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 repmorrison54@gmail.com 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.
On Thursday, January 26, State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) will partner with J.P. Wood Martial Arts America for his 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 the J.P. Wood Martial Arts America building 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.

“Last year this class was very successful, so I am pleased to once again be co-hosting these lessons on how to be aware of possible threatening situations and how to respond to an attack,” said Morrison. “Our goal is that every participant will leave this class with a basic understanding of how they can be proactive in avoiding an attack or other violent situation.”

Space is limited and registration is encouraged. To learn more about this event or to register, please contact the Morrison office at repmorrison54@gmail.com or by phone at 847-202-6584.