Fall Veto Session Concludes with Action Taken on Several Vetoed House and Senate Bills
Lawmakers were in Springfield last week for the final days of the 2017 fall veto session. Of the bills that received a partial or full veto by the Governor during the spring legislative session, more than a dozen were brought forward for successful overrides. While Rauner vetoes were overridden in many cases, I am pleased to report that an effort to override his veto on a complete prohibition of “right to work” zones in Illinois failed to garner the required 71 votes for an override. 

Legislators will spend the next few months in their home districts tending to the needs of local constituents. We will also spend this time finalizing our legislative agendas for 2018. Members of the House of Representatives report back to Springfield on January 23, and Senators will return the following week for the 2018 regular session.

General Assembly Sends Comprehensive Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation to Governor
Members of the House and Senate approved a comprehensive piece of legislation last week that seeks to address the culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. SB 402 includes a mandate for annual sexual harassment training sessions for state constitutional offices, state employees, lawmakers, and lobbyists. The bill also includes a provision brought forward by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, which would create a telephone hotline for persons seeking relief in cases of sexual harassment. Examples of help that the hotline could provide include assistance in filing a sexual harassment complaint, referral of a victim to counseling, or referral of a victim to protective services. House members received their training on November 8 and Senators received their training on November 9.

SB 402 was part of a package of sexual harassment reforms passed in the wake of allegations of misconduct at the Capitol. Other bills that seek to change the culture in Springfield include HJR 83, a resolution that condemns the culture of sexual harassment and calls on all lawmakers to work together to change the culture, and HR 687, which creates a task force on sexual discrimination and harassment. I recently spoke on camera about the sexual harassment problems in and around the Capitol, and how, when all is said and done, it comes down to an issue of personal character. Click here to watch those comments.

Legislative Inspector General Appointed
The Legislative Ethics Commission, a bipartisan working group within the Illinois General Assembly, has appointed Julie Porter as a special legislative inspector general. A former federal prosecutor in Chicago, Porter will play a key role in the General Assembly’s internal disciplinary process for members and staff. The appointment came in the wake of a nationwide inquiry into sexual harassment in American workplaces.

Reports of sexual harassment can be made on a confidential basis to the Legislative Ethics Commission. With approval of the Commission, the special legislative inspector general (LIG) will examine the reports. If a complaint appears to be valid, the LIG may conduct further inquiries, and may initiate a remediation process. In some situations, the remediation process may require a referral of a specific report and case to law enforcement.

Attempts to Prohibit “Right to Work” Zones in IL Fail During Veto Session
Members of the Illinois House failed to override a gubernatorial veto of union-backed legislation that would prevent local governments from establishing “right to work” zones. The override vote failed on two separate days during the veto session. Right to work zones would allow communities to choose whether to create jurisdictions where employers and unions are prohibited from entering into agreements that require workers to either join a union or pay related fees. I voted “no” both times this legislation was brought forward for override consideration. As lawmakers, we should not be approving laws that make Illinois less competitive for businesses. It hurts our State and it also hurts residents who are looking for work.

Bond Sale Allows State to Pay Off More Than $3 Billion in Past-Due Bills
The money was transferred to the Office of the Illinois Comptroller, which was authorized to sign checks to make the payments. The payment cycle reduced the estimated quantity of past-due bills owed by the State from more than $16.5 billion to less than $13.3 billion. Even after this payment cycle, Illinois continues to owe a significant amount in past-due bills. Illinois has the lowest credit rating of the 50 states, with ratings posted by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s at the lowest rank available for investment-grade entities qualified to borrow money in the debt markets.

Bicentennial Campaign will Honor 200 Illinois Veterans
State officials have announced the launch of HONOR 200, a signature program of the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration, honoring the work of 200 veterans whose contributions are above and beyond the call of duty. 

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs will work with veterans organizations throughout the state to promote HONOR 200 and solicit nominations for those who will be recognized as part of the program. Nominees will be evaluated on their achievements and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited, and provided inspiration to their community. Anyone can nominate an Illinois Veteran. Written nominations can be sent to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60601 or online at www.illinois.gov/veterans.

The Official Illinois Bicentennial Celebration will begin this December 3rd, 2017 with events in Springfield and Chicago. The celebration will continue with programs and events throughout 2018, ending with the Bicentennial Birthday Party on December 3rd, 2018 at the United Center. The HONOR 200 veterans will be recognized during the Birthday Gala. For information on the Bicentennial and to find out how your community can participate go to www.illinois200.gov.
In this edition of the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) talks about the bills and resolutions that were approved last week during the fall veto session that address the culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. Click here to watch the video of the report.
Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive “Veteran” on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license.

In order to receive that designation, veterans of the Guard and Reserve are required to present a copy of their certificate of release or discharge from initial active duty, certified and stamped by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), to the Secretary of State.

Prior to receiving this stamp they must provide documentation of satisfactorily completing the time for which they were contracted to attend monthly drills and annual training. Presentation of one of the following documents will be accepted as proof of service:

1. Army or Air National Guard NGB 22 Report of Separation and Record of Service

2. Army Reserve DARP FM 249-2E Chronological Statement of
Retirement Points.

3. Navy Reserve NRPC 1070-124 Annual Retirement Point Record

4. Air Force Reserve AF 526 Point Summary Sheet

5. USMC Reserve NAVMC 798 Reserve Retirement Credit Report

6. Coast Guard CG 4175 Coast Guard Reserve Annual or Terminal
Statement of Retirement Points.

Veterans are encouraged to contact or visit a local IDVA office for assistance obtaining any of the above documents. To find the closest Veteran Service Officer (VSO) go to www.illinois.gov/veterans or call 800-437-9824.
Unneeded or expired prescription drugs are often hoarded, sent to an insecure landfill, or flushed down the toilet to potentially contaminate local water supplies. These substances should be placed in secure, monitored landfill storage sites that do not leach into groundwater. Access to these sites is expensive, but law enforcement is taking steps to ensure that owners of unwanted prescription drugs will have free access to safe, secure disposal. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is co-sponsoring the 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be held on Saturday, October 28. Click here and use the “Locate a Collection Site Near You” link to find a convenient drop-off location.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is seeking input on the state's rest areas.

To enhance traveler safety and comfort, IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, which serve more than 36 million visitors annually. IDOT wants to make sure these service centers are kept clean, safe, and updated with travel-related amenities to enhance the travel experience for Illinois residents and visitors.

Illinois' rest areas and welcome centers are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles, and commercial trucks, among other services.

Help shape the future planning of rest areas by completing IDOT's Illinois Rest Area Survey.

For a paper copy of the survey please call 402-399-1405.
Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Fall Veto Session
After spending the last few months in our home districts, lawmakers will return to Springfield next week from October 24-26 and then again from November 7-9 to take action on pieces of legislation that received either an amendatory (partial) or full veto during this year’s spring legislative session. During the veto session, legislators can agree with a full or partial veto, or we can override it. Not all bills that receive a gubernatorial veto are brought back for reconsideration. A full list of bills that may be brought back for reconsideration appears at the end of the newsletter. 

There are also some pieces of new legislation that may be considered during the six-day fall veto session, including HB 4114, a bill I am co-sponsoring which would create the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” When HB 40 was signed a few weeks ago, it put Illinois taxpayers on the hook to pay for an open-ended number of abortions each year. HB 4114 would reverse key provisions of HB 40 by prohibiting units of government from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions. I believe it is unconscionable to force pro-life residents to fund the taking of innocent life that harms the individuals involved as well as society as a whole. Furthermore, the state is in no position to absorb additional tens of millions in Medicaid costs.

HB 4114 is seeking to put Illinois back in line with longstanding federal statutes on this issue. The legislation is modeled after the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for procedures sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Identical legislation is also pending in the Senate as SB 2241.

Again, a full list of vetoed bills appears at the end of this newsletter. If you have an opinion about a bill that received a veto this year, please share your comments with me so I can keep your opinion in mind if the bill is brought to the floor of the House for reconsideration.

Representative Tom Morrison to Host Mobile Office Hours at Rolling Meadows Public Library
Thank you to the individuals who came out to my recent mobile office hours in Hoffman Estates. I will be hosting a second mobile office hours event at the Rolling Meadows Public Library on Monday, October 30th. A member of my staff and I will be available from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at the library, located at 3110 Martin Lane in Rolling Meadows. In addition to being available for short one-on-one conversations with constituents, we will be available to help residents with their concerns and issues involving state agencies and programs. Appointments are encouraged, so please call my office at (847) 202-6584 if you would like to meet with me on October 30th in Rolling Meadows.

Rep. Morrison Participates in Principal for a Day Program
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to participate in the "Principal for a Day" program which is hosted each year by the Illinois Principals Association. This year I visited St. Thomas of Villanova School in Palatine and Carl Sandburg Junior High School in Rolling Meadows. 
From giving the morning announcements, to speaking in 7th and 8th grade social studies classes, to meeting hospitable and talented teachers and administrators, it was great to get an inside look into the workings of these dynamic local schools.

This marks the sixth year I have participated in this program, and as a former school teacher I always enjoy going back into the classroom so that I can talk with students about government. The conversations I’m able to have with teachers are also very beneficial. It is a great opportunity to build important relationships while connecting with an crucial part of my constituency.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Every year in October we acknowledge Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Illinois. 

The following statistics illustrate the severity of the issue:
  • Domestic violence affects one in three women and one in five men
  • Domestic violence takes lives: innocents and bystanders
  • Domestic violence has been found in the background of perpetrators in an estimated 56 percent of mass killings
  • Domestic violence ruins lives and creates traumatic after-effects that can last a lifetime, such as mental and physical illness, drug abuse and early mortality
In this region there are shelters available for those who need to escape a domestic violence situation. Visit https://www.womenshelters.org to find shelters in the suburban Cook County area.

Full List of Vetoed Bills
The following bills were vetoed by the Governor and may be brought back for reconsideration during this year’s fall veto session:
  • HB 302: Unclaimed life insurance benefits (Amendatory)
  • HB 348: Changes in publication of a constitutional amendment (Amendatory)
  • HB 688: Firefighter/police pension transfer service credit (Full)
  • HB 732: Residential roofing repairs (Full)
  • HB 1797: Equal Pay (Full)
  • HB 2462: Workers Compensation (Full)
  • HB 2567: Creates Automobile Dealers' License Task Force (Full)
  • HB 2622: Creates a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company (Full)
  • HB 2778: Fire protection district to annex under ETS (Full)
  • HB 2977: Cursive writing mandate (Full)
  • HB 3004: RTA Bonds (Amendatory)
  • HB 3143: Adds teen treatment providers to the Prompt Payment Act (Full)
  • HB 3167: DHS childhood workforce study (Full)
  • HB 3211: SNAP benefits to college students (Amendatory)
  • HB 3216: Place additional requirements on third-party contracting by the State (Full)
  • HB 3298: Reimbursement of the substitute teacher licensure fee (Full)
  • HB 3376: DHS personal assistant hours limitation (Full)
  • HB 3419: Prohibits expatriate entities from doing business with the State (Full)
  • HB 3449: Geolocation (Full)
  • HB 3649: State agency financial reports to the Comptroller (Full)
  • HB 3745: Requires a school board to permit community groups to advertise events and after-school programs (Full)
  • HB 3897: Trampoline regulation (Full)
  • SB 41: Allows municipalities to assign, sell, or transfer their interest in funds received from the State (Full)
  • SB 81: Minimum Wage (Full)
  • SB 315: FOID for purchase of explosives (Full)
  • SB 321: Auditor General shall initiate a performance audit of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (Full)
  • SB 326: Interior Design regulation (Amendatory)
  • SB 419: Amends the Downstate Firefighter Article of the Illinois Pension Code (Full)
  • SB 669: Elect Lake Co. Board Chair (Full)
  • SB 789: Expands the authorized uses of motor fuel tax funds (Full)
  • SB 910: County board redistricting based on minority status (Full)
  • SB 1351: Student loan servicing rights Act: (Full)
  • SB 1353: Personal Needs Allowance increase (Full)
  • SB 1446: Changes to the Procurement Code (Full)
  • SB 1462: Entrepreneur Learner's Permit pilot program (Amendatory)
  • SB 1714: Reporting requirements for consultants retained by retirement system, pension fund, or investment boards (Full)
  • SB 1720: Failure to pay wages a Class 4 felony instead of a misdemeanor (Full)
  • SB 1905: Collective bargaining (Full)
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.
State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) will be hosting mobile office hours at the Rolling Meadows Public Library on Monday, October 30.

Morrison and a member of his staff will be available from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at the library, located at 3110 Martin Lane in Rolling Meadows. In addition to making himself available for short one-on-one conversations with constituents, Morrison and his staff will be available to help residents with their concerns and issues involving state agencies and programs.

“By hosting mobile office hours in the various communities located within the 54th District, my constituents have easy access to their representative voice in Springfield,” said Morison. “I enjoy meeting the people who live in the district and learning about their concerns and priorities.”

While appointments are not required, they are encouraged. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call Morrison’s office at (847) 202-6584 or visit www.repmorrison54.com.
In response to the recent signing of HB 40, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) has joined a group of bipartisan lawmakers who want to roll back provisions that would allow for taxpayer-funded elective abortions for state employees and Medicaid recipients.

This week Morrison signed on as a co-sponsor of HB 4114, which would create the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” The bill would reverse key provisions of HB 40 by prohibiting units of government from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions. “When HB 40 was signed, it put Illinois taxpayers on the hook to pay for an open-ended number of abortions each year,” said Morrison. “It is unconscionable to force pro-life residents to fund the taking of innocent life that harms the individuals involved as well as society as a whole. Furthermore, the state is in no position to absorb another tens of millions in Medicaid costs.”

HB 4114 is modeled after the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for procedures sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. “This new bill is seeking to put Illinois back in line with longstanding federal statutes on this issue,” Morrison added. “HB 4114 recognizes the federal exceptions and respects them.”

Identical legislation was also filed in the Senate this week as SB 2241, and the sponsors and co-sponsors of both bills will be pressing for full debate and floor votes on the bills during the upcoming fall veto session, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 24 in Springfield.
Today the Cook County Board’s Finance Committee voted to recommend a full repeal of the once cent per ounce sweetened beverage tax that was enacted just a few months ago. In response to the committee vote today, Suburban Cook County State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) has issued the following statement:

“The public outcry against this tax began the day it was approved and only grew in intensity. Taxpayers are tired of continually being asked to pay more taxes and today their voices were heard. Presuming the full Cook County Board votes tomorrow to repeal the tax, as of December 1 Cook County residents will no longer be penalized for purchasing sweetened beverages.

“I recently surveyed my constituents in the 54th Legislative House District, and of the 269 individuals who responded to the survey, all but two expressed their strong opposition to the Cook County sweetened beverage tax. It was a clear indication that taxpayers are tired of tax increases. They want us to fix our fiscal problems without raising additional taxes.

