Dear Friends,

May you experience the heart-warming pleasures and cherished memories of special moments shared with the love of family and friends. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season and a New Year full of joy, health and happiness.

Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you in 2016!





Patricia R. "Patti" Bellock
Deputy Minority Leader
State Representative, 47th District

FY16 Budget

  • Legislative leaders meet with Governor Rauner for third time; Madigan a no-show.  The series of budget meetings has brought together Governor Bruce Rauner with Illinois legislative leaders to discuss issues standing in the way of the enactment of constitutional balanced budgets for FY16 and FY17.  The third in this series of meetings was held in Chicago on Thursday, December 17. 

The high-level meeting follows sharp criticisms leveled against the Democrats’ leader in the Illinois House, Speaker Michael Madigan.  The powerful Democratic legislative leader and party chairman had previously told attendees at a gathering, held on Wednesday, December 9 at the City Club of Chicago, that the State needed to look at re-instituting a 5.0% personal income tax rate on individual Illinois incomes.  Madigan’s move in January 2011 to pass a bill to enact the first 5.0% individual income tax rate was the largest tax-hike law in Illinois history.  Speaker Madigan’s spokesman told the press that the House leader would not be able to attend the December 17 meeting and the Speaker was not in attendance.  


State Representative and Deputy House Minority Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) spoke at the recent Illinois celebration of the 104th National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan), where she greeted Director General Calvin Ho. Bellock's district is home to a large number of Asian Americans of Chinese/Taiwanese descent. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) was also in attendance.
FY16 Budget

·         Legislative leaders meet with Governor Rauner for second round of budget talks.  The second week of budget talks took place behind closed doors in Chicago on Tuesday, December 8.  The meeting yielded some mild optimism and word that more talks — including among the Governor’s and legislative staff — are planned for the near future.

The leaders agreed to meet again next week to further discuss the major outstanding budget and budget-related issues facing Illinois.  The State continues to operate in FY16 (began July 1, 2015) without a constitutional balanced budget. 

·         $3.1 billion “other state funds” appropriation bill signed by Governor.  The enactment of SB 2039 appropriated $3.1 billion in what are called “other state funds” which are funds continue to flow into Illinois from taxes and fees other than sales, income, and other general-revenue taxes.  An example of this cash flow is the hundreds of millions of dollars paid annually by motorists who buy diesel fuel and gasoline for their cars and light trucks in Illinois.  Release of this money has been “frozen” so far this year due to the lack of an approved balanced budget.    

Passage of SB 2039 into law unblocked these program lines and allowed the money to flow.  The move released funds for streets, roads, and highways; 9-1-1 call centers; firefighter training; lottery payouts; and other moneys for local first-responders and local governments.  The bipartisan House vote of 107-1-1 was one of the key moves sending this bill to the Governor for his signature.  Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 2039 on Monday, December 7.
Representative Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) celebrates the ribbon-cutting for the new Oak Street bridge in Hinsdale with RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard, village officials and local residents on Tuesday evening. Representative Bellock and then-Senator Dillard were instrumental in securing approximately $9 million in capital funds for the project.
Hinsdale Police Chief Brad Bloom poses with Rep. Bellock and the scissors used for the ribbon-cutting.
Harris Bank in Hinsdale hosted the kickoff for the Ray Graham Association's house walk and bus tour to take a group through town to visit homes that provide services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities . Rep. Bellock got to meet some of the interior decorators for the homes on the house walk, including a home in Downers Grove where some of the adult women with disabilities are local residents enjoying their home in the community.  
 
FY16 Budget

·         Governor Rauner, legislative leaders hold budget summit; December cash flow affects talks.  The summit, which included House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, was held on Tuesday, December 1 at the State Capitol in Springfield.  There was a frank and full exchange of views on issues dividing the four caucuses, including the need for property tax relief, workers’ compensation reform, public-sector labor-management relations, and a reformed system to elect and re-elect State lawmakers. 

