The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is hosting a naming contest for participation by eligible Illinois young adults. Current members of three groups -- Illinois 4-H, Illinois FFA (Future Farmers of America) and the Illinois Junior Horsemen's Council -- are eligible to submit naming ideas. The Foundation will accept naming ideas through Friday, December 14. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.

The century-old centerpiece of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, an oval arena with Illinois-style clerestory windows, is being re-roofed and partly rebuilt. The Coliseum was temporarily closed to the public in 2016. The building’s original ceiling beams, which were part of the first generation of steel-building technology when the Coliseum rose in 1901, have reached the end of their useful life. The project is being funded with donations of $7.5 million from the private sector. When rebuilt, the Coliseum will resume its role as a place to show horses in saddle and in harness.

Click HERE for more information on the naming contest.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Office of Community Assistance announced today that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will begin scheduling appointments and accepting applications for winter heating assistance for seniors and people with disabilities beginning October 1, 2018.

Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including:

• Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application.

• A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly).

• A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.

• Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.

• Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Disconnected households and families with children ages 5 or under (includes all children who are not yet 6 years old, that is, up to 5 years and 364 days) can begin applying for LIHEAP assistance beginning November 1, 2018. Individuals not eligible for priority enrollment can apply beginning December 1, 2018. LIHEAP applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis until May 31, 2019 or until funding is exhausted.

LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low-income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households. Applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state. A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,518; a two-person household up to $2,058; a family of three can earn up to $2,598; and a family of four can earn up to $3,138. Benefits are paid directly to energy vendors on behalf of eligible households. The exception is households whose heating costs are included in their rent.

For a complete listing of LIHEAP's local administering agencies and additional information about the program, go to or call the LIHEAP toll-free hotline at 1-877-411-WARM (9276).
State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) announced that the governor signed into law House Bill 4253 on Tuesday that will now allow the body that appointed a trustee in a water district may also remove that trustee for misconduct, official misconduct, or neglect of office.

“I am pleased that this bill has become law,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook, a member of the Government Transparency Committee. “This is one of those instances where someone could be appointed but there was no legal mechanism to remove them if they were not doing their job or it was discovered they had lost the public trust because of misconduct.”

This law creates more accountability in the 98 public water districts in Illinois. It is a response to a water district trustee who made a profit of more than $14,000 on contracts between his business and the water district board on which he sits, despite being prohibited from having any direct or indirect interest in any contract or work of the district.

This law becomes effective immediately.
State Rep. Brad Halbrook is pleased to announce that the Small Firefighting and Ambulance Service Equipment Grants announced this week include $108,424.25 for communities in his district. Tolono Fire Protection District in Champaign County will receive $18,300; Fairmount Fire Department in Vermilion County will receive $14,640; and in Shelby County, the Windsor Area Ambulance Service will receive $23,800, Windsor Fire Protection District will receive $25,908, and the Findlay Fire Protection District will be receiving $25,076.25.

“This Small Equipment Grant Program is an important funding source for our rural communities,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook. “When the tax base is smaller than in the big cities, it is a bigger challenge to afford the equipment used by fire and ambulance services. These grants are truly life savers for our area.”

One hundred fire departments and nonprofit ambulance services across the state received grants for the purchase of safety equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus and other needed tools. The money for this grant comes from the Fire Prevention Fund. The grants total $2.2 million, with each recipient receiving up to $26,000.

“This year we had over 400 fire departments from across the state apply for a grant,” State Fire Marshall Matt Perez said. “The requests for grants totaled over $9 million. We had $2.2 million in funds to award and we ensured that the neediest stations across the state received the money to ensure the safety of the men and women that protect their cities. It is imperative that we continue to find ways to aid the men and women that respond first in a disaster and always put the lives of others before their own.”

This year, research conducted by the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) Research Center led OSFM to evaluate new needs. The research on cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks faced by firefighters prompted the inclusion of gear washers as acceptable purchases in this year’s grant application cycle.

Most Illinois fire departments, fire protection districts, township fire departments, and stand-alone, nonprofit ambulance service providers were eligible to apply. All fire department, fire protection district and township fire department applicants were required to have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for a minimum of two years prior to applying.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) opposes the two new gun restriction bills signed into law on Monday. These pieces of legislation put additional regulations on Second Amendment rights. Rep. Halbrook opposed both bills when they came before the Illinois House for consideration.

The first piece of legislation, House Bill 2354 would allow family members to get court approval to remove firearms from other family members they claim could hurt someone or themselves.

