During the House floor debate on Friday with only 4 days left in the regular session, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) stood up to join House Republicans in calling for a commitment towards a budget solution and compromise.

Republicans noted that given the limited time remaining during the regular session, the House should remain in session through the weekend and allow the bipartisan budget working groups to craft a compromise.
House Republicans held a press conference immediately following the vote on an appropriation plan that spends $7 billion more in revenue than the state has coming into its coffers.

"The bipartisan budget working groups have been making gains," said Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake). "Then this bill is dropped and Leader Currie says we can't depend on compromise."

House Republicans were denied a vote verification for a 500-page bill that was introduced a mere 90-minutes before it was called for debate on the House Floor. Democrats then limited the debate to less than an hour with a parliamentarian move.
In recent weeks, the success of bipartisan work by rank-and-file members of the General Assembly has led to important stopgap funding for higher education and social service providers. I've been cautiously optimistic this work could lead to a constitutionally balanced budget.

The success of that work is why the current efforts of the budget working groups is so important to ending this budget impasse that has gone on far too long already. It was the rank-and-file members that found areas of compromise to keep the doors open for those vital services, and it is how we’re going to get a comprehensive budget passed.
Today, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office announced a change to Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards designed to protect against identity theft and to bring Illinois closer to compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005. The enhanced security features will include a new photo structure, a design that includes patterns, lines and images to make it more difficult to counterfeit, a laser perforation and an ultraviolet feature.

There’s no need to replace your driver’s license or ID card immediately, but there are a few changes to the process you should be aware of when it comes time to renew your license or ID.

When you visit the DMV, take any tests you may normally be required to, but when you leave you will no longer be issued a new driver’s license or ID card at the end of the process. Instead, you will leave the facility with a temporary secure paper driver's license, which will be valid for 45 days and will serve as your license or ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. You will also receive your old license back with a hole punched in it. Your information will then be sent to a centralized, secure facility to conduct fraud checks and ensure your identity. The new, more secure license or ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to your address. For air travel, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said that it will accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old license or ID to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail.
At least the rain stopped long enough for a beautiful day for some of our local veterans. Sunday, May 15 was the second annual Take a Vet Fishing Day which was held on the Chain O'Lakes at Thirsty Turtle Marina. The event was held to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder and other causes to support veterans. Take a Vet Fishing is a registered non-profit and volunteer organization that holds fishing events throughout the United States to honor our veterans.

Over 150 veterans from throughout the state were taken fishing on the beautiful Chain O'Lakes. There were 85 volunteers and professional fishermen who gave veterans guided fishing tours from their boats. The largest fish caught was a 35 inch muskie caught on Pistakee Lake by veteran Bill Christiansen with the assistance of guide Bernie Loonsfoot. Most pan fish were hanging out at the bottom because of the cooler weather, the guide’s told us.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) expressed relief for a second time in recent weeks after another stopgap measure passed the Illinois House of Representatives to fund vital human services programs.

“As I said a few weeks ago when we passed the higher education funding measure, this stopgap for human services shows what we can accomplish when we put aside the partisan wrangling and let common sense prevail,” said Wheeler. “That being said, this funding agreement is by no means an answer to our financial problems.”

As with the funds used from the Education Assistance Fund for the higher education stopgap measure, the funds used in this bill, Amendment to Senate Bill 2038, have previously been set aside for human services and will not add to Illinois’ current bill backlog. The funds used are from the Commitment to Human Services Fund and other state funds, not the General Revenue Fund.
Pictured: Representative Wheeler presents Certificates of
Recognition to Valley View Elementary students and staff.
From left to right: 5th Grade Teacher Danielle Jaeger,
Representative Wheeler, 5th Grader Taylor Wickenkamp,
5th Grader Cooper Cohn and Principal Amanda Cohn.
This week, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) stopped by “TECH 2016: Students for the Information Age” showcase at the Capitol in Springfield to greet fourth and fifth graders from Crystal Lake and McHenry. Wheeler also presented the students with Certificates of Recognition at the event which featured student demonstrations about how they use technology to improve learning opportunities in the classroom.

