Latest News

Health – Affordable Care Act
·         Aetna withdraws from Obamacare individual marketplace in Illinois.  The withdrawal follows the financial failure of ACA cooperative Land of Lincoln Health, and leaves an increased number of Illinois counties where only one or two health insurance providers are willing to participate in the marketplace.  Aetna announced its departure from marketplaces in Illinois and 10 other U.S. states on Tuesday, August 16.  The withdrawal from the ACA insurance marketplace could affect as many as 838,000 exchange enrollees nationwide. 

The financial failure or withdrawal of many insurance providers from ACA-related marketplaces nationwide has added to concerns about the challenges facing individual customers for U.S.-based health insurance plans.  With competition substantially weakened or even absent in many American localities, many persons required by law to comply with the health insurance mandates of the federal ACA law many find themselves facing much higher prices for insurance policies.  In many states, including Illinois, remaining health insurance care providers are demanding double-digit premium increases as a condition for meeting their fast-growing expenses and remaining as active suppliers to customers in health insurance markets. 
Governor Bruce Rauner on Sunday took action on several bills as part of Veterans Day at the 2016 Illinois State Fair. The bills strengthen Illinois’ commitment to our veterans and their families by providing needed assistance and honor to those who have sacrificed so much for our country and our state.

“The selflessness of our American heroes can never truly be repaid, but here in Illinois we are making it easier for our men and women to return home and have prosperous futures,” said Governor Rauner. “We are investing in our veterans’ futures while never forgetting those we have lost along the way.
Health care – Zika virus
·         Public health trackers have now counted 46 cases of Zika infection in Illinois.  The report from the Illinois Department of Public Health states that Illinois pregnant women are now counted on the list of people exposed to the mosquito-borne illness.  The names of the Illinois patients have not been disclosed, as is standard in new disease outbreaks.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a series of warnings and travel advisories in response to the widespread appearance of Zika in a range of tropical and subtropical ecosystems throughout the Western Hemisphere. In addition to outbreaks in Greater Miami and in Puerto Rico, the virus has been reported in all but two countries south of the U.S. border.  Affected countries include Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and all of South America except Chile and Uruguay. 

Potential Zika patients are strongly urged to take standard precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Not all mosquitoes are genetically adapted to serve as vectors of the Zika virus.  The mosquitoes that carry Zika live in tropical and subtropical environments and mostly bite during the daytime.  As the Zika virus has now been proven to have the capability of spreading by sexual intercourse, standard precautions are also strongly urged in this area.     
NORTH AURORA – State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) has been appointed to the state’s legislative oversight committee of rules used to implement new and existing laws across all state agencies; the bipartisan, 12-member Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). Comprised of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans from both the Illinois House and Senate; JCAR conducts several integrated review programs including for proposed, emergency and peremptory rulemaking, a review of new laws and a complaint review program. 

Representative Wheeler, a freshman legislator serving portions of Kane and Kendall Counties, was appointed to JCAR by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), who praised Wheeler’s skills in naming him to the panel.

“Representative Wheeler’s sound judgment, keen analytical skills and team-building approach make him ideally suited to serve in this critically important role,” Leader Durkin said. “I appreciate Keith’s willingness to take on this additional responsibility and bring his professionalism and insight to JCAR.”

“I am honored to accept this appointment and look forward to working collaboratively to ensure that state laws are implemented fairly, accurately, and according to the legislative intent with which they were passed,” Representative Wheeler said. “It is truly a privilege to have this opportunity as a freshman legislator, one that enables me to make a greater difference for Fox Valley families and taxpayers.”
Drugs – cannabis possession
·         Governor Rauner consults with Illinois State Police on cannabis possession bill.  A measure passed by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly this spring will, if signed into law, reduce criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Current law (the Cannabis Control Act) sets up a complex table of penalties for simple possession of cannabis.  Under the law, simple possession of less than 10 grams of pot (less than 0.4 oz.) cannot be charged higher than a Class B misdemeanor.  Under the law, a judge may sentence someone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor to up to six months in county jail.

Few cases of possession of this volume of cannabis result in substantial county jail time.  A perpetrator is more likely to face a multi-stage disposition that may include court supervision, payment of a fine, mandatory substance abuse counseling, and return to the court at a later date to determine whether the disposition should remain part of a public record that names the defendant.  The legislation currently on the Governor’s desk, SB 2228, takes steps to reclassify the possession of very small quantities of cannabis from a misdemeanor criminal offence to a civil offense.  Instead of being arrested, defendants would be issued a citation and face a different court process to dispose of their case.  They would pay a fine of $100 to $200 for a first offense.  16 other states have already reclassified the possession of small quantities of cannabis as a civil offense.
NORTH AURORA – Local residents in Kane and Kendall Counties wishing to display a blue light bulb on their driveway and/or front porch to show support for local police can pick up bulbs at the district office of State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego), located at 959 Oak Street in North Aurora. Regular office hours are 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday-Thursday and 9:00am – 4:00pm on Fridays, or by appointment.

The blue light bulbs are free of charge; however donations are accepted at the time of pick-up.  Suggested donations are $2 per bulb. All proceeds will benefit Chiefs Lead the Way, a mental health and wellness initiative of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. Through training and interaction with mental health professionals, the program encourages chiefs to demonstrate an active concern for their own psychological and emotional well-being and to inspire their command staff, sergeants and officers to understand how important it is to take care of their personal mental and social health. 

“The men and women of our local law enforcement agencies deserve to know the support they have within the community,” Rep. Wheeler said. “Blue light bulbs are just one small but impactful way we can show respect to those who put their lives on the line each and every day to serve and protect us.”

Rep. Wheeler represents the 50th District, which includes portions of Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.
Kendall County Record

The volunteers at the Kendall County Food Pantry in Yorkville are getting ready for school to start. Lea Ann Koch organized a community effort to donate backpacks for the upcoming school year. Generous neighbors responded by delivering 350 brand new backpacks to Jan Sticka, school supplies director at the pantry. Pictured with the new backpacks at the food pantry are Jerry Bannister, Jan Sticka, State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego), Judy Wheeler, and Lea Ann Koch.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (center) with food pantry volunteers and the donated backpacks.

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