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.
 
HB 4212, which passed unanimously out of the Illinois House and Senate, will provide a mechanism for law enforcement to immediately respond to a missing veteran or active duty military. Under this legislation, law enforcement can issue a Silver Alert for that individual. Like an Amber alert, the public will be notified in an effort to quickly locate a missing veteran and perhaps save a life.

“In an attempt to reduce the suicide rate among veterans, our legislation recognizes this public health issue and adds veterans and active duty members suffering a physical or mental health condition to the Missing Persons Identification Act.” said Representative Bourne. “Men and women in uniform make great sacrifices for our country in our time of need. With this legislation, our state can reach out and help them in their time of need.”

If you are a veteran in crisis or are concerned about one please reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

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.
 
Representative Bourne stated, “This new law will enable young hunters to obtain and carry only one license. They are able to hunt or trap under it while supervised by an adult who is 21 years of age or older who will mentor them, and teach them the proper techniques and safety measures to trap or hunt.” Rep. Bourne added that if a youth has a valid certificate of competency for hunting or trapping approved by the Department of Natural Resources, he or she is exempt from these supervision requirements.
 
Under the new law the fee for a Youth Hunting and Trapping License is $7. To learn more about hunting and trapping or to apply for a license, visit www.dnr.illinois.gov.

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.

Rep. Bourne stated, “It is an honor to be chosen for the ISBE Panel and I look forward to working with these professionals to make our school funding formula work. School children statewide now have a brighter future because of school funding reform. The work of this panel will make sure the school funding reform is dynamic and continues to provide the best outcomes for students statewide. After our important work to pass school funding reform, now the hard work of implementing it begins.”

The panel will meet on a periodic basis to study specific aspects of the formula. Additionally, they will recommend modifications in the future to continue improving school funding to meet the needs of all students in Illinois. All panel meetings will be open to the public and will include an opportunity for public comment. ISBE encourages members of the public to attend and participate. 

“School funding reform was a landmark advancement for fairness in Illinois,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The Professional Review Panel is a very important part of our continuing work to tune Evidence-Based Funding to meet the needs of children, families, and communities across the state. Bringing diverse voices to the table will help us identify necessary improvements. We encourage and value public participation to ensure the funding system serves all students.”

The panel will study topics including the format and scope of school districts’ annual spending plans; the “at-risk student” definition; funding for Regional Safe Schools, early childhood education, and other specific investments; and other aspects of the formula. The panel will make recommendations to the State Board, the General Assembly, and the Governor for continual recalibration of the landmark funding system.

The panel consists of 28 members appointed by State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Governor Bruce Rauner, and legislative leaders. Panel membership reflects the geographic, socio-economic, racial, and ethnic diversity of the state, including representatives with expertise in bilingual education and special education.

 
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.

Rep. Bourne stated, “My priorities for a budget have been clear - we must have a budget on time, it must include input from the minority party, and it must be balanced without new taxes. This budget fulfills those priorities. This is the first time in my tenure I have had the opportunity to vote on a balanced budget. In the past, Democrats have proposed budgets that are as much as $8 billion out of balance. This is a step in the right direction. This budget spends $1.2 billion less than if we kept spending at current spending levels.” She added, “This budget invests an additional $350 million for the new K-12 Education funding formula, provides the funding for AFSCME backpay, makes our full pension payments and begins to pay off our bill backlog. I urge the Governor to sign this budget.”

Other items in the bipartisan budget proposal include:

  • $4.3 million for Veteran’s Grant reimbursements for all community colleges
  • Funding for 100 additional cadets with the Illinois State Police
  • $2.5 billion for IDOT’s road program
  • Funding for MAP Grants along with a new 4-year MAP Grant commitment that will give predictability to students who rely on them.
  • Increased funding for Soil & Water Conservation Districts, County Fairs, and for deferred maintenance at Illinois State Facilities and at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
  • Provides approximately $246 million in state capital funding to make needed water system upgrades as well as new construction and improvements at the Quincy Veterans Home
  • Creates, for the first time, an Adoption Tax Credit to encourage Illinois families to adopt

“This budget isn’t perfect. There are items in this budget that make it difficult to support. But, this is a good bipartisan compromise to get state government working again. There’s still more work to be done before our state is back on a strong fiscal footing. That will only come through continued balanced budgets and reforms that will grow our economy and restore public trust in state government. Overall, this is a truly bipartisan budget that's good for the state and for our district.” said Rep. Bourne.
Click here to read about the new laws taking effect on June 1st. 
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.

“This bill will finally set things right for those employees who have been fighting for years to get what they were promised,” said Rep. Bourne. “Back pay has been perennially used as a political issue which is unfair to the workers who were owed it. This bill can put an end to those political games and make good on the State’s promise.”


This issue began in 2008, when a four-year contract was reached with AFSCME that called for total wage increases over the life of the agreement. However, as a result of poor finances, the State and union twice agreed to defer some of the raises called for in the contract. In July 2011, Governor Pat Quinn’s administration said lawmakers did not appropriate enough money to pay for raises and without the appropriation it could not award the raises. As a result, the issue then went to the courts which ruled that the money was owed.

This back pay is the oldest bill that the State of Illinois has on the books. Back pay is owed to about 24,000 state workers in five agencies who are owed an average of $2,500 each. The agencies with employees who are owed backup are the Departments of Corrections, Human Services, Juvenile Justice, Natural Resources and Public Health. This would be immediately effective if passed out of the Senate and signed into law.
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.

“Zones in Macoupin, Montgomery, and Christian Counties are listed,” Rep. Bourne stated. “Our rural areas are in desperate need of jobs, benefiting individuals and communities. This is a great opportunity to bring jobs and investments in the 95th.”

The following are the tract numbers for the zones and their county:
 
           17021958900 - Christian

           17117956900 - Macoupin

           17135958000 - Montgomery

To determine the most effective tracts for nomination, a three-phase approach was implemented to identify need and potential, adequately represent the entire state, and account for local input. Phase one involved need-based indexing depending on factors like poverty rates, specifically those among children, unemployment rates, crime rates and population. These standards highlight the goal of the program in Illinois which is to cultivate potential within disadvantaged communities and invest in our future generations across the state.

Phase two and three were used to further identify the allotted 327 tracts Illinois could nominate under the federal program guidelines. To ensure a statewide benefit, each county with qualifying tracts received at least one zone and towns and cities across the state were limited on the number of zones included.

“Illinois is the epicenter of commerce in the Midwest and, as such, our people and our businesses are uniquely positioned to leverage the state’s assets into enterprise and job creation,” Governor Rauner said today at the announcement. “I hope you are as eager to use the Opportunity Zones as I am to boost our economy and grow jobs in Illinois.”

For more information on Opportunity Zones and specific areas covered visit
https://www.illinois.gov/dceo/Pages/OppZn.aspx

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.

“I signed on as a co-sponsor of this bill after Kimberly Skief, from Bunker Hill, contacted me and told me the story of her daughter, Grace,” said Bourne. “Grace fought a courageous battle against this horrible cancer and I am thankful that we could move this bill through the Legislature to honor such a wonderful young lady and all of those other brave children fighting this battle,” she added.
 
Grace Skief was diagnosed on April 29, 2015 with a brain stem tumor (DIPG) and passed away on July 31,2015 as a result of this type of cancer. Kimberly Skief wrote that, “Grace was eleven years old and she loved to bake and cheer others up when they were struggling. She had already learned the value of kindness and compassion and was just coming to an age where she was beginning to bloom into a young lady.”

SB 2254 unanimously passed out of the Senate and House. It now awaits the Governor’s signature before becoming law.
 

“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