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On Veterans’ Day at the Illinois State Fair, a number of pieces of Veteran's legislation were signed into law by Governor Rauner.  Representative Bourne was a supporter of one new law that will help troubled Veterans get their lives back on track.  This law will require the Chief Judge of every judicial circuit in Illinois to establish a Veterans and Service Member Court program.  This bill was an initiative of the Montgomery County Veterans’ Assistance Commission and brought to Bourne’s attention at her Veteran’s Advisory Board meeting by this local organization.

“Many brave men and women have served our country and return home with scars that cannot be seen.  They often suffer in silence from the emotional and psychological pain and turn to their own devices when professional help is not available,” said Bourne.  “The Veterans Court takes a holistic approach and gives those who have sacrificed so much a second chance at getting thing back on track.”

Dave Strowmatt, Superintendent of the Montgomery Co. VAC, stated that their reason for bringing this to the General Assembly was because their organization saw a need for better access to the courts.  The local VAC then worked with lawmakers, including Bourne, to get the expansion in an effort to help veterans in their time of need.  


The Court focuses directly on the needs of former and current members of the armed forces.  Currently, there are 12 Veteran Court programs in Illinois.  All are limited to veterans with non-violent records who are struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues.  Veterans who qualify and successfully comply with court orders get the treatment they need and can have charges dismissed.  As of 2014, problem-solving courts including Veterans Treatment Courts kept 1,200 offenders out of prison, saving the state of Illinois nearly $20 million.

Other new laws signed include:

  • Senate Bill 3401 which will assist veterans in their effort to receive help for mental health issues by amending the Veterans and Service Member Court Treatment Act to allow Veteran’s Assistance Commissions (VAC) to provide assessments, mentoring, and treatment programs to veterans. 

  • House Bill 4344 that creates the Heroes Way Designation Program Act.  It is a way to honor service members who were killed in action by allowing a relative to apply to have an honorary sign with the name of the service member erected along designated Illinois roads.
Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) sponsored legislation to create a Youth Trapping License in an effort to promote trapping statewide.   The bill, SB2410, passed the Illinois House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on Monday.  Effective January 1, 2017, the new law allows residents 18 years old and younger to legally trap in the state. 

With this Youth Trapping License, the holder must trap under the close supervision of a parent, grandparent, or guardian who is 21 or older and has a valid Illinois trapping license.  The young person simply applies to the Department of Natural Resources and submits a $7 fee to obtain their license. 

“Learning under an experienced trapper will serve as ‘on-the-job training’ for these kids,” said Bourne.  “Evidence shows that if a youth starts hunting or trapping early in their life there is a higher likelihood they will continue to participate as an adult.  This legislation is subsequently promoting the sport for years to come.”

Trapping plays an important role in the ecology and conservation in Illinois by helping to manage wildlife populations at healthy levels.  Raccoon, coyote, red fox, gray fox, opossum, river otter, and striped skunk can be hunted legally within the state.  Seasons vary by species and, in some cases, by zone.  Check the Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations for details at www.dnr.illinois.gov.
State Representative Avery Bourne(R-Raymond) was joined last week by local students who completed her summer reading program. Students involved in the program were asked to read 8 books during their break from school and return their reading logs to the Representative’s office by the end of the summer.

Those who completed the reading received an official certificate from the Illinois House of Representatives recognizing their commitment to reading, as well as an invitation to attend an ice cream social at a local ice cream shop. Participants meet the Representative and enjoyed some ice cream at one of the four locations: Tastee Treet in Taylorville, Irving Creamery in Irving, Whirl-A-Whip in Girard, or at Twistee Treat at the Pink Elephant in Livingston.

“I’m proud of our students for their hard work,” said Rep. Bourne. “Reading has such a big impact on children’s futures and hopefully this program has helped strengthen their reading skills.”

Students that would like to participate in the future should look for forms at their local public library at the end of the school year or pick them up at Rep. Bourne’s office at 301 N. Monroe Street in Litchfield.
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is partnering with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to host a Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention Seminar in Carlinville. The Seminar will take place on Friday, September 16th, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Macoupin County Farm Bureau, 220 North Broad Street.

