News from Rockford, IL Democrats – more news at WinnDems.org.

Wallace Encourages Further Budget Progress, Urges Colleagues to Finish the Job



Statement              

From State Representative Litesa E. Wallace                         
For Immediate Release:                                                                            
June 30, 2017
 
Wallace Encourages Further Budget Progress, Urges Colleagues to Finish the Job
                                                                                      
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, issued the following statement as bipartisan budget negotiations continued in Springfield:
 
"From the first day of this budget impasse until now, I have urged colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put aside the partisan rhetoric and work to craft a responsible, balanced and honest budget. There have been positive signs today that negotiations are moving in the right direction, but work still remains. I will continue to stay in Springfield and am willing to support a spending plan that protects seniors, the developmentally disabled, survivors of abuse and other vulnerable individuals. Every resident in Rockford and every resident in this state will be impacted by the decisions made in the coming hours. With Democrats and Republicans coming together on a framework for a spending plan, I urge the governor to cooperate and to avoid derailing talks until a solution is in place."
                              
 
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Senator Stadelman's Weekly Bulletin - June 21, 2017






With 10 days left in fiscal year, governor calls special legislative session
More than three months after he called Republicans off a promising budget compromise in the Illinois Senate, Governor Bruce Rauner has called lawmakers in both chambers to Springfield for a special legislation scheduled to last until the start of the new fiscal year July 1.

Senate leaders from both parties began working in late 2016 on bipartisan to balance spending along with numerous government and ethical reforms. Five bills in a 12-bill package had been approved and the remaining seven were expected to pass March 1 when Rauner abruptly told Republicans to abandon the process.

Now, weeks later and well after the May 31 deadline to adopt a budget by a simple majority vote, the governor is ordering lawmakers to return to the Capitol at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $48,000 a day or $480,000 over the 10 days remaining in FY 17, the second without a budget.

"The blame game needs to stop," Stadelman said. "Finger-pointing doesn't get us any closer to ending this impasse, which is hurting our most vulnerable citizens and frustrating all of them."

Stadelman-backed bail reform measure signed into law
Thanks to a new law supported by Senator Steve Stadelman, people who aren't a threat to their communities won't languish in jail because they can't afford bail. The Bail Reform Act of 2017 took effect immediately after receiving the governor's signature earlier this month.

Stadelman praised the legislation for allowing courts to assess flight risk and public safety rather than focus on a defendant's ability to pay when deciding pretrial releases.
Senate Bill 2034 grants a number of rights to defendants including the right to a public defender or attorney at their bail hearing, the right to a new bail hearing, the right to non-monetary bail and the right to have courts address risk in the least restrictive way possible. 

Residents find savings on utility bills at Stadelman clinic
Experts from the Citizens Utility Board analyzed people's gas, electric and telephone bills and recommend ways they could reduce their monthly costs during Senator Stadelman's Annual Summer Utility Bill Clinic this week at the Rockford Public Library-Montague Branch. Stay tuned for information on a workshop this fall where a CUB representative will discuss how to navigate the confusing world of broadcast and web-based entertainment and news options.


Wallace Backs Resolution Opposing American Health Care Act


News…
from State Representative Litesa E. Wallace
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         FOR MORE INFORMATION:
June 16, 2017                                                                                               State Rep. Litesa E. Wallace
                                                                                                                                Phone: 815-987-7433
 
Wallace Backs Resolution Opposing American Health Care Act
ROCKFORD, Ill. – Concerned about the negative effects a proposed federal healthcare overhaul would have on the most vulnerable, state Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, is supporting a resolution that opposes the Republican-introduced American Health Care Act.
 
"It appears Republicans in Washington have decided to push through massive changes to healthcare with little outside input," Wallace said. "These changes will affect every American and every resident in Illinois. While there are ways to improve our system, I encourage lawmakers in Washington to work in a bipartisan, transparent manner to address these issues."
 
House Resolution 445 notes that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million people would lose their healthcare coverage if the Republican federal proposal is implemented. In addition, the healthcare plan would dramatically slash Medicaid funding by approximately $880 billion over a period of 10 years. In Illinois, such cuts would mean a $40 billion reduction in Medicaid spending over the same period, affecting an estimated one million Illinois residents who currently have coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
 
The Republican health plan would also strip an Obamacare provision that prevented insurance companies from denying coverage for a pre-existing condition. Wallace voted for House Bill 2959 this spring to preserve this provision in Illinois if the federal changes occur.
 
"Without the ability to receive healthcare coverage, individuals and families will have to face unconscionable decisions when it comes to paying their medical bills," Wallace said. "We should be looking to expand coverage to those most in need, not reduce it."
 
 
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Stadelman conducts June 20 clinic to help consumers reduce utility bills



 

Stadelman conducts June 20 clinic to help consumers reduce utility bills
 
ROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman has invited experts from the Citizens Utility Board to conduct a free clinic where local consumers can learn ways to reduce their gas, electric and landline telephone bills.
 
