The weather was near perfect over the weekend for numerous events throughout District 64. The Fox Lake Polar Plunge at the Lakefront Park was held on Sunday Feb. 28th. Nearly 300 people attended. The Fox Lake Polar Plunge was put on by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics with the assistance of the Village of Fox Lake and the many local businesses and volunteers who donated food and time to make the event a huge success.

Each participant in the Polar Plunge had to raise a minimum of $100 to participate, with one corporate donor contributing more than $10,000 for the event to help the Special Olympics. Many participants from various local high schools, local businesses, and friends and neighbors all dressed in colorful, funny costumes for the event. One of the judges was Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. The best costume went to the Shark Week contestants. Everyone who participated in the Polar Plunge was a winner in my book, and as one Special Olympics medalist put it, “There are no losers in the Special Olympics, they are all winners.”
Chicago Public Schools are demanding $500 million more in state funding with no strings attached and Democratic leaders have gone so far as to have stated that the entire state's education budget be held hostage until Chicago gets its money.

Governor Rauner believes CPS needs state financial oversight and a duly elected school board just like every other district in Illinois. Do you agree? Respond to our question of the week.

Click here to take the survey.
On Feb. 24th, the Fox Lake Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly meeting at YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside. YMCA Camp Duncan is a beautiful lodge and has been in existence since 1921. There are numerous cottage and cabins on the lakefront property which can accomodate up to 400 campers and guests. The camp has numerous programs for youths, with over 20,000 happy customers per year and hosts camps for burn victim children as well as numerous overnight camping programs for youths.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has filed House Resolution 1028 to honor the Student Services Department at Prairie Ridge High School. The Student Services Department recently received the Recognized American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Model Program designation, otherwise known as RAMP.

“High school counselor’s play an important role in helping students navigate through challenging academic and emotional situations,” said Wheeler. “The counselors at Prairie Ridge have done a great job implementing a comprehensive program to ensure all students have the resources they need to succeed and are deserving of this recognition by ASCA.”

The Students Services Department created and implemented a curriculum for every grade level that incorporated academics, social and emotional support, and also focused on college and career preparation.
Gov. Rauner made reforming the budget process the focal point of his budget address yesterday, referencing reform 22 times! Do you agree with Gov. Rauner that any budget deal must include reforms?

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"Governor Rauner provided a very sobering assessment of our state’s financial situation today, just as the Comptroller also recently did. The situation we face now is a product of years of mismanagement that cannot continue and I applaud him for offering two realistic paths forward and again calling for politics to be set aside so we can get this done.

The Governor also made it very clear that he shares my focus of ensuring our next generation is taken care of and I hope that his request for a clean K-12 education funding bill won’t be met with opposition. At the very least, we have an obligation to protect our children from this mess and make sure that every child is able to achieve a high-quality and well-funded education, as he proposed.
Governor Rauner will deliver his budget address at noon today. You can watch his address by clicking here.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and Refuge for Women are hosting a special human trafficking awareness seminar on February 24, 2016 at Lundahl Middle School in Crystal Lake. The seminar will focus on the affects human trafficking has on our youth, such as the dangers of social media. It will also highlight methods that parents and the community at large can use to spot the signs of exploitation and prevent our youth from being taken advantage of by predators.
Under State and federal law, owners and operators of motor vehicles that are licensed from addresses located in so-called “non-attainment” areas must submit their vehicles to automatic vehicle re-inspections. Most large U.S. urban areas, including greater Chicago and greater St. Louis, are non-attainment areas. The presence in the air of significant products of internal combustion engines – typically ozone – is enough to get a region designated as a non-compliant metropolitan area. Vehicles that fail their emissions inspections must get repaired and re-tested. Presentation of an Illinois emissions pass is required as a condition of renewing a stickered Illinois motor vehicle license plate and being allowed to use the vehicle.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), which enforces federal Clean Air Act compliance efforts in Illinois, used to send out warning notices to Illinois motor vehicle owners to remind them to submit their vehicles for re-testing. However, as part of Illinois’ crisis-related budget cuts, the notices stopped going out in December. Despite this, the Secretary of State's office has said that because many vehicle owners have come to depend on these notices, they believe this may pose an undue hardship on many of them. To that end, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office will NOT deny registrations for failure to meet emissions testing requirements until they have the opportunity to meet with IEPA and design and implement an effective alternative notification program that may involve both written and electronic reminders.
The new Illinois law parallels the ban in place for many years on the sale of conventional cigarettes and other tobacco products to children. While the new law includes a wide variety of actual and hypothetical nicotine delivery devices, it is specifically aimed at the sale of e-cigarettes and vaporizers. Possession of tobacco by children under the age of 18 is already illegal, and this new law (effective June 1, 2016) will extend the existing ban to cover newly-invented vape and e-cigarette products.

The bill (SB 32) creating this new law was enacted by the House and Senate in 2015, and was signed by Governor Rauner on Friday, January 29 as P.A. 99-496. Under the new law, the retail sale of alternative nicotine products to a juvenile, and the possession of these products by a juvenile, will become a petty offense punishable by a schedule of fines. For the retailer the statutory fine for a first offense will be $200, and for a juvenile the statutory fine for a first offense will be $50 with a possible additional requirement that the juvenile carry out an imposed sentence of community service. Repeat offenses, by any party, will draw a pattern of increasing monetary penalties. P.A. 99-496 will go into effect on June 1, 2016.
“Though I’m a conservative Republican who typically disagrees with the President on policy, he delivered a great speech this afternoon. I will credit him for recognizing that his Presidency has not stewarded in the age of political compromise and civility he had hoped to create when he entered office. I would go so far as to guess that this speech, along with his State of the Union address, is meant to kick-off a ‘House Divided Tour’ to heal the ever worsening wounds of polarization.

That being said, I’m hopeful that both sides of the aisle in Springfield can realize that we do have the common ground the President referred to throughout his speech. This is the same common ground that Governor Rauner spoke of in his State of the State address. The President reiterated what the Governor and others have said before, without compromise we cannot govern. This was the principle that our founding fathers laid out for our nation so that one party or set of views wouldn't be able to dictate to or control all others.

I’m glad that the President cheered independent redistricting and campaign finance reform as necessary to move our democracy forward and combat the growing polarization. I agree, and I also agree in the value of increasing voter turnout. With today’s technology, there is no reason we can’t improve turnout while also putting in place common sense measures to prevent voter fraud. You can’t have increased turnout without ensuring frauds are prevented from damaging other citizens’ rights.

I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle with take his words to heart and help us all stand up for reform that will create a more fair and just political system. This will allow us to pass a balanced budget with reforms and common sense solutions so that Illinois can once again be a state we are all proud to call home.”
President Barack Obama will address the General Assembly today, video will be available starting at 1:10 p.m. You can watch the President's address by clicking here.
Join Representative Barbara Wheeler and Refuge for Women for a special human trafficking awareness seminar on February 24, 2016. The seminar will focus on the affects that human trafficking and sexual exploitation have on our youth and the methods that parents and the community at large can use to spot the signs of exploitation.
The recent Round Lake Area Chamber of Commerce installation and Tasting event of 2016 was held on Saturday, February 6 at the Round Lake Cultural Center. The event called "Members Night Out" was the Chambers 68th Anniversary bash.

Hundreds of people were in attendance. The Taste of the Chamber included wine tasting and raffles. Food was provided through numerous vendors: Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili's, Don Luis Catering, Eileens/Richard's, Lovin Oven, Ron's Italian Ovens, Sammies, Scotty's and Walmart.

The Chamber awarded their annual President's Award to Walmart, which honors the accomplishments and dedication of service to the Round Lake area. Some of the other businesses that were also recognized were Home Depot, Buffalo Wild Wings and Lovin Oven Bakery. The Round Lake School District was also recognized for their community efforts, as well as the American Legion and Bob Powers of WOLR radio channel.
Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is sending a notice to all women looking to purse their college education. The Conference of Women Legislators (COWL), a not-for-profit and bipartisan coalition of women legislators in the Illinois General Assembly recently announced their 2016-2017 Scholarship Award Program. COWL created the scholarship program as part of its mission to promote economic independence, community service, and leadership development. Scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded. The scholarships are for women 25 and older seeking to complete or continue their undergraduate education.

“The COWL scholarship program is a great opportunity for women who weren’t able to attend college immediately following high school, or are interested in going back to school,” said Wheeler. “Advancing the educational development of women is not just a great way for them to improve their own career opportunities, but also our communities as a whole. I hope those working on their undergraduate studies, or hoping to begin studying, will take advantage of this opportunity.”
Following a news conference by Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) praised the Comptroller’s speech regarding the budget crisis and again called for the General Assembly to step-up.

“Comptroller Munger couldn’t have made it more clear in her press conference today; we must have a balanced budget now or we could end up with more than $10 billion in debt,” said Wheeler. “As she said, the court orders have turned our state’s finances into a no-limit credit card for some spending, but have left many of the most vulnerable at risk without a budget. Every day that passes exacerbates the problem.”

Wheeler continued, “I will say it again, it’s time for the General Assembly to step-up. Like both the Comptroller and Governor have said, we have areas of common ground, it’s time to get in a room together and get this done. I know many of my colleagues agree, but we must put this call to action to all members of the General Assembly.”
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month, a time to recognize the role of African Americans in U.S. history. Below is a partial list of notable African-Americans with ties to Illinois.

1779
Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable
The first settler and resident of Chicago
 Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable was born in San Marc, Haiti, in 1745. Not very much is known about Du Sable's early life. It is known, however, that Du Sable's mother was probably killed by the Spanish when he was ten. In 1764 Du Sable and his friend Jacques Clemorgan moved from Haiti to New Orleans. Du Sable was eventually thankful for moving to New
Orleans because it was here that he and his friend Clemorgan met their future partner of a trading post in New Orleans, and later in what would become Peoria, Illinois. The young man Du Sable and Clemorgan met was Choctaw, a Native American from the Great Lakes. At the time, Choctaw was working at a Catholic mission. Read more.