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.”