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As children return to school and families settle into their fall routines, please be aware of some construction work that will slow things up starting today in Mundelein. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has announced that daily lane and shoulder closures will take place on Lake Street (U.S. 45) from Illinois Route 176 to Woodlawn Drive for a street resurfacing project. The scope of the project consists of resurfacing the roadway and making Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements to sidewalks and crossings. The overall project is expected to be completed this fall.

Motorists should expect delays and should allow some extra time through this part of Mundelein. Everyone should also pay attention to flaggers and signs in the work zones, and to obey posted speed limits to avoid costly fines.

Click here to find details on other construction projects in IDOT's District 1. Updates on the impacts to traffic are available at www.travelmidwest.com.

New Private Foundation will Cooperate with State of Illinois to Preserve Threatened Fairgrounds
A private foundation has been created to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure that supports Illinois’ largest summer gathering, the Illinois State Fair. With an estimated $180 million in deferred maintenance costs, the more than 190 buildings of the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair in Southern Illinois’ DuQuoin will require massive rebuilding to maintain a safe and secure fairgoing experience. Electrical, paint, plumbing, roofing, and structural repairs must be done on buildings that were built as long ago as 1892.

Governor Bruce Rauner led the push to create the new Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. Established by private-sector leaders of the agricultural community, the foundation will raise private funding and coordinate the revitalization and improvement of both fairgrounds. It is expected that large donors may receive recognition for their generosity in the form of sponsorship opportunities that will be seen by the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors to the Fairs and their grounds. Creation of the Foundation was the culmination of a push to save the State Fairgrounds led by Rep. Tim Butler and by former Rep. Raymond Poe, both of Springfield. Former Rep. Poe is currently the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the State agency with overall responsibility over the State fairgrounds and state fair infrastructure.

Tourists Spent $37 Billion in Illinois in 2015
The new numbers come from the Illinois Office of Tourism, which monitors visitor spending in Illinois as a way of gauging a return on investments for the money from hotel/motel taxes spent to promote Illinois to out-of-staters. Estimated expenditures by tourists in Illinois were $37 billion in 2015, up an inflation-beating 2.6% from 2014.

According to the Office of Tourism, an arm of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, tourism generated an estimated 10,000 new Illinois jobs in 2015. Job creation is featured in the Office of Tourism’s “Illinois Made” campaign for 2016, a multimedia promotion that centers on the attractive opportunities for visitors to buy goods and services produced by Illinois craftspeople and small businesses.

Governor Signs Bills Honoring Gold Star Families, Increasing Services to Illinois Veterans
Governor Bruce Rauner recently took action on several bills as part of Veterans Day at the 2016 Illinois State Fair. The bills strengthen Illinois’ commitment to our veterans and their families by providing needed assistance and honor to those who have sacrificed so much for our country and our state.

Two of the bills support the families of our Illinois veterans. HB 4389, sponsored by Rep. Steven Andersson, designates the day after Gold Star Mother’s Day as Gold Star Family Day to be observed throughout Illinois as a day to honor and commemorate the families of men and women who gave their lives while serving with the armed forces of the United States.

HB 4432, sponsored by Rep. Don Moffitt, allows a child in any grades 6 through 12 to be absent from a public school for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honor funeral held in Illinois for a deceased veteran. Read more about HB 4389 and HB 4432.

HB 4627, sponsored by Rep. Mike Tryon, allows veterans to begin their college education upon discharge regardless of how the calendar year lines up. Read more about HB 4627.

HB 4344, sponsored by Rep. Mark Batinick, creates the Heroes Way Designation Program Act. It is a way to honor servicemembers who were killed in action by allowing a relative to apply to have an honorary sign with the name of the servicemember erected along designated Illinois roads.

New Illinois Law Extends Tax Assessment Formula for Wind Turbines
Illinois wind turbines are now a familiar sight throughout many parts of Downstate Illinois. The state’s attractiveness as a potential location for wind farm investments was enhanced by a law passed in 2007 that creates a formula for local property tax assessors to use in assessing wind turbine arrays. At the beginning of this year, the assessment law applied to assessment years through 2016, creating potential uncertainty for new Illinois wind farm investment in 2017 and following years.

