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 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, 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.
In this edition of the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) talks about legislation that addresses problems that arise when patients find themselves in an out-of-network health insurance situation through no fault of their own and an upcoming visit to a Springfield charter school. You can watch the video here.

In today's Morrison Report State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) talks about "World Champion Chicago Cubs Day" in Springfield, but notes that while lawmakers are celebrating the Cubs winning the World Series, the state still has no budget. He also talks about visits in Springfield from local constituents, including those in town for Tourism Day, ABATE Lobby Day and the Chief of Police from Palatine. You can watch the video here.

In this edition of the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison discusses legislation he is sponsoring this year to create equity in the cost for registration fees and license plates between electric cars and traditional gasoline-using cars. He also speaks with State Representative Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) from Central Illinois. You can watch the video here.
Governor Rauner Delivers Annual Budget Address
Each year in February the Governor is required to present to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate a budget address which is traditionally used as the starting point of budget negotiations for the upcoming budget year. With Illinois well into its second year without an agreed budget, Governor Rauner began his speech on Wednesday with a quote from President Abraham Lincoln: “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion… We must think anew and act anew.”

During the 40-minute address, the Governor spoke about the bipartisan work being done in the Senate to create a balanced budget built on compromise, and said he was pleased that for the first time, legislators from both parties are standing together to say that Illinois must have structural change to grow the economy and create good jobs. He also said the ultimate budget proposal must be “a good deal for taxpayers and job creators – a grand bargain that fully balances the budget once and for all, and really moves the needle when it comes to job creation.” I agree with the governor and would add that the overall solution for taxpayers involves reining in the costs that are driving up taxes. We must implement reforms in the areas of pensions, workers compensation and unfunded mandates, as well as adopt policies that promote government consolidation. Relief in all of these areas will lighten the property tax burden and allow our state to thrive.

If you would like to read the speech, a copy is available here. If you would like to view the supporting documents for the speech, you can access the “Budget Book” here.

Following the speech I recorded a video response. You can watch that video here.

Bills Begin to Move through House Committee Process
House members filed a total of 3,921 bills this year prior to the February 10 deadline. Only bills filed by that date may be considered in a House committee during the 2017 spring session. House bills filed after February 10 cannot be considered this spring as independent, free-standing legislation. I filed 19 bills this year as Chief Sponsor, and have signed on as Chief Co-Sponsor or as a co-sponsor of 39 others.

Following the bill introduction deadline, State Representatives spend the next six weeks vetting these bills at the committee level. The House has 57 permanent and special committees that will hear testimony and consider bills. Because no piece of legislation may reach the House Floor for a final vote until it receives a positive vote at the committee level, this time of year we spend most of our time in committee meetings.

Morrison Returns as Republican Spokesperson for Personnel & Pensions Committee
Committee assignments were announced a few weeks ago, and for the 100th General Assembly I will continue in my role as the Republican Spokesperson for the House Personnel & Pensions Committee. Aside from the need for a budget, there is no more pressing issue in our state than our pension system and the drain it has on available revenue. It is my honor to return as the ranking Republican for this critical committee. I will also serve as the Republican Spokesperson for the Elementary & Secondary Education: Charter Schools Committee, and as a member of the Environment, Economic Justice, and Insurance: Health & Life Committees. These are all excellent committee assignments, and I appreciate the opportunity to have a role in shaping public policy in these key areas.

HB 40 Clears House Committee; Now Awaits Full House Vote
In spite of significant opposition by Illinois residents who oppose the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions and Republicans who serve on the House Human Services Committee, HB 40 passed at the committee level on February 8 in a 7-5 vote. The next stop for this damaging bill is the House Floor. I am a vocal opponent of this bill and will speak vehemently against it when it is presented to the members of the House for a final vote.

This is a bill that would require the tax dollars of every Illinoisan, regardless of their stance on the abortion issue, to be used to fund abortions through Medicaid and abortions for State employees, for any reason throughout the entire nine months of a pregnancy. I strongly encourage all who believe taxpayers opposed to abortion on moral and religious grounds should not have to fund abortions to call all Illinois State Representatives to register your opposition to this bill. A list of State Representatives can be found here. Should the bill pass in the House, it will then move to the Senate for consideration. A list of Senators can be found here. Contact information for each Representative and Senator can be obtained by clicking on the names.

In response to this inappropriate use of taxpayer funds, I am supporting HR 145, sponsored by my colleague Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor). This resolution expresses opposition to legislative efforts to use State taxpayer funds to pay for abortions and to pay the insurance costs for State employees to have abortions.
This week in Springfield, Governor Bruce Rauner presented his annual Budget Address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. Following the speech, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) recorded a video response. You can watch that video here.
In this edition of the Morrison Report, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) discusses his committee assignments for the 100th General Assembly and recent grandstanding by the majority party on the House Floor, and issues a call to action for HB 40, a bill that expands abortion services. You may watch the video here. If you wish to take action on HB 40, you can find contact information for all State Representatives here. Contact information for Illinois Senators can be found here.
When lawmakers travel to Springfield this week to begin vetting the hundreds of bills that have already been filed in the 100th General Assembly, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) will continue in his role as the Republican Spokesperson for the House Personnel & Pensions Committee.

“Aside from the need for a budget, there is no more pressing issue in our state than our pension system and the drain it has on available revenue,” said Morrison. “It is my honor to return as the ranking Republican for this critical committee.”

Morrison was also chosen to serve as the Republican Spokesperson for the Elementary & Secondary Education: Charter Schools Committee, and as a member of the Environment, Economic Justice, and Insurance: Health & Life Committees.

