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Today, on the eve of Independence Day, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has filed legislation to allow Illinoisans to celebrate the occasion with the time honored tradition of fireworks without the risk of fine or arrest. Illinois is one of only four states that does not allow for the consumer purchase and use of fireworks and Wheeler’s legislation would give that independence back to residents.

“Illinois is already an outlier in so many ways, and this another silly example,” said Wheeler. “Illinoisans, like residents in 46 other states, can and should be trusted to responsibly use consumer fireworks and take care of themselves. Not only does it make sense to give a little independence back to the people for Independence Day, but it will also generate some business and tax revenue for the state that will help mitigate some of the exodus of people leaving the state.”

Wheeler’s legislation, House Bill 5928, creates the Pyrotechnic Use Act of 2018. The bill, modeled on best practices utilized in other states, sets rules for the licensing, sale and purchase of consumer grade fireworks beyond the extreme limit of only items like sparkles, which is current Illinois law.
From Lake County's 19th Judicial Circuit Court:
The 19th Judicial Circuit Court’s Jury Commission received notification of several occurrences where individuals had been contacted via telephone by a male identifying himself as a Lake County Deputy Sheriff. Citizens were told that they had failed to appear for Jury Duty and needed to proceed to the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan immediately. Once at the Courthouse, they were instructed to call the Deputy Sheriff stating that they had left their residence. Local authorities have verified that the name provided by the caller is NOT a Lake County Deputy Sheriff.

In response to these events, Chief Judge Jay W. Ukena has issued the following statement. “The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit is appreciative of the service performed by the citizens of Lake County and is committed to protecting their civic right to serve as a juror. The Circuit is issuing a press advisory regarding this matter to all our local justice and media partners today to warn and protect the Citizens of Lake County."
This week, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation sponsored by State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) to support the Fox Waterway. Senate Bill 2696 furthers the mission of the Fox Waterway Agency to ensure the safety, cleanliness and usability of the waterway along the Fox River and Chain O’Lakes.

“The Fox River and Chain O’Lakes are beautiful natural resources that drive critical economic activity for our area,” said Wheeler. “Through Senate Bill 2696, the Fox Waterway Agency will be better equipped to ensure the environmental and economic viability of these natural resources and I look forward to the Governor signing the legislation into law.”
Today, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and the Illinois House of Representatives honored Dixon Police Officer Mark Dallas, the school resource officer whose quick action saved numerous lives on May 16, 2018. Governor Bruce Rauner has also declared today Mark Dallas Day.

“Officer Dallas is a true hero in every sense of the word,” said Wheeler. “His immediate recognition of the situation and quick action to disarm the gunman that day at Dixon High School averted what could have been a terrible attack and saved numerous lives. Officer Dallas, for your bravery and selfless action to save lives by going into harm’s way, we thank you.”

On May 16, 2018, Dallas confronted an armed former student who had fired a gun at Dixon High School where students were gathered for a graduation rehearsal. As a result of Dallas’ decisive action, no students were harmed. Dallas was honored by House Resolution 1114, which also commended the lockdown procedure put into place by the educators and students at Dixon High School who all acted calmly in the face of the incident.
Following the violent attack in Parkland, Florida, it became clear it could have been prevented had the school had the ability to petition the court for protection. Recognizing this reality, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) began crafting bipartisan legislation to address a similar gap in Illinois law. Along with the help of Lake County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Salvi, Senate Bill 3411 would allow a school, place of worship or workplace to seek protection.

“Even though we already have specific rules in place to keep firearms out of the hands of someone who may be suffering from a potentially dangerous mental health problem or who has exhibited signs of violent behavior, a gap currently exists in our law. This legislation helps us close that gap and improve public safety,” said Rep. Wheeler. “I want to thank Senator Raoul for carrying this legislation in the Senate, Lake County Judge Joseph Savli for helping us find a solution to address this issue, and all of the members of the Legislative Public Safety Group who came together to support this legislation.”
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has published state gross domestic product (GDP) numbers for 2017 as compared with 2016. The federal data table has mixed numbers for Illinois. On the one hand, Illinois’ economy grew in real terms in 2017, with real (inflation-adjusted) GDP rising 1.2% as compared with 2016. The Land of Lincoln’s per capita numbers were even better, with Illinois residents enjoying real GDP in 2017 that was 1.5% greater than that of 2016. 

On the other hand, most U.S. states continued to outperform Illinois. The Prairie State scored 33rd in real 2017 GDP growth among the 50 states, with 32 states outperforming Illinois’ growth rate. Furthermore, Illinois’ good per-capita GDP numbers were helped out by our State’s declining population, with a smaller number of people sharing a slightly larger pie. 
For more than 24 months, from the end of June 2015 until mid-July 2017, the state of Illinois spent taxpayers’ money without an approved budget. The partial withdrawal of Illinois’ legislative branch from the job of overseeing and controlling Illinois spending effectively kicked this oversight power over to the federal and state judiciary, and created wide gaps between Illinois spending areas. Although the General Assembly maintained partial oversight of state spending through continuous public hearings and discussions of spending programs and issues, this partial oversight fell short of the mandate contained in subsection 2(b) of Article VIII of the state Constitution. This subsection requires the General Assembly to make annual formal appropriations for all expenditures based upon funds estimated to be available in the approaching fiscal year.