“Once that tax was implemented, people didn’t just shop for their soda and other sweetened beverages in other counties, they took all of the shopping money to other counties. Sales tax revenue that would have traditionally come to Cook County through the regular purchase of groceries and other items was being sent to surrounding counties. The tax was a failure on many levels.”
Nearly every respondent to a recent survey offered by State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) about the Cook County sweetened beverage tax has expressed their opposition to the new tax.

Morrison has been a vocal opponent to the tax and recently offered his constituents an opportunity to participate in a survey to gauge the popularity of the sweetened beverage tax. “People are very unhappy about this latest attempt by Cook County to take additional money out of the pockets of people who live there,” said Morrison. “I had 269 responses to my survey, and all but two expressed their opposition to the tax. It’s an overwhelming mandate that the tax be repealed.”

According to Morrison, Cook County Commissioners have felt mounting pressure since the implementation of the tax a few months ago, and it appears many who originally supported the tax are now responding to the public pressure to repeal it. “The Cook County Board Finance Committee is voting today to recommend the repeal of the tax and the full board could take final action to repeal it as soon as Wednesday, October 11,” Morrison said. “A full repeal is the appropriate course of action and would result in the removal of the one cent per ounce tax on sweetened beverages as of December 1 of this year.”
Governor Bruce Rauner today signed legislation (HB 40) allowing for state funding of all abortions regardless of the reason, a move State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) calls unconscionable and the ultimate betrayal of trust of the majority of Illinois citizens who oppose the destruction of unborn children at taxpayers expense.

“Governor Bruce Rauner gave us his word in the Spring that he would veto this legislation if it were sent to him,” Morrison said. “In the last several weeks, as he indicated a reconsideration of that position, Republican legislators and allies offered to accept an Amendatory Veto, but he rejected those ideas. If this legislation is really about the right to choose – then what about my constituents who deserve to have the right to choose not to have their tax dollars used to fund the killing of unborn children? This is a tragic day for Illinois.”

Federal Law as written in the Hyde Amendment clearly prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. Illinois law only allows taxpayer funding for abortions in the event the life or the health of the mother is threatened or the mother is raped. House Bill 40 changes all of this and allows taxpayer funding of abortion services for ANY reason.

“There is no reason for taxpayers to have to pay for abortions regardless of the reasons the abortion is being performed,” Morrison said. “I condemn the Governor’s actions today in the strongest possible terms.”
This week on the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) provides an update on the status of HB 40, a measure that would dramatically increase taxpayer-funded abortions in Illinois. The bill was approved in the House and Senate, but a political maneuver resulted in the bill being held rather than being sent to the Governor.

Eventually HB 40 will arrive on the Governor's desk, and Morrison is asking those who do not think taxpayers should be forced to pay for elective abortions to contact the Governor's Office and ask him to veto the bill.

Click here to watch the video, and click here to let Governor Rauner know he should veto HB 40.

On the heels of a 32 % hike in the income tax rate in Illinois, residents of Cook County were recently saddled with a one cent per ounce tax on sweetened beverages. As a strong opponent of the new beverage tax, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) is co-sponsoring legislation to repeal the tax, and is also offering residents an opportunity to sign a petition opposing it.

“The sweetened beverage tax went into effect on August 2 and will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack,” said Morrison. “Taxpayers are outraged by this latest move to take more of their hard-earned money and channel it toward Cook County government.”

Residents who would like to express their opposition to the sugar tax are encouraged to sign an on-line petition available on Morrison’s web site. Visit www.repmorrison54.comwww.repmorrison54.com and click on the red button to sign the petition.

In addition to offering the petition, Morrison is also championing two separate bills that would repeal the Cook County sweetened beverage tax and prevent similar taxes from being levied elsewhere in the state. HB 4082 would prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold and repeal local laws already in effect regarding these types of taxes. HB 4084 takes a broader approach in prohibiting these types of taxes. While similar to HB 4082 in desired effect, HB 4084 prohibits all local governments from imposing any tax that is based on weight or volume. This would apply to the Cook County sweetened beverage tax, but would also thwart other similar attempts to tax substances based on weight or volume. Both bills would repeal the Cook County tax but differ slightly in how it would be accomplished.

“Our county elected officials should be primarily focused on cutting spending, not raising taxes on our already overburdened residents,” Morrison said.
Special sessions of the Illinois General Assembly this summer dealt with two primary issues- the budget and education funding reform. 

Click here to watch the latest edition of the Morrison Report, where State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) speaks about both issues.
This year, Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) will once again be sharing a legislative booth at Palatine’s Street Fest with his corresponding Senator. This year, Representative Morrison and State Senator Tom Rooney will have a booth at the event on August 26-27. Interested constituents are invited to join Morrison and Rooney at their legislative table. Click here if you would like to volunteer for a slot at their shared booth.
This Saturday, the Village of Palatine and the Palatine Park District will host an electronics recycling event sponsored by the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC). This event will be held at Village Hall (200 E. Wood Street) and the Palatine Park District Community Center (250 E. Wood Street), on Saturday, August 5, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. 

Residents from Palatine and other SWANCC member communities are eligible to participate. Electronics will not be accepted from non-SWANCC residents, businesses, schools or institutions. Identification will be checked for verification of residency.
To assist Palatine Township taxpayers with questions about their property assessments, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) will partner with Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak, Palatine Township Assessor Terry Kelly, and Cook County Board Commissioner Gregg Goslin on Thursday, August 24 for a free property tax appeal seminar.

