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Assessments will start Monday in Vermilion, Iroquois, and Kankakee counties

SPRINGFIELD (March 16, 2018) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is joining state officials to conduct damage assessments in Iroquois, Kankakee and Vermilion counties next week.

Governor Bruce Rauner and his team at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) submitted the request for federal support after the three counties experienced severe flooding in February. County officials conducted initial damage assessments and found that 126 homes were destroyed or suffered major damage. Another 850 homes were also impacted by flood waters.

“Many people in these counties are struggling to recover from this flood and we want to do everything possible to help them,” Gov. Rauner said. “These damage assessments will provide a clearer picture of the damage and insight on what people need in order to fully get back on their feet.”

Personnel from FEMA, IEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local emergency management agencies are expected to begin assessing damage to homes and businesses on Monday afternoon. The assessments will continue until complete.

Gov. Rauner issued a disaster proclamation for the three counties on Feb. 23 to ensure state support as communities in these counties battled flood waters.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield was activated to coordinate state assistance to several counties affected by flooding. The assistance included 50,000 sandbags, 18 pumps with hoses, nine Illinois Department of Corrections work crews and two Emergency Management Assistance Teams.

Thank you to the Macon County Farm Bureau Members who traveled to the Illinois State Capitol this week to meet with legislators and advocate for their issues to support agriculture in our area. Pictured in the photo (l-r) are Tim Stock, Farm Bureau Manager; Rep. Halbrook; Mike Stacey, Macon County Farm Bureau President; and Mat Muirheid, District 2-Board Member.

Rep. Halbrook reviews legislation on his laptop during House proceedings.
Rep. Halbrook reviews legislation on his laptop on the House Floor.State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) opposed a package of anti-gun bills in the Illinois House of Representatives yesterday. These bills from both the House and Senate proposed more regulations and restrictions on gun owners and gun dealers in Illinois.

“I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment right,” exclaimed Rep. Brad Halbrook. “I opposed all of these bills today that are more about political posturing than good public policy.”

The various pieces of legislation introduced would raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 for certain guns 90 days after the effective date of this bill should it become law. There is also new Gun Dealer Licensing legislation that would impose burdensome state gun control measures. This proposal would exempts big box stores like WalMart from having to being licensed but every “mom & pop” dealer will have to have a state license for the owner, a state license for the dealer and possibly a local license in addition to the federal license that is required. The license would be $1,000 to be renewed every 5 years.

It is already a crime in Illinois to sell firearms without having a federal firearm dealer license (FFL). In addition (under this legislation) if the dealer wants to open a branch office, they must apply for another license. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (IDFPR) would be directed to monitor this licensing but doesn’t have the experience or knowledge regarding firearms. So, they would have to contract with the Illinois State Police (ISP) to carry this out and the financial impact to IDFPR is estimated at around 2 million dollars.

The bill allows for county sheriffs to certify compliance of applicants for licenses and to file objections to granting a license and allows for locals to impose additional requirements for gun dealers. The dealers can then be investigated by the state and the locals if there is an alleged violation.

The Gun Dealers Licensing would require 100 hours of experience before a person is eligible for licensing and that they have worked under the supervision of a licensee for 5 years. It would exclude military or retired law enforcement from licensing until they have completed those requirements.
What: Governor Rauner delivers budget address
Where: Illinois State Capitol – House Chamber
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Time: 12:00 p.m.

The address will be streamed on Facebook Live and at the following links:

HD Satellite Coordinates: 

Slug: Illinois Budget Address Live
Date: February 14, 2018
Time: 11:45 AM (CT) 1:00 PM (CT) 
Satellite: ECHO105K
Transponder: 07
Slot: A9
Downlink Frequency: 11826.5
Downlink Polarization: Vertical
Bandwidth: 9 MHz
Symbol Rate: 7.5
FEC: 5 / 6
Data Rate: 18.589212
Video: MPEG-4 4:2:0
Modulation Scheme: 8PSK
For technical assistance please call IOCI Media Services at 217-785-5499.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) is encouraging people with an undergraduate degree who are interested in the legislative process to apply for one of twenty-four paid internships with the Illinois General Assembly. The deadline is March 1st.

“The State Capitol is an exciting arena to experience state government first-hand working with the legislative leaders and members of the General Assembly who shape public policy in Illinois,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook who currently serves on six House Committees, including the Agriculture Committee, the Counties & Townships Committee, and the Government Consolidation & Modernization Committee.

For more than fifty years, the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP) has provided unique internship experiences for keenly interested, deeply motivated and talented individuals to work within state government. With the Capitol as both workplace and classroom, ILSIP interns earn four graduate credits from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Funded by the Illinois General Assembly through the Legislative Research Unit and administered by the University of Illinois Springfield, The program offers interns a ten and a half (10.5) month, full-time position with a monthly stipend of $2,100.

“The ILSIP experience is intended to broaden the perspective of those planning academic, business or government careers so that they will carry into their chosen fields an understanding of the legislative process and how it relates to their work,” added Halbrook.

All materials must be submitted or postmarked by March 1. Application materials received after March 1 will be accepted and processed until the positions are filled. Final selection/placements announced early to mid-May. For more information regarding the application materials or application process go online to or contact Barbara Van Dyke-Brown, Director

Roland Carlson (center), former president and CEO of Pana Community Hospital visited the Illinois Capitol this week to see the workings of the legislature. State Senator Chapin Rose (left) and I pictured here at the railing outside of the Senate Chambers. Mr. Carlson is currently owner of Carlson Consulting in Pana working with healthcare organizations, medical practices and other service industries such as education and transportation. His former work with Pana Community Hospital focused on acute care “critical access," operating a primary care physician practice, and a home health agency, hospice, and medical equipment company.

"Thank you to Mr. Carlson for your interest in the workings 

Today the Governor will deliver his "State of the State" address to a joint session of the General Assembly at the Illinois State Capitol. For those who are interested, you may watch the live video or listen to the live audio at the Illinois House Chambers by clicking on the link HERE.

If you have problems connecting at the House link,
the address will also be streamed
on Facebook Live and at the following links: