While many bills were approved and signed into law in 2016, several very worthwhile initiatives failed to receive fair consideration in the House or Senate. House Speaker Mike Madigan controls the Rules Committee, and he uses it to block any bill he does not wish to have considered by lawmakers. Bills that would seem like common sense to you and me were blocked this year by the Speaker. The list below represents a sampling of the “should haves” that will not be, thanks to far-reaching hand of the House Speaker:

HB 5744 – If the General Assembly fails to pass a balanced budget by the end of the regular session each year, lawmakers would have been required to stay in continuous session every day until a balanced budget is passed. HB4399 (co-sponsored by Rep. Bourne) would deny lawmakers their paychecks if there is no balanced budget.

HJRCA 7 / HB4386 (sponsored by Rep. Bourne) – A constitutional amendment that would have created term limits for leaders of the Illinois General Assembly: Would have limited the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House, or Minority Leader of the Senate to a total of 8 years in any office.
In Illinois, 191 new laws take effect January 1, 2017. Here is a preview of 25 new laws that will have a significant impact statewide.

Agriculture Education Teacher Grant Program (co-sponsored by Rep. Bourne)
Public Act 99-826, Senate Bill 2975
A school district may apply for a grant to fund 50% of the personal services cost for an agriculture education teacher, or if the school is creating a new agriculture education program, 100% of the cost in the first two years and 80% in the third and fourth years. This new act is subject to appropriation.

Social media right to privacy
Public Act 99-610, House Bill 4999
Amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it illegal for an employer or prospective employer to request or require an employee or applicant to access a personal online account (such as Facebook) in the presence of the employer. It is also illegal to request or require that an employee or applicant invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee, or applicant, or join an online account established by the employer.
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) has joined with colleagues from the Illinois House of Representatives urging Comptroller Mendoza to continue supporting the principle of “No Budget, No Pay”.  The Legislators are requesting that the newly-elected Comptroller continue the delayed payment of legislator salaries.  This delay was enacted as a response to the lack of budget and put lawmakers’ payments in line with payments to all others owed by the State of Illinois.
As snow and ice season approaches, Representative Avery Bourne is teaming up with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) to remind motorists in the 95th District to be prepared. By taking steps to prepare for wintry driving conditions, the motoring public can do their part to make this a safe and successful winter driving season.