The Morrison Memo: January 20, 2017

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.

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