Wheeling... A new partnership between Illinois and FirstNet will ensure that the lifesaving advantages of enhanced wireless broadband technology are available to public safety personnel statewide, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced today.

“Communication is a life or death proposition in emergencies. Opting in to FirstNet’s dedicated network means first responders — fire, EMS, police — always have an open channel when it comes to doing their lifesaving work,” Rauner said against a backdrop of officials from numerous first responder agencies who gathered at the MABAS Readiness Center in Wheeling.

Illinois joins dozens of states opting in to the national First Responder Network, a communications network that is being built, operated and maintained at no cost to participating states through a public-private partnership between FirstNet and AT&T.

FirstNet participation will:

Provide first responders with prioritized network access;
Connect subscribing first responders with critical information needed in a highly secure manner, whether for day-to-day operations or large-scale emergencies;
Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in jurisdictions across the state when responding to natural disasters;
Enhance network coverage across the state’s diverse landscape, particularly benefitting those in rural areas;
Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across Illinois; and,
Usher in new lifesaving tools, including apps, specialized devices and technologies, with the potential for future integration with NextGen 911 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.
Joe Galvin, statewide interoperability coordinator for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said today’s opt-in letter signing culminates a years-long effort to ensure broad-based participation.

"Illinois has assembled a 100-member multidiscipline, multijurisdictional stakeholder group that has provided input on what emergency responders will require in a broadband network,” Galvin said. “All the information gathered has been provided to the First Responder Network Authority and has been incorporated in to the offering provided to Illinois.”

“FirstNet is a major step forward for law enforcement — and for all first responders,” added Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz. “Whether we’re heading toward the aftermath of a tornado or an incident involving an active shooter, public-safety workers need their communications devices to work, oftentimes in adverse conditions. This will give them the best possible chance to save lives and provide aid to the injured.”

FirstNet, short for First Responder Network Authority, is an independent authority established within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. It grew from a key 9/11 Commission finding that clogged communication lines made it impossible to warn firefighters that the Twin Towers were collapsing, and generally hindered effective response.

“The ability to exchange data between public safety agencies and various other disciplines will be greatly enhanced with the development of the FirstNet network,” said Chief Jeff Macko, president of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. “Voice communications on FirstNet will be a significant supportive adjunct to the current land mobile radio systems.”

Alsip Fire Department Deputy Chief Robert Ricker agreed that FirstNet will be a blessing.

“This will provide enhanced communication capabilities for first responders from all levels of government, whether operating at a small local event or a larger regional disaster,” he said. “With FirstNet, we will have additional tools at our disposal to help with decision-making.”

Joseph Klinger, acting director for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, also welcomed today’s announcement.

“This decision is a culmination of a four-and-a-half-year effort leveraging input from first responders across all of Illinois,” he said. “It is essential for lifesaving activities that public safety has the ability to make cellular phone calls, access critical information and transmit video during an incident.”

And Kirk Lonbom, the acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), said the action demonstrates the governor’s vision to modernize state government.

“The decision to opt in to FirstNet will enable DoIT to provide enhanced services and innovative solutions in support of public safety and emergency management,” he said.

“Governor Rauner's decision to join FirstNet demonstrates his strong support and dedication to public safety throughout the state,” added First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. “We are honored to serve Illinois’ first responders and deliver to them a reliable, broadband communications network that will help them save lives and protect communities.”  
YORKVILLE (Nov. 5, 2017) — Gov. Bruce Rauner today declared a statewide harvest emergency to assist farmers and grain handlers who are grappling with the fallout of rain-related delays.
“Illinois is home to 72,000 farms on 26.7 million acres. We are among the top three corn producers in the nation,” Rauner said while visiting Stewart Farms in Yorkville Sunday afternoon. “Moving corn and other crops in a timely and efficient manner affects the bottom line of hard-working farmers. This declaration is an appropriate response to an urgent need.”
Under a new law Rauner signed Aug. 11, the declaration permits drivers of trucks carrying agricultural commodities over state highways to obtain a free permit to exceed gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent. Further, local authorities may waive the permit requirement at their discretion. The emergency declaration is in effect for 45 days beginning today, Nov. 5.
The Illinois Department of Transportation already is mobilizing the permitting process and notifying law enforcement agencies throughout the state. More information is available at https://truckpermits.dot.illinois.gov/.
“I would like to thank the governor for making this declaration today,” said Richard Guebert Jr., president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. “This harvest season emergency declaration will improve the transportation of our crops.”
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois corn harvest at the end of October was 17 percentage points behind the prior year and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average. The corn harvests in the Northwest, Northeast and East regions are especially hard hit. Harvesters of a variety of crops made up ground toward the end of October, but early delays still are causing backups in the transportation chain.
Jeff Adkisson, executive vice president of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, also praised the governor’s action, noting that a bumper crop combined with the harvest delays to compound the situation.
“In years when harvest is better than anticipated, crops like corn and soybeans may need to be stored in piles outside of the traditional concrete or steel bins or tanks,” he said. “This declaration will allow grain elevators to transport commodities out of their facilities quicker, thus making room for grain stored on the ground to be moved to more suitable storage structures.”
Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe said the action will encourage the farming community.
“Illinois farmers work tirelessly year-round, even more so around harvest,” he said. “The Department of Agriculture would like to thank Gov. Rauner for making this declaration and for his support of Illinois farmers.”
And state legislators also welcomed the harvest emergency declaration.
State Rep. Toni McCombie, R-Savanna, co-sponsored HB 2580, which amended the state vehicle code to allow for exceeding trucks’ gross weight limits when a governor declares a harvest emergency.
“Mother Nature has presented Illinois farmers with a rainy spring and fall, making this year’s harvest challenging,” she said. “The State of Illinois was proactive when we foresaw an emergency this year.”
“Farmers form the backbone of our state’s economy,” said state Sen. Neil Anderson, a Republican from Andalusia who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “Declaring a harvest emergency will reduce red tape and allow those farmers who are still in the field to focus on getting their crops in before winter really takes hold.
“The sooner farmers can get their commodities to market, the more stable the market will be for the consumer.”
State Rep. Dan Swanson, R-Alpha, a member of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee, said the rainy planting season caused corn and beans to mature later this fall.
“As a result, many farmers are behind in getting their crops harvested,” he said. “With this declaration of a harvest emergency, we will allow farmers the ability to get more grain to the storage sites quicker.”
Springfield…Today, State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) voted against HB 4117, which contained language that would have made many law abiding gun owners into felons while hurting the local economy.

“This piece of legislation had broad language that did not just include trigger modifications,” stated Rep. Long.  “Any law abiding citizen who replaced even a spring in their gun could find themselves slapped with a heavy fine or jail time. On top of its effect on the people of the 76th District, it would have negatively affected our local economy. Gun manufacturers like MMC Armory in Putnam County, as well as private and public shooting ranges throughout the district, would have seen a loss in revenue.”

The bill failed in the House with only 48 of the required 71 votes. For more information regarding this legislation please contact the office of Rep. Long at (815)-510-9689 or via email at long@ilhousegop.org.

Ottawa…Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) and the Citizen’s Utility Board (CUB) are hosting a free, cost-saving clinic on Friday, October 13th from 11am to 1pm to help consumers analyze gas, electric, and telecom bills to save money. The Utility Cost Savings Clinic will take place at Village Hall in Ottawa, 301 West Madison Street. Rep. Long would like to extend this invite to everyone in his district who is not on municipal electric. 

“I am partnering with CUB to bring this cost saving event to the district,” said Rep. Long. “For over thirty years, this nonprofit organization has been working statewide to save consumers money and I am excited to have them host an event locally. Remember to bring your most recent copy of your utility bills!”

Since 1984, CUB has been working to lower rates and better service from the state’s investor-owned electric, gas, and telephone companies. They have saved consumers more than $20 billion by blocking rate hikes and winning consumer refunds.

Please RSVP to this event, as seating is limited. Those who would like to attend should call Rep. Long’s district office at 815-510-9689.

Springfield, IL… State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) today released the following statement following the passage of House Bill 40, a piece of legislation that would expand state employee insurance as well as public aid to cover the expenses of obtaining an abortion or assisted miscarriage:

“Regardless of my personal opinion or religious beliefs, HB40 is an example of the lack of responsibility held by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle when it comes to the job of drafting a constitutionally-mandated, balanced budget.  It is one more assault upon our ability to dig our way out of a deep financial hole that the Democrats put us in in the first place. HB40 will have a $60 million impact on our budget when it is completely unnecessary. I have heard from the people of my district and they very clearly told me not to vote in favor of this legislation. It is deeply concerning that we can’t come to a conclusion on the budget and instead are forced to discuss taxpayer funding of abortions.”

HB40 will now move to the Senate for deliberation.  For any more information regarding legislation passing through the house, Rep. Long urges constituents to check ilga.gov or to contact his office at long@ilhousegop.org or (815)-510-9689.

