Rep. Wheeler with Everett Sprags,
aspiring entrepreneur.

State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) participated in a discussion at the Chicago Urban League on Monday on the link between joblessness and violence. Policymakers at the state and local levels need to work together in partnership with community leaders and law enforcement to reduce the violence in Chicago and to provide greater economic opportunity for urban youth and families.

The Chicago Urban League hosted this panel discussion on "Youth Employment / Joblessness / Violence Issues and Solutions" to bring business leaders together with youth and young adults interested in finding solutions to these challenges together.
State of the State Address
·         Governor Rauner optimistic about the State of the State.  In his third annual State of the State Address, Governor Bruce Rauner indicated that he is optimistic about the future of Illinois and used the opportunity to talk about Illinois’ accomplishments, as well as the work that still lies ahead.

The Governor recognizes the state’s challenges, but with great challenges comes great opportunity. He is optimistic these challenges can be solved by working together to improve the future of Illinois. He discussed the administration’s accomplishments including ethics reform, record education funding, job creation and making government more efficient. While much work lies ahead, we build on the bipartisan agreement that change to the system needs to occur with passing a truly balanced budget.

The Governor also encouraged the General Assembly to pass legislation allowing voters to weigh-in on fair maps and term limits. The Governor believes that by working together we can build on these changes and address the problems facing our state.

You can watch the video of the address or read the speech.

Please visit The Caucus Blog to read reactions from several members of the Illinois House Republican Caucus after listening to the Governor's address.
Rep. Keith Wheeler
NORTH AURORA – State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) is providing a new resource for local residents to submit feedback on current legislative issues by announcing the launch of his 2017 online constituent survey, available on his official legislative website, www.repkeithwheeler.com.   

The survey covers a wide range of issues including property taxes, the minimum wage, government reforms and the state budget, to name just a few. Rep. Wheeler will utilize constituent feedback to help represent the district effectively during the 2017 legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly.

“All of the issues covered in the survey have been considered by the state legislature in the past; and are likely to be again in 2017,” Rep. Wheeler said.  “Your feedback helps me to know where residents of our district stand on a wide range of policy questions of concern to Illinois families and taxpayers.”

Rep. Keith Wheeler
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) released the following statement today following the adoption of House Resolution 46, a set of rules to govern the procedures of the Illinois House of Representatives for the next two years. Introduced and sponsored by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), a top lieutenant of Speaker Michael Madigan, the resolution was adopted by a vote of 63-53. Two Democrats voted in opposition with all 51 Republicans.

"Over the last two years, social services providers have come to my office rightfully complaining that the state hasn’t provided expected funding and they have had to cut back services or lay off employees.  I explain to these important community leaders that I can’t get an appropriations bill to fund their agency to the floor on my own as it has to go through Speaker Madigan and the Rules Committee.  Those service providers have been told that same thing by Democrat lawmakers who are willing to help just as much as I am.  So, apparently none of us rank-and-file, duly-elected lawmakers can get an essential bill to the floor. 
                 
Why?  Because the House Rules prevent us from actually doing the work of our constituents.  By voting for this version of the Rules, we are preventing each member of this body from representing the people who sent us here.
                 
The first step toward getting Illinois right is to reject these rules and stand up for our state: for our families, our job creators, our most vulnerable and those who provide care for them.  We all deserve better."
-          Representative Keith Wheeler 
               
Representative Wheeler serves the 50th District, which includes portions of Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.

# # #
General Assembly – House Republican Leadership
·         New House Republican Leadership team takes on the serious challenges facing Illinois.  Formation of a new House Republican Caucus leadership team was made necessary by the retirement of many members of the 99th General Assembly.  House Republican Leader Jim Durkin worked with his colleagues to name members from both the Chicago metropolitan area and Downstate Illinois.  

The new leaders of the House Republican Leadership team, announced on Wednesday, January 17, are:

o   Deputy Leader Patti Bellock;
o   Deputy Leader Dan Brady;
o   Assistant Leader Norine Hammond;
o   Assistant Leader Chad Hays;
o   Assistant Leader Michael McAuliffe;
o   Assistant Leader Bill Mitchell;
o   Assistant Leader David Reis;
o   Assistant Leader Mike Unes; and 
o   Caucus Chair Tom Demmer.

Budget – Unpaid Bills
·         Unpaid bill total now well above $11 billion.  The total of unpaid bills reported by the Office of the Comptroller is now greater than $11.3 billion.  The unpaid-bill total includes bills that are in the Comptroller’s office waiting to be paid, and bills that are still in the various agencies of the State, such as the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, that the Comptroller knows about but which have not yet been forwarded for payment.  These are past-due bills that represent services that providers have expended resources for, pursuant to State law, but for which they have not yet been paid.

