Grants are a form of financial federal assistance and are used to support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation. They are given out by various government agencies as authorized by law. Government organizations, educational organizations, non profit organizations, businesses, and even individuals may apply for grants. The following grants are open for application in May:

Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to
April 25, 2016

In This Issue:
Ø  Stop Gap Funding Breaks Gridlock
Ø  Department of Revenue Misclassifies Revenue
Ø  Several Constitutional Amendments Proposed
Ø  Many Bills Passed by Friday Deadline

Stop Gap Funding Breaks Gridlock
The gridlock over a FY2016 budget may be breaking.  Partial funding for higher education and a similar proposal for human service providers received legislative support last week.  SB2059 providing about $600 million in stop gap funding for higher education was approved last week by both chambers and signed by the Governor.  Comptroller Munger indicates she will process checks immediately for colleges, universities, MAP grants for students and funding for the Math and Science Academy (IMSA). 
The Senate approved a bill to provide about $400 million for human service programs and House members will meet this week to finalize the bipartisan agreement.
NIU Student Senators add their voices to Higher Education Lobby Day

The House today passed a fully funded bipartisan, compromise bill that allocates $600 million from the Educational Assistance Fund to provide stopgap funding for universities and community colleges, and to fund one semester of MAP grants for students.

"Senate Bill 2059 will use available revenue, not IOUs, to provide a lifeline to our struggling higher education institutions and the MAP program. Unlike past bills, this legislation is fully funded, meaning schools will get the money they need in the next few weeks. I'm incredibly pleased that this deal was reached and our students can make decisions about their educational futures with greater confidence. However, a lot of work remains to be done. This bipartisan, compromise effort is a good start and should be the template moving forward to find solutions for our deteriorating human services and a full budget."

Shortly after passage in the House, the Senate unanimously approved the bill. It will be sent to the Governor, where it is expected to be signed immediately.
Springfield, IL… Nearly a thousand college students who descended upon the capital today to advocate for higher education funding heard some promising news from legislators.  Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) told the group that several bills are being negotiated for a stop-gap funding measure this week. Higher Education funding, including Monetary Assistance for low-income students, has been denied for over 10 months. Demonstrators lobbied legislators to shine a light on the damage the lack of a budget is having on education in Illinois.

Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to 
April 18, 2016
In This Issue:
  Ø  Budget Talks Commence
  Ø  Legislation Moves Forward
  Ø  Educating about the Profit Margins of Retailers
  Ø  Advocating for Adequate Education Funding
  Ø  Citizens Press Views on Issues

Budget Talks Commence
Despite the continued rhetoric of the Governor and Speaker of the House, there appears to be movement toward funding the rest of the 2016 budget.  Legislative leaders including Speaker Madigan met briefly with the Governor on Tuesday amid growing pressure from legislators for a solution.  Legislative budget staff and a few legislators are meeting to work out details.
In what some describe as a defensive move to criticism about inaction on a budget, Speaker Madigan took to the House floor Tuesday to give nearly a 10 minute prepared speech saying he has worked with 6 different governors over his 32 years as Speaker and is willing to work with Governor Rauner.  Nevertheless, Madigan also introduced yet another partisan spending bill, SB2046, to authorize $3.89 billion without any way to pay for it.  It was approved by the Senate and sent to the Governor.
To the Editor,

It was an idea heard in coffee shops around the state: “stop paying legislators.” Comptroller Leslie Munger must have heard the suggestion because over the weekend she announced that legislators will have to wait to be paid just like the state is making other providers wait.  I applaud the actions of the Comptroller and hope this will give the needed push for the legislature to pass a FY2016 budget.  

State Representative Pritchard welcomed his 2015-2016 Youth Advisory Council to the state capital this week. Over the two days in the Springfield, the group was able to sit in on committee meetings and House floor proceedings as well as tour the old state capitol building and the Lincoln museum. 

The Youth Advisory Council is made up of juniors and seniors selected by their teachers for their awareness of public issues, leadership skills, and interest in government and history. The purpose of the council is to provide Rep. Pritchard with a youth perspective on current legislation and state issues, and to more actively engage high school students in the democratic process and public policy. They learn about the operations of state and local units of government and are exposed to various careers in government.

