Olsen End of Session Report Lands in 81st District Mailboxes
Late last week residents of the 81st District began receiving copies of my 2017 End of Session Report in their mailboxes. The comprehensive report highlights achievements and challenges of the regular legislative session and the special sessions in June and July. The report should continue to be distributed this week for those who live in the district and have not yet received it.

A legislative survey is included in the report, and I am hoping all residents will take a moment to fill it out. The opinions and priorities you will share through the survey will help me represent the 81st District in Springfield. Click here to access a digital version of the survey. Survey responses will be collected through the end of October.

Senate Overrides Amendatory Veto to School Funding Bill; House to Convene on Wednesday
On Sunday, August 13, the Illinois Senate voted 38-19 to override Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of SB 01, the controversial education funding reform bill. The Illinois House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, August 16, for possible action on SB 01 and related legislation.

House and Senate Republicans continue to oppose the Democrats’ last-minute changes to SB 01, which skewed the formula unfairly toward Chicago Public Schools (CPS) by including a pension payment for CPS in the education funding formula. Negotiations have been ongoing, and I am hopeful that continued negotiations will reach a compromise that is fair and equitable to all Illinois schools and taxpayers. Ensuring our schools have the funding they need must be the legislature’s most important priority in the coming days, and we must reach a fair compromise.

Governor Signs Rep. Olsen’s First Bill into Law

When I arrived in Springfield last year as the voice for the 81st District in DuPage and Will Counties, I said a top priority would be to usher through legislation that would save taxpayers money. On Friday in Springfield, a bill I authored was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner that will do just that.

HB 2427 is a recycling bill that will save townships- and taxpayers who fund township services, money. The bill amends the Township Code to allow for the recycling of brush, wood chips and leaves within unincorporated areas of a township. Whereas current law provides for the collection, transport and disposal of the materials gathered through land maintenance, there was no provision for recycling or delivery. Township highway departments regularly take down dead or diseased trees, or collect fallen branches, and that wood is processed into small chips. Many people like to use those woodchips as a landscaping or mulching material, but unfortunately, laws did not provide for the recycling of the material to businesses and residents for their use.

The amendment to the Township Code allows those serving at the township level to use their discretion when determining how to best dispose of tree waste. In Downers Grove Township, the highway department was spending a significant percentage of its annual budget to dispose of wood chips and other similar waste material. Through this new law, which takes effect immediately, they will now be able to deliver the wood chips directly to facilities or residences for a much lower cost than what they were spending on disposal.

Upon hearing of the bill’s signing, Downers Grove Township Highway Commissioner Lawrence “Andy” Anderson applauded the General Assembly for approving the cost-saving measure. “I want to thank Representative Olsen, the General Assembly and the Governor for passing this legislation,” Anderson said. “By working together we achieved a positive outcome that will save money for our township taxpayers and taxpayers across the state.”

HB 2427 represents my first bill to be signed into law in the General Assembly. After the signing I gave a radio interview where I spoke about the merits of the legislation. Click here to listen to the interview.

Olsen Offers Mobile Office Hours Today in Darien
The 81st District includes portions of seven different municipalities, so I am very aware that my Downers Grove District Office is not near the homes of many of my constituents. By holding office hours in other communities, the people I represent in Springfield can come to a convenient location and share their concerns and ideas. Residents of the 81st Legislative House District are invited to stop by a mobile office hours event scheduled for today, Monday, August 14 at the Indian Prairie Public Library, 401 Plainfield Road, in Darien. A member of my staff will have a table set up at the library from 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon. No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on my web site at www.repolsen.com.

Procurement Reform Bill Co-Sponsored by State Rep. David S. Olsen Signed into Law

On Wednesday I joined Governor Bruce Rauner on the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois for the signing of legislation that will streamline and reform regulations that govern how Illinois buys billions of dollars in goods and services each year. SB 08, now known as P.A. 100-0043, addresses the state’s procurement system and includes multiple provisions that will quicken the process and reduce costs. Today, in some cases it takes 9-12 months for a request for proposals (RFP) to be completed. Through SB 08 that timeline will be shortened significantly, which will allow for a more competitive process and ultimately lower costs when state agencies and institutions purchase goods and services. I am proud to have co-sponsored this pivotal piece of legislation and am pleased that I could join the Governor for the bill signing at my alma mater. The University of Illinois and our other colleges and universities will benefit greatly from the cost-saving measures included in this bill.

SB 08 was negotiated through a bipartisan effort and stands as a prime example of the positive results that can be achieved when we all work together. The provisions of SB 08 are effective retroactive to the start of this fiscal year on July 1, 2017.

Olsen Completes Edgar Fellows Leadership Conference

Last week I joined 40 emerging Illinois leaders in Champaign for an in-depth leadership and mentoring program as part of the 2017 class of Edgar Fellows. Several Illinois lawmakers from both parties were part of this year’s class. I’m shown in this photo with the legislative contingency: State Senator Pat McGuire, State Representative Carol Sente, State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, State Representative Avery Bourne and State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst.

Attendees included elected and appointed public officials from across the state, and together we attended workshops and training sessions hosted by former Governor Jim Edgar, experts from the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) and other notable leaders who have had success in their chosen fields of service. The program focused on developing leadership and governing capacity in Illinois while emphasizing the need to forthrightly address major policy issues without permitting partisan, ethnic and regional rivalries to trump statesmanship. It was an honor to be chosen for this well-respected leadership and mentoring program, and I look forward to putting the knowledge I gained into practice as the State Representative for the 81st District.

Governor Rauner Signs Bill to Protect Illinois from Cyber Threats
Last week Governor Rauner signed HB 2371, requiring all executive branch State of Illinois employees responsible to the Governor, not including public university employees, to undergo annual cybersecurity training to understand the risks, threats and best practices to defend against cyber threats.” The legislation was signed into law as Public Act 100-0040.

Because hackers and cyber criminals continually grow more sophisticated in their attempts to steal sensitive data and infect state computer systems, it is crucial that state employees have knowledge to protect themselves and the state from the impact of cyber-attacks. With this legislation, Illinois becomes the 15th state to adopt mandatory cybersecurity awareness training for state employees.

Olsen Jobs Fair Results in Job Offers for 124 Area Residents

More than 500 job seekers attended a free jobs fair I hosted last week with Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove). The event, held at CORE Fitness in Lemont, was the third annual jobs fair hosted by lawmakers in the area. The turnout exceeded all expectations, and 124 attendees left the event with a job offer in hand. With employment numbers in Illinois still lagging behind neighboring states, I am extremely pleased that we were able to facilitate a process that helped put many residents back to work.

Preliminary data indicates that nearly 1,000 resumes were distributed at the fair, 206 interviews were held on-site and an additional 123 interviews were scheduled for future dates.

Free Community Outreach Events Scheduled in 81st District

During the summer and fall months my staff and I plan several community outreach events in and around the 81st District. All are free to the public. Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

  • Understanding & Appealing Your Property Tax Bill: Saturday, September 9, 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon, Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss Street, Downers Grove
  • Veterans Resource Fair: Saturday, November 4, 9:00 AM until 12:00 noon, American Legion Post 80, 4000 Saratoga Ave, Downers Grove

Illinois State Fair Opens
The Illinois State Fair kicked off Thursday with the official ribbon cutting and Twilight Parade. The State Fair features musical entertainment, variety shows, rides and attractions, competitions, and festival food. Admission will be charged for all fairgoers above age 12, and separate tickets will be required for parking spots and for entertainment acts at the Grandstand. The fair is being celebrated through Sunday, August 20.