Wilcox Reports

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Senate Week in Review: March 11 – 15, 2019

Springfield, IL. – A busy week that began with a tour of one of our leading local companies.

Meanwhile, the Senate had a full schedule of committees and some floor action.

Other notes of interest include taking care of our veterans, learning about the State Supreme Court and job creation.

Also in this report is news about our state and local tax burden.

Brake Parts Inc. Visit

Craig Wilcox, David Overbeeke and Wayne Jett

On Monday, March 11, I had the opportunity to visit another of our area’s great companies: Brake Parts Incorporated (BPI).

I talked with the company President and CEO David Overbeeke about the impact of Illinois’ new minimum wage law. 

BPI pays well above minimum wage and treats its’ employees well. 

They have opportunities to move up and earn more – more than the current minimum wage law requires.

Illinois’ new higher minimum wage law could have a negative impact on the company’s ability to keep quality employees, and on its financial health and ongoing strategic planning.

While they are headquartered, and have a major distribution center in McHenry and two other locations elsewhere around the country, they are also a global company.

A $15 per hour minimum wage might negatively impact BPI’s ability to expand its operations in Illinois resulting in jobs going elsewhere.

BPI is a premier manufacturer and supplier of brake system components, including its popular Raybestos brand of products.

It’s a global leader in automotive aftermarket brake products, and we can be proud that their world headquarters are in McHenry.

Honoring Deputy Keltner

On March 13, the Senate honored McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner with a moment of silence.

My colleague, Senator Dan McConchie eulogized Deputy Keltner, who was shot while on duty March 7.

Police officers are special human beings.

We invest them with tremendous authority and trust them to preserve the peace and protect us all.

In return, they devote themselves – putting their own lives at risk – to work and care for the communities they serve. It was fitting the Senate honored Jacob’s life and service.

In other legislative activity during the week, a couple of controversial measures made news.

Senate Passes Tobacco 21

The full Senate met just briefly each day during its three-day schedule, but on its last day, tackled the controversial Tobacco 21 legislation.

Under House Bill 345, anyone younger than 21 would be prohibited from using tobacco or e-cigarette products.

While the intent of the legislation may be a sincere effort to help people avoid the illnesses associated with smoking, at what point are adults responsible for their own lives?

At age 18, you can vote and sign a contract; you can marry without parental approval and be financial responsible for children.

If you are able to make adult decisions in these areas, you are also capable to make a decision about smoking, taking into account the widely-known negative facts about the use of tobacco.

A number of communities in Illinois already have adopted Tobacco 21 rules. HB345 would make it a statewide standard. 

The Senate passed HB 345 on a vote of 39 to 16. Have been approved by the House on March 12, the measure now heads to the Governor’s desk.

Targeting Presidential Candidates

Under Senate Bill 145, candidates for President and Vice-President would be required to publish or make their income tax returns public.

Failing to do so would mean that candidate would be barred from appearing on an Illinois Presidential ballot.

Under current federal law, presidential candidates are not required by law to publish or make their income tax returns public.

Courts have also held, in two separate cases, that it’s unconstitutional for states to add requirements to a federal office.

Those cases are U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton and Cook v. Gralike. It’s clear, by the bill’s sponsorship and the 14 to 3 partisan vote, the legislation is meant to target President Donald J. Trump who did not release his income tax records prior to the 2016 election.

Senate Bill145 now moves to the full Senate for action.

Budget Hearing

As a member of one of two Senate budget committees, and an Air Force veteran, I will be watching closely how the state plans to fund our veterans’ homes.

During a meeting of the Senate Appropriations I Committee March 13, we heard testimony from the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs about their requests for the new fiscal year state budget.

I’m sure you are well aware of the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak at the Quincy Veterans Home that led to a number of deaths of residents.

State government began taking serious steps to address the water contamination at the home last year, including replacing contaminated plumbing, improving water treatment and securing a new water source for the Home.

At our most recent hearing, the Department discussed their capital needs to keep facility improvements on track.I will be keeping a watchful eye on the progress.

