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.