With the election in our rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead and get back to doing the work of the people. Veto session is scheduled for six days over the next month beginning next Tuesday. Governor Rauner has vetoed 83 bills, nearly half of which passed with veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers so we may see a significant number of overrides. 53 of those were total vetoes, but the Governor also used his amendatory veto (AV) power to rewrite 30 bills, and 21 of those were passed with enough votes to override. It’s rare for the General Assembly to accept an amendatory veto, mainly because House Speaker Michael Madigan refuses to call them for a vote, instead choosing to ignore any changes made by the Governor in favor of overriding and passing the original bill.
In 2017, the Governor vetoed less legislation, 42 bills, and used the AV on another 10. Fifteen of his total vetoes were overridden last November while just 3 of the AVs were overridden.
Illinois Honor 200
This Sunday is Veterans Day. I hope you take a moment to thank a veteran for their invaluable service.
Recently, the Bicentennial Commission announced the names of those selected for of the Bicentennial HONOR 200. Illinois residents were asked to submit the names of veterans of the U.S. armed services who are their neighbors and who are key leaders in their local communities. Nominators were asked to describe how these veterans have continued their lives of service as members of their hometowns and neighborhoods. Nominees were evaluated based on their achievements, and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community at large.
In and around the 37th district five local veterans were honored: Kevin Smith of Orland Park, Michael P. Graffis of Tinley Park, Thomas Michael Dubelbeis of Orland Park, Josue E. Cordova of New Lenox, and Steve B. Blinn of Orland Park. Please join me in congratulating these local heroes who are an important part of our community. All the Honor 200 recipients have been invited to attend the state’s official 200th birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on December 3, 2018.
Flag Program for Vets
This is a great time to remind everyone that my office sponsors a flag exchange program. Veterans may come to my office to get a flag to fly at their home or business. The program is free of charge and provided at no cost to taxpayers. In addition, residents wishing to turn in an old U.S. flag for proper disposal may bring their used flag to my office.
Senior Driving Class
I am hosting my final Senior Driving Seminar of the year next Tuesday. For good reason, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office has additional requirements and measures for senior drivers and these classes are great refreshers on the rules of the road. Over 100 seniors have attended classes thus far this year, don’t miss out on your opportunity. To RSVP call my office at (815) 277-2079.
WHAT: FreeSenior Driving Seminar
WHEN: Tuesday, November 13th at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Pipefitters Hall, 10850 W 187th Street, Mokena
Illinois Report Card
The Illinois Report Card, released every year since 1996, contains reports on the overall performances of Illinois schools and school districts. Since 2014, the Illinois Report Card has contained enhanced metric data intended to provide a comprehensive look at the productivity and success of Illinois schools and school districts. Data within the Report Card is sorted by school, school district, city, or county- click here to see it.
The good news? More Illinois students are heading to four-year and community colleges than in any previous year in which this data was compiled and more students took high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses than in any previous year.
In addition, this year the SAT became a statewide standard for Class of 2018 as part of an effort to standardize the data generated by high schools throughout Illinois. Even students who do not intend to go to college must take the exam. Data shows that Illinois average SAT performance has dipped over last year, but that was expected due to the influx of tens of thousands of new SAT takers. The Illinois Class of 2018 mean total score of 1022 (reading/writing 514, math 508) includes numbers that reflect the decision to make the formerly specialized test a measuring stick for what has become the median overall Illinois high school student performance.
Illinois Bicentennial Celebrates Grant’s Sesquicentennial
December 3rd, Illinois’ bicentennial, is rapidly approaching and statewide events are gearing up. It will include a celebration of Ulysses S. Grant who was elected president 150 years ago. We may be the Land of Lincoln, but in Illinois’ first 50 years as a U.S. state, we were the political base of not one, but two men elected to the White House. Most Americans will be familiar with him as the face of our $50 bills.
Grant was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and after organizing volunteer military regiments in Springfield at the onset of the Civil War, he quickly rose through the ranks and was appointed the commander of the Union forces until he accepted the surrender of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. His family was based in Galena, Illinois and that is where he marked his presidential campaign headquarters. At the age of 46, Grant was the youngest president yet elected.
In Galena, this past Saturday the town staged a historically accurate, educational, and interactive recreation of election day in 1868. Click here for more information on Illinois’ bicentennial and events like this being hosted around the state.
Oh, My Gourd! Pumpkin Season Hits Record
You may not be aware, but one of Illinois’ biggest exports is pumpkins, and needless to say, this past month has been a great time to be in business. More than 90% of the processed pumpkin sold through mass-market retailing establishments in the U.S. comes from two plants located in Central Illinois. As a close relative of the squash, processed pumpkin can be served in a variety of ways as a source of fiber and nutrition. This fall Illinois’ pumpkin yield hit a 20 year high, generating a record-breaking 27 tons per acre. I encourage everyone to support our farmers by baking a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!
State Park Expansion
Governor Rauner recently announced that the State has acquired 2,629 acres of property in LaSalle County to protect natural resources and expand recreation opportunities, tourism and economic development near Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks. More than 3 million people visit Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks each year. This expansion increases the amount of open space that will be managed and protected there by more than 50 percent. The land originally was mined for coal and limestone. The IDNR purchased the property for $11,050,000 through the state’s Open Land Trust, established to acquire property for conservation and recreation purposes.
Coming Soon! Annual Diaper Drive
This year my annual diaper drive will run from November 19th– December 19th. Diapers, and diaper related products like baby wipes and rash cream, can be dropped off to my office at 11032 W Lincoln Hwy. In addition, past donations have been delivered straight to the office via Amazon.com. All donations will benefit local non-profit organizations that help young women and families in need.