Meanwhile, the agency scheduled a tours, with Gov. Pritzker, of the Quincy Veterans’ Home on March 14 and the Chicago Veterans’ Home on March 15.

Law School for Lawmakers

I had a great opportunity on March 13 to attend a special Law School for Legislators Program hosted by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier.

We learned about how the court operates and toured the Supreme Court Building where seven Justices, representing different regions of the state preside, hear legal appeals from lower courts and provide the final determination in cases where the constitutionality of laws are called into question.

When the high court is in session in Springfield, the Justices live in the Supreme Court building.

And while the Justices have dinner together, they do not discuss cases unless they are in the Chambers deliberating.

Long-time Chicago Bears fans will recognize the name of Justice Robert Thomas, who was the Chicago Bears placekicker from 1975 to 1982 and again from 1983 to 1984.

Justice Thomas was elected to the Supreme Court from the 2nd District – that covers our northern Illinois region outside of the City of Chicago.

Some Good News for Illinois’ Economy

The improving national economy may be trickling down to Illinois, although there’s room for improvement.

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), preliminary figures show non-farm payrolls increased by 24,000 jobs in January 2019 over December 2018.

IDES also reported during the week that job growth during the three-month period of November to January averaged a monthly gain of 12,500 jobs.

However, the agency revised its previously reported December jobs gain downward from 13,600 to 7,400.

IDES also notes the state’s unemployment rate remained at 4.3 percent in January, unchanged from December.

Illinois’ unemployment rate is .5 percentage points higher than the 3.8 percent national unemployment rate reported for February.

Illinois’ State and Local Tax Burden

Illinoisans understand well, the amount of state and local taxes they pay each year.

What you might not know is how we compare with other states.

The online consumer and financial website,WalletHub ranks Illinois with having the highest effective state and local taxes in the nation at 14.9 percent.

The ranking was based on a Median U.S. Household income of $58,082, with an estimated annual tax burden of $8,653.

WalletHub ranks Illinois’ current flat income tax rate of 4.95 percent at 39, our real-estate tax at 50 and our sales and excise taxes (taxes on products such as gasoline, tobacco and alcohol) in the middle of the pack at 25. 

“Open Illinois Checkbook Act,” Sponsored by David McSweeney, Ready for House Vote

David McSweeney

State Rep, David McSweeny is sponsoring a bill he calls the “Open Illinois Checkbook Act.

It would do the following by amending the State Comptroller Act:

Requires the Comptroller’s online ledger to include

  • expenditure amounts and dates of expenditure
  • the vendor to which each expenditure was made,
  • he State agency making each expenditure, the salaries of each employee, and
  • to the extent possible, graphical data.
  • Effective immediately.

Locally, State Rep. Allen Skillicorn is jointly sponsoring the bill.

McSeeeney Uses Graphic to Promote “Rapid DNA” Legislation

State Rep, David McSweeney has found a way to promote his causes by catching the eye of readers f his Twitter account.

The latest is in support of his House Joint Resolution 7, which addresses the problem of slow DNA analysis for criminals.

“It currently takes up to one year to process DNA evidence in Illinois,” the State Representative explains,

“Victims’ families deserve better than this!

“My bipartisan HJR 7 will help bring Rapid DNA technology to Illinois so that we can more quickly catch criminals.”

The resolution is on the House Calendar ready for a vote.

Harvard’s Version of Demolition Derby

From the Harvard Police Department:

AGGRAVATED BATTERY / DUI

On 03-11-19 at 0117 hrs, Harvard Police responded to the 1400 blk
Northfield Ct, regarding a report of a disturbance and a vehicle intentionally crashing into other vehicles.

After a thorough investigation into the incident Laura C Szymanski (f-35 yoa), 1422 Northfield Ct, Harvard was arrested for Aggravated Battery and
Driving under the Influence of Alcohol.

Szymanski was issued a citation for Reckless Driving and Driving under the Influence of Alcohol as well as criminally charged with one count of Aggravated Battery. Szymanski was transported to the McHenry County Jail in lieu of bond.

