A Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) will open in Taylorville on Friday and Saturday to make it easier for people affected by the December 1 tornadoes.  The MARC is a one-stop-shop for tornado survivors to access disaster related relief services and information.  The MARC brings together representatives from more than a dozen local and state agencies and essential support organizations.

Christian County residents affected by the December 1 tornadoes are encouraged to visit the MARC at Taylorville Christian Church, 1124 N Webster Street.  The MARC will be open on Friday, December 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 8 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Proof of address is requested. 
Click here for more information about assistance offered at the  Resource Center.
State Representative Avery Bourne announced that, given the devastation to the area caused by the recent tornadoes and violent storms, the Illinois Comptroller has just released over $200,000 in payments due to Taylorville Memorial Hospital. The money was owed to the hospital for Medicaid patient treatment and was processed Monday to aid the community in the recovery effort. A spokesperson for the hospital told Bourne’s office that they were appreciative of the thoughtfulness of the act.  

Representative Bourne stated, “The devastation caused to our area, specifically in Taylorville, is heartbreaking to see. From this tragedy, though, we see the best of our community. People are volunteering and donating food, helping in any way they can to ensure that everyone is safe, sheltered, and knows they are cared for.” She added that if anyone needs assistance, they should call her office at (217) 324-5200.

More than 20 people were injured in the storm and hundreds of structures were damaged or destroyed. The tornado that hit Taylorville was categorized as an EF-3 and had wind speeds up to 155 miles-per-hour.

Bourne’s office toured the tornado-ravaged areas of Taylorville on Sunday with Congressman Rodney Davis, Governor Bruce Rauner, Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp, and other local officials. Following the tour, the Governor declared Christian County a disaster area, enabling state resources to be used to assist in the recovery effort. The Comptroller’s act of expediting payments is one such way the state can assist and ease the burden of rebuilding.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is pleased to announce the release of over $2.5 million for two projects at Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro. The work at the prison will include the replacement of lock controls and their associated intercom equipment. Additionally, the prison will receive over 167,000 square feet of new roofing.

Representative Bourne states, “This funding will heighten safety for the hard-working men and women who are employees of Graham.” She added, “I am pleased to see this balanced budget, which I voted for, doing so much deferred maintenance in the state.”

“The bipartisan Fiscal Year 19 budget I signed in June includes funds for critically necessary improvements at state facilities across Illinois,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “Every dollar we are investing in these projects helps state government deliver better service to the residents of Illinois.”


State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) 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 at the beginning of the regular Legislative Session in anticipation of new legislation that attempts to do just that. Rep. Bourne is once again voicing her opposition in light of continued talk of the tax.
Senate Bill 2298, the Industrial Hemp Act, was just signed into law by Governor Rauner. This Act adds Illinois to a growing number of states that permit growth of cannabis cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) was a co-sponsor of the bill and stated, “Illinois farmers will now be able to compete with neighboring states and the numerous other states that allow for cultivation of this crop. If we look internationally, more than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity and the market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products." Rep. Bourne added, “The tide is turning in favor of this industry and I look forward to Illinois once again being the leading producer of this crop.” In the early 1900’s Illinois was a national leader in production of hemp.

State Representative Avery Bourne co-sponsored legislation that asks the Department of Public Health to develop and distribute information on the need for bone marrow donation and on how to join the bone marrow donation registry. Senate Bill 3062 directs the Illinois Department of Public Health to promote the “Be The Match” database which helps cancer patients, and others in need, find the ideal match for blood stem cell donors- giving them hope for a cure. 
Legislation aimed at reducing the suicide rate among veterans was signed into law by Governor Rauner recently. This bill, House Bill 4212, co-sponsored by State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), adds veterans who are suffering a physical or mental health condition to an alert system that immediately notifies law enforcement and the public when a person goes missing.
House Bill 4783, which merges two youth Department of Natural Resources issued licenses, was recently signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner. The new law, sponsored by Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), combines the previously separate youth hunting and trapping licenses. This bill was an initiative of the DNR to cut red tape and streamline the licensing process for those under 18 years of age in the state.
State Representative Avery Bourne was recently named the newest member of ISBE’s (Illinois State Board of Education) Evidence-Based Funding Professional Review Panel. The panel was created with the new school funding formula to annually review data, proposed changes, and the overall implementation of the formula. It is made up of practitioners, experts, legislative leaders, and advocates.
Lawmakers have come together to pass a bipartisan, balanced budget for the State of Illinois, according to State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond). The Senate approved the budget Wednesday and the House passed the budget today. This Fiscal Year 2019 budget is a balanced, full-year budget that relies on no new tax increases and meets the May 31st deadline, ensuring timely enactment on July 1, 2018.
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced a plan today to invest $11.05 billion in the state’s roads and bridges over the next six years, including $2.2 billion of state and federal funding in the upcoming fiscal year. The Illinois Department of Transportation Multi-Year Proposed Highway Improvement Program will focus on projects that provide the greatest economic benefit to communities and take advantage of long-term strategies that save money over time.  
State Employees that are owed back pay are one step closer to receiving it after House Bill 4290 passed out of the Illinois House today. The bill, co-sponsored by Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), appropriates the money many state employees were promised in 2011.
OvOver 300 Opportunity Zone census tract recommendations, submitted by the State of Illinois, have been approved by the U.S. Treasury Department. These zones cover more than 85 counties throughout the state and aim to support the future of Illinois through economic growth and investment, by allowing investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains in designated census tracts. State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is pleased to announce that three of these zones are located in the 95th District.

grace's gift memorial fundA bill, Co-Sponsored by Representative Bourne (R-Raymond), designating May 17th of each year as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Awareness Day passed out of the Illinois House Today. The bill, Senate Bill 2254, declares the day is to be observed throughout the State as a day to encourage the people of Illinois to help increase public awareness of this particularly aggressive type of brain cancer.

“State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) met with two local pharmacists, Brian Sullivan of Sullivan’s Pharmacy and John Dal Pozzo of John’s Pharmacy, and discussed the progress of House Bill 3479. This bill aims to provide independent pharmacies with a fair and reasonable reimbursement rate from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Bourne, just successfully passed out of the House and now is in the Senate for consideration.”
Recently, a fair map initiative was filed in the Illinois House for this General Assembly and Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) signed on as a co-sponsor. House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) 43 was filed to amend the Illinois Constitution in order to put an end to Congressional and legislative gerrymandering in the Land of Lincoln. Representative Bourne has pushed for years to put an end to the unfair political remapping process in Illinois and she is calling for the Illinois General Assembly to take up the issue to ensure fair districting maps so that every Illinoisan truly has a voice.

CHANGE Illinois, as a part of the Illinois Redistricting Collaborative, spent months drafting this amendment and worked with Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) to get it filed in the Illinois General Assembly.

“Our redistricting reform amendment establishes an independent redistricting commission to draw Illinois’ maps and make it clear that the public not politicians should control the process,” said Brad McMillan, Co-Chair of CHANGE Illinois and the Illinois Redistricting Collaborative. “With this amendment now filed, Illinois voters around the state can ask their members of the Illinois House and Senate if they’ll support this specific, concrete solution to end gerrymandering.”

“For years, Illinois politicians from both parties have proliferated gerrymandering for their own party’s advantage. It’s time to end this rigged political process where the majority party picks districts for politicians. This is a major concern of people in my district and reform on this issue is long overdue. This constitutional amendment will bring fair representation to Illinois and will return power back to the people,” said Representative Bourne. She added, “Redistricting reform is what the people want and it must be called for a vote.”



In response to the teacher and substitute teacher shortage in Illinois, State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) signed on as Chief Co-Sponsor of House Bill 5627. The legislation will 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.

Representative Avery Bourne stated that the bill is the result of recommendations brought forward by the Illinois State Board of Education in an attempt to address the shortage and said, “With this change in state law, the amount of red tape will be cut significantly. Our rural school districts are suffering and this will alleviate the struggles and allow many qualified teachers and substitutes the freedom to do what they were trained to do-educate.”

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. If this bill becomes law, it 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.

On April 6th, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 863 into law. It is another piece of legislation that will address the teacher shortage by making it easier for teachers with out-of-state credentials to get licensed in Illinois.

The new law also alleviates an immediate problem for a significant number of schools who hired out-of-state Speech Language Pathologists (SLP), only to find that the state’s licensing process was prohibitively burdensome. As a result, many of the SLPs could not begin work.

The two provisions allow for out-of-state teachers to become licensed in-state by [1] providing evidence of completing a comparable state-approved educator prep program, or [2] holding a comparable and valid license with similar grade and subject credentials from another state.

 
Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is proud to announce the winners of her Illinois Bicentennial Themed Art Contest that had over 150 submissions this year. The art contest was open to all children who live or learn within Illinois’ 95th House District and was held to promote the arts and recognize the artistic talents of local students.

Rep. Bourne said, “Our annual Art Contest just keeps growing. This year we had a record number of entries and I was extremely impressed by the talent of these 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 attend a regular session day at the Statehouse on the day that their artwork is presented in the House Chambers. Additionally, all 1st through 3rd winners in each group will be invited to Rep. Bourne’s District Office in Litchfield for pizza.

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

K-4th Grade Winners
1st - Anna Cloninger, homeschooler from Plainview in 4th grade, “Beaver Dam”
2nd - Klaire Cole, 4th grade at North Mac Intermediate School, “Abe Lincoln”
3rd - Makenna Harding, 2nd grade at Carlinville Primary School, “Happy Birthday Illinois”


5-8th Grade Winners
1st - Malerie Eyer-Mayberry, 6th grade at North Mac Middle School, “Birthday Cake”
2nd - Mady Landreth, 6th grade at Wolf Ridge School in Bunker Hill, “US Flag in Illinois”
3rd - Ryan Kleckner, 5th grade at Zion Lutheran School in Staunton, “Illinois Flag”
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) announced that The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is issuing vouchers today to the Illinois State Comptroller, paving the way for the new tier funding portion of fiscal year 2018 Evidence-Based Funding to flow to the State’s most under-resourced districts. ISBE issued the vouchers, concluding months of partnership with school districts and lawmakers to deliver accurate and on-time distributions.

“This funding was secured with the passage of bipartisan legislation that I co-sponsored in the House this General Assembly. This rework of an antiquated formula will fundamentally alter the way we fund our schools and, as a result, improve the lives of millions of schoolchildren throughout Illinois,” said Rep. Bourne. She added, “Downstate schools will benefit greatly from the new funding formula and will finally receive the resources they need for success.”

Representative Bourne explained that in the past Illinois operated on a decades-old formula that perpetuated an education funding system that did not send state dollars to the school that need it most first. Lawmakers came together this General Assembly to remedy the broken formula, reached a compromise, and on August 31, 2017, the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act became law.  Since the passage of that landmark legislation, the State Board of Education found fixes that needed to be made legislatively before the full model could be implemented. Bourne also co-sponsored that fix to the formula which now makes full implementation possible.

“Implementing a radically new funding formula required extraordinary effort by ISBE staff and school districts,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I deeply appreciate Governor Rauner and the General Assembly’s commitment through the passage, cleanup, and distribution of this historic first year of Evidence-Based Funding.”

“The EBF numbers show staggering inequity,” Smith said. “We now have common language to talk about the needs of our students and the situated-ness of our schools within communities. We have a common understanding of what all of our children deserve.”

You can learn more about the Evidence-Based Funding formula at https://www.isbe.net/ebf2018.

Tell me what you think about a new bill to

ban youth tackle football

http://www.ilhousegop.org/tackle_football_poll_question

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 - www.powerillinoisjobs.com. 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:
 
http://www.redcrossblood.org/rcbmobile/drive/driveSearch.jsp