Rep. Tom Demmer took action this spring to protect Illinois’ status as a place for long-term wind infrastructure investment. SB 2612 extends the life of the current wind power assessment formula and methodology for another five years, through assessment year 2021. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday, August 16.

Current Rate of Traffic Deaths show Fatalities Mounting to Projected Eight-Year High in 2016
Based on current statistical trends, more than 1,000 people will be killed on Illinois roads and highways in 2016. The dismal number is attributed by traffic experts to higher speeds, with speed limits up to 70 mph on many sections of Illinois limited-access highways. An increase in the total number of Illinois miles driven and a larger number of younger drivers are also blamed.

The 1,000-death projection is based upon the 629 Illinois traffic deaths that had been logged as of Friday, August 12 by the National Safety Council, a private-sector entity that works with local law enforcement and health providers to track accidents and injuries nationwide, including motor vehicle incidents. The Council has, in the past, played a key role in injury-reducing changes to motor vehicle law, including mandatory child restraints and a standardized law to identify and sanction persons who drive under the influence.
Secretary of State Jesse White has announced that his office has reinstated the mailing of vehicle registration reminder notices to Illinois drivers. To offset the cost of the mailings, White is drafting legislation allowing his office to offer advertising space on the mailings. In addition, White is urging the public to sign-up for email notices to further reduce mailing costs.

The Secretary of State’s office discontinued mailing reminders in October 2015 due to the lack of funding as a direct result of the state budget impasse. The stop-gap budget recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor allows White’s office to reinstate the notices.

“The notices are an essential tool for the public to be sure their vehicles are in good standing and avoid paying late fees and fines resulting from tickets issued by law enforcement,” White said. “The driving public paid the price for the budget impasse and it proved to be an unfair burden. With the funds from the stop-gap budget the notices will resume. In addition, we are reducing the number of mailings and seeking alternative funding sources for the postage costs.”

“Although we are now able to reinstate mailing the vehicle registration reminder notices, I continue to strongly urge motorists to sign up for email reminders,” said White. “Saving taxpayer dollars is always a priority of our administration.”

White noted that more than 2.3 million people have registered for the email notification, 800,000 of which signed up since October 2015.

Vehicle owners can sign up for email notifications by visiting the Secretary of State website, www.cyberdriveillinois.com. To register for the program, vehicle owners will need their assigned registration ID and PIN, which can be found on their current vehicle registration card. If that information is not available, they can call the Secretary of State public inquiry division at 800-252-8980 to obtain the Registration ID and PIN.

The one-time registration process will allow vehicle owners to receive a series of three email notices per vehicle each year highlighting the upcoming vehicle expiration date.
The line of cars on July 30 was constant at State Representative Ed Sullivan’s (R-Mundelein) document shredding event at the Fremont Township Building. Done in cooperation with AT&T, the event provided residents of the 51st Legislative House District with a quick and safe method for disposing of old, sensitive documents.

“We had a great turnout,” said Sullivan, who greeted motorists and helped unload their boxes of documents to be shredded. “I heard from many people that they had been holding on to their old bank and credit card statements because they had nowhere to safely dispose of them.”

A total of 155 cars flowed through the two-hour event, and close to 15,000 pounds of paper documents were collected and shredded. “Everyone has old bank statements, receipts and other sensitive documents that they don’t want to simply toss in the trash, so I was pleased to partner with AT&T for this valuable community service,” Sullivan said.
State Representative Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) invites residents of the 51st Legislative House District to take advantage of a free document shredding event that will take place on Saturday, July 30.

The event will be held at the Fremont Township building, 22385 W. IL Route 60 in Mundelein, from 9:00-11:00 AM or until the shredding truck is full. Citizens simply need to drive up in the parking lot and watch as event volunteers unload up to two boxes or bags of shreddable documents. Items to be shredded will be limited to paper only. A parking area will be available for those who wish to watch as their documents are fed into the shredding truck.

