State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is hoping to infuse some common sense into the discussion of township road district consolidation by requiring a cost analysis to determine if consolidation proposals will actually save taxpayers money.

HB 4190, filed in Springfield this week, serves as a trailer bill to clarify two pieces of legislation approved earlier this year. The bill would require a cost study be conducted before a township’s trustees could take action to put a consolidation proposal before voters. “People seek consolidation because they want lower taxes. I fully support consolidation that results in lower taxes,” said Reick. “But consolidation just for the sake of consolidation- when taxes don’t go down or possibly would actually increase- that is not in the best interest of taxpayers. We need this additional layer of transparency so trustees and voters are acting on a full set of facts.”

Specifically, Reick’s HB 4190 would amend the Illinois Highway Code by providing that before a township may submit a referendum to abolish a road district, the township must prepare through an independent contractor a cost study that demonstrates the abolishment is cost-effective and that the township which would assume the road district responsibilities is capable of carrying out the duties performed by the road district slated for elimination. Any consulting firm with an existing agreement for services in the township in question or in the county where the township is located would be prohibited from conducting the study.

“SB 03 and HB 607 were both signed into law in August of this year, but neither includes this additional step of transparency” Reick said. “Consolidation does not necessarily equate to lower taxes because services must still be provided. Before asking taxpayers to make a decision at the ballot box, trustees need to ensure that a successful vote won’t have unforeseen negative consequences on people’s property tax bills.”

HB 4190 is awaiting assignment to a substantive committee, and Reick is hopeful it will receive fair consideration when lawmakers return to Springfield at the end of January.
State Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) visited Woodstock High School Tuesday, Dec. 12 to get a firsthand look at how high school students are using STEM in the classroom and what it means for their future.

Reick recently visited Prairiewood Elementary School for their Hour of Code event and said he wanted to see how these technology lessons translated for students once they entered later grades. “I’m really interested in developing technical training because there’s a crying need for it,” Reick said. “These are the things that are going to drive innovation.”

Reick visited the metals manufacturing lab, an automotive lab and an engineering classroom and spoke with students and teachers including Jason Huber, Jeff Griffith and Steven Thompson, chair of the career and technical training department at Woodstock High School. Huber explained that the goal behind the course offering is to give students some real world training to prepare them for current and future STEM related jobs. “That’s the call of McHenry County - for more manufacturing jobs, so we’re trying to build that pipeline,” Huber said.

Some students already have internships with Scot Forge and other area manufacturing companies and some classes translate into college credits.

Reick said he’s seen educational technology demonstrations in Springfield but said the personal visit to Woodstock High School had a big impact on him. “Education is more than just teaching them to read and getting them into college,” Reick said. “I couldn’t be more impressed.”
With the year-long Bicentennial celebration underway, let’s find out just how much you know about Illinois’ history. Take this quiz and learn how much you know about Illinois' past. Click here to start the quiz.
The charitable arm of the Illinois Farm Bureau is offering agriculture students and Illinois Farm Bureau families an opportunity to apply for 76 college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 per college year. A total of $144,800 will be awarded for the 2018-2019 collegiate year.

The application deadline for these monetary awards is February 1, 2018. The scholarships include three Illinois Agriculture Association (IAA) Foundation Top Scholarships of $5,000 each, and an Illinois Farm Bureau Legacy of Leadership scholarship of $7,500. In addition , several family scholarships often established to honor loved ones are available, and the IAA Foundation offers scholarships on behalf of such organizations as Prairie Farms Dairy and the Illinois Soybean Association.

Eligible applicants must be high school seniors who have been accepted into or students already enrolled at an accredited college, university or community college. Scholarships are awarded for exceptional academic ability, leadership and financial need. Previous winners may reapply for the duration of their college education. Click here to view a full list of available scholarships and to review the eligibility and application guidelines.
Illinois’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps eligible low-income households pay for winter energy services. The program’s heat and electric assistance is a one-time benefit payment per heating season. The amount received depends upon household size, income and energy costs.

A household is eligible for heating assistance through LIHEAP if the combined income is at or below the levels shown in the accompanying chart. For more information on this program in McHenry County, please contact the McHenry County Housing Authority at (815) 338-7752.
This week I visited Prairiewood Elementary School in Woodstock and watched an incredibly bright group of students engage in computerized learning activities in observance of the international “Hour of Code,” which is part of Computer Science Education Week.

I was impressed (and admittedly a bit humbled) as I watched students program games and do other levels of computer code work. It was a bridge activity, with high school students from Woodstock High School on hand to lend additional expertise. I appreciated the invitation and the opportunity to observe this unique learning activity which brought older and younger students together in the classroom.
With the Christmas season in full swing, there are many opportunities for families to gather for fun at local events in and around the 63rd District. To help you navigate all that northern McHenry County has to offer, I have compiled a list of some events that will take place between now and the end of the year. And if you haven’t yet gotten your Christmas Tree and plan to visit a cut-your-own tree farm, I’ve also included a list of many places that offer a beautiful assortment of trees, wreaths and other holiday items.

Crystal Lake
Sing-Along Messiah with Voices in Harmony: Sunday, December 10 at 4:00 pm. Handel's "Messiah" performed by Voices in Harmony. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

Christmas Bedtime Stories: Tuesday, December12, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm and Friday, December 15 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm and 7:15 to 8:15 pm. Come join Mrs. Claus for an evening of activities, stories and treats! We'll hear about the North Pole, sing songs and maybe even get a special visitor to stop by! Come dressed in your PJ's and bring your favorite blanket and stuffed animal for a cozy night. Please register all siblings. Rotary Building, 431 N. Walkup, Crystal Lake.

