Latest News

Speaker Madigan Once Again Cancels Session; General Assembly to Meet This Week
After the House and Senate failed to enact a budget bill for FY17 prior to the their May 31, 2016 adjournment, Speaker Madigan reassured his colleagues that they would be called upon to meet once a week on the Wednesdays of June to discuss the spending situation and debate alternatives. However, no public budget discussions have taken place and each of the three session days scheduled for June 8, June 15, and now June 22 have been cancelled.

The cancellations of these three scheduled session days have taken place as the June 30th deadline for the adoption of a spending plan for FY17 grows closer. Illinois has not appropriated any operating funds for State facilities such as prisons and residential homes since July 1, 2016, and has not spent any funds other than stopgap funds for Illinois institutions of higher education since the same date. Existing appropriations for Illinois school districts and institutions of elementary and secondary education will expire on June 30.

The Illinois House and Senate are both scheduled to return to Springfield for session this Wednesday, June 29, to consider possible education funding and stopgap budget measures.

Morrison to Sponsor Free Self Defense Class
This week I will partner with J.P. Wood Martial Arts America on Thursday, June 30 for self-defense and self-awareness class for females ages 13 and up. The class will take place at the J.P. Wood Martial Arts America studio, 249 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine from 7:00-9:00 PM. Educators from the studio will conduct the class, which will focus on self-defense, distraction and awareness tactics to help keep adult and teen girls safe. Specifically, attendees will learn what to hit, how to release holds, and ways to be aware and avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Space is limited and registration is encouraged. While the class is free, a suggested $10 donation will be taken at the door for WINGS, a local organization that supports women and children fleeing domestic violence situations. To learn more about this class or to register, please email repmorrison54@gmail.com or call 847-202-6584.

Fiscal Year 2016 Nears its End without a Budget
FY16 will reach its end on June 30th, when the State of Illinois will possibly go an entire fiscal year without a budget. Subsection 2b of Article VIII of the Constitution of Illinois requires the General Assembly to annually enact a balanced budget.

As we prepare to begin FY17 on July 1, Illinois is poised to become the first U.S. state since the Great Depression years of the 1930s to try to operate for more than one year without any budget at all. As one consequence of this somber milestone, Illinois’ credit rating had dropped by June to the lowest rank of any of the 50 states.

Editorial: Suburban Illinois 10-Year Teacher Contract Puts Taxpayers on Hook in Rigged System
I recently wrote an opinion piece expressing my extreme disappointment in the decision by the District 15 Board of Education to offer teachers a 10-year contract. A teacher contract of this length is unheard of, and the decision to lock taxpayers into such a lengthy and flawed deal is, in my opinion, unwise. You may read the editorial here.

State Education Funding to End June 30th; Republicans Offer Full Funding Bill
Year-round learning programs, known as “summer school” to many older Illinois residents, are put at special risk by the pending shutoff of State school aid funds on July 1, 2016. While many areas of State spending are not protected by court orders, consent decrees, and continuing appropriations and have already been cut off by the inability of the majority party in the Illinois General Assembly to enact a balanced budget, the State did pass a spending bill in FY16 just for schools. Illinois elementary and secondary schools, with the help of General State Aid and other school aid programs, operated on schedule during the 2015-16 school year. However, the school aid payments authorized by this FY16 bill will end on June 30 with the end of the fiscal year.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and his colleagues are fighting for action on HB 6583 to provide full funding for Illinois schools for the 2016-2017 school year. HB 6583 would allow every Illinois school district to be fully funded at 100 percent of the foundation level for the first time in seven years. Additionally, the bill holds harmless those school districts that would lose state funding in 2017 due to rising property values along with a decline in poverty. But most importantly, it removes K-12 schoolchildren from the crossfire of the larger budget impasse.

Governor Rauner has said he will sign the clean education funding bill and HB 6583 has the full support of House and Senate Republicans, who are urging Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton to pass the bill next week.

Rep. Morrison Joins Governor Rauner for June 23 Press Conference
On Thursday, I joined Governor Rauner at the annual meeting of the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois, where he called on the majority party to return to the State’s Capitol and pass two important pieces of legislation, which will ensure schools open on time this fall, as well as fund critical services. House Bills HB 6583 and HB 6585 are balanced. Neither would add a cent of debt to the State of Illinois. Yet House Speaker Mike Madigan is holding both bills in his Rules Committee and has to release them for a discussion and vote. When we return to Springfield on Wednesday, I will support efforts to allow these two bills to advance.

With No Funding after June 30th, Road Projects Prepare for Shutdown
The announcement from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) came on Tuesday, June 21, as the close of FY16 approached. IDOT’s lawyers have advised the Department and the Rauner administration that, as of the close of the current fiscal year, the State cannot count on having legal authority to spend money for ongoing capital projects in the absence of explicit appropriations authority encompassing the projects being worked on.

Most State operations have continued throughout FY16 in the absence of an enacted budget. This spending has continued and has been based upon court orders, consent decrees, and continuing appropriations. With the end of this fiscal year, with regards to most road projects and transportation capital spending, the ability to legally spend money in these areas is coming to an end. House Republicans have called upon their Democrat counterparts in the General Assembly to immediately enact a stopgap appropriations bill, HB 6585, to enable essential IDOT road project work to continue during the summer construction season. HB 6585 is fully funded from existing revenues sources and funding streams.

As always, please do not ever hesitate to call me or write to me about issues that are important to you. You may reach my Palatine District office at (847) 202-6584 or email me by going to www.repmorrison54.com and clicking on the “Contact” button.
IL to Enter Second Straight Year Without a State Budget
When it became evident that a balanced budget deal was not going to brought to the House floor prior to our regular session adjournment date of May 31, House Republicans filed a budget bill, HB 6585, to cover both Fiscal Year 2016 “stopgap” expenditures and some urgently-needed Fiscal Year 2017 expenditure areas. It would have appropriated badly-needed money to a wide variety of essential and job-creating state agencies and educational institutions, such as state universities and prisons. The appropriations contained in this bill were fully paid for from existing revenues and would not have increased the state’s debt. HB 6585 was filed by House Republican leader Jim Durkin on Tuesday, May 31, and I am a co-sponsor of the bill.

Unfortunately, majority party leaders refused to hear any Republican budget bills. To add to the chaotic scene in Springfield’s State Capitol on the final night of the 2016 spring session, Senate Democrats refused to pass the $7.5 billion out-of-balance “budget” approved by the House Democrats the week before. Entities that have been left waiting for more than 11 months for payment from the State still have no assurances that a budget will be in place for the start of the next fiscal year on July 1. Illinois’ public schools were also left unfunded as Democrats left town, pointing fingers at each other.

A series of special sessions are expected to be held in June for lawmakers to make additional attempts to reach a balanced budget. Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger has warned lawmakers that some state payments will end, and others will be delayed as long as eight or nine months, unless a budget deal that matches expenditures to revenues is reached prior to the start of the new fiscal year.

House Republicans File Legislation to Protect Public Education from Budget Fight
One year ago, lawmakers agreed in May 2015 to suspend the impact of the budget impasses upon Illinois public schools and their pupils. This was done by passing a bill that appropriated full funding for Illinois public schools in the 2015-16 school year while leaving the rest of Illinois state government to try to operate without a budget. While flawed, this strategy protected schoolchildren, their parents, and educators from the worst consequences of the current budget impasse for one year. However, the 2015-16 school year is over and a new fiscal year will soon begin.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, with the support of many members of the House Republican Caucus, has responded to the current impasse by filing a separate bill to fully fund K-12 education in Illinois for FY2017. I am also a co-sponsor of this bill. This strategy follows the one adopted in 2015. HB 6583 responds to discussions among many House members from both parties who have called for leaving schools out of the current budget crisis. The measure responds to changes in school attendance, school district equalized assessed values (EAVs), and school district maintenance of efforts. HB 6583 includes a $104.8 million “hold harmless” provision to ensure that all Illinois public school districts will receive at least 100% of their gross prorated 2015-16 General State Aid school aid in FY17.

The bill parallels the bill voted for by most House Democrats in May 2015. It remains to be seen if they will hold Illinois school children hostage this year as they push for even more spending for Chicago. Enacting HB 6583 will mean that Illinois schoolchildren and their families can look forward with certainty to a school year starting in September. I sincerely hope Speaker Madigan releases this bill from the House Rules committee and allows it to be debated and voted upon.

Morrison Joins Republican Lawmakers to Ask Mautino to Step Down as Investigation Continues
On Thursday I joined a group of Illinois lawmakers who urged Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to voluntarily take an unpaid leave of absence while numerous investigations persist into irregular campaign expenditures and reporting procedures dating back to his time in the Illinois House of Representatives. At a press conference held at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, we stressed that Mautino cannot effectively do his job while under a lingering cloud of suspicion.