CHICAGO (Sept. 27, 2017) – Governor Bruce Rauner and Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti today encouraged Illinois residents to help the millions of Americans struggling to recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria by donating money or time to trusted voluntary, faith-and-community-based charitable organizations.
“Mother Nature has devastated Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, the U.S. Virgin Islands. As we’ve seen whenever disaster strikes in Illinois, people are eager to help in any way possible,” Gov. Rauner said. “Now, it’s time for us to show that compassion and generosity to help our fellow Americans who have been devastated by hurricanes. We know recovery will take months, even years, so we ask you to please open your hearts to help those struggling to recover.”
Rauner directed people to the www.Ready.Illinois.gov/hurricanehelp website that directs them to a list of organizations where they can donate.
“Many organizations have already been vetted by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, so you can be assured that your donations to these groups will go where help is truly needed,” said James K. Joseph, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “Volunteers should never self-deploy to a disaster site. Anyone seeking an opportunity to get involved in response and recovery operations is encouraged to volunteer with local and nationally known organizations, such as those vetted by the National VOAD,” he added.
People are advised against donating unsolicited goods, such as used clothing or household items, since they may not meet the needs of those affected. They are encouraged to make financial donations to the organizations. “This allows these reputable organizations to obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location and more efficiently manage logistics and transportation costs related to moving large volumes of donated items,” added Lt. Governor Sanguinetti. 
“Your support now and in the future, will help many Americans in their time of need,” said Gov. Rauner.
Oglesby, IL…Today, State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) hosted a self-defense class for students at IVCC.  Students in attendance learned from martial arts expert and Illinois State University Police Officer Jeremy Butler. 17 female students attended the 2 hour class.
Photo courtesy of Ali Braboy and the LaSalle News-Tribune

“As a father of three daughters, I remember constantly being worried about their safety while at school,” Rep. Long stated. “Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. So I wanted to offer a class that would empower female students and give them the knowledge and confidence to thwart an attack. I look forward to offering this class again in the future.”

The class touched on many topics including the psychology of the attack, tactics to help identify a possibly dangerous situation, and how to break free and fight back. Further information about the instructor can be found at www.BNMartialarts.com.
Springfield…State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) released the following statement on the passage of Senate Bill 1947, historic education funding reform.

“This bill represents concessions from both parties and from both chambers,” stated Rep. Long. “This compromise prioritizes funding for our most impoverished schools and students while securing historic funding levels for all 852 school districts in Illinois. No school district will lose money.

“In response to my concerns as well as other Republicans, Chicago Public Schools’ normal pension costs will be paid in the same manner as all other school districts—outside the school funding formula.

“This is a good compromise that should be signed into law as soon as possible so that our schools can remain open.”

Springfield, IL…Rep. Jerry Long was a cosponsor on a bill that was signed into law by Governor Rauner today. The law amends the Animal Welfare Act by requiring every dog dealer and cattery to microchip any animal that is for sale, as well as link their microchip to a national database.

“This is an excellent piece of legislation that promotes safe handling of animals in both rescues and pet shops,” said Rep. Long.  “Hopefully, this legislation will curb the amount of animals that end up back out on the street after adoption or purchase.”

Constituents that wish to learn more about legislation sponsored by Rep. Long should visit www.ilga.gov.
Springfield, IL…State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) had his first bill signed into law today.  House Bill 3189 repeals the Specialty Farm Product Buyers Act and passed with bipartisan support.

The Specialty Farm Product Buyers Act made buyers register with the state and pay an annual renewal fee.  Rep. Long was reached for comment after the signing ceremony.

“Administrative costs to collect these annual fees exceeded the amount of money we were collecting from them.  The goal here in the General Assembly these days should be to make our government run more efficiently and save taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste and fraud, so I will continue to seek reforms that cut back on spending.”

Constituents that wish to learn more about legislation sponsored by Rep. Long should visit www.ilga.gov
On Saturday August 12th, State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) and the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce are hosting a free shred event for the community at LaSalle-Peru High School.  The event will take place from 9am to noon and all district residents are invited to bring their confidential documents, two bags maximum, to be shredded. 

“This event is an effort to prevent identity theft in our community,” stated Rep. Long. “I encourage all district residents to come out and have their personal documents shredded, free of charge.”

The event will take place in the LPHS parking lot between Creve Coeur St. and Chartes St. along 5th St. in LaSalle. Cars will be directed to enter the parking lot using the Creve Coeur St. entrance. Participants can leave their documents to be shredded on site or park in the lot while the shredding takes place. This free service is for residential, not business, shredding only and bags will be accepted until the truck reaches capacity. 

Streator… Rep. Long (R-Streator) released the following statement after the Governor’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1 which reforms education funding:

“I want to commend the Governor on the swift action he took once Senate Bill 1 reached his desk.  Now I ask my colleagues in the legislature to act with that same sense of urgency.  