“People often hold onto their old, sensitive documents because they have nowhere to safely dispose of them,” said Sullivan. “I’m glad to offer this free service to the citizens from District 51. Residents don’t even have to leave their cars. Our volunteers will lift the boxes and feed them into the shredding truck while drivers watch their documents go through the shredder.”

Volunteers will also be on site to direct traffic. Those wishing to shred documents will be asked to enter the lot from W Erhart Road and to exit onto Route 60. For more information about this event, please contact Representative Sullivan’s office at (847) 566-5115.
High School Students to Stop Taking PARCC Tests
The State Board of Education announced on Monday, July 11 that beginning in the spring of 2017, high school students would no longer have to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests. Instead, the State will subsidize and supervise the administration of a statewide SAT college entrance exam in spring 2017. Students in 11th grade will take the SAT. The SAT is administered according to an established nationwide protocol and its results are published in numbers that are relatively accessible and familiar to students and educators. SAT tests will be administered in compliance with the State law evaluating high school student body performance and progress. Students in grades 3 through 8 will continue to take separate PARCC tests geared to their age groups. 

Assessment Notices are Being Mailed; Know Where to Get Answers
Property assessment notices for Lake County have begun to be sent out and will continue through August. The notices include important information including a summary of the current year’s valuation changes, property characteristics, homestead exemptions received on the previous tax bill, and more. If you have questions or concerns regarding the assessed value of your property, discuss this with your local township assessor’s office. You can also receive one-on-one assistance at a tax assessment help center or the Chief County Assessment Office to understand your assessment and/or file an appeal.

If you plan on filing an appeal, a quick and convenient Online Appeal Filing System allows you to get your appeal information to the Board of Review without the hassle of mailing or hand delivering them to the Chief County Assessment Office in Waukegan. Click here to learn more about the process to file an appeal including reasons to appeal and the hearing process.

State of Illinois Completes Rollout of New Job Opportunity for Unemployed Illinoisans
Illinois JobLink is a resume-posting platform operated by the Department of Employment Security (IDES) that is open to persons seeking employment in Illinois. Under a new policy going into effect on Sunday, July 17, persons filing for Illinois unemployment benefits after being laid off are going to be asked to fill out and post their resumes on Illinois JobLink as a condition of completing their application for benefits.

The Department is aware that people who need to file for benefits may have questions about how to complete the JobLink process and resume. The JobLink home page can be found here. In past years, nearly 60% of Illinois unemployment benefit filings did not include a work history or resume, despite the importance of these documents to potential employers. IDES believes that linking JobLink resume filing with unemployment benefits will speed up the hiring of unemployed persons.

Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County
A mosquito pool sample in June in Highland Park tested positive for West Nile virus, the first confirmed indicator of the disease’s presence in Lake County this year. In 2015, five human cases of West Nile virus were reported in Lake County. You can help prevent West Nile virus by reporting areas of stagnant water, which are conducive to mosquito breeding by calling the Lake County Health Department’s West Nile virus hotline at 847-377-8300. For a list of signs and symptoms, click here


New I-Refi Program from IHDA Will Help Some Under-Water Homeowners
The program, from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), is aimed at homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than the home is worth. Eligible homeowners, starting August 1, will be invited to apply for admission to the “Hardest Hit” program. Residents and families helped by the program could see a reduction in the amount owed on their mortgages. A mortgage financing data tracker, CoreLogic, reports that approximately 14% of all Illinois home mortgages are currently underwater.

The Illinois program is being backed by $45.7 million in U.S. Treasury funding. It is projected that 1,800 homeowner applicants will successfully apply for admission to the program and will get debt-reduction assistance of approximately $25,000 per home. Applicants to the program, which is targeted towards modest and middle-class homes in challenged geographic areas, will be granted a maximum of $50,000 in debt-reduction assistance. The assistance will be credited towards the debt owed on a new, private-sector 30-year mortgage. Twenty-five participating mortgage-finance lenders have been mobilized by IHDA. These firms will refinance the homes of participating homeowners at market rates.

