Governor delivers State of the State Address
Governor Rauner went before a joint session of the legislature on Wednesday to deliver his third State of the State Address. The Governor struck a positive, upbeat tone, as he reviewed some of the accomplishments of his term, like record education funding, transparency and initiatives to streamline government.

Budget Work Continues
In the coming weeks, our top priority must continue to be getting a responsible budget in place as soon as possible.

Upon the expiration of the “stopgap” FY17 budget on January 1 authorized State spending stopped on many vital social programs our families and communities depend upon, and for our colleges and universities.

Efforts to reauthorize these programs for the second half of FY17 are continuing to be discussed along with the need for real budget reform and true reforms to the Illinois political process. Reform proposals under discussion include a hard freeze on property tax extensions, term limits for elected Illinois officials, workers’ compensation, and other issues.  Senate leaders said that they are working to finalize a comprehensive budget plan by February 1.  Some of the components they’re considering include changes to Illinois individual income tax rates, pension reform, a major expansion in Illinois casino gambling, and other significant changes to Illinois laws.

I’ll keep you updated as the discussions progress.
100th General Assembly takes office The new 100th General Assembly was sworn in on Wednesday, January 11, at Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield, opening up the new legislative session. As expected, Democrat Michael Madigan of Chicago was re-elected to the office of Speaker of the House. I was proud to cast my vote for our House Republican leader Jim Durkin.
New General Assembly to take office January 11
With the coming of the new year, the members of the House and Senate elected last fall will formally take the oath of office and begin the 100th General Assembly at noon on Wednesday, January 11 in Springfield. Democrats will continue to hold the majority in both houses, as there will be 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans in the House, and 37 Democrats and 22 Republicans in the Senate.