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SPRINGFIELD. . .Today the Illinois House of Representatives passed legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $15 an hour statewide. The proposal, SB1, would be gradually enacted over the next six years with the first increase taking effect on January 1, 2020.

State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) opposed the increase, and released the following statement regarding today’s vote on SB1.

“The lack of discussion and negotiation on this extremely dramatic change in policy is concerning. This is not a bipartisan piece of legislation, yet the effects of this proposal will impact small businesses and families in the entire state. For businesses that are already struggling to stay in Illinois, this increase will be detrimental to the cost of doing business. Some employees will benefit from this change, but more would be hurt, which is why I could not in good faith support this bill. Expect businesses to either close their doors altogether, cut employee hours, and/or find ways to automate—all of which would be detrimental to those who depend on these jobs. The best way to improve the livelihoods of all Illinoisans is to encourage a growing Illinois economy.”

SB1 ultimately passed with 69 lawmakers voting in favor of the bill and 47 opposed to the measure.

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Check out The Morrison Report for updates on important topics discussed in Springfield this week, including: the $15 minimum wage, a proposed income tax increase, my committee assignments and more:


SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) announces his committee assignments for the 101st General Assembly.

Representative Morrison was named the Republican Spokesperson for two key House Committees: Appropriations-General Services, and Elementary and Secondary Education: Administration, License and Charter School.

Morrison has spent three terms serving on the Appropriations—General Services Committee and is eager to return this year as the Caucus’ Spokesperson.

“I am looking forward to continuing my leadership role in Appropriations—General Services,” said Morrison. “I am ready to work with my colleagues to review critical areas of state spending. With Illinois’ fiscal condition becoming an even bigger problem every year, our committee will have an important work load to help get our budget back on track.”

Representative Morrison will be returning as the Republican Spokesperson for the committee that handles charter schools. As a former educator, the Representative is excited to accept a leadership role on the Elementary and Secondary Education: Administration, License and Charter School Committee. “Ensuring all Illinois residents have access to quality education is essential to our long term success as a state. I look forward to leading meaningful discussions to help make this a reality,” said Morrison.

Morrison is also assigned to the Personnel and Pensions, Insurance, Energy and Environment, and Human Services Committees.

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SPRINGFIELD – In one of the first legislative actions of the Illinois House of Representatives in the 101st General Assembly, lawmakers voted on House Rules, which will govern operations in the House for the next two years.

In recent years, this set of rules has been written to consolidate power in the hands of the Speaker of the House, at the expense of the other 117 elected members. This week, the House Republicans offered reasonable reforms for inclusion in the House Rules. Their proposal included to following suggested changes:

1. Require Committee Vote for Bipartisan Bills & Resolutions Pending in Committee – Require that when a bill or resolution in committee has at least five co-sponsors from the majority caucus and at least five co-sponsors from the minority caucus, the Committee Chairperson must provide an opportunity to the bill sponsor to present the bill for consideration and a committee vote.

2. Create Waiting Period for Floor Amendments – Create a longer public review period before consideration of floor amendments and concurrence motions by prohibiting consideration until the calendar day after notice is posted for a hearing or the calendar day after the measure is reported directly to the House from the Rules Committee.

3. Create Waiting Period After Committee Testimony – Require that the initial testimony and discussion of bills in committee must occur before a vote of the committee on the reporting motion; and such committee vote may not occur on the same calendar day that testimony was heard.

4. Require House Vote for Bills & Resolutions Supported by Bipartisan Supermajority – Provide that a motion signed by 71 members guarantees a vote of the House on a bill or resolution. At least five members affiliated with the majority party and five members affiliated with the minority party must be included among the 71 or more signatories. Such bills would be discharged from a standing/special/Rules committee, or transferred from the regular calendar, and placed on an order of business that the House must go to each day that it convenes in regular session; and sponsors of bills on the order would have the right to call their bills for a vote whenever the House is on that order.

5. Extend Time for the House to Consider Motions to Discharge Standing/Special Committee – Provide that for six session days after the committee reporting deadline the House may still consider motions to discharge from standing or special committees. Currently, bills remaining in committee on date of the reporting deadline are immediately re-referred to the Rules Committee, which means that the motion to discharge from standing committee, which requires 60 votes for adoption, is no longer an option.

With temperatures reaching record lows in Illinois, it is important to take winter weather warnings seriously. The extreme cold weather is incredibly dangerous, and can be life threatening. Those particularly at risk include older adults, young children and sick individuals.

Such frigid conditions can cause risk of frostbite and hypothermia, and significantly increases the risk of frozen water pipes, stalled cars, and malfunctioning furnaces. The Illinois State Police released the following reminders for Illinois’ residents to keep in mind as extreme cold temperatures begin to set in:

· Avoid time outdoors

· Cover exposed skin

· Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia

· Bring pets indoors

· Fill fuel tanks to at least a half tanks of gas

· Do not let children play outside

· If you become stranded do not walk away from your vehicle

· Carry a flashlight, first aid kit, snow shovel, ice scraper, blanket/sleeping bag, non-perishable good, bottled water, booster cable, extra clothing, sand/kitty litter, cell phone, cell phone charger and flares in vehicles when traveling

· Inform someone of travel plans before going out

Illinois’ Emergency Management Agency also produced a Winter Preparedness Guide with important information to help you and your family stay safe during winter weather. The Guide includes information about winter travel, preparing for extreme cold and winter storms, and more.

Click here to find additional tips on how to stay safe throughout this winter weather advisory.
PALATINE...State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) recently filed legislation to ensure fair distribution of resources to help improve the property tax appeal process in Cook County.

Representative Morrison’s legislative district encompasses suburban Cook County where property taxes continue to be a contentious issue. “Due to the nature of the system, it continually places a heavy burden on taxpayers here. There is no question that Cook County’s property tax system needs total reform,” said Morrison.

Morrison’s HB354 addresses the distribution and management of the resources given to the Cook County Board of Review, which is tasked with processing property tax appeals for the County. His bill, which has bipartisan support, calls for the County’s Board of Review Commissioners to all equitably receive resources and staff.

The defects in Illinois’ property tax system have become exceptionally clear in Cook County, where more than 25% of all property index numbers were appealed in the 2018 assessment year. Due to the record number of appeals filed this year, the Cook County Board of Review hired additional employees. Two of the three commissioners on the Board of Review received all but one of these new hires. 

“It’s time to address the smaller problems that play into the larger corrupt system,” said Morrison. “Instead of continuing to talk about how broken the system is, let’s solve one problem at a time. In order to be productive, the amount of resources and staff should be fairly distributed and not favor certain commissioners.”

The bill is awaiting further consideration in the House of Representatives.

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced today that February Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be funded through the end of February, but they will be issued to Illinois customers on or before January 20th. Typically, benefits are issued in the first few days of the month.

“We want to reassure our customers that SNAP benefits are funded through the end of February,” IDHS Secretary James Dimas said. “However, we need to spread the word as quickly and widely as possible that these benefits will be issued earlier than usual.”

SNAP is a federal program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and distributed through IDHS in Illinois. January and February SNAP benefits will not be affected by the current lack of federal appropriations. Because of the way the USDA has funded February SNAP benefits, they must be issued on or before January 20th. This is about a week and half earlier than usual for customers.

There is no need for customers to visit the local IDHS offices or call their caseworkers. IDHS staff will be working in the upcoming days to implement the necessary changes so customers see no disruption in their benefits. SNAP customers will receive the normal amount of monthly SNAP benefits on their Link cards, the debit-like cards used to spend SNAP benefits and other cash assistance.

IDHS will be working to communicate the early issuance to SNAP customers in the upcoming days through the IDHS website, Link website and customer service phone line, a social media campaign and community outreach. Click here to view additional information.