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NORTH AURORA –Small business owner and State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) is encouraging constituents in Kane and Kendall Counties to shop local this Saturday, November 25 in support of small and family-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday, which has grown into a national tradition since its inception in 2010.  

There are 1.2 Million small businesses in Illinois, employing 2.4 Million people across the state. Small businesses account for 99.6% of all Illinois businesses, employing 46% of the state’s total workforce. Construction, real estate and arts, entertainment & recreation are the three largest small business employers in Illinois. Small business created 43,836 net jobs in Illinois in 2014.

“As a small business owner myself the past 26 years, I personally support the men and women of our local small business community and encourage all Fox Valley families to do the same,” Representative Wheeler said. “With this upcoming weekend being the busiest shopping weekend of the year, this is a terrific opportunity to rediscover the abundance of goods and services available here in our own backyard. By shopping local this Saturday, you are helping our community’s best and brightest entrepreneurs continue to provide jobs for thousands of Fox Valley families.”

For a directory of local businesses in your community, please click on any of the following links:


Representative Wheeler serves the 50th District, which includes portions of west suburban Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.

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JOBS
·         Illinois Jobs Up in October - Unemployment Rate Declines.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced this week that the unemployment rate dipped by 0.1 percentage points to 4.9 percent in October and nonfarm payrolls increased by +3,400 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. September job growth was revised up to show a smaller decline (-7,900 jobs) than initially reported (-10,800 jobs). 

October’s monthly payroll drop kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. While Illinois job growth has had its ups and downs since the beginning of the year, the 3-month trend shows average declines of -2,300 jobs per month from August to October, while the six-month trend shows an increase of +1,900 average monthly job gains from May to October. Both the 3-month and the 6-month changes are better than reported last month.

“Month-to-month changes sometimes obscure important trends.” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Illinois’ unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent or lower for eight months – the last time that happened was in mid-2007.”
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
·         House Republican Leader Jim Durkin authors key hotline section of sexual harassment bill sent to Governor.  The Durkin proposal would create a telephone hotline for persons seeking relief in cases of sexual harassment.  Examples of help that the hotline could provide could include assistance in filing a sexual harassment complaint, referral of a victim to counseling, or referral of a victim to protective services. 

The Durkin proposal was included in SB 402, the omnibus sexual harassment bill that was passed unanimously by the General Assembly this week and sent to the Governor for his signature.  Other sections of SB 402 provide for annual sexual harassment training sessions for State officers and employees, and create penalties for State officers and employees who violate the policies set forth in the training. The training sessions will include information to recipients of sexual harassment on how to report this conduct to the hotline and through other pathways.  SB 402 was part of a package of sexual harassment reforms passed in the wake of allegations of misconduct at the Capitol.  Leader Durkin authored the hotline section of the omnibus bill by sponsoring HB 4148, which was combined with other pieces to create the overall SB 402 sexual harassment bill.

Complaints of sexual harassment, other violations need 
prompt, unbiased review


(L to R: Rep. Batinick, Rep. Wehrli,
Rep. Wheeler)
Springfield…Recent reports that incidents of sexual harassment in the Illinois General Assembly are not promptly investigated, or are not even reported due to fear of retaliation, are proof that the legislative ethics review system is in need of a complete overhaul, stressed State Representative Grant Wehrli. Wehrli, along with Representatives Keith Wheeler and Mark Batinick, today introduced a series of reforms that will give deference to complainants in such cases, and ensure their claims receive a fair and unbiased review.

“I’m very pleased that after more than a year we finally have a Legislative Inspector General in place this week. I’m confident Julie Porter will do an excellent job. But there’s more we must do to correct the fundamental flaws in the process that for years have made harassment victims hesitant to come forward because they felt the system was stacked against them. It’s that bias that we’re targeting with these reforms,” said Rep. Wehrli (R-Naperville).

“Sexual harassment in any form is wholly unacceptable. Our State Capitol and all government offices must be places where legislators, staff, lobbyists and visitors treat each other with the utmost dignity and respect. Our legislation will help to make this expectation a reality by strengthening the legislative ethics review process,” said Rep. Wheeler (R-Oswego). “Victims of sexual harassment should always be made to feel safe in coming forward; and every perpetrator should be held accountable to their organization, caucus, or the proper authorities.”
BUDGET
·         COGFA releases revenue report for October 2017.  The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) has released its monthly revenue report and economic briefing for October 2017.  COGFA continues to report that Illinois’ stagnant job picture is having a negative impact on income and sales tax growth.  One major source of potential tax revenue growth is increased supplies of money forwarded from employers to Springfield of income taxes withheld from paychecks, and the absence of net new employment growth is limiting revenue increases from this source.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-50th) was honored to speak to the students at the ribbon cutting for the Samuel Sublett Alternative School in St. Charles this morning. This school will give students a much-needed opportunity to push the reset button and learn valuable new skills. The school is named after the late Samuel Sublett, Jr. (1928-2012), who worked most of his professional career at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles, retiring with over 40 years of service.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) spoke to students at Aurora University this morning about the legislative process and answered questions about the challenges facing the Illinois General Assembly as well as his work serving the residents of Kane and Kendall Counties.