Latest News


Sandack Sponsors Toys for Tots Drive
This week, as we give thanks for our blessings, it is also a good time to take action  to brighten the holidays for those who are less fortunate. This year I am once again partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps and with Critical Technology Solutions and the Lemon Tree Grocer of Downers Grove for a Toys for Tots drive. Please consider delivering a new, unwrapped toy for a child to one of the following three Downers Grove locations any time between now and December 13:

 Representative Ron Sandack

Critical Technology Solutions
Lemon Tree Grocer
  633 Rogers Street, Suite 103
1247 Warren Ave
935 Burlington
10:00am-3:00pm

8:30am-5:00pm
8:00am-9:00pm
General Assembly Convenes for First Week of Veto Session
Lawmakers were in Springfield last week to consider vetoes by the Governor while addressing other pressing issues of public concern. In addition to time spent on the House floor, 11 House Committees held meetings to look at vetoed bills and other issues. Legislators are in their home districts this week, but return to Springfield for the final three days of Veto Session the first week of December.

Senate Bill 16 Takes Center Stage at State Capitol
Hundreds Gather for Marathon Hearing
On Tuesday I was part of a joint committee hearing where 5 ½ hours of testimony was received on the controversial school funding reallocation bill SB16. Every chair in Capitol Hearing Room 114 was filled, and at least 100 additional people who couldn’t find a seat gathered in the hallway.

32 different groups brought individuals forward to testify. Speakers included education experts from the Illinois State Board of Education and the School Management Alliance, many school superintendents, students and representatives from school funding advocacy groups. While those who spoke included both proponents and opponents, the majority of those who offered testimony said they were glad to see the topic of education funding being discussed in earnest, but that SB16 is not the solution. Most said the solution must address equity and adequacy so that the new formula does not simply create a new list of winners and losers. I couldn't agree more.

More than 8,500 Witness Slips Part of Official Record
Thank you to everyone who took the time to file on-line witness slips in opposition to SB16. At the start of the hearing, there were well over 7,000 opponent slips and only about 1,500 proponent slips submitted. In my time in the General Assembly, I know of no other instance when more than 8,500 people weighed in on a piece of legislation. Through those 7,000+ opponent slips, you made a loud statement that cannot be ignored. Because of the significant amount of resistance to the bill, it appears SB16 will not advance. However, the bill is not “dead” until the close of the day on January 13, so I would encourage everyone to remain engaged in the process of helping me keep this bill from coming to the House floor for a vote.

House Republicans File Legislation to Form Committee to Explore School Funding Issues and Solutions
Because the topic of education reform deserves a full, thoughtful, and thorough discussion by all members of the General Assembly, House Republicans have filed a piece of legislation to create the House Education Funding Advisory Committee. Through HR1335, an eight-member bipartisan panel would be charged with conducting a thorough review of the funding distribution methods and expenditures of education funding and making recommendations to implement a new education funding system. Building on the progress already made by the Senate Education Funding Committee, the House Education Funding Advisory Committee would seek input from stakeholders and members of the public on issues and possible improvements to the existing funding system. Both committees would be encouraged to meet together to discuss their findings and make joint recommendations to members of the General Assembly. I am a Chief Co-Sponsor of HR1335.

Jim Durkin Elected to Full Term as House Republican Leader
On Wednesday, the 47 members of House Republican Caucus of the upcoming 99th General Assembly unanimously elected JimDurkin (R-Burr Ridge) as Minority Leader. In January, Durkin will enter into his second full year as leader of his Caucus. The Illinois Constitution asks the House members of both political parties to choose a leader, and gives responsibilities to both. Durkin will be tasked with leading a fresh-faced Republican Caucus, with 12 of the 47 members beginning their first terms in the House of Representatives. The 99th General Assembly will serve from January 14, 2015 until January of 2017.

Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Urges Hiring Freeze, Further Fills Transition Committees
Faced with a multi-billion-dollar hole in the State Budget, Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner pushed strongly last week for the State to impose a hard freeze on the hiring of additional permanent civil service employees during the transition period. Until January 12, outgoing Governor Pat Quinn remains the chief executive, and his State departments will have the right to hire new employees, make appointments, and grant promotions to existing employees.