The event on August 24th will be held at the Rolling Meadows Village Hall, located at 3600 Kirchoff Road in Rolling Meadows and will begin at 6:00 PM. At the seminar, taxpayers can learn how to appeal their property tax assessment and submit appeal forms at the end of the event.

“I am pleased to partner with Dan Patlak, Terry Kelly, and Gregg Goslin for this important event,” said Morrison. “Valuable information will be shared, and those who feel they have been improperly assessed will leave the meeting with a valid appeal filed.”

The August 24 event is the second property tax event sponsored by Morrison this month. An identical event was held on August 1. “There is a limited window during which property owners may challenge their assessment, and in Palatine Township that window closes on August 30,” Morrison said. “I encourage anyone who feels their property assessment is too high to take advantage of the resources and information that will be available on Thursday the 24th.”
The day after the House of Representatives overrode vetoes issued by Governor Bruce Rauner on budget-related bills, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) was interviewed by Greg Corombus, host of a nationally syndicated news program on Radio America. During the ten-minute interview Rep. Morrison discussed his No vote on the tax increase and spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018, and also talked about how he feels Illinois is headed in the wrong direction. “Illinois is going in the wrong direction, in the sense that we are increasing taxes rather than making the state friendlier to taxpayers,” said Morrison. You can listen to that full interview here.
Rep. Morrison Votes Against $5 Billion Tax Hike
The two-year budget impasse ended on July 6 when members of the House overrode a series of budget-related vetoes by Governor Rauner. Sadly, the already overtaxed citizens of this state will once again have to reach deeper into their pockets to fund the tax-and-spend status quo in our State. While the General Assembly passed a huge income tax increase, lawmakers left Springfield without providing any relief on property taxes, any help for small businesses, and without any reprieve from our crushing pension debt. 

For the struggling families in the 54th District, I voted No on the massive income tax increase. People and businesses are leaving Illinois, and I believe the action taken by the General Assembly last week will only encourage more out-migration.

As a result of the successful budget bill overrides, income taxes on Illinois families will increase retroactive to July 1. The $5 billion in new revenue will be collected by increasing the individual income tax rate to 4.95% and the corporate rate to 7%. Click here to access a calculator to determine how much the $5 billion tax increase will cost your family.

Governor Signs Bill that Strengthens Penalties for Repeat Gun Offenders
Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed a landmark criminal justice bill. The bill is a result of successful negotiations between the administration, City of Chicago and the General Assembly that will crack down on criminals who are repeat gun offenders, safely reduce the prison population, and create a more rehabilitative criminal justice system. SB 1722 makes a number of changes to the criminal justice system to improve how we punish and rehabilitate gun offenders, as well as combat gang violence in Illinois. The bill will strengthen sentencing guidelines if they have committed a gun crime before. It also creates a First-Time Weapon Offender Diversion Program to address the underlying reasons why a young adult may have committed the offense. Additionally, the bill will create a Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force within the Illinois State Police. This task force will be dedicated to combatting gun violence and other violent crime in Chicago and around the state. The provisions of SB 1722 take effect in January of 2018.

Procedural Move Keeps HB 40 from Governor’s Desk
HB 40, a bill that would allow for the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for elective abortions, was approved by House and Senate Democrats in April and May, respectively. The typical legislative process states that upon approval in both chambers, a bill has 30 days to be sent to the Governor, and then the Governor has 60 days to take action. On May 10, shortly after the Senate approved the bill, a “motion to reconsider” was placed on the bill, essentially stopping that 30-day clock. As of today, two full months later, the bill has still not been sent to Governor Rauner.

The Governor has vowed to veto this bill, and millions of Illinoisans who oppose taxpayer funding of elective abortions are watching closely to make sure he stays true to his word. The ethics of abortion have been debated across the United States and here in Illinois for decades, and for the last 36 years, the State of Illinois has had the policy that prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, the health or life of the mother.

Back in April when the House was debating HB 40, I was vocal with my opposition to the bill. You can watch my floor comments here.
Today in Springfield, members of the House of Representatives approved revenue and spending packages that aim to end the budget impasse. SB06 (spending) was approved by a 81-34 vote and SB 09 (revenue) by a 72-45 vote. In response to the action on the House Floor today, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), who voted against both bills, has issued the following statement:

“I am disappointed that negations did not continue because the bills brought to the floor of the House today were not the result of true give-and-take. By approving a large tax increase without fundamentally reforming Illinois policies that are driving businesses and taxpayers out of the state, we are not moving our state forward.”

“Illinois has the worst combined tax burden in the United States, yet rather that providing Illinoisans with real relief, today lawmakers chose to deepen that tax burden. Every one of us knows a family or a business that has moved out of this state because they could simply no longer afford to live or operate a business here. My constituents are desperate for tax relief, but today’s votes will only add to the outmigration of residents and businesses from our state.”
This week in Springfield, lawmakers remained in special session with hopes of coming to agreement on a balanced budget with reforms before the end of the fiscal year at midnight on June 30. In this edition of the Morrison Report, Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) is joined by State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who spoke about the nonsense votes that are taking place in lieu of sincere discussions about a balanced budget with necessary reforms that protect taxpayers.

