State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) announced on Thursday that she signed on as a co-sponsor of HB 4114. This bill, by prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion, seeks to reverse key provisions of the recently enacted House Bill 40. House Bill 40 was recently signed into law in Illinois, legalizing taxpayer funded abortions at any stage of pregnancy for any reason. 

"I am pushing for the House to consider this bill and vote on it during the upcoming fall veto session before HB40 becomes effective at the start of 2018," Bourne said. "The majority of Illinoisans are strongly opposed to their taxpayer dollars funding abortion. This new bill, HB 4114 will end that unconscionable use of tax dollars."

Bourne says the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" is based on the model of the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions other than in cases of rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Abortions under these circumstances constitute roughly 1% of all abortions. Federal law already requires states to provide Medicaid abortions under these three conditions, and the proposed Act recognizes those federal provisions.

Additionally, while the federal government typically matches a state’s Medicaid expenses, it will not do so for elective abortions. Based on the estimated direct cost to the state of $30 million for abortions, the true impact to the Medicaid system is actually double that, $60 million in lost medical services.
House Leader Jim Durkin announced that he is appointing Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) to fill seats in a recently established task force that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. A new law, sponsored by Bourne, created the task force 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.

“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here,” said Representative Bourne. “Through this taskforce we are 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.
 
This newly formed 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. The task force’s work begins immediately and they will be reporting their findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.


Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) issued the following statement after Governor Rauner’s press conference today announcing that he will sign House Bill 40, making the legislation law.

“Allowing state taxpayer dollars to pay for elective abortions is unconscionable. I was strongly opposed to House Bill 40 and am extremely disappointed that Governor Rauner plans to sign it into law. It has been a longstanding policy in Illinois and in our nation that we should not require our citizens to pay for abortions. House Bill 40 requires Illinois citizens pay for abortions for those on Medicaid and for state employees through the full nine months of pregnancy, for any reason. I wholeheartedly disagree with this legislation and will work for its repeal.”


Governor Rauner was at Blackburn College on Tuesday signing legislation into law that changes the way intoxicated minors are processed and ultimately released. This new law, Sponsored in the Illinois House by Representative Bourne, stems from the tragic death of a local young man, Conor Vesper.
Attending the signing, are from L-R: Alice Vesper (mother), Hannah Vesper (sister), Senator Andy Manar, Governor Bruce Rauner, Jack Vesper (father), Lori Zenner (family friend), Representative Avery Bourne, and John Comerford (President of Blackburn College).

Mark your calendars!  
Representative Avery Bourne will be holding an Open House at her new Litchfield District Office, 207 North State Street, on Monday, October 16th. The Representative is inviting citizens from the district to drop by and meet her and her staff. Open House hours will be held from 8:30am to 10am and later in the day from 1pm to 3pm. Coffee and donuts will be provided for morning guests.

In an effort to save state dollars, Bourne only operates one district office in Litchfield (central location) and holds monthly Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville and Taylorville to help increase access for constituents in such a large district. The 95th District includes Montgomery County, much of Christian and Macoupin Counties, and a small section of Madison County.
“Everyone is welcome at our Open House. Please stop by, see where our new office is located, and say ‘Hello’,” said Bourne. “If you need assistance or information about state programs, we would be happy to help. We take pride in our constituent service and the ability to help individuals navigate state government.” 

The new office is located in downtown Litchfield, just off of the south-west side of the square and is open to constituents.  Normal office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

What's Coming Up?

September 26th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.

October 10th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville at Carlinville City Hall, 550 North Broad from 10:30am to 1pm.

October 10th, Tuesday- Extended Office Hours (open until 6pm) at our current District Office, 301 N. Monroe in Litchfield.

October 16th, Monday- Open House at our new District Office, 207 N. State St. in Litchfield from 8:30am to 10am and from 1pm to 3pm. Refreshments will be served.

October 31st, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.


November 14th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville at Carlinville City Hall, 550 North Broad from 10:30am to 1pm.

November 21st, Tuesday- Extended Office Hours (open until 6pm) at our new District Office, 207 N. State St. in Litchfield.

November 28th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.
 
December 5th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville at Carlinville City Hall, 550 North Broad from 10:30am to 1pm.

December 12th, Tuesday- Extended Office Hours (open until 6pm) at our new District Office, 207 N. State St. in Litchfield.