With the Governor’s changes, all 852 school districts in Illinois will have the resources they need to educate our children. Prior to his veto, Senate Bill 1 would have directed 64 percent of all new funding, laid out for all of K-12 statewide, to Chicago despite the fact that they only educate 19 percent of Illinois students..

Most importantly, Illinois Valley schools stand to benefit from the Governor’s plan. Accepting Senate Bill 1 for what it was prior to his veto meant leaving millions on the table when they could be spent educating the future of our community.  

I have hope that my fellow legislators will support the Governor’s recommended changes to SB 1 or at least be willing to negotiate to find the most equitable solution.”

Springfield…State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) today released the following statement after voting against overriding the Governor’s vetoes of Speaker Madigan’s budget, tax hike, and BIMP:

“This is a dark day for taxpayers in IllinoisLast weekend began with meaningful talks of compromise and reform and yet ended how it always does:Speaker Madigan getting his way. The budget, tax hike, and BIMP that were brought to the floor this week lacked the serious reforms necessary to pay down our unpaid bills or address our pension debts. I voted no on all three bills and will continue to do so until Speaker Madigan becomes serious about fixing this mess he created. I refuse to vote for higher taxes especially when there are not enough spending reductions, no property tax relief, no regulatory reform to grow jobs, and no term limits. 

The budget, tax hike, and BIMP were toted as a way to prevent the State’s credit rating to fall to junk’ status.  However, Moody’s yesterday stated that between the bill backlog and the pension debt, a budget with a tax hike still might not be enough to avoid a downgrade.  It’s obvious to me then that these votes were all about keeping the status quo. We cannot increase taxes on every family in Illinois while the powers in Springfield continue to spend taxpayer dollars irresponsibly.”
Springfield… Illinois’ House of Representatives today approved Senate Bill 1290, bipartisan legislation introduced by State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) to allow Waltham School District 185 in Utica to increase their debt limit so that they may build a new, consolidated school.

 “School districts who have worked hard to be financially stable, like Waltham 185, deserve to be rewarded,” stated Rep. Long.  “The reason I was able to support this legislation is because of the excellent stewardship being demonstrated in Waltham School District 185; they are financially one of the most stable school districts in the state.  By increasing their debt limit, Waltham will now be able to build a better school, without a tax increase, further unifying the community of North Utica and giving their children the educational environment they deserve.”

Currently the district spans two schools, both more than 50 years old. This legislation would allow the school district to consolidate the schools, which would lead to greatly reduced maintenance and utility costs for the district. In order to take on the new debt, the legislation provides that the school board must enter into intergovernmental agreements with both the cities of Lasalle and Utica to pledge monies in a special tax allocation fund associated with tax increment financing (TIF) districts.  The intergovernmental agreement may extend these TIF districts as necessary to ensure repayment of the debt.

The bill will now head to the Senate for concurrence. Constituents looking to stay up to date on SB1290 or any other piece of legislation are urged to visit ilga.gov or contact Rep. Long’s office at 815-510-9689 or via email at long@ilhousegop.org.

Springfield, IL... Yesterday, The Illinois House of Representatives participated in its second day of ‘continuous session.’  Afterward lawmakers assembled into their first Committee of the Whole regarding Workers’ Compensation reform. A Committee of the Whole is when the entire House acts as a single committee with all assembly members considered committee members. After lawmakers spent Thursday evening listening to testimonials from Illinois citizens and subject matter relevant to workers’ compensation, State Rep. Jerry Long was reached for comment.
“I am optimistic about our State’s possibility of finally reforming our broken workers’ compensation system. [House Republican]Leader Durkin has put forth an excellent piece of legislation in HB 4068. I support this legislation because it benefits not only employees, but employers as well. HB2525 was passed by the majority in late April. That legislation does nothing to make Illinois attractive for business.”
House Bill 4068 amends the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act in the following ways:
1)     If an impairment report exists, it must be considered when determining the level of permanent partial disability. Additional factors must now be reconsidered such as age and occupation of the injured employee, as well as their future earning capacity.
2)     Clarifies that an injury shall not meet the causation standard if it occurred while the employee was traveling away from the employer’s premises and the travel was not required for job duties.
3)     Clarifies that shoulder injuries are considered arm injuries and hip injuries are considered leg injuries.
4)     Makes targeted cuts and adjustments for certain areas of the medical fee schedule using Medicare reimbursement rates as a one-time baseline benchmark.
5)     Allows for the implementation of a closed drug formulary via rule to address fraudulent practices within physician dispensing and compound drugs.
6)     Increases the waiting period for temporary total disability benefits from three to five days.
7)     Freezes the maximum wage for permanent partial disability benefits for four years.
8)     Allows an injured employee to see an expedited hearing if he or she has not received authorization for medical care.
9)     Institutes reporting requirements for self-insured employers, including the number of cases, the premiums and the payouts.
10) Increases penalties for certain types of workers’ compensation fraud.
Constituents that wish to stay up to date on continuous session as well as view the activity of legislation within Illinois’ House of Representatives are urged to visit www.ilga.gov or contact Rep. Long’s office via email at long@ilhousegop.org or over the phone at (815)-510-9689.


