State Representative Steve Andersson passed legislation this week that will make guidelines on farmer’s markets uniform throughout the State of Illinois.

The legislation addresses vendor complaints regarding the reasonableness of local health departments’ fees and sanitation provisions for state-wide farmers markets. HB2820 calls for the Department of Public Health to work with the Farmers’ Market Task Force to adequately address these issues.

The bill will help remedy any challenges facing market vendors, and seeks to implement safe, fair, and consistent regulations for the entire state. It would be the role of the Department of Public Health to develop and implement uniform regulations to be used throughout Illinois.

Rep. Andersson has found that there are various rules for vendors depending on the location of the farmers market, and these widely differ throughout Illinois. “Farmer’s markets are a great addition to communities throughout the state. This legislation will help solve the challenges that face the vendors, to help keep these markets successful and vibrant for both vendors and residents in the state.”

The bill will help prevent any further problems from arising by creating uniform regulation, and ensures more regularity so that every vendor has the same opportunity no matter where in the state they are located.

House Bill 2820 passed in the House with wide support from lawmakers and will move forward to the Senate.
Protecting the identity of our residents, and ensuring personal security is extremely important for the overall well-being of Illinoisans and longevity of our state. Identity theft has been on the rise for years and remains a top complaint received by the Illinois Attorney General each year.

In fact, throughout 2016, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General received 2,387 complaints received relating to fraud and 2,391 related to identity theft.

There have also been several complaints within the 45th District received by the Geneva Police Department. This year the Department announced a new online scam and warned residents of computer tampering and online fraud schemes from residents. Police urge residents to be aware of any suspicious online behavior, and want to remind residents to not open unknown emails, attachments or click on pop-up messages.

If you have questions or concerns about a potential scam, contact the Geneva Police Department at (630) 232-4736 and ask for Officer Chuck Parisi in Crime Prevention.

There are simply measures you can take to proactively protect you and your family and prevent fraud or identity theft from hurting you or your family:
The Illinois I-Cash program seeks to reunite Illinois residents with their unclaimed property. This program is an initiative of the Illinois Treasurer’s Office, who is the custodian of any unclaimed property in the state. Unclaimed property can be anything from lost bank accounts, insurance policy proceeds, or forgotten safe deposit boxes—all of which is surrendered to the state if it cannot be returned to its owners after five years.

According to the Illinois State Treasurer, Michael Frerichs, thousands of items are surrendered each year. Consequently, Frerichs recommends checking the I-Cash database every six months. There is no cost to checking your information in the I-Cash system, and it is important to ensure you don’t have any unclaimed property under your name.

In the last fiscal year the Treasurer’s Office returned a record setting $155 million in forgotten cash and stock, the largest sum in the program’s 55 year history.

State Rep. Steve Andersson’s District Office has worked diligently to track down constituents who have unclaimed assets through the I-Cash system. “My office has helped several residents claim money and assets that they didn’t realize they even had,” said Andersson. “This is a good program that helps put money back in the hands of its rightful owners.”

While some may be weary of using the online database due to the recent surge in identity fraud and online scams, residents can rest assured this is secure system and an official program in the state of Illinois created to help Illinois residents.

Rep. Andersson encourages all area residents to search the I-Cash database for unclaimed property. Should you have any questions about the I-Cash system, or if you need help navigating the online database, contact Rep. Andersson’s district office at (630) 457-5460.
Landmarks Illinois is a membership based non-profit organization that works to persevere authentic and historic buildings and structures throughout the state. Through its advocacy, the organization provides free guidance, practical and financial resources, and access to strategic partnerships to accomplish its preservation goals.

This week, the organization held a special event in Springfield to reveal their annual list of the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Since 1995 the organization has released an annual list to call attention to threatened historic sites in Illinois.

State Representative Steve Andersson spoke at the event on behalf of the Historic Preservation Caucus of the 100th General Assembly. Like the work of Landmarks Illinois, Andersson, along with the Caucus’ bipartisan group of legislators, advocates for and supports efforts of historic preservation throughout the state. The Representative spoke to Landmark Illinois’ organization’s history of preserving significant and meaningful places in Illinois—preserving 256 landmarks over its 45 year advocacy.

At a challenging time for the State, maintaining and investing in real estate and infrastructure is difficult, especially when funding is limited and there is no state budget. Consequently, this year’s list includes several city, county and state owned structures.

One building on their list includes the James R. Thompson Center. While the General Assembly is currently considering the sale of this building—through HB500—Illinois Landmarks is advocating for the preservation of this building. While the organization supports the sale of the building, it opposes the destruction of the structure due to the building’s architectural importance in Illinois’ history.

Landmark Illinois’ list hopes to preserve the state’s character and heritage in a special way. You can find the full list of the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois here.

Representative Steve Andersson was recently named Legislator of the Year by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD). This award was given to three state legislators this year to recognize their work in the Illinois General Assembly on behalf of parks throughout the state. 

Andersson was honored at the 2017 IAPD/IDPR Soaring to New Heights Conference Awards. The Representative was further recognized for his participation in IAPD legislative awareness events, and for his efforts to help advance park and recreational opportunities in Illinois. Andersson continually advocates for local control while opposing unfunded mandates—which are consistently important to the legislative platform of the IAPD.

The IAPD reviews countless pieces of legislation every year to weigh the potential impact bills can have on park districts, forest preserves, conservation, recreation, and special recreation agencies throughout Illinois. This year, the IAPD will track roughly 350 bills that can affect member agencies with their passage in the General Assembly.

Rep. Andersson filed several pieces of legislation in the 100th General Assembly that are instrumental to the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) Legislative Platform:

House Bill 776 ensures that the terms of park commissioners remain staggered in instances where the sizes of park boards are reduced from 7 to 5 members.

House Bill 766 removes from production executable programs or source codes used to store and access electronic data processing records from the Freedom of Information Act, so that a person using these programs and source codes cannot access privileged and confidential documents

House Bill 3626 provides any person seeking to address public officials in an open meeting shall be allowed to do so at least once per meeting, voiding any rule limiting a person to speaking no more than once in a given number of days.

These bills are just a few of the top priorities of the IAPD, and are supported by the organization as they continue through the legislative process in Springfield.
State Representative Steve Andersson recently presented House Bill 2591 to the State Government Administration Committee in the House of Representatives. This is an extremely complex piece of legislation that would create the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act to overhaul the court fee system and ultimately reduce the large number of fees paid by citizens in court.

This bill was brought forward to Rep. Andersson and Rep. Elaine Nekritz who both served on the Statutory Court Fee Task Force. The Task Force’s work over the course of two years helped create the parameters of this legislation.

Current law allows courts to impose various fees and different fee schedules for criminal and traffic assessments. Andersson’s bill would consolidate these into a single Act through HB2591, and change the assessments to different rates. This change would streamline the process, making it easier to navigate and more transparent. Court fees have escalated over the years, and this bill would ensure that the fees could be reduced to more reasonable levels. Lastly, the bill provides for a waiver system for lower income individuals, to reduce the severe and often long term impact these fines can have on those from on the lower end of the socio-economic scale.

Representative Andersson has worked diligently with colleagues, proponents and opponents to the bill in order to find the best way to change current law. “Due to the complex nature of this legislation, I am committed to continuing to work on this legislation to pass a good bill. The changes proposed to the current law would make for a more efficient process, one that is more transparent and works to relieve any undue burdens placed on citizens by hefty court fees,” said Andersson.

Rep. Andersson stressed the difference in this bill between fees and fines. This legislation would affect fees distributed by the courts through the clerical process, something that varies between court systems and is separate from fines required to be paid and specific to offenses committed.

Witnesses were called to testify in Committee on behalf of the bill. A proponent of the bill, explained the impact of court fees, and provided meaningful testimony on just how large the impact is on those who have trouble paying fees. Below is a video from the Committee hearing where you can view more remarks from Representative Andersson on the bill.

House Resolution 43 was recently adopted in the House of Representatives.  This resolution was filed by Representative Steve Andersson (R-Geneva), to recognize the importance of pork and bacon in the State of Illinois.

About two years ago bacon was declared a Carcinogen by the World Health Organization.  The report by the WHO stated that eating too much processed meat, such as bacon, would lead to a higher risk of cancer.  Rep. Andersson felt that this declaration was unfair, especially to an industry that has contributed much to Illinois, and HR43 was created as a result.

The Pork Industry is instrumental to the state’s economy, contributing $1.8 billion and generating more than $170 million in taxes annually.  Pork Producers have also provided over 10,500 jobs in Illinois through production, suppliers, transportation and processing.   For Rep. Andersson, the importance of this industry and their product, and the value it brings to the state’s economy needed to be recognized.  Andersson, along with 17 other co-sponsors in the House, solidified their support and recognition of the importance of pork and bacon in Illinois.

This resolution was originally filed in October of 2015, but was finally adopted and celebrated in the House of Representatives, where bacon was also served.