December 19th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.
On July 29 the credit rating company Equifax was victim to a data breach that jeopardizes the sensitive and personal information of 5.4 million Illinois residents. Information stolen in this breach are: social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, names, addresses and date of births. The Illinois Attorney General’s office is now investigating this cyber-attack.
 
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from having your identity stolen. First, you can place a freeze on your credit. Most credit freezes cost $10 each and you may have to pay a fee to unfreeze your credit. Some exceptions apply to senior citizens who are 65 years old or older, and to active military members.

Second, inspect your credit reports and all financial statements. You should contact your financial institution immediately if you find an unauthorized charge on your account(s).

Third, do not open or answer any emails you may receive from any unknown senders who are threatening or trying to coerce information from you about the Equifax data breach. Those emails are scams.

You will receive a letter in the mail from Equifax if your credit card number has been stolen. They will not email.

Finally, please contact Equifax at 866-447-7559 or visit their website
www.equifaxsecurity2017.com if you any questions. You may also contact the IL Attorney General’s office at 1-866-999-5630 or visit her website at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.
Governor Rauner signed legislation today, brought forth and sponsored by State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. The new law 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.

“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.

This newly formed 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. The task force’s work begins immediately and is to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) has aggressively been pursuing legislation to curb the synthetic drug problems facing central Illinois. Her latest bill, House Bill 2534, crafted in conjunction with the Illinois State Police, was just signed into law by Governor Rauner.

Representative Bourne’s bill amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act by adding and updating new synthetic drugs to the list of controlled substances. SB2534 is an ongoing initiative to fight the growing use of “bath salts” and synthetic drugs whose complex chemical compounds have eluded definition under the law.

“Both locally and across the state, synthetic drugs continue to destroy lives and hurt communities. We must continue to pursue legislation to both help those who are addicted and to provide law enforcement with the necessary tools to effectively prosecute those who are making and distributing the drugs,” said Bourne. “The way that we combat synthetic drugs is different from other controlled substances. Because of their dynamic nature, we must consistently update the law to include new ingredients and compounds. This bill is another step to help law enforcement crackdown on this epidemic.”  

Last year, during the 99th General Assembly, Rep. Bourne partnered with Senator Manar to sponsor Senate Bill 210.  This bill made the sale of bath salts by a retail mercantile establishment a Class 3 felony with up to a fine of $150,000 and provided for revocation of a retailer’s license.


The Illinois House of Representatives just passed a historic school funding reform bill that will fundamentally alter the way we fund our schools and will improve the lives of millions of schoolchildren throughout Illinois! I was proud to be a chief co-sponsor of this legislation and work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring this bill forward. 

For an entire generation of students, we have perpetuated an education funding system that does not send our state dollars to the school who need it most first. We are past due for reforming our school funding formula. 

This bipartisan school funding reform agreement replaces our broken school funding plan with elements from the Governor’s School Funding Reform Commission and input from bipartisan, bicameral negotiations.

This proposal will ensure all students in Illinois receive the high quality education they deserve. Moreover, this compromise prioritizes funding for our most impoverished schools and students while ensuring that no school district loses money. This plan is realistic, fair and represents the best outcome for all Illinois students.

Getting school funding right is the most important thing we can do here - for our children, for their future and for Illinois’ future. This is a good compromise that fixes the formula and gives the next generation of Illinoisans better opportunities for a high quality education.
Legislation that removes the statute of limitations for prosecution of felony sex crimes against minors has been signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner. The bill’s Co-Sponsor, Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), hailed the signing of Senate Bill 189 as a significant victory in the fight for child victims’ rights.

Rep. Bourne stated, “This legislation was a bipartisan bill that was unanimously approved in the House and Senate.” She added, “With this change in state law there are no limitations on when an abuser can be charged after the crime occurs. Survivors of child sexual assault will hopefully be encouraged to come forward and seek justice in their own time.”


Senate Bill 189, signed into law as Public Act 100-0080, provides that when the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, a prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or criminal sexual abuse may be initiated at any time. Under previous laws, many cases held a 10-year or 20-year statute of limitation for prosecution.

The provisions of the new law take effect immediately.

It's time for our annual reward party for our Summer Reading Program!
If your student has completed their summer reading log through our reading program and would like to attend my ice cream social, we will be at the following locations:




Friday, August 11
1pm – 2pm
Tastee Treet, 1219 North Cheney Street in Taylorville



3pm - 4pm
Irving Creamery & Pizzeria, 101 W.State  in Irving


Saturday, August 12
1pm - 2pm
Twistee Treat at the Pink Elephant, 908 Veterans Memorial Drive in Livingston


There are 16,629 students in the 95th legislative who depend on me to advocate for them at the state capitol. Each one of them deserves the chance to receive a world class education. Their future - that is what this fight for school funding reform is all about.
 
In the past three years, I have served on three school funding commissions and taskforces. I can tell you firsthand - throughout those meetings there has been genuine, groundbreaking, bipartisan work done to produce a new, fair, evidence-based school funding formula.

Unsurprisingly, at the last second, negotiations were cut off, amendments were filed that benefitted Chicago and the bill was forced through on a mostly partisan basis. Good bipartisan work was abandoned for partisan politics that send more money to Chicago first.
You’ll hear both sides argue about whether or not there is a Chicago bailout or what that means. Let me share what sending Chicago more money means for my neighbors in the 95th District.
 
In the 95th, there are 16,629 students in school districts like Taylorville, Pana, Carlinville, Gillespie, North Mac, Hillsboro and Staunton. That equals 0.85% of the students throughout the state of Illinois.
 
Chicago has 367,003 students. That equals 18.74% of the students in Illinois.

Under Senate Bill 1, Chicago will receive 63.62%  of the new money. Meanwhile students in the 95th District will receive 0.5% of the new money.

Once the bailout for Chicago is removed from SB1, Chicago’s students receive 19.06% of the new money while students in the 95th District receive .82% of the new money. That is fairness.

19.06% of new money for 18.74% of the students in Illinois and 0.82% of the money for 0.85% of the students.

Our students downstate deserve a fair shake. We need a new school funding formula - one that treats every school district the same and one that sends money first to the students and school districts that need it most. SB1, in its current form is not that solution. With structural manipulations in the base funding minimum (where money goes first), that means millions of dollars are shifted first to Chicago before any new money is dispersed to all other 851 school districts.

After years of education cuts under previous administrations, I cannot blame the schools who are desperate for more money. They need it. We owe it to the students they serve. However, we as downstaters, must fight for our fair share. We cannot settle for second fiddle. Lord knows Chicago isn’t settling. Our kids deserve more.

Now, the political games continue. Instead of abiding by the process every other legislature uses - sending a bill to the governor once it passes, they’re holding on to it.

To end the political gamesmanship, Governor Rauner has called us back into special session to get this done. There are two options - work with us in the legislature to come to a bipartisan solution or send the bill to the governor and let him take out the Chicago bailout. Either way, it is immoral to hold the school funding bill and hold our schools hostage until there is a crisis.

No special deals, No hostage taking. Let’s get this done for every school and every student, now.


 

Gov. Rauner calls lawmakers back to

Springfield Wednesday to take action on

education funding bill

CHICAGO, IL (July 24, 2017) – Determined to get children back to school on time, Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced legislators are being called back to Springfield Wednesday for a special session focused on Senate Bill 1, the school funding reform bill.

Public schools throughout Illinois may not open on time unless SB 1 is sent to Gov. Rauner. The governor plans to amend SB 1 to remove the Chicago Public Schools’ pension bailout that’s currently included in the bill, which then would provide more money to children and schools statewide.

Senate Democrats have delayed advancing the bill to the governor’s desk, choosing instead to use schoolchildren as political pawns. With time running out before the beginning of the new school year, Gov. Rauner insisted lawmakers prioritize Illinois’ children.

“Democrats have been holding this bill since May 31. Our families and students cannot wait any longer,” Gov. Rauner said. “We must act now, which is why I’m calling lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session. Our schools must open on time.”

Gov. Rauner’s amendatory veto will result in higher education funding for nearly every school district in Illinois. A new website launched by Gov. Rauner shows how much additional money each school district will receive as a result of the governor’s planned action: 
https://www.illinois.gov/gov/SitePages/SchoolDistrictFunding.aspx
 
Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti has launched a petition for Illinoisans to voice their desire for the Senate to send SB 1 to the governor’s desk and for schools to open on time: https://www.illinois.gov/ltg/pages/sb1petition.aspx.

Video of the event will be posted here.
Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is hosting traveling office hours throughout the district on Mondays and Fridays from July 21st to July 31st. Traveling office hours are held in an effort to make it easier for those who are unable to make it to the Litchfield Office to meet with the Representative.

Bourne looks forward to hearing from constituents who need assistance or have questions about state government. All are invited to meet with the Representative or just stop by and say “hello.” If individuals would like to ensure individual meeting time with Representative Bourne they are asked to call her district office in Litchfield at (217) 324-5200. Appointments are encouraged but not required.

TRAVELING OFFICE HOURS SCHEDULE
Friday July 21st

Shipman from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Village Hall, 402 Carlinville Rd.

Brighton from 12:30 - 2 p.m. at Village Hall, 206 S. Main St.

Monday July 24th 

Mt. Olive from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Village Hall, 215 East Main St.

Coffeen from 12:30 – 2 p.m. at City Hall, 107 Locust St.


Friday July 28th
 
Virden from 10-11:30 a.m. at Community Hall, within City Hall, 101 West Jackson St.

Girard from 12:30-2 p.m. at City Hall, 111 West Madison St.
 
Monday July 31st
 
Assumption from 10-11:30 a.m. at City Hall, 229 N Chestnut St.

Morrisonville from 12:30-2 p.m. at City Hall, 307 SE 6th St.

Field Museum photo credit: Nimesh Madhavan
If you and your family are interested in visiting some of Chicago’s world-class museums, Rep. Bourne's office has a museum pass you can borrow, which is provided by the Museums in the Park Organization. Any resident of the 95th District can borrow our Constituent Education Resource Card, to visit any of the following museums in the city of Chicago for 2017:

• Adler Planetarium
• The Art Institute of Chicago
• Brookfield Zoo
• Chicago Botanic Garden
• Chicago Children’s Museum
• Chicago History Museum
• Dusable Museum of African American History
• The Field Museum
• Lincoln Park Zoo
• Museum of Contemporary Art
• Museum of Science and Industry
• National Museum of Mexican Art
• National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
• Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
• John G. Shedd Aquarium

 
Please contact Rep. Bourne's office at (217) 324-5200 and provide your name and address along with the dates you are requesting (can be used for up to 3 days) and we will provide you with the Constituent Education Resource Card for your use.

Legislation changing the way intoxicated minors are processed and ultimately released stems from a tragic death of a local young man, Conor Vesper, in 2015. Following his death, family and friends worked to change the law by contacting their representatives at the Illinois State House. Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) signed on as the Chief House Sponsor of Senate Bill 2185.

“Conor’s Law will mean that the way law enforcement releases minors will be uniform throughout the state,” said Bourne. “This change in current law will hopefully ensure that this situation never occurs again. I thank those who brought the idea forward. Their hard work and dedication to bring change from tragedy will ensure that Conor’s life will continue to impact people’s lives in a positive way in the future,” added Representative Bourne.

Conor's Law requires the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board and the Illinois State Police will create a model policy to train law enforcement officers to respond to a person arrested while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They will also be required to create a policy for the release of persons arrested under the influence of alcohol or drugs who are under the age of 21 years of age. This policy will include language requiring the arresting officer to make a reasonable attempt to contact a responsible adult who is willing to take custody of the person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Working with Senator Manar, Rep. Bourne passed the legislation unanimously out of the House and it now awaiting the Governor’s consideration to become law.

Rep. Avery Bourne calls Conor's Law, SB2285, for a vote on 6/29/17.  
 The bill creates policy for police officers that will guide them in the processing and eventual release of intoxicated individuals to ensure their safety. SB2285 passed both Houses and now goes to the Governor.

Representative Avery Bourne calls SJR32-
Naming Pfc. Gary Wayne Price Memorial Hwy
for adoption by the House on 6/29/17.
The Resolution was unanimously adopted.
Click to see the Committee of the Whole's Education Panel answer my questions about SB1's funding of Chicago Public School System at a different level than every other school district in the state.


Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is pushing legislation that will pick up where Senate Bill 1 failed downstate school districts, skewing school funding to first drive money to one school district - Chicago.

Bourne is a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation, House Bill 4069, that is an attempt to restore truly equitable funding through a restructured school funding formula that drives more funding to low income students and to school districts that need it most. Bourne’s bill was drafted from agreed language in SB 1 before an amendment was added to bail out the Chicago Public School System.

“Legislators have an opportunity to reopen the education funding reform debate and fix the problems with Senate Bill 1,” said Representative Bourne. “Every downstate district would receive more funding through this plan than through Senator Manar’s Senate Bill and no school district in the state loses money. Without the windfall for Chicago, downstate schools will see major gains. Bourne added, “The State Board of Education data clearly shows this bill is the most fair and equitable plan for all students.”

House Bill 4069 incorporates the agreed upon evidence based model while treating all 852 school districts the same. It also ensures that no districts lose money and creates real equity in the school funding system for every student across the state.

Following the proclamation by the Governor, the General Assembly has been called back to Springfield to be in special session June 21-30. These ten days give the legislature the opportunity to reestablish school funding reform discussions and ensure that reforms are passed that provides fair and equitable funding for all children in Illinois regardless of zip code.
 
Yesterday, Governor Rauner delivered what is deemed to be a historic address at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, calling for unity and bipartisanship from the General Assembly to end our state's budget impasse. The Governor urged the members of the General Assembly to vote on the Capitol Compromise, a plan that was introduced by Senate and House Republican leaders that has the Governor's support.

Representative Avery Bourne joined Governor Rauner in calling for unity, emphasizing the critical importance of coming together to work on and pass a budget that will put Illinois on the right fiscal path moving forward.

"Now is the time for working together. With only ten days before our deadline, we must come together, for the people of Illinois, to pass a bipartisan, balanced budget," said Bourne.

The Capitol Compromise Plan includes:

* Balanced Budget with Spending Caps
* Property Tax Relief
* Worker's Compensation Reform
* Government Consolidation (Already Passed House & Senate)
* Education Reform
* Term Limits
* Pension Reform

Representative Bourne added, "While we won't all agree on every aspect of the plans that have been proposed, we cannot wait any longer. This plan is a full year balanced budget that forces the state to live within its means. It also contains good policies that will get our state growing again and represents much of where the Senate Grand Bargain plan found compromises. I am calling on leadership on both sides of the aisle to come together, resolve the remaining issues in a budget deal and get it done."
House and Senate Republicans held a press conference today to introduce a package of bills to end the budget impasse. The bills represent a compromise balanced budget and include reforms that address the priorities of both parties, and urged the General Assembly to return to Springfield to vote on this proposal.
My entire time in the General Assembly, I have been working on fixing the school funding formula. What I will not support is a masked effort to rig the school funding formula. This week, House Democrats passed Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) - a bill to change the way we distribute state money to our schools.  

This bill was a version of the evidence-based funding model which is an excellent blueprint for us to follow when we discuss overhauling our broken state funding formula. This model, in theory, is significant to Illinois for many reasons, not the least of which is that it was specifically designed to send money to the schools that need it most, first. 

What’s so disappointing, however, and why I could not support SB1 is that the bill sponsored by Senator Manar and Representative Davis corrupts the evidence-based model and skews its results in favor of driving money to one school district - Chicago. 

For months, we have been negotiating, on a bipartisan basis, a new funding model that recognizes the unique characteristics of each school district, sends money first to the schools who need it most, and that appropriately considers the needs of schools across the state - including Chicago. However, the recent legislation that passed the House and the Senate is not reflective of our negotiations. As is often the case in Springfield, at the last minute they added in special deals and went with what was politically expedient instead of what was fair. 

To be clear, I am not denying that students in Chicago need a high quality education too. But, when politicians choose to rig the system to send more money to Chicago, it comes at the expense of every other student in the 850 other districts in the State. That includes us. 
Here is a snapshot of schools in the 95th District under our plan for school funding reform and then after the changes to benefit Chicago: 

All of these numbers seem like a benefit to our schools. You may ask - isn’t something better than nothing? The problem is, if we make all of these deals for Chicago permanent, we will lose money that we deserve every year from here on out. Also, if education funding is cut in the future like we've seen in the past, Chicago will automatically get more while everyone else suffers losses. That is not a system that is “fixed,” that is a system that is rigged. 
Also, let’s not forget about the financial condition of the state. Our schools across the state are already owed $1.1 billion from the state for this year alone. We’re broke. This bill assumes that the state will be able to pay another $350 million more next year than we did this year. Also, while House and Senate democrats wave this bill around as a victory, the House majority failed to even bring a budget up for a vote. That means, so far, not a single dollar is headed to schools next year. 
We truly were close to a historic agreement on reforming the school funding formula, but the House and Senate Democrats sold out to Chicago again. It’s time that Springfield got its priorities right. Let’s truly fix the formula for every school in the state - not rig the system for one school district at the expense of the rest of us.
 

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.
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.
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.


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.
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).
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.