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Budget – Infrastructure
·         Statewide discussion on capital spending begins.  Governor Bruce Rauner announced on Tuesday, April 21 that he will soon start an infrastructure Listening Tour in which the Governor will talk to local leaders in at least 30 separate Illinois communities to hear their needs for additional help in maintaining vital local infrastructure.  At the same time, Illinois House budget working groups will be meeting on FY16 budget challenges, including issues of public infrastructure.

Deteriorating roads and bridges are expected to be a particular focus of the Governor’s tour and Illinois House discussions.  Current projections, based on existing trends on motor fuel consumption and taxes paid, have looked at the current six-year Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT planning program.  Current trends indicate that by the end of this six-year program 40 percent of Illinois highways, and one in seven Illinois bridges, will be in unacceptable condition. 

Most of the money raised by motor fuel taxes is deposited in the state’s Road Fund and used for road and bridge repair and replacement.  Illinois transportation infrastructure work will continue in the 2015 construction season, but IDOT has reported to the Illinois House that the State’s asphalt infrastructure is depreciating faster than moneys are being deposited in the Fund.


Abraham Lincoln – 150th Anniversary
·         Illinois House observes 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and death.  The 16th president was shot in the head by an assassin on April 14, 1865 in Ford’s Theatre, Washington, and died on the following day.  Lincoln’s assassination, which took place less than one week after the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army, marked the end of the Civil War and the start of a period of national mourning and reconciliation. 

The Illinois House has a unique perspective on Abraham Lincoln; this legislative chamber was Lincoln’s first political home and elected position.  The future President served central Illinois in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th General Assemblies, starting in 1835 and ending in 1842.  These were key years in the history of Lincoln’s home town of Springfield, as the aggressive advocacy of Lincoln and his colleagues was decisive in the selection of the Sangamon River community to be Illinois’ permanent state capital.  The “Old State Capitol,” which still stands in Springfield’s central city, was built in response to Lincoln’s urgings.  A legislator’s desk, believed to be Lincoln’s, has been re-installed in the chamber and is seen by tens of thousands of visitors annually.

Led by Representative Tim Butler of Springfield, who represents an Illinois House district that is descended from Lincoln’s district, the Illinois House held a commemorative observance of the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s death on Wednesday, April 15.  This was part of overall preparations for the 150th anniversary of the return of Lincoln’s body to Springfield and reenactment of his funeral which will take place on May 2 and 3, 2015.  1,100 reenactors, and thousands of visitors from all over the United States, are expected to join in the observance.      



Rep. Raymond Poe joined other members of the Illinois House today in placing a wreath at the Lincoln statue outside the east front of the Illinois State Capitol in honor of Abraham Lincoln. Today is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination. The House formally marked the occasion with floor speeches and an official tribute to the 16th President, who began his career as a member of the state House.

On January 1, more than 200 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Several of the new laws affect drivers. Others affect children, their rights and their safety. Several new laws pertain to the welfare of Illinois citizens. Click here to read about ten of the more noteworthy new laws that take effect on January 1st, 2015.

“I had the privilege to work with Judy for 20 years and will miss her greatly.  My thoughts and  prayers go out to her family during this sad time.” - State Representative Raymond Poe
Springfield…A date has been set for State Representative Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) to undergo an adult stem cell transplant that will replace his bone marrow and hopes to cure a blood disease. Last May Poe was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and has been receiving blood transfusions to offset his low production of red blood cells. Poe will undergo the transplant procedure at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“I received word late last week that the hospital in Houston is ready to begin the transplant process at the end of this month,” said Poe. “In my absence, I want to reassure my constituents that my office will remain open and available to assist should the need arise. My staff of twelve plus years will continue to take care of all day-to-day operations and constituent services.”

Poe says he expects the hospital stay for the transplant to last approximately three weeks, followed by an extended recovery period. During his absence, Poe’s colleagues, State Representatives Rich Brauer, C.D. Davidsmeyer, Bill Mitchell and Wayne Rosenthal have all agreed to watch over his legislative district.

"We all wish Raymond well during his transplant procedure and pray for his successful recovery in Texas,” said State Rep. Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg). “Since we share district office space, my staff and I are in place to lend a hand to the needs of his district and constituents."

"Raymond Poe has been a great friend and resource for me over the last couple of years,” said State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville). “I am happy to help him and his constituents in any way, as we wait for his healthy return."

“Raymond's a true friend whose first loyalties are to the people of his district,” said State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). “There's not a more dedicated representative than Raymond Poe. We are working to ensure that his constituents’ needs are met while Raymond is away for treatment.”

“I wish Raymond all the best as he seeks treatment,” said State Rep. Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville). “I have the utmost respect and admiration for him and know that he will be back to serving his district before we know it. In the meantime, I will be at the ready to step in and assist in any capacity should the need arise.”
Springfield…Legislation recently introduced by State Representative Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) will ensure that state retirees receive a full refund for any contributions made to their health insurance premium. Poe’s legislation stems from an Illinois Supreme Court decision that found state-subsidized retiree health insurance premiums are a protected benefit under the Illinois Constitution. A law enacted in 2012 began the practice of requiring current retirees to make health insurance premium contributions.

“Currently, the State is holding more than $59 million in retiree health insurance premiums that must be refunded,” said Poe. “Of that amount, only $24.9 million in SERS contributions have been placed in a dedicated escrow. Given the fact that we are being told it may take several months before retirees begin to see refunds, it is important that we secure all of our retiree’s money in a dedicated fund to ensure its safekeeping. As it stands right now, technically, this money could be used for other State expenditures.”

Under Poe’s HB 6301, the State Comptroller and Treasurer would transfer the certified amount from the Health Insurance Reserve Fund to a newly created State Retiree Health Insurance Premium Return Fund. Moneys in the fund will be used exclusively to refund health insurance premiums paid by annuitants, survivors, or retired employees as provided in the court order. The fund would not be subject to sweeps.

HB 6301 will be considered during Fall Veto Session, scheduled to begin late November.