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State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is the Chief Sponsor of House Bill 3656 that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. The bill creates a taskforce to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in our home state to be burned here as well. This legislation recently passed out of the Illinois House and is now before the Senate for consideration.

“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here. This bill has bipartisan support and is something I’ve been working on since taking office,” said Representative Bourne. “Because of Obama-era regulations, Illinois’ coal industry has been attacked and our area has lost many jobs as a result. I am working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs.”


The vast majority of Illinois coal is being sold and burned out of state because of the sulfur content, which burns off at a higher rate than federal and state air quality standards allow. A way to prevent, or reduce, sulfur escaping into the air when the coal is being burned is to install costly “scrubbers” that help remove sulfur before leaving the stack.

HB 3656 creates the Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Task Force Act. This bipartisan task force’s members’ primary responsibility is to study the costs and benefits of the construction of new stacks or conversion of existing stacks at coal-fired power plants with flue gas desulfurization scrubber technology.

Bourne’s bill requires the task force to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by December 31, 2017. If passed out of the Senate and signed into law the task force’s work would begin immediately.
State Representative Avery Bourne(R-Raymond) is challenging local kindergarten through fifth grade students to complete her reading program to earn a free ice cream with the Representative at the end of summer. Students involved in the program are asked to read 8 books during their break from school and return their reading logs to the Representative’s office by August 1, 2017.

“Reading has such a big impact on a child’s future and hopefully this program helps to strengthen their reading skills,” said Rep. Bourne. “I would encourage kids to take my challenge; make time to take a break and get lost in a good book.”
Participants from last year are seen here with Rep. Bourne. These children from the Taylorville area
enjoyed a free cone and then had play time at the local ice cream shop.

Students who complete the reading log will receive an official certificate from the Illinois House of Representatives recognizing their commitment to reading and an invitation to attend a free ice cream social at a local ice cream shop. 

Students will be receiving the logs in the final weeks of school from their teachers. Home school students and those who did not receive a reading log through their school can print a copy of the log on Representative Bourne’s website, www.repbourne.com, or stop by her office at 301 N. Monroe Street in Litchfield to pick one up. 
 
Currently, Illinois lawmakers are required to test their knowledge of ethics laws annually by taking an ethics exam - the kicker though, they’re allowed to fail every question. State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is the Sponsor of House Bill 526, a bill that is seeking to change this practice by requiring that lawmakers must pass the test on their first attempt.
 
“Lawmakers, as elected officials, should be held to a higher standard of accountability. We are charged with crafting the laws of Illinois. Understanding our ethics laws is the first step,” said Bourne. “Not knowing the laws of ethics in this state and being unable to answer questions about them is simply unacceptable.”

The ethics test is mandatory as part of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. The act, passed in 2003, was put in place to combat corruption in state government. To take the test an individual reads an overview of state laws relating to that section of the exam, answers from list of options or true/false, and then is redirected back to re-answer if they picked the wrong answer. They eventually answer every question correctly, ensuring that they pass.

The test asks questions about ethics as they apply to daily tasks, guiding the employee through scenarios that test their knowledge of ethical conduct. Questions on the test include scenarios that deal with what constitutes political work on state time, accepting gifts in violation of the Gift Ban Act, proper recording of time worked, and whistleblower protection. This bill would provide further accountability by requiring that lawmakers take their ethics exam seriously.

State Rep. Avery Bourne today released the following statement on school funding reform upon the House's return to Springfield for the final month of the spring legislative session:

For years, multiple legislative commissions and committees have studied the obvious inequities of Illinois’ school funding system. As it stands now, Illinois has the most inequitable school funding system in the nation. That means students are essentially forced to play a zip code lottery that will determine whether they learn in classrooms equipped with an iPad per student or one where students share decades old textbooks. This is a challenge we need to tackle as the legislature, and there is bipartisan agreement that it must happen soon.

We have a diverse state. A school in Naperville will not have the same needs, property values or student demographics as a school in Hillsboro. This diversity is not appropriately recognized in our current system. That’s why under our new bipartisan proposals, a new school funding formula will look at each school district’s unique characteristics.

There have been countless hours spent in the last year around this bipartisan solution to our school funding problem. We cannot, however, take our eyes off of the goal. Our goal is a system that works for every student in this state. Getting this crucial reform passed is within sight. However, as often happens - this is when special deals are added or fairness is tossed out the window in exchange for what is politically expedient.

When talking about state policies, I hear often from constituents that the money flows straight to Chicago while the rest of Illinois is forgotten about. We cannot let this happen again. The children of Illinois are too important. Understand though, I agree - the children of Chicago deserve a high quality education. Many of them are not afforded that opportunity under the current system. However, the children outside of Chicago, in central and southern Illinois deserve the opportunity to get a great education too.

We have come a long way. I am encouraged by the hard work that has been done on school funding reform and I will continue to work for a bipartisan, fair solution for every student in Illinois. We cannot continue with the broken patchwork of a system that we have now and we cannot add to the patchwork. Now is the time to pass school funding reform and it is time to do it right.
Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and First National Bank of Litchfield are partnering to host a free shred event at her district office on Saturday, June 10th.  The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon and all district residents are invited to bring their confidential documents, two bags maximum, to be shredded.

“Consumer fraud and identity theft are a growing problem in our communities,” said Bourne.  “This event is an effort to prevent this type of crime from happening.  This is why I am encouraging are residents to come out and have their personal documents safely and securely destroyed at no charge.” 
 
Bourne’s district office is located at 301 North Monroe Street in Litchfield. Cars will be directed to enter the parking lot across from the post office, on Monroe Street. Participants can leave their documents to be shredded on site or park in the lot while the shredding takes place. This free service is for residential, not business, shredding only and bags will be accepted until the trucks reach capacity. 

Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is sponsoring legislation to help local farm families by repealing the estate and inheritance taxes paid on land transfers upon death.  The legislation, House Bill 432, is an effort to stop double taxation of land transfers for agricultural purposes.

Bourne’s HB432 states that if a farmer gifts his land upon death to a descendant, there is no longer a state tax due on the assessed value of the property. Currently, the rate of taxation may be as high as 51% on estate transfers (35% to the Federal Government and between 7.2% and 16% to the State Government).

Representative Bourne explains, "The estate tax in Illinois, especially at a time when small farms are struggling to stay afloat, often means that families must sell the family farm to meet their tax obligations. This adds to the overwhelming tax burden in Illinois.”  Bourne states, “This proposal grew out of a suggestion from my Agriculture Advisory Board and I am proud to bring it forward as just one more way we can make Illinois more competitive and compassionate."

The legislation would be effective immediately upon being signed into law. Currently, 18 states impose an estate tax and 32 states (including neighboring Indiana) do not.
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) operates several Small Business Development Centers around the state to provide information, training, and resources for start-ups and existing small businesses. Recently, the Illinois House unanimously passed legislation recently that would add marketing and networking to those services.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is a Chief Co-Sponsor of
House Bill 1813, which directs DCEO to create a Networking for Success program within its Small Business Development Centers to assist small businesses with strategic market research, geographic information systems, web design, search engine optimization, and social media marketing.


“This bill modernizes, through the digital expansion of services that DCEO offers, and creates a network of assistance that I hope businesses in the area will utilize,” said Bourne. “Current business incentives and assistance programs mainly focus on large companies. House Bill 1813 is a way to assist small businesses within our communities so they, too, can be successful and flourish.”

Currently, such services are often out of reach to many Illinois small businesses because of the cost. This program would make such services accessible to small businesses – the very businesses that employ so many of our neighbors and generate so much economic activity in our communities. The bill is now awaiting action in the Senate.

State Representative Avery Bourne joined fifteen of her colleagues from the Illinois House of Representatives calling for Comptroller Susana Mendoza to pay Illinois school districts with the almost $600 million dollars she currently has sitting in the general revenue fund to spend. The Representatives are urging Mendoza to pay for the services, mandated by the state, that were already provided by the districts, such as transportation.
 
These payments would give much needed relief to districts that are struggling. The timing of these payments is at the discretion of the Comptroller alone. The Representatives are asking that she makes schools a priority instead of stalling on their payments, which are presently up to a year behind.
 
The following is the letter delivered to Comptroller Mendoza on Thursday:
 
Dear Comptroller Mendoza,
 
In light of recent comments made by your office, we write to express our concern over your decision to delay mandated categorical payments for Fiscal Year 2017 to all Illinois school districts until later this spring.
 
As you are well aware, these services, which are required by state law, are major cost drivers for our school districts. Delaying these payments, for services which have already been provided, disproportionately hurts our downstate and rural school districts, as transportation costs specifically are a huge burden for our schools.
 
Due to recent comments and proposals in the Illinois House to spend “surplus money,” we are requesting that you utilize the money available to make good on the promises we have already made for the needs of our school children.

As of today, your office has more than $587 million on hand that could be used to begin making these payments. We ask that you please reconsider and begin to make these payments immediately.
 
 
In response to the national nursing shortage, and in particular the need for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) at assisted living facilities, Representative Bourne (R-Raymond) has proposed legislation to allow CNA’s to fulfill their training at assisted living facilities. 

Across the nation, we are facing a nursing shortage. The Illinois General Assembly has looked at various proposals to help provide incentives for people to enter the nursing field and to make it easier for nurses to become certified while still upholding the quality of care necessary.

“This legislation will help assisted living facilities attract CNA’s and will allow those training to become CNA’s another path toward fulfilling their clinical requirement,” said Bourne. “As an example of how our legislative process should work, an idea was brought to me by an assisted living facility facing a CNA shortage. We worked together to develop a solution to their problem by offering amendments to the bill to make it better. The bill then passed the House with bipartisan unanimous support. We need more commonsense bipartisan solutions like this.”

House Bill 481 amends the Nursing Home Care Act. The legislation states that the Department of Public Health will now allow an individual to satisfy their supervised clinical experience requirement, needed for a CNA to be placed on the Health Care Worker Registry, through supervised clinical experience at a licensed assisted living establishment. This measure, House Bill 481, passed unanimously in the Illinois House this week.
Representative Avery Bourne is proud to announce the winners of her annual Illinois Themed Art Contest. The Art Contest was open to all children who live or learn within Illinois’ 95th House District. Bourne hosted the contest in an effort to promote the arts and recognize the artistic talents of local students.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners were selected in two groups; kindergarten through 4th grade and 5th through 8th grade. The first place winners in each group will have the opportunity to spend the day with Rep. Bourne at the Statehouse and all winners will go on a tour of the Capitol Building. Additionally, winning artists will be recognized in the House Chambers and then have their work displayed in Rep. Bourne’s office.

Winners are announced by name, grade, school, and title of their work:

K-4th Grade Winners
1st-, Olivia Handshy, 4th grade home schooler from Litchfield, “Illinois Nature”
2nd- Easton Page, 1st grader at Beckemeyer, "Capitol Building"
3rd- Sheridan Stangle, 4th grader at Ben-Gil Elementary, “Cardinal In Spring”

5-8th Grade Winners
1st- Chloe Pastrovich, 8th grader at Zion Lutheran, “What Makes Illinois”
2nd-Skylar Swan-Henson, 7th grader at St. Peter’s Lutheran, “Land of Lincoln”
3rd- Joseph Cisler, 7th grader at Zion Lutheran, “Land of Lincoln”



Olivia Handshy "Illinois Nature"