From Lake County: Caterpillar has selected Deerfield as home to its new corporate headquarters. Caterpillar initially plans to relocate approximately 100 employees to its new site immediately, but that number is expected to triple in coming years. The move adds high quality jobs and a new global brand to Lake County’s bustling economy. Caterpillar, a Dow Jones 30 company, joins 11 other Fortune 500 companies that call Lake County home.

Lake County Partners and Lake County join the Village of Deerfield in welcoming Caterpillar to the neighborhood and look forward to working together to ensure that the transition is smooth and successful. Lake County Partners is a 501(c)(3) economic development corporation that works to maintain economic vitality in Lake County by creating and retaining quality jobs, stimulating capital investment, and pursuing economic diversity. Read the full news release.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) says despite loud claims to the contrary, House Bill 40 actually removes safeguards for women’s health.

“Proponents of House Bill 40 have repeatedly claimed it improves access to reproductive health care for women, but the facts couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Wheeler. “The legislation actually deteriorates protections for pregnant women by removing basic health care standards, preventing women from being provided basic information, and removing all rights from unborn children. How can any of that be good for women and families?”

Wheeler continued, “Instead, House Bill 282, legislation to ensure pregnant women are protected from unsafe conditions, provided basic information, and to prevent discrimination against unborn children solely because of their race, color, sex, disability, national origin, or ancestry was not even given a committee hearing. We need to reevaluate what it means to protect women and families, because it is clear House Bill 40 isn’t the answer.”
In 2017, Lake County will have roughly $94 million in road projects under construction. About $56 million is carried over from 2016, accounting for two of the big projects underway - the grade separation and widening/reconstruction of Washington Street, and the reconstruction of Deerfield Road. Much of the remaining work planned in 2017 falls under the preservation category, which includes resurfacing projects, culvert replacements and bridge repairs. In total, the Lake County Division of Transportation will have 28 active construction projects this year. View the 2017 Construction Program Map.
A new study, backed by the Illinois Policy Institute, suggests that the cost of workers’ compensation to Illinois taxpayers is at least $1 billion a year. The total includes at least $727 million/year attributable to local governments and school districts, and an estimated $255 million/year for the State of Illinois. The study was released on Wednesday, April 5.

Workers’ compensation costs are paid by taxpayers as the employers of the thousands of Illinois public sector personnel, including school and university personnel. Under existing law, most employers must cover their employees with workers’ compensation insurance to reflect the actuarial future costs of the employment-related health challenges they may face in the future while employed.
A visitor count carried out during the final six months of calendar year 2016 showed 12.9 million visitors setting foot in Chicago’s iconic park, making Millennium Park the most popular single site in the central region of the United States. The park centers around sculptor Anish Kapoor’s internationally recognized abstract stainless-steel sculpture “Cloud Gate.” Millennium Park topped the Midwest’s second-most-visited tourist attraction, Chicago’s Navy Pier.
The counts carried out by the American Community Survey include movements of former Illinoisans through calendar years 2015. In 2015, 34,220 former Illinois residents moved to the Hoosier State.

Indiana currently possesses features that increase its attractions relative to Illinois. Features of Indiana policy include a working state budget, a statewide property tax limitation law, a “triple-AAA” credit rating, and a job-friendly business climate. More Illinois residents are expected to move to Indiana as these policy factors continue to operate.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is sending congratulations to Crystal Lake’s own, LeadingIT. The Crystal Lake based cloud support company has been named a semi-finalist for the James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. LeadingIT will compete with 12 other semi-finalist in a shark tank style competition, and can be supported by using the #2017TyreeAward hashtag on social media.

“It is great to see one of our own small businesses is a semi-finalist for this prestigious award,” said Wheeler. “Small business is the backbone of our economy, and it’s great to see a small business like LeadingIT, which supports other small businesses, in the running. I hope you’ll join me in cheering them on with the hashtag #2017TyreeAward.”
In an executive order, Gov. Bruce Rauner took steps this week to trigger the elimination of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA). The Agency operates more than 50 historic and cultural-heritage sites throughout Illinois. Sites controlled by IHPA include the Hotel Florence, an architectural keystone of the Pullman National Monument in Chicago; Lincoln’s Tomb and Lincoln’s New Salem in Central Illinois; and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cahokia Mounds, east of St. Louis. IHPA was separated out from its former parent, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (then called the Department of Conservation) in 1985.

