to ask questions about the state of our state. Attendance grew each week, and culminated with a group of over 50 residents who joined us on October 11 at the Marengo City Hall. Thank you to everyone who came out for these town hall meetings. I appreciate the feedback received and look forward to our continued conversations.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Every year in October we acknowledge Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Illinois. The following statistics illustrate the severity of the issue:
  • Domestic violence affects one in three women and one in five men
  • Domestic violence takes lives: innocents and bystanders
  • Domestic violence has been found in the background of perpetrators in an estimated 56 percent of mass killings
  • Domestic violence ruins lives and creates traumatic after-effects that can last a lifetime, such as mental and physical illness, drug abuse and early mortality
In this region there are shelters available for those who need to escape a domestic violence situation. Visit https://www.womenshelters.org to find shelters in the McHenry County area.

State Report: Budget Out of Balance by $1.7 Billion
According to a fiscal policy report released last week by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), the state’s fiscal year 2018 budget is out of balance by $1.7 billion. The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report provides a five-year economic outlook based on the budget along with state and national growth forecasts. The report is available for public view at https://www.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Pages/PolicyReports.aspx. In the report, GOMB Director Scott Harry asserts that with stronger economic growth accompanied by spending controls, Illinois could achieve budget surpluses and reduce its bill backlog to an estimated $500 million by the end of fiscal year 2023. As you may recall, I voted against this unbalanced budget because I felt it was bad for taxpayers (it included a $5 billion tax hike) and did nothing to reform our failed system of government.

ICC Approves $80 Million ComEd Refund to Customers
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) recently approved ComEd’s request to provide its customers with an approximately $80 million refund as a result of ComEd’s efforts to implement the new Energy Efficiency funding mechanism established by the Future Energy Jobs Act. As a result, a typical ComEd residential customer will see a credit of close to $14 on their October monthly bill. ComEd had requested the refund as part of the transition made possible through the Act, which was signed into law last year.

Cook County Board Repeals Sweetened Beverage Tax
The highly controversial tax added one cent per ounce to the retail cost of many popular beverages. The “soda pop tax,” disliked by many residents of the Chicago and suburban Cook County area, added an additional burden to the purchasers of most packaged sweetened drinks. After a public outcry, the Cook County Board repealed the beverage tax on Wednesday, October 11. As a result of the board’s vote, the sweetened beverage tax will end on December 1, 2017.

Full List of Vetoed Bills
The following bills were vetoed by the Governor and may be brought back for reconsideration during this year’s fall veto session:
  • HB 302: Unclaimed life insurance benefits (Amendatory)
  • HB 348: Changes in publication of a constitutional amendment (Amendatory)
  • HB 688: Firefighter/police pension transfer service credit (Full)
  • HB 732: Residential roofing repairs (Full)
  • HB 1797: Equal Pay (Full)
  • HB 2462: Workers Compensation (Full)
  • HB 2567: Creates Automobile Dealers' License Task Force (Full)
  • HB 2622: Creates a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company (Full)
  • HB 2778: Fire protection district to annex under ETS (Full)
  • HB 2977: Cursive writing mandate (Full)
  • HB 3004: RTA Bonds (Amendatory)
  • HB 3143: Adds teen treatment providers to the Prompt Payment Act (Full)
  • HB 3167: DHS childhood workforce study (Full)
  • HB 3211: SNAP benefits to college students (Amendatory)
  • HB 3216: Place additional requirements on third-party contracting by the State (Full)
  • HB 3298: Reimbursement of the substitute teacher licensure fee (Full)
  • HB 3376: DHS personal assistant hours limitation (Full)
  • HB 3419: Prohibits expatriate entities from doing business with the State (Full)
  • HB 3449: Geolocation (Full)
  • HB 3649: State agency financial reports to the Comptroller (Full)
  • HB 3745: Requires a school board to permit community groups to advertise events and after-school programs (Full)
  • HB 3897: Trampoline regulation (Full)
  • SB 41: Allows municipalities to assign, sell, or transfer their interest in funds received from the State (Full)
  • SB 81: Minimum Wage (Full)
  • SB 315: FOID for purchase of explosives (Full)
  • SB 321: Auditor General shall initiate a performance audit of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (Full)
  • SB 326: Interior Design regulation (Amendatory)
  • SB 419: Amends the Downstate Firefighter Article of the Illinois Pension Code (Full)
  • SB 669: Elect Lake Co. Board Chair (Full)
  • SB 789: Expands the authorized uses of motor fuel tax funds (Full)
  • SB 910: County board redistricting based on minority status (Full)
  • SB 1351: Student loan servicing rights Act: (Full)
  • SB 1353: Personal Needs Allowance increase (Full)
  • SB 1446: Changes to the Procurement Code (Full)
  • SB 1462: Entrepreneur Learner's Permit pilot program (Amendatory)
  • SB 1714: Reporting requirements for consultants retained by retirement system, pension fund, or investment boards (Full)
  • SB 1720: Failure to pay wages a Class 4 felony instead of a misdemeanor (Full)
  • SB 1905: Collective bargaining (Full)
As always, please do not hesitate to call me or write to me about issues that are important to you. You may reach my Woodstock District office at (815) 880-5340 or email me by going to www.repstevenreick.com and clicking on the “Contact” button.
Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive “Veteran” on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license.