The Nutcracker Ballet: Performances Saturday, December 16 at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm and Sunday, December 17 at 1:00 pm. Audience members will hear Tchaikovsky's unforgettable music, witness emotional dancing and view lavish costumes when the incredible Nutcracker Ballet returns to Raue Center's stage. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

Home for the Holidays: Performances December 22, 23, 29, 30 at 8:00 pm and December 23 at 3:00 pm. Bring the whole family and celebrate the holidays with Raue Center and WSRep with their fun, family-friendly and festive show. Reminisce with WSRep Ensemble members, the WSRep Comedy troupe and other local favorites in this homegrown holiday special. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

A Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama: Sunday, December 31 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Join us as we welcome in the New Year with an amazing evening of Rock and Roll. Your musical host for the Evening is Jimmy Nick and he'll be joined on stage by his band Don't Tell Mama. Jimmy Nick combines his massive talent and stage theatrics with high-energy blues and rock and roll for one of the best live shows around. Raue Center For The Arts, 26 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake.

Ringwood
Historic Holidays Open House: Saturday, December 16 Drop-in Noon–4:00 p.m.
Experience holiday preparations from days of old. Step back in time to visit the 1854 restored Greek Revival, Powers-Walker House and watch volunteers in historical attire preparing for winter and the holidays in the mid-19th century. Glacial Park, Powers-Walker House, Rt. 31 & Harts Road, Ringwood.

Woodstock
Holiday Cookie Workshop: Saturday, December 16 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Holiday Time! Time to prepare the holiday cookies for giving and enjoying throughout the season. Loyola Univeristy Chicago Retreat and Ecology Campus, 2710 S. Country Club Road, Woodstock.

The Nutcracker Ballet: December 9 through December 17. Performances at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Come enjoy the magic of the holiday season as the Judith Svalander Dance Theatre transforms the Opera House stage into a realm of fantasy. Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock.

McHenry County Made: Saturday, December 9 from 10 am to 7:00 pm. Shopping local this holiday season? This is the area’s premiere holiday fair celebrating handcraft, food, beverages and art made here, from the ground up, by hand and from the heart. Mixin Mingle, Cass Street on the Historic Woodstock Square.

Hooved Animal Humane Society Holiday Party and Craft Fair: Saturday, December 9 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Hooved Animal Humane Society is hosting their annual Holiday Party and Craft fair. Admission is free! Hooved Animal Human Society, 10804 McConnell Road, Woodstock.

Spring Grove
New Year’s Eve Party: Sunday, December 31 from 8 pm to 1:00 am. Are you looking to countdown the New Year in style? Ring in 2018 at The Shores of Turtle Creek, and dance the night away. The Shores of Turtle Creek, 7908 Winn Road, Spring Grove.

Christmas Tree Farms in McHenry County
Share the magic of cutting your own tree. Did you know McHenry County harvests more fresh Christmas trees than anywhere else in the state? Most locations open the day after Thanksgiving and are open through Christmas Eve. All provide saws and offer assistance if needed. Some locations also have pre-cut trees. They’ll shake and bale your tree and help you secure it to your car for the ride home. Time to plan your trip to a McHenry County tree farm!
  • Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm – Nine varieties of organically-grown, pesticide-free trees from 6-15 feet: Fir, spruce and pine. Handmade wreaths and garlands, available at the farm, may also be ordered online for delivery anywhere in the continental United States. Horse-drawn wagon rides, gift shop, Santa Claus, farm animals, free cocoa and coffee.
  • Bill’s Friendly Evergreen Tree Farm – Six varieties of pine, spruce and fir. Family owned and operated for 20 years, this farm offers a backwoods feel where Christmas trees and customer service are the main focus.
  • Cal & Shan’s Christmas Tree Farm, – 10 varieties of spruce, fir and pine and rooted live trees for planting after Christmas. Gift shop.
  • Conifera Christmas Tree Farm – Four varieties of large choose-and-cut spruce and pre-cut premium grade Fraser and Balsam Fir, as well as live potted trees, wreaths and garland.
  • Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Farm –Dozens of varieties of trees in every shape and size. Open the Friday-Sunday after Thanksgiving only. Free cocoa and coffee, and tractor-drawn wagon rides.
  • Holly Jolly Tree Farm – U-cut Scotch pine, plus pre-cut Frasier fir. Petting zoo, wagon rides, gift shop and free cocoa. Contact: 815.385.9627.
  • M & M Christmas Tree Farm – You choose and cut or you choose and they cut from seven varieties of spruce, fir and pine trees. Contact: 847.275.8720.
  • Moehling Christmas Tree Farm – Choose from 8,000 spruce, fir and pine trees. Visit Santa’s workshop and craft vendors selling homemade gifts in the warming barn.
  • Oney’s Tree Farm – The oldest and largest tree farm in Northern Illinois, with more more than 60,000 trees on 60 acres. U-cut, pre-cut or rooted-for-later-planting in nine varieties of fir, pine and spruce. Weekend horse-drawn wagon rides, bakery, lunch, cocoa, Mrs. Claus in her North Pole house, wreaths, garlands, decorations and gifts.
  • Pine-Apple Tree Farm – Ten acres of you-cut spruce, pine and fir, plus pre-cut Wisconsin Frazier Fir.
  • Pioneer Tree Farm – Organically-grown pine, juniper, spruce and fir. Tractor-drawn wagon rides, free cocoa and coffee in the warming house and handmade decorations.
  • Richardson’s Tree Farm – More than 50,000 trees with seven varieties of spruce, pine and fir on 75 acres. Fresh donuts and kettle corn, free cocoa and coffee in the heated barn with indoor restrooms, wreaths, garlands and decorations. Tractor-drawn wagon rides on weekends.
  • Triple K Pines – You choose and cut from five varieties of spruce and pine. Also Christmas wreaths, garlands, holiday decorations, free hot cider, gift shop.
I hope you are able to enjoy time with family, friends and loved ones during this blessed time of year. It is an honor to serve as your State Representative, and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
Through the end of 2017, the legislative office for State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) will be operating on an abbreviated schedule.

