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Democrats in the House of Representatives presented a series of budget bills for appropriations. Although the bills presented were debated for hours on the House floor, the legislation failed to address the existing budget deficits. In what they declared as an effort to move the process along, House Democrats pushed these budget bills forward, despite their severely unbalanced nature. 

Representative Andersson found this process to be just another example of the broken process and partisan politics that has been all too common in Springfield.

“Today, the very essence of a sound budgeting process was ignored. The Constitution requires that we pass a balanced budget. The Democrat leadership admitted that its budget is almost 4 billion dollars short. Illinoisans should not stand for this. This is not right and, quite frankly, it’s a stick in the eye of every Illinoisan who is looking for change. We cannot keep putting off our state’s fiscal problems: the people of Illinois deserve better. We cannot ignore the situation we are in now, we must put in the hard work today to plan for the future.

“The entire budget process, from start to finish, has been frustrating. I spent five years on the Geneva Library Board and we budgeted in a responsible manner. We started with expected revenues and then determined what the District’s priorities are to be for the year. We spent only what we had (or less)-a simple formula for budgeting. Sometimes it made for difficult decisions as there are never as much revenues as one might want. It meant we had to reduce or cut good programs. We did our level best to utilize the funds in the best way possible and cut it where the impact would be felt the least. But make no mistake, there is always pain in budget cutting. Someone’s program gets cut and every program has its advocates. Not so here in Springfield. Here in Springfield, we ignore any discussion of realistic budgeting.”

Despite the disheartening process and unbalanced budget presented in the various bills, the legislation passed in the House today. After receiving a constitutional majority, the bills will move on for further approval in the Senate.
Today Representative Steve Andersson passed Senate Bill 45. This legislation creates the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act, and provides more specific guidelines for the issuance of subpoenas. It amends an existing process for the presentation of out of state subpoenas, and provides attorneys with a more streamlined method, one that would create a faster, more responsive legal process.

This legislation was an initiative of the Illinois State Bar Association, and was initially sponsored in the Senate by Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). Representative Andersson became the Chief Sponsor of the bill in the House, where the legislation passed unanimously.

“This bill creates an improved mechanism for issuance of subpoenas. Similar measures have already been adopted by 31 other states including the District of Colombia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it will greatly help our state expedite judicial proceedings and improve our legal system.”
Today, the freshman House Republican members held a press conference in the Capitol to discuss term limits in the General Assembly. While the past few weeks have involved difficult partisan debates, there seemed no better time for a decisive call for term limits in Springfield.

Representative Andersson spoke at this morning’s conference to express the need for term limits in the General Assembly. As a freshman legislator, one of Andersson’s first bills filed concerned term limits. Andersson is the Chief Sponsor of HJRCA 28, which would limit the time a legislator can serve to a maximum of 12 years, or a combination of offices for more than 16 years. In addition, the bill restricts a person to no more than 2 terms within the Office of the Governor and cannot serve more than 3 terms within the same Executive Branch office. However, this bill was sent to the Rules Committee the day after it was filed in March and has been bottled up there ever since.

Andersson believes term limits are necessary to promote the very essence of legislating; to broaden the pool of those who want to serve and limit the power of those on the inside. It is this process that would create better government for Illinois.

“The people want bi-partisan government, not a one party rule. The only way to make this change is through real reform, and the time is now. We are in a gridlock, and finding balance and dialogue on legislation has become increasingly more difficult. We cannot stand to lose effectiveness in our government, and I have great faith that we can make change.”

In addition to Andersson’s legislation, House Republicans have filed two other amendments aimed at imposing term limits in Illinois: HJRCA1 filed by Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove), and HJRCA 10 filed by Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford).

Representative Steve Andersson presented Senate Bill 45 in the Judiciary Civil Committee hearing this morning.   This legislation creates the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act, and provides more specific guidelines for the issuance of subpoenas. This Act has already been adopted by 31 other states, and the District of Colombia.

State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) initiated this legislation in the Senate, and Rep. Andersson is the chief sponsor of this bill in the House. After passing in the Senate, the bill was presented by Andersson in the Judiciary Civil Committee where it passed unanimously, and the bill will now move on for further approval in the House.

Andersson says, “This bill clarifies the guidelines for the issuance of subpoenas and will simplify the judicial process, creating a more streamlined process. While many other states have already done this, this law will help make the legal process more responsive and expedite the judicial proceedings.”

After gaining a few months of experience in the General Assembly, Representative Steve Andersson is working to start an important initiative in the 65th Legislative District: to gather constituents and discuss important issues pertaining to the community. The advisory council will be made up of several focus groups and will serve not only to engage each other but also inform Representative Andersson of important issues. Meetings will be held monthly in Representative Andersson’s district office. 

“This is a great way to engage with the community, and hear first-hand what the most important issues are in the area. I want to gain insight into their perspective and also seek their advice as to how I can best represent their voice in Springfield. I trust the community of the 65th district, and would like more advice from my fellow neighbors to develop new ideas and also evaluate current policies. I encourage all residents of the 65th District to consider joining this council, so we can together face the problems surrounding our community and the state as a whole.” 

The focus groups will be divided by the following issue areas: Seniors, Veterans, Small Business & Economic Expansion, and because of Representative Andersson’s heritage and the large number of Swedes in his district: the Swedish-American cultural group. All interested constituents can contact the district office to join at (630) 457-5460.
Representative Steve Andersson is sponsoring Catch the Reading Express!, his first summer reading club.  All students in the 65th district from PK-5th grades are welcome to join. 

Andersson asks that each student read 10 books, and complete and return their summer reading flier form. Every student who turns in a reading list will receive an invitation to a special party to be held in early fall to celebrate.

“Reading is fun, and even better when we get rewarded for hard work," says Andersson. "I look forward to seeing all the students in the district at the end of the summer, where we will be able to meet and celebrate your accomplishments!” Have a great summer and don’t forget to READ!!

A copy of the summer reading flier can be found here, and for more information about the program, please contact Rep. Andersson’s district office at (630) 457-5460.
Today, Illinois House Republicans sent a message to House Democrats on a $2.7 billion piecemeal spending plan that selectively targeted specific human services line items for restoration. Weary of the process, Republicans unanimously voted “Present” on all the legislation with the intention of sending a strong message that this broken budget process was unacceptable. Representative Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) released the following statement in reaction to the action.

“Today’s votes on part of the State’s fiscal year 2016 budget was disappointing and should cause all citizens great concern about how we govern. The Democrat leadership decided to piecemeal portions of the budget, ignore the entire budgeting process, and ram through spending without any reasoned review or consideration. This budget bill was not negotiated or discussed, and is a disappointing display of all that is wrong in Springfield.”
Yesterday, State Representative Steve Andersson and State Senator Karen McConnaughay hosted several educators and school administrators for a forum.  The panel discussion centered around the PARCC testing initiative and the Common Core.

State Representative Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) was recently selected to receive a fellowship for the 2015 Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development. The Bowhay Institute is a leadership training program exclusively offered to Midwestern legislators. It helps legislators further develop the skills necessary to become effective leaders, skilled decision-makers, and expert policy analysts. The program is offered every summer, where 37 lawmakers gather at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a five day experience focused on leadership training, conflict resolution, and negotiation. The program also includes policy sessions on issues like education, healthcare and economic development.

“This is a great honor and I look forward to learning more about legislative leadership, and how I can improve on my own skills to become a more effective leader for my community and the state,” said Andersson. “As a freshman legislator serving in the 99th General Assembly, I am excited to join fellow legislators from around the region to hear and learn from their experiences.”

This is the 21st Annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development, and nearly 700 legislators have already completed this program.
State Rep. Steve Andersson and State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) and are hosting a Common Core and PARCC Testing Forum on May 4th at Elgin Community College.

“Education and the future of Illinois’ students is without question one of the most important issues in our state today,” said McConnaughay. “Serving on the Senate Education Committee, I spend a great deal of time immersed in education issues and Rep. Andersson and I think this forum is a good opportunity to get feedback from the parents, students and educators concerning their views on the future of education in Illinois.”

McConnaughay and Andersson will be joined by, St. Charles CUSD 303 Superintendent Dr. Don Schlomann, representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education, school administrators and teachers, students and parents to discuss the Common Core State Standards and assessment testing (PARCC) that are being implemented in Illinois. The panel will also take questions from the audience about Common Core.

“This is a great opportunity to hear from our community on highly debated topics in education. We believe that every Illinois student deserves the right to a first-class education, and I am open to hearing from our community as to how we can best accomplish this,” said Andersson. “I encourage all to attend to help us understand how we as legislators can help make education in Illinois the best it can be.”

This forum is scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Seigle Auditorium in the University and Business Center Building E at Elgin Community College located at 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin.

Representative Steve Andersson recently hosted Ashley O'Brien as his Page for the Day.  A resident of Geneva, Ashley attends Geneva Community High School.  Rep. Andersson introduced Ashley on the House floor, where she received a warm Springfield welcome.  

Today the Governor announced his decision to restore $26 million in cuts that were previously made in an effort to rectify our State budget deficit. The Governor’s decision was a result of a revised estimate from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), which showed extra State revenue available from the previous year. This revenue will help restore funding for important programs in our State, ones whose funding was initially suspended by Governor Rauner to address the inherited budget deficit. With the Governor’s recent decision, the released revenue will help reinstate funding for autism, indigent burials, epilepsy, and addiction prevention programs, in addition to countless other Public Health and Human Services programs. Representative Andersson released the following statement in response to the Governor’s decision:

“The decision presented to us today by the Governor serves to protect several compassionate programs in our State. It further exemplifies the great effort of Governor Rauner to honestly address our budget deficit and I applaud him for his actions. This decision is good news for our State, and while tough decisions still lie ahead, it serves as a positive step forward for Illinois.”