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          This Memorial Day Weekend couldn’t have come at a better time.  Legislators needed to get out of Springfield, go back to the people they represent and remember that the freedoms we enjoy are not free.  Thousands of men and women have given their lives to buy and preserve our democracy. 
         The optimistic air in Springfield that a balanced budget might be possible before spring session ends has soured.  Groups of rank and file legislators have made progress on reforms to help our state grow, identify areas to trim in the budget and look for additional revenue for unpaid bills.  Rather than find a solution now, Democrat Leaders appear more focused on a tug-of-war to win votes in November.   
        Somewhere along the way, real compromise became an unwelcomed word in Springfield.  Compromise is not excluding the minority party from helping shape policies but rather looking for the best solutions.  It is not one leader’s ideas but rather the input from elected legislators.  It has become easier to blame the Governor than work with him; easier to avoid hard decisions and just point fingers.
         I believe most legislators want a resolution that will keep government running, help the needy and older citizens, education our youth and grow the economy so that more Illinoisans can be self-sufficient.  We can’t wait until November to take action to trim spending and enhance revenue.  Citizens need to keep the pressure on Springfield to pass a balanced budget.
          President Abraham Lincoln in dedicating the Gettysburg Cemetery offered sage advice to his generation and for use today to preserve our democracy and break the gridlock in Illinois:  “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”
         Active civic engagement and participation in our communities is something we can all do to preserve our democracy.  Contact legislators and State leaders this week to demand that they not abandon their responsibilities or shirk the hard decisions.  Illinois needs a balanced budget now.  We can’t wait till November.
State Representative Pritchard spoke on the House floor on Friday regarding the tough decisions that legislators need to start making.

Watch the clip beginning at 26:15:


From the Daily Chronicle:

State Rep. Bob Pritchard was clearly frustrated after Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives introduced a 500-page spending plan on Wednesday and then called for a vote on it the same day.

"I hate to have the story go for citizens to lose confidence in their government and we’re a bunch of goof-offs down here, but that’s certainly what is happening," Pritchard said. "We’re ignoring the issues, we're allowing people to get hurt."

The budget calls for the state to take in $33.2 billion in revenue and about $40.5 billion in spending, including $14.1 billion in spending from the general revenue fund along with $26.4 billion in payments to state pension funds, transfers to local units of government, debt service and consent decrees and continuing appropriations.

"This budget – it isn’t a budget, it’s a spending plan – it spends another $7.2 billion more than we have," Pritchard said. "The last budget was $4 billion (more,) this one is $7 billion. They won’t talk about how we’re going to generate the revenue for that, they say 'we’re for cuts' but there weren’t any, and they’re just ignoring our constitutional requirement to have a balanced budget."
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to bob@pritchardstaterep.com
May 23, 2016
In This Issue:
  Ø  Helping Solve Hunger
  Ø  Expanding Breakfast to Those Who Need it Most
  Ø  New State IDs Coming
  Ø  House Responds to Union Rally
  Ø  Issues Favorable to Labor Approved
  Ø  IOUs Offered to College Students
  Ø  Action Taken to Protect Privacy
  Ø  Change in Determining Prevailing Wage

Helping Solve Hunger
Representatives of the Northern Illinois Food Bank were in Springfield recently to talk about hunger in Illinois and the need for food banks and meal programs.  Julie Yurko (left) and Dianne Korizon pointed out the 800 partner feeding programs that serve more than 71,000 hungry neighbors each week across their 13 county area.  More than 300 retail partners donated 29.4 million pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste.  One of those partners was Tyson Foods, who donated 262,000 pounds of food last year. 
NI Food Bank and Tyson are teaming up to help provide 5 million meals to hungry kids this summer.  Tyson will match up to $100,000 in donations.  You can donate by clicking on the link above.  Tyson has facilities across the state, including the distribution center in Rochelle, and has an economic impact of $878 million in the state.  

The Speaker has spoken.

I am delighted to read in his letter to the editor on May 21 that Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan wants not only a budget for 2016, but also 2017. As the maestro of the legislature, he can make anything happen.  I am just afraid of what that budget will do. 


The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office announced new changes to Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards designed to protect against identity theft and to bring Illinois into compliance with the federal 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 to be aware of when it comes time to renew your license or ID.

The transition will take place in phases. Beginning immediately, Safe Driver Renewal applicants will receive by mail their new driver's license with the upgraded security features. Beginning in late June 2016, through a gradual rollout, DMV’s throughout the state will implement the new process. By the end of July 2016, all DMV’s will have transitioned to the new process.

Click here for a step by step guide to the new process.