As Durkin, Governor Rauner, and other summit leaders met, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced that the State’s revenue picture was improving slightly in December.  Factors affecting State cash flow include the coming of the annual Christmas retail shopping season and larger flows of cash from sales taxes charged on retail goods.  Illinois will be able to make its required December 2015 $560 million contribution to State retirement systems, after delaying the November 2015 pension payment.  However, the Comptroller’s tally of unpaid State bills shows that the State now owes approximately $6.7 billion to providers of goods and services.
WESTMONT – Women In Government (WIG) honored its Legislative Champions during its second annual ‘A Taste of the States’ fundraiser titled “Remember the Past, Embrace the Present, and Inspire the Future” on November 18, 2015 at the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington, D.C.

State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) received WIG’s Legislative Champion Award – Midwestern Region. The award recognizes the female leader who has done the most to advance policy reforms and spearhead new initiatives to improve the quality of life for families in their state. A member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1999, Bellock currently serves as Deputy Minority Leader, the first woman in the history of her caucus to hold that position.
FY16 Budget

·         Leaders’ budget meeting with Governor moved to December 1.  The face-to-face meeting is scheduled to bring together Governor Bruce Rauner and the leaders of the four General Assembly legislative caucuses, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.  Originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 18, the meeting has been reset for Tuesday, December 1.  The new time will allow preparations to continue over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

In addition to budget issues, questions dividing Illinois leaders include workers’ compensation, property tax relief, public-sector labor pay and benefits, tort reform, election process reform, and term limits.  Many key items of House Republican advocacy have been barred from discussion and debate within the Illinois General Assembly in recent years.  The role of House Speaker Madigan has come under discussion as an element in the overall operation of Illinois state government, often characterized in recent years as one of the “worst in the nation.”  Illinois currently has the lowest bond and credit ratings of any of the 50 states. 
Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) shared her expertise on health care policy with women legislators from throughout the country at a Healthcare Summit hosted by Women in Government today. Bellock's landmark legislation – the SMART Act reforming Illinois' Medicaid system and new laws requiring mental health parity and MRSA infection control have all been recognized on a national level.

Women in Government is a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization of women state legislators that provides leadership opportunities, networking expert forums and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues to all 1,783 women state legislators across the United States.

By Jonathan Samples | Bugle Staff

Dozens of residents came out to Ty Warner Park last week to honor area veterans, recognize their courage and show appreciation for the sacrifice made by members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
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“Veterans are our grandpas and grandmas, our dads and our moms, our brothers and sisters, our coworkers, friends and neighbors,” state Rep. Patti Bellock said during the village of Westmont’s Veterans Day ceremony. “They are all our heroes.”
 
Bellock was among several officials who spoke during the Nov. 11 ceremony, which was hosted by American Legion Post 338...
FY16 Budget
·         House Democrats block budget compromise, put politics above solutions.  For months, the Democratic opposition to change in Springfield has called for “reasonable” discussions and compromise regarding the budget impasse.

It’s clear by their actions this week, with a compromise very much on the table, that majority Democrats in the House have absolutely no intention of compromising and would rather put partisan politics above budget solutions.

The Illinois Democrats who have perpetuated this budget impasse are making promises they can’t deliver. They don’t have the votes to increase taxes, so instead of negotiation and compromise, they’ve again created a spectacle in Springfield. They’ve indignantly demanded we pass a budget we can’t afford and have not once offered a way to pay for it.

Without a budget to restrain out-of-control spending, the State’s financial spigot is wide open. A series of judicial actions accompanied by a reckless, piecemeal approach to appropriations has forced spending at levels higher than we’ve ever seen. When projected out over a year, Illinois is on pace to spend $37 billion, over a billion more than last year and nearly $5 billion more that we are projected to take in.

Illinois needs real reforms along with a truly balanced budget, one that sets our priorities and provides for our most vulnerable citizens, while responsibly spending our tax dollars.

Rep. Patti Bellock joined Mayor Ron Gunter and members of the Westmont American Legion Post 338 at the annual Veterans Day ceremony held at Ty Warner Park on Wednesday. Rep. Bellock spoke about the importance of veterans within our community and honoring their service year-round.
FY16 budget – CGFA

·         General Assembly watchdogs chart continued budget picture.  The nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the in-house budget agency of the Illinois General Assembly, released their October 2015 fiscal report this week.  The CGFA “Monthly Briefing” covers ongoing State revenues, particularly key State General Funds revenue numbers, and ongoing trends likely to affect future State revenues.  For example, the October briefing includes a discussion, based on nationwide trends and economic models, of the likely health of the 2015 Christmas retail selling season and its expected impact on State sales tax revenues.

CGFA, working in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Revenue, uncovered continued dismal trends in State revenues this October.  Illinois general funds revenues were $319 million lower in October 2015 (fiscal year 2016) than they had been in October 2014.  General Funds revenues come from income taxes, sales taxes, and other sources.  As in previous months, the decline was paced by a year-over-year shortfall in State personal income tax revenues and corporate income tax revenues.  The accumulated deficit for the four months of FY16 so far experienced is $1,456 million.  The current fiscal year began on July 1, 2015.
By Jessica Cilella, Daily Herald
 
You don't take heroin. Heroin takes you.
 
It's just one of many messages officials familiar with the drug said they wanted to convey to the public during a news conference Wednesday at the Robert Crown Center for Health Education in Hinsdale to mark the state's inaugural Heroin Abuse Awareness Day...
 
[State Rep. Patti] Bellock, who sponsored the resolution to create a statewide Heroin Abuse Awareness Day, recalled that one of the first task force meetings she attended after signing on to help with the heroin problem was titled "Heroin: The Suburban Secret."
 
"It's no longer a secret in our county or in our state," she said. "We have faced it."
OAK BROOK -  State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) invites local residents to attend a town hall meeting on the state budget this Thursday, November 5:

Budget Presentation
Thursday, November 5
10:00am - 11:00am
Oak Brook Village Hall
Samuel Dean Board Room
1200 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook

Representative Bellock will provide an update on the state budget; including a discussion on state spending, taxes, education, human services and much more. Constituents will have an opportunity to ask questions and share feedback on issues of concern. Light refreshments will also be provided.

For questions or more information, please contact Rep. Bellock's office at (630) 852-8633.
FY16 Budget

  • Governor Rauner to chair public meeting with legislative leaders on Nov. 18.  The meeting is expected to examine the delayed FY16 budget process.  Although the FY16 fiscal year began on July 1, 2015, a constitutional balanced budget has not been enacted by the Democrat supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate.  The State has continued to operate under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations, and school appropriations, but this has created many operational problems.  Recipients of State services, and providers of goods and services to the State, have been affected by the lack of a legal budget document. 
Spokespersons for all four legislative leaders, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, expressed positive interest in the meeting. The gathering was requested by a consortium of nonpartisan advocacy groups. Sponsors of the request included the Better Government Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
 
Credit Ratings – FY16 Budget Crisis

·         Fitch, Moody’s downgrade Illinois.  Fitch Ratings, whose credit ratings are closely watched by Wall Street and the global investment community, reduced Illinois’ “general obligation” (GO) bond rating from single-A-minus, the former ranking, to one notch closer to junk-bond status on Monday, October 19.  The new BBB+ rating is only two notches above the lowest investment-grade rating (BBB-) and is three notches above BB+, which signals non-investment-grade (“junk bond”) status.  Illinois’ GO bond rating is the lowest among the 50 states.
Ongoing! Please consider making a donation today!

Rep. Bellock’s Office has signed up to be a drop-off location for local residents wishing to donate items for U.S. troops serving overseas. Donations can be made weekdays at the Westmont Centre, 1 S. Cass Ave, Suite 201 in Westmont. The USO donation box is located in the hall outside Rep. BellocK’s office.

Recommended items for USO Care Packages:

Entertainment: Books, Magazines, Crossword Puzzles, iTunes Gift Cards, Headphones/Ear Buds, DVDs (Movies & TV Series), Video Games
Hygiene Items (smaller, travel size works best): Baby Wipes, Deodorant, Kleenex, Lotion, Toothpaste/Toothbrush, Shampoo, Soap, Female Hygiene Items, Shaving Cream, Razors
Food: Beef Jerky, Powdered Drink Mix, Coffee (Ground & K-Cups), Granola Bars/Protein Bars, Trail Mix/Raisins, Dry Snacks, Mixed Nuts/Peanuts, Fruit Cups
Miscellaneous Items: 3 in 1 Detergent/Fabric Softener/Dryer Sheet, Air Fresheners, International Calling Cards

What NOT to donate – Please do not donate any of the following:

·         Aerosol-type containers
·         Anything that will melt or spoil – shipping can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks
·         Pornography, alcohol, tobacco 
·         Anything fragile or irreplaceable – things break and/or packages are lost or stolen

For questions or more information, please call Rep. Bellock’s Office at (630) 852-8633.
Free resources offered for Seniors, Job Seekers, and Property Tax payers

WESTMONT –Deputy House Minority Leader and State Representative Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) is hosting four different community outreach events October 20-22 in Elmhurst, Hinsdale and Westmont. All events are free and open to the public:

Healthy Living for Seniors: Arthritis, Leukemia & Lymphoma
Tuesday, October 20
10:00AM – 11:30AM
The Abbey – Classroom
407 W. St. Charles Road, Elmhurst

Join senior health advocates for an engaging presentation on living a healthy, active lifestyle with arthritis, leukemia or lymphoma.


Jobs Boot Camp
Presented by DeVry University
Tuesday, October 20
6:00PM – 8:00PM
Westmont Centre (Lower level)
1 S. Cass Ave., Westmont

Sharpen your skills and prepare to compete in today's job market.  This workshop will include resume writing and one-on-one consultations as well as job search strategies, interview preparation and how to utilize social networking tools. *RSVP Required by calling (630) 852-8633.

Casual Conversation & Coffee
Wednesday, October 21
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Wilder Mansion
211 S. Prospect, Elmhurst

At this town hall style event Representative Bellock and her staff are available to answer any questions you may have and assist you with accessing state services. 

Property Tax Workshop
Thursday, October 22
7:00PM – 9:00PM
The Community House
415 W. Eighth St., Hinsdale

Learn how the property tax assessment process works and understand your rights as a homeowner. Learn how to appeal if you believe you are being over-assessed.

“I would like to invite local residents to one or more of the community forums I am hosting this fall,” Rep. Bellock said. “Constituent feedback is a very important aspect of my job as state representative. I enjoy meeting with and listening to local families about their concerns and sharing how my office is able to help.”
LOMBARD - The Legislative Advisory Council created by three local lawmakers presented updates on its research into state issues as it reconvened for a Meeting of the Whole Oct. 5 at Beacon Hill Retirement Community in Lombard.

State Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) said Council members are working with him, State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) to develop new ideas and evaluate current proposals being considered in Springfield. More than 50 local residents attended the meeting.
Rep. Bellock visited two classes at Westmont Jr. High School to discuss civics and state government in Illinois. The students asked outstanding questions and enjoyed having a conversation with their State Representative. As a grandmother and a former teacher herself, Rep. Bellock believes in giving back to the next generation and encouraging their success in the classroom. 

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."
Rep. Bellock joined the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War at Downers Grove's historic Oak Hill Cemetery for the dedication of several new markers on the graves of Civil War veterans. Rep. Bellock would like to thank everyone who made it possible to honor these Union soldiers.

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings and warm wishes for the official start of autumn! I hope this message finds you and your family well. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to one or more of the community forums I am hosting this fall, as well as to update you on recent news and updates of interest.

As you know, the State of Illinois remains mired in an extended budget stalemate now deep into its third month. The most vulnerable children and families in our communities are among the most negatively impacted as each day passes. My focus remains on the needs of these families as budget discussions move forward. I am committed to working with all sides to reach agreement on a budget that meets the state’s most fundamental priorities while respecting taxpayers and making needed reforms.  We continue to insist on reforms that will restore Illinois’ competitive edge in attracting and retaining new private-sector jobs.

As always, please feel welcome to let me know if you have any questions or concerns by calling my District Office at (630) 852-8633 or by e-mailing me at rep@pbellock.com. Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated. Please scroll below for more updates on state and legislative news from the past week.

Respectfully Yours,

Patti Bellock
Deputy Minority Leader
State Representative, 47th District

Save the Date – Upcoming Outreach Events

I cordially invite you to attend one or more of the following events I am hosting in the community:

Healthy Living for Seniors: Arthritis, Leukemia & Lymphoma
Tuesday, October 20
10:00AM – 11:30AM
The Abbey – Classroom
407 W. St. Charles Road, Elmhurst

Join senior health advocates for an engaging presentation on living a healthy, active lifestyle with arthritis, leukemia or lymphoma.