In order to receive that designation, veterans of the Guard and Reserve are required to present a copy of their certificate of release or discharge from initial active duty, certified and stamped by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), to the Secretary of State.

Prior to receiving this stamp they must provide documentation of satisfactorily completing the time for which they were contracted to attend monthly drills and annual training. Presentation of one of the following documents will be accepted as proof of service:

1. Army or Air National Guard NGB 22 Report of Separation and Record of Service

2. Army Reserve DARP FM 249-2E Chronological Statement of
Retirement Points.

3. Navy Reserve NRPC 1070-124 Annual Retirement Point Record

4. Air Force Reserve AF 526 Point Summary Sheet

5. USMC Reserve NAVMC 798 Reserve Retirement Credit Report

6. Coast Guard CG 4175 Coast Guard Reserve Annual or Terminal
Statement of Retirement Points.

Veterans are encouraged to contact or visit a local IDVA office for assistance obtaining any of the above documents. To find the closest Veteran Service Officer (VSO) go to www.illinois.gov/veterans or call 800-437-9824.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is seeking input on the state's rest areas.

To enhance traveler safety and comfort, IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, which serve more than 36 million visitors annually. IDOT wants to make sure these service centers are kept clean, safe, and updated with travel-related amenities to enhance the travel experience for Illinois residents and visitors.

Illinois' rest areas and welcome centers are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles, and commercial trucks, among other services.

Help shape the future planning of rest areas by completing IDOT's Illinois Rest Area Survey.

For a paper copy of the survey please call 402-399-1405.
Today State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation that would prohibit units of government in Illinois from using taxpayer funds to pay for elective abortions. HB 4114, filed this morning in Springfield, is a bipartisan response to the recently-signed HB 40, which would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions for state employees and Medicaid recipients.

“In the few states that have legalized Medicaid abortions, more than half of those states’ abortions end up being taxpayer-funded,” said Reick. “I recognize that the abortion issue is divisive, but many people who consider themselves to be ‘pro-choice’ also have said taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for them.”

The bill language is modeled after the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for abortions sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother.

HB 4114 Chief Sponsor State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) said if the provisions of HB 40 take effect, Illinoisans will be on the hook for approximately 30,000 elective abortions per year at a price tag of approximately $1,000 each. “My ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ would respect both the pocketbooks and consciences of Illinoisans,” Breen said. “With the incredible financial crisis facing our state, we don’t have the money required to cover those 30,000 abortions every year.”

