This week Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation that protects civil liberties and Second Amendment rights, while providing law enforcement and family with tools to temporarily remove firearms from unstable individuals who would use guns to harm themselves or others. Reick was one of the lead Republican negotiators of the bipartisan bill, and ensured that the final product preserved the rights of lawful gun owners and included due process for any individual who would have their guns temporarily seized.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) joined Governor Bruce Rauner today for the signing of legislation that will help prevent people who are a threat to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing guns. HB 2354, which received bipartisan support in the House and Senate, was signed in Chicago at a ceremony attended by Democrat and Republican lawmakers and representatives from several branches of law enforcement. Reick was a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.

“The legislation signed into law today addresses the growing problem of unstable people using guns to cause harm, while also protecting gun owners’ rights,” said Reick. “The firearms restraining order bill that was sent to us by the Senate represented an extreme overreach into the civil liberties and Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners. It also lacked adequate due process for the individuals from whom firearms would be removed. I was pleased to work with the Chief sponsor of the bill to create language that helps remove guns from mentally unstable individuals without trampling on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement can petition the court for an emergency firearms restraining order. There then must be a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days requesting a six-month restraining order at which time the respondent will have the right to attend and respond. The standard of proof for an emergency order is probable cause that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others by owning or having access to firearms. If probable cause is found, the court will issue an emergency firearms restraining order and shall issue a warrant directing law enforcement to search the respondent’s property and seize his/her firearms. At that point, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will have the authority to suspend the respondent’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and concealed carry license. 

If an emergency firearms order of protection is issued, the respondent is guaranteed the right to a full hearing, at which time it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a danger to him/herself or others. If the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties are also written into the bill that provide for penalties of perjury for any individual who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

“I believe this negotiated bill is the best of its kind in the nation,” said Reick. “It is already being viewed as a national model.”
At a recent joint meeting of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees, a former Walter Payton College Preparatory student testified that the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) teacher who sexually abused her at school when she was 14 is now collecting a taxpayer-funded pension. Outraged by her testimony, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has filed legislation that would strip teachers who molest school children of their public pensions.

“I was shocked to learn that there was no provision in Illinois law to take these child predators’ pensions away,” said Reick. “School is a place where students should feel safe, and we’ve learned of numerous instances where the teachers charged with protecting kids have actually been sexually abusing them. And this is not just limited to CPS. There are cases right here in McHenry and Kane Counties alleging sexual misconduct by teachers toward students. It’s sickening.”

HB 5929, filed July 9 in Springfield, would amend the Chicago and Downstate Articles of the Pension Code to allow the forfeiture of pension benefits of any teacher who is found through an administrative hearing to have sexually abused a student. “This legislation puts Illinois teachers on notice that when they sign up for a public pension, they do so knowing that the benefit will be taken away if they violate a child,” Reick said. “It’s a real shame that we even need to legislate this. In the case of former Walter Payton College Prep student Morgan Aranda, it’s as though her abuser was rewarded for his despicable acts.”

While Reick said he would have preferred to write legislation that would retroactively remove pensions from child abusers, the pension guarantee written into the Illinois Constitution prohibits it. His bill would apply to any teacher hired after the effective date of the bill. Reick expects wide, bipartisan support of his legislation and hopes it will be heard during the legislature’s upcoming fall veto session. If passed and signed into law, the provisions of HB 5929 would take effect immediately.
Legislation championed by State Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) that will help ease Illinois’ teacher shortage has been signed into law. HB 5627 (now Public Act 100-0596), for which Reick served as Chief Co-Sponsor, removes red tape that is keeping well-trained educators out of Illinois classrooms.

“This is common sense legislation that ensures that quality teachers are in Illinois classrooms,” said Reick. “My office was working with a retired teacher from Woodstock who was named one of the top ten educators in the state during his tenure. This individual found the process to become a substitute teacher to be tedious and extremely expensive. I was pleased to help pass legislation that addressed this and other issues that have made it difficult for schools to find and retain an excellent workforce.”

According to Reick, the new law provides for the following:
  • Full reciprocity of out-of-state applicants for an Illinois Professional Educator License, which would allow out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois without meeting additional requirements 
  • Makes numerous changes to the Substitute Teaching License law to ease the process for out-of-state licensed teachers and retired teachers with lapsed licenses to work as substitute teachers 
  • Eases requirements for the timing of completion of professional development 
  • Retired educators could work in school districts through June 30, 2020 a total of 120 paid days or 600 paid hours each school year without infringing on earned pension benefits 
  • A short-term substitute teaching license would be established for individuals who hold an associate’s degree or have earned at least 60 hours toward a degree from an accredited institution of higher education 
“These are excellent changes that should ease the process for those who would like to teach in Illinois schools,” said Reick. “The standards remain high for the caliber of individual we would entrust to our public school classrooms, but much of the red tape and expense is removed.”

The provisions of the new law took effect on July 1.
A recent Chicago Tribune investigative report uncovered 523 cases of sexual violence committed against students who attended Chicago Public Schools (CPS) between 2008-2017. In many instances, school officials who were required by law to report the suspected or alleged abuse, failed to do so. Today, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) filed legislation that would provide for the immediate suspension or revocation of the license of any Illinois educator or other school district employee who negligently fails to report an instance of suspected child abuse or neglect.

While the statutes already provide for dismissal of a school employee who willfully fails to report suspected abuse, through HB 5923, acts of negligent failure to report would be added to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.

“In cases when abuse is suspected in a school, teachers and other employees are mandatory reporters,” said Reick, who sits on the Illinois House of Representative’s Elementary & Secondary Education- Curriculum & Policies Committee. “Current laws only provide a path for removal of those who willfully make a choice not to report suspected abuse. My bill expands the ability to remove an employee to also include those displaying simple negligence. Whether the failure to report is willful or not, it is inexcusable, and school boards need broad tools at their disposal to dismiss those who fail to fulfill their responsibilities as mandatory reporters.”

During a June 20 joint hearing before the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees, Reick asked Stephanie Jones, General Council for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), if adding “negligent failure to report” to the list of reasons why an employee could have their license suspended or revoked would be beneficial. Jones said it would be extremely helpful.

“We don’t want these child predators to get off the hook due to a technicality,” Reick said. “Failure to report is a criminal offense, and this complete failure to protect the children in their care should lead to an immediate suspension or firing. I have no doubt that these horrific crimes against children are not limited to CPS. My bill would grant broader dismissal authority statewide when mandatory reporting requirements are ignored.”

Reick expects the bill to be heard during the November veto session. If approved and signed, its provisions would take effect immediately.
Today in Chicago, a joint committee of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees began gathering information and testimony about ongoing instances of sexual abuse against students who attend Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The subject matter hearing was prompted by a recent Chicago Tribune investigative report that unveiled 523 instances of sexual abuse against CPS students over the last ten years.

State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), who sits on the House K-12 Education- Curriculum and Policies Committee, grilled representatives from CPS about ongoing abuse that has been highlighted in newspaper articles that span more than 30 years, and the lack of corrective measures that have been implemented. “I am outraged,” said Reick. “Not by the fact that we don’t have the policies and procedures in place, but by the fact that your people, and people going back 32 years, did nothing. You shoved it under the rug. You took those young ladies and told them that ‘it’s your fault.’ You let those teachers resign instead of holding them accountable and taking away their pensions.”

