The Morrison Memo: April 24, 2017

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.

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