Gov. Rauner takes action on McHenry County consolidation, Pioneer Center hosts open meetings about homelessness, Senate Republicans vote for Bloomington Senator Bill Brady as Leader of their caucus, Gov. Bruce Rauner issues a progress report in the last week of his administration, and the state receives a $3.7 million early childhood education grant.
McHenry County consolidation bill
Governor Rauner amendatorily vetoed House Bill 4637 to make it apply statewide and not just to McHenry County. Since HB 4637 was passed by the 100th General Assembly, which concluded its work on Jan. 9, the bill is effectively dead. A new bill will need to be introduced in the new 101st General Assembly.
One of my main concerns about HB4637 is the fact that if a township decides to dissolve itself into the county, its contractual obligations, including its debt, could be thrust onto the people of the entire county. Meaning, voters in a particular township can decide to dissolve their township and hand over all its debt to the rest of the county.
Rauner’s action gives my colleagues and me the opportunity to bring a more comprehensive bill forward that better protects taxpayers. Those protections should include;
- Only taxpayers within the dissolving township boundaries are responsible for paying any debt transferred to the county.
- All park and cemetery land, buildings and facilities within the geographic area of the dissolving township must be utilized for the primary benefit of the geographic area of the dissolving township. Furthermore, any proceeds from the sale of these assets after dissolution must be utilized for the sole benefit of the geographic area of the dissolving township.
- Ensures that counties will receive Motor Fuel Tax dollars that were dedicated to a dissolving township based on lane miles. Under the flawed HB 4367, a dissolved township’s lane mile Motor Fuel Tax funding would be redistributed state-wide and not to the county or municipality taking over the road responsibility.
Capitol office relocation
I have a new Capitol Office. When you’re visiting our beautiful State Capitol building, please stop by and say hello. My office is on the first floor in Room 105D. It’s an office with Illinois and Presidential history. It’s the first State Capitol office President Barack Obama occupied when he was a member of the Illinois Senate. There is no change to my district office location. It remains at 5400 West Elm Street in McHenry. The district office telephone number is 815-455-6330 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public meetings scheduled for proposed Pioneer Center expansion
In an effort to provide information to the residents and businesses of the McHenry area, Pioneer Center, the City of McHenry and I invite the public to attend one of two open meetings January 16 to learn more about Pioneer Center’s plan to expand their services to the homeless in McHenry. At these meetings, attendees will learn more about the newly formed partnership between Pioneer Center and the Chapel of McHenry to establish a homeless shelter at the Chapel. The City of McHenry has approved the planning and zoning changes to accommodate this partnership, and Pioneer Center has applied for a $50,000 grant facilitated by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to help fund the project.
Bill Brady unanimously voted Senate Republican Leader
Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington was elected in a unanimous vote to the office of Illinois Senate Republican Leader, as the 101st General Assembly convened Jan. 9. In remarks this week, Leader Brady said he was honored and humbled to be elected Leader by his Senate colleagues. He said he looks forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to stabilize Illinois’ economy, create more jobs, balance the state budget and limit tax burdens on Illinois residents.
Governor Rauner issues end-of-term progress report
In a constitutionally prescribed report to be delivered to the 101st General Assembly, Gov. Rauner said critical fiscal challenges remain for Illinois despite the progress his administration made in education, government operations, healthcare services, technology, job growth, and criminal justice.
Illinois receives $3. 7 million Early Childhood Development Grant funds
The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development this week received a $3.7 million Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Initial Grant Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The grant is one of 45 distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Child Care to enhance early childhood programming, which includes Head Start and Early Head Start, state prekindergarten programs, child care, and home visiting services. The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development will serve as the lead agency for the grant, which will allow the Office to develop a needs assessment and strategic plan and to strengthen the state's system of early childhood programs. The PDG B-5 grant will run through Dec. 31, 2019, and the Office will have the opportunity to apply for renewal grants before the end of the year.