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In response to the teacher and substitute teacher shortage in Illinois, new legislation has been filed in the Illinois legislature make it easier for educators coming from other states to teach in Illinois and to make it simpler for substitute teachers to meet licensure requirements. House Bill 5627 was assigned to Elementary and Secondary Education, a House Committee, where it awaits hearing and debate.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill that includes recommendations brought forward by the Illinois State Board of Education in an attempt to address the shortage of teachers in Illinois. Representative Bourne stated, “Under this legislation the amount of red tape has been cut significantly.” She added, “Our rural school districts have been hit hard and are suffering. HB 5627 will help to resolve this teacher shortage.”

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, there are currently 2,013 unfilled positions in the state. The total includes teachers, administrative staff, and school support staff. House Bill 5627, will address this deficiency by making the following changes:
·       Creates full reciprocity of out-of-state applicants for a Professional Educator License (PEL). This will allow out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois without meeting additional requirements.

·       Makes an individual with a PEL eligible to substitute teach without a Substitute Teaching License, enables an individual with a lapsed PEL to be able to substitute teach, and provides that any individual who has completed 60 credit hours of coursework is eligible to receive a Substitute Teaching License.

·       Provides that an Alternative Educator Licensure Program should be a one-year program instead of a two-year program.

·       Clarifies that professional development may be completed at any time during after issuance of the license.

Representative Avery Bourne is holding her annual art contest for kindergarten through 8th grade students who live or learn in the district. The contest takes place through the month of March, coinciding with National Youth Art Month. The deadline for entry is March 30th with the winners to be announced on April 5, 2018.

Artwork must be made from any 2-D medium (i.e. pen, marker, etc.) on 8 ½ X 11 paper and should be the sole work of the entrant. The theme of the work should be Illinois Bicentennial. Examples of Illinois Bicentennial themes include but are not limited to: tremendous Illinoisans, beautiful places, wonderful things associated with, and the 200th birthday of our great State. Entrants are asked to write the title of the artwork, their name, grade, and school on the back of their work.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be selected for Kindergarten through 4th grade and 5th grade through 8th grade. The first place winners in each group will have the opportunity to attend a regular session day at the Statehouse on the day that their artwork is presented in the House Chambers. All 1st through 3rd winners in each group will be invited to Rep. Bourne’s District Office in Litchfield for pizza.

“This contest is a great way to recognize the artistic talents of our students and I look forward to seeing the results,” said Bourne. All artwork is to be turned into Representative Bourne’s Office at 207 N. State Street in Litchfield by the deadline. If you have any questions about the contest please call her office at (217)324-5200.

Governor Rauner delivered his annual Budget Address on Wednesday in the Illinois House to Members of the General Assembly and all Constitutional Officers. The Governor presented his proposal detailing specifics that he would like to see enacted as part of his plan for a balanced fiscal year 2019 budget.

Following the Budget Address, Representative Bourne (R-Raymond) issued this statement:

“The Governor’s Budget Address lays out a framework for a balanced budget that the General Assembly must now act upon. I’m glad his plan emphasizes the need for investment in education, human services, public safety and infrastructure while also balancing that with cuts and necessary fiscal reforms. I applaud the Administration’s efforts to root out Medicaid fraud, totaling over $400 million dollars to date. He highlighted that those efforts will continue in this upcoming fiscal year and will help to balance the budget. Now it’s time for the House and Senate to dig in to this budget proposal and work collaboratively with the Governor’s office to pass and enact a state budget for next year.”  

State Representative Bourne applauded the proposed funding for education in this budget. She stated that a record $8.3 billion is planned for preK-12 education, included $350 million of new tier money to be distributed through our new, more equitable school funding formula.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) has 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 this week in anticipation of new legislation that attempts to do just that. 

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 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.
Following the announcement of planned power plant closures, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will be holding hearings statewide to discuss the current downstate electricity-distribution system and what can be done to ensure downstate electricity reliability. The ICC will be holding a hearing in Hillsboro this Tuesday, January 16, 2018, from 1-2 p.m., at the Montgomery County Courthouse, #1 Courthouse Square, in the old court room on the second floor. The hearing is open to the public.
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and other local leaders will be in attendance, as well as representatives from Dynegy, the largest downstate energy producer. Dynegy owns the Coffeen Power Plant and an additional seven other power plants in central and southern Illinois.
The company has stated that under downstate Illinois' current electricity-distribution system, it may have to close at least four power plants by 2021 or sooner. The economic impact of these closures would mean the loss of almost 550 jobs and threaten approximately 4,000 indirect jobs.
“I would like to encourage people to attend this hearing and be informed on this issue that is vitally important to our area’s economy. I have introduced legislation, House Bill 4141, to prevent plant closures by reducing the competitive disadvantage faced by downstate energy producers,” stated State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond). She added, “But public input is needed, as well, to ensure that downstate communities and energy consumers benefit from the changes proposed to restructure the market.”
Bourne’s bill is a result of meetings with Dynegy Inc. and is currently in the beginning stages of the legislative process.  
If unable to attend the hearing, there is a website where community members can submit comments - If you have further questions or would like more information, please call Representative Bourne’s District Office in Litchfield at (217) 324-5200.
Did you know that January is "National Blood Donor Month"?

Donating regularly is a good way to ensure that blood is available in an emergency for someone in need. The need for blood donors is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable supply.

You’ll feel good knowing you've helped change a life!
Below is a link that you can use to find all the blood drive in your area:
With the arrival of the New Year comes a series of new laws enacted by the State of Illinois. This year, over 200 new laws will take effect on January 1. These include bills for small technical corrections as well as major pieces of legislation.

Click here to read through a recap of these new laws which will be on the books next year. 
For more information on all the bills in the General Assembly, visit
Individuals impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances now have a helpline for immediate assistance thanks to the launch of a statewide call center,” said State Representative Avery Bourne of Raymond. She praised the Rauner Administration for working to tackle this crisis and was proud to join her colleagues in the General Assembly in voting for policies to combat the opioid epidemic in Illinois.

“If you or someone you know needs help, please pick up the phone and call 1-833-2FINDHELP,” said Bourne. “My hope is that this helpline will connect those suffering from addiction and their families to the information and resources that they need,” said Representative Bourne.

The helpline will provide a confidential outlet for individuals experiencing opioid use disorders, their families and anyone affected by the disease 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Helpline specialists are trained in evidence-based approaches to help connect callers with treatment and recovery-support services.

“This helpline will provide a quick way for Illinoisans struggling with dangerous addictions to access resources, treatment options, and support,” Gov. Rauner said. “We are focused on helping them get on the road to recovery to combat further drug overdose tragedies.”

In launching this helpline, Governor Rauner is fulfilling his promise to tackle the opioid crisis and combat the growing number of overdose deaths related to heroin, other opioids, and synthetics like fentanyl. Administration officials have been meeting throughout the year to establish an agenda to combat the epidemic. Rauner unveiled the Opioid Action Plan and signed Executive Order 17-05, creating the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force this year. The task force was charged with building strategies that would help reduce projected opioid overdose-related deaths by one-third within the next three years.

IDPH data shows opioid overdoses killed 1,946 people in Illinois in 2016 — more than one and a half times the number of homicides and nearly twice the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. In addition, data from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) estimates that approximately 248,000 Illinois residents need, but do not receive, treatment for illicit drug use.
New education funding that comprehensively changes the way that school districts receive the bulk of state funds was just enacted in Illinois. The new evidence-based funding sends more resources to Illinois’ most needy districts and demonstrates a new mindsets for understanding the relationship between equity, adequacy, and student outcomes.

Read more here at the Illinois State Board of Education's website: