On January 1, 237 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Unfortunately, a balanced budget is not among them.

Several of the new laws affect children, veterans and the elderly. Others affect drivers and consumers. Here's a quick look at some of the more notable laws taking effect on Friday, January 1.

A full list of new laws can be found here.
On December 17th Rep. Batinick attended the Final Report meeting for the Task Force on Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates in Chicago. The Task Force's purpose is to study issues of local government and school district consolidation and redundancy, and to make recommendations that will ensure accountable and efficient government and education in the State of Illinois.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, "The goals of this Task Force fall right in line with my own legislative initiatives, as they address the nitty gritty issues that shackle our local governments and our local education systems. After offering up many initiatives that aim to make Illinois more efficient, it is very important that I contributed to this unique Task Force."


Thompson Center, Chicago

The Task Force:
  •  Conducted a comprehensive review of State laws relating to local government and school district consolidation;
  •  Conducted a comprehensive review of State laws relating to unfunded mandates on local government bodies and school districts;
  •  Identified opportunities to consolidate, streamline, or eliminate duplicative governmental bodies, school districts, and taxing authorities;
  •  Identified opportunities to replace, revise, or repeal unfunded mandates placed on local governments and school districts;
  •  Discussed solutions and impediments to consolidation of local governments and school districts;
  •  Analyzed the success of programs and legislation with similar goals implemented in Illinois and other states; and
  •  Prepared a final report to the Governor and the General Assembly making specific recommendations to consolidate local governments and school districts.
The Task Force held 16 meetings across the state and has heard testimony from 33 experts representing government associations, nonprofit think tanks, researchers, and state agencies. It also received more than 85 proposals and has endorsed 27 recommendations on topics relating to local government consolidation and unfunded mandates.
PLAINFIELD - State Representative Mark Batinick was honored to help serve over 100 seniors at the Holiday Luncheon held on December 7. The event was hosted by the Plainfield Park District and Plainfield Township, at the Plainfield Fire Department's Training Center.

Rep. Batinick said, "This is always a big event and I was thrilled to say hi to so many people in our local community, and also serve up some lunches. Thank you to all that volunteered and participated, and thank you to the Park District and Township for hosting."




The Plainfield Fire Protection District will host a community blood drive with Heartland Blood Centers on Saturday, December 12th from 10 am to 2 pm at the Fire District Administration and Training Facility, 23748 W. 135th Street.

Blood that is collected goes to area hospitals to help those in need. One blood donation can help up to 3 people. Anyone age 16 or older is eligible to donate blood. Please bring a picture ID and eat a good meal prior to donating. All blood donors will receive a game day football T-shirt in appreciation of their donation.

Students who donate blood will be eligible to enter a drawing for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you would like to sign up for a preferred donation time please call 815-733-7335 or visit www.heartlandbc.com to reserve your preferred donation time.

Give the gift of life this holiday season!
PLAINFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has announced his Chief Co-Sponsorship of House Resolution 890, which further states his belief that the Illinois Income Tax Act should not be amended to permit taxing retirement income.

Rep. Batinick stated, “Retirees, including seniors, have worked hard all their lives to provide for their families and retirement security. It is my belief that the State should not tax their earnings.”

Rep. Batinick has offered solutions to make Illinois’ state government more efficient in ways that don’t require it to tax its retirees.
As your first-year State Representative, I’d like to highlight some things I have brought before the General Assembly, and to my constituents, in order to make our state government more efficient, and also keep the lines of communication open during the budget impasse.

Ideas for Illinois

This past month I was happy to initiate my new think-tank “Ideas for Illinois.” At www.ideasforillinois.com, I have asked any constituents with cost-saving measures for the state to submit them for potential delivery to the House Floor in the form of legislation. There are many ideas I know we could initiate, and as I have presented many myself this year, I would also love to hear yours. No idea is too big or too small. With this idea I hope to bring everyone’s idea to the table, and allow them to be heard as they should. The State of Illinois is not in a position to continue to allow your tax dollars to not be spent as efficiently as possible, and I’d like to give you a voice in how the state can better do this.

Constitutional Pension Proposal

With our state facing so many fiscal challenges, it is important to remember that many of our challenges are inter-connected.  A failed policy decision in one area often leads to other negative results in another area.  For example, skipping pension payments in the past has led to a higher percentage of our current budget being used to “catch up.”  It also has contributed to lowering our credit rating which means more money is needed for interest payments on loans.  This crowds out funding for basic government operations. 

