SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, issued the following statement in response to final passage of a state budget for Fiscal Year 2019 today by the Illinois General Assembly:

"This budget fails to enforce a spending cap, which is a needed backstop protection for taxpayers to ensure the state lives within its means during the entire year. While I am grateful that Illinois has approved a budget on-time this year, it is disappointing that the budget process did not allow for collaboration amongst all legislators through the normal committee process, which would have allowed each of us to advocate for families, taxpayers and service providers in our districts, including those right here in the Fox Valley. What we got instead was a top-down process, which unfortunately does not serve the best interests of Illinois families or our local communities. For that reason, I was compelled to vote No.”


State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, speaks during debate in opposition to HR 1025, a resolution calling for Illinois to implement a Progressive Income Tax system.

 

Rep. Keith Wheeler
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday, House Bill 4100, aimed at protecting nurses and other health care workers in Illinois hospitals, clinics, veterans homes and correctional facilities from violent acts committed by patients or inmates. State Representative Keith R. Wheeler, R-Oswego, is Chief Co-sponsor of the legislation which now heads to the State Senate for approval.

Specifically, Representative Wheeler’s legislation would mandate that all health care employers implement workplace violence programs. It also includes protections for whistleblowers who file a complaint, report allegations of misconduct, or provides information or testimony in any investigation, hearing, or inquiry with regard to a violation of the law at any licensed health care facility; including hospitals, any facility licensed under the MC/DD Act* or ID/DD Community Care Act**, or an Illinois  veterans home.

“Our hardworking and dedicated nurses and other health care workers put themselves at physical risk each and every day treating patients either in a hospital setting or in an Illinois correctional or juvenile justice facility,” Representative Wheeler said. “These men and women deserve to work in an environment that looks out for their physical well-being and ensures protections for those who report lapses within the system.”

CRIMINAL LAW
·        Governor Rauner proposes major public safety package to reinstate death penalty and extend 72-hour wait to all guns.  Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked the Illinois General Assembly to reinstate the death penalty for mass murderers and those who kill law enforcement officers.

The proposal is part of a precedent-setting public safety initiative that the Governor unveiled in an amendatory veto (AV) of House Bill 1468 which also urges legislators to:

o   Extend the 72-hour waiting period for delivery of all gun purchases in Illinois.
o   Ban bump stocks and trigger cranks.
o   Authorize restraining orders to disarm dangerous individuals.
o   Make judges and prosecutors more accountable by making them explain – on the record – why charges are reduced in plea agreements for violent offenders in gun cases.
o   Free up local revenue to hire resource officers and mental health workers to help intervene and prevent student violence before it occurs.

“Gun violence has rocked the nation and our state,” Rauner said. “This is a responsible, bipartisan approach to the problem that will help ensure the safety and security of our children, our peacekeepers, our families, and our communities in Illinois.”

PUBLIC HEALTH
·        Better Care Illinois Behavioral Health Initiative announced.  Gov. Bruce Rauner announced this week that Illinois has received federal approval to launch a sweeping $2 billion behavioral health initiative designed to deliver better outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders. 

The Better Care Illinois Behavioral Health Initiative is the culmination of a 30-month long Rauner administration effort to involve state health agencies, legislators and behavioral health organizations in a coordinated plan to help people with disorders that require treatment of the whole person.

BUDGET
·        Revenue numbers published for April 2018.  The numbers for State of Illinois revenues were published by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), the nonpartisan budgeting arm of the Illinois General Assembly.  COGFA works with the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and other State agencies to track Illinois general funds revenues on a month-to-month basis.  The data gathered by COGFA is reported to the General Assembly annually and is supposed to be used by the House and Senate to adopt a revenue estimate to control spending in the appropriations process.