In an effort to end a rigged system and advance good government policy, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has passed Senate Bill 666 through the Illinois House of Representatives. The legislation ends the use a misinterpreted section of the Township Code that led to vastly reduced voter power in Township elections through the use of the caucus system.

“This legislation is good government policy that seeks to end the manipulation of township elections,” said Wheeler. “It is never good when a political party has the ability to limit the participation of voters due to the misinterpretation of the law. This change will ensure township voters in McHenry County have the same freedom of participation as those in any other county.”

Due to a vague section of the Illinois Township Code concerning the caucus process (alternative to a primary election), some townships in McHenry County were using a weighted voting system during caucus votes. This weighted voting system would give preferential treatment to Republican or Democrat township committee members when casting votes in a public caucus to determine candidates for election to township offices. Due to this, one committee member would be given dozens, or even hundreds, of votes compared to only one vote for any other registered voter participating in the caucus. Wheeler’s legislation guarantees every voter in a given party, regardless of committee membership, will have one vote, thus ending the manipulation of the caucus system.
In an effort to move the state budget process forward, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has joined 39 House colleagues in sending a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The letter calls on Attorney General Madigan to use the power of her office to compel the Illinois General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate prior to the filing and passage of any spending bills to prevent further damage to the state’s finances and the many social service providers who serve the state’s most vulnerable.

In the letter, Wheeler and her co-signers cite several prior court rulings and instances which set precedent for the Attorney General to intervene to ensure the Illinois Constitution is upheld. Both the Constitution and state law require the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate on which to base a balanced budget for the forthcoming fiscal year, an action which has not occurred in either of the past two years and hasn’t yet occurred for the coming fiscal year.

“Every day this budget impasse continues, the social service providers who care for our most vulnerable are placed in a more and more dire situation,” said Wheeler. “Illinois’ families, taxpayers and job creators are not immune to the situation and time is running out to resolve the problem.”
Every year children die of heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, while unattended in vehicles. Young children are particularly at risk because their bodies can heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults. 

The auto industry is spreading the message on the dangers of heatstroke and working to educate parents and caregivers about the risks of leaving children unattended in a vehicle — even for just a few moments. 

Together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safe Kids Worldwide, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers offers information and tips to help prevent these tragedies from happening. Click Here to find out more.
The Illinois House reconvened this week for a two-week period dedicated to the consideration of Senate bills in the House. The Senate has sent 345 bills to the House, less than 16% of the 2,209 bills filed in the Senate this spring. These bills have been assigned to House committees for further discussion and debate. Under normal House rules, Senate bills have to get out of House committee no later than Friday, May 19, in order to be eligible to become law this spring. In a few cases, a few Senate bills may be granted extended deadline consideration, but this should not be counted on. The current status of all of these bills can be tracked on the General Assembly website, ilga.gov.
Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, age 54, is currently under investigation. Allegations include reports that Mautino, who prior to his appointment was a state representative, used or allowed associates to use campaign funds for non-campaign purposes.

In order to protect the integrity of campaign funds, substantial reporting requirements are placed on campaign committees. They have to report substantially all of their larger contributions and spending. The reports are contained in mandated filings that must be deposited with the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBEL).

As part of the overall investigation, questions have been asked about the reports filed by former Rep. Mautino and his campaign committee. An ISBEL hearing officer officially found this week that the Mautino committee willfully violated the informational requirements that surround at least one of these required filings. The hearing officer had the right to recommend that the State Board of Elections impose a fine on the campaign committee, which remains in existence pending conclusion of the investigations. The ISBEL will consider this recommendation and take final action.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is offering a program to keep children intellectually engaged over summer vacation. The Summer Reading Club offers children in kindergarten through 5th grade the opportunity to keep their minds active during summer vacation, while also providing the chance to have some fun for participating. Participation brochures are available at Wheeler’s District Office in Crystal Lake.

“As a former teacher, I know how important it is to keep the mind active over summer vacation, so I hope lots of kids will take part in this year’s reading club,” said Wheeler.

To be a member of Rep. Wheeler’s Summer Reading Club, children are asked to read eight books (books over 150 pages count for two) between the time school ends and the program deadline of July 25. Children who achieve this goal will be invited to join their fellow classmates and Wheeler at an ice cream social in August that will offer games and prizes. This program can also be done in conjunction with any program already in existence at a child’s school, or offered through the public library in their community.
A joint statement from the bipartisan group:
"The finances of the state of Illinois are in crisis, and we must do better. The time for resolution is now. We are a bipartisan group of House members committed to seeing that happen.

There have been many ideas submitted both inside and outside the Statehouse. The key question for any of them is 'do they have the votes to pass?' The Senate offers one set of ideas in the form of a grand bargain negotiated by both Democrats and Republicans in that chamber.

