In this issue:
- Ethics reform bills filed
- Traveling Office Hours coming up in Onarga and Paxton
- Scholarships for women in agriculture
- Illinois headlines
Ethics reform bill package filed
This fall the former Speaker of the Illinois House, Mike Madigan, will go on trial in federal court on corruption charges. The trial was originally set for April but was delayed to October.
Madigan was once the most powerful politician in Illinois, and served as House Speaker for more than 30 years. He is just the latest and highest-profile in a long line of Illinois politicians snagged in corruption investigations. The list has included state lawmakers, lobbyists, city officials, businesspeople and even a few Governors. Corruption has plagued state government in Illinois for years and the General Assembly has failed to act on major ethics reform for too long.
This year we once again have a chance to do something about it. House Republicans have introduced a package of bills to reform the state’s ethics laws and root out the corruption. These bills include legislation to expand the Lobbyist Registration Act to apply to more people, ban legislators from becoming lobbyists until they have been out of office for at least three years, increase transparency by making reports from the state’s ethics commission available within 60 days, and much more.
You can read more about our proposals here.
Traveling Office Hours coming up in Onarga and Paxton
With the spring session starting to pick up steam in February I am continuing my round of Traveling Office Hours throughout the district. By visiting the different communities of our district I hope to hear what is on the minds of local residents and find out if my office can help with questions about state agencies.
The next set of office hours will be on Tuesday February 13 in Onarga and Paxton. That morning from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. I will be at the Cornerstone Café and Gallery at 114 N. Oak Street in Onarga. That afternoon from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. I will be at Kino’s Coffee, 103 N. Market Street, in Paxton.
If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by.
Scholarships available for women in agriculture
Five scholarships are being made available from the Illinois Agri-Women organization for women studying agriculture.
A $1500 scholarship is available for a student majoring in agricultural education and who will be finishing her degree at a school in Illinois in the next year. Four WFCA Agency of Change Scholarships of $1000 each are available to students who have participated in the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference in recent years. These scholarships will be awarded to a high school senior, a current college student, a current graduate student and a student who will be enrolled in college in Illinois this fall.
The deadline to apply is March 31. Click here to find out more.
Our current bill backlog
When a vendor provides the state with goods and services, they submit the bill to the Illinois Comptroller for payment. The Comptroller processes the paperwork and pays the bill when funds are available in the state’s checking account. Currently the total amount of unpaid bills is $1,097,985,836. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $1.7 billion in bills awaiting payment. This only includes bills submitted to the Comptroller for payment, not unfunded debts like the state’s pension liability, which is well over $100 billion.