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Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law today a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where flood damages were sustained in July.

The bill, signed at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago this morning, creates a natural disaster credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes.

Included counties are Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside — all of which were declared state disaster areas by the governor last summer.

“July’s severe storms pushed rivers and lakes over their banks across a wide swath of Illinois,” Rauner said. “Many home and business owners are still working to restore their properties after the inundation of water, debris and mud they suffered through, in some cases for weeks. In northeastern Illinois counties, the flooding was unprecedented. This tax credit offers a measure of much-needed relief.”

State Rep. Barbara Wheeler said the tax credit will be welcome news.

“Unfortunately for many families impacted by this type of disaster, once the initial shock wears off, the reality of financial hardship caused by the devastation can be just as traumatic as the event itself,” said Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake. “In the past, state government has not always responded quickly enough to provide the relief needed for this financial stress. However, this time the governor and legislature acted quickly, and I know many of the families still trying to recover are grateful.”
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is working in conjunction with the Illinois State Rifle Association on legislation to curtail the presence of so-called “bump-fire stocks” in Illinois. House Bill 4120 prevents the future sale and possession of the device used during the deadly Las Vegas shooting which left 59 people dead.

“I’m the first person to stand-up for our essential right as Americans to keep and bear arms, whether for personal protection, hunting or another sporting purpose,” said Wheeler. “However, the horrific events in Las Vegas showed quite clearly the devastation that can be caused by a rifle attachment like a bump-fire stock in the hands of an ill person. After speaking with firearm experts and the Illinois State Rifle Association, we all agreed that bump-fire stocks have no practical protection or sporting use and should be taken off the market.”

Under HB 4120, it will become illegal to import, sell, manufacture, transfer or possess a bump-fire stock in Illinois. Wheeler noted that since 1935 U.S. law has banned most automatic weapons, like the Tommy gun made famous by horrific mob violence in the early years of the 20th century. Since the only purpose of the bump-fire stock is to increase a rifles rate of fire to perform like an automatic firearm, it is an end-around way of skirting safety laws already in place for decades.
Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive “Veteran” on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has been named a 2017 Woman of Distinction by the Lake County Journal. Wheeler is joined by six other honorees to be recognized at the Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon to be held on October 17 in Mundelein.

“I want to thank the Women of Distinction sponsors and the Lake County Journal for this recognition.” said Wheeler. “There are so many women doing wonderful work to serve and improve our communities and being counted among them is a great honor.”

Each year, the Lake County Journal and sponsors recognize women who have been chosen as representative role models and leaders in their respective fields and communities for the Women of Distinction Award. The October edition of the Lake County Journal will feature all of the 2017 Women of Distinction recipients. Subsequent monthly publications will then contain detailed features on each of the 2017 honorees.
Illinois residents are advised to be on alert for a renewed phone scam in which callers pose as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials in an attempt to scare people into sending money to pay for allegedly unpaid taxes. Consumers report being contacted by scammers pretending to be IRS officials who leave threatening messages that include a number for consumers to call in order to avoid lawsuits or prosecution.

Scammers also “spoof” phone numbers, causing caller ID devices to display what appears to be a legitimate call from the IRS, with identifiers such as “IRS” or the (202) area code for Washington, D.C. The scam artists claim they are representatives of the federal government collecting on unpaid taxes and leave threatening messages or instruct their targets to make a payment to them through a prepaid debit card. 
From Lake County: The flood of 2017 caused major flooding throughout Lake County resulting in significant property damage. The Stormwater Management Commission of Lake County is hosting a Flood Proofing Expo and Workshop for homeowners and property owners across 52 municipalities on October 19, 2017 from 3-8 p.m. at the Libertyville Sports Complex, 1950 US Highway 45. There is no charge to attend the Flood Proofing Expo. 

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about various products, services, and solutions to minimize flood damages to their homes and properties. The expo portion of this event will provide the opportunity to explore exhibitor tables for companies, vendors, and other resources. Presentations by industry experts will take place every hour, where participants can learn about drainage systems and ask questions about anything from flood insurance to best practices for flood damage protection. 

For more information, Click Here.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Veteran’s Assistance Commission, several local law enforcement agencies and many local high schools to collect coats and outerwear for the Lake County Law Enforcement Veteran's Coat Drive. The collection period run until Wednesday, November 8.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and our law enforcement partners invite you to join them in bringing gently used coats, gloves, hats, socks and scarves to one of the following locations:
  • Lake County, IL Government, 18 N County Street, Waukegan 
  • Lake County Sheriff's Office, 25 S Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Waukegan 
  • Lake County Sheriff's Office, 1301 N Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville (entrance off Winchester Road) 
  • Bannockburn Police Department, 2275 Telegraph Road, Bannockburn 
  • Deerfield Police Department, 850 Waukegan Road, Deerfield 
  • Gurnee Police Department, 100 N O'Plaine Road, Gurnee 
  • Hawthorn Woods Police Department, 2 Lagoon Drive, Hawthorn Woods 
  • Highland Park Police Department, 1677 Old Deerfield Road, Highland Park 
  • Lake County State's Attorney's Office, 18 N County Street, Waukegan 
  • Lake County Coroner's Office, 18 N County Street, Waukegan 
  • Libertyville Police Department, 200 E Cook, Libertyville 
  • Mundelein Police Department, 221 N Lake Street, Mundelein 
  • Round Lake Park Police Department, 215 E Main Street, Round Lake Park