"With the official start of summer soon upon us, many of us are bracing for the heightened cost of keeping our homes cool," said Stadelman, D-Rockford. "This workshop offers a chance to learn about all the cost-savings options that are available."
 
UTILITY BILL CLINIC
 When:  5-7 PM, TUESDAY, JUNE 20
Where: Rockford Public Library, Montague Branch – Constance Lane Room, 1238 S. Winnebago St.
Register: (312) 263-4282 ext. 111 or citizensutilityboard.org (subject line "Rockford 6/20")

CUB advisors will offer one-on-one analysis of gas, electric and landline telephone bills, information on spotting billing errors and incentives designed to help people improve energy efficiency. Refreshments and free CFL bulbs are being provided. Consumer are encouraged to call or email to secure an appointment, but walk-ins are welcome and will be seen first-come, first-served.

Mark Bonne
Chief of Staff, Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman
Zeke Giorgi Center, 200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301, Rockford, IL 61101




JB Pritzker - Guest Speaker for WCCC - Lets Talk About Women's Health in Illinois

 
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Wallace Calls on Governor and Lawmakers to Come Back to the Table



News…                    

                                           From State Representative Litesa Wallace                         
For Immediate Release:                                                                                             
June 15, 2017                                                   
                                                                                   
 
Wallace Calls on Governor and Lawmakers to Come Back to the Table
                                                                                      
ROCKFORD, Ill – As seniors, children with disabilities, survivors of domestic violence and other vulnerable residents continue to suffer, state Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, is calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers to return to the negotiating table and craft an honest, balanced budget.
 
"While the Senate did put forth a spending plan, too much of it unfortunately relies on unrealistic savings and harsh cuts to critically needed programs," Wallace said. "It will require a truly bipartisan effort to resolve this crisis, which is why the governor and legislators from both chambers need to compromise and come together on a budget. The job is not over for any lawmaker in Springfield."
 
Wallace and House appropriations committees have continued to review the budget proposal from the Senate, and are concerned that the plan involves a number of budgetary gimmicks that will cost taxpayers long-term. The Senate plan is balanced on projections of items not yet in place, including a pension bill and changes to state employee insurance premiums that have not been agreed to by state employees. Additionally, the measure would allow for billions of dollars in borrowing without addressing a way to repay the debt.
 
Wallace is also concerned about the impact the budget would have on those who rely on critical services that would have their budgets slashed. Women who need breast cancer screenings, developmentally disabled and college students who depend on MAP grants to go to school would be affected.
 
"At this point in the year, it will take Republican and Democratic votes in order to pass a budget," Wallace said. "It would be irresponsible to push through a plan without taking a close look at what's in the proposal. Only when everyone is willing to stop playing politics and come to the table will we be able to resolve and move past this crisis."
 
For more information, please contact Wallace's constituent service office at 815-987-7433 or at litesa@staterepwallace.com.
 
 
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Senator Stadelman's Weekly Bulletin - June 12, 2017





Community celebrates new school construction, expanded sports facilities
Senator Steve Stadelman participated this week in the official "kick off" of Mercyhealth Sportscore Two by booting one of the first soccer balls to fly in the expanded Indoor Sports Center at the Rockford Park District complex. Stadelman passed legislation to secure a funding mechanism for the Reclaiming First initiative, a campaign to regain for Rockford the No. 1 position in the state's sports tourism market through the $30 million Sportscore upgrade and the transformation of a vacant factory on the downtown riverfront into UW Health Sports Factory. 

Stadelman also joined administrators, parents and students at a groundbreaking ceremony this week for a new school on Perryville Road south of Harrison Avenue. The $15.7 million, 86,000-square-foot building is the first new school built by Rockford Public Schools since 1998.  It replaces Cherry Valley, White Swan and Thompson elementary schools as part of a 10-year, $250 million facilities upgrade.


Senate Democrats pass fair funding for all Illinois schools
Illinois school districts, shortchanged for decades under the state's worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, could see a significant influx of funding to level the playing field between rich and poor districts under a landmark school funding reform measure passed in both houses of the General Assembly.

"A fix for our broken school funding system has been a long time coming," said Senator Steve Stadelman, a vocal advocate since 2012 before he was elected to his first term. "Our over-reliance on property taxes to pay for public education creates a fundamental inequity that hurts Rockford and many other less prosperous communities around the state. The quality of a child's education should not depend on his or her zip code."
 
Under Senate Bill 1, no school district would receive less funding than what the current formula provides. Rockford public schools would see a $5 million increase and Harlem public schools would get an extra $650,000, according to an analysis by Funding Illinois' Future released this week.
The legislation would establish a formula that takes into account factors such as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students. It also offers property tax relief.