Springfield, IL… This evening, Governor Rauner delivered a historic address at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, calling for unity and bipartisanship from the General Assembly to end our state's budget impasse. State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) was reached for comment at the conclusion of the speech.

“The Governor made it very clear what he is expecting to see out of the special session,” stated Rep. Long.  “He wants the legislature to do its part and deliver a balanced budget that he can sign.  Passing an out-of-balance budget is unacceptable and we cannot afford to make the same mistakes that have led us into this dire situation. I am cautiously optimistic about the budget being put forward as I’m not sure what the final product will look like by the end of this month. I can promise the people of my district that I will be working across the aisle over the next ten days to come to the fairest deal for taxpayers. One that makes structural reforms that will attract job creators to create jobs and grow our economy, improves the way we provide for the future generation through education, and provides critical funding for state services that the most vulnerable in our community need.”

Springfield, IL… State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) today released the following statement after the Illinois House of Representatives failed to produce or pass a balanced budget.

“For some time now we have been calling on our Democratic colleagues to deviate from the political games and join us to work on a balanced budget with reforms to grow our economy. But these requests have fallen on deaf ears.

“There has been no attempt at a budget nor real, meaningful reforms by the House Democrats.  Instead they have spent the last 5 months attacking Republicans in order to distract from their own shortcomings. Time after time, they blamed the Governor and House Republicans for the problems of our state, when in fact Democrats had total control of state government for more than 12 years. During that time they increased spending, raised taxes, raided pensions, and not once did our expenditures match our revenues.

“It is imperative that we come together to pass a full-year, balanced budget that provides for our families and for the most vulnerable in our communities. Education, human services, and public safety have all fallen victim to these political games.  Let’s come together to accomplish what the taxpayers sent us here to do.”
Springfield…Wyatt Anderson, a senior at Ottawa Township High School, served as an Honorary Page for the Illinois House of Representatives during a legislative session of the 100th General Assembly over Memorial Day Weekend.
Mr. Anderson, a resident of Marseilles, was invited by Illinois State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) after winning a writing contest hosted by the representative. The contest was for high schoolers in the 76th District where they were asked to come up with a new law that would benefit the State of Illinois. Mr. Anderson wrote his essay about a law mandating yearly infrastructure improvements in Illinois. He believes that if Illinois enacts legislation similar to the public works programs created by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression, than Illinois could create jobs while investing in its roads and bridges.
It’s a special privilege for a student to be selected to serve as an Honorary Page. Mr. Anderson got the opportunity to serve his state, observed the work that takes place on the House floor, and participated in the Legislative Session. After the conclusion of session on Memorial Day, Mr. Anderson was awarded an Illinois House of Representatives Certificate of Recognition.

Springfield… With the final days of session coming to a close, there is still significant legislation looming over Springfield. House Bill 2462, an amendment to the Equal Pay Act, was introduced by State Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin), passed through the House a month ago and is currently up for debate in the Senate. State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) voted no on HB 2462 but supported a similar bill, HB 2094. Rep. Long felt that it was important to distinguish the differences between the two.
               “HB 2462 is nothing more than a political piece of legislation,” stated Rep. Long. “If the sponsor had intended to just copy the Massachusetts’ Law where the inspiration was drawn from, then Illinois employers could live with that. Unfortunately, HB 2462 has some poorly thought out provisions.
“The first of which is the fact that this legislation would ultimately let employees dictate employers’ business practices.  Secondly, and most importantly to me as a small business owner, this legislation would dramatically increases the damages available under the Illinois Equal Pay Act adding compensatory and special damages up to $10,000 against the smallest of employers. This legislation was touted as a tool to close the gender wage gap when in reality it’s all about making it easier to sue employers. HB 2462 will do nothing but send out another negative message about what a poor decision it is to invest in Illinois as a business owner.
“The legislation I sponsored, HB 2094, prohibits employers from asking about prior wage and salary history but also adopts the Massachusetts’ approach of incentivizing employers to address equal pay deficiencies. This would further equality in the workplace and give employers a reason to invest here. The legislation I chose to sponsor not only protects our female labor force, but our employers as well. We want investing in Illinois to be a sound decision for all.
“But like a lot of great legislation, HB 2094 is now dead in the Rules Committee because Speaker Madigan won’t allow it to see the light of day.
Constituents interested in this legislation or any of Rep. Long’s other bills, are urged to look on ilga.gov or repjerrylong.com. Questions or comments can be emailed to long@ilhousegop.org or can be called in at (815)-510-9689.

