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State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is continuing his mobile office hours tour next week with an event planned for Monday, November 19 at the McHenry Public Library.

From 10:00 AM until noon on Monday, residents from the 63rd Legislative House District are invited to meet with Reick at the library, located at 809 Front Street in McHenry. “I enjoy these outreach events because they provide me with an excellent opportunity to connect with the people I represent in Springfield,” said Reick. “By talking with constituents and learning about the state issues that are important to them, I am able to bring their priorities to Springfield by serving as their voice.”

No appointment is needed, and in addition to Reick staffing the event, a member of his staff will be available to assist constituents with state issues. “I look forward to talking one-on-one with people as I bring my office to them in their own community,” said Reick.

Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Reick’s web site at www.repstevenreick.com.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) earned high praise on Monday from the Illinois Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) for his support of manufacturing in Illinois. Reick’s recognition was based on votes he took in 2018 that affect the manufacturing industry and the overall Illinois economy.

“The outmigration of manufacturing jobs in Illinois is having a negative impact on the state’s economy and employment numbers,” said Reick. “As lawmakers we have a responsibility to ease the regulations that are driving these job creators out of the state.”

This year legislators were scored on their votes on 10 pieces of legislation that affected the manufacturing sector, and those earning a score of 70 or higher were recognized. Only 39 members of the House of Representatives earned recognition this year.

TMA President Steven Rauschenberger applauded Reick for being a champion for the manufacturing industry and said, “The Technology & Manufacturing Association appreciates Representative Reick's open mind and open door to issues that affect jobs and employment opportunity in his district. His even handed approach helps make Illinois better."

The Technology and Manufacturing Association assists Illinois’ $100 billion manufacturing sector through advice, education, and other programs and also advocates for legislation to help the industry succeed in Illinois. Close to 20,000 manufacturing firms provide over half a million jobs statewide in Illinois. Click here to view a list of the legislation included on the scorecard and a full ranking of every Illinois State Representative and Senator.
Rep. Reick Addresses Spike in "Failure to Appear in Court" Cases in McHenry County
The safety of your family is very important to me, so when I learned that several suburban counties recently experienced a significant spike in the number of accused people who are out on bail have failed to appear in court, I called McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and asked if he had seen a similar uptick in bail jumping here in McHenry County. Upon learning that he had indeed seen an increase in instances of failure to appear in court here, I signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that addresses this problem.

HB 5980 seeks to amend the Bail Reform Act (P.A. 100-0001) to help ensure that those charged with crimes actually appear in court when required to do so. The new Bail Reform Act that took effect in Illinois on January 1 of this year was part of a national movement to improve the pre-trial justice system in this country. While that Act includes some beneficial provisions, one specific change has disincentivized defendants from showing up for court dates. The new law stipulates that failure to appear offenses are imposed at one Class lower than the original crime for which a defendant is charged, and often judges are not sentencing offenders to jail time for skipping bail. Under these new bail guidelines, an increasing number of defendants would rather take their chances and flee justice than appear on court-mandated dates to face their charges. This is unacceptable. 

Proposed changes to the Bail Reform Act include:
  • Individuals who are out on bail and fail to appear in court would be charged with a “failure to appear” offense of the same Class (instead of the next lower Class) of the original crime with which he/she has been charged 
  • “Failure to Appear” offenders would not be eligible for probation for bail jumping 
In my conversation with our State’s Attorney, I learned of another unforeseen negative consequence of the Bail Reform Act. Evidently, the new bail provisions reduce the County’s ability to fight the current opioid epidemic. Mr. Kenneally explained that an opioid abuser, if released from jail on bond, will continue to use opioids and, if necessary, commit crimes to fund their habit. Releasing opioid abusers early and before they are required to access services also increases their risk of an overdose. He pointed to two recent overdose cases that involved two opioid abusers who were released on bond after only a few weeks in jail due to the Bail Reform Act. While in jail, their opioid tolerance was reduced. After being let out and with reduced tolerance, they overdosed and died. I will continue to work with States Attorney Kenneally to address his additional concerns with bail provisions in in the Bail Reform Act.

