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Governor Rauner has signed into law a bill sponsored by State Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) that provides protections for property owners who have existing mechanics liens on their property.

HB2635, now PA 99-0178, allows landowners to replace a mechanics lien with a surety bond, which would allow the landowner to sell or refinance their property. Typically, when a contractor or subcontractor does not get paid for work done for a landowner, they place a mechanics lien on the property as a means for ensuring payment. If the landowner tries to sell the property at a later date, the lien would have to be settled before a sale could occur. “Unfortunately, there are instances when property owners have work done to prepare a house for sale and are overcharged by disreputable contractors,” said Sandack. “While the claim is being disputed, interested buyers have walked away because the sale could not be completed due to the lien.”

According to the provisions of the new law, a property owner may replace a lien with a surety bond equal to 175% of the lien claim. “Home sales or refinances will no longer be held up in cases of contractual disputes, and contractors who need to recoup costs associated with completed work have a new guarantee for payment for their services,” Sandack said. “The new law adds a much-needed layer of efficiency to the process and allows the economic benefits associated with home sales and refinances not to be stalled.”

PA 99-0178 will take effect on January 1, 2016.
Calling the House Democrats’ belated decision to stop their deceptive pay raise “better late than never,” State Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) on Tuesday applauded his colleagues for doing the right thing with regard to their pay during the current budget impasse.

“For weeks now, the House Republicans have tried to bring our HB4225 to the floor so that lawmakers could reject the automatic pay hike that Democrats snuck into their partisan fiscal year 2015 budget,” said Sandack. “On three separate occasions leading Democrats have blocked our bill and have refused to allow a discussion of the propriety of a pay raise amid this budget crisis. Now, due to mounting pressure from constituents who are appalled that their legislators would consider taking a pay raise, those same lawmakers are now scurrying for cover, because today Speaker Madigan brought forth his own bill that is almost identical to what we proposed back in May.”

Madigan’s HB576, a bill that originally had nothing to do with legislative pay, was stripped and amended, heard in committee and brought to the floor for a discussion and vote over the course of just a few hours on Tuesday. “Today’s amendment allowed legislators to roll back the legislative raises that Madigan snuck through in last year’s budget,” Sandack continued. “While this vote could have and should have taken place several weeks ago through our HB4225, I was pleased to see that only one Democrat voted against the measure today.”

The bill will be brought to the Senate floor on August 4, which marks the next day that the Senate will be in session, and if passed it will be forwarded to Governor Rauner for his signature.

“It is encouraging to see that Illinoisans are paying attention to the shenanigans that are going on in Springfield,” said Sandack. “Constituents let their Democrat lawmakers know they got their hands caught in the cookie jar have demanded they reverse the inappropriate raises they gave themselves.”

To watch Sandack’s floor comments on today’s amendment and vote, click here.
Radogno-Durkin-Sandack Jobs Fair a Huge Success
My 2015 Jobs Fair, which was done in partnership with Republican Senate Leader Christine Radogno and Republican House Leader Jim Durkin, was a huge success last week. The fair featured 120 employers who had 700 positions to fill, and more than 500 job seekers came with resumes in hand, ready to impress potential new employers.

Preliminary numbers show:
  • 1,494 resumes collected
  • 264 provisional job offers extended or firm offers extended on site
  • 216 interviews conducted
  • 375 estimated hires from the event within the next year (Source: IL Dept. of Employment Security)
In addition to the booths staffed by employers, a resume-writing workshop, a discussion on successful interviewing techniques and a networking seminar were also included at the three-hour event. The success of the event exceeded my expectations, and as long as Illinois continues to lag behind almost all other states when it comes to employment, I will continue to host events like these.

Sandack Joins “Stop Domestic Violence” Campaign
Last week I showed my support of Wheaton’s Family Shelter Service and their efforts to stop domestic violence by participating in their “Sign on to Stop Domestic Violence” campaign. I would encourage everyone to also participate in this very worthwhile initiative. All you have to do is post a picture of yourself with a sign containing your own message in calling for the end of domestic violence. On social media, please use the hashtag #signon2stopdv. You can read more about Wheaton’s Family Shelter Service here.