Only 15 days after his election as Illinois’ incoming chief executive, Bruce Rauner and running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti announced the co-chairs of ten new transition policy committees. The move adds 37 additional voices to the team advising Rauner as he and his team prepares to take the helm in Springfield. The new committees will concentrate on specific issues facing Illinois and its residents. Overall issue areas include agriculture, public safety and veterans.

University of Illinois Names Timothy Killeen as New President
The State University of New York (SUNY) Vice Chancellor was named last week as the 20th president of the University of Illinois. A physicist and engineer, Killeen specialized in atmospheric research, with frequent contact with challenges in meterology. Spending much of his research career at the University of Michigan, he authored more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals. As his research career continued, Killeen moved into the second half of his career toward administrative responsibilities. As president of SUNY’s Research Foundation, he took on an executive role in the development and monetization of U.S. higher education research.

The U of I has three primary campuses at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. It also oversees numerous satellite medical campuses, institutes and affiliated facilities. With more than 78,000 students, it is one of the highest-profile universities in the United States.

Illinois Judge Rules Pension Fix “Unconstitutional”
In the first step of what is likely to be a lengthy process, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John W. Belz ruled on Friday that the pension overhaul approved by the General Assembly in 2013 violated a clause in the State Constitution that makes pensions “an enforceable contractual relationship” that cannot be impaired or diminished. Attorney General Lisa Madigan quickly announced she would appeal the decision to the State Supreme Court. Lawmakers felt all along that regardless of the Circuit Court ruling, the pension lawsuit would ultimately end up being decided by the Supreme Court.

Official Unemployment Rate Remains at 6.6%
The new figures, which cover October2014, were released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security on November 20. The state’s official job counters tallied the Illinois labor force at 6,531,100, of whom 429,000 are unemployed. The ratio of officially unemployed persons to the State’s total non-agricultural labor force generated the 6.6% figure, which was unchanged from the September 2014 numbers. In addition, many hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans are involuntarily working in part-time jobs or have withdrawn from the labor force entirely. Many veterans, parents of young children, persons with specialized skills, and persons burdened by student loans are numbered among the jobless.

Fraud Scheme Uncovered in Chicago Area
Chicago-area municipalities were the target of an alleged swindle being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the office of the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois. The lost money was invested in the Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund (IMET), which manages approximately $1.5 billion on behalf of Illinois local governments to invest dollars for an intermediate-term rate of return. Approximately 293 Illinois municipalities are affected by the alleged fraud. These are local governments that invested money in a fund within IMET which, in turn, allocated part of its holdings to the fraudulent scheme. The Illinois Municipal League is looking into how to prevent these activities in the future.

Negotiations Continue on Ridesharing Bill in Veto Session
Language enacted by the General Assembly in spring of 2014 to further regulate Internet-platform and social-network-oriented ridesharing firms such as Uber was vetoed by outgoing Governor Pat Quinn. As the General assembly moves toward the final week of Veto Session, negotiations continue on the development of a policy compromise to further regulate this fast-growing industry. Challenges facing future rideshare regulators include oversight of the drivers’ license status of ridesharing drivers, oversight of the drivers’ insurance status, mandated serve by ridesharing firms to underserved areas and wheelchair accessibility. The vetoes ridesharing bills are HB4075 and HB5331
School funding reform and SB16 continue to be polarizing issues in Illinois. On Tuesday, a joint meeting of the House Elementary & Secondary Education and Appropriations- Elementary & Secondary Education Committees was held, and testimony was gathered for 5 ½ hours. While claims were reiterated by the House sponsor of the bill (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) that SB16 would not be called for a vote anytime soon, it became very clear even before the committee hearing started that there are some legislators on the joint committee who are indeed eager for the bill to be passed sooner rather than later. An hour before the hearing began, several House members joined citizens from Chicago and downstate school districts for a rally in support of SB16 in the Capitol rotunda. Legislators, including some who serve on the Education committees, said passing SB16 was a priority. For that reason, I believe the bill is still very alive and urge everyone to remain engaged in the effort to stop it. Especially as we look toward a January Lame Duck Session, anything can happen.