Click here to watch the full video.
During the final week of the spring legislative session in Springfield, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) sat down with Paul Lisnek of WTTW television to discuss legislation he passed this year that ensure drivers of electric or hybrid cars are paying their fair share to help maintain Illinois roads.

Click here to watch the Comcast Newsmaker interview.
This week State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) joined State Representatives David McSweeney (R- Barrington Hills), Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) and Ron Martwick (D-Chicago) on Chicago Tonight to discuss the ongoing budget impasse and how rank and file lawmakers might come together to create a compromise budget.

Click here to watch the Chicago Tonight interview.
The end of the 2017 regular legislative session came and went on Wednesday, May 31 with no agreement on a balanced budget. We remained on the floor of the House until late in the evening, hopeful that bipartisanship and reason would prevail. But as the night progressed, similar to the days that led up to May 31, most of the bills brought to us for votes were politically-motivated bills that had nothing at all to do with moving our state forward. After session was recessed to the call of the chair, Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) spoke on camera about his disappointment in the failure of the legislature to send a balanced budget to the Governor. You can watch that interview here.
State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) recently sat down and talked about the recent Senate action on a series of "Grand Bargain" bills that would raise income and service taxes without including any reforms that would grow jobs or improve the Illinois economy. Morrison said lawmakers must enact structural reforms that continue to drive the need for tax increases. You can watch Rep. Morrison's video here.
Today in Springfield, members of the House of Representatives approved HB 1785, a measure that would allow individuals to change the sex listed on their birth certificate in cases where gender reassignment surgery has not occurred. In response to the 63-43-1 vote, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) has issues the following statement:

“Softening the standard for changing one's birth certificate sex designation is a very controversial concept. Gender identity theory is very recent and far from universally agreed upon by medical and mental health professionals. I do not believe legislators have a clear understanding of the far-reaching negative consequences that are likely to result from this bill.”

“I believe the bill is not well-thought out, and if signed into law it would have significant unintended consequences--for the individuals (including children) who are seeking the change and society as a whole."

"Birth certificates are historical documents that certify an objective fact about humans that was identified at their births and never changes. Neither birth certificates nor doctors designate or assign 'gender markers.' They identify sexes."
Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) recently visited with two 8th Grade students from Walter R. Sundling Junior High School in Palatine, who were at the Capitol showcasing a project for Tech Day 2017. The students' display focused on how Community Consolidated School District 15 utilizes a "Four C's" model to integrate technology into modern learning for students.

You can watch a video about their project here.
Yesterday, the Illinois Senate passed HB 40, a bill which will fund abortions with taxpayer funds for any reason, through all nine months of pregnancy. When this bill was presented in the House of Representatives on April 25, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) spoke in strong opposition. Because this bill is now on its way to Governor Bruce Rauner for final action, he is encouraging all Illinoisans who feel public taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortion services beyond what we already cover (life and health of the mother, rape, and incest), to contact the Governor's office at this link and encourage him to stay true to his promise to veto this costly and controversial bill.

You can watch Rep. Morrison's comments in strong opposition to HB 40 during his April 25 testimony here.
This week in Springfield members of the majority party pushed through a bill that would allow taxpayer funds to be used to pay for abortions for Medicaid recipients and for state workers on state-funded insurance plans. In response to the narrow 62-55 approval of the bill, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) has issued the following statement:

“My colleagues in the General Assembly already know that I am a pro-life Republican. But HB 40 is not about the legality of abortion. It’s about who’s going to pay for it and it’s about expanding abortion services to allow even more elective abortions during healthy pregnancies.”

“Proponents of HB 40 claim we should be listening to women. Perhaps the most important woman we can listen to on this issue is Jane Roe herself, whose real name is Norma McCorvey. While anonymous at the time of the court proceedings, she became the face of Roe vs. Wade in the 1980s, but by the mid-1990s, her views on abortion changed substantially. She ended up not having an abortion, and testified before the U.S. Congress’ Judiciary Committee in 2005 that she was glad her daughter was born and is alive today.”

“The bill sponsor is trying to paint HB 40 as a protective measure for women if Roe vs. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court. The premise is deceptive because the overturning of Roe vs. Wade is simply not based in reality. Even if it were, individual states would then have to take subsequent legislative action to make abortions illegal.”
Illinois lawmakers spent the last two weeks in their home districts tending to local constituent needs, and during this time I had the pleasure of meeting and talking on the phone with many of my constituents about issues of importance. Members of the General Assembly return to Springfield today to complete the final six weeks of the spring legislative session. This week, State Representatives will finish the process of considering House Bills that have been properly approved at the House Committee level. House Bills that fail to receive approval from the full House by the April 28 deadline will be essentially dead for this year. The Senate follows an identical deadline calendar, so this week our colleagues across the hall will be taking similar action on Senate bills. In May, members of the House will take action on Senate Bills while Senators take action on House Bills. The final month of session is typically a very busy time in Springfield, but I do welcome your comments on legislation. You can always voice your opinions through email at Morrison@ilhousegop.org, or by phone at (217) 782-8026 (Springfield) or (847) 202-6584 (Palatine). I value your input, so please do not hesitate to weigh in on legislation that is important to you.