Reick agreed, adding, “Normally, when we put a dollar out in Medicaid funding, the federal government sends 50 cents back to us. But due to the Hyde amendment, we would not receive a dime back for these elective abortions. Illinois is in a financial crisis. How will the state pay for these HB 40 abortions? Will we take funding away from other treatments or procedures, like diabetes treatment or heart medicines? How will we make up this staggering hit to our Medicaid system?”

Identical legislation was filed in the Illinois Senate today as SB 2241, and the sponsors and co-sponsors will be pressing for full debate and House and Senate votes on the bills during the upcoming fall veto session later this month.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) and State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) will conclude their Town Hall Meeting tour this week on Wednesday, October 11 with an evening meeting in Marengo.

Citizens residing in the 63rd House District or the 32nd Senate District are welcome to attend the open meeting, which will start at 6:30 P.M. at the Marengo City Hall, located at 132 E. Prairie Street in Marengo. The event will begin with a short presentation by the lawmakers. A question and answer period will follow.

“We have had great community engagement at the town hall meetings we have already held in McHenry and Woodstock,” said Reick. “I’m hoping to have another good turnout from residents who would like to share their concerns, ideas and suggestions.”

RSVPs are not required for the Marengo event.
Governor Rauner Signs Law Authorizing Taxpayer-Funded Elective Abortions
Last Thursday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 40, highly controversial legislation that provides for taxpayer-funded elective abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees. Current law dictates that state funds may only be used for abortion procedures in cases where the life of the mother is at risk and in cases of rape or incest. I voted against this bill when it was considered in the House and continue to strongly oppose it. This bill goes against longstanding bipartisan consensus that taxpayers should not fund elective abortions.

Governor Rauner’s decision to sign HB 40 came after he publicly stated back in April that he would veto the legislation if it reached his desk. In fact, he told many members of the House Republican Caucus to our faces that he would not sign it. The Governor’s decision to sign the bill was met with profound disappointment by Republican legislators and pro-life groups not only in Illinois, but all over the nation.

Regardless of where you stand on the abortion issue, the simple fact is that in politics, an elected official is only as good as his word. Governor Rauner has lost his credibility, because he broke a promise made to the House and Senate Republican caucuses and to faith-based groups throughout Illinois. Following the signing of the bill, I posted my thoughts as they relate to his decision to sign HB 40. Click here to read those remarks.

Rep. Reick Property Tax Seminar Draws Crowd of 200
Nearly 200 taxpayers from Illinois’ 63rd Legislative House District attended a property tax event I hosted recently at the McHenry County Government Center in Woodstock. The event offered attendees an opportunity to learn about the tax assessment process and how they could challenge an assessment they believe is too high.

I was joined at the event by McHenry County Chief Assessment Officer Robert Ross, Dorr Township Assessor Veronica Myers and several other township assessors who service taxpayers living in the 63rd District. After a presentation and facilitated questions, attendees were able to ask specific questions to a panel of township assessors representing most townships within the 63rd District. Thank you to everyone who came out to the event, and a special thank you to all of the township assessors who attended so they could be available to answer questions specific to their township.

Mandatory Union Dues Case from Illinois Could Produce Significant U.S. Supreme Court Decision
The case of “Janus v. AFSCME” reflects the belief of many Illinois public-sector workers, including plaintiff Mark Janus, that their free-speech and free-association rights are violated by being forced to pay union dues as a condition of their employment. All of Illinois’s neighboring states have enacted right-to-work laws that emancipate their workers, including public-sector workers, from the forced payment of union dues, but Illinois has not done so. Janus does not want to be associated with labor unions and wants the same rights as are enjoyed by workers in right-to-work states throughout the U.S.
On September 28 a writ of certiorari was granted to enable this case to be argued before the United States Supreme Court. A decision could come before the end of the 2017-18 session of the high court. Legal observers believe that the current membership of the court is likely to split 5-4 in favor of the rights of workers as opposed to the rights of labor unions. Any decision, however, is likely to be limited to public-sector workers only. The points of law to be argued before the high court are not seen as directly affecting workers in the private sector. 

