Litchfield…State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) has announced that she will be hosting two events at the end of the month for seniors in her district. The first event, to be held on July 31st, will be an informative discussion about identity theft. The second event, being held on August 3rd, will be a presentation on how to save money every month on your utility bills.

Far too often, scam artists perceive senior citizens as vulnerable and relatively wealthy due to their ability to access retirement accounts and pension. As a result, seniors are the targets of a wide range of scams, exploitation, and fraud. The Attorney General’s office has created an educational training program to ensure that seniors have the information and tools they need to better protect themselves from con artists and deceptive business practices.

Seniors who attend the July 31st event beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Carlinville Public Library, on 510 N. Broad St. in Carlinville will learn about financial exploitation and scams, reverse mortgages and if they are really right for you, your rights under the new credit card rules, and how to protect yourself, your friends and family from scam artists.

Seniors also have the option to attend an event hosted by the Citizens Utility Board in August. CUB will be explaining different ways to conserve money on monthly utility bills. This meeting will be held Monday, August 3rd, 10:00 a.m. at the Montgomery County Farm Bureau,located at 102 Main St. in Hillsboro.

Both meetings are free to attend. If you have any questions about the events, please contact Rep. Bourne’s district office at 217-324-5200.
The Illinois' Commerce Commission (ICC) has set public hearings before commissioners consider whether to approve a Houston, Texas energy company's $2.2 billion wind-power transmission line project.  The line's proposed course would cut across the state, through Macoupin, Montgomery and Christian counties. Approval by the ICC would essentially give the Grain Belt Express public utility status which includes eminent domain authority.  The ICC's final decision on whether to allow the construction is November 21, 2015.

Public hearings on the Grain Belt Express will be held in:

Pittsfield- July 28th @ 5 pm - Pike-Scott County Farm Bureau, 1301 E. Washington St., Pittsfield;

Pana- July 29th @ 9:30 am - Pana Junior High School Auditorium, 203 W. Eighth St., Pana;

Marshall- July 29th @ 4 pm- Gerald R. Forsyth Performing Arts Center @ Marshall Jr. High
                School, 806 N. Sixth St., Marshall.


The format has been set to include 90 minutes for oral & written testimony, with a limit of 3 minutes per person, with a question-and-answer session with commission staff.

IF YOU'D LIKE TO SPEAK:  Participant sign-up will be on-site, before the forum.


In the meantime, public comments can be submitted(Case #15-0277). HOW TO COMMENT  

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Opposition to the Grain Belt Express is growing, with groups representing those who would be impacted, including The Landowner's Alliance and Block Grain Belt Express, contending that ownership of Illinois farmland is at stake.  Meanwhile, support for the project has been garnered by engaging so-called "Clean Energy"organizations, some of which oppose coal power --- a plentiful natural resource within the 95th Illinois House District.

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Representative Avery Bourne:   Introduced House Resolution 371, which urges the Illinois Commerce Commission to grant the application only if the company identifies clear and substantial benefits to the State of Illinois that definitively outweigh any deprivation of local property rights or land value of the citizens of Illinois.  “Hopefully, Illinois follows Missouri’s lead,”  said Rep. Bourne, after Missouri regulators turned down the company's proposed route through the state.

UPDATE:   Missouri regulators denied a pathway for the GBE, prompting Clean Line Energy to redouble efforts to gain access to land.  Opponents of the transmission line say Clean Line Energy could respond in one of three ways: request a rehearing; reapply for a certificate of convenience and necessity for the project; or the most likely option, bypassing a decision at the state level and seeking eminent domain rights at the federal level through the Department of Energy.
 


Springfield…The State of Illinois has entered the 2016 Fiscal Year with no budget in place. Budget talks up to this point have been in a deadlock and as of Tuesday’s court ruling on People v. Munger, state employees will not be paid without appropriations in place. To ensure that our state employees can pay their bills, Rep. Avery Bourne is supporting legislation that would do just that.

Bourne is a chief co-sponsor to the newly introduced legislation, House Bill 4245, that provides a continuing appropriation for each State agency to meet personnel expenditures for each payroll period during which appropriations for personnel expenditures have not been made available to that State agency. If this new legislation passes, the office of any constitutional officer, state universities, community colleges, and any agency, board, or commission of Illinois state government will receive their paycheck as planned.

As of right now, even without a budget, our state’s lawmakers will be paid because of legislation passed by the Democrat majority in 2014. As budget talks grow stale with no quick solution on the horizon, Rep. Bourne has contacted the comptroller’s office requesting that her paycheck be withheld until the rest of the state’s employees are guaranteed a paycheck.

"The culture in Springfield has favored the political class for too long,” said Rep. Bourne. “The way money is spent in Springfield has to change. While legislators push for an irresponsible out of balance budget for the 12th year in a row, they have made sure last year that they would be paid even if they failed to do their job. This is wrong. While state workers continue to serve the state without the guarantee of a pay check, I will also continue to work on solving the huge issues Illinois faces without receiving a paycheck. I am proud to cosponsor legislation that gives state workers the same guarantee of pay that legislators afforded to themselves in the past."

For more information on the current budget talks taking place in Springfield, please contact Rep. Bourne's office at 217-324-5200.