“To see fourth and fifth graders programming robots and skillfully using collaborative online software to complete assignments is really impressive. It’s certainly not what I was learning in elementary school,” Wheeler quipped.

“Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, which is why it’s so important that our classrooms continue to adapt,” said Wheeler. “The fact that North and Valley View Elementary Schools’ are leading on this front is a testament to the work of the teachers and the students. There’s no question they deserve to be recognized as one of the top schools in Illinois for incorporating technology into the learning experience.”
The symposium brings together those interested in and actively researching Lake County History. Attend a series of presentations on this year’s theme, “Women in Lake County History.”

This year’s topics include: Lake Forest Women Writers, 1889–1941; From Gowns to Gavels: The Life and Work of Virginia Fiester Frederick; The Ryan Sisters of Lake Forest; The Women’s Club Movement; First Women to Vote in Illinois; Wauconda Area Women Who Served in WWII; and Susannah Smith Minto of Millburn.

Saturday, May 14, 2016
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Location:
Lake County Discovery Museum
Lakewood
This evening, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) will be hosting a Tele-Town Hall event live from Springfield. Residents of the 61st and 64th House Districts will receive a call at approximately 7 p.m. to join the call and will be connected to a live Q&A session with Reps Wheeler and Jesiel in Springfield. 

There is no cost to participate. Should you miss the 7 p.m. call, but still wish to participate, you can join the call by dialing (815) 414-9711. 
The gloomy, rainy weather last week was the perfect time for a trip to some of Lake County's most haunted places. Believe in ghosts or not, the tour had many interesting historical elements to it and was well worth braving the stormy weather for. The event, a recent bus tour held in Northern Lake County by Nick Sarlo of Shadow Hunters and Ursula Bielski, author of Tales of Haunted Chicago. After a seminar at the Lake Villa Library, attendees took off from The Lodge in Antioch with over 50 attendees who braved the weather which was perfect for a haunting. The Lodge, which legend says may be haunted, is located on Main Street in Antioch and at one time was the home of Al Capone's tavern and gambling house. The story was that Capone's building had faced three fires or bombings during the mob years of Chicago and that mobsters would come out to the Chain O'Lakes area to hide out from the law. Folklore says that there are tunnels under the Main Street area that lead up to Antioch High School and were used to smuggle things for the mob or to hide-out, and at one-time used for transportation of slaves.
The task force, created earlier in April 2016 by executive order, has been asked to look into possible fraud, waste, and abuse in state-administered health care programs. Illinois taxpayers pay $19 billion a year to administer and pass through payments on state-run health care programs. Most of this money is paid directly by state taxpayers to Illinois, and a large subset is paid through federal taxes paid by Illinoisans to Washington, D.C.-based programs in which both Illinois and the federal government collaborate and provide funds.

Rauner has asked the task force to review the best practices currently used by the private sector to examine and control soaring health care costs. Other states’ efforts to reduce Medicaid fraud and other forms of public sector health care abuse are also to be looked at. The task force will work with data managers skilled at “big data” analytics to uncover statistical patterns indicative of non-optimal health care billing and spending.
It's National Small Business Week. Over 50% of Americans are employed because of small business and they are the leading job creators in America. Making Illinois a friendly place for small business again will help Illinois have a dynamic economy with high quality jobs.

Learn more about small business and its impact at: www.sba.gov/nsbw.

Joe Keller, the new Executive Director of the Fox Waterway Agency was the guest speaker at this month’s Fox Lake Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Mr. Keller gave an overview of the mission and the challenges of the Agency to find solutions to remove the over 100,000 cubic yards of sediment which enter the Fox River watershed yearly. One of the solutions Mr. Keller discussed with chamber members was the long time theory of island creation opportunities from dredged materials such as Trinski Island and by Petite Lake for the many waterfowl and plant life conducive from the Chain O'Lakes area.

The Chain O'Lakes area contains over 500 miles of shoreline within it' 700 acres of waterways. It is speculated that tourism from the Chain O'Lakes waterway generates over $150 Million per year from the thousands of tourists and residents who use this waterway. The Fox Waterway Agency currently has two sources of revenue for operations, state funding and revenue generated from sticker fees. The Agency is looking for other permanent sources of funding since the state has reduced funding dramatically because of the budget impasse.