Latest News

Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to 
November 21, 2016

In This Issue:
  Ø  Veto Over-rides Attempted
  Ø  Negotiating Impasse Declared
  Ø  State to Get New Plates
  Ø  A Conversation With NIU Students
  Ø  Incomes of Departing Citizens a Major Loss
  Ø  Unfunded Pension Liability Skyrockets
  Ø  Energy Bill Pushed Forward, as Negotiations Continue
  Ø  Attend the Inauguration
  Ø  Remember Your Blessings

Veto Over-rides Attempted
As the legislature meet in session last week to consider the Governor’s 33 vetoes to legislation, it also passed a number of noncontroversial bills on their way to become law.  While the Senate over-rode the vetoes in a number of cases, the House failed to over-ride four of the bills it considered.
The veto to House Bill 4351 was sustained because it would restrict the state’s flexibility in assessing and serving Illinois’ elderly and physically disabled residents.  As the number of older residents grows, the bill would have locked methods of caring for them into statute that would prevent the state from making any changes or ways to manage cost of these programs.
HB5104 dies because the House failed to over-ride the Governor’s amendatory language.  The bill would have ignored an agreement regarding the number of nurses at the Department of Corrections. 
The veto to HB5931 was sustained because of its $330 million cost impact and no way to pay for it.  The bill would have raised the minimum wage for direct support personnel for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to $15 per hour. 
HB6299 also died when the House failed to over-ride the veto.  The bill would have imposed mandates on how a school district manages its employees and their benefits.
A number of non-controversial bills passed by the Senate in the spring were approved in the House last week.  Among them were bills dealing with extending the medical practice act, mercury switch recycling, out-of-state teacher licensing, tax credits for affordable housing, licensure of boiler repairers and extending the insurance code.  Another bill dealt with the valuation for property taxes on farmland grass filter strips.
The General Assembly will convene again on November 29 for the final veto session. 
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to
November 14th, 2016

In This Issue:
  Ø  Civics and Civility
  Ø  Looking Ahead in Illinois
  Ø  Volunteers and Private Interests Fight Hunger
  Ø  Trimming the Bureaucracy
  Ø  Major Energy Bill in the Works
  Ø  New Steps to Reduce Uninsured Motorists

Civics and Civility     
Millenials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation and this year for the first time they now hold an equal share of the electorate.  Both generations comprise roughly 31 percent of the voting-eligible population.  Despite being such a large growing demographic, estimates show that only about 24 million people under the age of 29 voted last Tuesday.
To spur youth investment into politics and government, a recent state law now requires high school students to take a civics class.  The course is meant to teach young people how to be responsible citizens who take an active role in the democratic process and translate their ideas and feelings in to political action.
In addition to service projects and simulations of the election process, students must also research and discuss current events and controversial topics.  It is the hope that with classroom practice, students will develop the interest and skill to discuss public issues with civility and not avoid them.
In its first school year and a most unusual Presidential election, there were no shortage of issues or debates surrounding the election.  Now that the election is over and we understand the nation is widely divided, we must find a way to look for common ground and seek to preserve our tradition of peaceful acceptance of the election outcome.  Perhaps we adults should look to the high school civics class for guidance.

While the Governor’s Education Funding Commission has been focused on elementary and secondary schools, a bipartisan group of legislators think early childhood deserves more attention.  Five legislators who sit on the commission, shared their thoughts at a forum with students at the Erikson Institute, a Chicago based graduate school in child development.

“Research into education funding concludes that investment in early childhood development—birth to age 4yields the greatest return on the dollar,” said State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore), one of the legislative panelists.  “The legislature has increased funding for early childhood programs in the past two years, but additional new money will be very difficult to find in the next few years.”

Instead, the legislators encouraged the various non-profit organizations and state agencies working with children to better coordinate efforts and share resources.  Pritchard pointed out funding sources and state agencies often operate in silos leading to duplication of services, gaps in service and confusion for families.  This is a major source of frustration for both advocates and legislators he said.

Earlier this year Governor Rauner created the Cabinet on Children and Youth to bring together agencies that deal with children in any capacity.  The intent is to open communication, break down barriers, discuss coordination of efforts and assure that children receive the well-rounded support they need for a bright future.  

Pritchard shared that the early child centers in his region are working together through an organization named Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) to increase parenting skills, improve services for children and maximize grant and federal funding.  Other areas of the state are not as fortunate and many areas lack support for families and quality childcare centers he added.  

The legislators agreed that childcare advocates can help educate legislators who may not understand the value of early child development and its impact on a child’s ability to learn later in school.  Advocates can also help set state spending priorities and policies supporting a child’s early learning.

The other legislative members on the panel included Senators Kim Lightford (D-Westchester) and Karen McConnaughay (R-West Dundee), and Representatives Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) and Will Davis (D-East Hazel Crest).

DeKalb County Make A Difference is seeking volunteers to help meet their goal of preparing 1 million meals for children in need. For more information or to volunteer, click here

A new plant, expected to bring 400 jobs is set to open in Belvidere. Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, the world's largest supplier of automotive interior components, recently announced its plans to open up a new facility to supply interior cockpit components to the Jeep Cherokee, which will be built at the Fiat Chrysler assembly plant also located in Belvidere. The Shanghai based company announced that the plant is expected to open in 2017. 

Job openings can be found at Yanfeng's website.