We believe a solution that can pass the House and Senate and be signed by the Governor needs to include a package of bills that fundamentally addresses the needs of the state, and most importantly provides a normal, full-year budget for our state agencies, schools, and social service providers.
An Illinois based not-for-profit, the Computer Banc, is an organization that takes donated computers and refurbishes them for low income families, schools, veterans and others in need of digital technology. In the past year, the Computer Banc started a program to work with the State of Illinois to take surplus government computers, refurbish them and sell them to schools at drastically reduced cost for use in the classroom. The pilot program recently provided three central Illinois schools with 140 computers. The state is now working with Computer Banc to provide state and federal surplus computers to expand the program. 

For the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, the program is expanding to provide 2,000 computers to schools across the state for only $85 per computer:
  • 2,000 computers at $85 each are available for August 1 delivery. Additional computers will be available on a monthly basis on the first of each subsequent month. Each computer comes with a 1-year warranty. 
  • The computers come preloaded with Google Chrome, Testnav functionality for required assessments, as well as offline curriculum featuring over 1,500 eBooks, Illinois State Museum modules and early learning educational games. 
  • For additional information, visit www.ComputerBanc.org, or contact Executive Director David Fowler at (217) 528-9506 or director@computerbanc.org.
Governor Bruce Rauner announced today that Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin have filed legislation that will direct all future property tax receipts from the redevelopment of the James R. Thompson Center (JRTC) to Chicago Public Schools. The bill numbers are SB 2209 and HB 4044

"The JRTC is sucking up valuable space, time, and money," Governor Rauner said. "No one likes working here. It's expensive to maintain and it's a drain on taxpayer resources. The legislation introduced today gives us yet another reason to move swiftly in selling this building. Every day of delay just postpones Chicago's ability to earn millions in property taxes."
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced this week that six firms have responded to their request for information on who would be interested in developing an airfield in southeastern Will County. The initiative, which was not a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) process, was explained as a way for IDOT to gauge continuing interest in the project. Since 2001, the State of Illinois has acquired more than 4,454 acres of land northeast of Peotone, Illinois. Most, but not all, of the land needed to build a modern airport has been acquired at a cost of $95 million. 

While development proponents have long dreamed of reducing Illinois’ air traffic congestion through the construction of a third Chicago-area airport, hopes have faded somewhat during the sixteen years that the “Peotone airport” has been under development. The airline industry has sharply reduced its positive attitudes toward new U.S. airport development. Major passenger carriers operating in Illinois have moved their focuses toward more efficient usages of existing runways and gates at Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare International Airports. 
From SWALCO: 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, May 9, 2017 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Mundelein Public Works Facility located at 440 East Crystal Street in Mundelein. 

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. 
The “fun state” gauge used aggregated data on the availability of options for entertainment, nightlife, restaurants, and other leisure-time activities, adjusted for population. Tourism-oriented states such as Nevada (ranked #1 of 50) and New York (#5 of 50) tended to do well. Illinois outdid all of the states that border it, with the nearest nearby rival, Wisconsin, scoring 21st. The Prairie State’s overall 16th slot was an aggregate of its score on “entertainment and recreation” (10th of 50) and its score on nightlife (24th of 50). By contrast, Indiana scored 47th in entertainment and recreation, and 45th overall. Numbers were released on Tuesday, May 2.
The new program aims to create home-visiting opportunities for newborn babies and their families. The first support visits implemented by the pilot program will be carried out by the Stephenson County Health Department, which is based on the northwestern Illinois city of Freeport. 

Home visits are a way to help children remain healthy and thrive by providing personal contacts between a mother and a trained professional who can answer questions. The program, which is being coordinated by the Illinois Home Visiting Task Force and by FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport, will be implemented by community nurses. Visitation times will be as soon after birth as possible, to enable these questions to be rapidly asked and answered. Illinois Family Connects also plans to create wellness checks for the baby and family, and to put the family in touch with any supportive resources that may be helpful.
The analysis, by the nonpartisan Civic Federation’s Institute for Fiscal Sustainability, contained severe criticism of HB 109. The emergency appropriations bill, pushed through the House earlier this spring session on a partisan roll call, was touted by its sponsors as a “lifeline” to stretched providers of human services. The bill was supposed to substitute for a full-year, constitutionally balanced budget. Analysts for the Civic Federation, however, discovered that the Democrats’ bill would provide only 27.1 cents on the dollar for the human-services funding shortfall based on FY16 spending numbers. 

The majority party’s “lifeline” plan has been proclaimed as providing rescue money to Illinois institutions of higher education. The Institute’s analysts, after running the numbers, stated that the plan would provide only 56.2 cents of the dollars previously allocated by higher education and not paid in FY16. House Republicans opposed the so-called “lifeline” plan as being both ludicrously inadequate to meet its proclaimed purposes and a distraction from the hard work of generating progress toward government reform and a constitutional balanced budget.

From The Jobs Center Of Lake County: Job Search Workshops And Career Events Throughout Lake County In May.


5 Steps to Your Next Job
Monday, May 15 to Friday, May 19 10:00 am to 12:00 pm each day
New Location: College of Lake County, Grayslake, building 4

Attend the 5-day interactive workshop series. This series covers the entire job search process from researching careers to landing your next job. Attend all 5 days to earn a certificate! Register at 847.377.3439 or email elocke@lakecountyil.gov to reserve a seat!
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.