Wehrli Bill Providing Improved Regulation of Adult Businesses Signed into Law
On Friday, the Governor signed a bill of mine that provides for greater regulation of adult entertainment businesses in DuPage County. SB 1580 amends the Counties Code to permit DuPage County to adopt ordinances and regulations to provide for an expanded definition of adult venues and improved oversight over them. The legislation would not only expand the regulation of such facilities at the county level, but also align state statutes with federal laws that allow for a prompt adjudication process to address perceived improper usages. The Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, the Illinois State Association of Counties, the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office and DuPage County supported the bill. It received wide bipartisan support in the House and Senate, and the provisions of the bill will take effect on January 1, 2020. It was a pleasure to work with State’s Attorney Bob Berlin on this important piece of legislation.
Wehrli’s Summer Events Continue in 41st District
Thanks to all who came out to my Wednesdays with Wehrli event last week at Quigley’s Irish Pub in downtown Naperville. I was able to have some great conversations with constituents about important issues, like the implementation of the new recreational marijuana law, the increase in the minimum wage, pensions, the environment, etc.
This upcoming weekend on Saturday the 24th, I’ll be hosting my annual Children’s Health & Safety Expo. You won’t want to miss the Traveling World of Reptiles Show, a Brookfield Zoo Show-and-Tell, and a large Touch a Truck exhibit at this event, which will take place from 9:30 AM until 12:30 PM at the Frontier Sports Complex, 3380 Cedar Glade Drive. This popular expo will also feature more than 40 booths staffed by a variety of groups and organizations that assist children and families. Admission is free and there will also be free giveaways at the event. To view a full list of participants, click here.
In September, I have scheduled two town hall meetings, where I will discuss the spring legislative session and items coming up during the fall veto session. At each meeting, my brief presentation will be followed by a question and answer session with those who attend. Please mark your calendar for these upcoming meetings, because I would love to continue the conversation about how I can best work on your behalf as your voice in Springfield:
- Tuesday, September 10: Naperville Town Hall, 7:00 PM, Municipal Building Council Chambers, 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville
- Thursday, September 26: Warrenville Town Hall, 7:00 PM, City Hall, 3S258 Manning Avenue, Warrenville
Improved Sexual Assault Evidence
Tracking Bill Signed
SB 1411 provides sexual assault victims with more transparency on the status of the processing of rape kit evidence. The new law creates a real-time electronic tracking system for evidence processing in cases of sexual assault. The statewide system will be hosted online, have a 24-hour help desk, make law enforcement agency contact information available to victims and provides real-time entry and updates of information. The new law is a result of the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission. SB 1411 goes into effect immediately and I was proud to support it.
Take My Survey!
By now, my End-of-Session Report for 2019 should have landed in mailboxes throughout the 41st District. This comprehensive report details the successes and challenges of the 2019 spring session in Springfield, and outlines my advocacy on behalf of the people of Naperville and Warrenville. The report also includes a short constituent survey. I have already received several completed surveys in the mail, and would encourage everyone to take a few moments to compete a survey and weigh in on key issues affecting our state. The survey is also available on line. I value your input and look forward to reading every response. Click here to get started. If you did not receive a paper copy of the report and would like one, please contact my office at (630) 696-4160.
Naperville Police Urge Community to Make Our City “A Safer Naper” for Kids Returning to School
As children return to school for the new school year, the Naperville Police Department has asked that families and motorists make back-to-school safety a priority to ensure a safe and successful start to the new school year. The department has posted an informational document to its web site which includes safety tips for families and motorists. Click here to be directed to the information.
As a reminder, there are strict rules in place for when motorists must stop when they approach a school bus with red flashing lights. Please make sure you’re in compliance with laws regarding motorists and school buses. For more back-to-school safety tips, visit www.naperville.il.us/backtoschool.
Bill to Create Pediatric Cancer License Plate/Epi Pen Legislation
SB 946, signed last Thursday in Springfield, authorizes the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to issue a decal for pediatric cancer awareness. The funds raised from the new plate will go to the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Fund which benefits the University of Illinois Cancer Center for pediatric cancer treatment and research. The decals will have an original issuance fee of $25; with $10 to the awareness fund and $15 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund. The renewal fee would be $25 with $23 going to the fund and $2 going to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund.
