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Rep. Brad Halbrook is sponsoring a free Health Fair for senior citizens in the 107th District. Please take advantage of this "one-stop shop" opportunity to gather information and learn about the resources in our area.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) fought legislation this week that would have turned law-abiding citizens into felons just for possessing common firearm modification equipment.

“This legislation was overly broad and vague,” said Rep. Halbrook. “It’s another example of a poorly and hastily drafted bill trying to take advantage of a tragic event that would make good people into criminals. I am happy to be a part of the defeat of this bad legislation!”

The broad scope of House Bill 4117 would have required a FOID (Firearms Owner ID) card for the purchase of certain common chemical items and outlawed the sale or possession of many basic trigger modification devices. Outlawing so many common trigger modification devices would turned law-abiding citizens across Illinois into felons because some of the most commonly owned firearms frequently use trigger modifications to improve accuracy and safety. Halbrook joined many other members of the House expressing serious concerns about these, and other, aspects of the legislation.

Illinois already has the 4th most restrictive gun laws in the US, according to the Cato Institute and 60% of the guns used to commit crimes in Chicago from 2009 – 2013 originated OUTSIDE of Illinois.
 House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announced today that State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) has been appointed to the Agriculture & Conservation Committee in the Illinois House of Representatives effective immediately.

“I’m pleased to be appointed to the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee, serving Illinois’ largest industry,” said Rep. Halbrook. “Many families are tied to farming and agricultural jobs and we need to be sure that public policy continues to recognize this and support a strong, healthy agricultural industry.”

Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine. The state's climate and varied soil types enable farmers to grow and raise many other agricultural commodities, including cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Illinois also produces several specialty crops, such as buckwheat, horseradish, ostriches, fish and Christmas trees.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS), as of February 2017, Illinois had 72,200 farms. Illinois farmland covers nearly 27 million acres -- about 75 percent of the state's total land area. Most farm acreage is devoted to grain, mainly corn and soybeans. Nearly 10 percent of Illinois farms have swine. Beef cows are found on about 23 percent of farms, while about 3 percent have dairy cows. Some farms produce specialty crops and livestock, including alfalfa, canola, nursery products, emus and fish. Many farming operations also support recreational activities such as hunting and fishing.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R- Shelbyville), announced today that his district office operations has saved the taxpayers of Illinois $15,998.61 and will be returning that amount back.

“I think that government bureaucracy has grown too large and spends too much of our residents’ hard-earned money,” declared Rep. Brad Halbrook, a small businessman and member of the Cities & Villages Committee as well as the Counties & Townships Committee in the Illinois House. “I feel that I need to continue to set an example and make cuts in spending if I am expecting other government entities to do the same.”

Rep. Halbrook established shorter hours of operations in his district office while maintaining the Springfield staff Monday through Friday. Though his district includes all or parts of seven central Illinois counties reaching to the Indiana border, Halbrook feels that constituent concerns can be handled efficiently with the increased use of technology.

“Most people can reach the office through phones and emails today and the volume of postal mail is not what is used to be,” added Halbrook. “Also, constituents can stay apprised of what is going on in Springfield through my web blog at RepHalbrook.com and through social media like Facebook.”
Illinois residents pay some of the highest taxes in the nation and unfortunately for Illinois taxpayers the situation is only getting worse.

In April, WalletHub ranked Illinois the highest taxed state in the country. Just three months later the Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a 32 percent permanent income tax hike making the situation even worse. Included in that figure is the second highest property tax burden in the nation.

Illinois has 7,000 units of local government. It is no wonder the Illinois tax burden is so high. But what makes the situation even more egregious is the stockpiling of funds that far exceed the amount of money a local unit of government needs to operate.

For example, Shelbyville Township levied $511,234 in taxes in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The Township had $1.19 million in reserves at the time which meant the Township had $1.7 million in cash on hand for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Their expenses that year totaled $443,702. With the cash on hand the Township could have completely eliminated the tax levy altogether and still operated for nearly 4 years.

This spring, I introduced legislation (HB 1896) to address the issue of townships stockpiling cash reserves. The measure places a cap on the accumulation of Township funds, other than the Capital Fund, to 2.5 times the average annual expenditure [of each fund] of the previous 3 fiscal years. The measure has now been signed into law.

It is an affront to taxpayers for townships to continue to collect the highest tax levies possible when it is not needed. As taxpayers, we accept that it is our civic duty to pay our taxes. We understand units of government need tax money to operate but it is not fair to taxpayers for units of local government to take in far more in taxes than they actually need to operate.

There is nothing wrong with local governments having some cash reserves. Emergencies do happen and the responsible thing to do is to make sure there are funds available to adequately address those situations. But in the case of Shelbyville Township, having four times the operating budget in reserves goes far beyond an emergency fund.

It is time we took a hard look at the number of units of local government we have here in Illinois and how we might lower our state’s tax burden. Illinois taxpayers need property tax relief. I believe this new law is a step in the right direction. It is my hope we can build on this new law and enact even more meaningful reforms in the near future.
Equifax, an Atlanta based credit-rating agency, suffered a security breach on July 29th that exposed sensitive information of millions of Americans. Such information included social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, birthdays, and addresses. It has been determined that 5.4 million Illinois residents have been affected by the breach. 

The company has set up a website where you can check if your personal information was affected by the breach: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has opened an investigation into the recent security breach, and called on Equifax to provide free credit freezes to all Illinois residents in the wake of the breach. She urges Illinois residents to take the Equifax breach seriously and take steps to protect themselves from the possibility of identity theft:

· Seriously consider placing a credit freeze on your credit reports with all 3 consumer reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax;

· Regularly request your free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;

· Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;

· Consider placing alerts on your financial accounts so your financial institution alerts you when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;

· Beware of potential phishing emails; don't open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and

· Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

With questions on the data breach, you can contact Equifax at 866-447-7559, or the Illinois Attorney General’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1 (866) 999-5630.