On the flip side, reducing our unfunded pension liabilities would have the opposite effect in the long term.  Returning our pension funds to appropriate balances and increasing our credit rating would save the state billions.  We have to start taking a series of small steps that have long term benefits and lead to additional savings.  My pension reform proposal is a significant step in positive direction and would have a multiplier effect moving forward. Please check out my proposal, which I was happy to see mentioned in a recent edition of Crain’s Chicago Business.
 

Image result for pancreatic cancer wage hope
 
(A Note from State Rep. Mark Batinick)

Recently it has been my privilege to work with Nora Campos, a constituent who has been driven to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer after watching it take her husband's honorable life. Together we drafted House Resolution 838, which recognized November 13 as World Pancreatic Cancer Day in the State of Illinois. It was quickly adopted in the Illinois House this week. Please consider wearing purple on November 13 in support of pancreatic cancer awareness. 39 municipalities have agreed to display purple at their own local landmarks. Nora if you're reading this, congratulations for all your efforts in your husband's memory, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your work. Here's to a purple sky on Friday.

 
Nora Campos and Rep. Batinick with House Resolution 838

(Nora Campos' Story)

I asked Representative Batinick to sponsor a House Resolution stating that Friday November 13th is recognized as World Pancreatic Cancer Day in the State of Illinois.
Pancreatic cancer came into my home 6 years ago. My husband was 44, he was an athlete, he was a U.S. Marine and yet, he never stood a chance. Somewhere in the time he was ill, I made a vow to fix this. I have to. As a mother and as a grandmother, I have to. So I have joined the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network as a volunteer and am dedicated to advancing research, supporting patients and creating hope.
PLAINFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was excited to further join AT&T in their local community investment by serving a $1,000 donation to the philanthropic Shorewood Lions Club. The local Lions Club prides itself on community prosperity. It has many initiatives to help students and seniors, including transportation to health exams and programs that offer more affordable health products such as glasses and hearing aids. Its family-oriented initiatives also involve Halloween costume contests, and coming in January a spaghetti dinner for any and all to attend to help fundraise more community benefits.

Rep. Batinick stated, “I enjoy staying involved with the communities I serve, and I’m delighted to offer this donation to a group that remains constantly on the pulse of the Shorewood area. I’d like to encourage everyone to consider joining their local Lions Club in order to serve their neighbors and keep our communities great.”

Lion Noelle Viola said, “We are always thrilled to have new members, of any age. I invite any interested people to check out our Facebook page at Shorewood Lions Club, and get involved in any way they can. Our group meets at the Joliet Elks Club on the second Wednesday of every Month. Our next meeting is November 11 at 6:30PM. Please come see what we offer our neighbors, and consider getting involved.”

For further information about the Shorewood Lions Club please go to their Facebook page, or email them at shorewoodlionsclub@gmail.com, or call (815) 690-2082.


PLAINFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is launching a brand new website for constituents to leave any and all ideas they think could benefit the State of Illinois.

Rep. Batinick stated, “This past year I have brought many ideas to the House Floor in an effort to bring cost-saving measures to the state in order to help it function more effectively for the citizens it serves. There are many ideas we could initiate, and I’d like to help our concerned citizens get their own ideas heard while the state is still struggling to pass a budget, and find the money to fund a budget. No idea is too small. After you submit your thousand dollar idea, I'd love to hear your nephew's hundred dollar idea. We are not in a position to let dollars go to waste. With this project I intend to bring everyone’s ideas to the table, and allow them to be heard as they should. Negotiations and ideas can be exchanged to help our state’s cause. If our valued constituents can do it, certainly we can too.”

Rep. Batinick is asking all constituents with ideas to submit them at www.ideasforillinois.com. All effective ideas will be considered for potential delivery to the House Floor in the form of cost-saving legislation.

OSWEGO – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was excited to join administrators with Oswego Community Unit School District 308 as together they planned to provide the school district’s high school students with free Electrocardiogram heart screenings. The health initiative will be achieved via Chicagoland’s very own Young Hearts 4 Life Program. The school district also received $1,000 from AT&T to help implement the health program.

Rep. Batinick stated, “It’s wonderful to see these school administrators, health providers, and AT&T come together to help save young lives. This work ensures that School District 308 students are not only receiving a quality education, but also a health assessment that ensures their own safety now and into young adulthood.”

Jeff Adducci, a community affairs manager with AT&T that attended the meeting, stated, “There are great non-profit organizations improving lives in Illinois. By supporting these organizations we’re strengthening the communities we serve.”