Jobs Boot Camp
Presented by DeVry University
Tuesday, October 20
6:00PM – 8:00PM
Westmont Centre (Lower level)
1 S. Cass Ave., Westmont

Sharpen your skills and prepare to compete in today's job market.  This workshop will include resume writing and one-on-one consultations as well as job search strategies, interview preparation and how to utilize social networking tools. *RSVP Required by calling (630) 852-8633.

Casual Conversation & Coffee
Wednesday, October 21
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Wilder Mansion
211 S. Prospect, Elmhurst

At this town hall style event Representative Bellock and her staff are available to answer any questions you may have and assist you with accessing state services. 

Property Tax Workshop
Thursday, October 22
7:00PM – 9:00PM
The Community House
415 W. Eighth St., Hinsdale

Learn how the property tax assessment process works and understand your rights as a homeowner. Learn how to appeal if you believe you are being over-assessed.

Budget Presentation
Thursday, November 5
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Oak Brook Village Hall – Samuel Dean Board Room
1200 Oak Brook Rd., Oak Brook

Representative Bellock will provide an update on the state budget; including a discussion on state spending, taxes, education, human services and much more.
Rep. Bellock gave the keynote address at the dedication of newly-renamed Sarada Planjery Children’s Respite Home in Lombard, an initiative of the Ray Graham Association. The home is for disabled children under the age of 17 to stay for up to two weeks per-year, providing a much-needed respite for their caregivers. Patti was joined by members of the Planjery family and other dignitaries who attended.


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.  

Rep. Bellock attended the Patriot Day ceremonies in Westmont and Oak Brook on Friday. 

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.
Law Enforcement – Fox Lake Tragedy
·         Illinois House honors Lt. Charles Joseph “G.I. Joe” Gliniewicz.  The Fox Lake Police lieutenant was murdered on the morning of Tuesday, September 1.  Gliniewicz and his family were praised on Wednesday, September 2 by House Republican members John Anthony and John Cabello, who are retired police officers themselves.  The Illinois House was silent as Rep. Anthony, who had been personally acquainted with Gliniewicz, told the body that the veteran of 30 years’ service in law enforcement had been looking forward to retirement with his family.  Rep. Barb Wheeler, who represents Fox Lake, told the House of the lieutenant’s long service to his community.

Since October 1990, the Illinois Capitol has cooperated with the Illinois Police Officers Memorial Committee to honor fallen police officers from forces throughout Illinois.  The memorial, which stands on the southwest corner of the Capitol in Springfield, is visited by officers, troopers, police veterans, and families throughout the State.  All law enforcement officers who have given their lives while in the performance of their duty are eligible to be honored by name at this memorial.  Visitation peaks at the annual Police Memorial Ceremony, traditionally held on the first or second Thursday in May.  The ceremony individually recognizes each addition to the engraved list of the names of the fallen.         
Criminal law – sexual assault – Bellock
·         New law forbids health care hospitals, providers from billing sexual assault survivors for outpatient services.  HB 3848 was signed into law on Monday, August 24.  It creates a billing protocol and a voucher system for hospital emergency and forensic outpatient services provided to sexual assault survivors.  Under this system, these outpatient services will be billed to the State of Illinois or to the survivor’s insurance system, if any. 

Additional language within HB 3848 forbids a provider of health care services to a sexual assault survivor from carrying out certain enumerated aggressive billing and collection procedures for all other non-outpatient services that may have been provided to a survivor, including inpatient services and follow-up healthcare.  Prohibited collection procedures include references to collection agencies or attorneys.  House Republican Representative Patti Bellock was a co-sponsor of HB 3848, which was approved in the Illinois House by a vote of 111-0-0.    
Budget – FY16
·         Governor signs “federal funds” measure pushed by House Republicans. The measure “holds harmless” essential State spending lines that are not burdens on taxpayers who pay income and sales taxes.  SB 2042, as amended in the House on Wednesday, August 12, will “pass through” monies given to Illinois for programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C.   Governor Rauner signed SB 2042 into law on Thursday, August 20.