At the marathon hearing, 32 different groups brought individuals forward to testify. Speakers included education experts from the Illinois State Board of Education and the School Management Alliance, many school superintendents, students and representatives from school funding advocacy groups. While those who spoke included both proponents and opponents, the majority of those who offered testimony said they were glad to see the topic of education funding being discussed in earnest, but that SB16 is not the solution. Most said the solution must address equity and adequacy so that the new formula does not simply create a new list of winners and losers. I couldn't agree more.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to file on-line witness slips in opposition to SB16. At the start of the hearing, there were well over 7,000 opponent slips and only about 1,500 proponent slips submitted. In my time in the General Assembly, I know of no other instance when more than 8,500 people weighed in on a piece of legislation. Through those 7,000+ opponent slips, you made a loud statement that cannot be ignored.

Because the topic of education reform deserves a full, thoughtful, and thorough discussion by all members of the General Assembly, House Republicans have filed a piece of legislation to create the House Education Funding Advisory Committee. Through HR1335, an eight-member bipartisan panel would be charged with conducting a thorough review of the funding distribution methods and expenditures of education funding and make recommendations to implement a new education funding system. Building on the progress already made by the Senate Education Funding Committee, the House Education Funding Advisory Committee would seek input from stakeholders and members of the public on issues and possible improvements to the existing funding system. Both committees would be encouraged to meet together to discuss their findings and make joint recommendations to members of the General Assembly. I am a Chief Co-Sponsor of HR1335.

Illinois' economic diversity makes issues like school funding incredibly difficult to resolve; however this topic is too important to be rushed. I look forward to continuing this discussion with all stakeholders, members of the public, and my colleagues in the General Assembly, so that together we can find a consensus on school funding that benefits everyone.



Lawmakers return to Springfield this week for the 2014 Veto Session. During the 2014 Spring Session, Governor Quinn issued either a partial or full veto of ten bills. He also issued a line item veto in relation to one of the FY15 appropriations bills (HB3793). Some of the vetoes were at the request of bill sponsors, but vetoed items of interest are summarized below:

HB3796: This bill seeks to protect units of government from those who abuse the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and are chronic filers of requests that overburden municipal employees. The bill would not affect those citizens who take an interest in issues and file FOIA requests in good faith. The Governor issued a full veto, claiming it decreased transparency.

HB4075: The Governor also issued a full veto of this bill, which seeks to add regulations to for-profit commercial transportation providers such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. The bill was an initiative of the association which includes almost all of the taxi cab companies in Chicago. Ridesharing companies oppose the bill because they feel it favors the current taxi cab companies while discouraging healthy competition within the transportation industry. Quinn also issued a full veto to a trailer bill, HB5331, which attempts to address the concerns expressed by the ridesharing industry about HB4075. In both cases, the Governor said he felt transportation issues were best left to local control.

SB930: Governor Quinn issued a full veto of this measure, which would increase the speed limit for semi-trucks and school buses on interstate highways in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties to 60 mph from the current limit of 55 mph. Quinn cited vehicle safety concerns in his veto statement.

SB2015: This bill seeks to increase the speed limit for cars on all highways under the jurisdiction of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority to 70 mph. Last year a law was passed that increased the speed limit to 70 mph on highways outside of urban districts, and the new law would create consistency. The Governor issued a full veto of the bill.

SB2664: This bill amends the Condominium Property Act to provide that a purchaser of a condo unit in foreclosure is only required to pay nine months of any past-due assessments to the association. Governor Quinn issued an amendatory veto which adds an additional requirement for the mortgagee of the property requiring the bank holding the mortgage to pay any liens on the property. Quinn said this was necessary because he felt SB2664 as approved in the House and Senate did not do enough to protect condo associations from losing payments of past-due assessments and fees when foreclosed condos are sold.

In addition to the above items, which are expected to come before legislators during Veto Session, the following items of interest may also be debated either during Veto Session or during an early January Lame Duck Session:

Tax Hike Extension
Governor Quinn and Democrat leaders might push legislation to extend the 2011 temporary income tax increase, which is scheduled to partially repeal on January 1, 2015. The current temporary individual income tax is 5% and the corporate income tax rate is 7%. If the temporary income tax increase expires, the individual and corporate rates will fall to 3.75% and 5.25%, respectively.