Springfield…On Wednesday, State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) cosponsored House Resolution 360, calling for the House to adopt a resolution that contains a fiscal year (FY) 2017 revenue estimate. An estimation of the state’s revenue is the first and most important step in the budget-making process as it gives them the framework for what they are allowed to spend. Lawmakers passed a budget that was nearly $7 billion out of balance for the FY 2016 so pressure is mounting with the May 31st deadline looming around the corner. Rep. Long was found for comment after session concluded Wednesday afternoon.
“The opportunity to come together and end the budget impasse is right now,” stated Long. “That is why I am joining fellow Republicans in urging our colleagues to adopt one of the resolutions containing a revenue estimate. Illinois has gone nearly two years without a budget, and in the meantime, our schools and universities, social service providers and those most in need are struggling. Every day that goes by without honest negotiations and discussions is a wasted opportunity. Neither side of the aisle can fix the budget stalemate by themselves so it’s time to come together and give the taxpayers what they deserve.”
The resolution now awaits approval from the Rules Committee. Constituents that would like to follow this resolution or any other legislation introduced or sponsored by Rep. Long are urged to contact his office at either 815-510-9689 or via email at Long@ilhousegop.org. 

When I was elected on November 8th, 2016, I knew that I was walking into a political hotbed, but I didn’t fully realize how bad things actually were until I stepped foot in Springfield. The problems facing our state have been decades in the making. For example, Illinois’ pension liability represents 10 percent of the entire nation’s pension debt, the overall tax burden for families and businesses is the 5th highest in the nation and we have the 48th worst business climate in the country. These statistics aren’t the result of the last two or three years. They are the direct result of years upon years of failed policies and false promises.
It’s important to know that Michael Madigan and the Democrats have long been in control of the General Assembly and currently have a majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate. Due to these majorities, the Democrats have complete control of the legislative process.
In the House, the majority party alone decides which bills are allowed to move through the legislative process through the powerful Rules Committee.  And after that, it is up to the sole discretion of the Speaker as to which bills are allowed to be called for a vote and when. I have seen this first hand with some of my bills. The majority party didn’t like them, so they refused to call them for a vote. But don’t just take my word on it, last week, the House passed 179 pieces of legislation. Of those, 133 bills were Democrat bills and only 46 were Republican bills.
This concentration of power in the legislature leads to a much larger problem facing Illinois though, and that’s the budget stalemate.
A balanced budget is required in the state of Illinois by our constitution, and there are a number of steps that must be completed in order to make this happen. First, the legislature is required by law to pass a revenue estimate. Then the Governor and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) present their budgets.
The next step is for Senate and House Appropriations Committees to meet, hear testimony from state agencies, and determine the funding levels for those agencies based on the previously approved revenue estimate. Finally, the budget bills are filed, receive votes and move on to the Governor’s desk to be signed. 
If it’s really that simple, what’s the hold up? The fact is, the majority party in the legislature has failed to complete step one. As a reminder, the Illinois Constitution states in Article VIII, section 2, Paragraph b that, "The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.
So instead of focusing on step one, the majority party has decided to focus on passing bills totaling $295 million last week alone without identifying how we’re going to pay for it. This has to stop. 
My Republican colleagues and I stand ready and willing to negotiate on a balanced budget that will lead to economic growth in all corners of the state. But we can’t negotiate alone. In a divided government we all have to come together and compromise for the people we represent. 
I remain optimistic about our future because I believe that the people of the 76th District, as well as the people of Illinois, know that we can't keep doing the same thing time and time again while expecting different results. Reckless spending plans, insurmountable debt, and other burdensome legislation have been the norm for too long.  I will continue to push to grow our economy and make Illinois a friendly state to do business in so that we can bring good-paying jobs back to our hard-working families. 
For all the people that I have come to know, and the ones that have expressed concerns about the future of our state, I can't think of a better place to be able to help than fighting for them in Springfield. The opportunity to turn our state around and bring the certainty that families, businesses and future generations deserve is upon us. I hope that my colleagues recognize this opportunity and join me in making Illinois a national leader again and a state for which we can all be proud.
Springfield, IL… State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) today released the following statement following the passage of House Bill 40, a piece of legislation that would expand state employee insurance as well as public aid to cover the expenses of obtaining an abortion or assisted miscarriage:

“Regardless of my personal opinion or religious beliefs, HB40 is an example of the lack of responsibility held by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle when it comes to the job of drafting a constitutionally-mandated, balanced budget.  It is one more assault upon our ability to dig our way out of a deep financial hole that the Democrats put us in in the first place. HB40 will have a $60 million impact on our budget when it is completely unnecessary. I have heard from the people of my district and they very clearly told me not to vote in favor of this legislation. It is deeply concerning that we can’t come to a conclusion on the budget and instead are forced to discuss taxpayer funding of abortions.”