Second Reick-Althoff Town Hall Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday, October 4
Senator Pamela Althoff and I held a successful town hall meeting in McHenry on September 19, and will continue our joint town hall meeting tour this week with a Wednesday, October 4 meeting in Woodstock. While the first event drew a nice crowd, I’m hoping for an even better turnout for this week’s event, which will begin at 6:30 PM at the Woodstock City Hall, 121 W. Calhoun Street in Woodstock. We’ll start with a short presentation, followed by a question and answer period. This is an excellent opportunity for citizens to let us know what issues are important to them and discuss with us the means by which we can address them. If you are unable to attend the town hall meeting this week, a third meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 11 at the Marengo City Hall, 132 E. Prairie Street, Marengo. It will also begin at 6:30 PM.

Not Too Early to Seek Financial Aid for the 2018-2019 Collegiate Year
While the collegiate year has just begun for many college students, now is the time to begin the process for receiving financial aid for the 2018-2019 college year. Students can start applying for financial aid for the fall 2018 semester on October 1. By applying through www.fafsa.ed.gov, students will be considered not only for federal student aid, but also for the state MAP grant program and for college-specific aid. Free expert help is also available through a FAFSA completion workshop (dates can be found at www.studentportal/isac.org/events). Some grant programs deliver funds early, so apply soon to maximize your chances for receiving funds.

Students can get answers to their financial aid questions during an upcoming Facebook Live event. Simply like and follow “Illinois Student Assistance Commission” and ask them your questions between 7:00 – 7:30 PM on October 3, 11, 16, 23 or 30. A text message alert system is also available, and that information can be accessed through the ISAC College Q & A at www.isac.org/collegeqa.

The ISAC Student Portal, available at www.studentportal.isac.org, is a valuable tool filled with planning resources, including an interactive college prep checklist, financial aid estimators, career exploration tools and a scholarship search service.

College can be overwhelming, so the Illinois Student Assistance Corps is trained to help you navigate the college search, application, and financial aid processes- all for free. You can find the contact information for a Corps member near you by visiting www.studentportal/isac.org/isacorps.

McHenry County Conservation District to Receive “Best of the Best” Award
The McHenry County Conservation District will be recognized on October 13 with a “Best of the Best” award at the Illinois Association of Park Districts annual awards gala in Wheeling. Our conservation district is being honored in the intergovernmental cooperation category for its partnership with the Boone County Conservation District, Openlands, and the McHenry County Department of Transportation. They competed against other park districts, forest preserves, conservation and recreation agencies throughout the state in order to win the prestigious award. The McHenry County Conservation District is a model for outstanding work, and they are a shining example of why McHenry County is such a wonderful place to live, work and play.

Chicago Business Community Unites Behind Push for $5 billion Amazon Headquarters Campus 
Amazon.com has stated that they need additional workspace, not available at their current headquarters complex in Seattle, for management-level employees of the global retailing firm. Amazon expects that the overall economic activity to be sparked by their new “second headquarters” could create as many as 50,000 new jobs.

Many Chicago leaders believe that the city’s workforce, with its skill set in logistics solutions, makes Chicago the ideal location for Amazon’s new campus. A bipartisan panel of more than 600 Illinois business leaders is working to sell Illinois to the online retailing giant. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has repeatedly expressed his support for the push.

Chicago-Based Outcome Health Announces Plans to Hire 2,000 Employees
The plans were announced last week by Outcome Health’s CEO Rishi Shah. The Chicago-based software/AI firm provides differential diagnosis/differential treatment options to medical care providers. By going through their options on a screen, the medical care provider and the patient can achieve face-to-face collaboration on a treatment course of choice.

CEO Shah believes his firm’s growth trajectory will lead to the firm taking on approximately 2,000 additional employees in the next five years, through 2022. Many of these workers will need to have science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) credentials. Outcome Health currently employs about 600 workers, many of whom work in downtown Chicago. The firm made its future-hiring announcement in the context of observing the opening of its new centralized office.