Reick Joins Local Elected Officials and Business Leaders at Council of Governments Event
Last week I joined several McHenry County Mayors and Village Presidents, other elected officials and county business leaders for the McHenry County Council of Government’s (MCCG) October meeting in McCullom Lake. Representatives from McHenry County’s Department of Emergency Management presented valuable information about emergency preparedness, storms, active shooters and other emergency situations. The meeting was hosted by McCullom Lake Village President Marilyn Shepit and the Village. I’m shown in this photo with Gary Overbay. 

Fall Harvest Moves toward Completion
Relatively dry, cool conditions suitable for machine fieldwork mean that more than three-quarters of Illinois’ field crops are in the bins. As of the week ending on Sunday, October 21, the Illinois corn harvest was estimated to be 82% complete, the bean harvest was 74% complete, and the sorghum harvest was 82% complete. Corn was in the bin at a rate much in advance of the 2017 harvest; by this time one year ago, the corn harvest was only 60% completed. Illinois farmers are also running ahead of this year’s nationwide averages. As of the same day nationwide, the U.S. soybean harvest was only 53% complete. These figures were generated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and were released on Monday, October 22. While the harvest continues, I urge motorists to slow down in rural areas and be aware of farmers moving machinery on our public roads. 

Metra Holds Line on Fares in 2019 Proposed Budget
Metra recently proposed a 2019 operating budget of $822 million. I was pleased to see no fare increases included in the proposal. Metra also posted a proposed 2019 capital budget of $185.6 million, which falls far short of its needs. With aging infrastructure and equipment, Metra did note additional funding is needed. 

Eight public hearings on the proposed budget have been scheduled. The McHenry County public hearing will be held Thursday, November 1 from 4:00-7:00 PM at the Crystal Lake City Hall, located at 100 W. Woodstock Street. Comments on the proposed budget can also be emailed to 2019budgetcomments@metrarr.com, faxed to 312-322-7094 or mailed to the Assistant Secretary to the Metra Board, Room 1300, 547 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60661. Comments must be received no later than November 6. All comments received will be presented to Metra’s Board of Directors prior to voting on the final budget in November 2018.

Illinois Unemployment Rate Matches Record Low
The recent 4.1% unemployment figure reported by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) matches the lowest number ever posted for this figure, a widely-cited index of economic health and activity in Illinois. Preliminary data, which is subject to revision as more numbers come in, indicates that nonfarm payroll total employment increased in the Land of Lincoln by 2,800 jobs in September as opposed to August 2018. The same figure, when counted on a year-to-year basis (September 2017 to September 2018) showed a net gain of more than 50,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

September 2018 job creation was especially strong in education, construction, and manufacturing. The Illinois manufacturing economy created an estimated 2,300 net new jobs in September 2018 alone, and created 14,600 new factory jobs over the past 12 months. It should be noted, however, that the Illinois manufacturing sector is not as dominant as it was in February 1999, the last time our State’s unemployment rate was 4.1%. Illinois’ overall job universe has adjusted over the past two decades. In line with overall worldwide trends towards automation, many Illinois jobs have moved from factories to offices and service-related employment opportunities.

Mobile Office Hours Tour Continues in 63rd District
My mobile office hours tour will continue on Monday, November 19 at the McHenry Library and on Wednesday, December 5 at the Harvard-Diggins Library. Both events will be held from 10:00 AM until noon and no appointment is necessary. Stop by and say hello when my mobile office hours are taking place near where you live, and if you have an issue you’d like to discuss, my staff and I will be available to listen and help. Of course, I am always available to meet with constituents at my Woodstock office. If you would like to discuss a legislative issue, please call my office at (815) 880-5340 to set up an appointment. 