While in Springfield, the group met with State leaders Governor Rauner, Comptroller Leslie Munger, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, and got a tour of the Secretary of State's office. They also met with other Springfield leaders like Senate President Cullerton and House Leaders Barbara Flynn Currie and Jim Durkin.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a federal law that was passed in December 2015 governing K–12 public education policy. It replaces the No Child Left behind Act. The law offers changes in TITLE 1 and TITLE 2 funding for schools.  Click on the photo above to read an article that helps parents advocate for their kids with these changes.

Over the weekend, residents of Fairdale and the surrounding communities gathered to remember the tornado that struck one year ago Saturday. On April 9th, 2015 a tornado with winds reaching 200 mph touched down leaving two women dead and a community devastated. 

A variety of events were held and attended by locals, surrounding community members, notable area leaders, and Governor Rauner. The anniversary schedule of events was titled “Fairdale: Year of New Beginnings.” A park bench was dedicated to the two victims was unveiled in Fairdale Park, as was a plaque of the town’s history from 1842 and a stone marker dedicated to the recovery.

A weather warning siren donated
by Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary
stands in the background
Efforts have been underway over the past year to build new homes and remodel those left uninhabitable from the tornado. As part of the day's services, Habitat for Humanity and Governor Rauner helped to break ground on a new home for Deena Schell and her family. 

State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) read a proclamation honoring Bill Nicklas, head of the DeKalb County Long Term Recovery Corporation, which was established to help people rebuild. The proclamation dedicated April 9th as Bill Nicklas Day and honored the work being done with the Fairdale recovery effort.  

Read more about Saturday's public remembrances at the Daily Chronicle
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to
April 11, 2016

In This Issue:
 Ø  Citizens Converge on Springfield
 Ø  Hundreds of Bills Receive Action
 Ø  New Proposal to Fund Social Services
 Ø  Attacking One of the Root Causes of Crime
 Ø  Rolling Thunder Brings Display to Capital
 Ø  Youth Council Anxious to Speak with Officials

Citizens Converge on Springfield
Last week the House convened for the first time in a month and resumed consideration of over 2,100 House bills and nearly 1,200 Senate bills introduced this year.  Individuals and organizations interested in these bills and the legislative process continue in increasing numbers to converge on the capital from all parts of the state. 
Meeting with these groups is an important part of my work so I better understand how bills will impact them, their employers and organizations.  I also enjoy the opportunity to explain the legislative process and, if time permits, show them around the capital.   
YMCA Day was this past week and representatives from both the Kishwaukee and Belvidere Ys attended.  Presidents Mark Speigelhoff (right) and Jen Jacky (center) along with Gary Evans and Lesley Feyerherm shared concerns about a bill that would create licensing difficulties for their daycare services.
Agricultural groups, gun owners, social workers, dental students, environmental groups and advocates for the homeless were among others discussing bills.  The Illinois Farm Bureau, always a helpful voice on agricultural issues, was recognized in the House on their 100th anniversary.
Northern Illinois University political science students, Nick Lisle and Chris Adams, visited Springfield this week. They participated in Leader Jim Durkin's Capitol Internship Program, an intensive one day program. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the legislative process and public policy.
Vehicle emission test notices will finally be mailed out, despite a state budget stalemate, state officials said Wednesday.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had stopped mailing the reminders in December because of the state budget crisis. It resumed doing so Wednesday after the testing contractor, Applus Technologies, agreed to eat the cost of the mailings, state EPA officials said. The reminders started to go out Wednesday for vehicles due for emission tests in March, April and May, Illinois EPA spokeswoman Kim Biggs said. That covers as many as 498,000 vehicles, she said.

Because of the delays, the Secretary of State’s office has agreed not to require drivers seeking renewals of their license plate stickers to have emission testing until June 1. Normally, drivers cannot obtain a license plate sticker renewal unless their vehicle has passed emissions testing. 

For more information from the Secretary of State click here.