Over 100 Residents Attend Local Town Hall Meeting
I want to thank the more than 100 citizens who joined Senator Tom Rooney (R-Rolling Meadows) and me for our Town Hall meeting on Thursday in Palatine. We gave a 30-minute presentation outlining Illinois’ biggest challenges, and then opened the floor for a 60-minute question and answer session. Attendees brought bipartisan points of view to the discussion, which at times crossed between state and federal concerns. 

People had really detailed questions on a myriad of issues, but one key takeaway for me was the overall level of frustration and disappointment by constituents who want state lawmakers to pass a balanced budget. One of the main difficulties is that constituents enjoy and expect a certain level of services from their state and local government based on the significant taxes they already pay today, when most are not grasping the simple truth that the level of taxes collected at present does not cover current costs. Each month, the state’s deficit grows substantially larger. In short, current levels of spending (for K-12 education, higher education, social services, public safety, transportation, etc.) cannot be maintained through current tax rates. The question becomes, how do we decrease spending on services and/or programs to avoid steadily increasing taxes? Another way to accomplish this without simply cutting current services involves streamlining government by encouraging consolidation and collaboration, by providing relief on unfunded mandates, and by passing reforms that the private sector wants that would also benefit the public sector--such as worker’s compensation reform. We need worker’s compensation insurance reform because it would help the private sector, and also benefit the taxpayers who are covering public employees.

Morrison Attends Multi- Chamber Luncheon in Elk Grove Village
On April 19 I had an opportunity to meet with northwest suburban business leaders and other professionals at a multi-chamber luncheon held at Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove Village. Governor Bruce Rauner spoke to the group about his plans to strengthen the Illinois economy and grow jobs, and we also heard from representatives of the region’s Small Business Advocacy Council. The Small Business Advocacy Council was established in 2010 as a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit organization, and they currently represent over 1,000 businesses in the Chicagoland area. It is a non-partisan, member-driven organization that promotes the success of small business through political advocacy, support services and educational programs.

Citizens Volunteer for Forest Preserve Clean Up Day
On April 15 I joined members of the local Sierra Club and other community volunteers for the annual cleanup day at the Deer Grove Forest Preserve. It was a perfect day for buckthorn removal. In total, several hundred people, including adults, children, scouting troops and church groups came out on that lovely Saturday to help with the cleanup event. 

Morrison Tours Palatine Animal Hospital
Earlier this month I had a very nice visit and tour of the Loving Care Animal Hospital in Palatine. Dr. Joanne Carlson, President-Elect of the Illinois State Veterinary Association, showed me their beautiful clinic, replete with cutting edge technologies, including a laser surgical tool and an X-ray machine that gives instant feedback, and newly-remodeled interior. The knowledgeable staff offers wellness exams, vaccines, and also provides advanced diagnostics and surgical procedures. They see all kinds of pets, from cats and dogs, to rabbits and small mammals, to reptiles and birds.
The General Assembly has begun its annual Easter Break. When we return to Springfield on Monday, April 24, legislators from the House and Senate have just five days to pass their bills and send them to the other chamber. Any bill that has not cleared its chamber of origin by Friday, April 28 will be essentially dead. In May, we will take action on Senate Bills that successfully passed in that chamber and Senators will take action on legislation sent to them from the House.

It is my greatest hope that in May we will also come to bipartisan agreement on a balanced budget. With session adjournment for summer scheduled for May 31, we still have time to pass a budget. I stand ready to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on this most important task. Adopting a balanced budget prior to May 31 is my first priority.

Morrison to Host Joint Town Hall Meeting on April 20
On Thursday, April 20 I will be joining Senator Tom Rooney for a joint Town Hall Meeting that will be held at the Palatine Village Hall, 200 East Wood Street, in Palatine. We will provide a brief update at 7:00 PM and will then take questions from the audience. I hope you’ll bring your questions to this important event!

Local Constituents Travel to Springfield for Lobbying Events
It is always nice to visit with local constituents who visit Springfield. Earlier this month I was glad to see students from Harper College who visited Springfield office as part of a student lobby day. We discussed the budget impasse, its impacts on higher education, and the overall Illinois economy.

Last week the first floor of the Capitol was lined with booths staffed by representatives from hospitals and healthcare facilities from across the state who were in Springfield for the Illinois Health & Hospitals Association lobby day. I was pleased to have an opportunity to visit with representatives from facilities located in and around the 54th District. I’m shown in this photo with representatives from Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights (John Cosentino on the right and Dr. Sapandesai on the left). 

Morrison Bill to Ease Transportation Plan Reporting Requirements Receives Unanimous House Support
Today, IDOT requires municipalities with more than 5,000 residents to do a 20-year transportation study on their major thoroughfares. In my conversations with public officials from my district, they feel the current law is not practical. I have been told by many that they only do the plans because they are required by law. They believe, and I agree, that it would be much more practical to require more of a five-year study.