Between now and Thursday, December 21st, the Reick office, located at 1072 Lake Avenue in Woodstock, will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm, and by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In observance of the holidays, the office will be closed between Friday, December 22 and Tuesday, January 2.

Email and phones will be checked regularly during this time. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the office at (815) 880-5340, or contact Representative Reick through the contact form found at www.repstevenreick.com.
Since 1972, the Woodstock Noon Rotary Club has helped thousands of local children have a Merry Christmas with its "Christmas Clearing House" program. As has been the case in the past, once again the Marine Corps Reserve's "Toys for Tots" program has partnered with CCH to collect toys for disadvantaged children within the boundaries of District 200.

The Reick legislative office at 1072 Lake Avenue in Woodstock is a drop-off point for anyone wishing to donate an unwrapped gift. There is a specific need for gifts which would be appropriate for 10-16 year-olds (please, no gift cards, the Rotary Club buys them with the money collected during the year). Toys will be packed on December 13, so donations will need to be received by the 12th.

Last year CCH packed over 2,000 toys, and the need is just as great this year, so please consider donating to this worthy cause. Click here to learn more about this wonderful example of holiday giving. Thank you in advance for your participation, and Merry Christmas!
A statewide helpline has been launched to provide immediate assistance for those impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances. The helpline can be accessed free of charge by dialing 1-833-2FINDHELP.

The helpline will provide a confidential outlet for individuals experiencing opioid use disorders, their families and anyone affected by the disease. It will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by specialists trained in evidence-based approaches to help connect callers with treatment and recovery-support services.

The helpline is the latest step in Illinois lawmakers’ commitment to tackle the opioid crisis and combat the growing number of overdose deaths related to heroin, other opioids, and synthetics like fentanyl. Officials from the Rauner administration have been meeting throughout the year to establish an agenda to combat the epidemic, and the Governor unveiled the Opioid Action Plan and signed Executive Order 2017-05 creating the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force in September of this year. The task force, chaired by Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav Sha, was charged with building strategies that would help reduce projected opioid overdose-related deaths by one-third within the next three years.

Another policy established under Executive Order 2017-05 was a Standing Order to make the overdose reversal drug Naloxone (Narcan) available to first responders and members of communities across Illinois, without a prescription.

IDPH data shows opioid overdoses killed 1,946 people in Illinois in 2016 — more than one and a half times the number of homicides and nearly twice the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. In addition, data from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) estimates that approximately 248,000 Illinois residents need, but do not receive, treatment for illicit drug use.

The Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances is funded by federal grant dollars that the State of Illinois secured from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Opioid State Targeted Response grant is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has earned a 90% success rating on the 2017 scorecard issued by the Illinois Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA). The score is based on Reick’s votes on ten bills that affect the manufacturing industry and the overall Illinois economy.

“Illinois is losing manufacturing jobs at an alarming rate, and those jobs are leaving due to the unfriendly business climate,” Reick said. “We need to ease the burdensome regulations that hamstring our job creators so we can grow our economy.”

TMA President Steven Rauschenberger said that as a freshman lawmaker Reick has proven himself to be a champion for the manufacturing industry. “Representative Reick’s voting record demonstrates an understanding of the importance of economic growth and expansion of career choice in Illinois. He understands that intrusive state regulation of employers can be a solution in search of a problem.”

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. Click here to view a list of the legislation included on the scorecard and a full ranking of every Illinois State Representative and Senator.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) will complete his 2017 mobile office hours tour on Wednesday, December 13 with a stop at the Johnsburg Public Library. Reick and his District Office Director will have a table set up at the library from 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon.

“I hold regular mobile office hours throughout northern McHenry County so those who live in the 63rd Legislative House District have easy access to their elected representative in the General Assembly,” said Reick. “These events provide me with a great opportunity to learn about my constituents’ concerns and priorities so I can be their voice in Springfield.”

The library is located at 3000 W. Johnsburg Road in Johnsburg. In addition to being available for short one-on-one conversations with constituents, Reick and his office director will be available to help residents with their concerns and issues involving state agencies and programs. No appointment is needed. For additional information, please call Reick’s legislative office at (815) 880-5340 or visit www.repstevenreick.com.
Reick Office a Drop-Off Point for Woodstock Rotary’s “Christmas Clearing House” Program
Since 1972, the Woodstock Noon Rotary Club has helped thousands of our neighbors have a Merry Christmas with its "Christmas Clearing House" program. As has been the case in the past, once again the Marine Corps Reserve's "Toys for Tots" program has partnered with CCH to collect toys for needy children within the boundaries of District 200.

