Last week, Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti formally presented Governor Bruce Rauner with the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force’s final report at a meeting in Oak Brook. I am so glad that this is one of the priorities of the current administration and was very pleased to see the proposals and data contained within the report. However, now it is time for the General Assembly to actually take up the recommendations and get to work when we reconvene for the year! We have completed this step and now it's time to continue moving forward.
As most of you are aware of, property taxes are crushing Illinois residents, which is why a property tax freeze and structural reforms are so important. Now that the Task Force has delivered its recommendations to tackle the problems, we must take action as soon as possible. The recommendations in the report touched on some very important strategies; some are no brainers that we already knew, like making it easier for local governments to share equipment and cut costs. However, others are the major reforms that are needed to pave a way toward turning the state around.
The priority now shifts to the General Assembly to take up these recommendations when we reconvene. Though we were scheduled to convene this week, Speaker Madigan canceled session -- even amidst the lack of a state budget -- and the House will not be convening until January 27th. Illinoisans can’t wait any longer and I hope my colleagues in the House will join me in this effort.
Some legislation does already exist to tackle some of the recommendations offered in the Task Force’s report. For example, there is active legislation geared at unfunded mandates on school districts for P.E. and Driver’s Ed, however, the first hurdle is getting the bills out of the Speaker’s Rules Committee over which he has unilateral control.
To read the complete 406 page report delivered to the Governor by the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force, click here. In the meantime, I hope you will stand with me in demanding that the Speaker allow these important proposals to be assigned to committee so that we can have the important debate these issues deserve!
The National Foundation of Women Legislators (NFWL) is pleased to announce that Representative Barbara Wheeler has been named as the Midwest Regional Director of the NFWL for 2016. Wheeler was the Director for the State of Illinois last year, and is taking on a greater role to continue to promote NFWL’s mission of advancing women in government on the state and local levels. The NFWL, entering its seventy-eighth year of operation, is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation that works to promote female elected officials and encourages women’s involvement in government.
“I am very excited and honored to continue to serve the National Foundation for Women Legislators and take on this larger role as a Regional Director,” said Wheeler. “There are so many excellent and skilled women in government in the Midwest, and it’s a privilege to be thought of among that group. I know first-hand the difficulties that a woman can face in the world of politics and government and I hope my personal experiences, and those over the past year with NFWL, will help engage more women in the governmental process.”
Elected women from across the country will gather in Orlando, Florida from November 16-20, for NFWL’s 2016 Annual Conference to identify effective solutions to some of the nation’s most timely and pressing issues. Providing a non-partisan environment that encourages dialogue and the sharing of information and experiences, women leaders are able to build coalitions, share the concerns of their constituents, and identify out-of-the-box solutions to the most pressing issues facing their communities today.
“We are so proud Representative Wheeler has again accepted a leadership position in our Foundation,” stated Delaware State Representative Helene Keeley, NFWL’s 2016 Chair. “She will play a key role in aiding women legislators in the Midwest, as we grow as an organization.”
As a Regional Director, Wheeler’s duties will include: serving as the main point of contact for NFWL and elected women in the region; increasing participation in NFWL by encouraging current and former state and local elected officials to become active; encouraging elected women from the region to take part in the NFWL annual conference to advance women in politics and government; hosting events to encourage cooperation of elected women from around the region; serve as a liaison to business within in the region to help identify funding and lobbying sources to support NFWL scholarships.
The primary goal of the NFWL is to not only encourage women in government, but to assist those that are elected in the processes of legislative debate, networking, and earned media opportunities. For more information about NFWL, please visit their website: http://www.womenlegislators.org/.
Representative Barbara Wheeler was named a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) “2015 Legislator of the Year” for her efforts to curb repeat drunk driving. Wheeler was the chief sponsor of House Bill 3533, which prevents repeat drunk drivers from prematurely reobtaining a driver’s license and increases the length of time breathalyzer ignition devices (BAIID devices) must remain in their vehicles. Wheeler is one of 70 legislators throughout the country to receive this designation.
“MADD graciously thanks Representative Wheeler for her unwavering support of stronger drunk driving laws in Illinois,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “MADD is proud to partner with Representative Wheeler and other state leaders who are dedicated to our mission of eliminating drunk driving once and for all.”
