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Rep. Keith Wheeler (left) discusses school safety with SD308
Superintendent John Sparlin and OHS Principal Mike Wayne.
SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Keith R. Wheeler joined Oswego School District 308 Superintendent John Sparlin and Oswego High School Principal Mike Wayne for an active shooter response drill at Oswego High School Thursday morning.  This was Oswego High School’s second active shooter lockdown drill and the fourth drill involved in locking down and responding to emergencies during this school year.

As part of the lockdown procedure, Oswego schools have implemented the nationally-recognized ALICE active shooter response training program. ALICE is the acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

“I believe this type of response training is an important, non-controversial first step in securing our schools here in Illinois,” Representative Wheeler said. “The administration, staff, and students displayed a number of techniques and responses that will be vital to saving lives should an active shooter situation occur.  Continued collaboration between our school, government, and law enforcement leaders is an important component in protecting our children and I’m glad to see that is underway locally.” 
BUDGET
·        Governor Rauner delivers budget address to General Assembly.  Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday.  The Governor renewed his call for a $1 billion tax cut for all Illinois taxpayers.  He also called for “structural reforms” to Illinois laws that underlie the current patterns of Illinois public-sector taxes and spending. 

Assailing what he called “unsustainable growth in our pension and healthcare costs,” Gov. Rauner stated that more than 25 cents of every dollar the State spends goes to these facets of public-sector employee benefits.  These benefits far exceed the benefits paid to workers in the private sector, and the cost of these benefits is driving job growth from Illinois to other states.  Rauner pointed to job trends, including manufacturing job growth, in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.    
General Assembly – House committees
·        With full start of 2018 spring session, Illinois House committees convene and begin to hear bills.  Following the State of the State address on Wednesday, January 31, the Illinois House and Senate began committee action for the spring 2018 session.  The House will have five full weeks of committee action prior to the deadline for substantive committee action on April 13.  Most of the work of presenting a bill, hearing witness testimony on the measure and developing amendments to perfect the measure are done in committees rather than on the floor of the full House.  The House schedules for spring 2018 can be found here.  The General Assembly’s website also includes a type-in box to track each individual bill under consideration in Springfield by bill number. 
SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) has been appointed to serve as the point person for House Republicans in working with the Governor’s Office and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) to fulfill the constitutional mandate of generating a revenue estimate on which to base the state budget for FY 2019 this spring. The announcement was made Wednesday in a letter to House Speaker Michael Madigan from House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). 

Illinois currently has nearly $8.3 billion in unpaid bills and a structural FY18 budget deficit of $1.7 billion. The Illinois Constitution requires the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate on which to pass a balanced state budget, based on projected tax revenue and funds owed to Illinois from the federal government.

“Agreeing on a bipartisan revenue estimate is the first and most important step in the budget process,” said Representative Wheeler. “Unfortunately, the General Assembly has failed to meet this fundamental responsibility each year since before I first came to Springfield. We have an opportunity to not repeat that same mistake again this year; and instead demonstrate to Illinois families our commitment to work together to pass a state budget that lives within our means and respect taxpayers.”