“These crimes of identity theft and fraud are too common. There are ways to ensure that you’re not a victim of this type of crime,” said Bourne. She emphasized that some tips are to make sure to set up transaction alerts for your debit and credit cards. Also, always carefully review your statements. “Picking up the pieces and restoring your good name after this type of crime can be a headache. This seminar is a way for people to educate themselves and avoid behaviors that, unknowingly, put them at risk.”

The Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention Seminar will feature a presentation from Berenice Martinez from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Martinez will be discussing the different ways that consumers can safeguard their personal information to prevent identity theft. She will also educate attendees on the most prevalent frauds that are being reported to the Attorney General and offer tips for spotting these types of scams.

Individuals who wish to attend the Seminar are asked to RSVP, as seating is limited. They should call Rep. Bourne’s office at (217) 324-5200 or email
bourne@ilhousegop.org to sign up prior to the date of the event.
 
In an effort to protect hunters from hearing damage, Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) co-sponsored Senate Bill 206 this legislative session. SB206 was an attempt to remove the prohibition on the use of a suppressor or other device to muffle the sound of gun fire. This noise can permanently damage hearing, even if the shooter is wearing ear plugs or muffs.The legislation states that a suppressor, allowed under the National Firearms Act, can be used on a handgun when on a shooting range. While hunting, an individual would be able to use the suppressor on long arm guns.

“This is an issue I consistently hear about from constituents. One of the issues is that there are a lot of misconceptions about suppressors. Suppressors don’t make firearms silent; instead they muffle the sound in large part to prevent hearing loss and noise pollution," said Rep. Bourne.

This legislation passed the Illinois House but, unfortunately, had not yet been called in the Senate. Representative Bourne has received a number of inquiries about this legislation and will continue to push for its passage in the General Assembly.

Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is inviting Senior Citizens from the area to attend a free Senior Technology Fair on Monday, August 8th from 9-11:30 a.m. in Taylorville. The event will be held at the Township Building, which is located at 1620 West Spresser Street.

The event, sponsored by State Representative Bourne, will feature experts from AT&T, who will discuss how smart phones can help seniors manage prescriptions, pay bills, and allow them to stay connected with loved ones.

“I hope to see area seniors take advantage of this event,” said Bourne. “Through this partnership with AT&T, they can learn about new technology on their cell phones and have their questions answered by professionals.”

Navigating a smart phone can seem intimidating to someone who has never used it as a resource before. With everything from personal health records to nursing home quality ratings moving online, senior citizens benefit from being computer literate. The purpose of this event is to assist seniors with the ability to use their phones, find information, and therefore, provide them with more knowledge and increased independence.

Registration is required, as seating is limited. Those who wish to attend may register by calling Bourne’s district office at (217) 324-5200.

 

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) were in attendance when Governor Rauner signed Senate Bill 210 into law this week. Rep. Bourne and Sen. Manar were both sponsors of the legislation, which creates the Bath Salt Prohibition Act. Under this new law, a retailer that is convicted of selling bath salts can have their retail license revoked and guilty offenders can be charged with a Class 3 felony.  

These synthetic drugs, classified as cathinones, more commonly known as “bath salts”, are highly intoxicating and unpredictable in their effects. These drugs are being sold under the disguise of bath salts, plant food, and jewelry cleaner and were technically legal until 2011. In 2011, in response to the increased synthetic drug epidemic nationwide, Rep. Wayne Rosenthal introduced HB 2089. This legislation placed a ban on certain ingredients in cathinones and provided law enforcement some leverage to crack down on this epidemic.

“This bill is a small step towards tackling what remains a devastating issue in our communities. These highly addictive synthetic drugs continue to wreak havoc on our communities and throughout the country," said Bourne. "It is my hope that this new law will limit access and spark discussions on how we can continue to crack down on this epidemic."

Senator Manar explained on the floor of the Illinois Senate, “This simply gives them (States Attorneys) a few more tools to battle what is a growing problem in rural areas of the state, the use of bath salts.”

Additionally, Rep. Bourne proudly co-sponsored HB 3660 which allows banned substances to be added by administrative rule as the synthetic drug manufacturers adapt. The dynamic nature of these synthetic drugs allows manufacturers to slightly change the chemical ingredients to get around the current ban. She also sponsored HB 6112 that strengthens and broadens the current ban.