Dear Neighbor,

I wanted to take a moment to update you on important developments from the past week. The Illinois House of Representatives voted 69-48 on March 24 to approve an Emergency Budget Bill (HB 318) to close a $1.6 Billion funding shortfall for the current FY 15 budget, which runs through June 30. The State Senate approved the bill on Thursday and it was signed into law by the Governor that afternoon.

Over 80% of the funding gap will be filled by utilizing unused money in various special state funds not needed for what they were allocated for during the current year, amounting to approx. $1.3 Billion. The remaining amount comes from an across-the-board spending reduction of 2.25% across all state programs through June 30; excluding payments for pensions, state employee health care, and funding for services for the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and autistic children. Child care funding for low-income families will also continue for the duration of the current fiscal year.
Click the image to watch Rep. Bellock's reaction to this week's passage of HB 318/HB 317, legislation to fill the $1.6 Billion state budget deficit for FY 15 without borrowing or raising taxes. The bills were signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on Thursday.


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives voted 69-48 on Tuesday to approve an Emergency Budget Bill (HB 318) to close a $1.6 Billion funding shortfall for the current FY 15 budget, which runs through June 30. State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) voted in favor of the bipartisan agreement negotiated between Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders.

Under the provisions of HB 318, over 80% of the funding gap will be filled by utilizing unused money in various special state funds not needed for what they were allocated for during the current fiscal year, amounting to approx. $1.3 Billion. The remaining amount comes from an across-the-board spending reduction of 2.25% across all state programs through June 30; excluding payments for pensions, state employee health care, and funding for services for the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and autistic children. Child care funding for low-income families will also continue for the duration of the current fiscal year.
OAK BROOK – Gov. Bruce Rauner, center, was on hand as the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce honored four state legislators with its Legislative Leadership Award during the chamber's annual meeting and awards breakfast. The legislators, recognized for supporting businesses and state economic growth, were, from left: Sen. Matt Murphy, R.-Palatine; Sen. Christine Radogno, R.-Lemont; Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D.-Buffalo Grove; and Rep. Patti Bellock, R.-Westmont.
SPRINGFIELD – Women age 25 and over who wish to pursue their undergraduate education are encouraged to apply for a scholarship now available from the Conference of Women Legislators (COWL), a non-profit organization comprised of women serving in the Illinois General Assembly.

The COWL Scholarship seeks to maximize educational opportunities for all income levels by offering tuition assistance to deserving women age 25 or older who show evidence of furthering their education in order to make a contribution to their government, children, families, and community. The one-year undergraduate scholarship will cover tuition, books and fees up to $2500 per year, including summer school.

COWL endeavors to support women who, for various reasons, have not had the opportunity to begin or complete their education at an earlier stage due to life changes and/or financial difficulties. Further, COWL encourages women of all races, religions, creeds, and ethnic backgrounds to apply for the scholarship.
SPRINGFIELD – With the retirement of State Rep. Renee Kosel (R-Mokena) earlier this year, the mantle of Dean of the House Republican Women has been passed to State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), who also serves as the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
  
The House Republican women range in age from their late sixties to the newest member of the group, Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Litchfield) who at 22 years old, is believed to be the youngest legislator in Illinois history. Rep. Bellock reflected on her new role as the dean after a recent informal gathering of House Republican women in Springfield to discuss policy goals and strategy for 2015.