Legislative News from Rep. Grant Wehrli

Wehrli to Serve on Property Tax Relief Task Force

Without a doubt, the issue I hear most about from the people I represent is the crushing property tax burden and how it negatively impacts their families and businesses. As people and businesses flee our state for better opportunities elsewhere, a common comment as they exit Illinois is that they could no longer shoulder the tax burden.

In Springfield I have always been a vocal opponent of the tax increases that make our state less desirable. In recognition of this stance, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been chosen to serve on a newly-created Property Tax Relief Task Force.

This bipartisan and bicameral group will examine the root causes of high property taxes in communities across the state and study best practices utilized in lower property tax states. Together, we will propose solutions, including policy changes that will result in real property tax relief for Illinoisans. Upon the conclusion of our work, we will submit a final report, which includes both short and long-term solutions, to the Governor and General Assembly. Our work on this panel begins immediately and I look forward to taking a deep dive into this incredibly important issue.

Wehrli Honors 50-Year Member of Naperville Municipal Band

Every year from early June until mid-August, the Naperville Municipal Band treats residents and visitors to free Thursday evening concerts in Central Park. This year the band is celebrating its 160th season. At last week’s concert, I had the honor of presenting Naperville resident Vicki Keller with a certificate from the State of Illinois congratulating her on 50 years with the band. Vicki joins local musicians each week as part of the clarinet section.

These free concerts are a treasured tradition in Naperville, and if you haven’t heard them play, I would encourage you to come out an enjoy this talented group of local musicians on Thursdays at 7:30pm. Click here to learn more about this group.

Rep. Wehrli Schedules August and September Community Outreach Events

My staff and I are putting the finishing touches on four community outreach events for the months of August and September. All of the events are free and open to all residents of the public.

On Wednesday, August 14, I’ll continue my “Wednesdays with Wehrli” community outreach with a 4:00-6:00pm event at Quigley’s Irish Pub, 43 E. Jefferson Street in Naperville. Please join me in this casual setting to discuss the recent spring legislative session and any other topics of interest. No appointment is necessary. Several new bills took effect on July 1 and we are already gearing up for the fall veto session in October, so there will be plenty to talk about.

Later in the month, on Saturday, August 24, I will be hosting my annual Children’s Safety Expo. This year’s expo will take place from 9:30am until 12:30pm at the Frontier Sports Complex, 3380 Cedar Glade Drive in Naperville. Admission is free. About 40 booths will be staffed by a variety of groups and organizations that assist children and families, and kids will be able to enjoy the popular “touch-a-truck” exhibit, which will feature at least 20 different trucks, squad cars, maintenance vehicles and more. Brookfield Zoo will be doing a “show and tell” demonstration at 10:00am and the Traveling World of Reptiles show will take place at 11:00am. Face painting and other activities will be available throughout the event. Click here to view a list of participants for this year’s expo.

In October, as we have a better idea of the issues that will be brought forward during the fall veto session, I’ll be hosting two town hall meetings. I will provide a brief update of the legislative session that ended on June 1 and an overview of the legislation that may be discussed when we return to Springfield for veto session. As always, plenty of time will be set aside for a question and answer session at both public meetings. Both meetings begin at 7:00pm.

  • Tuesday, September 10: Naperville Municipal Building (Council Chambers), 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville
  • Thursday, September 26: Warrenville City Hall, 3S258 Manning Avenue, Warrenville

For more information about these and other upcoming events, visit repwehrli.com, or call my office at (630) 696-4160.

Logistics Firm Hub Group to Open Second Chicago Area Headquarters
The Oak Brook-based logistics and freight transportation provider and planner is implementing its Illinois expansion plans by breaking ground on a second building in its Chicago-suburbs headquarters complex. When completed, the management complex will have space for up to 1,500 employees. Hub Group, which had 500 employees when it moved to Oak Brook in 2013, now has a headcount of 800. The Chicago area is a leader in 24/7 logistics management and planning, including software development to maximize the security and solutions of goods in transit worldwide.