A group of twelve legislators from the House sent an initial request for answers to Auditor General Mautino on February 1st asking for a written reply within 10 days. Mautino replied on February 9th that he needed more time to properly address the request. To accommodate the Auditor General, the lawmakers on February 11th extended their request deadline to February 25th. Mautino replied that he had retained a legal firm to assist him and would be working ‘…during the next few weeks in order to respond to your letter.’ In May lawmakers sent another request to which the Auditor General responded that the issue would be resolved by the State Board of Elections. Since that time, however, it has been revealed that the matter has grown into a federal investigation.

Special Guests Join Morrison as Legislative Pages on Memorial Day
As part of our normal session calendar, legislators are in Springfield working on Memorial Day. This year I was joined on the House Floor by my Springfield assistant’s three adorable and very patriotic daughters. I share this assistant with Representative Batinick, who is also shown in the photo. While I miss spending this holiday with my family, it was a treat to spend some time with these three bright young ladies. As our session day began on Monday, May 30, we took time to honor our fallen heroes and express our thanks for their sacrifice.

Cash-Flow Report by General Assembly Oversight Committee shows Continued Shortfall in Revenues
The shortfall, which has grown significantly since January 2015, is a reflection of what is called the “structural deficit” of the State’s operating budget. This structural deficit is a component of the overall cash flow of the state of Illinois and its treasury, which is independently tracked by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). COGFA, a nonpartisan arm of the Illinois General Assembly, works with Governor Rauner’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) and the Illinois Department of Revenue to track Illinois cash inflows and outflows.

Even in times of comparative nationwide economic prosperity, Illinois does not collect sufficient taxes from its private-sector economic activity to meet the demands and commitments of its public sector. This shortfall shows up on the State’s books both in relation to actual cash outflow and in relation to the same flows of money in previous years. For example, COGFA’s cash-flow report for May 2016 shows that overall base revenues dropped $266 million in the most-recently-concluded thirty-day calendar period in relation to May 2015. Repeated shortfalls of this type have built up the current backlog of unpaid State debts and bills, which Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger estimated to be $6.9 billion as of Tuesday, June 1. In addition to this $6.9 billion official figure, additional debts represent bills not yet presented to the Comptroller’s office for payment, as well as commitments made by Springfield according to the provisions of statutory law but not yet formally billed to the State.

Chicago Demands Various Forms of Pension Relief
SB 777 rewrites and slows down the schedule that the City of Chicago must use to solve the problem of unfunded pension liabilities borne by Chicago police and firefighter pension funds. HB 813 demanded that state taxpayers contribute $205.4 million to Chicago teacher pensions. Both measures were sponsored entirely by Democrats. SB 777 was seen by opponents of the measure as a facet of Illinois’ longstanding policy of putting off pension payments, commonly referred to as a “pension holiday. This policy has helped lead to a point where Illinois has the lowest credit rating of any of the 50 states. Governor Bruce Rauner issued a total veto SB 777, but the veto was overridden by the House on Monday, May 30. I voted against the veto override of SB 777. The motion to override the Governor’s veto was 72-43-2 (71 votes were required). HB 813 and other Chicago teacher-pension bailout bills did not become law.

House Passes Unfunded Child Care Bill
SB 730 requires the State of Illinois, starting in FY18, to pay child-care subsidies for the care expenses of children with family incomes between 185% and 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Previously, families with incomes above 185% of FPL were not eligible for state-funded child care assistance under the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The proposal was pushed by a SEIU, a union that has mounted a major effort to organize public-sector-paid child care workers. House Republicans pointed out that the measure would have a massive negative fiscal impact upon Illinois taxpayers at a time when the State’s budget is already billions of dollars out of balance. In FY17, the bill would impose an additional $200 million/year burden upon the State’s budget. In FY18 and following years, this fiscal impact would rise by an additional $500 million/year, to $700 million/year. I voted against the bill.

Bill to Automatically Register Voters Sent to Governor
SB 250 designates certain enumerated State agencies, headed by the Secretary of State’s office, and directs them to use their contacts with Illinois residents to automatically register adult residents upon contact. Under this law an applicant for a drivers’ license or license renewal, who as part of the application process presents evidence that he or she is older than 18, would be automatically registered to vote. The new voter’s name would be automatically sent to the State Board of Elections unless the applicant specifically asked not to be registered. The House vote to pass SB 250, as amended, was 86-30-0. The Senate concurrence vote of 50-7-0 sent the measure to the Governor’s desk. Both votes were taken on Tuesday, May 31. Because I believe the bill opens our voting system up to new levels of fraud, I voted against the measure.

