PLAINFIELD – A group of sixteen Republican legislators are calling on State Comptroller Susana Mendoza to keep her promise of maintaining former Comptroller Leslie Munger’s policy of “No Budget No Pay’ in place with regard to payment of state lawmaker salaries.  Twelve State Representatives and Four State Senators sent a letter to Comptroller Mendoza today urging her to defend “No Budget No Pay” in the face of a lawsuit filed by six House Democrat legislators on December 2 suing the Comptroller for delaying payment of their salaries.

“Social service providers and many others who rely upon the state to meet its financial obligations are being adversely impacted, to put it mildly, by the General Assembly’s failure to pass a comprehensive budget,” Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) said. “We are calling on the new Comptroller to stand with us in support of the individuals and families whose lives are being irreparably harmed due to the lack of stability in our budget.”

“We do not believe that payment of legislator salaries should be prioritized over the funding of health care and social service providers or others enduring the long delay in state payments,” added Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield).The principle of “No Budget No Pay” should be kept in place; and the General Assembly should come together immediately to pass a responsible state budget in order to prevent further erosion of our social safety net and damage to our economy.”
Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to you and your family!

As we reflect on this year and look forward to the start of 2017, I would like to express my appreciation for the many parents, educators, community leaders, first responders, small business owners and working families who make Will and Kendall Counties such a special place to live. I have enjoyed meeting so many of you this year at events in the community and listening to your concerns. May the holidays bring joy and blessings to you and your loved ones as you make new memories that your family will cherish for years to come.

I hope you will join me in thanking the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces serving overseas as well as our active duty military and veterans here at home who have done so much to preserve our freedom and way of life. Let’s keep them and their families foremost in our thoughts and prayers this holiday season. To learn about benefits and services available to Illinois veterans and returning servicemen and women, please visit the Veterans Resources page.

The Illinois House of Representatives is scheduled to return to Springfield on January 9. It is my earnest hope that the Governor and the General Assembly will resume state budget negotiations in good faith between now and then. We must come together to reach a compromise that protects the interests of taxpayers as well as those who rely upon a stable safety net.

Please be sure to check back here in the coming weeks and follow me on Facebook to stay informed of the latest news on legislation and important issues impacting Illinois families.

As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Sincerely,
Mark Batinick
State Representative, 97th District

On Saturday December 17th Santa will be available at Webb Chevrolet in Plainfield. Santa will be visiting with Kids of all Ages, accepting letters and taking pictures from 11 a.m. to 3p.m. The address is 16140 S. Lincoln Highway, Plainfield. More information below.
Rep. Batinick honored the Plainfield Township Park District with a Resolution honoring their 50th Anniversary.
Pictured with Executive Director Carlo Capalbo presenting a copy of the resolution.
Full text here.
 
 
State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) spoke during debate against Senate Bill 2814, legislation to bailout a profitable energy company at a time when social services and other providers in Illinois are languishing from the continued lack of a comprehensive state budget. Click below to watch Rep. Batinick's remarks on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives.

SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has signed on as the chief Republican sponsor of new legislation to amend the Illinois Constitution to require a three-fifths majority vote of the General Assembly in order to approve a tax increase during the so-called “lame duck” period between the November General Election and Inauguration in January, when unaccountable retiring or defeated lawmakers can approve a tax hike by a simple majority vote, as was done during the 2011 lame duck session.

The new legislation, House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 62, introduced by Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), was unanimously approved the State Government Administration Committee today by a vote of 13-0. It is currently on the House Floor awaiting final consideration. The bill’s co-sponsors include six Democrats and four Republicans.

“This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue; this is about accountable government,” Rep. Batinick said. “Lame duck legislative sessions should be held to a higher standard when it comes to passing any bill that would raise taxes on Illinois families. Our bill would raise the bar and make it harder for political pressure exerted on lame duck legislators to support a last-minute tax increase result in enough votes to pass such a proposal without bipartisan support.” 
Plainfield – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) will host an Identity Theft Prevention Seminar on Thursday, December 8 at the Plainfield Township Community Center from 10 to 11:30AM. The community center is located at 15014 S. Des Plaines Street. A liaison from the Attorney General’s Office will speak on how to prevent fraud and what to do if you’re a victim. Free refreshments will be provided.
 