To qualify, applicants must owe at least 10% more than the value of their home, up to $50,000. Despite being under water, they must be current on mortgage payments for at least the past 12 months and must live in the home. Household income eligibility is determined by a sliding scale keyed towards the number of persons in the household and the geographic location of the household. The maximum purchase price of the home is also one of the variables used to gauge overall potential eligibility for admission to the program.

State’s Affirmative Markets Initiative Strengthened through Executive Order
The Executive Order, signed on Wednesday, July 13, affects small businesses owned and controlled by minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. EO 16-08 directs the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to reform and reorganize its existing Business Enterprise Program. This reorganization is meant to streamline Illinois affirmative markets policies. Among many other changes, EO 16-08 asks CMS to create a standardized procedure to potentially set aside certain procurement contracts for solicitation to firms with enumerated standing. The “Sheltered Markets” set-aside program is supported by a wide variety of business groups. CMS has been asked to monitor its compliance with the Sheltered Markets Initiative and other changes implemented by this Executive Order, and to report annually to the Governor’s office on July 1 of each year, starting on July 1, 2017.
The stopgap State budget, enacted and signed into law on Thursday, June 30 in Springfield provides a full 12 months of funding for Illinois K-12 public schools. This plan will fully fund the foundation level for the first time in many years, ending the unfair practice of proration and will ensure that all school districts get at least as much funding from the State as they received last year. Every school district within the boundaries of District 51 will see an increase in funding.

The school aid includes both general State aid (GSA) and a series of categorical grants provided to many school districts to cover parts of the costs of mandates imposed by the State and other costs of school district operation. In addition, the FY17 K-12 education bill appropriated $361 million over what was distributed last year in FY16 for the 2015-16 school year. It also allocates $250 million for a new statewide equity grant that will be distributed to school districts based on the State Board of Education’s low income grant formula. The plan also includes a $75 million increase for early childhood education. It does not include a state bailout of Chicago Public Schools.

This chart illustrates the estimated increase in funding that District 51 schools will receive for 2016-2017:


New FY17 Spending Bills will Enable Full K-12 School Operations for Entire School Year
The General Assembly took action on June 30 to fund K-12 Education for Fiscal Year 2017 at record-high funding levels. By contrast, however, the legislation funds most other State operations only through December 2016. The “stopgap” bills do not balance the budget and do not solve Illinois’ fiscal woes. The State’s leaders believe that the current Springfield policy gap has achieved dimensions great enough that only the voters of Illinois, in the November election, can choose which path the State should follow. The key bill that actually appropriated money for FY16 and FY17 was SB 2047. Some elements of the package appropriated money so that it could be legally used to match spending/spending commitments made in FY16, which ended on Thursday. Other bills in the package contained “substantive” legislation, effective starting on Friday, intended to implement the FY17 portion of the package and match State law to appropriated spending.

The stopgap budget package was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner before the end of the day and prior to the start of FY17. The measures include funding to ensure that Illinois schools, including the troubled Chicago public school system, will reopen on time. Money is included to resume or maintain operations at Illinois state universities and other essential public facilities. Funds are earmarked to enable the fulfillment of this summer’s construction schedule for the repair and maintenance of State roads, bridges, and mass transit facilities. Some money is provided for community social services. The House vote on SB 2047 was 105-4-1. After unanimous approval in the Senate, the appropriation bill became law as P.A. 99-524.

District 51 Schools to Receive Record-High Funding in FY17
One key element of the funding package approved on June 30 allows every Illinois School District to open on time in the fall with record-high levels of funding. In fact, for the first time in seven years, funding sent through the state aid formula will not be prorated. Every District 51 School District will see an increase in funding for the 2016-2017 school year. The chart below shows an estimate of how each of my school districts will benefit:
Sullivan Sponsors Bill to Strengthen Anti-Terrorism Laws
In an effort to improve public safety and reduce incidences of gun violence in Illinois, I am working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on legislation that will help keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who have been deemed a public safety threat, have made threats of terrorism, or have been charged with an act of terrorism. As a lawful gun owner myself, I am serving as the Chief Co-Sponsor of this bill because I believe it will save lives.