The governor also signed HB 3435 last week, which requires insurance companies to cover epinephrine injectors, most commonly prescribed as EpiPens, for children with severe allergies. The cost of an EpiPen has skyrocketed over the last decade, rising by more than 400% for the two-pen injector pack. Without insurance, these EpiPens can cost a family nearly $700 and typically have a shelf life of a little more than a year before the medicine needs to be restocked in stores. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
State Delays Long-Overdue Wage Increase for Special Needs Caregivers
I have long believed that the primary function of government is to care for those who otherwise cannot take care of themselves. Vulnerable populations in Illinois, including the developmentally and intellectually disabled, rely on government programs and assistance to help them live enriched and fulfilling lives. In my role of State Representative, advocating for this segment of the population has been an important element of my job. To maximize my advocacy in this area I have assembled a Developmentally Disabled Task Force which meets quarterly do discuss priority issues.
I believe firmly that before we spend one cent on non-essentials, we must ensure those who truly rely on government have the resources they need. This year I fought hard for, and was pleased to see the passage of, a 3.5% wage increase for the healthcare workers who assist intellectually and developmentally disabled people in Illinois. The 3.5% wage increase was included in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget that took effect on July 1, and it marked the first wage increase for these caregivers in 11 years.
Last week I learned that the Department of Human Services (DHS) informed providers that the wage increase has been delayed until at least September. The federal government pays half of the wage increase, and I’m told a lack of communication with the proper federal agency and failure to obtain timely formal approval from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services caused the delay. This is completely unacceptable to me.
Several members of my Developmentally Disabled Task Force contacted me upon hearing the news, and shared how this delay will impact their delivery systems. For United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago (UCPSeguin), this delay will result in a monthly loss of $750,000 since they recently raised wages for all staff to a minimum of $12.00 per hour to meet the Cook County mandated minimum wage increase. For Ray Graham Association, the financial impact is estimated at $50,000 per month. After learning of the delay, Ray Graham Association President and CEO Kim Zoeller said, “Here at Ray Graham Association we are in a holding pattern. It has been a decade since we have received a rate increase vs a pass-through for staff wages. Inflation has increased by 18% during that time period. Our biggest issue continues to be the direct support professional (DSP) staffing crisis and our fear that we cannot keep pace with the mandatory increases in the minimum wage.”
I will continue to work toward getting the necessary approvals in place so the organizations that provide services to disabled people have the funds they were promised.
Washington Street Bridge Set for Reconstruction in 2021
If your travels take you across the Washington Street bridge in Naperville, you are keenly aware that the bridge is in desperate need of repair. I’m happy to report that reconstruction of this heavily-traveled bridge is set to begin in 2021. The project will be completed in two phases, with one lane of traffic maintained throughout the duration of construction.
The bridge was originally constructed in 1928, widened in the 1970s and renovated in 2004. It has a current weight load limit of 15 tons, which prohibits its use by almost all trucks. The bridge is now reaching the end of its usable life. While cost estimates have come in at between $5.6 million and $6 million, the City has secured federal and state funding to pay for at least 80% of the project cost. The project has been listed as a priority for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and is also included on the list of Governor Pritzker’s priority infrastructure improvement projects.
State Parks and Recreation Areas Begin
to Tackle Deferred Maintenance
Capital infrastructure at Illinois state parks, including heavily-used, sensitive resources such as swimming pools and family-picnic kiosks, have been neglected due to recent budget stalemates and cuts in funding. Appropriation moneys, enacted by the General Assembly in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, are starting to move towards essential Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) projects. Visitors to state parks are starting to see work crews repairing weary, concrete-cracked parking lots and replacing splintered picnic tables.
Governor Signs Medicaid Reform
A bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers gathered last week as Governor Pritzker signed Medicaid reform legislation that will improve transparency, access, and the overall effectiveness of Illinois’ health care system. Specifically, SB 1321 enables key state agencies, including the Department on Aging, Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Department of Human Services and Department of Innovation and Technology, to lead one of the most aggressive cross-agency efforts in Illinois history to expand access to health care for low-income Illinoisans, and eliminate a large application backlog. The new law also centralizes claims from providers to Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) in order to increase transparency and accountability.
Additionally, SB 1321 requires MCOs to make timely payments within 30 days and make expedited payments to health care providers serving large Medicaid populations, including long-term care facilities where more than 80 percent of residents receive Medicaid, safety-net hospitals and government-owned providers. The new law also mandates a full review of the Medicaid redetermination process to identify changes that will allow more patients to be renewed automatically and ensure patients are maintaining the highest continuum of care possible.