Tax Policy Changes
In December 2013, House Speaker Mike Madigan announced that he was creating a joint committee on tax policies with the goal of enacting revenue-neutral tax policies. Members of the State Government and Revenue Committees met jointly several times between January and May and subsequently filed a report summarizing the testimony taken and issues discussed during their hearings.

It is anticipated that the Democrats will propose revenue-neutral tax policy changes the could include: the repeal of the Corporate Franchise Tax, the creation of a new “alternative minimum tax” on businesses based on payroll, an R&D Tax Credit extension and modernization, a Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit extension, a reduction to corporate income tax rate, and a reduction of LLC filing fees.

Pension Cost Shift
Speaker Madigan will likely renew his efforts to shift the normal pension costs from the state to school districts, community colleges, and universities. In FY15, it is estimated that a shift would have a $1.1 billion impact on locals and public universities.

Education Funding Reform
SB 16, a bill that would dramatically rewrite the funding formula used to disperse General State Aid to Illinois school districts, passed in the IL Senate in May. At the time, Senators were urged to vote in favor of the bill to “keep the education funding conversation going.” Over the summer, House Democrat members met secretly with education groups in anticipation of reviving SB 16.

As written, SB16 adds no new funding for Education; it simply reallocates existing resources in a manner that is very punitive to most collar county school districts that are deemed “wealthy” by the State. The following chart outlines how the school districts within IL House District 81 would be impacted by SB16:

District Name
SB16 Change in Funding
% Change in Funding
Change Per Student
Naperville 203
-$9,441,776
-76.1%
-$564
Downers Grove 58
-$2,180,761
-73.2%
-$483
Darien 61
-$1,375,861
-83.0%
-$858
Downers Grove 99
-$3,019,941
-77.1%
-$595
Center Cass 66
-$615,214
-76.9%
-$589
Woodridge 68
-$3,212,670
-87.4%
-$1,211

On September 19th, I filed HR 1276, which urges the General Assembly to cease their efforts to pass SB16 to make certain that all aspects of the Senate Education Funding Advisory Committee report are analyzed and discussed thoroughly and publicly by all members of the General Assembly, taxpayers, parents, and the education community. A subject matter hearing for SB16 will be held on Tuesday, November 18 in Springfield. The timing of the hearing suggests a plan is in place for the bill to move either during Veto Session or during the Lame Duck Session.

Minimum Wage Hike
This issue appeared on the November 4 ballot as an advisory referendum. It was approved by 67% of the voters. There will likely be another push to increase the minimum wage for employees over the age of 18 from $8.25 an hour to $10. The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25. During the Spring Session there were not enough votes in the General Assembly to pass a minimum wage increase.

Surcharge on Millionaires
Speaker Madigan unsuccessfully proposed to change the Illinois Constitution to impose a 3% additional income surcharge on individuals earning $1 million and above. Instead an advisory referendum was placed on the November ballot, and 63% of Illinois’ voters voted in favor of the measure. It is anticipated that the Speaker will renew his efforts to pass the initiative. The surcharge would raise $800 million in revenue for education.

Equal Rights Amendment
SJRCA 75 is a constitutional amendment that seeks to add Illinois to the list of states that have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for inclusion in the United States Constitution.

Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program
SB 2758 creates the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act. The bill establishes an automatic payroll deduction IRA program for private-sector employees that will be overseen by the Treasurer, Comptroller, GOMB, and 7 gubernatorial appointees. Businesses with 25 or more employees are required to automatically set up the payroll deductions unless the employee opts out.

Opponents believe that the bill represents a mandate on employers who are already buried in state and federal paperwork. Those who oppose the bill also feel the state should not be in the business of establishing IRA programs for the private sector.

Cook County Pension Reform
Cook County continues to advocate for a pension reform bill in an effort to save the County from further credit downgrades. Although a Cook County pension reform bill, HB 1154 passed in the Senate, it did not have enough votes to pass the House. There will likely be another attempt to move this type of reform legislation.

Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit Extension
The Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit (MPC) expired on August 31, 2014. There were several attempts to pass the MPC extension over the course of the 2013 Veto Session and the 2014 Spring Session. It is expected that there will be another push to extend the MPC during Veto Session that will be retroactive to the purchases after August 31st.