Although SB 2042 was a Senate bill, the final language approved by the General Assembly and the Governor was developed in the Illinois House after pressure from House Republicans. Led by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, the GOP caucus pointed out that the overall FY16 budget impasse was holding federally-funded programs “hostage.” Even though the underlying money to pay for these federally-funded programs had been paid by Illinois residents as part of their federal tax payments, Washington was not transferring funds for these programs to Springfield until the State’s government countersigned the transfer by assigning the money to legal appropriations line items. SB 2042, as urged and supported by House Republicans, created these line items and will enable this money to be transferred. 

Before passing through the House, SB 2042 was carefully stripped of State taxpayer-funded items that will increase the State’s budget deficit. House Republicans continued to draw attention to the piecemeal FY16 Illinois budget taking shape, but noted that federal dollars should not be subject to the ongoing budget battle in Springfield. The House vote on SB 2042 was 98-0-0.
State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) discussed the status of the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield with WTTW's Phil Ponce on the "Chicago Tonight" program on Monday. Click the link below to watch the interview.


House Republicans Successfully Push Passage of “Federal Funds” Measure
As the Fiscal Year 16 budget showdown continues, House Republicans took the lead last week in keeping a federal-only pass through bill on track, ensuring approximately $5 billion in federal dollars will flow to state agencies and service providers. SB 2042, as amended in the House on Wednesday, August 12, will appropriate federal funds given to Illinois for specific state programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C. The Governor has signaled his support for a “federal funds” budget bill.

Despite unanimous bipartisan passage in the Senate, the original SB 2042 almost failed in the House due to a late amendment added by House Democrats that attempted to hold these federally-funded programs “hostage” to the overall budget impasse. In the end, the majority party yielded and allowed the original federal funds appropriation bill to be voted on by the full House with a handful of Republican suggested additions related to homeland security. AP political writer John O’Connor wrote a good article that explained the issue very well.
General Assembly Pay Freeze
·         House Republicans unanimously co-sponsor bill to block pay increase for FY16; General Assembly approves measure. The automatic 2% “cost of living” pay increase was scheduled to automatically go into effect for the State fiscal year starting July 1, 2015. Many House Republican members do not think the General Assembly deserves to enjoy a pay hike at a time when many Illinois workers have their pay and benefits frozen or cannot find work at all. HB 576 freezes cost-of-living adjustments and other benefit compensations for General Assembly members and other high-ranking elected and appointed State officials in FY16. The bill received final General Assembly approval on Wednesday, August 5, and was sent to the Governor.
House Republicans unanimously supported and helped pass HB 576, and all 47 Republican members were co-sponsors of the measure in the House. The Governor has expressed support for the concept of freezing the pay of Illinois’ top elected officials, and is expected to sign the bill.   
General Assembly Pay
·         House Republicans vote for bill to deny pay increase for selves in FY16. The measure, HB 576, amends State law to block implementation of the automatic pay increases slated to be paid in FY16 to Illinois elected officials. This action is necessary to prevent an annual automatic pay increase from being paid to members of the General Assembly, statewide elected officials, certain Cabinet-level executive branch agency directors and appointees, and county state’s attorneys. Automatic pay increases of this type have been mandated by the Compensation Review Act since 1984.

The increase for FY16, which is designed to help beneficiaries keep up with the level of inflation, is 2.0%. If HB 576 passes through the Senate and is signed by the Governor, this 2.0% pay hike will be blocked for the year. HB 576 also blocks scheduled increases in the legislator per diem and legislative mileage reimbursements that are meant to compensate legislators for their living expenses when living in, or traveling to and from, Springfield and other places of legislative duty. 

The 101-1-0 House vote on HB 576 was held on Tuesday, July 28. Gov. Rauner has signaled his support for blocking these pay hikes, but action on this bill in the state Senate is not certain.  The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, August 4. 
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 101-1 to reject the automatic 2% legislative pay raise scheduled to go into effect at the end of this month. HB 576 was co-sponsored by Deputy House Minority Leader and State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale). The legislation also prevents increases in mileage, lodging and meal reimbursements for the remainder of the new fiscal year that began on July 1.

“At a time when children and families in need are at risk of being cut off from the services they depend on for an extended period and as homeowners continue to bear an increasingly high property tax burden, our focus must be on ending the budget stalemate and enacting bipartisan reforms that will put Illinois back on a path toward job growth and opportunity,” Rep. Bellock said.  “We should not have had to spend one minute of our time debating whether to accept a pay raise while the families and taxpayers of Illinois are waiting for us to get our job done.”
FY16 Budget Crisis
·         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 and was therefore held for future consideration.

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 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.
Patti enjoyed the Taste of Westmont Rock 'N Blues weekend, visiting with Mayor and Mrs. Ron Gunther and enjoying the Muddy Waters tribute concert featuring Muddy's son Joe! Special thanks are owed to all the local volunteers who made this event such a terrific success.



FY16 Budget Crisis
·         Governor Rauner, Republicans fight to prevent Illinois government shutdown.  Without a budget in place for the new Fiscal Year 2016 (which began on July 1), there is a possibility that paychecks could be delayed for approximately 65,000 state employees starting July 15.

Governor Rauner and his staff are examining their legal options.  The governor stated on Monday, June 29 that “Our lawyers are working hard to ensure that all employees will be paid on their scheduled pay dates.”  Speaker Michael Madigan and Attorney General Lisa Madigan continued to assert that paychecks may well be delayed and parts of Illinois’ government shut down. 
FY16 Budget
·         Governor Rauner signs education budget bill.  On Wednesday, June 24, Governor Rauner signed the elementary and secondary education component of the Fiscal Year 2016 State budget, taking our children’s education out of the crossfire in Springfield.  While HB 3763 does not increase education spending by as much as the governor’s proposal, it does increase K-12 education funding by $244 million and early childhood education funding by $25 million.

“Education is the most important thing we do as a community.  I would have done more for our schoolchildren, but I am taking action today to ensure our teachers are paid and our schools are open and funded,” Governor Rauner said.  “I refuse to allow Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls to hold our schools hostage as part of their plan to protect the political class and force a tax hike on the middle class without real reform.”


Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) is a co-sponsor of House Bill 3593, legislation that reforms the employee contract process for Illinois' community colleges in order to ensure transparency and accountability. Rep. Bellock spoke in favor of the proposal during debate on Tuesday. The deadline for the House of Representatives to give final approval to the bill has been extended to June 30.
LOMBARD More than 40 local residents were on hand as the Legislative Advisory Council, created by State Sen. Chris Nybo, State Rep. Peter Breen and State Rep. Patricia Bellock to work on issues being considered in Springfield, convened its first meeting June 17 at DeVry University Campus in Downers Grove.

“Each year, thousands of bills are filed in the General Assembly, but only a small percentage of those bills will make it through committees and into the House or Senate for actual consideration. There are good bills and there are troublesome bills to consider,” Rep. Breen said. “We need to know how these bills are viewed by local residents, and this community input is the Legislative Advisory Council’s most important resource.”
Budget – FY16
·         Comptroller Munger warns of consequences if budget not enacted.  The State’s chief cash flow manager, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger, reported on Wednesday, June 10 on the actions the State will be forced to take if no budget is enacted prior to the end of the State’s fiscal year on June 30, 2015.  

Successive actions the State will be forced to take include delayed paychecks for State workers, unanswered billings from and no payments to new Medicaid and other State-financed health care providers, no new payments to other State vendors, and no general state aid (GSA) payments from the State Board of Education to school districts.  These actions are expected to hit in different ways at different times.  For example, the Comptroller reports that the first scheduled payless payday will be July 15.  The first GSA payment is due no later than August 10.

Munger pointed out that some monies remain in place to pay essential bills under the “lapse period” law.  This law allows leftover money appropriated for use in fiscal year 2015 (FY15) to be spent down during the first 60 days of FY16.  However, funds available under this pathway fall far short of the monies required to keep all of the State’s legal commitments, such as paychecks for State workers and GSA payments to schools.

House Republicans have repeatedly called for the startup of real budget negotiations and the creation of a balanced budget, as demanded by the state Constitution.