The free Electrocardiogram heart screenings will be implemented at Oswego East High School on Thursday, October 19th. Students must be registered with Young Hearts 4 Life at yh4l.org prior to screenings.


 

REBOOT ILLINOIS
GUEST OPINION
By State Rep. Mark Batinick

The state faces many fiscal challenges.  None of them are unsolvable.  In fact, many of our challenges are inter-connected.  A failed policy decision in one area often leads to other negative results in another area.  For example, skipping pension payments in the past has led to a higher percentage of our current budget being used to “catch up.”  It also has contributed to lowering our credit rating which means more money is needed for interest payments on loans.  This crowds out funding for basic government operations. 

On the flip side, reducing our unfunded pension liabilities would have the opposite effect in the long term.  Returning our pension funds to appropriate balances and increasing our credit rating would save the state billions.  We have to start taking a series of small steps that have long term benefits and lead to additional savings.  My pension reform proposal is a significant step in positive direction and would have a multiplier effect moving forward.
FY16 Budget
·         Democrat majority continues piecemeal budget strategy.  Although Illinois is close to ending its third month without a spending plan for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2015, the House session this week did not show any signs of progress.  On Thursday, Democrats on the House Executive Committee passed a $3.8 billion spending bill without specifying a funding source for the monies pledged by the committee to be spent. 

While the House committee’s action cleared SB 2046 for further action on the House floor, the lack of real negotiations on the State budget mean that spending bills of this type are seen by close observers of Springfield as less than serious.  The full House did not take up SB 2046 for debate this week, and did not discuss an overall spending plan or budget agreement.  Gov. Rauner has stated his intent to veto this and other piecemeal budget bills that would overspend anticipated revenues by billions of dollars.          
By Bugle Newspapers

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, and a group of suburban legislators unveiled a new initiative to address the state’s pension liability, calling for a series of hearings on offering a lump sum buyout option to current and future annuitants nearing retirement; potentially netting the state billions in long-term savings.

The proposal, House Resolution 752, wants the Speaker of the House and the Chairperson of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee to hold a series of hearings on how the state could potentially approach a lump sum exchange option.

Interested parties and stakeholders would be invited to participate in the hearings in hopes of better understanding the outcomes of an exchange proposal as well as any potential barriers that would prevent an exchange option from becoming a common practice within the five state-funded retirement systems. 

“Many of those nearing retirement may be attracted to having more control over their retirement assets,” Batinick said. 
CHICAGO – A group of suburban legislators led by State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) unveiled a new initiative to address the state’s mounting unfunded pension liability on Thursday, calling for a series of hearings on offering a lump sum buyout option to current and future annuitants nearing retirement; potentially netting the state billions in long-term savings.

The proposal, House Resolution 752, urges the Speaker of the House and the Chairperson of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee to hold a series of hearings on how the State could potentially approach a lump sum exchange option. Interested parties and stakeholders would be invited to participate in the hearings in hopes of better understanding the outcomes of an exchange proposal as well as any potential barriers that would prevent an exchange option from becoming a common practice within the five State-funded retirement systems. 

“Many of those nearing retirement may be attracted to having more control over their retirement assets,” Rep. Batinick said, “but unfortunately the State does not provide a versatile and competitive alternative to the current pension arrangement. Providing a lump sum payment in exchange for all or a portion of an annuity would provide a voluntary, constitutional approach to addressing the State's pension obligations, while simultaneously providing participants the options and flexibility needed when planning for retirement.”


In their May ruling declaring the pension reform bill signed into law by then-Governor Pat Quinn in December 2013 unconstitutional, the Illinois Supreme Court laid a framework for the adjustment of benefits through a legal approach called “consideration”, which allows for the adjustment of benefits if both parties agree to the changes. Rep. Batinick’s proposal to offer annuitants a lump sum option would meet this requirement by making any proposed buyout program voluntary.

Underscoring the need for bipartisan action on pension reform, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), has calculated the total unfunded pension liabilities of the State retirement systems at $111.2 billion as of June 30, 2014, based upon the actuarial value of assets.

HR 752 has been filed with the House Clerk and awaits assignment to committee for consideration.
Remarks delivered by State Rep. Mark Batinick at a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Plainfield tornado:


Giving speeches like this is difficult.  I do much better at policy.  You learn the facts and use logic and reason to make conclusions.  But when you are trying to speak to the emotions of a tragic event like the one that happened on these grounds 25 years ago, logic cannot be used to explain the loss of life -- especially when so many of those were taken at such a young age.