Budget Stalemate Continues in Springfield
As the State of Illinois entered the fourth week of the new fiscal year without a balanced budget in place, the Democrat majority again refused to negotiate in good faith and instead continued their piece-meal approach to the budget crisis.

In the House, Democrats again backed a temporary budget to fund certain services at a level that is not sustainable over the course of the entire fiscal year. House Amendment 1 to HB 4143 was adopted by a narrow majority of Democrats, but did not receive enough votes to be passed on Third Reading.

The Democrat majority continues to insist on spending levels that are unsustainable. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget believes this plan will ultimately require the expenditure of over $36 billion of General Revenue Fund (GRF) taxpayer resources for FY16. The Democrats’ bills march the taxpayers of Illinois toward a $4 billion unbalanced budget one month at a time.

House Republicans continue to stand united in our support for a truly balanced budget that protects the interests of taxpayers, working families and seniors.

Issue of Employee Payroll Continues to Pit AG Madigan against State Workers
With conflicting court rulings over whether state employees should be paid in the absence of a state budget, Comptroller Leslie Munger is continuing to process payrolls to all state employees in their full amounts. At the root of the issue is Governor Rauner, who believes State workers should continue to be paid for work they are doing, and Speaker Mike Madigan and his daughter Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who do not.

On Friday, July 17th the Illinois Supreme Court denied Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s request for direct appeal and consolidation of the two matters involving state employee payroll. Also on the 17th, the First District Appellate Court (Cook County) issued an order vacating the temporary restraining order limiting payroll to the federal minimum wage and returned the matter to the Circuit Court for evidentiary hearings in support of the relief requested by the Attorney General.

House Democrats Block Republican Efforts to Stop Automatic Pay Hikes for Lawmakers
Last week I led a House Republican effort to block automatic pay raises that members of the General Assembly will receive this week. In May, House Republicans filed HB 4225, which would have prohibited automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for lawmakers in FY16. The bill was stuffed in the House Rules Committee and never scheduled for a hearing.

On the Floor July 21, I pointed to a procedural rule that allows for bills to be removed from the Rules Committee and brought directly to the House Floor for debate. In fact, my July 21 attempt represented my third try to discharge HB4225 from the Rules Committee so that we could reject legislative pay raises. It also marked the third time that leading Democrats have denied that request.

The original bill that provided for automatic COLAs on top of guaranteed salaries for legislators was pushed through last year solely by Democrats and it appears they are going to ensure they get their raises in spite of the current budget gridlock. It is unconscionable that the Democrats would even consider accepting a pay raise at this time. I will continue to urge Speaker Madigan to demonstrate some fiscal responsibility by releasing HB4225 from Rules so we can reject raises and allocate those dollars where they can best help our communities. Because, at this time, we are unable to stop the raises, I plan to donate an amount equal to my COLA to a local charity. To listen to a recent interview on the issue, click here.

Illinois Medicaid Expansion Sign-Ups Double Predictions
Illinois is among a dozen states where the number of new enrollees surpassed projections for the expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health law. While the surge in sign-ups lifts the number of insured people, it has also stoked worries about the future cost to taxpayers.

Illinois and Cook County eventually will have to bear 10 percent of the cost of expanding the safety-net insurance program for the poor. The federal government agreed to pay all costs for the expansion through 2016, but it will begin lowering its share in 2017.

More than twice as many Illinois residents have enrolled under the expansion than was projected by former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's administration. It expected 298,000 people to sign up in 2015, but 623,000 newly eligible Illinoisans enrolled by the end of June. Sign-ups have outstripped forecasts in at least a dozen states, according to a new analysis by The Associated Press.

With more people getting free health care, costs to Illinois and Cook County will increase as the federal government scales back what it pays from 100 percent to 90 percent by 2020. In 2020, the Medicaid expansion will cost the state $208.6 million and Cook County $72.6 million, according to new projections from Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration. That year, the federal government's share of the Medicaid expansion costs will be $3.03 billion.

New Law Should Prevent Welfare Benefits From Going to the Deceased
Only in Illinois do we need an actual law to force the end of a current practice of accidentally doling out welfare benefits to dead people.

Under legislation sponsored by State Rep. Dwight Kay and signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Department of Human Services will begin a monthly review of state death records to determine if any of the deceased are still receiving aid. The new program comes on the heels of two audits showing that millions of taxpayer dollars had been paid out to people who were no longer living.