HB40 will now move to the Senate for deliberation.  For any more information regarding legislation passing through the house, Rep. Long urges constituents to check ilga.gov or to contact his office at long@ilhousegop.org or (815)-510-9689.

State Representative Jerry Long announced today that he will be hosting a writing contest for area high schoolers for an opportunity to serve as an honorary page for a day. Students will get an opportunity to serve their state, observe the work that takes place on the House floor, and participate in the Legislative Session.

            Rep. Long is looking for students to write a short, 200-word essay about a law they think would benefit the state of Illinois. Essays should be mailed to Rep. Long’s district office at 201 Danny’s Drive Suite 2 in Streator. Essays will be accepted up until May 9. 
Springfield…. State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) today issued the following statement in reaction to Speaker Madigan’s latest attempt to postpone the passage of a full year budget by simply proposing yet another stopgap spending plan:

“It has been clear for a long time that Speaker Madigan’s plan was to only pass stopgap spending plans,” stated Long. “This is how his side of the aisle works. Right as we are approaching a break, the Democrats push through a spending plan that never balances and ultimately fails to fix the real problems affecting our state.

It seems that the legislature has forgotten that we are bound by the Illinois Constitution, Article VIII Section 2 Paragraph B, to require that we ensure that our expenditures do not outpace our total revenue. The Democratic majority has chosen to ignore this simple fact and pass legislation that does nothing to pay down our $13 billion bill backlog, our $130 billion pension liability, or address any other long term problems for that matter. We have to stop doing the same thing time and time again. By kicking this can down the road, they have directly endangered the future of this State.”  

The bill will now move to the Senate for deliberation. Constituents interested in details regarding any legislation should either visit ilga.gov or contact Rep. Long’s office via email long@ilhousegop.org or by phone at 815-510-9689.
Springfield, IL…State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) had his first bill pass through the house, today.  House Bill 3189 repeals the Specialty Farm Product Buyers Act and passed with unanimous, bipartisan support.

The Specialty Farm Product Buyers Act made buyers register with the state and pay an annual renewal fee.  Rep. Long was reached for comment after session concluded for the day.

“Administrative costs to collect these annual fees exceeded the amount of money we were collecting from them.  The goal here in the General Assembly these days should be to make our government run more efficiently and save taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste and fraud, so I will continue to seek reforms that cut back on spending.”

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for deliberation. Constituents that wish to learn more about legislation sponsored by Rep. Long should visit www.ilga.gov
State Representative Jerry Long's legislative survey for the 76th District is available for constituents to take online. Rep. Long's legislative survey is eleven questions and constituents can click HERE to take the survey.

Residents of the 76th District can learn more about all legislation sponsored by Rep. Long during the spring legislative session on www.ilga.gov or by calling his legislative office at (815) 510-9689.

During the tornado that hit the area in late February, the village of Naplate lost their tornado warning sirens. Unfortunately, these sirens come at great expense to the community so a fundraiser has been established by a man named Dan Lites and his group, Crosscom Ministries. They are a non-profit organization that helps fund raise for communities in need. All funds raised will go toward the purchase of new sirens and Crosscom Ministries will not be financially compensated in any way. They are kindly donating all of their time and effort. You may reach the fundraising page by clicking here.
Springfield, IL……State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) co-sponsored legislation today which prohibits salary increases for legislators in the form of cost of living adjustments for the 2017 fiscal year.

Rep. Long commented afterward:

“I couldn’t imagine further burdening our state and our taxpayers with something so undeserved. Cost of living adjustments are supposed to be factored into a constitutionally mandated, balanced budget. Since the legislature has failed to produce a balanced budget, it is unacceptable to receive any sort of salary increase.”

House Bill 643 also establishes mileage reimbursement rates as well as lodging and meal allowances for fiscal year 2018.  For more information on legislation sponsored by Rep. Long visit ilga.gov or contact his office at long@ilhousegop.org or (815) 510-9689

State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) joined Governor Bruce Rauner, State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) and State Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) in Naplate to survey the damage after Tuesday night’s tornado. Both the city and LaSalle County have declared a disaster and signed disaster declarations which have been submitted to Illinois Emergency Manager Agency (IEMA). 