The MPC is a sales-tax-relief credit granted to qualifying manufacturers in Illinois. It is earned when a manufacturer purchases manufacturing or graphic arts machinery and equipment that qualify for existing sales/use tax exemptions. Approximately 500 manufacturing firms qualify for the credit. When a manufacturer earns MPC credits, the firm may use these credits to pay State sales or use taxes on future purchases of qualifying production-related tangible personal property. Many legislators fear that this bill, which is a good idea, will be tacked onto a bad piece of legislation.

Repeal Premium Tax on Industrial Insured’s Captive Insurance
It is expected that legislation will move to reverse the tax hike provisions in SB 3324, which passed the Senate and House unanimously and was signed into law as P.A. 98-978. The bill was a Department of Insurance initiative that was presented to the General Assembly as clarifying an already existing law that surplus line insurance procured from an unauthorized insurer is subject to a 3.5% tax.

The Department’s fact sheet on SB 3324 made no mention of a new tax, closing a loophole, or captive insurance arrangements. The Department now claims that SB 3324 institutes a new tax that applies to an industrial insured’s captive insurance premiums. Examples of industrial insureds that use captive insurance include the City of Chicago airports, cyber liability policies and contractors, nursing homes, and restaurants/taverns that receive more than 25% of their revenue from alcohol sales. When it was discovered that the intention of the bill is to place a tax on industrial insured’s premiums it became apparent that the Department was either disingenuous at the time of SB 3324’s passage or is overaggressive in its interpretation of the bill.

House Republican members actively pursued an amendatory veto of the bill to remove the tax provisions. On August 15th, however, the Governor chose to sign the bill despite business and industry pleas. In response, the House Republican Caucus sent a letter to the Governor and to the director of the Department of Insurance formally requesting that the Department reverse its interpretation of a law that otherwise will increase taxes on Illinois employers. In addition, the House Republican Caucus filed HB 6302 on September 22nd to repeal the tax increase.

Eavesdropping/Police Body Camera Legislation
Legislators have been working on legislation that would create a comprehensive framework for an Illinois eavesdropping statue, including provisions that would govern the use of body cameras by police. The Illinois Supreme Court in March 2014 struck down the state's eavesdropping law, saying it is too broad. Since then, legislators have been working to reach consensus on an eavesdropping law. In addition, HBs 5803 and 5804 are shell bills to authorize and fund police body cameras. The two bills have been posted in the Judiciary Committee for a hearing on November 19th. Many believe, however, that legislation will start in the Senate.




State Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) joined Republican lawmakers from across the state on Friday in hosting free Diabetes screening events. The Sandack event, held at Neuco in Downers Grove, was very successful, with 46 employees receiving free diabetes screenings.

"November 15 is World Diabetes Day, and it is important to bring awareness to this condition which affects more and more people every year," said Sandack. "An estimated 800,000 Illinoisans are currently living with diabetes and up to 500,000 of them don't even know they have it."

Sandack partnered with DuPage Immediate Care of Oakbrook Terrace for the two-hour screening event. “Everyone should have a baseline blood glucose test to determine their risk for diabetes,” said Sandack. “With proper diet and exercise, most incidences of diabetes can be managed so that negative side effects can be avoided."

Type I diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Type II diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or when cells ignore insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy.



As you know, SB16 has the potential to severely impact the amount of General State Aid our suburban schools receive. Specifically, schools located in IL House District 81 stand to lose millions under the provisions of SB16:

District Name
SB16 Change in Funding
% Change in Funding
Change Per Student
Naperville 203
-$9,441,776
-76.1%
-$564
Downers Grove 58
-$2,180,761
-73.2%
-$483
Darien 61
-$1,375,861
-83.0%
-$858
Downers Grove 99
-$3,019,941
-77.1%
-$595
Center Cass 66
-$615,214
-76.9%
-$589
Woodridge 68
-$3,212,670
-87.4%
-$1,211

We should all be outraged about this.

