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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.