McHenry County Conservation District Named “Best of the Best”
Congratulations to the McHenry County Conservation District for receiving a “Best of the Best” Award from the Illinois Association of Park Districts. I was happy to present an honorary certificate to Dave Kranz and Elizabeth Kessler during a recent visit to Glacial Park. 

State Sells $250 Million in Build Illinois Bonds
Proceeds from the largely tax-free debt offering will be used to finance capital infrastructure investments. No new taxes will be required to pay off the bonds, which will mature in equal stages from 2019 until 2043. The Build Illinois Bond Act sets aside a slice of revenues from existing sales taxes to service the bonds. Prior to using money from its sales taxes for day-to-day operating purposes, the State has pledged to its bondholders that it will use a portion of this sales tax money for long-term capital investment.

Many investors see Illinois sales tax revenues as a relatively secure revenue source, and despite the State’s overall fiscal challenges the bonds were rated several significant notches above the “junk bond” level. S&P Global Ratings rated the new issue at AA-, and Fitch Ratings rated the issue at A-. The bonds were sold to Wall Street investors on Tuesday, October 16. Money from the debt issuance will be used for long-term investments such as roads, bridges, and educational infrastructure.

Veterans Honored by Bicentennial Commission
The announcement marked the climax of the “Bicentennial HONOR 200” recognition process, in which Illinois residents were asked to submit the names of veterans of the U.S. armed services who are their neighbors and who are key leaders in their local communities. Nominators were asked to describe how these veterans have continued their lives of service as members of their hometowns and neighborhoods. The process concluded with the naming of 200 Illinois veterans of special honor. The named guests will be invited to the state’s flagship birthday celebration on December 3, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago. They will represent more than 50 of the 102 counties of Illinois, from Chicago in the north to Carbondale in the south. The Bicentennial Commission unveiled the list of honor on Thursday, October 25.
In response to a significant spike in “failure to appear in court” cases in the collar counties, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is championing a new bill that stiffens penalties for bail jumpers who would rather flee from justice than make their court-ordered appearances.

HB 5980, filed this week in Springfield, seeks to amend the Bail Reform Act that took effect on January 1 of this year. “The Bail Reform Act was part of a nation-wide movement to improve pre-trial practices, but unfortunately we are now seeing some unforeseen negative consequences of the legislation,” said Reick. “The Chief Sponsor of HB 5980 reported an 83% jump in Category A offenders— these are people charged with serious crimes like aggravated assault, domestic battery and burglary— who are jumping bail in nearby DuPage County. I spoke to McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally, and he said his office has also seen a sharp increase in cases of failure to appear in court. These numbers are a clear indication that we are no longer properly incentivizing people to show up to face charges brought against them.”

Through HB 5980, proposed changes to the Bail Reform Act include:
  • Individuals who are out on bail and fail to appear in court would be charged with a failure to appear offense of the same Class (instead of the next lower Class) of the original crime with which he/she has been charged 
  • Failure to appear offenders would not be eligible for probation for bail jumping 
While supportive of the provisions of HB 5980, Kenneally said he hopes an amendment to the bill or a separate piece of legislation can address another unintended consequence of the new Act. “The Bail Reform Act significantly reduces our ability to fight the opioid epidemic,” said Kenneally. “An opioid abuser if released from jail on bond will continue to use opioids and, if necessary, commit crime to fund their habit. Releasing opioid abusers early and before they are required to access services also increases their risk of an overdose. The two most recent overdose cases involve two opioid abusers being released on bond after only a few weeks in jail due to the Bail Reform Act. While in jail, their opioid tolerance was reduced. After being let out and with reduced tolerance, they overdosed and died.”