Put Families First Before Insurance Company Profits - Frerichs for Illinois


Dear Friend,
A few weeks ago, I wrote to you and asked for your help to reform the life insurance industry in Illinois. We were successful in passing HB302 out of the House and Senate in order to ensure Illinois families are put before insurance company profits. 
Now we need to urge the Governor to sign the bill so Illinoisans are protected. 
Sign our petition to urge the Governor to sign HB302 and put Illinois families before insurance company profits! Share this petition with your friends and encourage them to sign too! 
House Bill 302 will require life insurance companies to identify policies that have not been paid to the rightful beneficiaries from 2000 to the present.  Insurance companies representing 80 percent of the market have already done the right thing. We are in a fierce battle with the last 20% of insurers. Some of these companies told the Federal Security and Exchange Commission that paying beneficiaries will cut into their profits and force them to change their business model. Through audits my office found over $550 million that belongs to Illinois residents that insurance companies had not paid. 
Sincerely,

 

Frerichs for Illinois - We are out of time!



Dear Friend, 
We are out of time. Last month, I warned that Illinois needed a budget by May 31, 2017 or else the bond houses would downgrade our credit rating. It is happening. 
After the failure of leaders in Springfield to negotiate a budget by the end of legislative session, the financial institutions took notice and action immediately. On June 1, 2017, the S & P Global Ratings immediately downgraded the state's credit rating. Moody's Investors Services followed suit and lowered Illinois's credit rating. 
Illinois is sliding into junk bond status. 
The state's credit rating is much like your personal credit rating. Illinois families understand that when your credit rating drops, it is more difficult to secure a mortgage or car loan. If you do obtain a loan, you pay higher interest rates because the financial institution views you as a risk. 
Illinois is viewed as a risk. 
We need a responsible and balanced budget now or else we will slide into junk bond status. We are digging a financial hole that will take decades to recover from. We are out of time. 
Sincerely, 

 
 
 

Stadelman conducts June 20 clinic to help consumers reduce utility bills



 

Stadelman conducts June 20 clinic to help consumers reduce utility bills
 
ROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman has invited experts from the Citizens Utility Board to conduct a free clinic where local consumers can learn ways to reduce their gas, electric and landline telephone bills.
 
"With the official start of summer soon upon us, many of us are bracing for the heightened cost of keeping our homes cool," said Stadelman, D-Rockford. "This workshop offers a chance to learn about all the cost-savings options that are available."
 
UTILITY BILL CLINIC
 When:  5-7 PM, TUESDAY, JUNE 20
Where: Rockford Public Library, Montague Branch – Constance Lane Room, 1238 S. Winnebago St.
Register: (312) 263-4282 ext. 111 or citizensutilityboard.org (subject line "Rockford 6/20")

CUB advisors will offer one-on-one analysis of gas, electric and landline telephone bills, information on spotting billing errors and incentives designed to help people improve energy efficiency. Refreshments and free CFL bulbs are being provided. Consumer are encouraged to call or email to secure an appointment, but walk-ins are welcome and will be seen first-come, first-served.

Mark Bonne
Chief of Staff, Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman
815-987-7557
Zeke Giorgi Center, 200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301, Rockford, IL 61101



Senator Stadelman's Weekly Bulletin - June 2, 2017





Failure to end budget impasse frustrates Stadelman 
The deadline to approve a state budget without a three-fifths super-majority passed this week, leaving open the possibility of Illinois heading into a third consecutive fiscal year absent a spending plan.

"I'm disappointed the Governor and lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement before the end of the spring session,"Stadelman said. "Every day there's no budget the state takes on $11 million more in debt. We need to continue negotiating so schools can open this fall and government can continue to operate."

Overtime session dates are expected to scheduled for later this month. Illinois begins its fiscal year July 1.

Stadelman votes for property tax freeze
State Senator Steve Stadelman voted this week for two measures imposing a two-year property tax freeze. Senate Bill 482 freezes property taxes for two years for all units of local government except school districts, while Senate Bill 484 is a two-year property tax freeze on all school districts not eligible for a financial hardship exemption as defined by the legislation.
"I know that the people of Illinois are suffering under the highest property tax rates in the country," Stadelman said. "While a permanent tax freeze would be detrimental to school districts that rely on the property tax, I am hopeful this freeze will provide some relief while making sure underserved school districts are not harmed." 
SB 482 passed the Senate 38-11-9 and SB 484 passed 37-11-9. Both are headed to the House for consideration.
River Edge Historic Tax Credit extension heads to governor's desk
An extension of the River Edge Historic Preservation Tax Credit has passed both legislative houses and is headed to the governor for approval. State Senator Steve Stadelman won passage of legislation this week, extending the urban redevelopment incentive for four more years starting in January 2018. 
"The tax credit has already spurred hundreds of millions of dollars of development in Rockford alone," Stadelman said. "This will help put crumbling infrastructure back to use, grow the economy and increase revenue."

The credit, equal to 25 percent of the rehabilitation costs for a business in a historic building, has been an important economic tool for downtown Rockford projects like the $12 million renovation at the Prairie Street Brewhouse. In addition to Rockford, the credit is also available in Aurora, Peoria, Elgin and East St. Louis. 





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