My legislative office at 1072 Lake Avenue in Woodstock is a drop-off point for anyone wishing to donate an unwrapped gift. We especially need gifts which would be appropriate for 10-16 year-olds. (Please, no gift cards, we buy them with the money we collect during the year.) We'll be packing toys on December 13, so we need to get the donations in by then.

Last year CCH packed over 2,000 toys, and the need is just as great this year, so I'd ask you to please consider donating to this worthy cause. Click here to learn more about this wonderful example of holiday giving. Thank you in advance for your participation, and Merry Christmas.

Reick to Host Mobile Office Hours in Johnsburg on December 13
I hold regular mobile office hours throughout northern McHenry County so those who live in the 63rd Legislative House District have easy access to their elected representative in the General Assembly. I’ll be wrapping up my 2017 mobile office hours tour on Wednesday, December 13 with a stop at the Johnsburg Public Library from 10:00 until 12:00 noon.

The library is located at 3000 W. Johnsburg Road in Johnsburg. In addition to being available for short one-on-one conversations with constituents, a member of my staff and I will be available to help residents with their concerns and issues involving state agencies and programs. No appointment is needed, so if you live in or around Johnsburg, stop in and say hello! These events provide me with a great opportunity to learn about your concerns and priorities so I can be your voice in Springfield. For additional information, please call my office at (815) 880-5340 or visit www.repstevenreick.com.

Illinois Begins Bicentennial Countdown
The twelve-month period to observe Illinois’ 200th birthday as a state officially began over the weekend on December 3 when Illinois turned 199. The Illinois Bicentennial Commission is coordinating a program of events in locations throughout the state to celebrate the milestone. More events are expected to be added as Illinois approaches the actual birthday on December 3, 2018. On Monday I had the pleasure of attending the bicentennial flag raising ceremony in Woodstock outside of the McHenry County Courthouse. It was an honor to be on hand as the bicentennial flag was raised, marking the beginning of a year-long celebration of Illinois’ history.

This birthday commemorates passage by Congress of the law that admitted Illinois to the Union as the 21st state. Illinois was one of the states planned by President Thomas Jefferson as his proposal for the future of what had been the frontier “Northwest Territory.” By 1818 Jefferson had left office, but his friend and successor President James Monroe led the actual admission of Illinois into the national union of states. 

Lawsuit Filed to Halt Implementation of House Bill 40
Last Thursday I joined several Illinois lawmakers, nearly a dozen pro-life organizations and the Diocese of Springfield in filing suit to stop a bill that would allow for taxpayer funding of elective abortions in Illinois. The complaint was filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court in Springfield and makes two claims against the controversial bill. We believe that because there was no revenue stream attached to the legislation, money does not exist in the budget to cover the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 abortions per year that would result from the implementation of the bill. With no appropriation to support the estimated $30 million cost, our argument is that the bill violates Illinois’ Constitutional balanced budget requirement. Secondly, we will argue that the January 1, 2018 effective date must be pushed to June 1, because the bill did not pass out of the Senate until the end of September, months after the May 31 cut-off date for bills to take effect on January 1.
During a recent visit to Harvard High School, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) had an opportunity to do an interview with Harvard Community Unit School District 50 Superintendent Dr. Corey Tafoya. As part of the District’s “Hanging with Harmilda” video series, Rep. Reick talks about the new evidence-based school funding model adopted by the General Assembly this year, and what it means for the students who attend District 50 schools. Click here to watch the video clip.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is asking McHenry County residents to join him in requesting a gubernatorial veto of legislation that would substantially increase the powers granted to the McHenry County Board Chairman.

Reick is hosting an online petition drive to gather signatures in opposition to HB 171. The petition specifically asks Governor Rauner to veto the legislation, which was approved earlier this month and now sits on his desk. “A few years ago the voters of McHenry County voted down by a 2:1 margin an effort to increase the powers of the leader of the McHenry County Board,” said Reick. “The electorate was clear in their mandate. They do not want an all-powerful County Board Chairman.”

According to Reick, in a subsequent election, voters approved a measure to allow for a popularly-elected County Board Chairman with limited authority and power. “When voters weigh in on an important measure at the ballot box, that should mean something,” Reick said. “The signing of HB 171 would directly circumvent the expressed will of the people who resoundingly said ‘no’ to a board leader with a great deal of individual power. My hope is that we will flood the Governor’s office with signatures from those who want him to respect voter intent and veto the bill.”

Shortly after the bill’s passage, Reick sent a letter to Governor Rauner asking him to veto HB 171. “There is strength in numbers,” Reick added. “A large showing of support for a veto could go far in influencing his final decision.”

Click here to sign the petition.
This Tuesday, November 28 is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving to worthwhile charitable organizations across the state, nation and globe. Celebrated annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is a coordinated event that promotes the act of charitable giving during the holidays. Whether you like to donate to large organizations or prefer to channel your donation dollars locally, Giving Tuesday allows us all an opportunity to participate in holiday and end-of-the-year giving.

Click here to be directed to a database of local organizations and non-profits.
This week the Governor signed legislation that provides for a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where flood damages were sustained in July.

SB 403 creates a natural disaster credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes. Counties eligible for the credit include Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside — all of which were declared state disaster areas by the governor last summer.

Qualified properties include a taxpayer’s principle residence or land owned by a small business, but not a rental or leasing business. The allowable income tax credit will be the lesser of $750 or the deduction allowed under the Internal Revenue Code for each taxpayer who owns qualified property in a county declared a state disaster area.

The bill provides that township assessors shall issue eligibility certificates for appropriately requesting property owners, and that assessors shall certify to the Illinois Department of Revenue listings of flood-damaged properties.

The fiscal impact to the state is estimated at $4.6 million, based on damages previously reported to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
State Representative Steve Reick (R- Woodstock) joined Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, IL Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah and a panel of experts on Thursday for a public hearing about the opioid crisis that claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 Illinoisans last year. The hearing, which is part of the State Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force’s listening tour, took place at the McHenry County Government Building in Woodstock.

“The opioid epidemic knows no neighborhood, no color, and no class,” said Sanguinetti. “It is not confined to alleys in urban settings, nor isolated in rural communities.”

Three panels of local individuals representing the health care industry, law enforcement and local responders, spoke to the panel and a crowded room of citizens who came to listen or testify. “The information shared at this meeting was extremely valuable,” said Reick. “The heartfelt testimony shared today helped to humanize the issue of opioid abuse in a way that simply can’t be accomplished through studying statistics.”

According to Reick, one of the most startling pieces of testimony shared on Thursday came from Sergeant Michael Muraski of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, who reported that whereas ten years ago opioid or heroin incidents represented only 5% to 10% of their caseload, today about 75% of the drug cases involve opioids or heroin. “That testimony really drives home the devastating affects these drugs are having on our communities and families,” Reick said.

Reick also pointed to personal testimony provided by Christopher Reed, a recovering opioid addict who, upon recovery, founded New Directions Addiction Recovery Services and The Other Side, a gathering place for recovering addicts which includes a “sober bar.”

The Woodstock opioid crisis hearing was the sixth field hearing held to gather information and build partnerships throughout Illinois. The State’s official Opioid Action Plan includes steps to reduce the anticipated number of opioid-related deaths by one-third over the next three years. The plan identifies three areas of focus: prevention, treatment/recovery, and response. Click here to access the plan.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the State of Illinois’ request for assistance to help people and businesses in northeastern Illinois recover from severe storms and floods that occurred July 11-27. Through the SBA approval, Illinois property and business owners in Lake, McHenry and Cook Counties are eligible to apply for low-interest, long-term loans.

To be eligible for an SBA declaration, at least 25 homes and/or businesses in a county must sustain major, uninsured losses of 40 percent or more. A damage assessment conducted in August identified 233 homes and 21 businesses in Lake County alone that sustained major damages and had uninsured losses.

Information about the disaster loan program and application deadlines is available on the SBA’s website at http://www.sba.gov/disaster.
Those who live in McHenry County may recall that a few years ago voters soundly rejected a ballot referendum question to change the operational structure of the McHenry County Board to a “County Executive” form of government. Voters said in a very loud voice that they did not want an all-powerful leader of the county board. Two thirds of all who voted said "no" to the County Executive proposal.

Shortly after the failure of that referendum, the county board placed a question before voters about whether or not the county board chairman should be popularly elected by county voters rather than by the 24 sitting county board members. Whereas the County Executive form of government would have granted a great deal of power to the individual elected to the post, McHenry County residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of a popularly-elected county board chairman with limited authority and power.

Last week in Springfield, lawmakers narrowly approved HB 171, a measure that would increase the power of the County Board Chairman in a few select Illinois counties, including McHenry County. I spoke out against the bill when it was debated, saying it would directly circumvent the expressed will of the people who resoundingly said “no” to a board leader with a great deal of individual power. 

This week I sent this letter to Governor Bruce Rauner and asked him to veto HB 171. 

Please join me in contacting the Governor and letting him know that the people of McHenry County have already voted down many of the provisions that are included in HB 171 and that he should respect voter intent and veto the bill.

Click here to access a web page where you can send a comment.

Or, you may call the Governor’s office at (217) 782-0244 (Springfield), or (312) 814-2121 (Chicago).

When voters weigh in on a measure at the ballot box, that should mean something. Please help me stop this attempt to do an end-run around the voters of McHenry County, and ask the Governor to please veto HB 171.
Fall Veto Session Concludes with Action Taken on Several Vetoed House and Senate Bills
Lawmakers were in Springfield last week for the final days of the 2017 fall veto session. Of the bills that received a partial or full veto by the Governor during the spring legislative session, more than a dozen were successfully overridden and are now Illinois law. I am pleased to report that attempts to override a vetoed bill that prohibited “right to work” zones in Illinois failed. The bill required 71 votes for an override, and on two separate attempts the bill sponsor came up short.

Legislators will spend the next few months in their home districts tending to the needs of local constituents. Members of the House of Representatives report back to Springfield on January 23, and Senators will return on January 30 for the 2018 regular session.

General Assembly Sends Comprehensive Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation to Governor
Members of the House and Senate approved a comprehensive piece of legislation last week that seeks to address the culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. SB 402 includes a mandate for annual sexual harassment training sessions for State Constitutional offices, state employees, lawmakers and lobbyists. The bill also includes a provision brought forward by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, which would create a telephone hotline for persons seeking relief in cases of sexual harassment. Examples of help that the hotline could provide could include assistance in filing a sexual harassment complaint, referral of a victim to counseling, or referral of a victim to protective services. House members received their training on November 8 and Senators received their training on November 9.

SB 402 was part of a package of sexual harassment reforms passed in the wake of allegations of misconduct at the Capitol. Other bills that seek to change the culture in Springfield include HJR 83, a resolution that condemns the culture of sexual harassment and calls on all lawmakers to work together to change the culture, and HR 687, which creates a task force on sexual discrimination and harassment.