Reick went on to say, “I want to see in any piece of legislation that comes out of this that anybody who is accused of doing this and there’s any reason to suspect that they actually did it, those people are going to lose their pensions if I have anything to say about it.”

Committee members heard from several panels during the 6 1/2-hour hearing. The first to testify was a panel of two victims of sexual abuse from CPS teachers. Lawmakers also heard testimony from CPS, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).

In questioning an attorney for CPS, Reick said, “I cannot believe that (CPS schools CEO) Janice Jackson is not sitting there right here, right now taking responsibility for her part in this because she’s been in CPS for a long time,” Reick said. “I cannot believe that the people who have been in CPS all these years haven’t known what’s going on.”

The joint committee chairs said their goal is to use the testimony to help craft new public policy to improve protections for students, and strengthen accountability measures within school districts where sexual abuse charges are brought forward by students or families. Click here to watch a segment of Reick’s questioning of CPS representatives.
House Adjourns 2018 Spring Session
Following more than four months of committee and floor action, the Illinois House adjourned on Thursday, May 31, after passing a $38.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019. At the sound of the adjournment gavel, members of the General Assembly passed a total of 421 bills for the year. Of these, 332 originated in the House and 89 originated in the Senate. Governor Rauner has already begun taking final action on these bills.

On Monday, June 4, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bills into law. Without this bipartisan agreement, Illinois would have been saddled with an “auto-pilot” budget that would have increased spending by $1.2 billion. The budget includes no new taxes or fees, and marks the first time in several years that lawmakers have come together and approved a balanced budget prior to the scheduled May 31 adjournment date of the General Assembly. Here are a few highlights from the new budget that will take effect on July 1:

Investment in K-12 Schools and Colleges/Universities
  • Additional $350 million investment into K-12 education; 
  • $50 million in support of early childhood education; 
  • 2% increase in funding for higher education institutions—to reduce pressure to raise tuition; 
  • A new, merit-based scholarship program, “AIM High,” funded by $25 million from the state and $25 million from universities to help keep students in-state; 
  • $4.3 million for veteran grant reimbursements to apply to all Illinois community colleges, and continues to fund the MAP Grant Program for students with financial need. 
Pension Reform
  • Caps end-of-career salary increases to prevent pension spiking; 
  • Funds a voluntary pension cost of living adjustment (COLA) buyout, modeled after Missouri's successful plan (Estimated savings of buyout: approx. $455 million); 
  • Makes a full pension payment (rather than skipping it or making a partial payment). 
Capital and Roadways
  • $2.5 billion into the Department of Transportation’s road program to make much-needed repairs to roads across the state; 
  • Provides funding for State Police to hire 100 new police cadets to keep roadways and communities safer; 
  • $53 million for Quincy Veterans’ Home (largest veterans’ home in Illinois) to fund its renovation and eliminate the presence of Legionnaires' disease. 
While the budget is not perfect, and we have much work still to do with regard to reforms to stimulate Illinois' economy and provide real property tax relief, it provides a foundation to build upon in the future, and is a product of true partisan compromise at the Capitol.

The House and Senate will return to Springfield on Tuesday, November 13 for Veto Session, which is the six-day period set aside for consideration of the Governor’s vetoes of bills passed by both houses. In addition, committees and task forces will continue working throughout the summer and fall.

I will be spending a great deal of time in my district office so I can meet with constituents about issues of concern. If you would like to come in and talk, please call my office at (815) 880-5340 to make an appointment.

Free Senior Fair Set for June 28
Plans are coming together for my Second Annual Senior Resource Fair, which will be held on Thursday, June 28 from 10:00 AM until noon at Johnsburg High School, 2002 W. Ringwood Road in Johnsburg. 

Those who attend can visit more than 20 booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors, and register for a chance to win a door prize. Helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will also be available. Free blood pressure screenings will also be available at the event. No pre-registration is necessary.

Rep. Reick Seeks Community Input through Legislative Survey
If you live in McHenry County, I’d appreciate your input on a 2018 legislative survey I recently posted to my web site (www.repstevenreick.com). The results will be a valuable tool as I represent the issues and priorities of the 63rd District and all of McHenry County in Springfield. Difficult votes are coming, and I want to be sure I have a solid understanding of my constituents’ expectations. The survey includes several multiple choice questions, and participants will also be offered an opportunity to subscribe to an E-newsletter that includes regular updates on legislation and other issues affecting McHenry County and the State of Illinois. I will read every survey that is completed, and I look forward to seeing the results. If, after completing the survey, you would like to add additional comments, please send me an email at reick@ilhousegop.org

“ON TO 2050” Draft Plan Comment Period Open
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is nearing completion of the “ON TO 2050” comprehensive regional plan. A draft version is available for public viewing until August 14. CMAP is holding a series of ten open houses and one public hearing, so people can discuss the proposal with CMAP staff. CMAP will also present for comment the draft 2019-2024 Transportation Improvement Program and air quality conformity analysis of proposed transportation projects. The draft plan is posted at this link, which will also include an area where the public can submit written comments. All open houses will take place from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM. While only one open house is scheduled for McHenry County, two others are nearby in Kane and Lake Counties: 
  • Tuesday, June 19, McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road in Woodstock 
  • Wednesday, June 27, Kane County Government Center, 719 South Batavia Avenue in Geneva 
  • Thursday, July 12, Libertyville Village Hall, 118 West Cook Avenue in Libertyville 
The public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25, from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM at the MAP headquarters in Chicago, located at 233 South Wacker Drive, 8th Floor.

$69.5 Million in IDOT Funds Coming to 63rd District Between 2019-2024
I’m pleased to announce that close to $69.5 million of an $11.05 billion statewide road and bridge improvement program will be spent on projects in the 63rd District between 2019-2024. The projects are part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year Proposed Highway Improvement Program, which is funded annually through IDOT’s budget. 