Reick said he would work with Kenneally to address his concerns with bail provisions for opioid abusers.
Eighty-Three Bills Vetoed During 2018 Session
During the 2018 legislative session, 529 new laws were signed into law. A total of 612 bills passed both chambers of the General Assembly this year; 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. Reick Honored for Support of Agriculture in McHenry County
Recently I was pleased to learn that I received the Friend of Agriculture Award from the McHenry County Farm Bureau. Yesterday I joined Dan Volkers, Manager of the McHenry County Farm Bureau, and Todd Wilke on the Wilke farm in Harvard to receive the award. Agriculture is our top industry in Illinois, and McHenry County is home to some of the richest farmland in the country. As a legislator I am committed to helping our farmers with their goal of improving food production practices and ensuring a plentiful and safe food supply. Legislators receiving this award recognize the far-reaching benefits of Illinois' agricultural products and the important role farmers play in providing quality food, fiber and fuel for the state, nation, and world. I am shown in this photo with the Wilke family: Cole, Grant, Tyler, Todd and Amy. 

ISP Preparing for Spike in Concealed-Carry License Renewals
The five-year anniversary of the legalization of concealed-carry firearms has the Illinois State Police getting ready for a spike in renewal applications. In addition to the Firearm Owners’ Identification Card (FOID Card) required of all gun owners, the act of carrying a concealed weapon requires a special Concealed Carry License (CCL) license and training. After passage by the General Assembly, the Illinois concealed-carry law went into effect in July 2013.

Now that five years have gone by, many CCL licenses will expire in 2018-19. Current CCL license-holders who wish to remain compliant with Illinois law will want to renew these licenses. Prior to submitting paperwork for their CCL renewal, re-applicants will need to undergo three hours of training by a certified instructor in concealed-carry safety. The State Police has posted an online list of CCL instructors whose approved curriculum includes a three-hour renewal class. Once a CCL re-applicant can submit verifiable information that he or she has completed the training, the renewal process can continue.

The State Police is not currently accepting CCL renewal applications from applicants who are more than five months away from license expiration. Their staff support is limited, and due to the spike in projected applications, they must concentrate their renewal scrutiny upon licenses that are nearing the end of their lifespans. The State Police recommends that prospective concealed-carry card re-applicants undergo required retraining at about the six-month mark, and then start the renewal process at the five-month mark. Firearm concealed-carry card renewal will require submission of valid paperwork plus a $150 fee. The State Police hopes to be able to turn around most renewal applications within 30 days.

Reick Receives 90% Success Rating from Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
The success of our state hinges on a vibrant economy, and the manufacturing and business community is critical to that effort. They are the job creators who can make Illinois a pro-growth state. Our job as legislators is to put public policy in place that helps them, and to vote against bills that add red tape or hinder their ability to grow and prosper. 

It is my pleasure to announce that I have been named a “Friend of Manufacturing” by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) for my votes that affected the manufacturing sector in 2017-2018. Illinois State Representatives were scored on our votes on 23 different bills that were brought to the House floor for a vote during the 100th General Assembly, and those of us who received a score of 80% or higher received the award.

Upon announcing the 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 what elected officials support Illinois job creators. The IMA appreciates those lawmakers that have a strong record of support for the manufacturing sector.”

The IMA is a not-for-profit trade association for Illinois manufacturers. Founded in 1893, it is the oldest and largest statewide manufacturing trade association in the United States. The IMA’s mission is to strengthen the economic, social, environmental and governmental conditions for manufacturing and allied enterprises in the state of Illinois, resulting in an enlarged business base and increased employment.

Click here to view the full scorecard and a list of bills that were judged.

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 also unveiled 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.

Governor Abolishes 53 Inactive Boards, Commissions; Prohibits Nepotism in State Hiring
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 of the 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.

Mobile Office Hours Tour Continues in 63rd District
Last week I held mobile office hours at the Marengo Union Library. I always enjoy the conversations I have with local constituents at these events. My mobile office hours tour will continue on Monday, November 19 at the McHenry Library and on Wednesday, December 5 at the Harvard-Diggins Library. Both events will be held from 10:00 AM until noon and no appointment is necessary. Stop by and say hello when my mobile office hours are taking place near where you live, and if you have an issue you’d like to discuss, my staff and I will be available to listen and help. 