Legislative Inspector General Appointed
The Legislative Ethics Commission, a bipartisan working group within the Illinois General Assembly, has appointed Julie Porter as a special legislative inspector general. A former federal prosecutor in Chicago, Porter will play a key role in the General Assembly’s internal disciplinary process for members and staff. The appointment came in the wake of a nationwide inquiry into sexual harassment in American workplaces.

Reports of sexual harassment can be made on a confidential basis to the Legislative Ethics Commission. With approval of the Commission, the special legislative inspector general (LIG) will examine the reports. If a complaint appears to be valid, the LIG may conduct further inquiries, and may initiate a remediation process. In some situations, the remediation process may require a referral of a specific report and case to law enforcement.

Rep. Reick to Host Mobile Office Hours in Richmond on Tuesday, November 14
My fall mobile offices tour will continue next week with an event scheduled on Tuesday, November 14 at the Nippersink District Library in Richmond from 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon. The event is part of a series of mobile office hours events meant to provide residents of the 63rd Legislative House District with easy access to their elected Springfield representative. The 63rd District includes all or portions of 14 different municipalities, so once or twice each month my legislative assistant and I travel to another District 63 community so the people I represent in Springfield can come and share their concerns and ideas at a location that is convenient for them. No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on my web site at www.repstevenreick.com

District 63 Residents Invited to Provide Testimony on Opioid Crisis at Local Hearing
The opioid crisis is a significant problem that is destroying too many families in Illinois. Residents of the 63rd District are invited to join members of the State’s Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force, including Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah, for a public hearing that will be held Thursday, November 16 at the McHenry County Offices in Woodstock. The State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan will be shared, and citizens will be offered an opportunity to share feedback on the plan and discuss next steps for addressing this crisis. The hearing will take place from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at the County offices, located at 667 Ware Road. The meeting will be held in the upstairs conference room. If you would like to attend this event, RSVPs are appreciated, but not required. To RSVP please contact Emma Ciavarella at Emma.Ciavarella@illinois.gov.

Bond Sale Allows State to Pay Off More Than $3 Billion in Past-Due Bills
The money was transferred to the Office of the Illinois Comptroller, which was authorized to sign checks to make the payments. The payment cycle reduced the estimated quantity of past-due bills owed by the State from more than $16.5 billion to less than $13.3 billion. Even after this payment cycle, Illinois continues to carry a significant backlog of past-due bills, and has the lowest credit rating of the 50 states. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have assigned the lowest rank available which still allows investment-grade bonds to be sold in the debt markets.

Reick Calls Out House Democrats on Tax Freeze Gimmick
Last Wednesday, House Democrats floated a fake tax freeze bill that most members from both parties felt they had to support. The bill, an amended version of SB 851, would have frozen local government tax levies for two years. Prior to the vote, I spoke up and pointed to the fact that the legislation was nothing more than a gimmick, when what Illinoisans really need is permanent property tax relief achieved through reforms. As I suspected, after clearing the House, the bill moved to the Senate for their concurrence of the amendment, but the bill was not called for a vote. Click here to watch my floor comments on this latest example of political gamesmanship at the Capitol.

Governor Rauner Declares Harvest Emergency
Illinois is home to 72,000 farms on 26.7 million acres, and the state is among the top three corn producers in the nation. Last week Governor Bruce Rauner declared a statewide harvest emergency to assist farmers and grain handlers who are grappling with the fallout of rain-related delays. Under a new law signed Aug. 11, the declaration permits drivers of trucks carrying agricultural commodities over state highways to obtain a free permit to exceed gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent. Further, local authorities may waive the permit requirement at their discretion. The emergency declaration is in effect for 45 days beginning Nov. 5. The Illinois Department of Transportation already is mobilizing the permitting process and notifying law enforcement agencies throughout the state. More information is available at https://truckpermits.dot.illinois.gov/.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois corn harvest at the end of October was 17 percent behind the prior year and 11 percent behind the five-year average. The corn harvests in the Northwest, Northeast and East regions are especially hard hit. Farmers made up ground toward the end of October, but early delays still are causing backups in the transportation chain.

Reick Fights to Protect Voter Intent in McHenry County
As most McHenry County residents will recall, a few years ago voters soundly rejected an effort to change the operational structure of the McHenry County Board to a “County Executive” form of government. Shortly after the failure of that referendum, the county board placed a question before voters about whether or not the county board chairman should be popularly elected by county voters rather than by the 24 sitting county board members. Whereas the County Executive form of government would have granted a great deal of power to the individual elected to the post, voters voted in favor of a popularly-elected county board chairman with limited authority and power.

Last week in Springfield, lawmakers considered HB 171, a measure that would increase the power of the County Board Chairman in a few select Illinois counties, including McHenry County. This would directly circumvent the expressed will of the people who resoundingly said “no” to a board leader with a great deal of individual power. During the bill debate on HB 171, I spoke out vehemently against bill. Click here to watch my full floor debate on the bill. In spite of strong opposition by most McHenry County lawmakers in the House, the measure was approved in a 63-48-1 vote.

Hotline and Network of Legal Services Launched to Assist Veterans and Service Members
Judicial, government and civic leaders have announced the launch of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN), the first-ever statewide hotline and network of legal support services for veterans, active-duty military, National Guard, reservists and their dependents. Through the IL-AFLAN, veterans and military personnel can obtain free legal help for urgent family, housing and consumer problems, as well as issues such as discharge upgrades and benefit appeals.

