In a solid victory for the citizens of McHenry County, Governor Bruce Rauner issued a full veto today to HB 171, which would codify in state statutes powers granted to specific county board chairmen with regard to appointing members to standing committees.

“I spoke out against this bill when it was discussed on the floor of the House of Representatives, and urged the Governor to veto it after it was approved by the General Assembly,” said Reick. “The bill was written to specifically apply to McHenry County, in spite of the fact that in 2012 county voters voted 2:1 against a referendum that would expand the powers of the leader of the McHenry County Board. Today the Governor sided with the 75,010 McHenry County voters who resoundingly defeated the idea of an all-powerful County Board Chairman. Voter intent was heard and respected by Governor Rauner today.”

In his veto message to the General Assembly, Rauner condemned the practice of codifying in state law carve-outs and special solutions that only apply to certain counties and that respond to specific local concerns. “Passing state law on such specific question of local authority undermines local control and the ability to create rules as elected Board’s may deem appropriate,” said Rauner.

The Governor went on to say, “Questions concerning the balance of power within local governments can be most appropriately reconsidered by local voters. Just as the citizens of a county can vote via referendum on whether their county adopts an executive form of government, so too should they be able to determine the appropriate power balance in question in this bill.”

When HB 171 was delivered to Rauner for final action, Reick launched a petition drive that was signed by more than 100 citizens who asked the Governor to veto the bill. “All the credit goes to the citizens who saw HB 171 for what it was: a pure power grab; and who responded by urging a full gubernatorial veto,” said Reick, who delivered the petition signatures to the Governor’s office. “This was a good example of how a few voices can make a big difference in government. The message that McHenry County wants a county board chairman with limited powers was heard, and Governor Rauner responded appropriately. I appreciate his full veto.”

HB 171 can return to the House and Senate for an attempted veto override, but a 2/3 vote in each chamber is required. The November House vote on HB 171 was 63-48-1, and in an override, 71 votes will be needed.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) announced today that $17,381 in school library grant money will soon be flowing to schools located in the 63rd Legislative House District.

The School District Library Grant Program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for students attending public schools in Illinois. The state legislature has authorized up to a $.75 per pupil expenditure for qualifying schools. The grant award is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the official enrollment as of the previous September 30th of a school district.

“These grants will help put books into the hands and students and will go far in assisting with teaching and learning in northern McHenry County,” said Reick. “The schools up here are hurting, and any assistance the State can provide with the delivery of educational tools is appreciated.”

Specifically, the following grants will be processed by the Secretary of State’s Office next week and then forwarded to the Comptroller’s office for payment:
  • Harvard CUSD #50: $1,865.25
  • Alden-Hebron Community Consolidated Unit #19: $750.00
  • Johnsburg CUSD #12: $1,359.00
  • Riley Community Consolidated School District #18: $750.00
  • Marengo-Union Community School District #165: $750.00
  • Marengo Community High School District #154: $750.00
  • McHenry CCSD #15: $3,262.50
  • McHenry Community High School District #156: $1,669.50
  • Nippersink School District #2: $845.25
  • Richmond Burton CHSD #157: $750.00
  • Woodstock CUSD #200: $4,629.75
“As a former public school teacher and administrator, I know our school libraries are very important in helping students learn and prepare themselves for the future,” said Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White. “Illinois was the first state to implement a school district grant program for libraries, and I am pleased that we can continue to provide them with some of the financial resources they need to produce well-educated students.”
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) will be holding mobile office hours next week on Monday, January 22, from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd Street in Woodstock.

“I enjoy these outreach events because they provide me with an excellent opportunity to connect with the people I represent in Springfield,” said Reick. “I look forward to talking one-on-one with constituents so I can learn about the issues that are important to them. I can also help constituents with issues they may be having with state agencies.”

Reick will personally be staffing the event. No appointment is needed, and the event is open to all residents who live in the 63rd Legislative House District.
January is National Blood Donation Month, and the recent cold weather has added an additional strain to an already-low blood supply. Each unit of blood that is donated can save up to three lives, and while approximately 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, fewer than five percent of the eligible public actually donates. Click here to find the location of an upcoming blood drive year you.

To be eligible to donate blood in Illinois, donors must:
  • Be 17 years of age or older (16 year-olds may donate with parental consent)
  • Be in good health on the day of the donation
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be free of cold and flu symptoms
  • Present a photo ID with a birth date
  • Not have a history of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at any age
As 2017 came to an end, the U.S. Census announced its end-of-year U.S. state population estimates. These numbers indicate that Pennsylvania has once again passed Illinois to regain its position as the U.S. state with the fifth largest population. Both states have more than 12.8 million residents.

Census end-of-year estimates are based upon statistical analyses of population trends and are not based on actual physical counting. The U.S. Constitution requires the Census to physically count all Americans once every ten years, with the next true census set to be taken in 2020. Households will receive paper forms in the mail to fill out and send in, with census takers physically fanning out to visit households that do not return the forms.

The end-of-2017 Census announcement marked a reversal from the late 1990s, when Illinois (the 6th largest state in 1990) passed Pennsylvania (the 5th largest state in 1990, as it is again in 2018). Illinois was #5 in the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Both states have had almost stable populations for the past thirty years.
Illinois’ new Invest in Kids scholarship program — which gives low- to middle-income students opportunities to attend non-public schools that best meet their educational goals — attracted more than $36 million in pledged contributions on Tuesday, Jan. 2, the first day the state began accepting applications, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced today.

Taxpayers can contribute up to $1.3 million to eligible organizations and receive an income tax credit equal to 75 percent of their approved contributions. The state caps total yearly contributions at $100 million.

“When we unleash the power of private-sector investment incentives like Invest in Kids, great things are possible,” Rauner said. “Within its first hour of going live, more than one-third of all Invest in Kids contributions have been allocated for the 2018 tax year. This outpouring of generosity is truly a testament to the many Illinoisans who believe in offering students and their families a choice in their education.”

Taxpayers wishing to contribute to Invest in Kids may apply online through MyTax Illinois<https://mytax.illinois.gov/_/>, the Illinois Department of Revenue’s free online account management program.

Individuals and businesses must apply to the Illinois Department of Revenue to obtain Contribution Authorization Certificates that permit them to make authorized contributions to one of the approved scholarship granting organizations. Those organizations, in turn, provide scholarships for eligible Illinois students to attend qualified non-public schools in Illinois. The application process ensures equal access to the $75 million in tax credits available each year.

For more information on the Invest in Kids income tax credits, including bulletins, FAQs and a list of approved scholarship granting organizations, visit Investinkids.illinois.gov.
Warming centers are available throughout the state to help Illinois residents fight cold temperatures during this record-setting cold weather. Click here to search for a warming center near you.