Pritzker makes list of richest Americans; Gov. Rauner doesn’t

SPRINGFIELD, IL – (Doug Finke, Springfield Journal Register. Please click on the link for the full story. Here is an exceprt below.)

Only one of the candidates running for Illinois governor is on the annual Forbes ranking of the 400 richest Americans.

Hint: It isn’t Bruce Rauner.

That distinction belongs to Democrat J.B. Pritzker, whose wealth was pegged at $3.4 billion. Pritzker ranks 219th on the list of richest Americans. He’s one of four Pritzkers who appear on the list.

Insurance expert says media misreported where healthcare subsidies were getting cut from

NORTHBROOK, IL – (Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network.  Please click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below)

A health insurance expert says the media got it wrong last week when they reported the Trump Administration is cutting health care subsidies to individuals.

Mark Gurda, president of Castle Group Health out of Northbrook, said early reports last week about President Donald Trump’s executive orders on health insurance subsidies were incorrect. Some of those reports said the subsidies were being taken away from individuals.

“Those payments to the insurance company are being halted,” Gurda said. “Nothing is being halted to individuals.”

Those payments were part of a federal court case challenging the payments as not being appropriated by Congress. Friday, Trump’s administration notified the courts the payments ended because Congress didn’t approve the spending.

Bryant E News October 14 2017

Dear Friend,

This week was another busy one in the 115th district. Throughout  my travels, I have been glad to hear from so many of you as you express your concerns and opinions on the workings of State government. The number one issue I am currently hearing about is the recent signing of HB 40, which makes taxpayer funded abortion the law of the land in Illinois. As you know, I am adamantly pro-life, and I completely oppose the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion services. Please read below to learn about steps the House Republicans are taking to repeal key provisions of the recently signed law. I have news on that issue and more in this week’s E News. Thank you for reading!

Sponsoring a Bill to Repeal Taxpayer Funded Abortions  
This week I signed on as a chief co-sponsor of HB 4114. The bill would repeal taxpayer funding for abortion procedures in Illinois.

I am proud to stand behind HB 4114 as a chief co-sponsor in the House. The use of taxpayer funds to assist in partial birth abortions, or abortion procedures of any kind at any time of pregnancy for any reason is abhorrent. I’ve heard from hundreds of my constituents that have reached out to me to express their utter disgust at the signing of HB 40 and the use of taxpayer funds for procedures that many folks, including myself, find immoral and reprehensible.

The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” is based on the model of the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions other than in cases of rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Abortions under these circumstances constitute roughly 1% of all abortions. Federal law already requires states to provide Medicaid abortions under these three conditions, and the proposed Act recognizes those federal provisions.

When we return to Springfield, I will be urging my colleagues in the majority party to allow HB 4114 to be voted on. I will keep you updated on this issue as Veto Session approaches.

PFC Tyler Iubelt Memorial Highway Ceremony

On Wednesday, I was extremely humbled and proud to have the opportunity to address residents of Tamaroa, greater Perry County, and students from St. Ann’s Catholic School in Nashville and Tamaroa Grade School, as well as the family of fallen hero PFC Tyler Iubelt today at a very special ceremony.

I joined Senator Paul Schimpf and Representative Jerry Costello in presenting a Resolution renaming a section of Rte. 51 as the PFC Tyler Iubelt Memorial Highway. PFC Iubelt gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country in Afghanistan in November of 2016.

Thank you to everyone that came out to honor this brave hero and his family. May he rest in peace. God bless our service men and women and their families. Thank you all for your service to our country.

DuQuoin Community Service Program
I joined DuQuoin High School Seniors as they prepared to spend the day picking up trash all over DuQuoin. The students are required to complete 15 hours of service in their community in order to graduate.

This is a great program and I want to applaud the school and the students for the pride they are taking in the DuQuoin community.

Stay Connected!
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Thursday, each from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. You can also contact me directly through the Contact Form on my website at – Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!

Justice Department gives Chicago final sanctuary warning

CHICAGO, IL – (Benjamin Yount, Illinois News Network.  Please click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below)

President Trump’s Administration is giving Chicago one final warning before it may yank millions of dollars in federal policing grants.

Chicago has until October 27 to prove to the Justice Department that the city’s sanctuary policies, such as not asking about immigration status and not holding people in jail for federal immigration officers, isn’t hurting the law enforcement effort in the city.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference that he’s not afraid of the letter.