District 63 projects included in IDOTs six-year program include:
  • $890,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on US 12 from IL 173 to Tryon Grove Road in Richmond 
  • $2,600,000 for resurfacing on US 12 from IL 31/Tryon Grove Road to the Lake County Line in Richmond and Spring Grove 
  • $529,000 for milled rumble stripping on US 12 from Wilmot Road to Fox Lake Road and Kuhn Road to North Solon Road, and on IL 173 from west of Lake Avenue to 7th Avenue in Richmond 
  • $2,000,000 for bridge deck overlay, joint repair and bridge repair on US 14, IL 173 and on Division Street at the railroad crossing at McComb Street in Harvard 
  • $2,995,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from Bunker Hill Road to IL 47 
  • $1,110,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from IL 47 (Eastwood Drive) to Lake Shore Drive in Woodstock 
  • $5,060,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on US 20 from the Boone County line to I-90 in Marengo and Hampshire 
  • $1,300,000 for channelization on US 20 at West Union Road and at Coral Road in Marengo 
  • $1,426,000 for culvert replacement on US 20 at the creek west of Beck Road in Marengo 
  • $3,240,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Marengo-Beck Road and Union Road in Marengo 
  • $2,350,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Harmony Road in Coral Township 
  • $600,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 23 near the drainage ditch at IL 176 in Marengo 
  • $2,040,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from US 12 to south of Johnsburg Road in Ringwood 
  • $650,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from Diamond Drive to McCullum Lake Road in Ringwood and McHenry 
  • $5,800,000 for engineering for safety improvements on IL 31 south of IL 120 to north of IL 176 and near the drainage ditch four miles south of US 12 in McHenry, Prairie Grove, Crystal Lake and Ringwood 
  • $770,000 for culvert replacement on IL 31 at the drainage ditch six miles north of IL 176 in McHenry 
  • $695,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on IL 47 from State Line Road to IL 173 in Hebron 
  • $1,050,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 47 at the drainage ditch west of Wilke Road in Hebron 
  • $1,075,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from Charles Road to north of IL 120 in Woodstock 
  • $1,025,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from north of IL 120 to US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $2,850,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 47 between IL 120 and IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $2,430,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from US 14 to south of IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $3,536,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from south of IL 176 to Reed Road in Lakewood and Huntley 
  • $230,000 for culvert replacement on IL 120 at the ditch 1.2 miles east of US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $7,400,000 for resurfacing and a railroad flagger on IL 120 from Charles Road to west of 3rd Street and from the Fox River to the Lake County line in McHenry and Lakemoor 
  • $5,840,000 for resurfacing ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 173 from Alden Road to the Lake County line in Hebron and Richmond 
  • $385,000 for land acquisition and culvert repair on IL 173 at the north branch of the Nippersink east of Hunt Club Road in Richmond 
  • $1,600,000 for land acquisition and channelization on IL 173 at Solon Road at Lakeview Road in Richmond 
  • $7,600,000 for land acquisition and left turn lanes, a milled rumble strip, a guardrail and pavement widening on IL 176 from Deerpass Road to Dean Street in Marengo and Woodstock 
  • $400,000 for culvert replacement on IL 176 at the ditch 1.1 miles west of IL 47 and the drainage ditch 8.6 miles east of IL 23 in Woodstock and Marengo 
Based on current funding levels, the FY 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the State. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.

Reick to Partner with Woodstock Food Pantry and City of Woodstock for Free Shred Event and Food Collection Drive
Please mark your calendar for Saturday, August 18, when I will host a free document shredding event in the rear lot of my legislative office at 1072 Lake Avenue in Woodstock. From 9:00 AM until noon, residents can drop off up to two garbage-sized bags or two banker-sized boxes of documents to be fed into a large shred truck that will be on site. Just follow the sign that directs cars through the lot, and my volunteers will take your documents for shredding. 

We’ll also be collecting non-perishable items for the Woodstock Food Pantry, so please plan to stop by. We’ll shred your documents and collect a few items for the food pantry. Visit my website at http://www.repstevenreick.com often for additional information about these and other upcoming events.

Rep. Reick Demands Public Hearings in Light of Tribune Investigative Report Detailing Ongoing Sexual Violence against CPS Students
I was deeply troubled by a recent Chicago Tribune investigative report that outlined hundreds of cases of sexual violence and abuse against students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. As a member of the House of Representatives’ K-12 Curriculum and Policies Committee, after reading the initial article, I immediately contacted the chair of the committee and demanded public hearings into this sickening abuse of power over children. It’s a betrayal of the highest level, and the members of the General Assembly deserve some answers. 

The June 3 article unveiled sexual abuse in CPS through an examination of crime data between 2008 and 2017. The investigative report outlined how ineffective background checks, sloppy oversight and blatant efforts to hide instances of sexual abuse led to ongoing acts of sexual violence against students. According to the Tribune, police investigated 523 reports of children claiming to be sexually assaulted or abused inside CPS buildings between 2008-2017.

It is clear that CPS has done very little to address these crimes against children. It seems there are adult predators in positions of authority in CPS schools and in some cases teachers and principals failed to alert child welfare investigators the moment a situation was reported. The negligence shown by CPS cannot be allowed to continue. Since it is clear that CPS did not take adequate steps to change this sickening culture in the schools, the General Assembly will. The Tribune reported only on the instances of abuse they uncovered through police reports. I have to wonder how many students also suffered, or continue to suffer, abuse within the walls of CPS but have not come forward. Sweeping changes need to occur in order to change this culture where predators are allowed access to students during the school day, and public hearings before the General Assembly’s Education Committee are a good start.

$16 Million in Agriculture Grants Released
In March of this year, I petitioned Governor Bruce Rauner to release current budget year funds earmarked for agriculture support in Illinois. The money was included in the budget, but never delivered. I’m pleased to announce that that the $16 million in agriculture grants included in this year’s budget have finally been released. This money will fund soil and water districts, county fairs and agriculture societies, and the University of Illinois Extension services. 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which protects our state’s farmland through strategic conservation efforts, will receive $6 million. The 97 districts around the state play a central role in efforts to protect and sustain the viability of Illinois soil and water resources in order to preserve our farmland for future generations. The Department will be issuing more than $61,000 to each of the districts to help fund operations.

More than $54,000 will be sent to each of the 92 county fairs across the state. It will help operations at the fairs and may be used to support critical facility rehabilitation needs. Illinois county fairs are economic drivers for rural Illinois. A study from the University of Illinois shows county fairs generate more than $90 million annually and create more than 1,000 jobs each summer. In addition to providing family friendly entertainment, county fairs provide an outlet for our state’s youth to become involved and engaged in Illinois agriculture.

More than 1.5 million Illinois residents take part in programs offered by the University of Illinois Extension Service. Extension provides educational assistance in the areas of energy and environmental stewardship, food safety and security, economic development and workforce preparedness, family health, financial security and wellness, and youth development. The Department of Agriculture will disperse $5 million dollars to assist the organization with its core mission.

Seniors from the 63rd Legislative House District in McHenry County are invited to attend a free Senior Fair sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) on Thursday, June 28. The fair will take place from 10:00 AM until noon at Johnsburg High School, 2002 W. Ringwood Road, in Johnsburg.

Seniors and those who help care for them can visit more than 20 booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors, and register for a chance to win a door prize. Blood pressure screenings will also be available. In addition, helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will be distributed.

“My staff and I are bringing several not-for-profit organizations, businesses and medical professionals together under one roof,” said Reick. “These professionals focus on improving the lives of senior citizens, so I expect it will be a very well-attended event.”

No pre-registration is necessary. For additional information, please contact Rep. Reick’s district office at (815) 880-5340.

State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) announced today that almost $69.5 million of an $11.05 billion statewide road and bridge improvement program will be spent on projects in the 63rd Legislative House District. The projects were announced recently as part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year Proposed Highway Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2019-2024.

“I’m happy to see so many projects coming to the 63rd District over the next six years,” said Reick. “Keeping our infrastructure in good condition not only provides safety to our residents, but it also helps the economy thrive by providing good-paying jobs for Illinois’ work force.”

