In This Issue:
- Energy Negotiations Update
- Springfield Wrap-Up, Part 1
- Mobile DMV Event
- Monthly Coffee & Conversation
A few weeks ago, I reached out for your input to understand how to best represent our community in energy negotiations taking place in Springfield. Thank you to the many people who responded and took the time to let me know your thoughts, which were instrumental in discussions with all stakeholders. I’ll provide a summary of some of those responses, below, plus some additional background of Naperville’s power situation and how we’re proceeding in talks. We’re aiming to finalize energy legislation within the next week, so if you haven’t already, there’s still time to respond to the survey.
Otherwise, the spring session came to its scheduled end on May 31. It was a productive session, with over 1,000 bills, amendments, and/or resolutions crossing my vote switch. I’ll highlight some of the major ones for you here and in the coming weeks, including the large legislative packages (omnibus bills), as well as some of the more local and targeted ones.
The heart of our work still resides in our community and neighborhoods. On that front, I’m happy to be partnering with our State Senator Laura Ellman on a mobile Secretary of State event on June 25—renewing IDs or plate sticker has sometimes been tough this past year, and we’re glad to be able to bring you many of the services offered at a regular DMV at our shared district office. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
Energy Negotiations Update
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to my recent energy survey. It was clear from the results that our community cares about moving toward a more sustainable energy future, and we need to do it in a well-thought out manner. The below charts show the responses to the survey’s main questions:
You can see the degree to which respondents said they care about transitioning to cleaner sources of power, arrayed against their willingness to pay to support that transition. One of the main takeaways I saw from the data is that even for those who count a transition away from coal as a relatively low priority, they’re still willing to pay a nominal amount to make that transition.
It’s worthwhile to briefly touch upon why Naperville faces such potentially high price hikes in the first place. Naperville sources its electricity through long term contracts it has with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). As the charts below show, IMEA sources roughly 90% of its power from coal, whereas coal accounts for only 30% of power for Illinois as a whole.
Because the main pieces of energy legislation under consideration included carbon taxes and pollution fees, coal-intensive communities like Naperville would bear larger burdens of these fees.
I and my colleagues in the General Assembly have been working to find a better balance between furthering our environmental goals and protecting our community from exorbitant rate hikes. We’ve brought Naperville Electric deep into the conversation on the issues of greatest concern to them, such as considering coal plant closure dates more in-line with the city’s bond payment schedules and providing line-item edits that allow municipalities to retain greater local control over energy decisions. I’m very optimistic that we’ll find compromises that address these issues, and I will make sure to keep you informed of updates.
Springfield Wrap-Up, Part 1
The House and Senate jointly passed hundreds of bills in the last five months that will now go to Governor for his signature. Below are some of the most notable ones, and I’ll make sure to summarize others over the next few newsletters.
Budget: As a member of the general services appropriations committee, my colleagues and I often met several times per week in committee and working groups to deliver the final budget. Because you contacted me and made your priorities known to me, these were some of my main areas of focus:
Education Funding: So many of us live here because of our strong schools, so it’s imperative that our state lives up to its promises of funding schools. While the Governor’s initial budget called for no year-over-year increase, through constant dialogue and advocacy, we were able to pass a budget that increased the Evidence-Based Funding appropriation for schools by the $350 million that EBF legislation requires each year.
Local Government Distributive Funds: The state remits our tax dollars to our local municipalities (Naperville and Warrenville) each year through the LGDF, and the Governor’s first budget proposed a 10% cut to this line item. Mayors Chirico and Brummel very proactively let me know that this funding was important to their ability to fund our essential services and keep a lid on property taxes. My colleagues and I strongly advocated against this cut, and LGDF was not decreased in the final budget.
Developmental Disability Funding: Illinois is 47th in the nation in funding community services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Because our community partners like Little Friends and so many community members reached out to me, I was able to strongly advocate for funding these programs. The budget we passed invests over $150 million to help meet the goals of the Illinois Department of Human Services Ligas/Guidehouse Rate Study.
Corporate Loophole Closures: The above increases in funding were able to occur as a result of better than expected revenue, federal stimulus dollars, and the closure of corporate tax loopholes. For example, going forward, Illinois will treat foreign dividends just like domestic dividends, which prevents multinational corporations from offshoring profits in order to avoid taxes.
Capital Projects: The final budget also included funds to accelerate capital projects throughout the state. As a result of talking with many community members and organizations, these are the areas where I focused our district’s dollars:
Naper Settlement: $700,000 for costs associated with the construction of the Naper Settlement Innovation Gateway.
Naperville Community Unit School District 203: $1.2 million for the cost of additions to replace mobile classrooms and cafeteria improvements for Naperville North High School.
Indian Prairie Community Unit School District 204: $1 million for playground/site renovations, to be used at the following schools: Brookdale, Clow, Cowlishaw, Gregory, Kendall, Longwood, May Watts, Owens, Patterson, and Spring Brook.
Wheaton Warrenville Community Unit School District 200: $100,000 for playground and library renovations for Johnson Elementary School.
Ethics Reform: The bipartisan bill we passed is just one of the steps needed to bring back trust to Springfield. While there are still ways to improve, here are some of the changes we brought about via this session’s omnibus ethics bill:
Requiring more comprehensive disclosure from office holders filing Statements of Economic Interest, including information on assets, income sources, creditors, other government jobs, lobbyist relationships, and gifts.
Requiring those who lobby county, municipal, or township officials to register with the Secretary of State.
Allowing the Legislative Inspector General to initiate investigations without the approval of the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Strengthening ethics and sexual harassment training requirements for lobbyists.
Mobile DMV Event
I’m excited to be partnering with State Senator Laura Ellman to host a Mobile Driver Services event at our joint office! This past year, many individuals have not been able to utilize DMV services due to the pandemic and may be in need of renewing IDs or plate stickers. We’re happy to work with the Secretary of State’s Office to bring access to these crucial services in an easy and efficient way.
Mobile Driver Services Event
Friday, June 25
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
475 River Bend Rd, Suite 500
The event will offer many of the services offered at a regular DMV office, including renewal or correction of a driver’s license, state ID cards, license plate stickers, motor voter registration, and organ donor registration. Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards must be processed at a driver service facility, and individuals will not be able to process Real ID’s at this event. Those age 75 and up also need to visit a regular DMV in order to renew a driver’s license, and proper identification will be needed for the above services. RSVP Here!
Monthly Coffee & Conversation
It was great being able to join our May Coffee & Conversation from Springfield, giving our community live updates of legislation and negotiations taking place in the final days of session.
We're especially appreciative of our special guest in May, Naperville Public Library Executive Director Dave Della Terza, who gave us a great overview of the library's services for adults, kids & teens, and businesses.
June’s Coffee & Conversation will take place on Saturday, June 26. We’d love to see you there!