As we mourn those who lost their lives, the best we can do is honor them with our actions.  And for 25 years Plainfield has. You see, I moved to Plainfield shortly after the Tornado.  The stories were fresh in everyone's mind. While I didn't experience the mass destruction, I did experience the city’s re-birth. Watching a community come together as we have and always will, is a tribute to the traditional American spirit, and while there are many reasons why I chose to move here, it is the togetherness that has always impressed me and made Plainfield my ideal place to raise my family.  I'm sure many here today can cite various terrific reasons, but one of the reasons that we we all share is our great sense of community -- our spirit -- the way we help each other.
Amazon Opens Fulfillment Center in Joliet
The online retailing firm, which stockpiles and forwards much (but not all) of the goods sold on its website, has opened its first sorting and order fulfillment center in Illinois. The 500,000-square-foot Joliet-based facility will carry out chores that are intended to increase the proportion of goods that can be delivered to Chicago-area customers on the day an electronic order is placed. The fulfillment center’s capabilities go well beyond those of a traditional warehouse.

The fulfillment center will specialize in the warehousing, sorting, and delivery preparation of books, small electronics, and consumer goods. The site’s startup has created an estimated 1,000 Illinois jobs. The company has suggested that if the State is able to improve its business climate, they may open multiple fulfillment centers and other facilities in the Chicago area by 2017.

JOLIET – Another attempt at organizing a debate with state Rep. Mark Batinick’s Democratic colleagues turned into another no-show by the five state legislators.

Batinick, R-Plainfield, held a second public discussion Monday night at Cemeno’s Restaurant in Joliet, inviting for debate state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood; Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet; Rep. Emily McAsey, D-Lockport; Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet; and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora...

While Batinick scheduled the event as a potential debate or discussion on the issues related to the budget impasse – now in day 45 – he instead spoke with the more than 20 people in attendance about some of his budget-trimming ideas.

He spoke of eliminating the gap between Illinois and the national average on dollars spent per full-time enrolled college student, centralizing same-day voter registration, becoming “smarter” with money and adjusting workman’s compensation using a Massachusetts example...
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.  
Throughout my first year as a State Representative, I have stated that it would be inappropriate for state legislators to collect pay while state employees do not during any extended budget deadlock. Illinoisans have called for bipartisan efforts in the budget-making process, and until an agreement can be made, legislative pay has not been earned in Springfield.  I have brought forth resolutions and legislation in support of this belief.

With a similar effort, I’m happy that my colleague State Representative David McSweeney filed House Bill 4253 in an effort to halt legislative salaries.  I am a Chief Co-Sponsor.   This bill would apply the pressure needed to get the bipartisan budget passed that the State very much desires.  No budget, no pay for legislators.  If 118 Representatives and 59 Senators were not getting paid, they would be pushing leadership more forcefully to come up with a compromise.  To think we are in August and still undergoing a political charade that holds our must vulnerable at risk is shameful, and I do hope that the appropriate people decide to come to the negotiating table.

I’m a very big fan of good ideas, even ideas that aren’t my own, or ideas that originated with me but were drawn as somebody else’s.  As long as we enact items in Springfield that do right for Illinois, I am pleased to support them, any way they come.  House Bill 4253 is a necessary and good idea. My colleague State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer recently spoke out on the House Floor in favor of House Bill 4253. He did so due to the fact that he could not report to his valued constituents that a balanced budget has been passed.

House Bill 4253 is beneficial to Illinois. It could apply the pressure needed to get those in power to finally come to the drawing board and pound out a solution.
Plainfield – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is pleased that the Illinois Senate will consider a new plan to provide almost $5 billion in federal funds to social services during the state’s budget deadlock. The measure would authorize spending $4.8 billion in federal dollars for programs that help domestic violence victims, low-income seniors and disabled people, among others.

Rep. Batinick stated, “This measure would appropriate vital federal funds to vulnerable individuals and agencies during the state’s budgetary impasse. It is very important that we consider all federal dollars available until we finally appropriate the new fiscal year’s budget. This is common sense, as these are federal dollars that cannot be increased or decreased, and therefore should not be held up by the budget impasse.”

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday.
PLAINFIELD – As July turns into August with the General Assembly yet to produce a budget, and with thousands at risk of losing access to state services, State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) again invited five of his local Democratic colleagues to meet in a public forum to discuss state budget and spending issues.
Rep. Batinick stated, "I still believe a full discussion is in order if this deadlock is going to continue. I’d like for us to get past 'talking points'. It's time for both sides to promote their solutions.  I'm ready to promote mine. I was very happy to be able to speak with my constituents at our first event, and I’d like to do the same with my colleagues on August 10.”

