Latest News

As kids go back to school and families settle into their fall routines, I wanted to provide an update on issues that affect the 54th District and the citizens of Illinois. Lawmakers have spent the last few months in their home districts tending to the needs of their local constituents, and I have spent a great deal of time meeting with residents to discuss their concerns and suggestions for how we can improve this great state. I always enjoy these meetings because they really do help guide my representation of this area in Springfield.

Senator Matt Murphy to Step Down in September
For my entire tenure in the Illinois General Assembly it has been an honor to work alongside Senate Deputy Republican Leader Matt Murphy on issues that affect this region of Illinois. As the Senator of Illinois’ 27th Senate District, Matt Murphy has represented this area with distinction for the last ten years. When I was elected in 2010, he was a great mentor, and since that time we have worked collaboratively on many legislative initiatives. Senator Murphy serves as the ranking Republican on the Senate Executive Committee, the Appropriations I Committee and the Executive Appointments Committee. He is also a respected voice on several other key Senate Committees. 

Whoever is selected to fill Senator Murphy’s seat certainly has big shoes to fill. His resignation will be effective September 15, and local Republican Party officials will choose his successor. That individual will hold the seat for two full years, until the election cycle in 2018.

Look for the Morrison-Murphy Booth at Palatine’s Streetfest
The Village of Palatine is putting the finishing touches on this year’s Streetfest event, which will be held in the heart of the downtown area from August 26-28. The epicenter of this annual event is the intersection of Brockway and Slade Streets, and local families are invited to enjoy the live music, great food and kids activities that have become a staple of this community festival. Streetfest gets underway on Friday the 26th at 5:00 PM with activities running constant until midnight. Saturday hours will be 11:00 AM until midnight, and the festival concludes on Sunday with hours from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM. The Kids Zone will offer all kinds of fun activities for children between the hours of 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM on Saturday and 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM on Sunday.

As we have done in the past, Senator Matt Murphy and I will be sharing an informational booth at Streetfest, so please stop by and say hello. For more information about this annual community event, click here.

Stopgap Budget Measure Sets Stage for Huge Tax Hike
As I reported earlier this year, when the House and Senate approved the FY17 K-12 spending plan and six-month stopgap package for other essential services, I was one of four “no” votes in the House of Representatives. At the time I expressed my fear that the approved package, if extended over 12 months, would be far from balanced and would necessitate a huge tax increase. As we gain a complete understanding of the magnitude of that vote, I stand by my “no” vote more than ever. I came to Springfield to fight for the overburdened taxpayers of this state, and with the approval of the stopgap measure, those who voted for it set a plan in motion that will require the citizens of Illinois to pay higher taxes next year.

According to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, a non-partisan and respected source for financial data, if extended over 12 months, the stopgap measure spends $8 billion more than what the state is expected to bring in. With no reforms written into the measure, it was business as usual with the majority party continuing with their tiresome tax-and-spend philosophy.

Sadly, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were strong-armed into supporting the measure due to threats that schools would not open on time this fall, and that social service providers for our most vulnerable populations would collapse and close their doors. Within hours of the signing of the stopgap measures, Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of most of the state’s public universities because of state government’s failure to enact a balanced budget. The analysts at Moody’s recognized that the stopgap did not restore any measure of financial health to the state, and they alerted bond investors of the continuing downward spiral of Illinois’ finances.

The financial crisis in this state will only be remedied when more lawmakers take bold steps to insist upon balanced spending and an end to unsustainable pensions. I have been a long-time advocate of moving all future employees to more of a 401(k) type of benefit plan, and I will continue to file legislation to make this change a reality. I will also continue to fight for reforms that promote business growth and an improved economy, and that will eliminate the waste, fraud and abuses that plague our government systems.
In this edition of the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) explains his "no" vote on the stopgap budget that was approved at the end of June. You may watch the video by clicking here.
Secretary of State Jesse White has announced that his office has reinstated the mailing of vehicle registration reminder notices to Illinois drivers. To offset the cost of the mailings, White is drafting legislation allowing his office to offer advertising space on the mailings. In addition, White is urging the public to sign-up for email notices to further reduce mailing costs.

The Secretary of State’s office discontinued mailing reminders in October 2015 due to the lack of funding as a direct result of the state budget impasse. The stop-gap budget recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor allows White’s office to reinstate the notices.

“The notices are an essential tool for the public to be sure their vehicles are in good standing and avoid paying late fees and fines resulting from tickets issued by law enforcement,” White said. “The driving public paid the price for the budget impasse and it proved to be an unfair burden. With the funds from the stop-gap budget the notices will resume. In addition, we are reducing the number of mailings and seeking alternative funding sources for the postage costs.”

