Following another attempt by the Democratic Majority in the House of Representatives to pass disingenuous legislation (SB 2043), State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) had this to say:

“I’m saddened that another piece of legislation filled with false hope was shoved through the House today,” said Wheeler. “I’ve heard from so many students in my district who have worked very hard, done all the right things and earned a MAP grant to pursue their college education, they don’t deserve to be duped with false hope like this.”

Wheeler continued, “The simple fact is that this legislation is a lie and a counter proposal, HB 4539, which would have funded all higher education institutions with money we do have, wasn’t even considered. Without rebalancing our state budget, we don’t have any way to pay for their proposal and ensure hard working students will be able to go back to college in the fall. What we need to do is take the remarks from the Governor to heart, drop the partisan wrangling, step-up and come together to pass a reformed and comprehensive budget that funds all the programs people in Illinois rely on.”
Statement by Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake): 

"Today, in Gov. Rauner’s second State of the State Address, he made it clear that despite resistance from Springfield’s career politicians, he will keep fighting to restore our state. He’s laid out a clear set of proposals and made it very clear that he will work with anyone willing to compromise to bring back Illinois.

His recent actions to bring our state’s technology into the 21st century clearly demonstrate his willingness to embrace new ideas and seek innovative ways to solve the problems facing our state. As I said after the recommendations from the government consolidation task force were released, we must take action as soon as possible on those proposals and the new ideas offered by the Governor today. Illinoisans can’t wait any longer.

I hope both sides of the aisle can shake off the disagreements of 2015 and come together to make the compromise we need a reality. As the Governor said, there is a lot of common ground and all members of the General Assembly just need to step-up. Saying ‘no’ just because it was the Governor’s idea can’t happen in in 2016."
Governor Rauner will deliver the State of the State Address at noon today, click here to watch it live

On January 19, I was able to attend State Rep. Barb Wheeler's Refuge for Women event which was held at the Loyola Retreat Center in Woodstock. This event was held to raise awareness about the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women which is a sad reality for many. The event featured numerous attendees from not-for-profit groups, faith based organizations, and other government agencies and departments. In the Chicagoland area alone there are between 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls as young as 10, being sold though violence, manipulation or coercion for commercial sex or labor exploitation. Many of the women are recent immigrants who have come into our country and been unable to find work, and then approached by individuals involved in the pornography and sex for money business world.

Illinois generates the 5th highest numbers of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, primarily because of the I-90 corridor and hotel infrastructure located in this region to support a tracking hub area. Currently, there are less than 25 beds with specialized programs in the entire State of Illinois to help these women.
Owners of the two-wheeled devices have been told not to roll them out at facilities within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Eastern Illinois University, Governors’ State University, and Western Illinois University. Some of the bans cover residence halls only, and some are campus-wide. Other universities are considering parallel actions.

A hoverboard is an orthogonal-line motorized skateboard with urethane wheels, a powerful battery, and a computer chip to help the rider of the board shift his or her footing and keep in balance. The regulatory actions and bans follow reports from the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that implicate hoverboard lithium batteries in a series of ignition fires reported nationwide. The CPSC is currently investigating 37 fires in 19 U.S. states. Many U.S. airlines also ban shipment of the popular toys on their flights.
Since taking office in January 2015, the Rauner Administration has succeeded in writing new labor contracts with a wide variety of labor unions that represent many difference facets of the State workforce. 17 labor bargaining units, organized within 13 separate trade unions, have agreed to fair, reasonable contracts with the State of Illinois. However, no contract has been reached with AFSCME, which represents 30,000 state employees. On Friday, January 15, the Governor announced that his office will ask the State’s labor-management oversight panel, the Labor Relations Board, to examine the state of the negotiations between the State and AFSCME to determine if these talks have reached a point of impasse.

The determination of an impasse, if it is reached, will be legally significant because it will move relations between the State and AFSCME to a different level from where these relations are right now. Currently, based on mutual pledges by both sides, both the State and its largest union have agreed to continue their relations in the absence of a contract, and AFSCME state employees continue to show up for work and be paid.
The Lake Villa Township Casino Day which was held Saturday January 9th was a huge success. Over 140 people attended despite the cold weather. The event was one of four annually which Lake Villa Township officials sponsor for area seniors. Seniors from all around Lake County and from Wisconsin were in attendance trying their luck to earn play money to win a prize. The largest pot winner was $1,400 and just about everyone left with some type of prize which was provided by Lake Villa Supervisor, Dan Venturi. A hot ham and bean dinner was served by Lake Villa Township volunteers which was delicious and there were plenty of desserts plus home made sundaes for seniors to enjoy.

Complimentary beverages were served such as: champagne punch, beer and wine along with coffee and soda beverages. Beverage servers who waited on tables were Judy Martini, Legislative Aide for Rep. Wheeler's Fox Lake office, along with State Rep. Sheri Jeisel.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has filed a resolution in the Illinois House of Representatives to honor the memory of fallen McHenry Soldier Kevin Weiss. Weiss, who was a Chief Warrant Officer 2 in the United States Army, recently lost his life during a training mission due to suspected mechanical problems while piloting his AH-64D Apache Helicopter.

“By all accounts of those who knew him, CWO Weiss’ dedication to helping others was second to none and he lived every day with that as his focus,” said Wheeler. “His loss is not only to his many close friends and family members, but our country and the many people who will not be able to benefit from his kindness.”

Weiss, who was raised in McHenry, took to helping others at a young age, which led him to pursue military service in 2003. After attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant, Weiss was selected to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School, going on to become a helicopter pilot with the 101st Airborne Division.
This morning, Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti formally presented Governor Bruce Rauner with the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force’s final report at a meeting in Oak Brook. State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) applauded the report and said that it is time for the General Assembly to take up the recommendations and get to work when they reconvene on January 13. 

“Property taxes are crushing Illinois residents, we all already knew this, which is why a property tax freeze and structural reforms are so important,” said Wheeler. “Now that the Task Force has delivered its recommendations to tackle the problems, we must take action as soon as possible. The recommendations in the report touched on some very important strategies; some are no brainers that we already knew, like making it easier for local governments to share equipment and cut costs.

“Now the priority shifts to the General Assembly to take up these recommendations when we reconvene on January 13th, Illinoisans can’t wait any longer and I hope my colleagues in the House will join me in this effort.”