“Can you imagine the numbers of people who could have the government sweep in to take your guns just because of a temporary argument between a husband and wife or between brothers,” said Rep. Halbrook. “I did not support HB 2354 because the bill unfairly limits due process and could potentially make criminals out of law abiding citizens.”

The second piece of legislation, Senate Bill 3256 establishes a ’72-hour waiting period’ while background checks are performed on gun purchasers.

Rep. Halbrook said “the 72-hour waiting period bill is yet another example of Chicago Democrats playing to the extreme anti-gun people with more bureaucracy.” Halbrook added, “this legislation is an attack on our rural Illinois communities and will harm gun dealers and gun and knife trade shows. I am committed to continue to work to protect our constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights.”

Rep. Halbrook pictured with Paris Hospital representatives at
this year's health care and hospital lobby day. 
Recently it was announced that the federal government has approved the state’s plan to protect safety net and rural hospitals while ensuring continued federal support for quality healthcare to more than three million Illinoisans.

"I supported Senate Bill 1773 to help our rural hospitals keep their doors open in many of the communities I represent," said Rep. Brad Halbrook. 

The plan was created with Senate Bill 1773, bipartisan legislation that the governor signed in March. It ensures the state will continue to receive federal matching funds to offer services for Medicaid beneficiaries through the Hospital Assessment Program, which brings in $3.5 billion annually. The new program takes effect July 1.

Legislators worked with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to redesign the program, create a more equitable reimbursement process, and ensure more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

“The Department is pleased that the federal government has approved this plan, which will mean that dollars follow services for Medicaid patients more closely,” said Teresa Hursey, Interim Director of HFS. “The new program reflects the reality that healthcare delivery has changed dramatically over the last ten years, and it draws down as much federal revenue as we believe is permissible.”

Prior to the new program, the state used old data sets, which were sometimes based on care that was provided as far back as 2005, to reimburse hospitals for Medicaid services. The new model applies updated data and also ensures that more of the reimbursements are based on actual services hospitals provide.

It also dedicates more than $260 million to help hospitals transform their operations to better serve their communities, such as offering more urgent and outpatient care.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for funding under the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act Program. This program furthers the Department’s mission by supporting and assisting state, local, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions in improving efforts to reduce violent crime through the creation of school threat assessment teams and the use of technology for anonymously reporting suspicious activity as it relates to violence in schools.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), recently published two notices for competitive grant programs for the recently approved STOP School Violence Act. Eligible applicants are limited to states, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribes. School districts interested in these funds should work with their counties and municipalities to apply.

STOP School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program
Funds available for this grant program may be used to address the development and operation of school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams, and the development of technology for local or regional anonymous reporting systems. Applications for grants are due July 23, 2018. Further information about this grant program is available here.

STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program
Funds available for this grant program may be used to address training school personnel and educating students to prevent student violence, and training school officials in responding to related mental health crises. Grant applications are due July 23, 2018. Further information about this program is available here.
Representative Halbrook pictured from left to right with Rep. Davidsmeyer, Rep. Butler, Governor Rauner, Director Poe, Rep. Costello and Rep. Bennett.
State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) along with Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture Raymond Poe today announced the release of $16 million in agriculture grants at Stremsterfer Farms in Pleasant Plains. The funds being released from the fiscal year 2018 budget will fund soil & water districts, county fairs and agriculture societies, and the University of Illinois Extension services throughout the state. Also in attendance were some of Halbrook’s colleagues in the General Assembly, Governor Rauner, local officials, and the Stremsterfer family.

“I am thrilled to announce the state is making a commitment to preserve and promote agriculture,” said Rep. Halbrook. “One in four jobs in our state is related to agriculture and it is our state’s number one industry. These funds won’t go to waste as this funding is critical to help preserve farmland and educate future generations of Illinois farmers.”

Soil and Water Conservation Districts which protect Illinois farmland through conservation efforts, will receive $6 million. The 97 districts around the state play a central role in efforts to protect and sustain the viability of Illinois soil and water resources in order to preserve our farmland for future generations. The Department will be issuing more than $61,000 to each of the districts to help fund operations.  More than $54,000 will be sent to each of the 92 county fairs across the state to help operations at the fairs and may be used to support critical facility rehabilitation needs.
It was a pleasure speaking at the American Legion Premier Boys State yesterday evening at Eastern Illinois University. Christopher Benigno does a fantastic job chairing such a wonderful program that educates young men on the duties, privileges, rights, and responsibilities of American citizenship. If you are not aware of this program please check it out here.
FY19 budget passed with bipartisan support and signed into law. Last Monday, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a $38.5 billion bipartisan compromise budget.

The bulk of the FY19 plan was laid out months ago when the Governor gave his budget address to the General Assembly on Valentine’s Day. It was there that he framed his chief goals for the upcoming fiscal year. The General Assembly adopted many of the Governor’s key agenda items.
The budget was contained in two separate bills.  HB 109 appropriates the $38.5 billion contained in the State’s general funds spending plan for FY19.  HB 3342, the FY19 Budget Implementation (BIMP) bill, contains changes to the State’s statutory laws necessary to enable the State’s spending to be carried out within the overall $38.5 billion framework.
A major credit rating house, Standard & Poor’s, followed up on the budget enactment by reaffirming Illinois’s investment-grade credit rating.  The two bills represented the first bipartisan, balanced budget enacted by Illinois in 15 years.  Both HB 109 and HB 3342 were approved by final action of the House and sent to the Governor for signature.  HB 109 (now P.A. 100-586) was approved by a vote of 97-18-00, and HB 3342 (now P.A. 100-587) was approved by a vote of 100-14-0.  Both votes took place on Thursday, May 31.  The two budget bills were signed into law on Monday, June 4.

After reports of severe storm damage as a result of Sunday evening’s storm in Central Illinois, State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) released the following statement:

“I have and will remain in communication with the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency as I continue to monitor the affects resulting in Sunday evening’s storm. If my office can be of assistance to anyone affected by last night’s storm, please call my office at 217-774-1306.”

Rep. Brad Halbrook met with representatives from two of the electric co-ops in his district at the Illinois State Capitol this month. They discussed issues concerning co-op regulation and policies to ensure the supply of electricity to residents and business continues to be available.

Pictured on the steps of the grand staircase in the Rotunda of the Illinois Capitol are:

Front row (l-r) Diane Bunton, HR/Regulatory Compliance at Shelby Electric Co-op and Marla Eversole, Communication Specialist at Shelby Electric Co-op

Back row (l-r) Josh Shallenbarger, President/CEO Shelby Electric Co-op, Brad Ludwig with Eastern Illini Electric Co-op, Rep. Brad Halbrook, Mike Wilson, Vice President of Member & Community Relations for Eastern Illini Electric Co-op, and Brian Halbrook, Vice Chairman-Shelby Electric Co-op.
State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) announced today that the American Conservative Union (ACU) released their ratings for 2017 and he is one of the six most conservative voting records in the Illinois House with a 91% rating on selected legislation. Looking at his voting record over his total years in the legislature, Rep. Halbrook scores a 98% rating, the highest of any state representative or state senator in the Illinois Legislature.

“I am honored to be recognized by the American Conservative Union as a top conservative voice in the Illinois Legislature,” said Rep. Halbrook. “I feel my voting record reflects the conservative values of my district and my personal moral compass.”

The ACU begins with their philosophy that conservatism is the political philosophy that sovereignty resides in the person and then they apply the understanding of government to be that its essential role is to defend life, liberty and property. The ACU ratings are designed to educate the public about how consistently elected officials adhere to conservatism and carefully examine the entire docket of legislation introduced in each state every year. They select the most meaningful bills and publish the results.

The American Conservative Union Foundation’s Ratings date back 46 years when they began their Congressional Ratings. These ratings are meant to reflect how elected officials view the role of government in an individual’s life. The ACU Foundation is the only organization to score over 8,000 elected officials each year, including lawmakers from all 50 states and Congress.

To learn more about the ratings, you may find the information on line at:

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) recently hosted high school sophomore, Judge Miller, who attends Mid-America Preparatory Academy in Herrick.

If you or a student you know has an interest in state government and the legislative process, this one-day program may be something to consider. Please contact Rep. Halbrook's Springfield office to learn more and schedule a date during legislative session.
State Representative Brad halbrook (R-Shelbyville) reported that the bill he is sponsoring has passed out of the House and now heads to the governor for consideration. Senate Bill 2518 concerning charity license plates in Illinois would expand the availability of these types of license plates to service members and veterans who have served during the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 fighting the “Global War on Terrorism.”

“I am proud to carry this legislation in the House to help honor our military men and women who have been fighting for us in more places than just Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook. “This Bill will appropriately recognize other combat military service occurring since 9-11, including deployments in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Georgia (the former Soviet Republic), Djibouti, Chad, the Philippines, and many other countries.”

This legislation will permit the Secretary of State to issue “Global War on Terrorism” license plates to residents of Illinois who have earned the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal from the United States Armed Forces. The plates will be available for passenger vehicles of the first division, including motorcycles, or motor vehicles of the second division weighing not more than 8,000 pounds.

