District Update – March 9, 2018

Never Too Early to Learn About Government

On Monday I enjoyed spending time with Mrs. Brix’s 4th Grade Class at East Peoria District 86. Visiting area schools and talking to students about lawmaking is always fun and rewarding, but it’s extra special when a class of kids who are as young as nine hold their own in a conversation about decision-making. Not to mention: It really makes your day when one of your own kids is in the class! Thanks again to Mrs. Brix, to my son Nicholas, and to all the other incredible students for the very fun, fulfilling experience.

Legislation to Help Gold Star Families

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved my legislation to ensure families of servicemembers do not face additional burdens after losing their loved one in service to our country. The legislation will allow families to terminate their lease without penalty when their loved one is killed in action.

I learned of this issue from Kylie Riney, the widow of fallen soldier Sgt. Douglas Riney. She and her two young children needed to move back to Illinois from Texas after her husband was killed in action but the landlord required her to pay penalties for early termination of the lease.
I don’t want to see what happened to the Riney family ever happen to a servicemember family in Illinois. When the unthinkable happens and a servicemember is killed in action, their family is left with many difficult decisions, including the need or desire to move. We owe it to our nation’s heroes who pay the ultimate price to protect their families, the legislation approved today is one way we can do just that.

Bill to Help Redevelop Hanna City Work Camp Clears Committee

Also on Wednesday, the House Executive Committee approved legislation I sponsored to help Peoria County redevelop the vacant property known as the former Hanna City Work Camp. The legislation will help redevelop the blighted area by allowing the county to permit private investment in the property.
House Bill 4319 gives the county more economic opportunities which will assist in clean-up of this blighted site. It’s a common sense measure to assist in development and is a win-win for all involved. The unused work camp has been an eye sore for many years. Allowing for private investment should help perk the interest of potential developers.
The Hanna City Work Camp closed in 2002 and sat vacant for nearly 16 years. The former prison work camp was owned by the State of Illinois and was operated by the Department of Corrections. In 2009, the State conveyed the land over to Peoria County. The 40 acre site has remained vacant due in part because the land is not allowed to receive private investment which is why the county and myself are pushing legislation to give the city and county more flexibility to utilize the vacant lot for new development.

Trout Fishing Season Opens April 7

The 2018 Illinois Spring Trout fishing season is just a few weeks away. Anglers will need both a fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp to participate, unless they are under the age of 16, blind, disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces.
Licenses and trout stamps will be available for purchase on the Illinois Department of Resources (IDNR) website and at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets, began on Thursday, March 1.
The IDNR stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout each year, with 54 ponds, lakes and streams throughout the state being stocked for the spring season, and an additional 80,000 trout stocked for the fall season.
For more information on trout seasons and other Illinois fishing opportunities, check the website at www.ifishillinois.org.

House Returns April 9

The Illinois of Representatives returns to session in April. You may view or listen to session live at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, April 9 here.