District 63 projects included in IDOTs six-year program include:
  • $890,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on US 12 from IL 173 to Tryon Grove Road in Richmond 
  • $2,600,000 for resurfacing on US 12 from IL 31/Tryon Grove Road to the Lake County Line in Richmond and Spring Grove 
  • $529,000 for milled rumble stripping on US 12 from Wilmot Road to Fox Lake Road and Kuhn Road to North Solon Road, and on IL 173 from west of Lake Avenue to 7th Avenue in Richmond 
  • $2,000,000 for bridge deck overlay, joint repair and bridge repair on US 14, IL 173 and on Division Street at the railroad crossing at McComb Street in Harvard 
  • $2,995,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from Bunker Hill Road to IL 47 
  • $1,110,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from IL 47 (Eastwood Drive) to Lake Shore Drive in Woodstock 
  • $5,060,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on US 20 from the Boone County line to I-90 in Marengo and Hampshire 
  • $1,300,000 for channelization on US 20 at West Union Road and at Coral Road in Marengo 
  • $1,426,000 for culvert replacement on US 20 at the creek west of Beck Road in Marengo 
  • $3,240,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Marengo-Beck Road and Union Road in Marengo 
  • $2,350,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Harmony Road in Coral Township 
  • $600,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 23 near the drainage ditch at IL 176 in Marengo 
  • $2,040,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from US 12 to south of Johnsburg Road in Ringwood 
  • $650,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from Diamond Drive to McCullum Lake Road in Ringwood and McHenry 
  • $5,800,000 for engineering for safety improvements on IL 31 south of IL 120 to north of IL 176 and near the drainage ditch four miles south of US 12 in McHenry, Prairie Grove, Crystal Lake and Ringwood 
  • $770,000 for culvert replacement on IL 31 at the drainage ditch six miles north of IL 176 in McHenry 
  • $695,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on IL 47 from State Line Road to IL 173 in Hebron 
  • $1,050,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 47 at the drainage ditch west of Wilke Road in Hebron 
  • $1,075,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from Charles Road to north of IL 120 in Woodstock 
  • $1,025,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from north of IL 120 to US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $2,850,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 47 between IL 120 and IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $2,430,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from US 14 to south of IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $3,536,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from south of IL 176 to Reed Road in Lakewood and Huntley 
  • $230,000 for culvert replacement on IL 120 at the ditch 1.2 miles east of US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $7,400,000 for resurfacing and a railroad flagger on IL 120 from Charles Road to west of 3rd Street and from the Fox River to the Lake County line in McHenry and Lakemoor 
  • $5,840,000 for resurfacing ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 173 from Alden Road to the Lake County line in Hebron and Richmond 
  • $385,000 for land acquisition and culvert repair on IL 173 at the north branch of the Nippersink east of Hunt Club Road in Richmond 
  • $1,600,000 for land acquisition and channelization on IL 173 at Solon Road at Lakeview Road in Richmond 
  • $7,600,000 for land acquisition and left turn lanes, a milled rumble strip, a guardrail and pavement widening on IL 176 from Deerpass Road to Dean Street in Marengo and Woodstock 
  • $400,000 for culvert replacement on IL 176 at the ditch 1.1 miles west of IL 47 and the drainage ditch 8.6 miles east of IL 23 in Woodstock and Marengo 
Based on current funding levels, the FY 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the State. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.

Upon announcing the statewide infrastructure plan, Governor Bruce Rauner said, “Illinois is a transportation hub for the nation, facilitating commerce from coast to coast. By investing in that infrastructure and regularly repairing and upgrading our roads, we preserve a vital resource that brings jobs and economic opportunity to our state, and ensures roads are safe for Illinois families.”
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), who serves on the House of Representatives’ K-12 Curriculum and Policies Committee, is demanding hearings into information made public over the weekend that involves multiple cases of sexual violence against students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system.

“The Tribune’s investigative report was difficult to read. It made me sick to my stomach,” said Reick. “The parents of these students send their kids to school believing the adults in the buildings will keep them safe. Instead, we’re learning that some students were groped and even raped, while school leaders tried to hide systemic instances of abuse. It’s a betrayal of the highest level, and the members of the General Assembly deserve some answers.”

Reick pointed to a Chicago Tribune report published on June 3 that unveiled sexual abuse in CPS through an examination of crime data between 2008 and 2017. The investigative report outlined how ineffective background checks, sloppy oversight and blatant efforts to hide instances of sexual abuse led to ongoing acts of sexual violence against students. According to the Tribune, police investigated 523 reports of children claiming to be sexually assaulted or abused inside CPS buildings between 2008-2017.

“It is clear that CPS has done very little to address these crimes against children,” Reick said. “It appears there are adult predators in positions of authority in CPS schools and in some cases teachers and principals failed to alert child welfare investigators the moment a situation was reported. Failure to report is a criminal offense.”

According to Reick, the Tribune uncovered several instances where individuals working within the CPS system who were accused of abuse had prior arrests related to alleged sexual offenses involving children, or other arrests that should have disqualified them for employment or volunteer work within CPS.

“The negligence shown by CPS cannot be allowed to continue. Since it is clear that CPS did not take adequate steps to change this sickening culture in the schools, the General Assembly will,” added Reick. “The Tribune reported only on the instances of abuse they uncovered through police reports. I have to wonder how many students also suffered, or continue to suffer, abuse within the walls of CPS but have not come forward. Sweeping changes need to occur in order to change this culture where predators are allowed access to students during the school day, and public hearings before the General Assembly’s Education Committee are a good start.”
On May 29 the family of one of Woodstock's greatest community volunteers traveled to Springfield as Harlow "Bud" Swartout Jr. was recognized through an honorary House resolution sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick. In attendance for the reading of the resolutions were Bud's daughter Nancy Lawson, her husband Bernie Lawson, their son Ethan Lawson and their daughter Sarah Lams.

Click here to view a video of Reik's floor comments.

Click here to read the resolution.

Citizens from Illinois’ 63rd Legislative House District are invited to join State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) and local tax assessment experts on Wednesday, June 6 for a free seminar on understanding the property tax assessment process and learning how to appeal property tax assessments. The event will be held from 6:30 PM until 8:00 PM in the 2nd Floor Conference Rooms at the McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road in Woodstock.

Joining Reick at the informational session will be McHenry County Chief Assessment Officer Robert Ross and several township assessors who service taxpayers living in the 63rd District. “At a time when many homeowners feel they are being taxed out of their homes, it is important that they understand the assessment process and know what remedies are available to them,” said Reick. “It’s my pleasure to bring these tax assessment experts together to explain how tax bills are created and outline the process to follow if a taxpayer believes they are being over-assessed.”

After a presentation and facilitated questions, attendees will have an opportunity to ask specific questions to a panel of township assessors representing most townships within the 63rd District.

For more information about this free event, please contact Representative Reick’s office at (815) 880-5340.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is sending legislation to Governor Bruce Rauner that clarifies dental coverage so that dentists are better able to follow up if payment issues arise.

SB 2851 would require dental insurance cards to include specific information that identifies the insurance coverage is part of health benefit plan offering dental services or a dental plan subject to regulation by the Department Insurance. “Because there are different types of dental plans available, dentists who perform dental care services often don’t know who to contact when payment is delayed or rejected,” said Reick. “The new card data would provide dentists with information so they would know up front if a payment is supposed to be coming straight to the dentist or if the check would be sent to the patient who would then be responsible for paying the bill.”

According to Reick, the idea for the legislation was brought forward by the Illinois State Dental Society. With unanimous support in the both the House and Senate, SB 2851 now moves to Governor Rauner for final action.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has received wide, bipartisan House support for legislation that eases the process for school districts to fill vacancies on boards of education when no one from the school district has expressed an interest in serving.

