Here is an email received from Crystal Lake’s State Rep. Mike Tryon:
A statewide construction program has not been passed in the last nine years and failure to pass one now could result in the loss of $9 billion dollars of matching federal transportation funds that could be used to fix our crumbling roads, bridges and schools. Political infighting on this issue also jeopardizes the opportunity to create thousands of job opportunities at a time when citizens could benefit from additional employment.
Just recently, the House was called back into session and voted to pass SB 1460. The bill increases bond authorization for transportation by $360 million—to be divided $240 million for highways and $120 million for mass transit—for the sole purpose of matching federal funding. While this measure is one piece of the puzzle to prevent us from losing critical federal dollars, we still have more work to do to in producing a statewide comprehensive capital plan that will identify and earmark how funding should be spent for infrastructure projects.
Illinois is on track to reaching a record high 3,450 bad miles of roads in just a few years, and have 2,450 of its bridges have been rated “structurally deficient.” I continue to support a jobs and infrastructure plan that will revitalize the economy and improve the quality of life for our residents.
Pay Raise Rejected
I am pleased to report the Senate joined the House in rejecting cost-of-living increases as recommended in House Joint Resolution 132. The measure was rejected with a 47-0 vote.
In Illinois, the state’s Compensation Review Board issues a report each even-numbered year making recommendations for salary increases for members of the General Assembly, the state’s top elected officials, and executive members of state departments, agencies, boards and commissions. The board’s recommendations automatically go into effect July 1st of the next calendar year unless both houses of the General Assembly vote to reject them.
Comptroller Dan Hynes had indicated the state could not afford to award almost 12 percent increases for the state’s top leaders and its legislators. In the House, legislators agreed finances should be used to pay down debt and fund other worthy projects in need. I was pleasantly surprised the Senate also followed suit in rejecting the increases.
Governor Vetoes Ethics Bill
The Governor rejected ethics legislation this month and instead sent the bill with changes back to legislators.
The original bill stands as House Bill 824, a measure that will ban supporters who have or want major state contracts worth at least $50,000 from giving to politicians who dole out that business. The legislation would also require those business entities and affiliated persons to register with the State Board of Elections where information regarding their bids or state contracts will be maintained in a searchable database.
The Governor’s amendatory veto of the bill removed a provision that would prohibit anyone seeking state business from donating to the person who awards the contract. Instead, it would ban contributions from those who have won a contract. Some lawmakers have already criticized the move and plan to override the veto. They will need a 3/5 majority in both the House and Senate. Otherwise the proposal fails.
New Law to Save Counties Money
A bill that I sponsored has recently become law allowing county boards to rent computer equipment for up to five years. Currently, county boards are forbidden from renting or leasing equipment that would last past the next county board election. As such, when county boards rent equipment, those leases can only go past a 2-year maximum if the contract includes an “opt-out” clause that the next county board can maintain. Those clauses usually increase the cost of the lease agreement.
House Bill 2913 provides that the county board of any county may by a 2/3 vote enter into a lease for a period of not to exceed five years for computer equipment, data processing machinery, and software as may be required for its corporate purposes. This measure can allow counties to save money because they would have the option of entering into lease or rental agreements for equipment at a lower cost.
I was also successful this week in passing House Bill 4766 into law. That measure specifically allows counties to lease space on a telecommunications tower to other entities, such as cell phone providers. The initiative was created because McHenry County is seeking specific legislative authority to lease space on a 911 tower to a wireless phone company.
Thank you again for showing an interest in legislative matters. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime at my district office at (815) 459-6453 if I can be of help.
McHenry County Republican Party Chairman
State Representative, District 64