“These are all excellent committee assignments, and I appreciate the opportunity to have a role in shaping public policy in these key areas,” Morrison said.
Nearly 50 women and teenage girls turned out on Thursday evening for a self-defense and self-awareness class that was co-sponsored by State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) and J.P. Wood Martial Arts America.

Held at the Woods studio in Palatine, participants learned valuable techniques about where to hit an attacker, how to release a hold, and methods to improve awareness and avoid potential attacks. “Our turnout surpassed what we were expecting, which tells me that this type of class is being very well-received by the people in the community,” said Morrison. “I believe everyone left with a better understanding of how to protect themselves during potentially dangerous situations. I would be happy to make this an annual event in the 54th District.”

While the class was free, donations were taken at the door to benefit WINGS, a local organization supporting women and children fleeing domestic violence situations. “We raised $400 for WINGS, and that money will be put to good use right here in Palatine,” Morrison said.
Following Governor Bruce Rauner's State of the State Address on Wednesday, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), was recorded outside of the Governor's office for this latest edition of the Morrison Report. Rep. Morrison spoke about the achievements of the Rauner administration during the first two years of his term and looked ahead toward the House committee assignments which will be announced during the next week. You may watch the video here.
Today in Springfield, Governor Bruce Rauner presented his third annual State of the State Address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. Following the Governor’s 35-minute speech, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) issued the following statement:

“I appreciated the positive approach the Governor took as he delivered an important speech during very difficult times. I share his optimism and agree that in the face of the challenges we face as a General Assembly, we are also afforded great opportunity- opportunity to come together as a legislative body and opportunity to do right by the people who elected us to serve.”

“While the budget impasse looms large in Illinois, we cannot forget some of the positive impacts on our citizens over the last two years, such as ethics reform and improvements to government efficiency and steps to improve the jobs climate. I hope that all lawmakers regardless of party can build on those successes and move toward bipartisan agreement on a balanced budget.”
Morrison Sworn Into Office for 4th Term in General Assembly
On Wednesday, January 11, I stood with House Republicans and Democrats from across Illinois as we were sworn in to office for the 100th General Assembly. The two-hour inauguration ceremony was held at the University of Illinois Springfield campus. As my first vote of the 100th General Assembly, I voted for Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) to serve as Speaker of the House for 2017-2018. While all 51 Republicans supported Durkin in the House Speaker vote, 66 of the 67 Democrats voted for Mike Madigan to retain his position of power. As a result, Speaker Madigan will now become the longest-serving Speaker of the House in the history of our nation. While disappointed with the final choice for Speaker, I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion with all members of this new General Assembly.

Jim Durkin will continue in his role as House Republican Leader. In his inaugural remarks, Leader Durkin redoubled his call for budget reforms to end the current fiscal crisis facing the State. These are priorities for me as well.

The House Republican Caucus now includes 10 new members who attended their first session days last week. These are freshman members who were elected by their neighbors throughout Illinois, including the Chicago area and Downstate, to fight for economic growth and a taxpayer-friendly government that can live within its means.

General Assembly Passes Bill to Extend Life of EDGE Credit Program that Favors Big Business
During the “lame duck” session of the 99th General Assembly last week, I was a vocal opponent against extending the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program until April 30, 2017. This tax incentive program, which expired on December 31, 2016, provides perks for big businesses with clout while not addressing the needs of small business owners across Illinois. Small businesses, not large ones, are the primary employers of Illinois workers and it is unfair to raise taxes on everyone and then give special “carve-outs” to larger businesses that threaten to leave Illinois. You can watch my floor debate on the bill here.

In spite of arguments by a few lawmakers against it, SB 513 was approved in a 101-12 vote. It was also approved in the Senate. The extension bill now awaits action from the Governor.

Morrison to Co-Host Second Annual Self-Defense/Self-Awareness Class for Women
Next week on Thursday, January 26, I will partner with J.P. Wood Martial Arts America for our second annual Self-Defense and Self-Awareness Class for Women and girls. The two-hour class will take place from 7:00-9:00 PM at J.P. Wood Martial Arts America located at 249 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine. Girls must be at least 13 years of age to participate. While the event is free, a suggested $10 donation will be collected at the door, and that money will be sent to WINGS, a local organization supporting women and children fleeing domestic violence situations.

Space is limited and registration is encouraged. To learn more about this event or to register, please contact my office at or by phone at 847-202-6584.

New Law Requires Testing of Many Illinois School Buildings for Lead in Tap Water
SB 550, signed into law this week as Public Act 99-0922, creates a statewide system for all school systems, other than Chicago, to test the water of each school building. The Chicago Public School system says they have tested their schools already. Other school systems that have already tested their water would also be exempted from this state mandate and lead testing results would have to be made public.

Studies show that Illinois has one of the largest numbers of lead service lines in the United States. A lead-in-water scandal in Flint, Michigan has earned substantial news coverage throughout the Midwest. Both Illinois and Michigan underwent fast economic development and boom conditions in the first three-quarters of the 20th century. During this period lead pipes and fittings were standard building supplies in building projects of all sorts, including school buildings.

The cost of testing, which would be borne by school districts, would be from $500 to $5,000 per school building. 2,500 elementary schools and 11,000 licensed day care centers and homes would be covered by the legislation.
Immediately following the inauguration ceremony for the 100th General Assembly on Wednesday in Springfield, State Representative Morrison (R-Palatine) was interviewed and asked about his goals and priorities for the next two years. You can watch that interview here.

This week members of the House of Representatives took action on legislation that would temporarily extend an EDGE credit program that provides tax incentives to help retain and attract large businesses in the state. In his arguments in opposition of the bill, Morrison pointed out that small businesses, not large ones, are the primary employers for Illinoisans. "It doesn't make sense to raise taxes on everyone and then give special 'carve-outs' to larger businesses that have clout," he said.

You can watch a video of his debate here.