HB 6588 protects the rights of lawful citizens while strengthening provisions of the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Act as it pertains to rejecting or revoking the credentials of individuals who have been identified as a clear risk to the safety of others. The Second Amendment is an important part of our Constitution, and HB 6588 does not diminish that right for any individual who wishes to conduct themselves within the framework of our laws. While providing law enforcement with an additional tool in the fight against gun violence and terrorism, the legislation also provides for a right to due process for those who have had a FOID card denied or revoked. In addition to the stronger provisions for screening FOID card applicants, HB 6588 also requires police chiefs and deputy chiefs to receive annual training concerning the FOID Act, the Concealed Carry Act, and firearms investigations.

Chicago Board of Education Could Approve Massive Property Tax Hike for Owners of Chicago Real Property
The Chicago school board move, expected to raise $250 million annually, was authorized as part of SB 318. This measure, which was amended with the tax-hike language and passed by the Illinois House on Thursday, June 30, was part of the end-of-fiscal-year package to enact spending measures for FY17 and enable Illinois schools to open on time. The Chicago Public Schools budget gap necessitated action to enable the city to raise an additional $250 million/year from local resources.

If the School Board adopts this property tax increase, statewide taxpayers outside Chicago will not be responsible for this $250 million. Rejecting a “bailout” of the troubled Chicago system, House Republicans took the lead in rejecting the push by Chicago lawmakers to impose this burden upon the suburbs and Downstate. Part of the budget gap comes from a massive increase in the level of unfunded pension liabilities borne by Chicago Public Schools, and the Illinois House enacted the amendment in such a way as to require that the money raised by the tax hike must be deposited directly into the pension fund and cannot be diverted or used for any other purpose. Chicago Public Schools currently owes a $669 million pension payment to the teachers’ pension fund. The House vote to enact SB 318 was 82-29-0. Senate approval by a vote of 40-14-0 allowed Gov. Rauner to sign the measure into law as P.A. 99-521.

University Center of Lake County to Host Education Open House
University Center of Lake County is hosting a free open house on Wednesday, July 13 from 6:00-8:00 PM for those interested in seeking an online or on-campus degree or professional development opportunities. The event will take place at the University Center building at 1200 University Center Drive in Grayslake and RSVPs are encouraged (RSVP at ucenter.org/openhouse or by calling (847-665-4000).

Those who attend can learn about a variety of career options and programs and will be able to meet admissions representatives. At 6:30 PM, a program titled “Mapping Your Return to School” will take place. Overall, this event will provide attendees with great tips for successfully navigating the journey to a bachelor’s degree or building a skillset towards a master’s degree. Light refreshments will be provided.

House, Senate Vote to Waive Vehicle Sticker Delinquent Registration Renewal Supplemental Late Fees if No Warning Mailed
The waiver is only effective if the Secretary of State has not previously mailed a motor vehicle license sticker-renewal notification to the affected motor vehicle owner. These notification letters, which had been familiar elements in the mailboxes of Illinois drivers, were suspended in 2015 due to Illinois’ budget situation. Many Illinois residents have complained about no longer getting the letters and then facing penalties for late sticker-renewal actions. In addition, police are authorized to stop motor vehicles with expired stickers.

The supplemental late-fee waiver bill was approved by the House on Thursday, June 30. The House vote on HB 4334, as amended, was 111-0-0. As the Senate had previously approved the final language of the bill, the House vote marked the final legislative step necessary to send the measure to the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner for final action.

Sullivan Shred Event Scheduled for July 30
Please join me on Saturday, July 30 for a document shredding event that will be held on the Fremont Township property at 22385 W. Route 60 in Mundelein. This free event, which will take place between 9:00-11:00 AM, offers residents from District 51 an opportunity to safety dispose of old bank records and other sensitive documents. You will be able to simply drive up and watch as our volunteers unload your bags of old documents. Shredables are limited to paper documents, and a limit of two bags of documents will be accepted per vehicle.