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Assistant GOP Leader
Rep. Keith Wheeler
State Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, was appointed to the post of Assistant House Republican Leader today for the new 101st Illinois General Assembly. Wheeler, a 28-year small business owner and sixth generation Kendall County resident, was first elected in 2014 to represent the 50th District, which includes portions of Kane and Kendall Counties. 

The role of Assistant Leader is to advocate for caucus positions on legislative issues and build coalitions in support of legislation pending on the House Floor. Representative Wheeler's appointment was announced by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, on Wednesday. 

"I am truly honored to accept the appointment as Assistant Republican Leader," Wheeler said. "I am grateful to Leader Durkin and the entire House Republican Caucus for this opportunity.  I stand committed to working with Republican and Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate to make much-needed reforms to state government and to help create Illinois jobs for Illinois families." 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
·        Inauguration of 101st General Assembly.  The new session of the state legislature will be the first group of lawmakers to meet in Illinois’ third century.  The House elected Jim Durkin as House Republican Leader, and the majority chose Michael J. Madigan to be the returning Speaker of the House.  In his remarks to the newly-convened House, Leader Durkin pledged to uphold Republican principles and to work together with newly-elected Gov. J.B. Pritzker whenever possible for the good of the State of Illinois. 

The newly-convened 101st General Assembly faces challenging problems of governance, including Illinois’ structural budget deficit, underfunded tax-supported pension systems, and a growing pattern of out-migration to other states by young, ambitious adults eager for success in the private sector.  House Republicans are determined to make Illinois a good place for hard-working people to live and raise families.
Inauguration of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield.
Small business owner and sixth-generation Kendall County resident Keith Wheeler was sworn in for a third term as State Representative of the 50th District serving portions of Kane and Kendall Counties on Wednesday, joining all 118 members of the Illinois House of Representatives for the inauguration of the 101st General Assembly held at the Sangamon Auditorium.

A small business owner for 28 years and former Chairman of the Illinois Leadership Council of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Wheeler brings a lifetime of hands-on experience and real world knowledge of the most pressing challenges facing entrepreneurs and job creators in Illinois. He has also served locally as a former Board Chairman for the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. 
                                                             
“Restoring Illinois’ competitiveness and expanding opportunity for Fox Valley families is my top priority,” Representative Wheeler said. “We can achieve our goal of creating Illinois jobs for Illinois families by working together across party lines to embrace the needed reforms that will get government off the backs of the small business men and women who produce most of the new jobs across the state.”

Immediately upon ringing in the New Year, 253 new laws will become effective in 2019 that have wide ranging impact. Here are few of those laws families should know about:

  • Children under the age of 2 years old must be restrained in rear facing car seats unless they weigh 40 or more pounds or are 40 or more inches tall. (PA100-0672)
  • Every Illinois school will be required to conduct at least one law-enforcement led active shooter drill a year. School safety drills must be conducted within 90 days of the start of the school year. (PA100-0996)
  • Nursing mothers upon request will be exempt from jury duty. (PA100-0696)
  • Stalking laws expanded to include messages sent through social media. Additionally, businesses, places of worship and schools can seek restraining orders against stalkers.
  • The Lyme Disease Prevention and Protection Act was enacted opening the door in Illinois for new treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. (PA100-1137)
  • All children in kindergarten and the second, sixth, and ninth grades of any public, private or parochial school shall have a dental examination. (PA100-829)


FAMILIES
·        Illinois State Police describe new guidance for families concerning child car seats.  For most families, the most important feature of the new guidance from Illinois law enforcement is the requirement that all children under the age of two, who are traveling in a child-restraint system in a moving motor vehicle, be placed so that the seat is facing backward.  The new requirement responds to crash-test-dummy research that shows that relative to the movement of a motor vehicle, being in a child-restraint system facing backward is the safest place to be.

The child-restraint requirements will become law on January 1, 2019, but the State Police urges that parents adopt this new practice immediately.  Children from their second birthday to their eighth birthday must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system in the same way as under current law, but in contrast to babies and very young children they may face forward.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

·        General Assembly takes step to reduce administrative expenses, consolidate operations.  Under the setup in place in Springfield’s Capitol Complex heading into Fiscal Year 2019, the Illinois General Assembly had two separate nonpartisan research offices.  The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the General Assembly’s budget-monitoring and research arm, was in place to examine and oversee trends involving Illinois’ tax revenues, budgets, and spending.  As a nonpartisan oversight panel with jurisdiction over cash flow issues, CGFA was in close contact with the General Assembly’s appropriations and revenue committees.  

At the same time, another nonpartisan office – the General Assembly’s Legislative Research Unit (LRU) – was available to conduct research projects into issues of state policy other than appropriations and budget matters.  For example, if a legislator or a legislative committee wanted to study the current status of legislation among the 50 states in issues such as criminal law or financial regulation, they could go to LRU and get a research report.