The discussion is scheduled from 7:00 – 9:00pm on Monday, August 10 at Cemeno’s Restaurant in Joliet. The event is open to residents of the represented districts and the press.  


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 101-1 to reject the automatic two percent legislative pay raise scheduled to go into effect this month, passing a bill nearly identical to the one introduced by State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) on May 28.

Rep. Batinick’s HB 4225 would reject the automatic cost-of-living increase for state legislators. However, Democrats refused to allow the Batinick bill to even be considered, instead on Tuesday introducing their own amendment to an existing House bill (HB 576) to accomplish the same result; rejecting the pay raise Democrats were up until this week ready to accept.

Speaking from the House floor during debate, Rep. Batinick said, “It’s amazing what people can get done when we’re not worried about who is taking credit.”
PLAINFIELDOver 100 area employers covering a wide range of manufacturing, labor, health care, educational, retail and community services are set to participate in a free Jobs Fair to be held from 9:00am – 12:30pm on Wednesday, August 5 at Troy Middle School. The event is open to the public and sponsored jointly by State Rep. John Anthony (R-75th) and Rep. Mark Batinick (R-97th).

“Our Jobs Fair matches local job seekers with area employers who are looking to hire right now,” said Rep.’s Anthony and Batinick. “We encourage everyone who’s unemployed, under-employed or simply looking to start a new career to come check out all the exciting opportunities available here in our area.”
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.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. Bruce Rauner attempted to crank up the pressure Tuesday on House Speaker Michael Madigan over the state budget jam, disparaging the Chicago Democrat for not stopping a $1,360 pay hike for lawmakers while Illinois struggles without a spending plan...

With Democrats controlling legislative traffic, a red light has greeted GOP legislation to reject the raise, keeping it from consideration. Floor requests Tuesday to schedule a hearing were declared out of order.

“Everybody’s going to have to give in a little bit on this budget crisis,” said Rep. Mark Batinick, a Plainfield Republican who is the bill’s lead sponsor. “If we can’t do this easy thing, I don’t know how we’re going to do the hard things...”

PLAINFIELD – With thousands of families having lost access to state services as the Illinois General Assembly remains mired in stalemate without a full budget for the new fiscal year that began July 1, State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has invited five of his local Democratic colleagues to meet in a public forum to discuss state budget and spending issues.

Rep. Batinick stated, "All too often, citizens only hear one side of an issue.  Taxpayers should hear from both sides at the same event.  They need to hear a full debate.  It's time for us to get past 'talking points'. It's time for both sides to promote their solutions.  I'm ready to promote mine.  I'm willing to debate these issues with my colleagues who serve in the majority."
OSWEGO – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) announces his first annual Senior Health Fair will be held from 10:00am – 12:00pm on Tuesday, July 28 at the Oswego Senior Center, located at 156 E Washington Street in Oswego. The event is free and open to the public.

“Helping local seniors maintain a healthy and active lifestyle is among my most important priorities,” Rep. Batinick said. “I encourage you to visit our fair and take advantage of the many outstanding local programs and services available to seniors in our community.”

40 different community organizations and state/local service providers who offer programs and resources for seniors are participating in the fair. Information covers a wide range of topics including health care, recreation, nutrition, caregiver needs, nursing home and long-term care, supportive living and much more. The State Treasurer’s office also will conduct I-Cash searches for seniors.  I-Cash is a lost assets search that the state may be holding for you. 

Plainfield – With the State of Illinois in dire need of a proper balanced budget, and reforms becoming more and more necessary, freshman legislator Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has taken on his own advice to the State’s budget process, and will send back 30% of his district office’s allotment.

Rep. Batinick stated, “I cannot go to Springfield and preach about the State turning to reforms, and living within its means, without doing the same myself. With this in mind I have successfully sent thousands of tax-funded dollars intended for my office’s use, back to the State. I always intended to save the State at least 11% of my budget, but with a smart budget and the State always in mind, my district office is returning 30% of its funds. At this time the State of Illinois requires aid to its fiscal issues and I intend to help it in as many ways as I can.”

In addition to his district office savings, Rep. Batinick has sponsored initiatives to study Illinois’ higher education and make it more affordable, and he has also pushed legislation calling for legislators to not accept pay if their budget impasse keeps State employees from receiving their own paychecks.
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.”
Thank you to everyone that made the Plainfield Senior Picnic such a terrific success this year! Over 100 people joined us outside at the Plainfield Township Community Center. Many thanks are also due to the Plainfield Park District and Plainfield Township for sponsoring the event.




