- House session extended
- Lyme disease bill passes unanimously
- Summer reading program now underway
- Memorial Day
Thank you for subscribing to my e-mail newsletter. You can get more news and information about state government by visiting my website at repswanson.com.
House session extends beyond expected adjournment
I had hoped to use this newsletter to provide you with the details of the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but that was not to be. The House was expected to pass a budget and adjourn for the summer last Friday. However, we still have not voted on a budget, and so we remain at the Capitol in Springfield.
This budget process is deeply flawed. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 billion of taxpayer money is going to be spent on everything from education to public safety to human services. Yet the process has mostly taken place behind closed doors with a very small number of people involved in this momentous decision. You will most likely hear the budget is balanced, but the “Devil is in the details.” We will have more of those details in the coming days.
In the past this process has led to abuse and corruption. The responsible thing to do would be to add more transparency to this process: give legislators and the public time to review the budget, to look for wasteful spending, and to ask questions of those who propose it. Instead, we get last minute, middle of the night bills which are sometimes thousands of pages long, and only a brief time to go through them.
I’m afraid that history is repeating itself again this year. This is not good for taxpayers and it is not good for state government.
Lyme disease bill passes House
I was proud to have my bill SB 1803, pass the House unanimously in the closing days of session.
This bill creates the Lyme Innovation Act, a statewide interagency multi-pronged approach to combat tick-borne illnesses in Illinois. It bolsters the state’s capacity to combat the rapid expansion of tick-borne diseases, focusing on public awareness, education and outreach. It expands an existing pilot tick research program at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois to the entire state of Illinois. This program identifies species of ticks and tests them for tick borne disease.
Tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease present an urgent public health challenge. Research indicates that 35% of deer ticks in Illinois are positive for Lyme disease. We can better protect Illinoisans from these diseases with better awareness and education about their spread and about prevention. This legislation helps us to do that.
Reminder: Oceans of Possibilities summer reading program underway
This summer I am proud to once again offer my summer reading club for kids. This year’s theme is Oceans of Possibilities. Those students who read eight books this summer will receive an official Illinois House of Representatives Certificate of Recognition and an invitation to an ice cream party at the end of the summer.
The Summer Reading Club challenges 1st through 4th graders to read eight books during their summer break. Books for local library programs are also acceptable and books over 150 pages may count for two books.
You can find out more at repswanson.com/read/, or by calling my office at (309) 334-7474.
Remembering Memorial Day
This weekend we pause to honor those who gave their lives for the freedoms and liberties which we all cherish. Thank you to all those who serve and to their loved ones at home.
At 10:30 a.m. on Memorial Day I will have the honor of being the guest speaker at the ceremony conducted by the Macomb American Legion Post 6, at 221 E. Washington Street in Macomb. I hope you can join us.
Have a very safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.