Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White recently announced that his office will suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminder notices to the public due to the lack of a state budget.

According to a news release dated September 28: 

"White encouraged vehicle owners to be mindful of their vehicle registration status to ensure they renew in a timely manner and avoid driving on expired vehicle stickers. He also emphasized that more vehicle owners will be forced to visit facilities to renew their vehicle registration stickers because without a reminder notice they will not have a pin number needed to renew online. However, people who have signed up to receive electronic reminder notices will continue to receive them by email. To sign up for this service, please visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com."
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) hosted a successful Identity Theft Seminar at GreenFields of Geneva this morning, featuring guest speakers from the Illinois Attorney General's Office, Kane County Sheriff's Office and Geneva Police Department. Over 70 local residents attended, asked questions and learned about how to safeguard their credit card, Social Security, and other personal and financial information.

For questions or more information on how to help protect yourself from identity theft, please call Rep. Wheeler's office at (630) 345-3464 or call the Attorney General's Identity Theft Hotline toll-free at 1-866-999-5630.
GENEVA – Fox Valley residents are invited to attend an identity theft prevention seminar sponsored by State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at 10:00am on Monday, September 28 at GreenFields of Geneva, located at 0N801 Friendship Way.

There are approximately 10 million identity theft victims every year in the United States. A majority of victims are senior citizens. Professionals from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office will show attendees how to safeguard their credit card, Social Security and other personal and financial information to prevent it from falling into the hands of criminals.
YORKVILLE – Kendall County residents are invited to attend a complimentary coffee and discussion with State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and State Rep. John Anthony (R-Plainfield) to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 18 at Silver Dollars Restaurant in Yorkville, located at 102 Stagecoach Trail (corner of IL Route 47 and IL Route 71).

Constituents are encouraged to bring their questions and concerns. The representatives will provide an update on the current status of state budget negotiations and legislation they are working on.

“It is important for us to hear directly from the men, women and families we represent,” Rep. Anthony and Rep. Wheeler said. “These coffees are an opportunity for local residents to share their questions and concerns with us one-on-one.  We are looking forward to answering their questions and sharing our solutions to help move Illinois forward.”

No RSVP is necessary. Please call Rep. Anthony’s office with any questions at (815) 416-1475 or Rep. Wheeler’s office at (630) 345-3464.

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9-11 Observances
·         State observes anniversary of 9-11, honors victims and first responders.  In Illinois by order of Gov. Rauner, flags flew at half-mast throughout Patriot Day in honor of the victims and heroes of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and rural Pennsylvania.

Leading the way towards observance of the somber day of remembrance were Republican members of the University of Illinois student and teaching community, who successfully advocated for permission to set up a memorial installation on the U of I Quad.  After a facet of the university administration temporarily attempted to block organization of the installation, the Illini Republicans led the way in a successful push to reverse the prohibition and allow the placement of 2,977 flags on the Quad.  Each U.S. flag will represent one victim of the atrocity.   

Further remembrance ceremonies will be held in other Illinois locations.  For example, Central Park in downtown Decatur, Illinois was scheduled to hold a lunchtime picnic and ceremony to honor Central Illinois first responders and commence advocacy for the construction of a permanent 9-11 memorial in Macon County.  The Decatur memorial is scheduled to contain a physical fragment of the World Trade Center.    

FY16 Budget – Comptroller Munger
·         Comptroller Munger says Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills could top $8.5 billion without a State budget.  Munger’s concerns follow moves throughout the summer of 2015 by advocates of various spending and policy programs to place various Illinois big-budget spending programs, such as Medicaid payments to residential care facilities, on “automatic spending” status pending the enactment of a budget.  These statuses have, in many cases, been backed up by the judicial branch in the form of court orders and references to various consent decrees previously signed by the State.

With money being spent at FY15 rates and State revenues coming in at FY16 rates, cash outflow is exceeding cash inflow.  The Office of the Comptroller, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, and other State agencies are responding to this asymmetry by prioritizing the speed with which bills are paid; many bills are going unpaid at this time.  The $8.5 billion figure is a cumulative figure representing the Office of the Comptroller’s estimate of where the unpaid-bill total will be on December 31, at the end of the 2015 calendar year.
FY16 Budget
·         House Republicans defend fair bargaining process for state employees & taxpayers.  On Wednesday, House Republicans blocked an attempt by the Democrat majority to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB 1229.  The bill would have changed the way that the State of Illinois negotiates with labor unions in cases of alleged negotiation impasses.  The measure would have instituted “interest arbitration” as the preferred method, for four years, for the State of Illinois to negotiate with most of its organized workers. 

The bill was seen as a pathway for the State’s largest union, AFSCME, to bypass the collective bargaining process and use interest arbitration to impose a labor-management contract on the State.  AFSCME’s contract offer, which could have been adopted in its entirety under interest arbitration, could have resulted in an increase of $1.5 billion to $2.0 billion in taxpayer-funded employment costs over the next four years. 

SB 1229 is bad public policy aimed directly at Governor Rauner.  The Governor has committed in writing that the tolling agreement extending the current contract will remain in place until both sides agree they are walking away from the negotiating table.  The Governor will not lock out employees and is committed to remaining at the table until a final deal is reached.  He cannot and will not force unions to strike.

The Democrats’ proposal would take away negotiating authority from the duly elected Governor and put state labor contracts in the hands of an arbitrator, not elected or accountable to taxpayers, who would not be allowed to compromise or come up with a reasonable solution.  Whereas normally arbitrators are given discretion to forge a compromise, that would no longer be the case (at least not for the current administration).  Arbitrators would be forced to choose between labor’s request or the State’s proposal with absolutely no discretion… all or nothing.

After a total veto by Governor Rauner, SB 1229 was returned to the General Assembly for a possible override as provided for in the state Constitution.  To override the Governor’s veto requires a three-fifths vote in both houses of the legislature.  While the Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto, the Illinois House voted on Wednesday, September 2 to sustain Governor Rauner’s veto, thereby defeating the bill (71 votes had been required).  The House vote was 68-34-9.