Latest News

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.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
·         First week of veto session.  The Illinois House met on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.  On the agenda were vetoes issued by the Governor to the General Assembly earlier this year.  Chief sponsors of the vetoed bills could ask their colleagues to consider voting to override the veto messages.  Overriding a governor’s veto requires a three-fifth majority in both houses of the General Assembly. 

In addition to veto motions, the House also voted on housekeeping and sunset-law measures to be passed before the end of the calendar year.  An example of this pre-end-of-year housekeeping was SB 1381, a bipartisan bill to maintain the State’s unemployment insurance (UI) system and UI laws for calendar years 2018 and 2019.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the General Assembly is scheduled to meet for a second and final week of veto session in the first full week of November.  Bill actions taken by each house of the General Assembly this week can be taken up by the other chamber during the session’s second week.  Persons interested in individual bills can look up the up-to-the-minute status of each bill in Veto Session on the General Assembly website.    


State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) speaks during debate against HB 4117 on Thursday, gun control legislation that was defeated by a vote of 48-54 moments later.