top of page
  • Writer's pictureJanet

Springfield Updates, More Credit Upgrades, Events

In This Issue:

  • Springfield Updates

  • Multiple New Credit Ratings Upgrades

  • Women’s History Month with Naper Settlement

  • Book Drive for Little Free Libraries

  • March Coffee & Conversation


Dear Friends, Between budget working groups and committee deadlines, the past few weeks in Springfield have been busy. I’m excited to give you an idea, below, of some of the legislation our district has been moving through the General Assembly this session. From school safety and addressing teacher shortages to supporting our small businesses and first responders, our docket is full! That activity continues locally in our district, too. This week, to celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re teaming up with the experts at Naper Settlement to highlight Caroline Martin Mitchell and the incredible legacy she left on our community. March is also National Reading Month, and we’d love for you to join us in donating your gently used books to be dropped off at Little Free Libraries throughout our district. You help my office and me to set these legislative priorities and district activities through your feedback, so if you haven’t already done so, please consider filling out our 2023 Legislative and Community Survey. And remember, you can always keep up-to-date on these activities through this newsletter, by following our daily happenings on Facebook, or via our monthly coffee and conversations. I hope to talk with you soon! Sincerely, Janet P.S. If you find these updates helpful, consider signing up for Senator Laura Ellman’s newsletter to get the view from the Senate side. Each Illinois Senate district is comprised of two House districts, and we’re paired with Representative Terra Costa Howard of the neighboring 42nd district. You can see the three of us (from left to right, me, Senator Ellman, and Representative Costa Howard) in the photo below, which was taken earlier this year during the bicameral meeting of the House and Senate for the State of the State address.


Springfield Updates In the Illinois legislature, the process to turn an idea into a bill and then a law is remarkably similar to the national process, which you can see in this classic School House Rocks, How a Bill Becomes a Law video. While my office and I have spent much of the past year talking with constituents and community members about their ideas for new laws, over the past month, we’ve been focusing on drafting bill language and getting the bills passed out of committees. The below list summarizes the bills our district has introduced and that have made it through the first round of committee votes:

  • HB1378, GROW Program: Creates the Graduate and Retain Our Workforce program, using incentive-based scholarships for students pursuing STEM education and professional fields that commit to work in Illinois upon graduation.

  • HB2147, Educator and School Support Staff Pensions: Increases the number of hours that retired teachers can substitute teach without negatively impacting pension benefits; allows paid student teachers to buy pension credits for their time student teaching; and provides pension system reciprocity for school support staff.

  • HB2550, Telehealth for University Students: Allows out-of-state students studying in Illinois to see their local healthcare providers via telehealth means. Working with a national organization to provide similar reciprocity for Illinois students studying outside of Illinois.

  • HB3522, Global Scholars Credit: Requires Illinois community colleges and public universities to award course credit to students who attain the Global Scholars seal, which provides incentives for Illinois students to choose Illinois institutions of higher learning.

  • HB3523, School District Treasurers’ Bonds: Updates ambiguous and outdated language regarding school treasurer bond requirements, which is projected to save our local school districts tens of thousands of dollars each year.

  • HB3559, School Safety & Rapid Entry: Requires school districts to work with local first responders to have a plan to rapidly enter schools and classrooms in emergency events.

  • HB3924, Fentanyl Education: Requires high school health class to provide instruction on the dangers of fentanyl.

  • HB3932, Allergen Safety Education: Requires high school health class to provide instruction on allergen safety, particularly in light of rising food allergies incidents.

New laws can come about through individual bills, like the ones above. They can also be included in larger “omnibus” and other similarly negotiated bills. That’s the case for bills such as HB3952, which provides tax penalty relief to small businesses, and HB1385, which provides grants for electric school buses. You can follow the real-time progress for all this legislation by going to my Bills page.

Multiple New Credit Ratings Upgrades

Within just the last month since sending out the most recent 41st District Newsletter, Illinois has received two new credit ratings upgrades.

On February 23, 2023, S&P Global Ratings upgraded Illinois’ credit rating to A- from BBB+. In issuing the new rating, S&P wrote, “the upgrade on the GO (General Obligation) debt reflects our view that Illinois’ commitment and execution to strengthen its budgetary flexibility and stability, supported by accelerating repayments of its liabilities, rebuilding its Budget Stabilization Fund to decade highs; and a slowing of statutory pension funding growth, will likely continue during the outlook period.”

On March 14, 2023, Moody’s Investors Services upgraded the state’s bond ratings to A3 from Baa1, writing, “we consider improving governance to be a key consideration in this action.” Illinois, it said, is “displaying improved management of its budget by making conservative revenue assumptions and applying surplus revenue towards the payment of debt and growth in reserves.” (The Moody’s report is available for free but requires registration to access.)

These upgrades are the seventh and eighth upgrades enjoyed by the state in the last two years. They allow us to pay lower interest on our bonds and other debt, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for Illinois taxpayers.

The below graphic from Capitol News Illinois reporter, Hannah Meisel, provides some historical context for these series of upgrades.

Women’s History Month with Naper Settlement

In honor of March’s Women’s History Month, we’re joining with the experts at Naper Settlement to explore the living legacy of Caroline Martin Mitchell and the amazing impact she made on our community. The over 200 acres that she left to the City of Naperville have become Naper Settlement, Naperville Central High School, Sportsman’s Park, and portions of Edward Elmhurst Hospital Campus, among other public parks and developments.

What: Celebrating Caroline Martin Mitchell for Women’s History Month

When: Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 7:00 PM

Where: Online via Facebook Live (Facebook account optional)

Book Drive for Little Free Libraries

We’re celebrating National Reading Month in March with a book drive for our local Little Free Libraries. You can join us by dropping off your gently used books at our district office throughout the month of March, and we’ll work to distribute them throughout our district. We’ll work to fill the Little Free Libraries at area schools and will expand from there depending on the number of donations received.

March Coffee & Conversation

Every month, my office and I host a Coffee & Conversation to make sure you have a direct line to what’s happening in Springfield. Are you hearing about the Chicago Bears asking for state funding? Do you want to learn more about what, exactly, it means when news stories talk about a multi-billion-dollar state budget surplus? Bring your questions or just come and listen. We’ll make sure to have plenty of coffee and donuts for everyone.

What: Coffee & Conversation with me and your neighbors

When: Saturday, March 25, 2023, from 10:00-11:00 AM

Where: District 41 Office, 475 River Bend Rd., Suite 500, Naperville (Find us by going around to the back of the building.)

68 views0 comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page