Drivers Causing Injuries Due to Texting While Driving Accidents to Face Increased Penalties in Illinois

Every year almost 390,000 injuries are caused due to texting while driving. On Friday, Governor Pritzker signed legislation I co-sponsored that strengthens penalties for those who cause serious accidents with injuries because they were texting while driving. Through HB 2386, any individual found guilty of this crime will have their driver’s license suspended for one year and will face a fine of $1,000. The legislation was filed in response to a tragedy involving a motorist who lost a limb after being hit by a driver who was texting at the time of the crash. The laws on the books at the time only provided for a $75 fine for the driver who caused the accident. The provisions of HB 2386 took effect immediately upon its signing on Friday.

Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

The entire state of Illinois has been under either a heat advisory or an excessive heat warning for the last several days. It is important that local residents take steps to protect themselves and those around them from these dangerous weather conditions.

The state of Illinois has established a series of cooling centers in facilities around the state. To find the cooling center in your area, visit www.keepcool.illinois.gov.

Here are some important tips for safety in the kind of extreme heat Illinois is dealing with this summer:

  • NEVER leave a child or a pet in a hot car, and warn children about playing in parked cars
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity, especially during the hottest hours of the day
  • If you must work outside, wear sunscreen, take frequent water breaks and cool down in the shade as much as possible
  • Check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly and those without air conditioning
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion and what to do
  • Wear light weight, loose-fitting clothing and drink plenty of fluids
  • Make sure your outdoor pets have plenty of cool water to drink
  • Visit www.weather.gov/heat for more information from the National Weather Service on staying safe in extreme heat.

Rep. Wehrli Renews Call for Fair Maps; Offers Petition to End Gerrymandering

In a true democracy, voters choose their elected officials. But today’s partisan map-drawing process allows majority party lawmakers to draw their own maps and choose their voters to protect themselves and solidify control. This process, known as “gerrymandering,” stifles democracy and undermines our representative form of government.

In response to a recent Supreme Court decision that it will not hear cases involving gerrymandered political maps, I’m renewing my call for fair maps and encouraging all who support an independent map-drawing process to sign this petition. The high court’s decision makes it more important than ever for legislators and citizens to work together to end gerrymandering and restore the integrity of the election process. I am a Chief Co-Sponsor of HJRCA10, which would amend the Legislature Article of the Illinois Constitution by removing the mapping process from the hands of politicians and establishing an independent, non-partisan commission to draw fair maps after each 10-year Census. By signing the petition, you are sending a message that voters should choose their elected officials and not the other way around.

Governor Signs Wehrli Legislation that Ensures Balance and Experience on Park District Boards

After receiving unanimous support in the Illinois House and Senate earlier this year, legislation I sponsored that ensures balance and experience on park district boards was signed into law recently.

HB 2081, now listed in the Illinois Statues as Public Act 101-0058, provides for a re-staggering of terms for elected park district commissioners on the rare occasions when a large majority of seats are up for re-election at the same time.  The need for the legislation was brought to my attention by leaders of the Illinois Association of Park Districts, and it was a pleasure to work with them on it. The new law took effect immediately upon its signing.

One Giant Step for Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind 
This last weekend marked the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Three weeks after their historic mission to the moon, the three astronauts of Apollo 11 were honored with a ticker tape parade through Chicago attended by as many as two million people. They were formally welcomed by Mayor Richard J. Daley with a celebration in a jam-packed Civic Center Plaza. It was part of a day that began with a similar parade in New York, and ended with a dinner in Los Angeles hosted by President Richard Nixon, at which they were each presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

For two of the Apollo 11 astronauts, it was also a homecoming of sorts.Click here to learn more about Illinois’ connection to the Apollo program.

State to Expand Work on Medicaid Backlog
About 100,000 patients have applied for Illinois Medicaid status and have not yet received it. Many Medicaid applications are filed by senior citizens and their loved ones as part of the process of transitioning into life in group care. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) are responsible for large chunks of this application backlog. The State now says they will hire more than 300 paperwork specialists to speed up work on the backlog. 

Medicaid is one of Illinois’ largest taxpayer-funded programs  Nearly three million Illinois residents, almost one-quarter of the State’s total population, are eligible for Medicaid. Federal matching funds cover some (but not all) of this Medicaid expense, and efforts to speed up the eligibility process could lead to flows of federal money with positive effects on the State’s budget.