The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOT-EM) is a United States Armed Forces award created by former President George W. Bush on 12 March 2003, through Executive Order. The medal recognizes those military service members who have deployed overseas in direct service to the War on Terror from 11 September 2001 to a date to be determined. The military operations covered include Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Nomad Shadow, New Dawn, Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Odyssey Lightning.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) announced that the bill he is carrying in the House to permit the supplemental feeding of deer passed and now goes back to the Senate for concurrence on an amendment. The University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute in consultation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine will conduct a study on the effects of the supplemental feeding.

“This supplemental feeding of deer cannot be conducted during hunting season to bait deer for easier kills,” explained Rep. Brad Halbrook, a member of the Agriculture and Conservation Committee. “We don’t know what the long-term impact might be for the wild deer population in Illinois which is why we want a study conducted on this pilot project.”

The University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute shall, subject to appropriation, conduct a study for a period of at least five years on the health and social effects of supplemental deer feeding on the wild deer population outside of any Illinois deer hunting season. The study will also look at whether supplemental deer feeding affects the risk of disease transmission in the deer population.

The study's findings and any recommendations will be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources, to be posted on its Internet website, and the General Assembly in a report no more than 180 days after the completion of the study.
Budget negotiations continue as clock ticks down to May 31 deadline. With less than a week left before the scheduled end of session, the House and Senate continue to work on budget negotiations with the hope of passing a balanced budget by the end of May.

Both houses of the General Assembly adjourned for the weekend and are scheduled to return on today for Memorial Day session. Negotiations continue as the “budgeteers” work towards an agreement on a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2019.

Gov. Rauner announces certification of 327 Illinois Opportunity Zones. Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced that 327 Opportunity Zone census tract recommendations submitted by the State of Illinois have been approved by the U.S. Treasury Department. These zones cover more than 85 counties throughout the state and aim to support the future of Illinois through economic growth and investment.

To determine the most effective tracts for nomination, a three-phase approach was implemented to identify need and potential, adequately represent the entire state, and account for local input. Phase one involved need based indexing depending on factors like poverty rates, specifically those among children, unemployment rates, crime rates and population. These standards highlight the goal of the program in Illinois which is to cultivate potential within disadvantaged communities and invest in our future generations across the state.


Governor Rauner proposes major public safety package to reinstate death penalty and extend 72-hour wait to all guns. Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked the Illinois General Assembly to reinstate the death penalty for mass murderers and those who kill law enforcement officers.

The proposal is part of a precedent-setting public safety initiative that the Governor unveiled in an amendatory veto (AV) of House Bill 1468 which also urges legislators to:

· Extend the 72-hour waiting period for delivery of all gun purchases in Illinois.
· Ban bump stocks and trigger cranks.
· Authorize restraining orders to disarm dangerous individuals.
· Make judges and prosecutors more accountable by making them explain – on the record why charges are reduced in plea agreements for violent offenders in gun cases.
· Free up local revenue to hire resource officers and mental health workers to help intervene and prevent student violence before it occurs.

Rauner’s changes to HB 1468 create a new category of homicide called “death penalty murder.” It would apply to offenders 18 and over that prosecutors charge with killing peace officers or two or more people without lawful justification.

The Governor’s proposal was redrafted as Floor Amendment #1 to SB 2580 and has been referred to the House floor for consideration.
Shelby County Opportunity Zone
State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) reported that Governor Bruce Rauner announced 327 Opportunity Zone Census tract recommendations submitted by the State of Illinois have been approved by the U.S. Treasury Department. These zones cover more than 85 counties throughout the state and aim to support the future of Illinois through economic growth and investment.

“Opportunity Zones have been approved in Douglas, Edgar, Moultire & Shelby Counties,” Rep. Halbrook stated. “These areas are in desperate need of jobs, benefiting individuals and communities. This is a great opportunity to bring jobs and investments into east Central Illinois.”

To determine the most effective tracts for nomination, a three-phase approach was implemented to identify need and potential, adequately
Edgar County Opportunity Zone
represent the entire state, and account for local input. Phase one involved need based indexing depending on factors like poverty rates, specifically those among children, unemployment rates, crime rates and population. These standards highlight the goal of the program in Illinois which is to
Moultrie County Opportunity Zone
cultivate potential within disadvantaged communities and invest in our future generations across the state. Phase two and three were used to ensure a statewide benefit and each county with qualifying tracts received at least one zone and towns and cities across the state were limited on the number of zones included.
Douglas County Opportunity Zone

Established by the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones present an opportunity for private, tax-free investment in low-income areas with economic need, benefiting residents living in the zones and private investors. 1,305 qualifying low-income census tracts were available for selection, of which only 25% could be nominated by the Governor for inclusion in the program.