Rep. Batinick said, “As we head into the holidays, and knowing Illinois has one of the highest rates of identity theft in the country, I believe it’s an appropriate time to host this informational seminar to help people avoid this increasing crime, and also to help them shop more safely this holiday season. I’d like to thank the Attorney General’s Office for again helping with this effort.”
 
For more information and to RSVP, please call (815) 254-0000.
 
 
Plainfield State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was awarded the Illinois Farm Bureau’s 2016 Friend of Agriculture Award earlier this month, which recognized his voting record in line with the needs of Illinois farmers. On October 18th, in order to maintain his connection to District 97’s farming operations, he joined Will County Farm Bureau’s John Andermann atop his combine harvester.
 
Mr. Andermann said, “I was happy to have him along during my day’s work, as he has been consistently receptive to farming needs and issues. I thank him for that, and for coming to talk with me today.”

Rep. Batinick stated, “We must always support Illinois’ agriculture as it will remain vital to our State and country’s well-being. Many constituents of District 97 make their livelihood through farming, and I am grateful that John Andermann allowed me to go to work with him today.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is studying improved access to I-55 at Airport Road/Lockport Street and at IL 126/Essington Road. The project stakeholders are a large and varied group that includes teams from Plainfield, Romeoville and Bolingbrook in conjunction with IDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. A consultant team from V3 Companies is performing engineering studies and coordinating stakeholder outreach.
 
A stakeholder is anyone that is affected by the project and its outcome, so this effort involves outreach to residents, owners of nearby properties, users of I-55, Weber Road, IL 126, Airport Road, Lockport Street, local businesses, elected officials, local agencies and the general public. The project's website is located at www.airportand126study.com.
 
 

The roadway alternatives that have been developed during the I-55 Interchange study are being evaluated through a three step process. 30 alternatives were produced for study. Rounds 1 and 2 of the screening process are completed.
Plainfield – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was awarded the Illinois Farm Bureau’s 2016 Friend of Agriculture Award, which recognized his voting record in line with the needs of Illinois farmers.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “It is important that the State remains attentive to Illinois’ agricultural industry, because this industry is vital to our State and our country. From my post in District 97, many constituents make their livelihood through Illinois’ vast agriculture, and I’d like to thank all of them for this recognition.”
 
Mark Schneidewind, a Manager of the Will County Farm Bureau, stated, “The Illinois Farm Bureau tracks important pieces of legislation on behalf of farmers, and we are grateful to the efforts of all lawmakers that keep farmers in mind. Representative Batinick’s voting record has been a great help to Illinois agriculture, and it’s a privilege to present the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Friend of Agriculture Award to him this year.”
 
Plainfield – On September 27, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan granted a motion to eliminate Illinois’ Election Day voter registration policy in all 102 of its counties. The decision came via a case in which plaintiffs claimed that Illinois’ Election Day Registration policy was unconstitutional because it was mandated in all counties, yet only larger populated counties were required to have Election Day Registration available at each polling place.
 
Foreseeing the logistical issue within the polling places, and the legal issue within the courts, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) last year filed House Bill 2936 that sought to change same day registration from every precinct in large counties to 1 per 100,000 voters.
 
Now, he’d like to refile language which would require one Election Day Registration polling place per each township throughout the State. He stated, "I believed the plan was unconstitutional last year, as only some voters had easy access to same day voting. It was also a logistical nightmare requiring it at every location because too much extra staff and equipment were needed, including high speed internet at each precinct. This all slowed the process for people who took the time to pre-register, to simply vote. It cost the county I live in about $1.6 million to support extra voters at overworked polling places."
 
"I am currently drafting a bill requiring at least one same day registration site per township throughout the State. These locations can be staffed properly with the proper resources, and we can have separate operations in place for pre-registered and same-day voters. A more centralized location for same-day voters will make the process more efficient for all voters, and make Illinois’ elections less convoluted."
 
 
 
Plainfield – With the State of Illinois still in dire need of a proper balanced budget, and reforms becoming more and more necessary, Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has taken on his own advice to the State’s budget process, and will once again send back 30% of his district office’s allotment.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “As I’ve stated before, I cannot go to Springfield and preach about the State turning to reforms, and living within its means, without doing the same myself. Knowing this I have again sent back almost 22,000 tax-funded dollars intended for my office’s use, back to the State. My hope is that these dollars go to agencies and individuals that have seen the State continuously break its promises to them regardless of the year. In-District we have successfully brought jobs fairs, kids’ fairs, senior fairs, and self-defense courses, but 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, legislatively and through monetary savings.”
 
In addition to his district office savings, Rep. Batinick has sponsored initiatives to study Illinois’ higher education and make it more affordable. Through January and February he was a part of a Government Consolidation Task Force that published suggestions to help local governments rein in costs, relieving taxpayers and lessening Illinois’ excessive bureaucracy. He is also in favor of legislators’ pay being held until the State’s budget is finally fully produced.
 
 
 
Plainfield – In service to local motorists, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is pleased to announce that the contracting company D Construction, Inc. has successfully bid to complete a roadway improvement on 127th Street, from Heggs Road to west of US Route 30 in Plainfield. When completed, this project will improve the operation of the highway facility.
 
The specific details of construction staging will be discussed at a preconstruction meeting between D Construction, Inc. and the Illinois Department of Transportation on September 22, 2016 at 11AM in IDOT’s 2nd Floor Construction Conference Room located at 201 W. Center Court, in Schaumburg.
 
The estimated start date of the project will be October 2016, with an estimated completion date of November 2017.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “This road project should improve our highway facility while keeping local traffic at a steady pace during construction. I encourage all interested people to come to the preconstruction meeting where the resident engineer will be on hand to answer all questions.”
Springfield – During Illinois’ budget impasse, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has drawn up a petition, and also sponsored legislation, stating that if an agreed upon budget is not produced by the General Assembly, legislators should not be given legislative pay. Today he voiced his support of Comptroller Leslie Munger’s proposal to draft legislation that could withhold pay if legislators do not finally pass a balanced state budget.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “I’ve been pushing this initiative for over a year because any pain felt by unpaid legislators doesn’t compare to the individuals and agencies that are struggling without their dues from the balanced budget that legislators are required to create. The State’s budgetary problems can only be fixed if the 177 people within the General Assembly make it their focus, and I stand by the Comptroller’s proposal to motivate us.”
 
Comptroller Munger said, “We tell small businesses, nonprofits, hospitals, schools and others to wait in line for months for what they’re owed by the state – it’s unconscionable that we would prioritize politician pay and move them to the front.”
 
The state is currently operating on a temporary stopgap budget. The legislature is set to take up the budget once again after the November election, and could be dealing with a budget deficit of $10 billion by that time.
 
 
Rep. Batinick discusses the State's financial issues with Rep. David Harris on Fox News Chicago.
 
Springfield – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) unanimously passed legislation through the Illinois General Assembly that designates Illinois roadways with the namesakes of fallen soldiers. On the day honoring Veterans at the State Fair, Governor Rauner made it a point to sign the Heroes Way Designation Program Act into Illinois law. The idea first originated with Denise Meehan, the mother of PFC Andrew Meari, who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan.
 
Denise said, “The Heroes Way Designation Act ensures the families of Illinois’ fallen that the name of their loved one will be remembered, and spoken, by people of generations still to come. A person lived right here in their community, in their hometown, that so loved this country they laid down their life in its defense. Their sacrifice is forever and their memory should be honored forever. The Heroes Way Act accomplishes this, for me and for all those families that bear the honorable burden of the Gold Star.”
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “I brought this legislation in honor of Illinois’ Veterans, their families, and all those that have sacrificed for this country, including PFC Andrew Meari for whom this idea first originated. My hope is that all those who have served, including their families, realize the level of appreciation the State of Illinois, and our nation, holds for them. Now with the Heroes Way Act, Illinoisans can pay tribute to those that have laid down their lives for this great country.”
 
The legislation is listed as Public Act 99-0802.
 
 
 
PFC Andrew Meari with his Mother, Denise Meehan. 
Plainfield – On Monday, Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino skipped yet another deadline to respond to allegations concerning his questionable spending which occurred during his tenure as State Representative from Spring Valley, Illinois. State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) says, “after ignoring the State Board of Elections twice, it’s time for the Election board to hold a public hearing and demand a response from Frank Mautino.”
 
Rep. Batinick and his Republican colleagues have long called for Mautino to remove himself from his appointed position as Auditor General until the allegations against him were disproven. Rep. Batinick is optimistic the Election board will schedule a hearing soon, as recent media reports mention that Election board executive director Steve Sandvoss has indicated  a potential hearing would look further into the allegations concerning the questionable expenditures made by Frank Mautino.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “My Republican colleagues and I have done everything we can to invoke a response from Frank Mautino. After dodging the problem for so long, I am glad he will finally be called to attest to the troubling allegations. Illinoisans deserve a good, clean government that is checked by someone outside the weight of investigation. I look forward to the public hearing.”
 
The questionable expenditures include over $200,000 in Mautino’s campaign funds spent at an alderman-owned car service station, and clarification was also being sought about $259,000 Mautino paid to a Spring Valley bank since 1999. After failing to file campaign disclosure reports with the Illinois State Board of Elections on Monday, Mautino is likely to finally face a public hearing from the Election board concerning his use of campaign funds while serving in the Illinois House.
 
While offering little comment to questions surrounding the investigation, Mautino’s Office has stated they are cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Mautino was appointed to a ten year term in October by the Illinois General Assembly, an appointment that many are questioning at this time.
 
 
 
Plainfield – Through January and February of this year, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) sponsored District-wide Self-Defense Courses with the internationally recognized educators at One Light Self Defense. On Tuesday July 19, he will again sponsor the demonstrative course at Plainfield Township Community Center from 6 to 9PM.
 
His office first came across One Light’s program during their work with the Plainfield Junior Women’s Club. The One Light self-defense team, based right here in Illinois, began with diversified individuals that were well-trained in self-defense and embraced a passion to help others. They’ve traveled to such places as Nairobi, Kenya, where girls face physical attacks every day, and empowered women, girls, and community leaders with their defense techniques. Now, through the sponsorship of Rep. Batinick and the willingness of the team at One Light Self Defense, women and girls around Shorewood, Plainfield, and Oswego have all been given the same opportunity.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “One Light’s courses at my previous events were extremely informational and fun for everyone, so we had to bring them back so that kids on summer break could have an opportunity to join the course.”
 
Plainfield Township Community Center is located at 15014 S. Des Plaines Street in Plainfield. The course is free, but any donations go to Women at Risk International and their fight against human trafficking. For questions, or to RSVP, please email Debbie at debk.repbatinick@gmail.com or call 815-254-0000.
 
 
 
 
Plainfield – State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is pleased to announce the dates, locations and times of his three major Summer Fairs within the local community.
 
On Friday June 17, Rep. Batinick will host a Senior Fair from 9AM to noon at St. Mary’s Immaculate Parish in Plainfield. State, county, and local government resources will be made available to all participating Seniors, and a Free Shred Truck will be on hand to properly dispose of a limit of two paper boxes per attendee.
 
On Saturday June 18, Rep. Batinick will host a Children’s Expo from 9AM to 12:30PM at Plainfield Central High School. There will be many fun demonstrations (including a State Police K-9 Unit, and Reptile Show), local program organizers, local information, and also a Touch-A-Truck area with many exciting vehicles. Admission, refreshments and giveaways will all be free.
 
On Saturday June 25, Rep. Batinick will co-host a Jobs Fair with State Rep. John Anthony at Minooka Central High School from 9:30AM to 12:30PM. Many local employers will be on hand, and there will also be workshops on stand-out resumes, successful interviewing, and mastering your job search. Job seekers should bring plenty of resumes and dress to impress!
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “I’m thrilled to have these Fairs each summer in order to meet more of our community. These Fairs help me stay in tune with District 97, and also add to my office’s service to our constituents. The goal with these Fairs is to offer something that people from any age group can enjoy and utilize, and I hope we see even larger numbers than last year. Please consider placing these dates in your Summer calendar.”
 
 
Chicago – State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was one of ten General Assembly members to first question the appointment of former Rep. Frank Mautino to Auditor General. Today he joined several legislators at the Thompson Center in Chicago to demand that Mautino remove himself from the position of Auditor General until the federal and state investigations surrounding his campaign fund, The Committee for Frank J. Mautino, are completed.
 
Rep. Batinick stated, “This governmental office has for decades upheld the standard of ethics that Illinoisans expect from their entire state government, and I must ask that Mr. Mautino step aside from his position as Auditor General until it is proven he has not tainted the office. Illinois has endured many governmental scandals in its history, but it has not seen one from its Auditor General. The people of this State deserve clean government, and they deserve their government to be checked and audited by someone not under the weight of investigation. Knowing this, today I joined my colleagues demanding that Auditor General Mautino take an unpaid leave of absence until investigations surrounding him are completed.”
 
A letter has been sent to Auditor General Mautino demanding that he take the unpaid leave of absence.
 
 
During the House floor debate on Friday with only 4 days left in the regular session, Rep. Mark Batinick stood up to join House Republicans in calling for a commitment towards a budget solution and compromise. 
 
 
The General Assembly has a few days left to get a budget passed, and needs to continue to work towards a bipartisan compromise to our State's budget impasse. Rank and file members have been in working groups aimed at bridging the gap and coming up with both reforms and budgetary compromises. Speaker Madigan dismissed these inclusive groups, saying they haven't made progress. He's wrong. They're making progress and they need to continue their work.
House Republicans talk to the press corps to explain the rules that were broken by House Democrats who cut short debate on a 500 page, $40 billion spending plan that was dropped an hour before it was called.  The bill spends $7 billion over the state's projected revenues. The process in Springfield is broken.  We need to #reformIL

SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 123, which creates a Task Force to investigate the benefits of implementing reverse auctions into Illinois procurement law. Reverse auctions would be used through online bids made by prospective vendors for Illinois’ state projects, and projects would be given to the local business with the best bid and plan.

Rep. Batinick stated, “By executing this idea, the State could offer new opportunities to small businesses during the purchase of large commodities. Reverse auctions have been beneficial to the federal government, and their usage has gradually increased the federal government’s contracts to small businesses, which is a phenomenal feat in these modern times of bulk production. But I think our state government would be most benefitted by this form of business, as we embark upon tackling its debt and doing business efficiently so that the people can be better served. Reverse auctions should be initiated statewide because transparency is inherent in the process, small businesses are given their best shot, and major savings are made by the State through the best offered price.”

The Task Force to implement reverse auctions shall be overseen by the Executive Ethics Commission.

SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) approved of a stopgap measure that will get many vital social services, from autism research to community services, appropriated to their due recipients. While there was disappointment that critical funding for human services facilities and prisons were omitted from the bill, Rep. Batinick is pleased that Senate Bill 2038 sends much needed funding to the state’s social services.

Rep. Batinick stated, “I eagerly voted for this measure because the services involved are extremely important and should be taken out of negotiations as we try to embark upon reforms that will make our government better serviceable to its people. While I am relieved that these social services will be taken out of the process, I hope that this measure can be the start of new negotiations that end Illinois’ annual budgetary struggle, in a bipartisan movement for reform.”

Senate Bill 2038 awaits further consideration from the Senate.

 

 
 
Springfield - A group of Illinois lawmakers began in February formally requesting that Auditor General Frank Mautino work expeditiously to answer serious questions about campaign expenditures and reporting procedures dating back to his time in the Illinois House of Representatives. State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) first led the small group of Representatives that voted against Mautino’s appointment, and today, more than three months later, he and other lawmakers stressed that Mautino's foot dragging needs to stop.



Rep. Batinick stated, “We have given him plenty of time to respond, and he has chosen not to, which makes it hard to believe that nothing improper occurred. As the Auditor General, he has to be held to the highest standard, and this is why we cannot stop with our request.”
 
OSWEGO – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) again held an important Question & Answer session with local students. This time he was at Oswego East High School, where he elaborated on the legislative process while speaking on the importance of voter participation, and giving back to the community.

Rep. Batinick stated, “It’s important to me that I get the perspective of young students’ about local government, especially with the struggle we see the State in to fund the institutions that teach them. Just last week I had to tell the entire House if we didn’t pass Senate Bill 2059 to get a portion of the money we owe to our state institutions, we’d be risking having our universities remain unfunded during a period when many young intelligent minds will be choosing their schools. Luckily that legislation became law, but it’s all tied together. I want to ensure that our young people know that their future is being fought for in Springfield, and with these meetings I try to make that clear. I’d like to thank all the teachers and administrators at Oswego East for giving me this opportunity.”

Rebecca Walters, a Social Studies teacher at Oswego East, said, “Mr. Batinick’s visit today helped our students understand the importance of local government. As the laws for Civics education in Illinois are changing, opportunities like this are vital in educating future voters on the importance of the role they play in their communities.”


A Note from State Rep. Mark Batinick:

Since July of last year, I have called for legislative pay to be halted until a compromised budget is passed. I co-sponsored House Bill 4253, brought by Rep. David McSweeney, which halts legislative pay in times of no budget. I believe if we had done this ten months ago, there would've been a well-compromised budget by now.

If universities, students, and social providers aren't being paid, neither should legislators, and I ask that you sign the petition with your support on this belief. Thank you.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE.


Are you or someone you know a local business owner? Are you looking for qualified job seekers to match your business' employment needs? We are currently accepting reservations from local employers interested in participating in a FREE Jobs Fair in Minooka on Saturday, June 25, sponsored by State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and State Rep. John Anthony (R-Joliet).

Please see the flyer for full details and contact information on how to sign-up today!
Springfield – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) unanimously passed legislation through the Illinois House that designates Illinois roadways with the namesakes of fallen soldiers. The bill received unanimous approval from the House and awaits further consideration in the Senate. The idea first originated with Denise Meehan, the mother of PFC Andrew Meari, who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan.

Denise said, “The Heroes Way Designation Act ensures the families of Illinois’ fallen that the name of their loved one will be remembered, and spoken, by people of generations still to come. Being remembered, having their name said, hoping some child will one day wonder and be inspired to learn who that bridge, that road, that interchange is named for, is an incredible gift The Heroes Way Act bestows on the families of the fallen. A person lived right here in their community, in their hometown, that so loved this country they laid down their life in its defense. Their sacrifice is forever and their memory should be honored forever. The Heroes Way Act accomplishes this, for me and for all those families that bear the honorable burden of the Gold Star.”

Rep. Batinick stated, “I bring this legislation in honor of Illinois’ Veterans, their families, and all those that have sacrificed for this country, including PFC Andrew Meari for whom this idea first originated. My hope is that all those who have served, including their families, realize the level of appreciation the State of Illinois, and our nation, holds for them.”

Rep. Batinick hopes to see his Heroes Way Designation Act passed unanimously by the entire General Assembly.

 
PFC Andrew Meari and his Mother Denise

 
PFC Andrew Meari upon deployment
State Representative Mark Batinick has written an open letter to all Illinois legislators on the merits of his constitutional pension proposal. The letter and an analysis by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability can be seen below.

Letter to Legislators:

With the State strapped for cash and struggling to meet its obligations now and most likely in the near future, we need to turn our attention to pension reform that is clearly constitutional.

As you know, the Illinois Supreme Court recently made a ruling on pension alterations, declaring, “Nothing prohibits an employee from knowingly or voluntarily agreeing to modify pension benefits from an employer in exchange for valid consideration from the employer.” Therefore, changes to pension plans are allowed if both the state and employee agree to those changes. My House Bill 4427 not only meets this criterion, but can be expanded to save the state more money. Every employee can keep their plan as it stands now. Or they can take what my proposal offers, and this control given to the employee is what the Supreme Court appears to require.
The Plainfield Junior Women's Club will host an Anti-Sex Trafficking Seminar on April 19th, from 6:30PM-8:30PM, at Plainfield North High School located at 12005 S 248th Avenue.

Recent hotline statistics from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center show Illinois had the fifth highest call volume behind only New York, Florida, Texas and California.

The event is free and open to the public. Please come to increase your knowledge about human trafficking in our area, and learn what you can do to help. RSVP's can be sent to ebatinick@gmail.com.


 
Notices of vehicle emission tests due soon on nearly a half a million Illinois vehicles are finally being mailed out, despite a state budget stalemate, state officials said Wednesday.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had stopped mailing the reminders in December because of the state budget crunch. It resumed doing so Wednesday after the testing contractor, Applus Technologies, agreed to eat the cost of the mailings, state EPA officials said.

"The reminders started to go out Wednesday for vehicles due for emission tests in March, April and May," Illinois EPA spokeswoman Kim Biggs said. "That covers as many as 498,000 vehicles," she said.

With likely delays, the Secretary of State’s office has agreed not to require drivers seeking renewals of their license plate stickers to have emission testing until June 1. Normally, drivers cannot obtain a license plate sticker renewal unless their vehicle has passed emissions testing. Read more in the SunTimes.

Plainfield – An Illinois Supreme Court ruling announced on Thursday, March 24, struck down pending Illinois law aimed at reducing unfunded pension obligations in Chicago. Analyses showed that the Chicago Municipal and Chicago Laborers’ Funds were projected to become insolvent by 2024 and 2028, and rejected the law that had been pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to address the severe underfunding of these systems. The measure would have reduced the retirement benefits of current and future Tier I retirees, mostly through reducing the compounded 3% COLA, in addition to requiring current workers to pay more towards their retirement.

The Supreme Court rejected the bill for requiring the alterations to pensions, and not allowing pensioners’ their constitutional rights to control in the process. They did leave a small window open by citing, “Nothing prohibits an employee from knowing or voluntarily agreeing to modify pension benefits from an employer in exchange for valid consideration from the employer.”

State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) stated, “The Supreme Court’s ruling supports my proposal in that it gives pensioners valid consideration. They are free to keep their current pension as it is. I’ve spoken with the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability and my proposal saves significant money and pensioners keep their constitutional rights.”
 
 
Plainfield – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was honored to attend a full assembly at Kennedy Middle School to discuss his first year in state government, and also answer questions from the cheerful group of 7th graders. He also helped applaud the students that scored high marks on their Constitutional exams.

Principal AJ Hundal opened the assembly with some wonderful remarks, highlighting his immigration to America at the age of 12, and the pride he felt in passing his own Constitutional test, which allowed him to be sworn in as a Citizen of the United States. He introduced Rep. Batinick as a member in the process of democracy, and an individual excited to explain all that democracy does for Americans.

 Rep. Batinick stated, “I truly enjoyed meeting with so many kids and some of their parents and teachers for what was a fantastic awards assembly. They even brought out the band and chorus, which played and sang wonderfully. I wanted to reiterate much of what Principal Hundal had to say about appreciating all that we had in America, and I wanted the kids to understand that the number one job in government is with the people. Democracy isn’t a spectator sport, and it’s the job of all citizens, and the people that represent them, to remain in communication so that the will of the people is understood. It was important to me that the kids understand that soon they will be voters, and it’s important they express their concerns and be active participants in their government and community. I thank them for listening to me and showing such great school camaraderie.”

Rep. Batinick elaborated on questions from the middle schoolers that included his work in Springfield, his favorite and most difficult tasks, and his motive in becoming a State Representative. He then helped applaud students for their accomplishments on their Constitutional exams, and helped hand out their medals.

Social Studies teacher Donna Hebreard said, “I thank Rep. Batinick for coming in and speaking on the government and social aspects that we teach about every day, and the issues surrounding them, and being an active participant in them. This was a great assembly for our students and their parents to enjoy.”

Please Click Here for Video of the Question & Answer portion of the Assembly.
 
 

 


 
Comptroller's tax refund insert outlines government spending, revenues
 
CHICAGO - As her office begins issuing state income tax refunds, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger urged taxpayers to register online to check the status of their refunds and sign up for text message and email payment notifications.
 
The easy-to-use Tax Refund Alert System allows taxpayers to visit myrefund.illinoiscomptroller.gov and enter their name and Social Security Number to see if the Comptroller's Office has processed their refund. Taxpayers also can enter an email address and phone number to receive a notification when the payment has been made.
 
In addition, Munger announced her office will include inserts with all tax refunds detailing where the State of Illinois spent $35.6 billion in 2015, information on the state's bill backlog, and other tools to help taxpayers learn about state and local finances. Those who receive their tax refunds through Direct Deposit may view the tax insert digitally if they register for the Tax Refund Alert System.
 
"Taxpayers deserve to know when they will receive their tax refunds. By visiting myrefund.illinoiscomptroller.gov and registering for our tax refund alert system, they can track the status of their refund while monitoring where the state government spends their tax dollars," Munger said. "The Comptroller's Office will continue to focus on making government more efficient, transparent, and accessible while offering taxpayer-friendly tools to help our citizens follow the money."
Before adjourning for a month, Republican State Rep. Tom Demmer motioned to bring back session tomorrow so that legislators can continue to work and solve the budget impasse. House rules require this to be voted on. The speaker ruled the motion "out of order" even though it wasn't. The Republicans wanted to stay and work. The Democrats broke the rules and chose to leave.

 
This week in Springfield, State Representative Mark Batinick was thrilled to present House Bill 4427 to the Personnel and Pensions Committee on Monday, which contains his constitutional pensions proposal. More hearings on the proposal are to be scheduled.

See below for its coverage in committee and in statewide publications: