Latest News

Hello February (and one more day closer to Spring)!  It seems like January was here and went all too fast.  February is an important month in Illinois State politics because it usually marks the end of the new bill introduction period in the House of Representatives.

The deadline for new legislation this year is February 11, 2016.  I want to reiterate my gratitude for everyone across the 89th District who has called, written, attended town hall meetings or any of the legislative luncheons from last year.  I firmly believe that people with practical experience and firsthand knowledge are the best resource for removing cumbersome regulations in Illinois. Your input has helped to shape the legislative agenda for the 89th District, and I appreciate your willingness to provide such critical feedback.
 State of the State & Higher Education Funding

This week in Springfield Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his State of the State address. This annual speech gives Illinois Governors the opportunity to share their policy initiatives, past accomplishments and future plans.

He made it clear that despite the budget impasse, he plans to take action by moving forward with an innovative transformation agenda that builds on turning Illinois around; making government more efficient and effective.

State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) attended the Community Development Fund of Galena's 22nd Annual Legislators Day last week. Legislators spent the morning listening to local presenters and then had the opportunity to respond, answering questions and talking about what’s happening at the state level.

"My sincere appreciation to Joel Holland, P. Carter Newton, the Directors of the Community Development Fund of Galena, and to all who attended this annual event. Galena and Jo Daviess County thanks you for your Leadership," said Rep. Stewart.

Presenters included Terry Renner, Mayor of Galena; Mark Moran, City Administrator; Dan Riemer, JoDaviess County Administrator; Dave Decker, Galena ARC; Tracy Travis Bauer, CEO Midwest Medical Center; John Cox, Chuck Korte, Galena School Board President (and legendary Pirate Coach), Mr Kyle Knight, Alex Townsend, Jake Dregne, Padgham Larson, Katherine Walker, JoDaviess CVB; Beth Baranski, TCEDA; Nancy Breed, History Museum; Steve Barg, Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation.
“Let Political Winds Pass”

Good legislation is the product of much debate, multiple perspectives, and is always in the interest of the people.  That’s why in both the 98th and 99th General Assembly’s I have introduced legislation that would allow the recall of all Executive Branch officials and General Assembly members.  A recall differs from an impeachment because it is initiated by the voters and constituents.  Instead, the impeachment process stems from within the Legislative Branch and is always initiated in the House of Representatives.

On February 6, 2015, I introduced House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 0023 (HJRCA 23), and three days later it was referred to the Rules Committee where it remains with the other 3,479 bills there now.  The aim of this legislation is to give more power and control to the people to hold their elected officials accountable.  If HJRCA 23 passed both legislative chambers, it would then go on the November 2016 ballot where it would need to pass with a minimum of 60% in favor to become a part of the Illinois Constitution.  With the furor surrounding the demands for a recall in Chicago and new legislation being introduced for political gain, I believe we should return to the concepts and ideas before they were rife with animosity and tension.
According to the United Van Lines 2015 Migration Study,  Illinois has one of the highest percentages of outbound migration in the United States. Illinois (63 percent) held steady at the No. 3 spot, ranking in the top five in outbound migration for the last seven years.
Today, the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force formally presented its final report to Governor Bruce Rauner.

According to the US Census of Government, Illinois has more local units of government than any other state in the nation at 6,963. Illinois also has the second-highest effective property tax rate in the nation.

Governor Bruce Rauner created the Task Force on Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates last February. It was charged to find efficiencies and ways to streamline local government functions to save taxpayer dollars.

The Task Force convened 16 meetings across the state and conducted a comprehensive review of state laws pertaining to local governments and school districts. The final report includes a study on unfunded mandates and opportunities to streamline or eliminate governmental bodies and schools districts, and 27 Task Force endorsed recommendations.

The Task Force endorsed 27 recommendations which resulted from the testimony of 33 experts representing government associations, nonprofit think tanks, researchers, and state agencies.

Click HERE to read the full report.
New Year’s Resolutions & New Laws for Illinois

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 brought you and your families love and joy and that 2016 brings good health and prosperity for everyone.  The change of the calendar year symbolically closes out a period in our lives and begins anew another chapter yet to be written.  As tradition holds, it is proper to partake in establishing New Year’s resolutions to work towards throughout the year.  Instead of heavily weighting short term goals, I’ve always found “working goals” to be more effective guidelines for myself because they allow me to track my progress all year long.  I’ve made several goals this year and I am resolved to improve upon our results from years past.