Under the terms of Rauner’s Executive Order, most of IHPA will be returned to what is now the Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The consolidation of the two agencies is expected to generate significant administrative savings. A key entity within IHPA, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, will be granted its own Board of Trustees and autonomy directly under the Office of the Governor.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Democrats once again rammed another stopgap spending plan through the House – it’s precisely why Democrats have been unwilling to negotiate with House Republicans on a full, balanced budget.

We have said all along that it was the plan of the Speaker and the majority party to only pass stopgap spending plans and allow our state to simply limp along to get to the next election – and their most recent actions prove that.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen all of this before. Typically, right before a break or deadline, the majority party decides it’s best to play politics and passes a spending plan that never balances or fails to address the real issues of our state so that they can go home and pretend that they’ve done their job.
From NPR Radio:
In a way, it's just one little box on a lengthy college application form. But for many would-be students, that box is more of a stop sign. State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, a Republican from Crystal Lake, sat down with NPR Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes to explain why.

"Education has a profound impact on keeping people out of prison and dramatically reducing recidivism. Right now, someone coming out of a corrections facility has a 44% chance of returning to prison, but with a bachelor’s degree that chance drops to 5.6%, and with a master’s degree it drops to 1%. If we can provide more opportunity for people coming out of the corrections system, we won't just be reducing crime and our prison population, we'll be adding contributing members to our economy and society, which benefits everyone," said Wheeler.

Listen to the interview, Click Here.
This week, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) advanced legislation to the House floor to improve the availability of school choice options for Illinois parents. House Bill 3257 removes limitations on the number of charter schools allowed in Illinois.

“Every child’s first teachers are their parents, which is why it is so important for parents to have a say in where their child is educated,” said Wheeler. “Many parents have this opportunity by choosing to live in a community with excellent public schools, like ours, but not every parent has this option. House Bill 3257 addresses this by giving more parents the opportunity to send their child to a great school by removing the limits on charter schools in Illinois.”
From the Tribune: More Illinoisans die from an opioid overdose than from the barrel of a gun. But imagine the public outcry if a state-run program was passing out weaponry to civilians.

Enter Illinois' workers' compensation system, which contains a little-known loophole that puts injured workers at risk of drug addiction and overdose. Doctors treating injured workers in Illinois through the workers' comp system can sell the drugs they prescribe directly out of their office. And that comes with life-threatening consequences.
It was another busy few weeks in the 64th District with lots of events taking place. Many of our communities hosted Chamber of Commerce Business Expo's, including Spring Grove, Johnsburg, Wauconda and Fox Lake. The expo's featured hundreds of local businesses and vendors featuring their products and services.

The Fox Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Business and Craft Expo was held at Grant Community High School and was well attended. Over 85 businesses were represented at this year’s event. There were many activities for children and families, including martial arts demonstrations, balloon artists and games, and several local restaurants offered samples and inexpensive treats. Additionally, Several Grant students were dressed as beloved story characters for pictures with children and attendees.
In an effort to make state government and the legislative process more accessible to Illinois residents, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is providing a link to translate the Illinois General Assembly website, www.ilga.gov, into various different languages.

The Illinois General Assembly website contains legislator profiles, full text of all legislation introduced in the House of Representatives and State Senate, live audio and video feeds of legislative session and committee hearings; as well as a wide variety of other legislative information and support services.

Please click any of the links below to translate the Illinois General Assembly website into your preferred language:

Spanish         Español
Arabic          عربي               
Hindi           हिन्दी      
Chinese (Simplified) 中文简体               
Chinese (Traditional) 中文繁體                
Japanese        日本語 
Korean          한국어             
Russian         Русский 
French          Français    
German        Deutsch             
Italian            Italiano           
Polish             Polski        
Greek             Ελληνικά 
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is sponsoring legislation to give residents the option to consolidate unnecessary local governments through referendum. House Bill 496, which advanced to the full House this week, allows residents to consolidate townships that are coterminous with a municipality to reduce duplicate costs and services.