Late last Friday a notice was posted scheduling SB16 for a subject matter hearing on Tuesday, November 18, at 3:00 PM in the Capitol. In addition to providing an opportunity for interested persons to testify either in favor of or against a proposed bill in person, the General Assembly also provides an opportunity for testimony to be submitted by people who are unable to attend a hearing. If you are interested in making sure your opinion is part of the official record for SB16, here are the steps for submitting written testimony:

1.   Go to www.ilga.gov

2. Scroll down the page and click on GA Dashboard (in red ink along the left side of the page)

3. Click on the Register icon and fill in your information (registration is recommended but not required)

4. Click on House, Committee Hearings, and then on the “Month” tab

5. Click on the piece of paper icon to the right of the listed hearing (November 18th, Appropriations- Elementary & Secondary Education)

6. Click on Create witness slip

7. Fill out the form

8. In the “subject matter” portion click “opponent”

9. Under “Testimony” you can have your written comments supplied to all committee members. This is optional. Interestingly, they do not accept emailed testimony. You can fax your written statement to 217-557-2165 or you may mail it to Illinois State House, Room 426, 401 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62706. Make sure that your written testimony is clearly marked at the top of the page: SB16 Testimony, and your name.

10. Fill in verification code

11. Click the box to accept the terms

12. Click Submit

*If registered, you can go back and adjust your witness slip. If you do not register, once it is submitted you may not change your witness slip.

If you have additional questions about the process, please visit the FAQ page at: http://my.ilga.gov/Home/FAQ .


Sandack Co-Sponsors Bill to Provide New Protections for Schools against Unfunded Mandates
When school started across Illinois this year, districts had 24 new unfunded mandates that had to be implemented. These requirements were passed along to school districts with no accompanying revenue source. Last Wednesday I signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that would help protect school districts against future mandates.

HB6315, filed in Springfield on November 5, would end a current practice of unfunded mandates being approved by a committee with no involvement by the General Assembly. Today, the State Board of Education (ISBE) can bring mandates in the form of rules to the State’s Joint Commission onAdministrative Rules (JCAR) for review and approval.  With education dollars in short supply and high demand, passing along these unfunded mandates places a real hardship on schools. Every member of the House and Senate should have an opportunity to weigh in.

As written, HB6315 would amend the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act by providing that for any rule that would affect the operations of school districts, any citizen may request that JCAR determine whether the rule represents an unfunded mandate. If JCAR determines that a rule is indeed an unfunded mandate, JCAR must then halt its consideration until the rule has been approved and acknowledged as an unfunded mandate by a joint resolution of the General Assembly.

I don’t argue that many of the mandates are well-meaning, but school districts are already having a difficult time balancing their budgets. As a General Assembly we need to do what we can to stop heaping new requirements upon them.

Fracking Rules Approved; Jobs and Opportunity Coming to Southern Illinois 
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of extracting fossil fuels from shale rock layers deep within the earth, in places that were once unreachable. A significant deposit of New Albany shale, believed to be oil-rich, lies underneath many counties of southeastern Illinois. Because of the economic boom that has been seen in other states that allow fracking, Illinois approved a strictfracking law in May of 2013. The law directed the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to write the rules that would govern fracking activity in the state. Last week, after 18 months of negotiations and attempts by anti-fracking advocates to encourage the DNR to write rules which effectively banned fracking altogether, final rules were approved.

The approval of the rules marked a key step in unlocking Illinois’ oil-bearing shale for drilling and production.  The new rules will soon be filed with the Secretary of State’s office in their final form, which will in turn green-light the Department to begin accepting and granting permits for drilling.  Actual Illinois drilling activity will remain contingent on the fluctuations of global prices for crude oil.  In addition, anti-fracking advocates have pledged to try to stop the new rules by filing lawsuits in Illinois courts, and tying up the new industry in litigation.    

For more on the approval of the new fracking rules, please visit The Caucus Blog.

Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Names Transition Team; Prepares for January 12 Inauguration 
Preparing for his inauguration as the 42nd Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner hit the ground running last week by naming the five leaders and 26 committee members of his transition team.  Chaired by winning Lieutenant Governor candidate Evelyn Sanguinetti, the transition team will examine the credentials of the men and women of all parties who want to help lead Illinois’s troubled state government from 2015-2019.  The team’s director will be Rauner deputy campaign manager Mike Zolnierowicz, who, on Friday, was also named as Rauner’s Chief of Staff for his four-year term.  Names familiar to Illinois on the full transition team include former Governor Jim Edgar, Congressman Aaron Schock, former congressman Glenn Poshard, and former presidential chief of staff Bill Daley. The complete list of transition team members can be found in the two links found above in this article.