The free hotline can be accessed at 1-855-452-3526 (1-855-ILAFLAN) and is staffed by attorneys Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM. Serving as the entry point to the IL-AFLAN, the hotline will offer legal advice and brief services and then connect veterans and military personnel to legal aid providers near their community. Nine organizations, spanning every major area of the state, have received grants to provide legal aid services as part of the IL-AFLAN. To be eligible for services through this new program, veterans and active duty military members need to have an income less than 80 percent of the Chicago area median income. For a family of four, this translates into $63,000 annually.

Bicentennial Campaign will Honor 200 Illinois Veterans
State officials have announced the launch of HONOR 200, a signature program of the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration, honoring the work of 200 veterans whose contributions are above and beyond the call of duty.

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs will work with veteran's organizations throughout the state to promote HONOR 200 and solicit nominations for those who will be recognized as part of the program. Nominees will be evaluated on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community. Anyone can nominate an Illinois Veteran. Written nominations can be sent to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60601 or on-line at www.illinois.gov/veterans.

The Official Illinois Bicentennial Celebration will begin on December 3rd, 2017 with events in Springfield and Chicago. The celebration will continue with programs and events throughout 2018, ending with the Bicentennial Birthday Party on December 3rd, 2018 at the United Center. The HONOR 200 veterans will be recognized during the Birthday Gala. For information on the Bicentennial and to find out how your community can participate go to www.illinois200.gov.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) will continue his fall mobile offices tour next week with an event scheduled on Tuesday, November 14 at the Nippersink District Library in Richmond.

The event is part of a series of mobile office hours events meant to provide residents of the 63rd Legislative House District with easy access to their elected Springfield representative.

“The 63rd District includes portions of 14 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 and share their concerns and ideas at a location that is convenient for them.”

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 talking one-on-one with people as I bring my office to them in their own community,” said Reick. “I can help explain the services my office can provide while learning about their personal priorities.”

No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Reick’s web site at www.repstevenreick.com.
Yesterday in Springfield, lawmakers considered SB 2243, a measure that would increase the power of the County Board Chairman in a few select Illinois counties, including McHenry County. During the bill debate on SB 2243, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) spoke out vehemently against bill, stating that the voters of his county had already voted down a ballot proposition that would have created a “County Executive” form of government, and instead voted for a popularly-elected county board chairman with limited authority and power. Click here to watch Reick’s full floor debate on the bill. 

In spite of strong opposition by the McHenry County lawmakers in the House, the measure was approved in a 63-48-1 vote.
Today in Springfield, members of the House of Representatives approved a measure that would, among other things, freeze local government tax levies for two years. Prior to the vote, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) spoke about how the bill was nothing more than a gimmick, when what the state really needs is property tax reform. Click here to watch Reick's floor debate on the bill.
The Governor has declared a statewide harvest emergency to assist farmers and grain handlers who are grappling with the fallout of rain-related delays.

“Illinois is home to 72,000 farms on 26.7 million acres. We are among the top three corn producers in the nation,” Rauner said while visiting Stewart Farms in Yorkville Sunday afternoon. “Moving corn and other crops in a timely and efficient manner affects the bottom line of hard-working farmers. This declaration is an appropriate response to an urgent need.”

Under a new law Rauner signed Aug. 11, the declaration permits drivers of trucks carrying agricultural commodities over state highways to obtain a free permit to exceed gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent. Further, local authorities may waive the permit requirement at their discretion. The emergency declaration is in effect for 45 days beginning yesterday, Nov. 5.

The Illinois Department of Transportation already is mobilizing the permitting process and notifying law enforcement agencies throughout the state. More information is available at https://truckpermits.dot.illinois.gov/.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois corn harvest at the end of October was 17 percentage points behind the prior year and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average. The corn harvests in the Northwest, Northeast and East regions are especially hard hit. Harvesters of a variety of crops made up ground toward the end of October, but early delays still are causing backups in the transportation chain.
In an effort to connect the residents of the 63rd Legislative House District with their voice in Springfield, State Representative Steve Reick’s (R- Woodstock) mobile office hours tour will continue in the coming weeks with stops in Harvard, Richmond and Johnsburg.

“The 63rd District is geographically very large, and includes all or portions of 18 different municipalities,” said Reick. “I’ve had great success with my mobile office hours events so far, and appreciate those individuals who have stopped by to share their opinions and suggestions about the State’s government.”

The following three dates have been added to Reick’s mobile office hours calendar:
  • 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
“I recognize that my Woodstock office is not convenient for many of my constituents, and I want to make it as easy as possible for those I represent to have face-to-face conversations with me,” Reick said. “My District Office Director joins me at most of these events and is available to help citizens with issues they are having with state agencies or departments. I hope residents from throughout the 63rd District find a location near them, and stop by to share their ideas, ask questions or simply say hello.”