Rep. Long’s office released a statement following his time spent out in Naplate and South Ottawa:

“I would like to send my sincerest thanks to the Governor and his staff for providing assistance in this difficult time. It shows a great deal of passion for this state and the citizens of this district. During my time in Naplate and South Ottawa today, I witnessed countless acts of kindness, which made me so proud to be a member of this community. The comradery displayed between the first responders and community members gives me great hope that we will recover from this disaster quickly.”

For those affected by the tornado in LaSalle county last night, the Ottawa YMCA at 201 E. Jackson St. is offering showers complete with shampoo and towels as well as childcare for adults needing to go to work. The YMCA is also accepting donations of food, toiletries, and other essentials. Just down the road on the corner of Columbus and Jackson St., the Open Table United Church of Christ will be providing free lunch and dinner. All are welcome who are in need of a hot meal and a warm place to relax.
Springfield, IL….On Thursday, Illinois’s House of Representatives passed House Bill 0386 which repealed an existing provision that added a commercial distribution fee to the Illinois trucking license fee. 

Representative Long (R-Streator) spoke in favor of the bill both in committee and on the House floor. 

“This piece of legislation was common sense,” stated Long. “During my 30 years behind the wheel as a union trucker, I watched as Illinois became the most expensive state in the region to do business in.  This legislation will aid in making Illinois more competitive with our neighbors and will hopefully alleviate some of the burden off of our teamsters’ backs. I was happy to get a chance to reach across the aisle to give this bill my support.”

HB0386 passed the House and is scheduled to appear in front of the Illinois Senate on February 28th. Citizens may track this legislation on www.ilga.gov.

Streator, IL… State Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) announced on Friday that he has received committee appointments to seven committees as the 100th General Assembly commences.

Committee appointments for the newly elected Representative include Transportation: Roads and Bridges, Community College Access and Affordability, Business Incentives for Local Communities, Aging, and Economic Opportunity, as well as Special Committees on Police & First Responders, and Public Safety. These roles fit well with Rep. Long’s professional background as both a Teamster and small business owner.  

“I’m very pleased with my assignments as they allow me to lend my expertise on matters that truly affect the 76th District” said Long.  “My goal is to get to work spurring economic growth in our area as the district’s location makes us a major transportation hub for the state. There is no reason we can’t be an economic force. I’m also excited to tackle issues pertaining to community college affordability. I’m a strong supporter of the trades, so I look forward to helping IVCC continue to thrive as the lone, higher education provider in our district.”

Streator, IL…Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday filed a motion in court seeking to cease state workers’ pay by the end of February unless there is an agreement on a state budget.

Illinois State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) today released the following statement:

“It’s hard for me to see this as anything other than a political tactic,” commented Long. “The Senate is currently in the midst of a bipartisan discussion on how to move this state forward and the Attorney General has decided to play political hardball, instead.  I am very disappointed that Lisa Madigan has chosen to put politics over people.”

Springfield, IL…Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner presented his annual State of the State today before members of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois State Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) released the following statement:

“I, like the Governor, am optimistic about our state’s future. If both Democrats and Republicans can work together we can bring change to our state. Change can result in a bipartisan agreement that will help grow our economy, create jobs, fully fund our education system, and pass a balanced budget. If we do this, we will continue to see growth as a state.

Springfield, IL… Jerry Long (R – Streator) was sworn into office today in Springfield as the new State Representative from the 76th District which encompasses parts of Bureau, Putnam, LaSalle, and Livingston counties.

“Being entrusted by the people of this district to represent them in Springfield is perhaps the greatest honor of my life,” said Long.  “I’m  looking forward to getting to work.” 

Jerry Long has been a proud union teamster for the last 30 years as an over the road truck driver.  In addition, Jerry was a frequent contributor to the Ottawa Times as a citizen columnist.   He’s also a member of Starved Rock ABATE as well as a parishioner at the Streator Central Church of Christ.

The ceremonial inauguration was held at  noon  today at the University of Illinois at Springfield, marking the beginning of the 100th General Assembly of the Illinois House of Representatives.

“Our challenges are great, but I believe there were signs today that progress is possible,” added  Long.  “It’s imperative we get a budget in place along with significant reforms aimed at creating jobs here in Illinois.”

Rep. Long’s office in Springfield can be contacted at (217)782-2000 or by email at Long@ilhousegop.org.  His future district office location will be in Streator where he will maintain his constituent operation.