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
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.
Springfield, IL...State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) released the statement below following today’s vote on House Bill 4160:

“Today Speaker Madigan brought another bill before the chamber to use our empty bank account to pay for another valuable program.  While I strongly support funding for the grant for low-income students I also believe we need to fund our colleges and universities as well.  Unlike the bipartisan compromise higher education stopgap legislation passed a few weeks ago, which had a source of funding, the latest higher education bill would only add to our unpaid bills that are costing the state nearly $1 billion in interest charges.  There is no tangible funding attached. I will continue to work with Speaker Madigan and members on all sides of the aisle to find a workable and realistic solution that will give actual funding and a real resolution to the higher education funding crisis. I look forward to working on a balanced budget that addresses the needs and priorities of our state over the next few weeks in session.”
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to 
May 16, 2016
In This Issue:
  Ø  Crisis Forms Bridge to Human Services Funding
  Ø  Working Group Frames Elements for FY17 Budget
  Ø  Legislation Continues To Advance
  Ø  Students Show-off Use of Technology
  Ø  Details for Changing School Funding Formula Complex
  Ø  Ineffective State Purchasing Procedures Increase Costs
  Ø  Work of Nursing Homes Celebrated

Crisis Forms Bridge to Human Services Funding
Unlike the stop-gap funding for higher education, the Senate bill that provided $700 million dollars in emergency appropriations to various human service providers and community based programs didn’t have bipartisan agreement.  Nevertheless, SB 2038 passed the House easily and is now on the Governor’s desk. 
Legislators realize the financial crisis facing human service providers who have been operating for 10 months without state funding and knew they must throw even a small life-line to keep some of them operating.  The funding comes from several small accounts-- not General Revenue—so bills can be paid as soon as the Governor signs the measure into law.
Springfield, IL... On Thursday, the Illinois House and Senate passed Senate Bill 2038, which provides almost $700 million in funding for human services and other important appropriations. The bill is fully funded with the total cost of the bill paid between the Commitment to Human Services Fund and various other state funds. Since it does not appropriate General Revenue Fund money, providers will be able to receive their money as soon as possible rather than be added to the growing list of unpaid State bills. Agencies and groups appropriated include programs to help support mental health, homelessness, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. Not included in the bill was a Republican amendment that would have provided critical emergency funding for state correctional institutions. 

"This is not the necessary full budget appropriation nor is it a solution, but as with the higher education stopgap funding, it is another step in the right direction," Rep. Pritchard said. "Moving forward we must work together to create a more long term, comprehensive resolution to our state's budget issues."
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to 
May 9, 2016
In This Issue:
  Ø  Legislators Remember Fallen Officers
  Ø  The Rocky Road for Constitutional Amendments
  Ø  General Assembly Moves to Protect Road Funds
  Ø  Cashless Tolling Expanded
  Ø  Local Advocates Make Their Case
  Ø  Power Plants Closing but Not the Youth Prison
  Ø  Agreement Reached, Horse Racing Begins
  Ø  Trial Program to Reduce Hearing Delays
  Ø  Sycamore Student Swings the Gavel

Legislators Remember Fallen Officers
Thursday, May 5th, was a day of remembrance in Springfield.  Cinco de Mayo marks the Mexican army's unlikely victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 against invading French forces.  The day also provided an opportunity to remember the men and women of our law enforcement who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the line of duty. 
The House and Senate gathered around the Illinois Police Memorial to pay tribute to the two officers from Illinois and 33 nationally who had died in the line of duty in just the first four months of the year.  We listened to stories about the officers’ lives, the families they left behind and the importance of state pensions to those families. 
Rep. Pritchard with Honorary Page Oliver Keicher and his father

Illinois State Treasurer Frerichs has launched the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund (IGIF) 
In 2002 and 2011 the General Assembly passed legislation to allow the Treasurer's office to segregate up to 2% of the State’s investment portfolio in order to invest in venture capital firms located in Illinois and creating the Technology Development Act. The goal was to invest in technology businesses seeking to locate, expand or remain in Illinois.Investments made by the office have earned 27.8 million dollars and created an estimated 3,900 direct and indirect jobs. 

Through the newly created IGIF, the office will invest $222 million dollars from the State's investment portfolio in venture capital firms with a history of investing in Illinois technology companies expecting to create thousands of jobs. 

Illinois entrepreneurs can connect to technology funds by submitting their pitch books and investment proposals for review and evaluation at Entrepreneurs will also find a number of helpful links on this website designed to expand their resource network.