In February, Auditor General William Holland found that the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services last year paid out $3.7 million for medical services to 1,111 people who already had been recorded as dead. That came after Holland found the state had overpaid $12.3 million for medical care to 2,850 dead people in 2013. State officials blamed the problem on an antiquated computer system.

Grants Available to Downers Grove Charities
The Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club (DGJWC) has announced that it is making available grant funding of up to $10,000 in support of local charity projects. The funds are targeted toward local Not-For-Profits throughout Downers Grove and the broader Dupage County community that demonstrate a need for a project or service not readily available elsewere. Applications must be received by August 7, and three finalists will be selected and asked to present their proposal. Following the presentations, members of the DGJWC will vote and award the grant money.

Applicants will be judged on a variety of criteria including the relativity of the project to the mission of the Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club, which is, service towards women, children and/or families in need within the community. Other considerations for award include, but are not limited to,
  • Non-profit status under the Internal Revenue Service code
  • Summary of the target population benefiting from the grant
  • Description of the product or service and details for how grant funds will be used
  • Explanation of plan to effectively execute the project
  • Proof of organizational structure and description of responsible financial management /policies
  • Outline of plan for project evaluation with outcome measurements
Link here to the grant application, or for more information visit the Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club website.
A jobs fair hosted this week by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and State Representative Ron Sandack was a huge success.

The fair featured 120 employers who had 700 positions to fill, and more than 500 job-seekers came with resumes in hand, ready to impress potential new employers. “I was very pleased with the turnout, and hope we had many instances where people looking for work were matched with businesses and companies that want to hire them,” said Sandack. “I’m sure many left the fair with several quality prospects for employment.”

In addition to the booths staffed by employers who were hiring, a resume-writing workshop, a discussion on successful interviewing techniques and a networking seminar were included at the three-hour event.

The jobs fair was free to the public, and Sandack said he will partner with Republican Leaders Durkin and Radogno again next year to sponsor a similar event. “Unfortunately, Illinois lags behind almost all other states when it comes to employment,” Sandack said. “Events like these are a great way to bring employers and those who want to work together.”
State Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) led a House Republican effort today to block automatic pay raises that members of the General Assembly are set to receive next week.

In May, House Republicans filed HB4225, which would prohibit automatic cost-of-living-adjustments for lawmakers in FY16. The bill was stuffed in the House Rules Committee and never scheduled for a hearing.

Pointing to a House procedural rule that allows for bills to be removed from the Rules Committee and brought directly to the House Floor for debate, Sandack said it is unconscionable for legislators to even consider taking a pay raise during the current budget impasse. “We’re in the midst of a budget crisis and we need to let Illinoisans know that we take their problems seriously and that we are willing to share in the sacrifice,” said Sandack. “The original bill that provides for automatic cost-of-living-adjustments on top of guaranteed salaries for legislators was pushed through solely by Democrats and it appears they are going to ensure they get their raises in spite of this budget gridlock. It’s appalling.”

In comments made during his motion to release HB4225 from the Rules Committee, Sandack asked Speaker Madigan to show some fiscal responsibility and allow lawmakers to reject raises while the budget crisis continues. “Unfortunately, the Speaker and his colleagues on the left side of the aisle wouldn’t even let the bill out of committee so we could have a hearing on the propriety of a raise amid this budget impasse,” Sandack added.

Today in Springfield, State Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) attempted to halt automatic pay increasess that lawmakers will receive next week by asking that a bill that would prohibit the increases be heard on the House floor.

Calling the Democrats' refusal to hear or discuss HB4225 "unconscionable," Sandack urged Speaker Madigan to show some fiscal responsibility and release HB4225 from the Rules Committee so that lawmakers could vote to reject the automatic pay raises during the current budget crisis. Democrat leaders called Sandack's request "out of order," and refused to allow HB4225 to be debated.

You can hear additional comments by Rep. Sandack on the issue here.

Representative Sandack encourages his friends and neighbors to "Sign on to Stop Domestic Violence."

To you show your support and take part in this campaign, post a picture of yourself with a sign containing your own message in calling for the end of domestic violence. On social media, be sure to include the hashtag #signon2stopdv to join the movement.

Read more about the Family Shelter Service and their mission to end domestic violence.