Hundreds of local families attended Rep. Batinick's Kids Fair at Plainfield Central High School on Saturday featuring the popular Touch-A-Truck exhibit, Traveling World of Reptiles show, dance and martial arts demonstrations, and dozens of local and state agencies that provide programs and services to kids and their families. Check out our photo gallery to catch a glimpse of the fun!



PLAINFIELD – Believing it would be inappropriate for state legislators to accept pay in the event that state employees are not paid during a potential extended budget deadlock this summer, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has become the Chief Co-Sponsor of House Resolution 591, which deems that legislators should not receive their salaries in a timely manner if state employees are not paid their salaries on time.

 Rep. Batinick stated, “If the state legislature cannot come together in the bipartisan manner that constituents expect and deserve to pass a responsible budget, legislators have no right to collect pay if our gridlock becomes the reason that state workers don’t get their own pay. This Resolution makes it clear who actually wants the legislature to come together; and who is simply in Springfield to play party politics without regard for its effect on hard-working Illinoisans. As a freshman legislator I came to Springfield to bring new ideas and initiatives, and if an initiative as significant as a smart budget cannot be done, there’s no reason anyone in my position should consider their pay earned. We have bipartisan work to do.”
Are you unemployed, underemployed, or looking to make a career change? Mark your calendars for Wednesday, August 5 to attend a FREE Jobs Fair connecting local job seekers with employers who are hiring right now! The Jobs Fair is sponsored by Rep. Mark Batinick and Rep. John Anthony.



Placing telemarketing calls to wireless phones is - and always has been - illegal in most cases.

Why the confusion about telemarketing to wireless phones?

Consumers report receiving emails saying they'll soon begin receive telemarketing calls on their wireless phones. The confusion seems to stem from discussions in the wireless phone industry about establishing a wireless 411 phone directory, much like your traditional (wired) 411 phone directory. A number of email campaigns seem to suggest that if your wireless telephone number is listed in a wireless 411 directory, it will be available to telemarketers, and you will start to receive sales calls. In addition, some of these email campaigns suggest that there is a separate do-not-call "cell phone registry," which you must call to have your wireless phone number covered by the do-not-call rules. This information is inaccurate.

The facts

Even if a wireless 411 directory is established, most telemarketing calls to wireless phones would still be illegal. For example, it is unlawful for any person to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with express prior consent) using any automatic telephone dialing system or any artificial or prerecorded voice message to wireless numbers. This law applies regardless of whether the number is listed on the national Do-Not-Call list.

The federal government does not maintain and is not establishing a separate Do-Not-Call list for wireless phone numbers.

Wireless phone subscribers have always been able to add their personal wireless phone numbers to the national Do-Not-Call list, either online, or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number they wish to register. The do-not-call rules require callers that are not exempt from the rules to stop telemarketing calls 30 days after you register a number.

There is no deadline for registering a number on the national Do-Not-Call list. There is also no longer any need to re-register a number – it will stay on the national Do-Not-Call list until you cancel your registration or discontinue service. Read more.
Reptile Show, and a Touch-A-Truck exhibit with over 25 vehicles for the kids to see, touch and sit in, among the special attractions


PLAINFIELDOver 40 area vendors covering a wide range of educational, health and child care, recreational and community services will participate in State Rep. Mark Batinick’s Kid’s Fair to be held on Saturday, June 20 from 9:00am – 12:30pm at Plainfield Central High School. The annual event also features the popular Traveling Reptile Show to take place at 10:30am, and a Touch-A-Truck exhibit with over 25 vehicles for the kids to see, touch and sit in.

Admission to the event is FREE with complimentary refreshments and giveaways also provided. Information will be available on topics such as cyber bullying, fire safety, bicycle safety, after-school programs, daycare, nutrition, internet safety and library programs; to name just a few.

“As a freshman legislator I am very excited to host an event that connects kids and families to the tremendous local resources and activities available throughout our area,” said Rep. Batinick. “This Fair will be interactive, fun, and informational for families of all ages, and I hope every local family can attend.”
PLAINFIELD – State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has announced the official launch of his Summer Reading Club for students entering kindergarten through sixth grades. The program is offered to encourage reading among local youth and promote the lifelong benefits of literacy. Free brochures are available for download on Rep. Batinick’s website by clicking HERE or by calling Rep. Batinick’s District Office at (815) 254-0000.

