The Reick Report: October 15, 2018

Eighty-Three Bills Vetoed During 2018 Session
During the 2018 legislative session, 529 new laws were signed into law. A total of 612 bills passed both chambers of the General Assembly this year; almost 90 percent of them were signed, but 83 bills were vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority. The General Assembly will consider Rauner’s vetoes in the November 2018 Veto Session, which gets underway in Springfield on Tuesday, November 13. 

Rep. Reick Honored for Support of Agriculture in McHenry County
Recently I was pleased to learn that I received the Friend of Agriculture Award from the McHenry County Farm Bureau. Yesterday I joined Dan Volkers, Manager of the McHenry County Farm Bureau, and Todd Wilke on the Wilke farm in Harvard to receive the award. Agriculture is our top industry in Illinois, and McHenry County is home to some of the richest farmland in the country. As a legislator I am committed to helping our farmers with their goal of improving food production practices and ensuring a plentiful and safe food supply. Legislators receiving this award recognize the far-reaching benefits of Illinois' agricultural products and the important role farmers play in providing quality food, fiber and fuel for the state, nation, and world. I am shown in this photo with the Wilke family: Cole, Grant, Tyler, Todd and Amy. 

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

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

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

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

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

Upon announcing the award recipients, IMA Vice President & CEO Mark Denzler said, “While we often hear from lawmakers that they are concerned about jobs and economic development, the IMA’s Legislative Voting Scorecard will actually show what elected officials support Illinois job creators. The IMA appreciates those lawmakers that have a strong record of support for the manufacturing sector.”

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

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

ISAC Helps Students Navigate College Applications & Financial Aid
October is “College Changes Everything” (CCE) month in Illinois, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is taking steps to help make it easier for students to file timely applications for both college admission and financial aid. October 1 is now the federal government’s release date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the key to securing aid for college, including the federal Pell Grant and the state MAP Grant, plus work-study opportunities, federal student loans, and even grants from the colleges themselves. 

There is always a lot of demand for limited state and school based financial aid, so students seeking support for the 2019-20 academic year should file their FAFSAs as soon as possible after October 1, 2018, for the best chance of getting funding. On October 1, the U.S. Department of Education also unveiled the myStudentAid Mobile App, making the application more accessible to students and families whose primary Internet access is through a smartphone.

During CCE Month, ISAC offer hundreds of workshops for students and families across Illinois, including college application workshops, financial aid presentations, and FAFSA completion workshops where applicants have expert guidance through the entire process. Please visit studentportal/isac.org/events to search by ZIP Code for free public events nearby.

Governor Abolishes 53 Inactive Boards, Commissions; Prohibits Nepotism in State Hiring
Governor Bruce Rauner has issued executive orders eliminating 53 boards and commissions that serve no public purpose and have been inactive for years, some for as long as two full decades.

Over the years, the State of Illinois has created more than 600 authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, committees, councils, task forces and other similar entities. Many of them have completed their work and no longer operate, yet they still appear in State publications, public-facing websites, and Legislative Research Unit reports as if they were still doing the people’s work.

The executive orders, EO 18-10 and EO 18-11, are a follow-up on EO 18-5 that Rauner issued earlier this year abolishing 19 other moribund entities. Collectively, the orders eliminate 72 redundant or inactive boards and commissions so that executive branch operations are more transparent and efficient. The governor has also issued EO 18-12, eliminating nepotism in state hiring. The move brings Illinois in line with more than half of the U.S. states including Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan. The order prohibits executive agency heads from the practice of nepotism in the appointment, promotion or recommendation of a relative to any agency or department under their control.

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

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

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

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

Looking towards new opportunities for economic growth, the General Assembly took steps to provide $500 million in Innovation Network startup seed money as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Creation of the Illinois Innovation Network, which is being governed as an affiliated partner of the University of Illinois, followed a series of studies by experts on the importance of face-to-face interactions as an essential element in the fostering of technological innovations and job creation. California’s Silicon Valley is a classic example. The Innovation Network plans to utilize modern fiber optics to enable a wide variety of contact opportunities, including high-speed video conferencing and terabyte data-transfer, between Innovation Network hubs. The Innovation Network will encourage its affiliated professionals to concentrate on issues of food systems, water resources, and environmental change. The Innovation Network has already announced decisions to place hubs in Chicago and in Springfield. The NIU/DeKalb hub announcement was made on Tuesday, October 9.

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