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State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is pleased to announce the release of over $2.5 million for two projects at Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro. The work at the prison will include the replacement of lock controls and their associated intercom equipment. Additionally, the prison will receive over 167,000 square feet of new roofing.
 
Representative Bourne states, “This funding will heighten safety for the hard-working men and women who are employees of Graham.” She added, “I am pleased to see this balanced budget, which I voted for, doing so much deferred maintenance in the state.”

“The bipartisan Fiscal Year 19 budget I signed in June includes funds for critically necessary improvements at state facilities across Illinois,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “Every dollar we are investing in these projects helps state government deliver better service to the residents of Illinois.”


Graham Correctional Center is a medium security adult male facility that houses several special populations, including substance abuse treatment, sex offender treatment, and inmates in a kidney dialysis program. Graham, with an inmate population of 1,843, also provides numerous academic and vocational programs to ensure success after an offender’s release.

 



State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) signed on as Chief Co-Sponsor of House Resolution 766, a resolution that voices opposition to taxing Illinois drivers per mile traveled. HR 766 was filed at the beginning of the regular Legislative Session in anticipation of new legislation that attempts to do just that. Rep. Bourne is once again voicing her opposition in light of continued talk of the tax.

In 2016, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) proposed the new tax on miles traveled on public, non-tolled Illinois roads using GPS tracking technology and a Chicago Daily Herald article stated that the sponsor of the new tax wanted Illinois to be the first state in the union to make the changes statewide and that the concept is inevitable.

“Previous statements about this new tax by high-ranking Democrats and their candidate for Governor have prompted this Resolution. The vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax would bring financial burden to Illinoisans and make our state even less competitive. Rural residents, especially, would be hit hard because of the longer miles driven between home and work,” said Representative Bourne. She added, “The privacy issue is yet another reason that this type of legislation is bad for Illinois.”  


One previously proposed plan, which would impose a fee of 1.5¢ per mile driven, would report miles traveled on public, non-tolled Illinois roads by using GPS tracking technology in a smartphone app or a tracking device similar to the I-Pass (or EZ-Pass). With this tracking, individuals would be monitored to calculate how many miles were driven in Illinois each month. Another plan would impose a fee of 1.5¢ per mile driven, based on monthly odometer readings instead of GPS tracking technology, and another would plan would be a flat rate plan of an annual fee of $450.

Illinoisans currently pay over 34 cents per gallon in state and federal taxes for gasoline.
Senate Bill 2298, the Industrial Hemp Act, was just signed into law by Governor Rauner. This Act adds Illinois to a growing number of states that permit growth of cannabis cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) was a co-sponsor of the bill and stated, “Illinois farmers will now be able to compete with neighboring states and the numerous other states that allow for cultivation of this crop. If we look internationally, more than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity and the market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products." Rep. Bourne added, “The tide is turning in favor of this industry and I look forward to Illinois once again being the leading producer of this crop.” In the early 1900’s Illinois was a national leader in production of hemp.

The Industrial Hemp Act, effective immediately, creates a state licensure program through the Department of Agriculture that enables those who desire to grow the crop to do so. The state Department of Agriculture is tasked with establishing rules for THC-level testing of industrial hemp crops.

“Legalizing the farming of industrial hemp just makes good sense,” Rauner said. “Roughly 38 states — including our neighbors in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee — have allowed or are considering allowing cultivation of this crop for commercial, research or pilot programs. Our farmers should have this option as well. This new state licensure program begins that process.”

Richard Guebert Jr., President of the Illinois Farm Bureau stated, “Illinois Farm Bureau policy, developed by our grassroots members, has long supported the production, processing, and utilization of industrial hemp. Illinois farmers will now have new opportunities to diversify their farms by growing this versatile crop.”

Recent available market reports indicate that the estimated gross value of hemp production per acre is about $21,000 from seeds and $12,500 from stalks. This data comes from the Congressional Research Service and was publish in June of 2018.

 
State Representative Avery Bourne co-sponsored legislation that asks the Department of Public Health to develop and distribute information on the need for bone marrow donation and on how to join the bone marrow donation registry. Senate Bill 3062 directs the Illinois Department of Public Health to promote the “Be The Match” database which helps cancer patients, and others in need, find the ideal match for blood stem cell donors- giving them hope for a cure. 
 
Representative Bourne, who herself is on the bone marrow registry, stated, “Bone marrow donors are needed all across the United States. If you meet the guidelines, you can easily sign up as a potential donor and take the necessary steps to be on the registry.” Bourne added, “The goal of this new law is to get more people registered, so more lives can be saved.”
 
Governor Rauner recently signed this legislation into law after it passed the Illinois House and Senate unanimously during the legislative session.
 
“Be the Match” is a program operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping patients get life-saving bone marrow transplants. They educate the public on bone marrow donations, including information on how to join a bone marrow registry, the need for donations, and patient populations that would benefit from bone marrow donations.
You are eligible to donate if you live in the United States, meet health guidelines, and are willing to donate to any patient in need. If you are between the ages of 18-44, patients especially need you because research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants.

The steps to saving a life are easy. You’ll need to register online at bethematch.org; you’ll receive a cheek swab kit in the mail; swab your cheek and return the kit; be matched with an individual in need; and then donate. The process is simple, takes very little time, and can potentially make a big impact.
Legislation aimed at reducing the suicide rate among veterans was signed into law by Governor Rauner recently. This bill, House Bill 4212, co-sponsored by State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), adds veterans who are suffering a physical or mental health condition to an alert system that immediately notifies law enforcement and the public when a person goes missing.
 