According to Reick, some school districts find it difficult to fill positions on their boards of education. Currently, when no one steps up to serve, the board members appoint an individual to fill a vacancy. SB 2900 provides school districts with an additional tool to ensure school board positions are filled. “Especially in rural districts, this is often a significant problem,” said Reick. “Given the impact on tax bills that are tied to school district operations, it has become necessary for the General Assembly to step in and help ensure these boards are operating with full membership.”

Through SB 2900, if a school board is forced to fill a vacancy due to a lack of available candidates, the board would then, by resolution, submit a referendum question to voters at the next general election that would allow for the at-large election of a board member from within the boundaries of the school district.

“Obviously, the best scenario is for school boards to be comprised entirely by individuals who meet the residency requirements for the office,” Reick said. “But in the instances when that is not possible, this bill provides a valuable tool to help fill vacancies.”

SB 2900 received unanimous approval in the Senate in April, and now moves to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk for his signature.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has received the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Award for Conservative Achievement for his voting record in 2017.

The Foundation scored every State Representative and Senator according to their votes on 23 key bills, and Reick earned an 88% approval rating. Click here to view the Foundation report. The 23 bills that were scored can be found on pages 12-13, and Reick’s individual scoring can be found on page 16.

“I am a strong advocate for conservative values and my voting record reflects that,” said Reick, who is serving his first term in the Illinois General Assembly as the Representative for the 63rd District. “It is an honor to be recognized for the votes I took in this area and I appreciate this recognition from the American Conservative Union Foundation.”

According to the Foundation, the overall average score in the Illinois House of Representatives was just 46%, with House Republicans recording an average score of 80% and House Democrats recording an average score of 19%.
By a vote of 80-32-1, the House of Representatives today struck a balance between civil liberties and Second Amendment rights and improved public safety by approving a method by which family members or law enforcement can seek an emergency firearms restraining order to remove firearms from individuals posing an immediate threat to themselves and/or others. State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), an avid supporter of gun rights, was a leading Republican negotiator of the language in the bill. He is also a Chief Co-Sponsor.

“Our Second Amendment rights are under threat- not because of random gun violence, because statistics tell us that acts of random gun violence are going down in this country,” said Reick. “What’s going to destroy the Second Amendment is the public outrage that comes when we see senseless mass shootings like we saw in Parkland, in Texas, and in other locations around our country. The people who did those shootings gave off signals. They let people know that danger was imminent. Family members see that and need tools to help them separate their loved one from their weapons during their time of urgent need.”

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement can petition the court for an emergency firearms restraining order. There then must be a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days requesting a six-month restraining order at which time the respondent will have the right to attend and respond. The standard of proof for an emergency order is probable cause that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others by owning or having access to firearms. If probable cause is found, the court will issue an emergency firearms restraining order and shall issue a warrant directing law enforcement to search the respondent’s property and seize his/her firearms. At that point, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will have the authority to suspend the respondent’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and concealed carry license.

If an emergency firearms order of protection is issued, the respondent is guaranteed the right to a full hearing, at which time it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a danger to him/herself or others. If the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties are also written into the bill that provide for penalties of perjury for any individual who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

“I believe this negotiated bill is the best of its kind in the nation,” said Reick. “I fully expect it to become the national model. It includes strong civil liberty and Second Amendment protections while responding to the sad reality that mentally unstable people will and do use their guns to harm themselves and others. It was a privilege to help write this bill.”

HB 2354 now moves back to the Senate for reconsideration. If approved, it will be sent to the Governor for final action. Click here to listen to Reick’s floor comments about the bill. Click here to listen to Reick’s response to the NRA’s last-minute decision to oppose the bill and comments by a colleague that question the court’s right to interfere.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is joining Governor Bruce Rauner in announcing that Harvard has been chosen as one of 327 “Opportunity Zones” approved by the U.S. Treasury. The Opportunity Zones program encourages long-term investment and job creation in low-income areas of the state, by allowing investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains in designated census tracts.

According to Reick, the Harvard parcel is bordered on the north by the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, on the west by the McHenry-Boone County line, on the east by IL Route 14, and on the south by IL Route 173. “This parcel in Harvard is ripe for job growth and economic opportunity,” said Reick. “I am pleased to see that Governor Rauner shares that opinion and included this tract of land in his final recommendation to the U.S. Treasury.”

Established by the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones present an opportunity for private, tax-free investment in low-income areas with economic need, benefitting residents living in the zones and private investors. Through the selection process, Governor Rauner was eligible to nominate 25% (327) of the state’s 1,305 qualifying low-income census tracts as Opportunity Zones.

“Illinois is the epicenter of commerce in the Midwest and, as such, our people and our businesses are uniquely positioned to leverage the state’s assets into enterprise and job creation,” Rauner said.

To determine the most effective tracts for nomination, a three-phase approach was implemented to identify need and potential, adequately represent the entire state, and account for public input. Phase one involved need-based indexing depending on factors like poverty rates, specifically those among children, unemployment rates, crime rates and population.

Phase two and three were used to further identify the 327 tracts Illinois could nominate under the federal program guidelines. To ensure a statewide benefit, each county with qualifying tracts received at least one zone and towns and cities across the state were limited on the number of zones included.
The McHenry County Department of Transportation has imposed a weight restriction on the Johnsburg Road bridge over Dutch Creek between Route 31 and Spring Grove Road. New limits are 32 tons for single-unit vehicles and 37 tons for vehicles with three or more axles.
Supporters of independent redistricting (fair maps) in the State of Illinois have once again been denied an opportunity to vote on whether or not the map-making process for Illinois should be removed from the hands of politicians. The deadline for putting such a measure on the November 6 ballot was Sunday, May 6.

Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution requires a minimum six-month window between when a constitutional amendment ballot referendum is approved by three-fifths of both chambers of the General Assembly and the next General Election. Consequently, there will be no “Fair Maps” referendum on the November 6 ballot this year.

State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), who co-sponsored two pieces of fair maps legislation this year, said the lack of legislative action signals “business as usual” in Springfield. “The controlling party in Springfield has no interest in instituting a fair and transparent process for the drawing of legislative districts,” said Reick. “It is just one more example of politics trumping good policy in our state. There is overwhelming bipartisan support for fair maps, yet those in charge of bringing a fair maps initiative to the floor of the House and Senate for a vote chose to ignore the public’s support. Instead, Democrat leaders from both chambers decided it was more important to keep control of that process for their own political gain.”

Reick is a Chief Co-Sponsor of HJRCA 46, which would provide for the creation of an independent legislative redistricting commission that would lead a detailed review process of maps submitted by any Illinoisan who would wish to suggest a map. The commission, appointed equally by the four legislative leaders from the Republican and Democratic caucuses, would provide the public with necessary data and tools with which to create map proposals, and a multi-faceted scoring rubric would be used to rank all submissions with higher scores generated by maps that keep municipalities and counties together and which are compact in nature.

He is also a co-sponsor of HR 995, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process for the upcoming redistricting cycle. Both proposals would have applied to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the elections to be held in 2022.

Reick posted an online petition for those who oppose gerrymandered legislative maps and support a fair maps process, and encourages all Illinoisans who support fair maps to sign it.
This week a few House Republicans got together and put together a short video which explains their opposition to a proposal floated by House Democrats that Illinois move to a progressive, or graduated income tax system. They sell this as a "tax on the rich," but in reality, their proposal attacks middle class Illinoisans who are already paying some of the highest taxes in the nation. Rep. Steve Reick is one of the lawmakers featured in the video.
Last week State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) received a check in the mail representing interest earned on back-pay that was withheld from lawmakers during the budget crisis last year. On Tuesday, Reick returned that check to the Comptroller.

The Illinois Prompt Payment Act (30 ILCS 540) provides that if a payment is not made to a vendor within 90 days of receipt of a proper invoice, an interest penalty of 1% of any unpaid amount will accrue for each month, or on a prorated basis. Vendors range from small private contractors to larger entities such as not-for-profit groups, local school districts, public universities, the corrections system and the Regional Transportation Authority. As Reick learned last week, it also comes into play when lawmakers are not paid on time.

“With a backlog of bills approaching $7 billion, I was surprised to receive an interest check in the mail from the Illinois Comptroller,” said Reick. “I didn’t ask for this check, I don’t need this check, and I don’t want this check. The State of Illinois certainly needs this money a lot more than I do.”

Upon returning to Springfield on May 8 for the remaining weeks of the spring session, Reick took the check to the second floor of the Capitol, walked in to the Comptroller’s office, and signed the interest check back over to the State of Illinois. “Sending these checks to lawmakers was just silly,” Reick said. “I am not aware of any legislator who requested interest to be paid on pay checks that were delayed during the budget impasse.”
Legislators Return for Final Weeks of Session
Lawmakers return to Springfield on Tuesday to begin the final 3 ½ weeks of the spring session. During this time we will consider Senate Bills that successfully passed out of that chamber and affirm or reject Senate amendments made to House bills we previously approved earlier this year. Budget discussions will become more intense as the May 31 adjournment date draws nearer. I will be serving as Chief House Sponsor of some Senate Bills that are now beginning to work their way through the House committee process. I will keep you apprised of the status of these bills as they clear the steps of the approval process.

$158,000 in Library Grants Coming to 63rd District
We are very fortunate in the 63rd District to have wonderful community libraries. I am pleased to announce that $158,000 in state-sponsored per capita grant money has been approved for libraries serving the 63rd Legislative House District. The Public Library Per Capita Grants Program was established to assist public libraries to improve and increase library services within their service areas. Grant amounts of up to $1.25 per person served are available, on an annual basis, to all Illinois local public libraries through an application process. 

Libraries serving the 63rd Legislative House District that will receive funds include:
  • Harvard Diggins Library for $11,808.75 
  • Johnsburg Public Library District for $15,526.25 
  • Marengo-Union Public Library District for $17,416.25 
  • McHenry Public Library District for $52,528.75 
  • Nippersink Public Library District for $13,985.00 
  • Rural Woodstock Public Library District for $15,767.50 
  • Woodstock Public Library for $30,962.50
Since 1979, this annual grant program has provided funding to support the day-to-day operations of Illinois’ public libraries. According to the Secretary of State’s office, most libraries have chosen to use the money to fund library materials, programs and personnel.

Celebrate Agriculture in Illinois by Entering the Cream of the Crop Photo Contest
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs is offering children ages 8-18 an opportunity to capture the beauty of Illinois agriculture through the 6th Annual Cream of the Crop Photo Contest. Contest winners for ages 8-13, 11-14 and 15-18 will have their photos featured on new marketing materials for the Ag Invest program. Their work will also be prominently displayed at the 2018 Illinois State Fair, DuQuoin State Fair, and the State Capitol. The entry deadline for this contest is June 26, 2018. For more information about this competition, please visit www.creamofthecropcontest.com, call (217) 558-6217, or email aginvest@illinoistreasurer.gov.

Reick Details Changes to Firearms Restraining Order Legislation
As you may know, I’m currently serving as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that would allow family members and law enforcement to petition the court for a firearms restraining order for individuals who they believe are in imminent danger of causing harm to themselves or others due to their access to guns. When HB 2354 arrived back in the House after being amended in the Senate, the bill represented an extreme overreach into the rights of lawful gun owners, and did not provide protections for the respondents. I worked closely with the Democrat sponsor of the bill for six weeks to change the legislation into something I could support. Click here to view a video explanation of many of the changes I helped author. This chart itemizes many of the changes that add protections to law-abiding gun owners.

Mark Your Calendar for Summer and Fall Events
My staff and I have planned several free outreach events for the summer. Please make note of the following: 
  • June 6 (Wednesday): Understanding Your Property Tax Bill: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM, McHenry County Administration Building, Upstairs Conference Rooms A&B, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock 
  • June 28 (Thursday): Senior Resource Fair: 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, Johnsburg High School, 2002 W. Ringwood Road, Johnsburg 
  • August 18 (Saturday): Document Shredding Event: 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, Behind the Reick Legislative Office, 1072 Lake Avenue, Woodstock 
Please visit my website at www.repstevenreick.com often for additional information about these and other upcoming events.

House Democrats Push for Another Tax Increase
On May 2, I served as a substitute member of the House Revenue Committee, as we considered HR 1025, an initiative sponsored by House Speaker Mike Madigan that supports the concept of a “progressive” or graduated income tax in Illinois. I made it clear through my comments that I was vehemently opposed to changing our tax structure in this way. The ultimate vote fell strictly along party lines, with no House Republican committee members voting for the controversial proposal. While the “progressive income tax” approval was framed by its proponents as an abstract debate over the hypothetical desirability of amending the State Constitution to permit such a tax, proponents of higher taxes and greater spending were quick to respond to the appearance of HR 1025 as an opportunity to demand more money. In a white paper with a release date apparently timed to coincide with the vote on HR 1025, a liberal advocacy organization used the initiative to call for a net tax increase of $2 billion per year. Illinois House Republicans characterized the resolution as naked political partisanship. 

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation led a response published on Thursday, May 3. The Foundation pointed out that the tax rates charged in Illinois, particularly taxes on Illinois income, sales, and real property, are already significantly higher than the total taxes charged by neighboring Midwestern states, and enactment of a new tax structure and higher taxes would worsen this disadvantage suffered by Illinois and its workers.

The total incomes earned by all Illinoisans, and the total amounts charged and collected by all of the units of our State and local governments, are both known numbers. In Illinois, state and local taxes take up 9.3% of our entire collective State income. For our six neighboring states – Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin – this number is 8.0%. The Illinois public sector already charges 1.3% more than the public sectors of our six neighboring states for the privilege of residing in, working, and earning money in Illinois. By no coincidence, these six states are increasing the sizes of their populations, job count, and housing markets much faster than is Illinois at this time.

Top 200 Historic Sites Chosen in Informal Poll
The Illinois Top 200 Project turned this week to top historic sites. Illinois residents were asked to choose a top Illinois site via an informal online poll. The winning choice was Lincoln’s New Salem, the open-air heritage site operated by the Historic Preservation Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Located in Central Illinois, New Salem was the home of Abraham Lincoln during the formative years of the future president’s young manhood. Here he kept store, sorted mail, and studied law in preparation for his future career. 

Other leading candidates included the Pullman National Monument on Chicago’s Far South Side. A reminder of Illinois’ industrial and railroad heritage, the Pullman Monument contains many buildings from the 1880s. In northern Illinois, the John Deere home and blacksmith shop in Grand Detour pays tribute to Illinois inventiveness and craftsmanship. Lincoln’s Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Southern Illinois, U.S. Route 66, the Old State Capitol, Fort de Chartres, Fort Massac, and the President Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home rounded out the top ten sites honored.

Hotline and Network of Legal Services Launched to Assist Veterans and Service Members
The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) is 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.
With winter finally in the rear-view mirror, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Gov. Bruce Rauner are encouraging all drivers and motorcycle enthusiasts to be extra cautious as more bikes start hitting the roads.

Rauner joined motorcycle safety advocates and officials from IDOT this week to kick off Motorcycle Awareness Month and IDOTs annual Start Seeing Motorcycles Campaign. “I’m an avid rider myself,” Rauner said. “I know how important it is for all of us to be aware of who’s on the road with us. Just last week, a good friend of mine, a veteran, was seriously injured when a pick-up truck didn’t see him. He’s still in the hospital today. We're asking everyone to stay focused and check their rearview mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. We all have a part to play when it comes to keeping our roads safe.”

Although motorcycles represent 3% of total vehicle registrations in Illinois, they account for 15% of traffic fatalities. There were 1,097 traffic fatalities in Illinois in 2017 – 162 were motorcyclists, eight more than 2016, according to preliminary data.

During the riding season, “Start Seeing Motorcycles” banners and yard signs will be on display throughout the state, reminding the public to always stay alert for motorcycles. All riders are urged to take precautions to ensure they stay visible to other motorists. By wearing the appropriate protective gear, getting regular maintenance checks and taking advantage of IDOT’s free motorcycle safety courses, they make the roads safer for themselves and other drivers. A motorcycle can easily be hidden behind other vehicles so all other motorists are advised to avoid distractions and be on the lookout at all times.

“Warmer weather means more bikes on the road and more interaction between motorcyclists and other vehicles,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “The number of fatalities and injuries involving motorcycles is heading in the wrong direction. That’s unacceptable. By staying alert and extra vigilant, we can begin to reverse these trends.”

Start Seeing Motorcycles is made possible by the teamwork among IDOT, the Illinois State Police, Gold Wing Road Riders Association, A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) and other organizations that promote motorcycle education, awareness and safety

“Riding motorcycles safely is just as important as driving cars safely,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz. “All of us have a responsibility to do our part to ride and drive safely. We want to remind motorcyclists of riding dangers, practicing safe riding habits, ensuring they are operating a safe vehicle having the correct classification on their driver's license We are also asking drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

Visit startseeingmotorcycles.org for more information on IDOT’s free motorcycle training and safety programs.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) announced today that $158,000 in state-sponsored per capita grant money has been approved for libraries in the 63rd Legislative House District.

The Public Library Per Capita Grants Program was established to assist public libraries to improve and increase library services within their service areas. Grant amounts of up to $1.25 per person served are available, on an annual basis, to all Illinois local public libraries through an application process.

“Community libraries in McHenry County are a tremendous resource,” said Reick. “I am pleased to know that a portion of this year’s per capita library grant funds will be channeled toward libraries right here in the 63rd House District.”

Libraries serving the 63rd Legislative House District that will receive funds include:
  • Harvard Diggins Library for $11,808.75 
  • Johnsburg Public Library District for $15,526.25 
  • Marengo-Union Public Library District for $17,416.25 
  • McHenry Public Library District for $52,528.75 
  • Nippersink Public Library District for $13,985.00 
  • Rural Woodstock Public Library District for $15,767.50 
  • Woodstock Public Library for $30,962.50 
Since 1979, this annual grant program has provided funding to support the day-to-day operations of Illinois’ public libraries. According to the Secretary of State’s office, most libraries have chosen to use the money to fund library materials, programs and personnel.
State Representative Steve Reick is currently serving as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that would allow family members and law enforcement to petition the court for a firearms restraining order for individuals who they believe are in imminent danger of causing harm to themselves or others due to their access to guns. Reick was a leading Republican voice in negotiating the language of the bill. In the video above, Reick explains how the bill was changed through those negotiations. The chart below also itemizes many of the changes that add protections to lawful gun owners.


House Bill Deadline Passes; Budget Talks Take Center Stage
The deadline for approval of bills in their chamber of origin was Friday, April 27. Members of the House are in their home districts this week, and when we return to the Springfield on Tuesday, May 8, we will turn our attention to Senate Bills that successfully advanced out of that chamber while the Senate begins looking at House Bills. Budget discussions will also start to take center stage as we approach our May 31 adjournment date. With adjournment now just one month away, it is unconscionable that the General Assembly has not yet fulfilled its legal and constitutional obligation to adopt a revenue estimate. Even more distressing is the fact that the General Assembly waits until the last month of session to even begin the budget process. It’s the most important job that we have, but we spend months either considering fluff bills that do nothing but add to our fiscal mess or we’re out of session altogether. It’s utterly unconscionable.

On Thursday I joined Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) filing a resolution in support of adopting a revenue estimate in order to begin legitimate budget discussions for Fiscal Year 2019. HJR 124 adopts a revenue estimate of $37.672 billion for fiscal year 2019, based on the estimate provided by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). COGFA is a well-respected non-partisan organization that provides the General Assembly with reliable data on which we can make good decisions. I have complete faith in their revenue estimate of $37.67 billion and urge the House and Senate to adopt the estimate without further delay. Here’s what state law has to say about revenue estimates: 
The House and Senate by joint resolution shall adopt or modify such estimates as may be appropriate. The joint resolution shall constitute the General Assembly’s estimate, under paragraph B of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution, of funds estimated to be available during the next fiscal year (25 ILCS 155/4(a)) 

Subsection (b) of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution of Illinois also speaks to this requirement:
Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.
ICC to Host Local Hearing on Proposed Utilities, Inc. Rate Hike

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is hosting a public hearing on Monday, May 7 to gather public input about a water rate hike proposed by Utilities, Inc. The hearing will be held at Johnsburg High School, 2002 West Ringwood Road in Johnsburg and begins at 7:00 PM. The proposed rate increase would affect many residents of the Johnsburg area. 

Earlier this year Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and I sent a letter to the ICC requesting the hearing after we were contacted by many residents who said they have had their rates increased several times over the last decade.

The current rate hike, if implemented, would be the third rate increase for water and sewer since 2009 for these people. The constituents who contacted me, many of whom are living on fixed incomes, asked me to help facilitate a local platform where they can come and provide testimony on how this latest rate increase would affect their family budgets, and for some, their ability to remain in their homes.

In 2009, Utilities Inc. serviced the affected area at a monthly rate of $5.14 and consumption rates of $3.14 per 1,000 gallons. If the latest request is approved by the ICC, those customers would soon have to pay a rate of $35.03 per month with consumption rates of $11.08 per 1,000 gallons; a 353% increase in water/sewer service costs in just eight years. Considering the Consumer Price Index has only risen 13 percent since 2009, increasing rates by more than 350 percent for a necessity like water is extreme. We have offered to help coordinate the meeting. To read our joint letter to the ICC, click here.

Representative Steve Reick Serves as Leading Republican Voice on Bill to Allow Emergency Firearms Restraining Orders
A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has responded to incidents of mass gun violence across the nation with new legislation that would provide the courts with the ability to remove firearms from mentally distraught individuals while protecting the civil liberties and constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners. The version of HB 2354 that came to the House from the Senate in March represented an extreme overreach into the rights of lawful gun owners. As soon as that bill arrived, I contacted the sponsor and asked to collaborate with her on improvements to the bill. For the last six weeks I was a leading Republican member of a negotiation team for a rewrite of HB 2354 which was filed in Springfield on Thursday. I am also a Chief Co-Sponsor of the new bill. 

The common thread with most recent acts of mass gun violence is that there were warning signs. In almost every instance there were clues- comments made to others or behaviors that sent up red flags. With the passage of HB 2354, family members or law enforcement would have the legal means to get guns out of the hands of mentally distraught people. Equally as important, law-abiding gun owners would not be faced with another legislative mandate that diminishes their rights because of the actions of a small number of troubled individuals who commit criminal acts.

There’s a mental health component of these violent crimes that cannot be ignored. Rather than passing legislation that infringes upon the constitutional rights of lawful gun owners, we need to turn our attention toward mental health issues that allow some people to use their firearms to harm others. Click here to read more about the details of this bill.

Representative Steve Reick Helps Lead Legislative Effort to End Illinois Teacher and Substitute Teacher Shortage
My office has been working with a retired teacher from Woodstock who was named one of the top ten educators in the state during his tenure. This individual has found the process to become a substitute teacher to be tedious and extremely expensive. Today Illinois faces a serious teacher and substitute teacher shortage, and this year I am serving as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that aims to address this growing problem.

HB 5627, which received unanimous approval in the Illinois House last week, includes several provisions that seek to relieve the teacher and substitute teacher shortage in Illinois by making it easier for educators coming into Illinois from other states to obtain licensure and restructuring substitute teacher licensure requirements. HB 5627 would provide for the following:
  • Full reciprocity of out-of-state applicants for an Illinois Professional Educator License, which would allow out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois without meeting additional requirements 
  • Makes numerous changes to the Substitute Teaching License law to ease the process for out-of-state licensed teachers and retired teachers with lapsed licenses to work as substitute teachers 
  • Eases requirements for the timing of completion of professional development 
  • Retired educators could work in school districts through June 30, 2020 a total of 120 paid days or 600 paid hours each school year without infringing on earned pension benefits 
  • A short-term substitute teaching license would be established for individuals who hold an associate’s degree or have earned at least 60 hours toward a degree from an accredited institution of higher education 
These are excellent changes that should ease the process for those who would like to teach in Illinois schools. The standards remain high for the caliber of individual we would entrust to our public school classrooms, but much of the red tape and expense is removed. The bill has now moved to the Senate for consideration.

Rep. Reick Champions Legislation to Ensure Fair Maps in IL

There is overwhelming bipartisan support in Illinois for fair maps. Ensuring fair maps may very well be the most important thing we can do as lawmakers to restore integrity and true democracy to our election process. This year I am co-sponsoring two measures that seek to take the legislative map-drawing process out of the hands of politicians and ensure a fair and transparent method for creating legislative districts and maps. This graphic is very telling. In Iowa, political influence has no part in creating their map. In Illinois, the opposite is true. Which map looks fairer?

HJRCA 46 would provide for the creation of an independent legislative redistricting commission, which would lead a detailed review process of maps submitted by any Illinoisan who would wish to suggest a map. The commission, appointed equally by the four legislative leaders from the Republican and Democratic caucuses, would provide the public with necessary data and tools with which to create map proposals. A multi-faceted scoring rubric would be used to rank all submissions with higher scores generated by maps that keep municipalities and counties together and which are compact in nature. The three highest-scoring maps would be brought to the House and Senate, where a three-fifths majority vote would be required for passage of one of the three maps. In the event that consensus is not reached, the highest-scoring map would be certified by the Secretary of State and become law.

This legislative solution takes political influence out of the equation and allows citizens and the commission to drive the process. Most importantly, HJRCA 46 takes into account previous fair maps proposals that have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts, and addresses those specific points in a manner that should withstand a court challenge. HJRCA 46 retains and repurposes the current constitutional participants in the mapping process (redistricting commission, General Assembly, Secretary of State) in order to conform with Illinois court decisions about citizen-led map initiatives.

In addition to HJRCA 46, I’m also co-sponsoring HR 995, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process for the upcoming redistricting cycle. Both proposals would apply to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the elections to be held in 2022. I have posted an online petition for those who oppose gerrymandered legislative maps and support a fair maps process, and would encourage all residents to sign it.

Reick Welcomes Local Residents to Springfield for Lobby Days
Over the last few weeks the Capitol has been filled with various groups who came to Springfield to talk to lawmakers about the issues and causes that are important to them. I enjoyed welcoming students from the Future Farmers of America (FFA) to the Capitol, and also had a nice time talking with local citizens who were in Springfield for Environmental Lobby Day and in support of Faith in Place. 

Governor Rauner Announces $16 Million Federal Grant to Fight Opioid Abuse
The grant money will be paid through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to medical service providers who help fight opioid abuse and provide treatments States hit by opioid abuse are getting help from Congress through the 21st Century Cures Act.

The abuse of opioid drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, played a role in the deaths of an estimated 2,000 Illinois residents in 2017. Much of the grant money is earmarked for new treatment and recovery services, including medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted treatments for opioids include limited allocations to patients of medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as methadone and buprenorphine. Persons recently released from prison or county jail, who are diagnosed as being at risk for recidivism, will be offered treatment options. Some of the grant money will be used to strengthen enforcement of the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, the State program to monitor and enforce the prescription status of opioid painkillers.

The grant will supplement efforts already underway to make universal the first responder access to naloxone, the opioid agonist that if administered in a timely manner can save the life of a victim who is in an overdose situation. In its ongoing outreach to paramedic forces and other first responders, IDHS has learned that funds like these have trained nearly 18,000 responders to administer naloxone.

Veterans to be Honored
The Illinois Bicentennial Commission, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), has announced an initiative to honor selected veterans from throughout Illinois. The “Honor 200” initiative authorizes Illinoisans to nominate a friend or neighbor who is: (a) a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, and (b) exemplifies the meaning of selfless service, courage, and compassion. Illinoisans who want to participate in the selection process are invited to submit nominations to IDVA no later than Tuesday, July 31. The nomination must include the nominee’s DD214 proof of honorable discharge, and should also include a written summary of the nominee’s life achievements. The nomination form contains guidance categories to set forth these achievements, including military service dates and a list of the nominee’s military awards and decorations. The “Honor 200” Illinois veterans will be honored on Illinois’s birthday, December 3, 2018. 

Illinois Top 200 Survey Names Wrigley Field as Illinois’ Top Building
Participants in the Illinois Bicentennial’s Top 200 survey were asked to pick their favorite building in Illinois, and the winning choice was Wrigley Field, the century-old Major League Baseball park that became the home of the Chicago Cubs in 1916. After many generations of mixed results, the storied Friendly Confines became the home of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Other Illinois buildings were also supported by survey participants. Coming in second was a building owned by the people of Illinois, Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House, which contains artistic motifs that celebrate Illinois’s ecology and landscapes, and is fitted with more than 100 pieces of Wright-designed furniture, lights, and art glass. The Wilmette Baha’i Temple, Chicago’s Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, and Chicago’s Robie House were honored with selection slots #3 through #5.