Checking Out Bill Status of McHenry County House Members

From articles being published about legislation of State Rep. David McSweeney, one can see he has managed to get a few through the Democratic Party-controlled House Committees.

What has happened so far to his bills can be found here.

Let’s look at what has happened to legislation that our other House members have introduced:

Reick Reports

From State Representative Steve Reick:

budget.png

House Appropriations Committees Begin to Meet and Consider FY20 Budget

The Appropriations Committees are already convening to hear budget requests and announcements of fiscal priorities from the various State departments. These meetings are open to the public and are posted on the General Assembly committee website. Many of the committee meetings are held in rooms that are wired to present live audio or video feeds to the public through the General Assembly website. In addition, users of the website can file slips of support or opposition to the budget bills and other bills before each committee. I serve on the Appropriations- Elementary & Secondary Education Committee. In this role, I will participate in discussions about funding of K-12 schools in the FY20 budget.

Keltner_procession.jpg

McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Killed in Line of Duty Honored through House Resolution

As family, friends and law enforcement attended funeral services for fallen McHenry County Deputy Jacob Keltner on Wednesday in Woodstock, lawmakers in Springfield honored the 13-year veteran of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office for his service and sacrifice through an honorary House Resolution. Keltner was killed in the line of duty on March 7 as he attempted to serve an arrest warrant in Rockford as part of the U.S. Marshals’ Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.

I am a Chief Co-Sponsor of HR 186, and on the day the resolution was heard in Springfield I returned to McHenry County in time to watch the post-funeral procession of close to 800 police vehicles that escorted Deputy Keltner’s body to a Huntley funeral home.

The procession, which included law enforcement vehicles from as far north as Green Bay, WI, as far east as Muncie, Indiana, as far west as Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, IA and as far south as Champaign and Vermilion Counties and the southern Illinois town of Benton, traveled through Woodstock, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, and Huntley as residents lined streets waving flags.

The showing of support, not only from regional and multi-state law enforcement but also from residents who lined the procession route, was inspiring. It was a fitting tribute to a man of great courage and valor.

Keltner is survived by his wife of 11 years Becki and two sons, Caleb and Carson.

4-H_event.jpg

Reick Supports Local 4-H through Recent Fundraising Event

I had a great time earlier this month at the McHenry County 4-H Youth Foundation’s String Ties, Boots & Blue Jeans fundraiser. There was a great turnout to support this wonderful organization. I’m shown in this photo with State Representative Tom Weber (R-Villa Park), who covers northeastern McHenry County and part of Lake County.           

Abortion Bills Gaining Momentum in Illinois Senate
As you may know, Governor JB Pritzker has expressed his desire to make Illinois the most lenient state in the nation with regard to abortions. To that end, legislation was filed this year that would eliminate almost every common sense regulation and protection associated with abortion procedures in our state. These bills attack parental rights over minor children and remove several safety guarantees currently in place for those seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

HB 2495 would repeal Illinois’ existing Abortion Law of 1975 and Illinois’ Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act, and replace these and other current laws with an extreme set of new provisions in a new “Reproductive Health Act.” Language identical to this bill has been filed in the Senate as SB 1942.

HB 2467 would completely repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995. Identical language to HB 2467 has been filed in the Senate as SB 1594.

While I am pleased to report that HB 2495 and HB 2467 have been moved to a House subcommittee where at this time it is unlikely they will advance, the Senate version of the repeal of the Parental Notice Act has been assigned a March 19 hearing before the Senate Public Health Committee. The Senate version of the Reproductive Health Act is still active and could be called by the Senate Executive Committee at any time.