Under HB 3533, the Illinois Vehicle Code was amended so that anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination of these on multiple occasions will be subject to the installation of BAIID devices on all their vehicles for no less than five years. BAIID devices are breathalyzer devices that are connected to a vehicles ignition, if there is any presence of alcohol on the breath of the driver, the vehicle will not be able to start.
“As a mother, I know the worry that drunken driving causes and I’m very happy to have worked with MADD and the Mains family to get HB 3533 passed this year,” said Wheeler. “You can do everything right behind the wheel, but drunk drivers take the power to keep your family safe out of your hands. That’s why it’s so important to make sure we keep repeat DUI offenders off the road."
“Everyone makes mistakes in life, but when a person places themselves and others at risk by repeatedly driving under the influence, we need to make every effort to keep them from doing so again,” Wheeler concluded.
In addition to the extended duration of the BAIID devices in their vehicles under HB 3533, repeat offenders will not be eligible to apply for a license again until completing a five year period under a restricted driving permit. During this period, should the person have their permit suspended, cancelled, revoked, or they break the regulations of their BAIID device, they will be further inhibit from acquiring a license.
Wheeler also again thanked Joel Mains of Crystal Lake, and his family, who played an instrumental role in bringing HB 3533 before the General Assembly and be signed into law. Governor Rauner signed the bill into law on August 6, 2015 and it is effective January 1.
Last week, Rep. Wheeler partnered with the National Foundation of Women Legislators (NFWL), the Office Depot Foundation and Fraternite Notre Dame to provide backpacks and other items to children in need. The backpacks were donated through Office Depot’s National Backpack Program and filled with socks, the number one need for those faced with homelessness and poverty as winter dawns. Wheeler was also joined by local Chicago Representative Camille Lilly (D-Chicago).
“For most of us, the shift from fall to winter is a happy time as the holidays approach, but for many in Illinois, the approach of winter means finding ways to keep their families and children warm,” said Wheeler. “It may come as a surprise, but the most needed item for those faced with homelessness is actually socks. While items like coats and knit hats are hugely important, a simply donation of socks can be every bit as important to those fending off the cold this winter.”
The Office Depot Foundation has donated more than 3.7 million backpacks since 2001 to help deserving children get the items they need for school and to keep warm in winter. This year, Office Depot partnered with the NFWL to help Wheeler and Lilly support the disadvantaged through Fraternite Notre Dame’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen.
It is important to note, that according to recent data from the Federal Government, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has doubled since the recession. Given this reality, local donation efforts that provide school supplies and winter garments have become increasingly important for children throughout the country, including Lake and McHenry Counties.
In addition to the backpacks and socks donated, local McHenry lawyer and philanthropist, Ed Donahue, provided a major boost to the effort at Fraternite Notre Dame this year. While the emphasis on sock donations was strong this year, the traditional need for scares and gloves was lacking. Donahue graciously helped meet the need this year.
“Today’s effort was a starting point to provide and encourage important charitable donations throughout our communities this year,” said Wheeler. “Thanks to programs like this from the Office Depot Foundation, NFWL and assistance from philanthropists like Mr. Donahue, we will be working on similar efforts as winter approaches to meet the need that exists at schools in the 64th district.
“Fortunately, our area is blessed to have a number of great charitable and local government options to help those in need. However, if there is a need in the community that requires extra help, please reach out to one of my offices in either Crystal Lake or Fox Lake. Working together is the key to combating childhood homelessness and poverty,” Wheeler concluded.
Thursday October 29, 20155:30 PM - 7:30 PM
$100 / person(Sponsorships Available)A Reception Honoring Representatives:John AnthonyJohn CabelloSheri JesielRon SandackBarbara Wheelerat...Harry Carey's Restaurant Chicago Sports Museum, Hall of Legends835 N. Michigan Ave.Water Tower Place, 7th FloorChicago, IL 60611Click Here for More InformationClick Here to Join the Facebook Event
Deputy Sheriff Dwight Maness
Yesterday, I was privileged to offer a resolution in the Illinois House of Representatives to honor the memory of McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Maness. Deputy Maness recently lost his battle with recovery following the Holiday Hills shooting in October of last year that left him severely injured.
This month has been a very difficult one for the area. Deputy Maness will always be remembered for his desire to do right by the community, something that anyone who knew him would tell you from first-hand experience.
Deputy Maness had served with the McHenry County Sherriff’s Office for nearly eight years, following a 20 year U.S. Army career that involved service overseas in the 1990-91 Operation Desert Storm and designation as an Army Ranger.
Deputy Maness started quickly in his law enforcement career, graduating from the Police Training Institute as winner of the Ervin A. Warren Award, given to the graduate who best exemplifies honor, integrity and professionalism. His background and experience was quickly realized within the Sherriff’s office following training and led to him serving as a field training officer, SWAT team member and first aid instructor, along with receiving numerous letters of commendation and recognition during his time with them.
One of two officers severally injured at the Holiday Hills incident in October of 2014, Maness was determined to recover from his injuries and return to community service as soon as possible; despite a positive recovery, he lost his battle back to health this month. Maness was awarded a Purple Heart, named Officer of the Year by the Illinois Association of the Chiefs of Police and awarded the Illinois State Police Medal of Honor for his actions.
Nothing can replace the void left by the loss of Deputy Maness. I, like many others, hope that his efforts to serve his community and his nation, and make public service his life’s work will be an example to the next generation.The resolution is House Resolution 780 and may be read in full here. It was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives on Thursday September 24, 2015.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake), Illinois State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), provided the address by state legislators for Illinois at this year’s annual NFWL conference. The conference in Oklahoma City features women legislators and aspiring young women from around the country. Wheeler’s address provided the conference attendees a look at a legislative success story from this spring’s legislative session.
Wheeler’s address centered around House Bill 3533, recently signed by Gov. Rauner to curb repeat drunk driving incidents, “This year, Illinois enacted House Bill 3533 to ensure that the progress we’ve made in curbing intoxicated driving fatalities over the past few decades doesn’t start to rise again,” said Wheeler during her address. “Too often, repeat [DUI] offenders get around the requirement of their [in-car] breathalyzers by using a family members car instead of their own. To help stop this go-around, repeat offenders will now have to have a BAIID device installed in all their family’s vehicles, at their own expense, to ensure every vehicle they may commonly drive is protected from unsafe use.”
The NFWL annual conference began on Friday and continues through Tuesday, September 15. The conference features leading women in government from around the country and also provides programs to help the next generation of aspiring women leaders. Each year, the NFWL provides college bound young women with an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the conference and a $3,000 college scholarship.
“It was an honor to address this wonderful group of women leaders,” said Wheeler. “I hope the young ladies who won this year’s scholarships have been able to take full advantage of the leadership opportunities NFWL offers and I look forward to hearing of their successes as the next generation of leaders for our country.”
Today we mourn with the entire District 64 community on the senseless act of violence which took place in Fox Lake yesterday morning. My prayers continue to be with the family of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz and the entire Fox Lake community.
I am also praying for and would like to thank all law enforcement officers throughout the district, state, and country that have assisted in this situation and that continue to put their lives on the line in the interest of public safety. We are forever grateful for the sacrifices made by our law enforcement officers.
Out of respect to the officer and the mourning community of District 64,
THE HAPPY HOUR EVENT AT BLARNEY ISLAND SCHEDULED FOR SEPT. 3 ISCANCELLED.
The entire community of District 64 remains in my thoughts and prayers.
Take a look at this clip from Chicago Tonight on August 10 where I joined Rep. Lou Lang, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, and Rep. Ron Sandack to discuss issues all over the spectrum with Chicago Tonight host, Carol Marin.
The issue followed up on the release of videotapes showing officials of Planned Parenthood negotiating the transfer of fetal tissues for supposed medical research purposes. The negotiations included discussions about the condition of the tissue and the price to be paid for the expenses involved in recovering and transferring them.
Under Illinois law, the transfer of human tissue is controlled by the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act. HB 4266, filed by Rep. Peter Breen and sponsored by Rep. Barb Wheeler, provides that this Act covers individual human organisms from fertilization until live birth, and bans the use of the Act to cover the transfer of fetal tissue resulting from an abortion. HR 671, filed by Rep. Jeanne Ives and sponsored by Rep. Barb Wheeler, asks the Illinois Attorney General, the Executive Inspector General, and other enumerated branches of State government to investigate Planned Parenthood’s procedures for abortions and the sale or donation of human tissue. HR 689, filed by Rep. Thomas Morrison and sponsored by Rep. Barb Wheeler, urges Gov. Rauner and the members of the Illinois House to withdraw State funding from Planned Parenthood, and asks the State Police to investigate whether Illinois taxpayer dollars have been complicit in the transfer of fetal tissue/baby body parts. All three measures were filed on Wednesday, August 5.