Students are challenged to read eight books over their summer break. Books from local library programs are accepted; and books of 150 pages or more count as two. After a student completes his/her reading list, they must have a parent or guardian certify the reading was accomplished and return the signed form on the brochure to Rep. Batinick’s office by the deadline of Monday, August 17.
Budget – FY16
·         House, Senate Democrats introduce fake State budget.  House and Senate Democrats introduced a series of spending bills for FY16 (starting July 1, 2015) that spends more than $4 billion what nonpartisan revenue estimates expect the state to bring in.  Ignoring their constitutional responsibility to enact a balanced budget, the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate rammed through spending bills they readily admit they cannot pay for, while at the same time walking away from the reform negotiations Governor Rauner has called for.
SPRINGFIELD – Advancing opportunity for students pursuing higher education, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) announced his chief co-sponsored bill, House Bill 3428, has passed through both chambers of the General Assembly in Springfield. The legislation requires that public universities and community colleges must accept scores of 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams for credits toward graduation. Each institution must determine for each test whether the credit will be granted for elective, general education or major requirements, as well as the exam score required to grant credit in those areas.

Rep. Batinick stated, “This legislation is a great step toward giving our young people added incentive to attend our universities and colleges. It is the right thing to do, as it acknowledges coursework completed, thereby setting students on a faster, more direct path to success, while saving them money they will most certainly love to hold onto. The bill also brings a report back to the General Assembly and the Governor on each institution’s course granting policies, which benefits the ongoing study of our higher education system.”

SPRINGFIELD – As the end of the legislative session nears, House Democrats have completed their withdrawal from bipartisan working group discussions, and intend to pass an unbalanced budget that looks to spend $4 billion more than the State is taking in. Illinois is estimated to bring in $32 billion next year, with a proposed budget from the majority party that would spend over $36 billion.

State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) stated, “The people of Illinois were promised transparency in this budget, with bipartisan working group involvement. Instead we have an overdrawn budget crafted by one party, yet again, which only portrays the disrespect the majority party has for hard working taxpayers in Illinois. This budget is not balanced, and does nothing to reduce the high cost of college tuitions at our public universities, and completely ignores the called for reforms necessary to grow jobs in this state.”

The proposed spending is 12% higher than projected revenue, and would push Illinois’ backlog of bills to over $10 billion, equaling 30% of its total revenue.

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SPRINGFIELD - Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and members of the House Republican Caucus stand outside the State Armory to observe a moment of silence in honor of Illinois' fallen soldiers this Memorial Day.

Budget – FY16
·         Despite deadline, Democrats again refuse to pass balanced budget for FY16.  The Illinois Constitution requires that the State annually pass a balanced budget in which revenues match mandated expenditures.  One way that Speaker Madigan has been Speaker for 32 of the past 34 years is by passing a series of unbalanced budgets, which have all spent money the State has not had.  He has curried favor with powerful interests and forced Republicans to be the villains whenever steps are taken to prevent the spending of imaginary money.

Strong rumors circulated on Friday, May 22 that Democrats were preparing another unbalanced budget for FY16, the fiscal year starting July 1, 2015.  This budget may get filed in the week starting Memorial Day, May 25.  This phony budget is expected to commit $4 billion that Illinois does not possess to the Democrats’ spending priorities.  Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed a different budget for Illinois and has strengthened his calls for the State’s government to live within its means.
SPRINGFIELD – Having only spent four months on the job, the large class of House Republican freshmen came together in the Capitol today to express their disgust with the partisan political atmosphere that has engulfed Springfield.  The message they came to deliver is there is no better time than now to call for term limits in Springfield. 

“I don’t believe there’s a single one of us who truly understood the high barriers towards reform that have been erected by the entrenched leadership here in Springfield,” stated Steve Andersson (R, Geneva).  “The time is now to discuss this issue, while we are amidst this gridlock.” 

An initiative to put a binding term limits referendum on the 2014 General Election ballot was denied by a three-judge Illinois Appellate Court last August, leaving legislative action as the best alternative. With three separate joint constitutional amendments filed, House Republicans point to the onset of gridlock so early into the new Governor’s first term along with the increasingly draconian House rules as evidence that term limits need immediate consideration. 
SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has filed bipartisan legislation, House Bill 4215, that would save Illinois’ nine public universities an estimated $100 million in annual costs to purchase equipment and supplies by allowing the governing body of each university to make procurement decisions on their own. Currently, public universities are bound b
y the multitude of regulatory processes set forth in the Illinois Procurement Code.