The 63rd Legislative House District is located in northern McHenry County, 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. Mobile office hours are held at least once each month during non-session times and rotate between the 18 communities.
Lawmakers Override Several Vetoes during First Week of 2017 Veto Session
Members of the Illinois House met in Springfield on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week to reconsider vetoes issued by the Governor to the General Assembly earlier this year. Chief sponsors of the vetoed bills could ask their colleagues to consider voting to override the veto messages. Overriding a governor’s veto requires a three-fifth majority in both houses of the General Assembly. In all, 11 vetoed bills were overridden in the House, while only two attempts to override a veto were unsuccessful in our chamber. A breakdown of last week’s vetoed bill activity in the House can be found below:
  • HB 302: Unclaimed life insurance (override successful)
  • HB 688: Firefighter/police pension transfer service credit (override successful)
  • HB 732: Residential roofing repairs (override successful)
  • HB 1797: International Port Authority Debt (override successful)
  • HB 2622: Creates a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company (override failed)
  • HB 2778: Fire protection district to annex under ETS (override successful)
  • HB 2977: Must teach cursive writing in schools (override successful)
  • HB 3143: Adds teen treatment providers to the Prompt Payment Act (override successful)
  • HB 3216: Requirements on third-party contracting by the State (override failed)
  • HB 3298: Reimbursement of the substitute teacher licensure fee (override successful)
  • HB 3419: Prohibits expatriate entities from doing business with the State (override successful)
  • HB 3649: State agency financial reports to the Comptroller (override successful)
  • SB 1905: Prohibits local right to work zones/Collective Bargaining Freedom Act (Override failed)
One bill that was overridden in spite of significant objection was HB 3419, a bill that once again makes our State less business-friendly. This bill prohibits companies that take advantage of a perfectly legal federal tax provision from bidding on state contracts, and also prohibits the state’s pension systems from investing in companies that park profits overseas legally (i.e. Apple). Given the current state of our pension systems and the dire need for the investments tied to the systems to deliver strong returns, I find it unconscionable that Illinois can no longer do business with some of the world’s most successful companies. Worst of all, the fact is this was all done just to make a political point. I was outspoken with my opposition to the bill when it was discussed on Wednesday. You can view my floor comments here.

Lawmakers will return to Springfield for the second week of veto session November 7-9.

Extreme “Gun Grab” Bill Goes Down in Flames in IL House
In the wake of the horrible shooting in Las Vegas, a number of bills have been introduced in the House which would infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. On Thursday, members of the House voted down HB 4117, a measure which would have made criminals out of lawful gun owners. The bill would have banned “bump stocks” and other “trigger modification devices,” as well as prohibited the sale of “pre-packaged explosives” to anyone without a FOID card. While on the surface those unfamiliar with different types of firearms might think the bill was a step in the right direction, in reality, the bill was an extreme overreach that would have rendered most individuals who use their guns in competitions Class II Felons for simply owning the guns they use in contests. The fact is, most guns used in competitions have had trigger modifications. The bill only received 48 of the required 71 votes needed for passage, with Republicans and Democrats alike voting against it. I stood up for the Second Amendment rights of the people I represent and spoke out against this bill as it was debated on the House floor on Thursday. You can watch my floor comments here.

Rep. Reick Serves as “Principal for a Day” at Harvard High School
Yesterday I had an opportunity to step into the shoes of a school principal and experience a day in the life of a top school administrator at Harvard High School. The “Principal for a Day” program is offered through the Illinois Principals Association, and the experience provided me with a unique glimpse into the lives that principals live in their schools every day. 

The “Principal for a Day” program, in place since 2004, is a statewide initiative to provide state and federal elected officials with an opportunity to observe, interact, and serve as an administrator in schools within their legislative districts. Thank you to Harvard High School for the invitation!

Illinois Completes $6 Billion Bond Sale to Pay Down Backlog of Unpaid Bills
The State sold $4.5 billion in general obligation bonds last week to pay down a portion of Illinois' roughly $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills. Proceeds from last Wednesday's bond sale, together with the proceeds from the $1.5 billion Series 2017ABC general obligation bonds that were sold competitively the prior week, will be used to help cut the State's backlog approximately in half by June 2018.

The State received orders from more than 100 institutional investors. The State locked in a combined cost of borrowing of 3.5 percent on the State's $6 billion in general obligation bonds issued to reduce the State's backlog. This is a significant reduction in the carrying cost of the State's backlog obligation, a portion of which has been accruing late payment interest of 9 to 12 percent.

Mobile Office Hours Continue in 63rd District
I’ve had great success with 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.

Plans Unveiled for Illinois Innovation Network
Plans were recently unveiled for an Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to help ignite the state’s economy through a $1.2 billion network of research universities, businesses, and public sector partners focused on the development of solutions in computing and big data, advanced materials, food and agriculture, and biosciences and health. The network will help ensure a knowledge-based, 21st century economy in Illinois where discovery and innovation are the focal points. The plan is to nurture the inventors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow by allowing them to hone their talents in Illinois. The network will be led by the University of Illinois System, with universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield and satellite campuses in Peoria and Rockford. The University of Chicago and Northwestern University will be inaugural partners.
This week in Springfield, lawmakers voted to override a veto issued by Governor Rauner that would prohibit some of the world’s most successful companies from doing business with the State of Illinois. Prior to the 75-36 vote (71 votes were needed for the override), State Rep. Steve Reick corrected what he referred to as “bait and switch” information that had been floated about HB 3419. After making his comments, Reick voted against the veto override. Click here to watch Reick’s floor comments on the bill.
Today in Springfield State Representative Steve Reick (R- Woodstock) stood up for the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners in Illinois by voting against poorly-crafted anti-gun legislation. HB 4117 was an overreaching bill that would have rendered many lawful gun owners guilty of a Class II Felony by merely possessing guns they already own. The bill failed in a 48-54 vote with 16 State Representatives choosing not to vote. Click here to watch Reick’s floor speech in opposition to the bill.
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.