Get Involved; File a Witness Slip

The Senate version of the repeal of the parental notification bill appears to be slated for a hearing on Tuesday, March 19. Filing a witness slip is easy and effective. Click here to fill out a witness slip for SB 1594, which would completely nullify the current requirement that girls under the age of 18 must notify a parent or guardian of her intention to have an abortion. Please remember that once you submit a witness slip as an opponent (against the bill) or proponent (in favor of the bill), you cannot change your slip, so be sure you click the right box when filling out the slip. Follow these simple directions:

  1. Fill out the top section (in the Firm or Organization and Title section, you can put “self”)
  2. In the Representation section, simply put: Illinois resident
  3. In the Position section, click on proponent, opponent, or no position
  4. Under Testimony, click on Record of Appearance Only
  5. Check the box to agree to the terms
  6. Click on “Create Slip”

If you have difficulty navigating the witness slip page, call my office at (815) 880-5340 and my staff will walk you through the process.

I will continue to watch all of these bills closely in the House and Senate, and would encourage you to do the same. You can check the status of a bill by going to www.ilga.gov and putting the bill number into the search field on the left side of the home page. I will provide updates about these and other bills through my E-Newsletter.

COGFA Reports on Impact of Local Government Pensions

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, the City of Chicago pension funds, and the Cook County pension funds are major obligations of the taxpayers of Illinois. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), the General Assembly’s budget-watchdog arm, issued a report last week on these funds and their liabilities. Together with a separate family of funds that underwrite pensions for Illinois’ Downstate police officers and firefighters, these funds constitute the non-State-managed side of the overall unfunded pension liability of Illinois.

Defined-benefit pension systems have been challenged in the 2010s by very low interest rates on prudent, pension-fund-worthy interest-bearing investments. Many segments of the private sector have responded to these global economic conditions by phasing out defined-benefit pensions and encouraging their employees to invest in defined-contribution mutual funds with an emphasis on equity capital.  Illinois’ local governments, by contrast, are constrained by the terms of statutory law and the state Constitution in what they can do with respect to pension obligations owed to current employees and vested members of their pension funds.   

The unfunded liabilities of the eight Chicago-based pension funds covered in this February 2018 report is $41.8 billion. The comparable figure for Cook County is $6.9 billion and the comparable figure for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (non-Chicago, non-Cook County, non-police, and non-firefighting public employees in suburban and Downstate Illinois) is $3.0 billion.

Tom Weber Gets Bill on House Floor Allowing Abolition of Sanitary District

From State Rep. Tom Weber:

Weber Advances Local Consolidation Bill to Benefit Taxpayers

FOX LAKE – This week, State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) unanimously advanced legislation through the House Cities and Villages Committee.

House Bill 3369 allows the Village of Lindenhurst to consolidate the Lindenhurst Sanitary District into the village, subsequently dissolving the unnecessary extra taxing district.

Tom Weber

“One of the reasons property taxes are so high in Illinois is because of the inefficiency caused by having so many extra taxing bodies we don’t need,” said Weber.

“This is exactly the situation with the Lindenhurst Sanitary District.

The sanitary district already contracts with the village to operate and maintain the wastewater treatment plant, so there is no need to have the extra cost and bureaucracy of having a separate taxing district.”

Under current state law, the Lindenhurst Sanitary District must exist as a separate taxing district with its own appointed board.

However, since the sanitary district is almost entirely within in the Village of Lindenhurst and the village is already contracted to maintain and operate the wastewater systems, there is no real need to keep the two separate.

The sanitary district board even holds its meetings at the village hall.

To allow for the consolidation of the sanitary district into the village, House Bill 3369 amends the state Sanitary District Act to allow the village to pass an ordinance to dissolve the sanitary board and assume its authority to administer wastewater operations for the area.

“I want to thank Mayor Marturano, the village and the members of the sanitary board for working with me to bring this legislation forward and I hope the full House passes it with the same unanimous support it received in committee,” said Weber.

As noted, House Bill 3369 passed through committee by a unanimous vote of 12 to 0. It will now be taken up by the full House of Representatives before heading to the state Senate for similar consideration.

Man Charged with Bribing Cook County Circuit Court Clerk with Robo-calls, Campaign and Scholarship Contributions

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

Owner of Debt Collection Service Charged for Corruptly Providing Benefits to Obtain Business from Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office

CHICAGO — The owner of a debt collection company spent tens of thousands of dollars in an effort to corruptly influence and obtain business from court clerks in Florida and Illinois, including the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, according to a federal indictment returned in Chicago.

