·         Poker run bill gets approval by both houses of General Assembly.  HB 3538, introduced and sponsored by Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) will help to smooth the licensing approval process for this popular fundraising tool throughout suburban and downstate Illinois.  Current law creates local snags in the ordinances that groups use to win licenses to carry out these popular fundraising activities, and HB 3538 pushes to streamline out these snags by placing poker run licenses in the hands of Illinois county boards other than Cook County.  The bill also clarifies that all bona fide nonprofit groups are eligible to seek to operate a poker run.

Poker runs are activities, usually one day long, in which a group of people make an event of traveling from place to place and playing a game at each location.  At the end of the poker run, the players concentrate at a finish line and play out the game, and prizes are awarded.  Under the provisions of HB 3538, the poker run must be set up so as to raise money for a needy person, a good cause, or the financial survival and stability of the group sponsoring the run. 

Many motorcyclists and biker groups carry out poker runs.  After passage by the House in April, HB 3538 was amended in the Senate to authorize Cook County’s county board to retain the existing poker run law at their discretion.  The House vote on Tuesday, June 23 to concur with the Senate amendment completed the legislative work on this bill, and it joined other bills ready to be sent to Governor Rauner’s desk for final action.
Budget – FY16
·         As budget picture continues to show lack of progress, Comptroller Munger intensifies her warnings House Republicans continue to demand that Speaker Madigan start negotiations for a real budget for Fiscal Year 2016, which begins on July 1.  Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger has sharpened her warnings of the consequence to the State of not having an operating spending plan.

As Illinois’ chief financial officer, Munger will be in charge of maintaining the State’s remaining cash flow should Illinois not pass a budget.  After meeting with her top staff and legal team, she published a warning on Sunday that the State of Illinois will be legally unable to make many of its payments on and after July 1 without specific legal authority to do so.  Payments that must stop include many Medicaid reimbursements, paychecks for State employees starting July 15, general State aid (GSA) payments to school districts starting August 10, and payments to other State vendors and suppliers.

In her published warning, Munger expressed dismay at the widespread belief throughout Illinois that the State would simply be able to continue on its cash-flow path on automatic pilot.  She pointed out that the spending plans currently demanded by Democrats include an assumption that $3.5 billion in imaginary money will somehow appear.  Postponed paychecks and school aid payments, she stated, will have devastating impacts on many Illinois men, women, and children.  Furthermore, these impacts are a tangible outcome of spending assumptions that have long been headed for a crisis because they are based upon hopes of hypothetical future revenue.       
Budget – FY16
·         Comptroller Munger warns of consequences if budget not enacted.  The State’s chief cash flow manager, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger, reported on Wednesday, June 10 on the actions the State will be forced to take if no budget is enacted prior to the end of the State’s fiscal year on June 30, 2015.  

Successive actions the State will be forced to take include delayed paychecks for State workers, unanswered billings from and no payments to new Medicaid and other State-financed health care providers, no new payments to other State vendors, and no general state aid (GSA) payments from the State Board of Education to school districts.  These actions are expected to hit in different ways at different times.  For example, the Comptroller reports that the first scheduled payless payday will be July 15.  The first GSA payment is due no later than August 10.

Munger pointed out that some monies remain in place to pay essential bills under the “lapse period” law.  This law allows leftover money appropriated for use in fiscal year 2015 (FY15) to be spent down during the first 60 days of FY16.  However, funds available under this pathway fall far short of the monies required to keep all of the State’s legal commitments, such as paychecks for State workers and GSA payments to schools.

House Republicans have repeatedly called for the startup of real budget negotiations and the creation of a balanced budget, as demanded by the state Constitution. 
State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) toured Chicago Jet Group based at the Aurora Municipal Airport on Friday. Chicago Jet provides a wide spectrum of aircraft and avionics services out of its Sugar Grove location.  The firm not only has aircraft management and consultation capabilities, but also provides avionics repair, aircraft maintenance, and charter services to its customer base. 

Mike Mitera, Director of Operations, outlined how the company drives innovation by using electronic and IT- based tools. That has given them not only global recognition, but a competitive edge in the marketplace. This, in turn, has helped the company grow right here in Kane County.  Chicago Jet Group would like to expand its presence at the Aurora Municipal Airport as its reputation in the industry continues to climb.

Representative Wheeler was able to see firsthand the safety, service and reliability in innovation this business has provided for over ten years.

NORTH AURORA – State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) announced the official launch of his Fox Valley Summer Reading Club for students in first through fifth grades. The program is offered to encourage reading among local youth and promote the lifelong benefits of literacy. Free brochures are available for download on Rep. Wheeler’s website by clicking HERE or by calling Rep. Wheeler’s District Office at (630) 345-3464.

Students are challenged to read eight books over their summer break. Books from local library programs are accepted; and books of 150 pages or more count as two. After a student completes his/her reading list, they must have a parent or guardian certify the reading was accomplished and return the signed form on the brochure to Rep. Wheeler’s office by the deadline of Monday, August 3.