In June, Governor Rauner signed a landmark criminal justice bill in his capitol office with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), and other members of the General Assembly. The bill, which State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) also sponsored, is a result of successful negotiations between the administration, City of Chicago and the General Assembly that will crack down on criminals who are repeat gun offenders, safely reduce the prison population, and create a more rehabilitative criminal justice system.

"This legislation provides new tools for law enforcement and the Courts to take on violent crime, while providing a second chance for non-violent, first time offenders," Governor Rauner said. "This shows what is possible when leaders at all levels of government work together, and across party lines, to address the challenges facing our cities and state. It took several months of hard work, compromise and bipartisan cooperation - but together, we got it done."
The May 2017 monthly metropolitan-area job report was released this week by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). While unemployment rates dropped in most Illinois metro areas, this drop was attributed to a decline in the number of Illinois residents classified as being in the active labor force rather than new jobs being created. As with the state as a whole, few new jobs are being created.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate declined -0.1 percentage points to 4.6 percent in May and nonfarm payrolls increased by +2,400 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. April job growth was revised little to show a decrease of -7,300 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of -7,200 jobs. 

May’s modest monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. Payroll growth has been sluggish thus far this year.
Chicago Beyond is looking to support organization’s with ideas/approaches that help youth succeed. They are now accepting applications nationwide for the second annual Go Innovate Challenge. The Go Innovate Challenge is a competition designed to identify and support transformative, innovative programs, ideas and approaches that have the potential to dramatically impact life outcomes for young people. To participate, interested organizations simply need to submit a 90-second video that describes the program, idea, or approach.

Formed in 2016, Chicago Beyond is a venture philanthropy fund that was created to transform the lives of marginalized young people through two critical issues – safety and educational attainment. The Go Innovate Challenge is part of Chicago Beyond’s effort to build a diverse portfolio of great ideas and partners – from established organizations with proven results to the newest and most innovative early-stage programs and organizations.
One day after House and Senate Leaders unveiled a compromise balanced budget plan to end the budget impasse, Governor Bruce Rauner called lawmakers back to Springfield for a 10-day special session from Wednesday, June 21st through the June 30th fiscal year deadline. 

"Republicans in the General Assembly have laid out a compromise budget plan that I can sign," Governor Rauner said in a video announcing special session. "It provides a true path to property tax reduction and it reforms the way our state operates to reduce wasteful spending. It will fund our schools and human services, while spurring economic growth and job creation. It is a true compromise - and one I hope the majority in the General Assembly will accept." 
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Republican Caucus Whip Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), Deputy House Republican Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and House Republican Conference Chairperson Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) have introduced a package of bills to end the budget impasse. The bills represent a compromise balanced budget and reforms that address the priorities of both parties, and urged the General Assembly to return to Springfield to vote on this proposal. State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) said she is evaluating the proposal.
One of the most challenging infrastructure concerns for Johnsburg has been sewer and water. Currently that is being solved for residents on Church Street and St. Johns Avenue. During a May 23, 2017 meeting, they were given information on the upcoming sewer extension project with summarized connection options and associated costs to connect with the system and a time to answer any questions.

Construction is expected to be completed this fall which is when residents will get final notice that the system is ready for connection. Road improvements start at Hillcrest Place and continue east to just short of the intersection of Johnsburg Road. The Village was successful in securing $1.5 million for the road improvements. The Village received an ITEP grant, with the assistance of State Representative Barbara Wheeler, of approximately $1 million to help fund the installation of sidewalks, pedestrian lighting and other streetscape enhancements along Church Street and St. Johns Avenue consistent with those constructed as a part of the Johnsburg Road/Roundabout Project.
Small Business Administration - Prime 2017
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued Program Announcement No. PRIME-2017-01 to provide training and capacity building grant programs to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs). The PRIME Act authorizes the SBA to provide funding to qualified organizations for the purposes of: (i) providing training and technical assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs; (ii) providing training and capacity building assistance to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) and programs; (iii) aiding in Research and development of best practices for microenterprise and technical assistance programs for disadvantaged entrepreneurs; and (iv) for other activities as the SBA Administrator determines. Click Here.
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 my summer 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. 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.
The downgrades imposed by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, move Illinois to the brink of “junk bond” status. The rating status, which in Moody’s terminology is “Baa3” and in S&P’s wording is “BBB-“, comes with a “negative outlook,” a formal warning by both debt-rating firms that a further demotion of Illinois’ status to non-investment-grade is both possible and relatively imminent. The moves, announced on Thursday, June 1, followed the Democrat-controlled General Assembly’s failure to enact a FY18 budget by the May 31st deadline. 
SB 886 contains provisions to allow the State to sell one of its principal pieces of property, the city block in downtown Chicago that currently contains the James R. Thompson Center. The 1.2 million-square-foot office building is currently home to 2,200 State of Illinois workers. However, the 1985 building has not been maintained and requires hundreds of millions of dollars in overdue upkeep and maintenance. 

The building’s footprint, which is bounded by LaSalle, Lake, Clark, and Randolph Streets, could be re-used for development. A new building on the site could house private-sector workers, and its owner or operator would pay property taxes to Chicago Public Schools and other public-sector entities that face financial challenges in 2017. As a State building, the Thompson Center currently does not pay property taxes.
On the final day of the scheduled spring session, House Democrats rushed a vote on a new school funding formula, Senate Bill 1, which would provide Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with a $500 million bailout while offering empty promises to the rest of the state’s public schools. 

The Democrats’ bailout bill would provide CPS with a more than $500 million windfall that will only continue to grow in future years. With the State already owing Illinois schools more than $1 billion this year and no way identified to pay for the new formula, Republicans stood in opposition to SB 1.

The new evidence-based funding model provides a blueprint to overhaul our broken state funding formula. The evidence-based funding model is significant to Illinois for many reasons, not the least of which is that it was specifically designed to drive much-needed funding to school districts that are the farthest away from adequacy. The model, as it was initially envisioned, was meant to focus more dollars on districts that are the least adequately funded.