“The process for Illinois’ public universities to purchase equipment and supplies is so costly and cumbersome that federal grants at the University of Illinois are actually being housed at Purdue University in Indiana,” Rep. Batinick said. “We can’t expect to properly recruit the best and brightest students to our state universities if they are being forced to pay higher tuition at a university that cannot maintain its own procurement process under state law.”
Property Taxes
·         Trick bag; no property tax relief in sight.  Once again the Democrat-controlled House brought sham legislation to a vote for the sole purpose of putting Republican lawmakers in a trick bag and embarrassing the new Governor.

House Republicans have long worked to provide Illinoisans with much needed and deserved property tax relief. Each year members of the House Republican Caucus introduce legislation that would deliver property tax relief and each year the Democrats block those measures. The real roadblock to property tax relief has been the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.
Once again the Democrat-controlled House brought sham legislation to a vote for the sole purpose of putting Republican lawmakers in a trick bag and embarrassing the new Governor.

House Republicans have long worked to provide Illinoisans with much needed and deserved property tax relief. Each year members of the House Republican Caucus introduce legislation that would deliver property tax relief and each year the Democrats block those measures. The real roadblock to property tax relief has been the Democrat-controlled legislature. 
SPRINGFIELD – Last week, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan called for a Committee of the Whole regarding the issue of Worker’s Compensation Reform.  While the Democrats were given weeks to prepare (one of the witnesses said he knew about the hearing for 3-4 weeks), the House Republicans were given the witness list just 30 minutes before the hearing started.  All witnesses and panelists were brought in by the Speaker and his team.

Despite being at an obvious disadvantage, the House Republicans arguments for reform were verified.  “Not a single injured worker that was brought before the House would have seen diminished benefits under the proposed reforms.  More importantly, almost everyone asked confirmed how long it takes to reach a settlement in Illinois.” said Batinick, “I’ve spoken about this ad nauseam.  When their witnesses are proving my point, I feel vindicated.  We need to look for best practices.  One of the best ways to reform the system is to get workers healthy more quickly.  It’s good for the workers and it is good for businesses.” 
Pensions – Illinois Supreme Court SB 1 Ruling
  • Illinois Supreme Court strikes down pension reform law.  On Friday, May 8, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed a lower circuit court ruling on State pension system reforms contained in SB 1 (P.A. 98-599).  In response to enactment of P.A. 98-599, five separate actions were filed in Cook County and Sangamon County courts to enjoin implementation of the pension reforms, claiming the reforms were unconstitutional due to a violation of the provision in the Illinois Constitution (Article XIII, Section 5) that asserts pensions are a contractual right and cannot be diminished or impaired. The five suits were subsequently consolidated into one action in Sangamon County Circuit Court.
SPRINGFIELD – Today Illinois House Democrats forced a series of partisan votes on a multi-billion dollar spending bill aimed at undermining the budget process. Bypassing the established bipartisan appropriations committees, Democrats brought sixteen amendments directly to the House floor less than a few hours before the vote, denying Republicans, groups impacted by the funding and the general public any opportunity to read or offer input on the amendments before the votes were rammed through on a partisan vote. Republicans, including State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), voted Present.

 “Speaker Madigan forced us to vote on $2.6 Billion worth of spending with about an hour’s notice. This is not the way a functioning state operates. The reason the state’s finances are so bad is because this is the way things have been run for more than a decade now. We would be able to create more jobs, invest more efficiently in our social safety net, and see fewer families and businesses leaving Illinois to find better opportunity elsewhere if the General Assembly approached its responsibilities in a spirit of cooperation and respect. Sadly, that wasn’t the case today. Illinois families deserve better.”


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Budget – FY15 – Social Services Restored
·         Revenue estimate up; $26 million in State grants to be restored.  The State of Illinois has faced continuous challenges in “keeping the lights on” during the final months of FY15.  When the Governor’s office changed hands in January, Governor Bruce Rauner found that the FY15 budget passed by Democrat majorities and signed by former Governor Pat Quinn was drastically unbalanced.  The General Assembly and the Rauner administration have worked together since that time to shift funds around to cover shortfalls.  In some cases, additional cuts were imposed on some agencies and their spending programs. 

Citing an improving economy, Governor Rauner announced Thursday that he would restore $26 million to social service and public health grants that were frozen earlier this year because of budget constraints.  Grants for autism, addiction prevention, assistance for homeless, teen REACH and other programs were impacted by the freeze. The Governor was able to restore funding to these programs because of better than expected revenues projections.  The bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability expects an additional $300 million to $500 million in tax revenue because of an improving economy in Illinois.