Maybe this crook doesn’t deserve a Blue Ribbon.

DONALD DONAGHER, JR., 67, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Harrisburg, Pa.-based PENN CREDIT CORPORATION. 

From 2009 to 2016, Donagher and Penn Credit provided money and services to benefit the court clerks and related individuals and entities, corruptly seeking favorable treatment in the awarding of the courts’ debt collection work, the indictment states. 

The efforts included payments to certain clerks’ campaign committees, donations to charities supported by certain clerks, financial sponsorship of events hosted by certain clerks, and free or discounted “robocalls” made by Penn Credit on behalf of certain clerks’ campaigns, according to the indictment.  

The indictment was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. 

It charges Donagher and Penn Credit with one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, and five counts of federal program bribery.  

Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Patrick M. Blanchard, Cook County Inspector General.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather K. McShain and Ankur Srivastava.

According to the charges, Donagher in June 2011 caused Penn Credit to pay $5,000 to a scholarship fund named for the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk. 

Later that summer, Penn Credit began collecting debt for the Clerk’s Office, the indictment states. 

On Aug. 19, 2011 – less than three weeks after Penn Credit began its work for Cook County – Donagher sent an email to Penn Credit employees and an Illinois lobbyist, advising that Donagher had promised the Cook County Clerk “10k of ‘early’ money,” the indictment states. 

The following month, Donagher caused a $10,000 contribution to be made in his name “towards the fundraising efforts of Contributions to Friends of [the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk],” the indictment states. 

The indictment further states that, several months later, Penn Credit made hundreds of thousands of phone calls on behalf of the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk without invoicing or receiving payment from the Clerk’s campaign. 

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The conspiracy charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, while the maximum sentence for federal program bribery is ten years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

= = = = =

If you want to read about how a company like this operates, take a look at the indictment.

It even has trips to sex clubs in Florida.

NWH Does Some Heavy Duty Freedom of Information Requesting from Crystal Lake High School District

Take a look at the sixteen Freedom of Information requests from the Northwest Herald to High School District 155, as seen on the Board’s March 19th agenda:

1. Katie Smith, Staff Reporter, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

2. Lindsay Gloor, Associate Editor, The Herald News, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

3. Jon Styf, Editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

4. Hannan Prokop, City editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

5. Daniel Gaitan, Reporter, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

6. Katie Smith, Reporter, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

7. Jon Styf, Editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

8. Daniel Gaitan, Reporter, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

9. Ed Komenda, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

10. Hannah Prokop, City editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

11. Eric Olson, General Manager, Daily Chronicle, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

12. Jon Styf, Editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

18. Jon Styf, Editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

19. Hannah Prokop, City editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

20. Jon Styf, Editor, Northwest Herald, Request was granted in part and denied in part.

21. Jon Styf, Editor, Northwest Herald, No responsive public records.

McSweeney’s Bill to Allow Voter Abolition of McHenry County Townships on House Floor

David McSweeney

Awaiting a vote on the Illinois House floor is State Rep. David McSweeney’s bill that would allows voters in McHenry County Townships to vote to disband that local government.

House Bill 348 had been placed on “Short Debate,” which generally means one person gets to speak in favor and one against.

Last time I believe McSweeney spoke in favor and Steve Reick spoke in opposition.

Allen Skillicorn is a Joint Sponsor.

Reick Sees for “Structured Federal Bankruptcy” for State Pension Plans as Only Solution

From the Illinois News Network:

Illinois lawmakers differ on how to ‘fix’ Tier II pensions

State Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, and state Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock, talk about Tier II pensions.

State lawmakers are hearing concerns over Tier II pensions for public employees. One said a fix will likely cost taxpayers more. Another said the only answer is bankruptcy.

Robert Martwick
Robert Martwick

State Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, held a hearing in Springfield to get testimony from various pension boards for police, fire, local government employees and teachers.

