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SPRINGFIELD – Having only spent four months on the job, the large class of House Republican freshmen convened in the Capitol today to express their disgust with the partisan political atmosphere that has engulfed Springfield.  The message they came to deliver is that there is no better time than now to call for term limits in Springfield. 

“I don’t believe there’s a single one of us who truly understood the high barriers towards reform that have been erected by the entrenched leadership here in Springfield,” stated Steve Andersson (R-Geneva).  “The time is now to discuss this issue, while we are amidst this gridlock.” 
 
An initiative to put a binding term limits referendum on the 2014 General Election ballot was denied by a three-judge Illinois Appellate Court last August, leaving legislative action as the best alternative. With three separate joint constitutional amendments filed, House Republicans point to the onset of gridlock so early into the new Governor’s first term along with the increasingly draconian House rules as evidence that term limits need immediate consideration. 
Status quo is rampant in the state of Illinois. For too long now Illinois has suffered at the hands of entrenched politicians stifling new ideas and solutions,” said Representative Christine Winger (R-Bensenville). “Let the voters decide whether term limits are a good idea for Illinois.”

House Republicans have three separate constitutional amendments filed aimed at imposing term limits in Illinois: HJRCA1 filed by Rep. Ron Sandack (R, Downers Grove), HJRCA 10 filed by Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R, Rockford) and HJRCA 28 filed by Rep. Steve Andersson (R, Geneva); all seek to put on the ballot limits on legislative terms to varying degrees.  It is expected the Governor’s own proposal will be filed soon.

“Now more than ever Illinois needs bipartisan initiatives that involve all elected State Representatives at the table. The status quo has not changed the State’s economic health, but term limits would ensure that new ideas are heard in better recognition of what voters call for,” added Representative Brown.
 
 

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Springfield… State Representative Adam Brown (R-Champaign) is thankful Governor Rauner has announced restoration of Fiscal Year 15 funding cuts to the Illinois Department of Human Services and Illinois Department of Public Health effecting programs such as the Autism Program, epilepsy funding, and funding for indigent burials.
The Fiscal Year 15 budget signed last year by Governor Quinn contained a $1.6 billion deficit, which necessitated a budget fix this Spring to fund the remainder of the fiscal year which ends in June.  On April 3, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget released a list of grant suspensions and reserves totaling $26 million.  Due to revised estimates issued by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), the State of Illinois now anticipates an additional one-time $300-500 million in revenue for last year.  This allowed the Governor to provide relief on some of the cuts and reserves made several weeks ago.

Rep. Brown stated, “I am thankful that Governor Rauner has committed this unplanned revenue to restore funding to vital programs. The Governor has helped fulfill my ultimate commitment to make Illinois’ most vulnerable a top priority, with this latest action. Proper funding to the Autism Program, and others like it, must remain intact. Furthermore, I appreciate when constituents reach out about these vital programs and issues, and today I believe we can collectively appreciate these restorations.”
Rep. Brown’s district office can be contacted at (217) 607-5104, and he can also be reached via his website at www.repadambrown.com.
Rep. Brown with constituent Reed Willis on the House Floor.


 

Springfield…State Representative Adam Brown (R-Champaign) passed House Bill 3523 from the Illinois House Floor on Friday, with a strongly approving vote of 91-01-00.

The bill creates the Wind Energy Facilities Construction and Deconstruction Act, requiring that operators of commercial wind energy facilities built after the bill’s effective date and located on private property must enter into an agricultural impact mitigation agreement with the Department of Agriculture, to outline construction and deconstruction plans to help preserve the integrity of any land that is impacted. Agricultural impact agreements shall be entered into with the Department of Agriculture prior to any public hearing with a county or municipality to ensure that each commercial wind energy facility is planned with nearby land integrity in mind.

 
Representative Brown stated, “We have maintained great support from state agencies with this legislation, including the Illinois Farm Bureau, as the bill’s main goal is to protect local farmers and landowners. It does not in any way impede local control, but it does guarantee to local governments that any wind energy facility planned takes into consideration the safekeeping of not only the land used by the facility, but land nearby the facility.”

After its passage from the House Floor, House Bill 3523 moves to the Senate for consideration.
Champaign…State Representative Adam Brown (R-Champaign) joined U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) in attending the “It’s On Us” rally with Vice President Joe Biden at the University of Illinois’ Champaign-Urbana campus. Rep. Brown was invited to the event to help highlight the importance of the campaign’s efforts to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.

Rep. Brown stated, “As a graduate of the University of Illinois, I am glad that Vice President Joe Biden has chosen the university as a platform to discuss an issue that remains critical to colleges across the country. I am very proud that the University of Illinois is the leader among colleges in the number of students that have pledged to stop sexual assault because it is truly up to all of us, on campuses and anywhere else that sexual assault may occur, to identify and prevent it. I join Congressman Rodney Davis in welcoming the Vice President to discuss a vital preventative campaign to help our young people feel safer as they embark on their campus lives.”

University students and general public alike are encouraged to visit www.itsonus.org to take the pledge to prevent sexual assault.

As the legislative session has reached a 2-week intermission, I’d like to update you on some items both I and the Republican Caucus have dealt with in the General Assembly recently, but first I am pleased to report I have been appointed to serve as conference chairman within the House Republican Leadership team, which will enable me to have an even larger say on issues important to the 102nd District. This appointment is truly an honor and I look forward to taking on the tough issues within my new role.

House Bill 3523 presented in Committee. Recently I presented legislation within the Renewable Energy & Sustainability Committee to create the Wind Energy Facilities Construction and Deconstruction Act. With the safekeeping of landowners and farmers in mind, my bill would require that operators of commercial wind energy facilities built after its effective date, and located on private property, must enter into an agricultural impact mitigation agreement with the Department of Agriculture to outline construction and deconstruction plans in order to help preserve the integrity of any land impacted. Agricultural impact agreements shall be entered into with the Department of Agriculture prior to any public hearing with a county or municipality to ensure that each commercial wind energy facility is planned with nearby land integrity in mind.

This legislation comes with the full backing of the Illinois Farm Bureau, and it does not in any way impede local control, but it does guarantee to local governments that any wind energy facility planned in their area takes into consideration the safekeeping of not only the land used by the facility, but land nearby the facility. It received unanimous approval in committee, and is moved to the House Floor for consideration once the legislative session reconvenes.

General Assembly takes steps to resolve FY15 budget shortfall.  Faced with a $1.6 billion FY15 budget deficit, I stood with a majority of the General Assembly to enact legislation that will reorganize spending and enable the State to get through the fiscal year, which covers spending needs through June 30, 2015. 

Without immediate action, the State would have been unable to make payroll at Illinois prisons, low-income working families would lose their child care assistance, court reporters would be laid off and money for services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled would run out.  In addition, inaction would have further delayed and perhaps jeopardized critical categorical school funding and State aid payments.

After negotiations, the General Assembly agreed to language contained in HB 317 and HB 318.  HB 317, an appropriations bill, made cuts and transfers in State spending.  HB 318, a budget implementation bill, granted the Governor the legal authority to carry out and implement the cuts in spending and spending transfers made in HB 317.  Together, these bills work to fill critical holes in the unbalanced FY15 budget signed by former Governor Quinn.

Approximately $1.3 billion of the moves occurred in the form of budget transfers from various funds, and approximately $400 million was in the form of an across-the-board budget cut.  The HB 317-HB 318 package created $97 million in budgetary flexibility that can be used to respond to specific challenges, including the challenge of school districts that have run out of reserves.     

The House vote on HB 317 was 72-45-0 and the House vote on HB 318 was 69-48-0, with all House Republicans voting in favor of the measures.  The Senate followed up by approving both bills on Thursday, March 26, sending the measures to Governor Rauner for final action.  The Governor, who pushed for and signed both bills into law, expressed a readiness to follow up on this work in alliance with House Republicans.  The two bills became law as Public Acts 99-0001 and 99-0002, the first bills signed into law by the new Governor.

As I’ve stated before, actions such as these allow the General Assembly to protect vital human services for the most vulnerable among us, and ensure that the interconnected services stay sufficient. As your State Representative it was an obvious vote to approve of the necessary increases to programs that were underfunded in former Governor Quinn’s final budget, such as an additional $266 million to the Child Care Program and $25 million to mental health grants.

Champaign-Urbana medical school plans approved by board of trustees.  Seeking to utilize its globally-ranked standing in materials research and development, the University of Illinois this month finalized plans to oversee the construction of a new medical school adjacent to its primary Champaign-Urbana campus.   The plans were described on Sunday, March 22 by the USA Today.

Responding to researchers who see increasing challenges and opportunities in biomedicine, the University of Illinois sees the new medical school as a way to bring together the College of Engineering and the clinical resources of the nearby Carle hospital-and-health-system.  The University’s trustees repeatedly assured staff and affiliated professionals at their existing medical school, the University of Illinois College of Medicine, that the decision did not signal any diminution of their support level for the existing UIC school, which is organized around a traditional urban teaching-hospital model and is affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The new medical school will be located in Champaign-Urbana, at Carle’s flagship hospital and at campus locations to be determined.  It will be the first medical school opened in Downstate Illinois since the creation in 1970 of the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.  I am happy to report that the first Champaign-Urbana medical school students will begin class work as soon as fall 2017.       

As always, if you require my office’s assistance, it can be reached at 217-607-5104, or you can use the Contact tool at www.repadambrown.com.
Springfield, IL….House Republican Leader Jim Durkin today is naming State Rep. Adam Brown (R-Champaign) as the new House Republican Conference Chairman.    

“Adam is a hard-working legislator who serves his district well and is well-liked by his peers,” said Durkin. “He always goes that extra mile to help other members.  One of the youngest members of the Illinois House, Adam does a great job of identifying and raising awareness about issues important to younger constituents and how other lawmakers can reach out to them.  I have total confidence in Adam, and I know he will do a great job for the caucus.” 

Rep. Brown has served in the Illinois General Assembly since January 2011. Previously, at age 23, Adam Brown was the youngest person ever elected to the Decatur City Council, serving as Councilman from 2009-2010. Adam formerly served in the United States Department of Agriculture’s APHIS division in Champaign and the Foreign Agricultural Service in Washington D.C.

As a lawmaker, Adam’s focus has been on agriculture, youth, and job creation. 

Representative Brown is a fifth-generation family farmer and a graduate of the University of Illinois. He earned a Master’s in Public Administration through the University of Illinois Springfield and recently completed the Edgar Fellows Program. Adam also serves as a volunteer firefighter for the Bondville Fire Department. Adam married Stephanie in 2011 and together they have a daughter Elise.

“I want to thank Leader Durkin for giving me the opportunity to serve as conference chairman.  Being a part of the Republican leadership team will enable me to have a greater say on issues important to my district and my constituents,” said Brown.  “I am honored to have been chosen and look forward to tackling the tough challenges ahead in my new role.”