Recently I was able to pass legislation that provides municipalities with relief from this 20-year plan requirement. HB 2363 seeks to eliminate the current burdensome mandate that requires municipalities to develop and keep up-to-date 20-year long-range highway transportation plans. The language included in the bill would significantly reduce the number of years that must be included in municipal transportation plans. HB 2363 received unanimous support in the House and has moved over to the Senate for consideration.

Nursing Association Representatives Travel to Capitol for Lobby Day
In Springfield, our evenings are typically filled with opportunities to meet with representatives from state organizations and agencies and discuss their needs and priorities. Earlier this month I stopped by the Illinois Nurses Association reception and was happy to run into a local constituent, Bridget Cahill. We had a very nice conversation about the current challenges in Springfield and how the General Assembly can best assist Illinois nurses.

Democrats Ignore Republican Plea for Compromise Budget; Push Through New Stop Gap Measure
In spite of unanimous opposition from House Republicans, last week members of the majority party pushed through a new $800 million stop gap measure to channel funds to social service agencies and institutions of higher learning.

Obviously I believe these agencies and institutions deserve to receive their funding, but this stop gap measure only sends very limited funding to specific programs and does not bring us any closer toward a full compromise budget that would end the uncertainty and suffering for these groups. For example, the spending plan includes only 36% of the funding for domestic violence shelters, only 36% for infant mortality programs, and only 38% for the senior meals program. It completely left out funding for other important components of the budget. To make matters worse, the plan was also filled with errors. It would spend $1.5 million on a program in Chicago that is no longer in existence, and more than $500,000 on two programs that are currently ineligible to receive funds due to noncompliance issues with reporting of how state funds were previously spent. In spite of the funding level discrepancies and the multitude of errors in the bill, HB 109 passed in a party-line vote of 64-45-1. It cannot be acted upon until the Senate returns at the end of April, so again, this is taking pressure off of lawmakers to pass a complete budget and giving a false sense of hope to these funding recipients.

We need a budget that provides state agencies and institutions with predictability that extends beyond more than just a few months. During the last few weeks, two different full budget proposals have been filed in the Illinois Senate, yet rather than work toward bipartisan agreement on one of those plans, the House floor action last Thursday suggested the majority party leadership has little interest in working together in a bipartisan fashion to reach an agreement on a full budget. It was incredibly disappointing.

Happy Easter!
Lastly, during this special time of year, I hope you are enjoying time with family, friends and loved ones as we celebrate this Easter and Passover season. Enjoy the nice weather and have a very Happy Easter!
A bill sponsored by State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) that provides municipalities with greater flexibility in their transportation plan reporting requirements sailed through the Illinois House in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

HB 2363 seeks to eliminate a current burdensome mandate that requires municipalities to develop and keep up-to-date 20-year long-range highway transportation plans. The language included in HB 2363 would significantly reduce the number of years that must be included in municipal transportation plans.

“Currently IDOT requires municipalities with more than 5,000 residents to do a 20-year transportation study on their major thoroughfares, and in my conversations with public officials back home, they feel the current law is not practical. I have been told by officials from several municipalities that they only do the plans because they are required by law,” said Morrison. “It would be much more practical to require more of a five-year study. Most of the municipalities are already keeping five-year transportation plans up-to-date, and I believe that the data included in these five-year transportation plans is more than adequate for purposes of planning for the utilization of motor fuel tax dollars.”

According to Morrison, the need for the bill was brought to him by officials from the Village of Palatine. “In this era where we continually ask our local units of government to do more with less, I am pleased to help advance legislation that actually eases reporting mandates,” Morrison said.

HB 2363 now moves to the Illinois Senate for consideration.
In response to the court ruling yesterday that authorized Comptroller Susana Mendoza to immediately issue paychecks to Illinois lawmakers, State Representative Tom Morrison (R Palatine) joined a group of House Republicans today in filing a bill that would prohibit legislators from jumping to the front of the line.

HB 4026 would give the Comptroller greater discretion when issuing salary payments for members of the General Assembly and the ability to prioritize Illinois’ other fiscal obligations over legislators’ and Executive Branch officers’ pay. A similar bill was also filed in the Illinois Senate today as SB 989.

“I have believed all along that it was unfair for legislators to continue getting paid while so many other people had to wait their turn to get money owed to them, so I was supportive of former Comptroller Leslie Monger’s decision to implement the ‘No Budget, No Pay’ policy for legislators,” said Morrison. “In December, a lawsuit was filed by six legislators, arguing for their legislative pay to be prioritized, and yesterday the court decision went in their favor. Our new bill seeks to remedy what we believe was a poor decision that provides preferential treatment for lawmakers.”

Through HB 4026, the monthly salary payment to legislators could be delayed if there are insufficient funds in the state’s General Revenue Fund to pay all other obligations within 90 days after a voucher requesting payment is submitted to the Comptroller.
In this edition of The Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison discusses legislation to reduce some of the paperwork municipalities have to file with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), a bill that addresses who should pay for gas lines to rural communities and efforts by some lawmakers to create a paid state holiday in honor of President Obama. You can watch the video here.