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State Representative Dan Brady has won unanimous House approval of legislation aimed at easing our state’s nursing shortage. House Bill 3490, now awaiting consideration in the Senate, would expand school options for scholarship recipients pursuing graduate degrees in nursing in Illinois.

“Our Nursing Education Scholarship Program was established to remove financial barriers to help increase the number of students training to be nurses in Illinois. The problem is that current law only provides scholarship students with 6 eligible nursing schools to choose from. That’s a problem we’re fixing with this legislation,” said Representative Brady (R-Normal).
Budget
The Governor has now laid out his budget priorities and parameters before a joint session of the General Assembly. Here are a few of the most notable points from his budget address:

• Any compromise agreement approved must be a good deal for taxpayers and job creators.
• New revenue is on the table, as long as it is coupled with economic reforms to help us grow jobs.
• No permanent income tax increase will be considered unless it is offset by a permanent property tax freeze for families.
• There are no “must have” reforms needed for a budget compromise, but the Governor maintained  that term limits are important to restoring confidence in state government, and workers compensation reform is crucial to attracting new jobs to our state.

You can view the governor’s full budget proposal here.

We must get a responsible, full year budget in place as soon as possible. I’m encouraged by the progress made in the Senate in recent weeks; especially the bi-partisan consensus that we must begin doing some things differently to repair our economy and our state finances. I’ll keep you updated as the negotiations progress.

Judge Rules Against Attorney General Madigan’s Attempt to Halt State Employee Pay
A St. Clair County judge has denied Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s motion that would have stopped state workers’ paychecks during the budget impasse.

As you know, state employees have continued to be paid in the absence of a state budget due to a district court injunction handed down in July 2015 by District Court Judge Robert LeChien of St. Clair County. Last week, Judge LeChien refused to lift that injunction, thereby maintaining the current status of Illinois state workers’ paychecks.

But the judge’s refusal does not close the case. The Attorney General has pledged to appeal this district court decision, which is why we are continuing to push for a hearing on legislation (HB 1787 and HB 2803) that would provide a continuing appropriation for workers’ pay.
State Representative Dan Brady on Thursday joined a bi-partisan group of lawmakers and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White in unveiling new legislation that would help create more life-saving organ and tissue donation opportunities in Illinois. Representative Brady (R-Normal) is co-sponsoring House Bill 1805 that would permit 16 and 17 year-olds to join Illinois’ First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or state ID card.

“This legislation will give new drivers a voice to express their wishes regarding donations, which will be of great guidance to their parents who will continue to have the final decision until they are 18 years of age,” Representative Brady said.

Under the bill, 16 and 17 year-olds may sign up with the registry to donate their organs in the event of their death, but for minors under the age of 18 good-faith efforts must be made to notify parents or guardians who would still be able to make the final decision on the donation.

“Our goal is always to save lives,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “Thousands of Illinoisans are waiting for an organ. Many of those who wait are someone’s mother, father, daughter or son. This legislation, which the vast majority of other states have implemented, is an important step in reducing the number of those on the waiting list.”
Attorney General Madigan’s Move to Block Employee Pay is Wrong and Disappointing

Most of you have probably read or heard by now that Attorney General Lisa Madigan going to court to try to stop state employee paychecks until the state budget stalemate is resolved. This is not the first time that Attorney General Madigan has moved to halt the pay of tens of thousands of workers who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in the middle of the ongoing budget stalemate, and it’s deeply disappointing.

If successful, her motion could lead to a government shutdown that will devastate families in my district that work for the state, and those that depend on the services those employees provide every day.  It could also bring to a halt the recent bi-partisan budget progress made in the Senate.

I have called on the Attorney General to stop her attempts to penalize workers, withdraw her motion, and support the bi-partisan budget negotiations that are in progress.

State of the State Strikes a Balance Between Realism and Optimism

On Wednesday the Governor delivered his annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the House and Senate. I believe the Governor presented us with both a realistic picture of the severe challenges we’re facing this spring, and also a reminder of some areas in which we have made progress working together, which makes me hopeful that we can come together soon to pass a responsible, compromise budget. You can listen to my response here.

 
Following the Governor's State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly Wednesday, Rep. Brady agreed that serious challenges remain, but recent bi-partisan accomplishments provide a reason to be hopeful that agreement on a responsible budget too is within reach.

Representative Brady today, along with his colleague Representative Keith Sommer,  welcomed to the Capitol Hunter Hillman, a young student from Bloomington, and State Troopers who took it upon themselves to help make sure Hunter felt included during lunchtime at school.


Prior to watching the House in action, the Hillman family and the Troopers stopped on the 2nd floor of the Capitol to visit with Governor Rauner. You can read more about Hunter's story here.
100th General Assembly Convenes

The 100th General Assembly is underway with inaugural ceremonies completed in the House and Senate. All 118 House members took the Oath of Office last week at Sangamon Auditorium on the University of Illinois at Springfield campus.

As always, our first order of business was to elect a Speaker to serve for the next two years. I was proud to nominate Jim Durkin, a true leader with a talent for bringing people together. Those are certainly qualities we need now more than ever. If you wish, you can watch my nomination speech here.

In the end, the majority party reelected Mike Madigan, who, with the exception of two years, has been Speaker for more than three decades.  For the next two years in the House we will have a good mix of experience and new members with fresh perspectives to tackle our serious challenges, beginning with the budget.  House members have already filed more than 450 bills for the new General Assembly to consider.

Budget Work Continues

In the coming weeks, our top priority must continue to be working on compromise solutions to get a responsible budget in place as soon as possible.

Upon the expiration of the “stopgap” FY17 budget on January 1 authorized State spending stopped on many vital social programs our families and communities depend upon, and for our colleges and universities.

Efforts to reauthorize these programs for the second half of FY17 are continuing to be discussed along with the need for real budget reform and true reforms to the Illinois political process. Reform proposals under discussion include a hard freeze on property tax extensions, term limits for elected Illinois officials, workers’ compensation, and other issues. Senate leaders said that they are working to finalize a comprehensive budget plan by February 1.