Latest News

Legislation to honor fallen Paxton-area police officers presented in House
In 1979, a shootout on Interstate 57 claimed the lives of Illinois State Trooper Michael McCarter, Paxton Patrolman William Caisse and civilian Donald Vice. Paxton Patrolman Larry Hale was wounded in that same shootout. Patrolman Hale recovered from his wounds and continued to serve the residents of Paxton as a part-time patrolman.

‘Grand bargain’ talks hit a snag
Since the beginning of the year, the Illinois Senate has been in bipartisan talks to work out a deal on both the budget and the structural reforms that have been under consideration for more than two years. At the start of the 100th General Assembly in January, Senate leaders introduced 13 bills dealing with the budget, taxes, workers compensation reform, procurement reform and a handful of other issues. Then a bipartisan group of Senators tried to work out the differences between them to get the bills passed and sent over to the House.

Governor proposes changes to Medicaid
Governor Rauner has introduced a proposal to have more Medicaid cases move through managed care. The Governor called for expanding the state’s existing Medicaid managed care programs to cover 80% of Illinois’ Medicaid patients, about three million in all. Right now, about 67% of Illinois Medicaid patients are in managed care. In managed care, private insurance firms perform a role similar to insurance firms that manage groups of families that receive health insurance from their employer.

State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) recognized Eureka native Ben Zobrist on the House floor Wednesday as part of the General Assembly's celebration of the Chicago Cubs' 2016 World Series victory. The Woodford County community held its own recognition of Zobrist earlier this year in honor of his being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 World Series.
Some good government legislation headed to the House floor
While we continue to work to find agreement on a state budget, the House is acting to put into place legislation to make us better stewards of taxpayer money. House Bill 682 would bring transparency to initiatives to increase state spending. The bill creates the Local Initiative Sunshine Act and directs the Comptroller put on her website a listing of every initiative that earmarks state funds for specific local groups and governmental units. Included in the information to be made public would be details on who sponsored the initiative, who is receiving the funds, the amount of money being transferred, its purpose and other relevant information.

Package of government reform bills filed
With the start of the new General Assembly, House Republicans have introduced a package of bills and constitutional amendments intended to fix our broken state government system. The proposed reforms are called the Get Government Back on Track package.

The lead sponsor of the bills is Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon. The reform package has six key parts. First, House Bill 787 would create a bipartisan Joint Committee of the General Assembly on Rules and Operations – a panel of legislators which would review and recommend procedures, rules and structures of the General Assembly to make it run more efficiently and fairly. House Bill 789 establishes a Board of Repealers which would review Illinois’ laws and look for ways to get rid of laws that have become outdated or which conflict with other laws. Instead of just adding more and more laws to the books, this would give us a way to get rid of those we no longer need.

Governor delivers Budget Address
Governor Rauner went before a joint session of the legislature on Wednesday to deliver his annual budget address. He touched on a number of issues, but emphasized the overall theme that we need to find the political will to bring people together and finally work our way out of this crisis.