Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to bob@pritchardstaterep.com 
February 22, 2016

In This Issue:
  Ø  Breaking the Budget Gridlock
  Ø  Executive Order Seeks Better Coordination and Results
  Ø  Higher Education Crisis Growing
  Ø  County Boards Share Legislative Agendas
  Ø  Social Service Agencies Feel Different Effects

Breaking the Budget Gridlock
Since the General Assembly has failed to pass a balanced budget on its own, the Governor’s budget address last week came down to Governor Rauner asking the legislators to do one of two things.  He said either work with him or give him authority to act alone. 
The Governor’s tone was notably different than his last budget address and especially cooperative: “With my hand outstretched--with a genuine desire to compromise--I humbly ask you to join me in transforming our state for the better.”  He continued to say just raising taxes without addressing the costs of government and improving the business climate of the state will merely drive more families and jobs out of Illinois.
Springfield, IL...State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) released the statement below following today’s override vote of Senate Bill B2043:

I believe funding for MAP and the State’s community colleges is long overdue but SB2043 does not provide actual dollars to pay for this expenditure. State spending already approved far exceeds available state revenue this year.  Dolling out money without a funding source only adds on to our state’s growing pile of unpaid bills and delays a real discussion of funding such expenditures.

An alternative proposal, House Bill 4539, filed by Rep. Brady and that I support, funds not only MAP and community colleges, but also the state’s public universities, including NIU. It provides a funding source by granting the Governor the authority to manage existing state funds and resources so that students get the money they need immediately. It also won’t add to our state’s massive bill backlog.

Our students and Higher Education institutions deserve more than empty promises from Springfield. They deserve realistic solutions and tangible funding mechanisms. I will continue to urge Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton to take up the issue of college funding again and work together with Governor Rauner on a comprehensive resolution.
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to bob@pritchardstaterep.com 
February 16, 2016
In This Issue:
  Ø      Reflections on the President’s Visit
  Ø      Lots of Legislative Ideas
  Ø      Lack of State Budget Growing Irreparable for Higher Education
  Ø      University of Illinois Introduces 2021 Initiative
  Ø      Governor Offers Way for State Museum to Reopen
  Ø      Union Reintroduces Bill to Limit Governor’s Negotiating Powers

Reflections on the President’s Visit
Last Wednesday’s visit was the first time since Jimmy Carter and only the fourth time that a sitting president has addressed the Illinois General Assembly.  It was certainly a reunion for the former State Senator and his comments were sprinkled with fond memories, but he had a strong message.   You can watch the nearly hour-long speech of President Barack Obama here.
Governor Bruce Rauner today joined Lt. Governor Sanguinetti, legislative leaders and local elected officials to announce four bipartisan pieces of legislation to streamline local government delivering more control to local communities. 

The proposed legislation, based on the recommendations of the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force, includes:

Citizens Empowerment Act: Empowers Illinois citizens and local governments to consolidate duplicative, excessive or unnecessary units of government via referendum. 

DuPage County Consolidation Powers Expansion: Provides that the Local Government Reduction and Efficiency Division of the Counties Code applies to all counties which currently only applies to DuPage County. 

Evanston Township Consolidation Expansion: Extends to all coterminous townships and municipalities the same authority to consolidate that is currently only provided to Evanston. 

Township Consolidation: Removes arbitrary barriers to township consolidation that exist in statute so local residents or units of government can consolidate if they so choose. 

Read more at the Caucus Blog
Springfield, IL…Today, State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) joined Governor Rauner and other legislators in unveiling legislation, House Bill 4644, which will improve the procurement system by cutting out unnecessary red tape while ensuring the high ethical standards needed in government spending.

“Our procurement system is needlessly inefficient and costly,” Rep Pritchard said. “Well intended legislation from previous years has created more problems than it corrected. This legislation will streamline the process and provide greater flexibility to agencies while continuing to safeguard taxpayer money.”

Chicago—State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) was one of four individuals named ‘Legislator of the Year’ during the Illinois Association of Park Districts convention for his efforts in supporting park district programs and responding to park district issues. Others recognized were Representative Carol Sente, Senator Christine Radogno and Senator Thomas Cullerton.

Pritchard, said over the years he has seen how well- run park districts become a major asset for their communities.  “Parks and their programs attract new residents, engage residents in constructive activities and encourage healthy life styles.  I have been impressed by not only park district summer activities for youth, but also their after school, food nutrition, and educational programming throughout the year” he said.   

“As one concerned about the natural environment,” Pritchard said “parks provide open space for people in our towns and cities to enjoy the beauty of nature, find inner peace and provide sanctuaries for future generations.”  The legislator said he was fortunate to have a number of outstanding park districts in his area that inform him about issues and give him background that is helpful during legislative debate. 

Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to bob@pritchardstaterep.com 
February 1, 2016

In This Issue:
  Ø  ‘State of the State’ Worth Reading
  Ø  Push for Public-Private Partnership
  Ø  Empty Promise of Partial Funding for Higher Education
  Ø  Legislature Joins in Recognizing DeKalb
  Ø  Townships Respond to Task Force Report
  Ø  Education Council Meets Thursday
  Ø  Park Districts Recognize Outstanding Legislators

‘State of the State’ Worth Reading
If you missed the Governor’s annual State of the State address on Wednesday, it’s worth reading.  Carefully.  You can do so here.  Sure he reiterated his turn around reforms, but there was a conciliatory tone asking all government branches and sides to work together--to compromise.
He stated that, “to achieve a grand compromise, we must cast partisanship and ideology aside.  We must break from the politics of the past and do what is right for the long term future of our state.”  The Governor repeated words and ideas from President Obama’s recent State of the Union address.  While the President has faced roadblocks from a Republican led legislature, so the Governor has been blocked by a Democrat led General Assembly.