“As the recent report from the Tax Foundation shows, Illinois has the third highest property taxes in the nation,” said Wheeler. “We know one of the primary factors driving our high property taxes is that we have more local governments than any other state. House Bill 496 puts the control directly in the hands of residents to reduce their tax burden and save money through a direct vote.”
This week, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) advanced legislation through the Illinois House of Representatives to make it easier and more cost effective for counties to do business. House Bill 1800 makes it easier for counties to negotiate contracts to utilize crops as snow breaks in winter.

“I’m glad this piece of legislation was able to move through the committee process and advance out of the House so quickly,” said Wheeler. “This is a straight forward piece of legislation that gives our counties the latitude they need to find cost savings for residents by utilizing natural structures as snow breaks in winter and reduce the cost of snow removal services.”
The Crystal Lake Food Pantry recently had an Open House to show off their beautiful new facility. The Pantry moved to its new location at 42 East Street in Crystal Lake off Route 176 several months ago.

The new centrally located facility makes it easier to serve the Pantry’s clients. Since 1 in 7 people currently need help to feed their families, the Pantry helps 547 families per month in the area, up 10% from last year. Surprisingly, over 36% the Pantry’s customers are under the age of 8 years old, while 9% of their customers are over the age of 60. In keeping with their motto, “no one should go hungry,” the Pantry is planning more outreach in the future to expand services for seniors, and their many volunteers from Scouts to Churches will help make sure that the goal is met.

Are you a developer, business, municipality, local agency, or resident that lives or works in Lake County? If so, you're encouraged you to attend an Open House on March 15, to provide feedback on proposed changes and revisions to Lake County ordinances that may affect you.

Several Lake County Departments are reviewing and updating ordinances, and you are invited to join them for an open house to review the changes, provide feedback and ask questions. They are bringing each of these departments together in one spot so that customers and stakeholders can get all of the information you need in one stop.

Please attend one of these meetings, or submit comments through the Ordinance website.

Two Open House Sessions Available:
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Times: 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. OR *4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Location: Lake County Division of Transportation, 600 Winchester Road, Libertyville

*The Health Department will be conducting a formal Public Hearing at 4 p.m. as part of this open house. See Public Hearing Notice.
The new vaccination and immunization requirements will be enforced when most children are enrolled in child care, public school, or private school in Illinois. Their parents will be required to present either an immunization certificate or a medical form when the child is presented or enrolled in a group environment. The Department is authorized to impose vaccination requirements by rule as part of its overall legal authorization to protect Illinois public health.

One problem with vaccination requirements is that they have become much more complex over the past thirty years. Many older Illinoisans remember getting a measles shot and then a polio shot. The simple progression of shots that many parents remember from their own childhoods have been replaced by a complex schedule of immunizations in which a lengthy list of contagious conditions, many referred to by acronyms, are merged into a complicated schedule of immunization windows that open and close at different times as an infant grows into childhood and young adulthood. For example, here is an immunization chart for children from birth to 6 years of age.
House members filed 3,921 bills in January and February 2017. Under the “First Reading” deadline, bills filed by mid-February may be considered in a House committee in the 2017 spring session. House bills filed after Friday, February 10 cannot be considered this spring as independent, free-standing pieces of legislation.

Following the bill introduction deadline, the House schedule has set aside six weeks of session time in February and March for committee action. During this six-week period, House committees will hold hearings, listen to testimony from witnesses, and hold votes on bills to be advanced to the House floor for further discussion and debate. In spring 2017, the House has organized 57 permanent and special committees to hear bills and conduct legislative action. Many of these committees began to meet this week.
Join Refuge for Women for an extraordinary evening of inspiration May 6th at the Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills, IL from 6pm to 9pm

You will experience moving stories of transformation and hear how Refuge is helping residents through a 3-phase program that lasts up to 12 months to recover from human trafficking and exploitation.

Special guest will be Julianna Zobrist.

Enjoy a silent auction, dinner and program in the beautiful surroundings of the Boulder Ridge Country Club. Your attendance at "Freedom...Living A New Story", will help support the newly established restorative home in McHenry County.

Your registration includes: Silent Auction, Dinner, Complimentary Valet Parking, Stories of Inspiration and More.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) takes part in "Shine A Light On Slavery" Day to raise awareness about the more than 27 million people across the world who are victims of the modern day slavery that is human trafficking.