HB 4212, which passed unanimously out of the Illinois House and Senate, will provide a mechanism for law enforcement to immediately respond to a missing veteran or active duty military. Under this legislation, law enforcement can issue a Silver Alert for that individual. Like an Amber alert, the public will be notified in an effort to quickly locate a missing veteran and perhaps save a life.

“In an attempt to reduce the suicide rate among veterans, our legislation recognizes this public health issue and adds veterans and active duty members suffering a physical or mental health condition to the Missing Persons Identification Act.” said Representative Bourne. “Men and women in uniform make great sacrifices for our country in our time of need. With this legislation, our state can reach out and help them in their time of need.”

If you are a veteran in crisis or are concerned about one please reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

House Bill 4783, which merges two youth Department of Natural Resources issued licenses, was recently signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner. The new law, sponsored by Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), combines the previously separate youth hunting and trapping licenses. This bill was an initiative of the DNR to cut red tape and streamline the licensing process for those under 18 years of age in the state.
 
Representative Bourne stated, “This new law will enable young hunters to obtain and carry only one license. They are able to hunt or trap under it while supervised by an adult who is 21 years of age or older who will mentor them, and teach them the proper techniques and safety measures to trap or hunt.” Rep. Bourne added that if a youth has a valid certificate of competency for hunting or trapping approved by the Department of Natural Resources, he or she is exempt from these supervision requirements.
 
Under the new law the fee for a Youth Hunting and Trapping License is $7. To learn more about hunting and trapping or to apply for a license, visit www.dnr.illinois.gov.

State Representative Avery Bourne was recently named the newest member of ISBE’s (Illinois State Board of Education) Evidence-Based Funding Professional Review Panel. The panel was created with the new school funding formula to annually review data, proposed changes, and the overall implementation of the formula. It is made up of practitioners, experts, legislative leaders, and advocates.

Rep. Bourne stated, “It is an honor to be chosen for the ISBE Panel and I look forward to working with these professionals to make our school funding formula work. School children statewide now have a brighter future because of school funding reform. The work of this panel will make sure the school funding reform is dynamic and continues to provide the best outcomes for students statewide. After our important work to pass school funding reform, now the hard work of implementing it begins.”

The panel will meet on a periodic basis to study specific aspects of the formula. Additionally, they will recommend modifications in the future to continue improving school funding to meet the needs of all students in Illinois. All panel meetings will be open to the public and will include an opportunity for public comment. ISBE encourages members of the public to attend and participate. 

“School funding reform was a landmark advancement for fairness in Illinois,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The Professional Review Panel is a very important part of our continuing work to tune Evidence-Based Funding to meet the needs of children, families, and communities across the state. Bringing diverse voices to the table will help us identify necessary improvements. We encourage and value public participation to ensure the funding system serves all students.”

The panel will study topics including the format and scope of school districts’ annual spending plans; the “at-risk student” definition; funding for Regional Safe Schools, early childhood education, and other specific investments; and other aspects of the formula. The panel will make recommendations to the State Board, the General Assembly, and the Governor for continual recalibration of the landmark funding system.

The panel consists of 28 members appointed by State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Governor Bruce Rauner, and legislative leaders. Panel membership reflects the geographic, socio-economic, racial, and ethnic diversity of the state, including representatives with expertise in bilingual education and special education.

 
Lawmakers have come together to pass a bipartisan, balanced budget for the State of Illinois, according to State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond). The Senate approved the budget Wednesday and the House passed the budget today. This Fiscal Year 2019 budget is a balanced, full-year budget that relies on no new tax increases and meets the May 31st deadline, ensuring timely enactment on July 1, 2018.

Rep. Bourne stated, “My priorities for a budget have been clear - we must have a budget on time, it must include input from the minority party, and it must be balanced without new taxes. This budget fulfills those priorities. This is the first time in my tenure I have had the opportunity to vote on a balanced budget. In the past, Democrats have proposed budgets that are as much as $8 billion out of balance. This is a step in the right direction. This budget spends $1.2 billion less than if we kept spending at current spending levels.” She added, “This budget invests an additional $350 million for the new K-12 Education funding formula, provides the funding for AFSCME backpay, makes our full pension payments and begins to pay off our bill backlog. I urge the Governor to sign this budget.”

Other items in the bipartisan budget proposal include:

  • $4.3 million for Veteran’s Grant reimbursements for all community colleges
  • Funding for 100 additional cadets with the Illinois State Police
  • $2.5 billion for IDOT’s road program
  • Funding for MAP Grants along with a new 4-year MAP Grant commitment that will give predictability to students who rely on them.
  • Increased funding for Soil & Water Conservation Districts, County Fairs, and for deferred maintenance at Illinois State Facilities and at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
  • Provides approximately $246 million in state capital funding to make needed water system upgrades as well as new construction and improvements at the Quincy Veterans Home
  • Creates, for the first time, an Adoption Tax Credit to encourage Illinois families to adopt

“This budget isn’t perfect. There are items in this budget that make it difficult to support. But, this is a good bipartisan compromise to get state government working again. There’s still more work to be done before our state is back on a strong fiscal footing. That will only come through continued balanced budgets and reforms that will grow our economy and restore public trust in state government. Overall, this is a truly bipartisan budget that's good for the state and for our district.” said Rep. Bourne.
Click here to read about the new laws taking effect on June 1st. 
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced a plan today to invest $11.05 billion in the state’s roads and bridges over the next six years, including $2.2 billion of state and federal funding in the upcoming fiscal year. The Illinois Department of Transportation Multi-Year Proposed Highway Improvement Program will focus on projects that provide the greatest economic benefit to communities and take advantage of long-term strategies that save money over time.