Illinois Department of Revenue Launches New Website
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is inviting taxpayers to explore the new look of its redesigned website; tax.illinois.gov. The new mobile-friendly website features simplified site navigation and enhanced functionality to provide businesses, tax professionals, and the public easier access to the information needed most.

Key features of IDOR's new website include encrypted security, better accessibility, a drop-down menu system at the top of every page, and real-time traffic-driven listings showing users what questions, forms, and tax types are currently garnering wide interest. Visitors accustomed to the former IDOR website at http://tax.illinois.gov will be automatically redirected to the new website located at https://www2.illinois.gov/rev. IDOR advises anyone with previously saved bookmarks to visit the new website to update their favorites.

Illinois Innovation Network Expands to DeKalb County
Northern Illinois University (NIU), already home to many centers of graduate education and research, has announced plans for a $23 million business-development incubator and innovation center. NIU will construct the center to serve as a hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, the growing web of broadband-linked innovation centers being set up in locations throughout the state. Much of the center’s construction cost will be funded by NIU, by gifts made to NIU, and by private investments made by venture capitalists.

Looking towards new opportunities for economic growth, the General Assembly took steps to provide $500 million in Innovation Network startup seed money as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Creation of the Illinois Innovation Network, which is being governed as an affiliated partner of the University of Illinois, followed a series of studies by experts on the importance of face-to-face interactions as an essential element in the fostering of technological innovations and job creation. California’s Silicon Valley is a classic example. The Innovation Network plans to utilize modern fiber optics to enable a wide variety of contact opportunities, including high-speed video conferencing and terabyte data-transfer, between Innovation Network hubs. The Innovation Network will encourage its affiliated professionals to concentrate on issues of food systems, water resources, and environmental change. The Innovation Network has already announced decisions to place hubs in Chicago and in Springfield. The NIU/DeKalb hub announcement was made on Tuesday, October 9.
Residents of the 63rd Legislative House District are invited to meet and speak with State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) at a mobile office hours event scheduled for Thursday, October 11 at the Marengo-Union Public Library located at 19714 East Grant Highway in Marengo. The event is part of a series of mobile office hours meant to provide residents of the 63rd District with easy access to their elected Springfield representative.

“The 63rd District includes portions of several different municipalities, so I am very aware that my Woodstock District Office is not near the homes of many of my constituents,” said Reick. “By holding office hours in other communities, the people I represent in Springfield can come to a convenient location and share their concerns and ideas.”

Reick and a member of his staff will have a table set up at the library from 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon. 

“I look forward to having conversations with my constituents as I bring my office to them in their own community,” said Reick. “In addition to learning about their personal priorities, my staff and I can help explain the services available through my legislative office.”

No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Reick’s web site at www.repstevenreick.com.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has been named a “Friend of Manufacturing” by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) for his votes that affected the manufacturing sector in 2017-2018.

Illinois 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. Reick scored a 90% through the IMA legislative ratings, placing him near the top of the scoring for the 118 members of the House of Representatives.

“The success of our state hinges on a vibrant economy, and the manufacturing and business community is critical to that effort,” said Reick. “They are the job creators who can make Illinois a pro-growth state. Our job as legislators is to put public policy in place that helps them, and to vote against bills that add red tape or hinder their ability to grow and prosper.”

Upon announcing the 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 what elected officials support Illinois job creators. The IMA appreciates those lawmakers that have a strong record of support for the manufacturing sector.”

The IMA is a not-for-profit trade association for Illinois manufacturers. Founded in 1893, it is the oldest and largest statewide manufacturing trade association in the United States. The IMA’s mission is to strengthen the economic, social, environmental and governmental conditions for manufacturing and allied enterprises in the state of Illinois, resulting in an enlarged business base and increased employment.

Click here to view the full scorecard and a list of bills that were judged.