The issues, he said, could lead the state’s Tier II pensions to be found by the federal government to be insufficient for retirees. He equated it to a “landmine.” 

“If that happens, it could create an instant and massive debt to the state of Illinois,” Martwick said.

Martwick couldn’t say how much that debt would be, but whatever it is would be tacked on to the state’s $135 billion unfunded pension liability. That doesn’t include the increased cost of taxpayer subsidized public employee retiree health care that’s estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.

Lawmakers are considering what Martwick called possible “fixes” to alleviate concerns.

“We don’t know this for sure yet, but it would seem as though there is going to be a cost associated with this fix,” Martwick said. “The only question is, is this a cost we take on now, is this a cost we take on later? How much will it be in both instances and how do we do it?”

Steve Reick

State Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, said he see only one fix.

“I don’t see anyway around this other than structured federal bankruptcy for the state pension plans,” Reick said. “I don’t want to do that. But I think that the need exists for the rest of the people of the state of Illinois to have a little bit of an end to this. We can’t go to 2045 and pay $20 billion into a pension plan and still be underfunded at that time.”

Reick said this issue isn’t only about state pensions, it’s about local police and fire pensions, too.

“All these pension plans are on the verge of collapse and there’s no unicorn out there,” he said. “Show me the tree where money grows and I’ll go ahead and go out and pick it, but it doesn’t.”

Rieck warned against raising taxes to cover the bill. He said: “Government has the power to tax and the power to tax is the power to destroy.”

More hearings on the issue are expected in the weeks ahead.

Story of Ex-Planned Parenthood Clinic Director in Movie “Unplanned” Scheduled for 1st Way Pregnancy Center Fund Raiser March 29th

From McHenry County Conservatives:

McHenry County Conservatives to hold a Red Carpet Movie Event for movie – UNPLANNED to benefit:

  • 1st Way Pregnancy Center of McHenry County 

(from this Special Opening Night Presentation only ) March 29th, 7 pm, at Crystal Lake Theatre, Seating is limited.


TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE HERE:

https://karentirio.wixsite.com/mysite
PayPal and Credit Cards Accepted, Held at Will Call Desk.

See Trailer Here: https://youtu.be/gBLWpKbC3ww

*Doors open for NETWORKING opportunities 6:30-7 pm and
*SOURCES provided immediately following the movie. 

UNPLANNED is the inspiring true story of one woman’s journey of transformation.

The most important movie you’ll ever see on the most controversial issue of our time.

No matter which side of the fence you’re on, no one will leave this film unmoved by Abby’s journey. 

​HER STORY:

All Abby Johnson ever wanted to do was help women.

As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, she was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women about their reproductive choices.

Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose even led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in.

Until the day she saw something that changed everything, leading Abby Johnson to join her former enemies at 40 Days For Life, and become one of the most ardent pro-life speakers in America.

Meghan Tillson Running for CL High School Board

Meghan Tillson is running a joint campaign with Cary Grade School Board member Scott Coffey.

Here is her press release:

School Board Candidate Meghan Tillson Introduces Self to Community High School District 155 Voters

CRYSTAL LAKE, ILLINOIS – Meghan Tillson is one of six candidates running to win one of three open seats for the Community High School District 155 school board race.

Community High School District 155 is facing strong concerns from the community regarding whether the School Board can remain impartial when many board members have direct family members employed by the district.

Meghan Tillson stated, “District 155 provides exceptional education, it is why my husband and I decided to raise our family here, but the continued lack of transparency and fiscal accountability regarding school operations and tax revenues is why I’ve decided to run for the school board.” Tillson continued,

“Our school district is facing a steady decline in enrollment; however, the district is not adjusting its operating expenses appropriately.

“During the budgeting process, voters need a school board trustee
advocating for their interests at the table.”

Meghan Tillson considers herself a voice free from conflict of interests and aims to improve school security, address issues with the $50 million-dollar capital improvements list and focus on cultivating increased community engagement.

