Legislation sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) that clarifies dental care insurance benefits for dentists and patients was signed into law this week by Governor Bruce Rauner.

SB 2851 requires dental insurance cards to now include specific information on the card that identifies whether the coverage is subject to regulation by the Illinois Department of Insurance. “Through the previous law, dental services providers did not know if a dental plan includes protections afforded by the Department of Insurance,” said Reick. “In cases where a dental plan was subject to the Department’s regulations, certain coverage and offerings are mandated and billing and benefits are spelled out and regulated by the Department. If a plan is only an administrator and not subject to the Department, then the provider’s only recourse for a dispute is to contact the employer directly.”

Reick went on to explain that individuals who have dental plans not subject to Department regulation can use providers that are not in their network and the plan reimburses the patient directly, leaving the provider to attempt to collect payment from the patient. “By requiring a dental benefit card to display whether a plan is subject to regulation by the Department, the dental provider will be fully informed as to what type of plan he is accepting prior to taking on the patient,” Reick said. “Patients too will have a better understanding of what their out-of-pocket or up-front costs will be.”

Close to 8,000 pounds of paper documents were shredded and 979 individual food and personal items were collected for a local food pantry on Saturday at an event sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock).

Reick partnered with the Woodstock Food Pantry and the City of Woodstock for the three-hour event, which was held in the rear lot of Reick’s legislative office. Between 9:00 AM and noon, 204 cars flowed through the event.

“The outpouring of support for the food pantry was overwhelming,” said Reick, who greeted motorists as they dropped off donations for the pantry and delivered documents for shredding. “The generosity shown was very heartwarming. My staff and I will be delivering quite a load of donations to the Woodstock Food Pantry this week.”

AT&T underwrote the cost of the shred truck, which was 95% full as the event ended at noon. “Everyone has old bank statements, receipts and other sensitive documents that they don’t want to throw in the trash, so I was pleased to work with AT&T to provide this valuable community service,” Reick said. “The feedback was extremely positive, so I hope to make this document shredding and food collection drive an annual event in the 63rd District.
Reick Document Shredding and Food Collection Event Set for This Saturday
This Saturday, August 18th, I am partnering with the Woodstock Food Pantry and the City of Woodstock for a free paper shredding event and non-perishable food/personal items drive. 

The event will be held in the rear parking lot of my legislative office at 1072 Lake Avenue in Woodstock from 9:00 AM until 12:00 noon. Residents from throughout the 63rd Legislative House District simply need to follow the signs that guide them through my parking lot and watch as event volunteers feed up to two boxes of shreddable documents into a large shred truck, and collect items to be donated to the food pantry.

Parking will be available for those who want to watch their documents being shredded. Due to the size of the shred truck and popularity of similar events in the region, each vehicle will be limited to two grocery-sized bags or banker box sized boxes of shreddable documents. 

Items collected for the food pantry will assist local families in need, including families residing within the Woodstock-based District 200 School District. It’s a pleasure to provide this free document shredding opportunity while also collecting goods for a community organization that provides a critical service for the residents of Woodstock and District 200 families.

Reick Leads Effort to Protect Students from Sexual Abuse at School
In June before a joint committee of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees, members of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees heard testimony from two incredibly brave survivors of sexual abuse from teachers or other employees within the Chicago Public School System (CPS). Both young ladies outlined systemic and repeated abuses by adults at their CPS schools. 

Outraged over the findings, after the hearing I filed two pieces of legislation to address the issue:
  • HB 5923: Provides 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 
  • HB 5929: Provides for the forfeiture of pension benefits for any Illinois teacher who is found through an administrative hearing to have sexually abused a student 
I am continuing to work with Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Education Committees to seek further legislative interventions and solutions to this most grave issue. It is my hope that both bills will be passed during the upcoming Fall Veto Session.

Governor Signs Reick Bill that Helps School Districts Fill School Board Vacancies
Due to the impact school districts have on local property tax bills, it is of paramount importance that we have school boards operating with full membership. Sadly, in many parts of Illinois, districts have a tough time filling vacancies. Last week Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill I sponsored that provides school districts with an additional tool to help fill board vacancies in the event that no qualified candidates step forward to serve. 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. But in the instances when that is not possible, this bill provides a valuable tool to help remedy the problem.

Governor Signs Teacher Licensure Bill into Law
Legislation I championed this year to address the Illinois teacher shortage was recently signed into law. HB 5627 (now Public Act 100-0596), for which I served as Chief Co-Sponsor, removes red tape that is keeping well-trained educators out of Illinois classrooms.

The need for this type of legislation was brought to my attention earlier this year by 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.

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. 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.
School Districts that have difficulty finding qualified residents willing to serve on the Board of Education will now have an easier process for filling vacancies, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) that was signed into law on Friday.

SB 2900 provides school districts with an additional tool to ensure school board positions are filled. “Especially in rural districts, vacancies on school boards are often a significant problem,” said Reick. “Given the impact on tax bills that are tied to school district operations, we need to do what we can to 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 remedy the problem.”
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), in partnership with the Woodstock Food Pantry and the City of Woodstock, is hosting a free paper shredding event and non-perishable food/personal items drive on Saturday, August 18.

The event will be held in the rear parking lot of the Reick Legislative Office, 1072 Lake Avenue in Woodstock, from 9:00 AM until 12:00 noon. Residents from throughout Reick’s 63rd Legislative House District simply need to follow the signs that guide them through the parking lot and watch as event volunteers feed up to two boxes of shreddable documents into a large shred truck, and collect items to be donated to the food pantry. Parking will be available for those who want to watch their documents being shredded. Due to the size of the shred truck and popularity of similar events in the region, each vehicle will be limited to two grocery-sized bags or banker box sized boxes of shreddable documents.

“People often hold onto their old, sensitive documents because they have nowhere to safely dispose of them,” said Reick. “I’m glad to be working with the City of Woodstock and our local food pantry to offer this service for the citizens of the 63rd District. Residents don’t even have to leave their cars. Our volunteers will lift the boxes and feed them into the shredding truck while drivers watch their documents go through the shredder. Our volunteers will also take items to be donated to the food pantry out of people’s cars for them.”

Items collected for the food pantry will assist local families in need, including families residing within the Woodstock-based District 200 School District. “It’s a pleasure to provide this free document shredding opportunity while also collecting goods for a community organization that provides a critical service for the residents of Woodstock and District 200 families,” said Reick.