The unpaid-bill situation reflects the lack of a balanced State budget and ongoing nationwide trends.  The cost of medical care is growing faster than almost any other facet of the U.S. economy.  Federal mandates require all of the states to provide medical care to low-income residents, and all of the states are facing this trend. Illinois, with unbalanced budgets that now date back well more than a decade, is especially vulnerable to these trends.  This total of unpaid bills is increasing pressure upon the General Assembly to search seriously for permanent solutions to the budget crisis.  
General Assembly – 100th General Assembly Convenes
·         Illinois House members take oath of office, elect leadership.  The 100th General Assembly will be the legislative body that celebrates the bicentennial of Illinois as a state.  Each General Assembly is elected for a two-year period, and the 100th General Assembly will serve Illinois in our state’s 199th year (2017) and in our 200th year (2018).  House members have already filed more than 450 bills for the new General Assembly to consider.

The 118 members of the Illinois House of Representatives took a collective oath of office  on Wednesday, January 11 in the presence of family and friends in the auditorium complex of the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS).  The new State Senate convened for the first time at the State Capitol on the same day.    Both chambers re-elected their majority leaders.  As part of the ceremony, after taking the oath the new House convened at UIS in its first session of the 2017-2018 period.  Jim Durkin was unanimously reelected as House Republican Leader by his colleagues.   In his inaugural remarks, Leader Durkin redoubled his call for budget reforms to end the current fiscal crisis facing the State.  Durkin also demanded that urgent attention be given to the current wave of homicides and violent crime in Chicago. 

The House Republican Caucus contains 10 new members who attended their first session days this week.  These are freshman members who were elected by their neighbors throughout Illinois, including the Chicago area and Downstate, to fight for economic growth and a taxpayer-friendly government that can live within its means.

SPRINGFIELD – Small business owner and sixth-generation Kendall County resident Keith Wheeler was sworn in for a second term as State Representative for Illinois’ 50th District on Wednesday, joining all 118 members of the House of Representatives for the inaugural of the historic 100th General Assembly at the University of Illinois-Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium in a noon-time ceremony.

Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego)
A small business owner for 26 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 in the job market 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 embracing the needed budget and spending reforms that will get government off the backs of the small business men and women who are the true catalysts of economic growth.”

In his first term, Representative Wheeler introduced and championed legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations on the prosecution of child sex crimes and stiffen the criminal penalties for those convicted of misusing funds or stealing from a nonprofit organization. He successfully passed legislation in 2015 signed into law by the Governor to conduct a full-scale review of all state regulations that are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, or onerous to small business so they can be streamlined or eliminated; a review which identified over 600 such regulations.
By Kared Kidd | Will County Gazette

Rep. Keith Wheeler
GOP legislators in Springfield received their marching orders in November's general election to keep pushing for reform, the newly named House Republican Conference chairman, a lawmaker from Kendall County, said during a recent interview.

"Voters elected more Republicans to the Illinois House in November than we had during my first term," state Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) recently told Will County Gazette. "That is our mandate to keep fighting for reform in Springfield, and as conference chairman, I intend to highlight our shared values and work to bring people together."

While Republicans remain the minority party in the Illinois General Assembly, members now have more incentive to listen, according to Wheeler...
Budget – December 2016 Revenues Again Fall Short 
·         COGFA report continues dismal State revenue picture.  The report by the Illinois General Assembly’s nonpartisan budget office covers State revenues for December 2016.  Although 2016’s final month contained most of the yearend shopping season, State revenues once again fell significantly short of the State’s cash outflows and spending commitments. Net Illinois general funds revenues submitted to the State in December 2016 totaled $2,581 million, down $257 million from the $2,838 million received from the same sources in December 2015 twelve months earlier.  These revenues continued to fall far short of the numbers required to maintain the long-term operations of the State.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego)
NORTH AURORA - State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) was appointed to the post of House Republican Conference Chairman today, a nearly unprecedented recognition for a freshman lawmaker just completing their first term in the Illinois General Assembly. Wheeler, a 25-year small business owner and sixth generation Kendall County resident, was first elected in 2014 and reelected in November 2016 to represent the 50th District, which includes portions of Kane and Kendall Counties. 

Rep. Wheeler's appointment was announced by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin on Tuesday. "Keith Wheeler has made a significant impact on the Illinois House of Representatives in just two short years," Leader Durkin said. "In addition to being a vocal and effective advocate for his constituents, Rep. Wheeler has been a leader in our caucus on issues important to Illinois' small business community and reforming the state budget. He has earned this opportunity to play a larger role in shaping policy moving forward as we work together to make Illinois a place where everyone can be proud to live, work and raise a family once again." 
191 new laws take effect January 1, 2017. Here is a preview of 26 Illinoisans should know about:

Social media right to privacy
Public Act 99-610, House Bill 4999
Amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it illegal for an employer or prospective employer to request or require an employee or applicant to access a personal online account (such as Facebook) in the presence of the employer. It is also illegal to request or require that an employee or applicant invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee, or applicant, or join an online account established by the employer. 

Employee Sick Leave Act
Public Act 99-841, House Bill 6162
Under the new law, employees may now use personal sick leave benefits for purposes dealing with a child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or step parent. The employee can use such time as may be necessary on the same terms that employee would use the time for their own illness or injury.