Share your red X to join the fight to #EndIt here in Illinois. Click here to learn more.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Mesirow Financial and The PrivateBank are pleased to announce that first prize for the 6th Annual James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award is $50,000. Applications are now being accepted for the prestigious award, which is presented annually to a high-growth entrepreneur who is philanthropically active in the Chicagoland area.

The winner, who will be announced at the Chicagoland Chamber’s 113th Annual Meeting on June 6th, must display philanthropic values and be active in the local community.

The open application period runs now through March 17, 2017. During a kickoff reception on Wednesday, April 12 at Mesirow Financial, 12 finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges while a live audience vote determines which finalists advance. A private panel of judges will convene in May to evaluate the remaining finalists.

Click here for to see award criteria and to apply for the award.
This week, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) joined the Conference of Women Legislators (COWL) at Go Red for Women Day. Every year, the American Heart Association partners with groups across the country to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases in women.

In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention. In fact, many even dismissed it as an older man’s disease. To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease & stroke as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red for Women, a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

Learn about Go Red for Women and how to get involved, Click Here.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) responds to Governor's budget address:

“I was glad the Governor used his address to provide feedback on the proposal being worked on in the Senate. He made it clear that previous attempts to balance the budget by raising taxes didn’t work and we need to cut spending, provide property tax relief and make Illinois a competitive place for job creators. As with his State of the State, he emphasized criminal justice reform is an important component of his budget recommendations, I completely agree. If we reduce recidivism and get more people working and contributing to the state, it will not only reduce costs to the state, but provide the positive economic impact the state desperately needs.”

Today at noon, Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his annual Budget Address. To watch the address live, Click Here or Click Here.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has filed legislation to consolidate the number and type of electoral boards in Illinois to save taxpayer dollars and reduce the confusion caused by the convoluted process. Under House Bill 2472, electoral boards for municipalities, townships and community college boards will be consolidated under county electoral boards.

“Having separate electoral boards for these local governments adds unnecessary cost and confusion for taxpayers,” said Wheeler. “Since our county electoral boards are already designed to hear objections for multiple offices for election, like school districts and special districts, this is a simple and logical change.”
State aid to schools is one of the largest appropriations of Illinois’ state budget. The complex formula, which is set forth in Illinois statute and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), includes a wide variety of tweaks and variables. Money that is not provided by federal or State aid must be brought in from property tax levies and concerns about the Illinois school funding formula are increasingly intertwined with concerns about Illinois property taxes and tax rates.

In July 2016, Governor Rauner and the four legislative leaders created the bipartisan, bicameral Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. The 25 members of the Commission were asked to revamp Illinois’ education funding formula to provide a more equitable and adequately funded system for all students. The Commission met for a final time on Wednesday, February 1 to finalize a report to submit to the Governor and General Assembly. The final report provides a framework on how to move forward in establishing an equitable school funding formula. It is the hope of the Commission that the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office can work together to put this framework into legislation to create a new, more equitable and adequate funding system for FY18.
The additional 7-cent-a-shopping-bag tax in Chicago for household foodstuffs and other goods, and asking for a bag, was imposed by the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The tax is aimed at disposable bags given away for free by many retailers. After one-time use many shopping bags are immediately disposed of as landfill garbage, and some are let go to blow around.

The seven-cent tax replaces an earlier Chicago ban on lightweight plastic bags, which city officials characterized as only partly effective at best. Various bags used by shoppers inside supermarkets, such as lightweight bags used by shoppers to wrap produce or baked goods, are exempted from the tax. Shoppers who bring reusable bags woven from plastic fiber or canvas, as many shoppers do in Europe and on the U.S. West Coast, will not need a plastic bag and will be exempted from the tax.

The new Chicago tax does not apply to retail purchases made outside Chicago. It went into effect on Wednesday, February 1.
The Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago, announced the free admissions program on Wednesday, February 1. Proof of residency will be required. The basic free admission will not include special ticket exhibits or admission to any 3-D movies that may be screened. Persons given free admission will get the chance to upgrade to an all-access pass with additional payment at the door.