Naming a transition team is traditionally one of the first things done by a successful candidate for executive office.  Bruce Rauner was elected Governor of Illinois on Tuesday, November 4, defeating incumbent Pat Quinn.  Inauguration Day, which is set in Article V of the Illinois Constitution for the second Monday in January, will be held on Monday, January 12, 2015.

General Assembly Continues to Plan Ebola Preparedness
The Appropriations – Human Services Committee will hold a hearing on epidemic preparedness on Monday, November 10, in Chicago.  Asked to testify will be leaders from public-sector agencies tasked with containing Ebola, the Illinois Hospital Association; and representatives from the Illinois primary healthcare sector.  Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Department of Public Health (DPH), has been asked to testify and present an overview of Illinois’ existing preparedness efforts.

The Department is posting their Ebola preparedness initiatives online.  Initiatives include cooperating with the federal Departmentof Homeland Security to identify and isolate potential patients arriving at O’Hare International Airport; rapid transport of potential patients to places of isolation and diagnosis; and, if necessary, compulsory home quarantine of patients and potential patients.  DPH is cooperating with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency should this virus become contagious in Illinois, and IEMA’s director, Jonathan Monken, has also been asked to testify before the Committee.  

The hearing is expected to contain calls by affected professionals and healthcare sectors for more funding to fight Ebola and related healthcare challenges.

Amazon.com Warehouse Plans Announced
The Seattle-based universal retailer Amazon.com has announced plans to open a mega-warehouse in Illinois.  Site selection will soon begin for the Chicago-area facility, which will require a large footprint to meet expected expansion plans.  The $75 million facility, which will be designed to provide for next-day delivery of a wide variety of products available on the firm’s website, could create as many as 1,000 jobs by 2017. 

While Illinois will welcome the jobs and economic activity created by the new facility, a quirk in existing sales tax law could lead to changes in the Amazon store-customer relationship.  Under existing law, if a customer buys something through Amazon.com that is shipped from a warehouse located outside of Illinois, it is the responsibility of the customer to pay sales tax on the item purchased.  The Department of Revenue prints a line on its annual income tax forms for sales taxes due.  If Amazon.com builds a warehouse that is physically located in Illinois, however, the firm will take on the responsibility of charging and collecting sales tax on items purchased for shipment to an Illinois address.  The tax will be identical to that charged by physical brick-and-mortar retailers in the customer’s municipality. 

Happy Veterans Day
Tomorrow the nation will celebrate Veterans Day. I hope you find time to attend a Veterans Day appreciation event, or at least take a few minutes to reflect on the sacrifices and service of those who protect our freedoms. The history of Veterans Day dates back to the end of World War I. The war ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany, went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

 In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
Concerned about the number of unfunded mandates that school districts across Illinois must absorb, State Representative Ron Sandack (R- Downers Grove) has signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that would help protect school districts against future mandates.

HB6315, filed in Springfield on November 5, would end a current practice of unfunded mandates being approved by a committee with no involvement by the General Assembly. “Today, the State Board of Education (ISBE) can bring mandates in the form of rules to the State’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for review and approval,” said Sandack.  “With education dollars in short supply and high demand, passing along these unfunded mandates places a real hardship on schools. Every member of the House and Senate should have an opportunity to weigh in.”

As written, HB6315 would amend the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act by providing that for any rule that would affect the operations of school districts, any citizen may request that JCAR determine whether the rule represents an unfunded mandate. If JCAR determines that a rule is indeed an unfunded mandate, JCAR must then halt its consideration until the rule has been approved and acknowledged as an unfunded mandate by a joint resolution of the General Assembly.

“Each State Representative in Illinois is elected to represent the interests of approximately 108,000 Illinois citizens,” said Sandack. “When these regulations are approved by JCAR and lawmakers are not involved in the process, citizen voices are not being represented.”

According to the Illinois Association of School Boards, there are currently hundreds of unfunded mandates on the books for schools, and this school year alone, districts had to comply with 24 new requirements that did not have funding attached to them.

“I don’t argue that many of the mandates are well-meaning,” said Sandack. “But school districts are already having a difficult time balancing their budgets, and as a General Assembly we need to do what we can to stop heaping new requirements upon them.”