“I totally, 100% reject the false choice of Donald Trump and the Justice Department,” the mayor said at a press conference Thursday. “We are not going to be a city that picks between the philosophy of community police and being a welcoming city.”

Mating Time is Here, Don’t Veer for Deer

IDOT, IDNR remind motorists to drive cautiously during fall breeding season

SPRINGFIELD – Autumn brings shorter days, cooler temperatures and a new set of driving habits for Illinois motorists. The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Natural Resources warn drivers to be vigilant during mating season as deer will be more active and visible throughout the state. The risk for deer vs. vehicle crashes greatly increases in October, November and December, especially at dusk and dawn.

“Deer can dart in front of a vehicle in the blink of an eye,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “It’s instinctual to swerve out of the way, but in doing so, drivers could lose control of the vehicle and cause a more severe crash. If you’re attentive and watchful for deer encounters, these safety tips could make all the difference.”

Motorists are urged to follow these safe driving tips during mating season:
• Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to deer crossing signs.
• Scan the sides of the road for eye shine – the reflection of headlights in the eyes.
• Slow down if you see deer.  They travel in groups, so more are likely in the area.
• Prepare for the unexpected. Deer can stop in the middle of the road or double back.
• If a collision is inevitable, try to glance the vehicle off the deer and avoid swerving into the opposite lanes of traffic.

Approximately 40 to 45 (actually 41%) percent of crashes in Illinois involving deer in 2016 occurred in October, November, and December – with November being the highest-risk month. 75 percent of all motor vehicle crashes involving deer happened in rural environments, with over 70 (actually 72%) percent of all crashes taking place at twilight or nighttime.

In 2016, there were 14,759 motor vehicle crashes involving deer in Illinois, over one thousand crashes less than the 2015 total. There were 14,248 crashes that resulted in damage to property or vehicles only, down from the 15,431 in 2015. Personal injuries tallied 581 in 2016 versus 628 in 2015 and 569 in 2014. The number of fatalities dropped, from eight in 2015 to five in 2016.

The top 10 Illinois counties for crashes involving deer in 2016:

1. Cook   439                                                            7.  Williamson  287
2. Madison  415                                                        8.  Rock Island  278
3. Will   389                                                               9.  Bureau    277
4. Sangamon  344                                                         Pike   277
5. Fulton  328                                                                 Lake   277
6.   Peoria   311                                                       10.  Jackson  273 

“Deer-vehicle accidents can occur any time of year, but deer are especially active in the fall during their mating season,” said Wayne Rosenthal, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  “Motorists should be on the alert for deer near roadways during early morning and evening hours, especially near wooded areas, field edges and waterways.”

If you do hit a deer, pull off to the shoulder and turn on the hazard lights. Call 911 to report the accident so the appropriate law enforcement can assist. Do not get out of the vehicle to check on an injured deer or pull it from the road. You can visit the IDNR website for information on how to claim a deer that has been involved in a crash.

From the Illinois Department of Transportation

Bill would halt taxpayer-funded abortion

SPRINGFIELD, IL (Cole Latterbach, Illinois News Network.  Please click on the link above for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.

A bill has been filed that would remove the taxpayer funding of elective abortions that was included in a controversial measure signed last month by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

State Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, says his bill would remove the public funding of abortions through Medicaid and state employee health insurance, something he thinks a number of lawmakers who voted for HB 40 were opposed to.

“Some of my colleagues have heard privately from Democrats that they did not like having to vote for HB 40. They felt they had to,” Breen said, adding that some may have been misled about other language in the bill that would allow for abortions should Roe v. Wade be struck down. “I hope that we can bring forward a majority coalition that would say ‘no taxpayer funding for abortion.'”

Gov. Rauner highlights importance of tourism to Illinois economy

CHICAGO, IL — Gov. Rauner today emphasized the role tourism plays in the economic health of Illinois communities at the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau annual meeting and awards luncheon. This year’s theme was The Power of Tourism.

“As the third largest employer in Illinois, the tourism industry is vital for the state’s economy and has created 20,000 new jobs over the past two years,” Rauner said. “Illinois has so many attractions to offer and enjoy, and increasing our number of domestic visitors will support communities and small businesses across the state.”

In 2016, Illinois welcomed 110 million domestic visitors and domestic travel in Illinois supported more than 300,000 jobs. For every $1 invested in tourism in Illinois, $9 are generated in economic activity and impact.

“I am striving for the economic reforms and regulation rollbacks that will improve Illinois’ business climate and make it easier for Illinoisans to start small businesses in the tourism industry,” Rauner said.

The Chicago Southland region experienced regionally robust tourism in Fiscal Year 2017, during which 1.27 million hotel room nights were sold. This reflects a broader increase in visitors the city of Chicago has experienced during recent years. In 2016, Chicago outpaced the national average of 2.4 percent growth with a 2.7 percent year-over-year domestic traveler growth.

“The governor and State have been incredibly supportive of tourism and convention initiatives here in Chicago as well as throughout Illinois,” President and CEO of Choose Chicago David Whitaker said. “The partnership and collaboration we enjoy with the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Illinois Office of Tourism amplify the importance of a coordinated effort as we all look to grow awareness of and visitation to our amazing city, region and state.”


Gov. Rauner continues Built in Illinois tour

Encourages women in manufacturing

CICERO, IL — Gov. Bruce Rauner continued his Built in Illinois tour today with a visit to United Scrap Metal Inc., an award-winning, woman-owned business in Cicero. The tour highlights the importance of the manufacturing industry to the Illinois economy as part of National Manufacturing Month.

“Marsha Serlin’s business story is inspiring,” Rauner said. “Started with just $200 and a rental truck in 1978, Marsha has built United Scrap Metal into a firm that employs 300 people. Seeing her operation, it is easy to see why she is called the ‘scrappiest entrepreneur’ in the industry.”

Serlin’s company is among the largest women-owned businesses in Chicago. It purchases, processes and markets recyclable commodities and serves 2,500 clients coast-to-coast.

“We want to see Marsha’s story repeated over and over again,” Rauner said. “That’s why my administration is trying so hard to get government out of the way of growth businesses.

“We need to create a climate that helps Illinois companies compete successfully so they can start up and grow and hire people,” he continued. “Cutting red tape and burdensome regulation is one way government can help fuel the engine of prosperity.”

Manufacturing is currently the second largest industry in Illinois. Ninety-two percent of the state’s exports are manufactured products. Nearly 600,000 Illinoisans are employed by over 12,000 firms whose products account for 13 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.

Recognizing the importance of the manufacturing sector to the state’s economy, Rauner proclaimed October Built in Illinois Month.

From Governor Bruce Rauner’s office


IDOT Seeks Feedback on Illinois Rest Areas

Survey asks travelers to provide opinions on services, locations, visiting habits

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking for the public’s help in developing a plan that will determine the best use of the state’s rest areas. An online survey, accessible at, is available through Sunday, Oct. 29.

“Many of our rest areas have reached a point where it’s time to evaluate their future,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “The feedback this survey provides us will be incredibly valuable. We hope as many people as possible participate so our rest areas can better reflect the changing needs of today’s travelers.”

Paper copies of the online survey are available at select rest areas throughout the state. They also can be mailed upon request by calling (402) 399-1405.

The 20-question survey seeks feedback on how travelers currently use Illinois rest areas, their level of satisfaction with the rest areas they visit, the location of the rest areas and how important certain features are to them.

IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, serving more than 36 million visitors annually. They are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles and commercial trucks, among other services.

For more information on Illinois’ rest locations, visit IDOT’s Rest Areas and Welcome Centers webpage.

Getting out: Many students leaving Illinois to attend college

SPRINGFIELD, IL –  (Tim Landis, Springfield Journal Register.  Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

Illinois has the second-highest rate nationally of college freshmen choosing to leave the state to pursue higher education — a mark it hit even before the state’s two-year budget impasse — and preliminary figures this fall suggest the numbers continue to look grim.

Between 2000 and 2014, when the out-migration hit an all-time high, the number of freshmen leaving Illinois to attend college shot up by about 64 percent, according to a study earlier this year by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Only New Jersey, which also has had state budget woes, exceeded Illinois in loss of students to out-of-state schools.

The trend was even more pronounced among students attending four-year colleges and universities. Of those freshmen, nearly half chose to attend out of state schools in 2015.

That all-time high was hit even before the state’s colleges and universities weathered the effects of a two-year state budget impasse, which left institutions cutting budgets and programs and put financial aid for thousands of students on hold or in limbo.