Basic free admission to the Field Museum will include the chance to see a selection of the more than 24 million human and scientific objects and specimens on display. The Museum has collections of cultural history, biology, and geology from all over the world.
This week, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) appointed State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA). The commission is tasked with providing economic and financial forecasting information and recommendations to guide policy decisions that will impact Illinois.

“I want to thank House Leader Durkin for selecting me for this responsibility,” said Wheeler. “Due to Illinois’ current financial mess, it goes without saying that the recommendations from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability are hugely important. I hope the work of the commission isn’t merely seen as an arbitrary information source, but used to produce tangible policy that will lead to long-term financial health for our state.”
The suggestions coincide with the annual peak season for flu transmission, which coincides with the winter months from December until February. “It is not too late to get a flu shot,” encourages IDPH Director Dr. Nirav Shah.

Influenza and other acute respiratory illnesses can be serious threats to other patients with health conditions. For example, current guidelines suggest that visitors with acute respiratory illness not visit patients in hospitals. Guidelines like these are suggestions made by IDPH to Illinois hospitals, many of which adopt policies in line with the recommendations. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains overall prevention strategies for healthcare professionals to follow in dealing with seasonal influenza.
Attention all Lake County businesses, schools, churches, non for profits and units of local government!

The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) will be hosting a one day only special electronics recycling collection event for broken and unwanted electronics. This one-day special event will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Village of Lindenhurst Village Hall Garage located at 2301 E. Sand Lake Road in Lindenhurst.

Recycling fees will be assessed for televisions and cathode ray tube monitors ($35 for TV’s 21” and larger, $25 for TV’s 20” or smaller, and $25 for each cathode ray tube monitor) all other acceptable electronics will be collected at no cost. Cash, check or major credit cards are accepted for payment of applicable recycling fees.
Today, thousands have gathered in Washington D.C. for the annual #MarchforLife to be a voice for those who can't speak for themselves. But back here in Illinois, legislation (HB40) has been filed to remove basic health standards that protect pregnant women, prevent women from being provided basic information, and remove all rights from unborn children. How can any of that be seen as good for women and families?

However, those who have traveled to Washington and those of us who couldn't travel, still believe pregnant women and unborn children who can't speak for themselves should be protected. That's why I've filed House Bill 282, to ensure pregnant women are protected from unsafe conditions, to provide basic information, and to prevent abortion from being used as discrimination of unborn children solely because of their race, color, sex, disability, national origin, or ancestry.
Statement by State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake):

“I think the Governor gave a compelling speech today. The fiscal crisis is the most important issue, but I was glad to hear the Governor high-light criminal justice reform. I believe both sides are committed to working together and improving the criminal justice system. Specifically, education and meaningful employment will be the keys to reducing recidivism in our state. Along with the Governor’s support, I think we can make major strides in this area during the 100th General Assembly.”
Today at noon, Governor Rauner will deliver his State of the State Address, discussing the past two years and the upcoming future of our state.

You can watch like online, Click Here, or live on Facebook, Click Here.
Today, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) voted against rules of procedure for the House of Representatives that give near complete control of the legislative process to House Speaker Mike Madigan.

“Today, Speaker Madigan once again showed just how much power he has over his party, Illinois and his lack of interest in democracy,” said Wheeler. “When legislative rules of procedure give sole authority to one person to decide what legislation will be called and when subject matter committees are even allowed to meet instead of its members, the democratic process is left behind.”

Wheeler concluded, “As one of my Republican colleagues said on the floor before the vote, ‘just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done.’ I wish more members of the majority party had taken these words to heart and stood by their previous statements to change the way the House operates.”
Today, Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) took the Oath of Office for her third term in the Illinois House of Representatives. Wheeler and her colleagues took their respective oaths today in Springfield, ringing in the 100th General Assembly.

“It is very humbling to take the Oath of Office and I want to thank the people of the 64th District for giving me another opportunity to serve you in Springfield,” said Wheeler. “I’m proud that in the last General Assembly, we were able to pass life-saving DUI reform, improve protections for victims of human trafficking and help provide some local property tax relief, but we all know that we have a lot more to do to fix Illinois.”

What the Inauguration of the 100th Illinois General Assembly Live - Click Here.