She stated, “The safety of the students is paramount, and a financially effective and efficient district that upholds transparency is what students and voters can expect from me when elected.”

The Community High School District 155 election will take place on April 2. To learn more about Meghan Tillson, please visit her Facebook page at Tillson for CHSD 155 School Board.

For more information please contact Candidate, Meghan Tillson at (708) 646-0093 or by email at

To learn more about Meghan Tillson, please visit her Facebook page at Tillson for CHSD 155 School Board.

For more information please contact Candidate, Meghan Tillson at (708) 646-0093 or by email at [email protected]

Gasser Opponents Follow Billboard Route

When Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser got irritated with the Northwest Herald, he put a “Fake News” message on the departmental billboard on Route 14.

On the Algonquin Township Highway Department Route 14 sign appears the message, “The Northworst Herald Is Fake News.” About 60,000 vehicles a day drive past the Township complex.

Now critics of Gasser’s stewardship of the Highway Department have posted a billboard message about Gasser on Route 14.

The billboard company was started by State Senator Jack Schaffer, a longtime ally of former Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Bob Miller and his father Del.

Skillicorn Calls for Prosecution of Double Voting

From State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Skillicorn Says Double Voting Must Be Prosecuted

Allen Skillicorn

SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) is encouraging State’s Attorney’s offices across Illinois to protect voter integrity and pursue those who vote more than once in an election.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE), in the 2016 General Election, over a thousand records were identified with potential issues.

Of those, almost 20% appeared to be double voting. 60% of the double voting cases were referred to the ISBE internal legal team with 40% being referred to local law enforcement.

In order to determine whether cases are pending against violators, Skillicorn’s office issued a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the names of the alleged double voters, however the FOIA was denied.

“The State Board of Elections and State’s Attorney’s must prosecute those who violate our voting laws,” said Skillicorn. “Protecting our most sacred voting rights is long overdue and I have introduced two bills to do so.”

The first bill Skillicorn introduced, House Bill 2632, enhances penalties for dual voting and prohibits a person from knowingly maintaining more than one registration to vote.

It also provides that a violation involving multiple registrations within the State is a Class A misdemeanor, and further, that a violation involving multiple registrations in this State and another state is a Class 4 felony.

The second bill, House Bill 2633, requires the State Board of Elections to enter into an agreement with the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program to maintain the integrity of voter registration rolls.

“I will continue to pursue bolstering the integrity of our voting system and the prosecution of those who violate this most precious right in Illinois,” said Skillicorn.

“Double voting must not be treated as something deserving of only a slap on the wrist. State’s Attorney’s need to step up and do their job and the ISBE needs to make these violations a priority.”

Did Amy Blazier Make a Campaign Commitment She Did Not Keep on the CL High School Board?

Before the election in 2015, the Northwest Herald ran the following in a March 19, 2015, article:

The amount of money the district has in the bank was also raised as an issue by several candidates, especially in light of the board’s decision to keep raising the property tax levy each year as much as is allowed under the state tax cap.

Kurtz and Blazier said they would vote against that practice. Guss and Mielke agreed that keeping the levy level was their goal, too, although they added that a situation may arise over the next four years that might change their minds. [Emphasis added.]

Kurtz kept her word.

In 2016 Blazier voted for about a 2.2% levy increase.

Here is the vote on the 2016 tax levy, collected in 2017:


Rachael Lawrence Motion for Referendum to Put Algonquin Township Road District under Township Board Has Second

Rachael Lawrence

Algonquin Township Trustee Rachael Lawrence has tried and failed to gain approval of a referendum to abolish the Algonquin Township Road District.

The function would still remain, but the Highway Department would be put under the Township Board.

Instead of one election official being in virtual total control, there would be five elected officials, four Trustees and the Supervisor, in charge of the operation.

David Chapman

The monthly meeting was scheduled for tonight, but “security concerns” has prompted a rescheduling until next Wednesday night.

Trustee David Chapman has confirmed that he will second Rachael Lawrence’s motion.

Lawrence writes that she proposes the referendum be held at the 2020 gemeral election.