Lawmakers will be in “continuous session” throughout the summer as we continue to work toward a budget solution, but when we are not in Springfield I will be back home working from my Palatine office. If my staff or I may assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may reach my Palatine District office at (847) 202-6584 or you can email me by going to www.repmorrison54.com and clicking on the “Contact” button.
State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) will partner with J.P. Wood Martial Arts America on Thursday, June 30 for self-defense and self-awareness class for females ages 13 and up.

The class will take place at the J.P. Wood Martial Arts America studio, 249 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine from 7:00-9:00 PM. Educators from the studio will conduct the class, which will focus on self-defense, distraction and awareness tactics to help keep adult and teen girls safe. Specifically, attendees will learn what to hit, how to release holds, and ways to be aware and avoid potentially dangerous situations.

“I am pleased to partner with J.P. Wood Martial Arts America for this important community outreach event for females who live the 54th House District,” said Morrison. “Those who attend should leave with a basic understanding of how they can avoid becoming a victim of violence and some key skills that can be used to avert an attack.”

Space is limited and registration is encouraged. While the class is free, a suggested $10 donation will be taken at the door for WINGS, a local organization that supports women and children fleeing domestic violence situations. To learn more about this class or to register, please email repmorrison54@gmail.com or call 847-202-6584.
State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) joined a group of Illinois lawmakers today who urged Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to voluntarily take an unpaid leave of absence while numerous investigations persist into irregular campaign expenditures and reporting procedures dating back to his time in the Illinois House of Representatives. The lawmakers stressed that Mautino cannot effectively do his job while under a lingering cloud of suspicion.

“Over the last four months we have formally asked Auditor General Mautino four times to provide answers to the questions raised in the investigations, and still no answers are forthcoming. Recently it has come to light that federal authorities are looking into his campaign spending and reporting practices as well. There is no way that he can effectively do his job as Auditor General while defending himself against potential criminal charges and a State Election Board investigation,” said State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville).

A group of twelve legislators from the House sent an initial request for answers to Auditor General Mautino on February 1st asking for a written reply within 10 days. Mautino replied on February 9th that he needed more time to properly address the request. To accommodate the Auditor General, the lawmakers on February 11th extended their request deadline to February 25th. Mautino replied that he had retained a legal firm to assist him and would be working ‘…during the next few weeks in order to respond to your letter.’ In May lawmakers sent another request to which the Auditor General responded that the issue would be resolved by the State Board of Elections. Since that time, however, it has been revealed that the matter has grown into a federal investigation.

On May 26, State Representative Tom Morrison spoke on camera about the defensive actions by the House Republicans that halted some potentially bad legislation. To hear more about this and other Springfield activity, click on the image above.


State Representative Tom Morrison recently sat down with Ellee Pai Hong of Comcast Newsmakers and discussed his support of a measure that would require a light of transparency to be shined on all collective bargaining agreements prior to board action. Morrison, disappointed over the recent approval of a 10-year contract for teachers in Palatine's District 15, said the taxpayers deserve to have full knowledge of these contracts prior to their ratification since they are the ones who ultimately pay the taxes that fund the contracts. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the image above.
This week, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office announced a change to Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards designed to protect against identity theft and to bring Illinois closer to compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005. The enhanced security features will include a new photo structure, a design that includes patterns, lines and images to make it more difficult to counterfeit, a laser perforation and an ultraviolet feature.

There’s no need to replace your driver’s license or ID card immediately, but there are a few changes to the process you should be aware of when it comes time to renew your license or ID.

When you visit the DMV, take any tests you may normally be required to, but when you leave you will no longer be issued a new driver’s license or ID card at the end of the process. Instead, you will leave the facility with a temporary secure paper driver's license, which will be valid for 45 days and will serve as your license or ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. You will also receive your old license back with a hole punched in it. Your information will then be sent to a centralized, secure facility to conduct fraud checks and ensure your identity. The new, more secure license or ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to your address. For air travel, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said that it will accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old license or ID to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail.

Click here for a step-by-step brochure from the Secretary of State’s Office on how the new process will work.

The transition will take place in phases. Beginning today, Safe Driver Renewal applicants will receive by mail their new driver's license with the upgraded security features. Beginning in late June 2016, through a gradual rollout, DMV’s throughout the state will implement the new process. By the end of July 2016, all DMV’s will have transitioned to the new process.

For questions, call the Secretary of State’s Office at (217) 782-7044.