“Although we are now able to reinstate mailing the vehicle registration reminder notices, I continue to strongly urge motorists to sign up for email reminders,” said White. “Saving taxpayer dollars is always a priority of our administration.”

White noted that more than 2.3 million people have registered for the email notification, 800,000 of which signed up since October 2015.

Vehicle owners can sign up for email notifications by visiting the Secretary of State website, www.cyberdriveillinois.com. To register for the program, vehicle owners will need their assigned registration ID and PIN, which can be found on their current vehicle registration card. If that information is not available, they can call the Secretary of State public inquiry division at 800-252-8980 to obtain the Registration ID and PIN.

The one-time registration process will allow vehicle owners to receive a series of three email notices per vehicle each year highlighting the upcoming vehicle expiration date.
On Friday, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 1564, which amends Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience Act to impose new regulations for healthcare providers. One new requirement will require providers to advise clients of the risks and benefits of abortions, as well making referrals for abortion services. In response to the signing of the bill, State Representative Tom Morrison issued the following statement:

”By adopting these new mandates, Governor Rauner and Democrat legislators are forcing medical professionals, including non-profit, privately funded crisis pregnancy centers, to participate in procedures for which they have strong ethical and moral objections. I spoke vociferously against this bill during the House debate and with the Governor and his staff directly. I am greatly disappointed in his decision today. The message delivered to Illinois citizens is that their religious beliefs and free speech rights do not matter. Illinois is less free and more hostile to people of faith as a result of this likely unconstitutional law,” said State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine).

Under this law, medical personnel and facilities will have to follow an objection protocol that includes providing a patient with information about the “risks and benefits” of all legal procedures, regardless of religious or moral objection, as well as information about where the patient can access objected-to procedures.

“Pro-life physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel do not, nor should they ever, have to check their faith at the door when they care for their patients. The benevolent, life-affirming employees and volunteers at Illinois’ crisis pregnancy centers deserve our admiration and respect, not attacks by an over-reaching state government that violates their religious liberty and free speech rights.”

“As plaintiffs line up to fight back in court, I proudly and wholeheartedly support their efforts to overturn this despicable law. Thankfully, their chances of success are high, as Illinois pharmacists successfully challenged the state’s attempt to limit their rights of conscience back in 2005. We should do everything we can to help uphold our citizens’ civil liberties once again,” Representative Morrison concluded.
In response to the failure of Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to answer questions amidst the ongoing federal and state investigations into his campaign spending irregularities, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) joined some of his House Republican colleagues on Wednesday to announce the filing of House Joint Resolution 158 aimed at removing Mautino from office. The measure currently has more than 20 House sponsors.

At issue is more than $200,000 Mautino spent over 10 years on gas and vehicle repairs at a Spring Valley service station owned by a city alderman, as well as $259,000 in payments made to a local bank since 1999.

“The Auditor General is the chief agent charged with ensuring that agencies and elected officials operate within the confines of the law,” said Morrison. “He, above all else, should be a pillar of ethical behavior, yet questions involving his own campaign spending have cast a very dark cloud over his integrity. The people of Illinois deserve the highest standard of behavior from this important official, and unfortunately Attorney General Mautino’s tenure has been plagued by scandal.”

In a letter sent last month, over 20 other House and Senate Republican lawmakers urged Mautino to take an unpaid leave of absence until federal and state investigations into irregular campaign spending while he was a state representative conclude, noting that the Auditor General has yet to provide documentation clarifying his campaign expenditures and reporting practices through his now inactive political committee. Mautino has not responded to the letter or to repeated calls to answer official legislative inquiries.

“I had hoped that Frank Mautino would have done the right thing and stepped aside at the urging of more than 20 members of the House and Senate last month, but if he is unwilling to step down while he defends himself against potential criminal charges, the General Assembly should intervene and force his resignation,” said Morrison.

Morrison was one of 10 lawmakers who voted last year against appointing Mautino to the position of Auditor General. He said he felt Mautino was too closely tied to House Speaker Mike Madigan, and that there were better-qualified candidates outside of Illinois government that would be better-suited for the job.

In this edition of the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison discusses the rationale for his "no" vote on the stopgap measure that was approved on the final day of session in Fiscal Year 2016. Click here to watch the video.
This week the four Republican lawmakers who voted against the 12-month budget for K-12 Education and the six month bridge for other essential services sat down with Paris ??? from Chicago Tonight to explain the rationale behind their no votes. You may watch the interview here.