For more information on Opportunity Zones visit
Pictured (l-r) are Annie McClellan, Media Specialist, Valerie Kalagian, Instructional Technology Coordinator, senior student Kaitlynn Snelling, senior student Atticus Harris, and Rep. Brad Halbrook
On Thursday, State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) welcomed students and educators from Sullivan Community Unit School District #300 to the Capitol for TECH Day 2018. In addition to seeing the State Capitol, the students and staff also spent time observing the House in Session as they conducted legislative business.

"I continue to be impressed by the advances in technology and I am impressed with how quickly our young people are able to understand and utilize these technological advances,” commented Rep. Brad Halbrook, a member of the Government Consolidation & Modernization Committee. “It is good to have the opportunity to learn about how technology is being utilized in schools and hear about their future needs,” Halbrook added.

This is the 18th year that students have been bringing their projects to the Capitol. Tech 2018 organizers say over the years, Illinois has seen a number of students take elementary and junior high technology products and develop them into skills and talents that took them into college and a career. It is estimated that over the next decade, there will be as many as a million more technology jobs than there are people to fill them.
Map provided by GoogleMaps
State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) announced the passage of House Joint Resolution 104, naming a portion of Interstate 57 in Champaign as the ‘Congressman Tim Johnson Highway.’

“I am proud to sponsor this resolution,” said Halbrook. “For the entirety of his legislative career in both Springfield and Washington, Congressman Johnson represented Douglas County which I now represent. Even now, Tim continues to be known and admired by residents of my district.”

The resolution now moves to the Illinois Senate. The portion of Interstate 57 named will be from Interstate 74 on the north to the Curtis Road exit on the south. Johnson was instrumental in obtaining funding for the Curtis Road interchange in his time in Congress.

“Congressman Johnson served on the Transportation committee for all of his twelve years in Washington,” said Halbrook. “While in Springfield, he was also highly regarded for his concern for infrastructure needs in his district. It’s appropriate that his name be remembered by the state on a portion of a federal highway.”

Tim Johnson was first elected to the legislature in 1976 and served until 2000. He was elected Congressman in 2000 and served until his retirement in 2013.
Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz is urging Illinois firearms owners to file paperwork early as the first wave of the 10-year Firearm Owners Identification cards come due for renewal.

"We expect tens of thousands of renewal applications to come in over the next few months," Schmitz said. "We recommend gun owners get their renewal applications in at least one to two months in advance so we have adequate time to process them and get a new card out before expiration."

More than 50,000 FOID cards are due for renewal between June 1 and Aug. 1. The General Assembly amended state law in 2008, allowing FOID cards to be valid for 10 years. The timing of the law change creates a glut of renewals this summer.

FOID card applications involve state and federal background checks, as well as review of the database from the Illinois Department of Human Services to confirm that applicants have not been in a mental institution in the past five years. The Illinois State Police oversees the FOID card system and issues the cards that are needed to buy or possess a firearm or ammunition.

State Police already have sent renewal notices to people whose cards will expire June 1.

Applicants can visit the ISP's Firearm Services Bureau website at to renew online. The cost of the card is $10. Applicants must be Illinois residents and include their Illinois Drivers License or State ID card number. Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parents' signature on the application.

Anyone who needs assistance with FOID card renewal, and those who prefer paper applications, can call 217-782-7980 and select menu option 0.

Applicants should make sure the name and address on FOID applications match the records on file for them at the Secretary of State's Office, otherwise the renewal process will be delayed.

To read the full article by Doug Wilson at the Herald-Whig, click here.
Pictured (l-r) in the Illinois House Chamber Gallery are Rep. Brad Halbrook, Troop 2119 members Abigayl Ray, Kiersten Reasor, and Hayleigh Clemmons and Troop Leader Andrea Ray of Philo. (Not pictured were Troop Leader Christine Clemmons and future Girl Scout Harliegh Clemmons.)

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) was visited by local Girl Scout Troop 2119 from Philo last week during ‘Girl Scout Day.’ They participated with Girl Scouts from around Illinois in a march and rally at the State Capitol building.

“Not everything can be learned in the classroom. I am always pleased to see young people take an interest in their government and learn how democracy works,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook, a member of both the Cities & Villages Committee and the Counties & Townships Committee. “Programs like this help teach young women about civic responsibility and how to make a difference in the world. These kinds of opportunities can empower these girls to become leaders for their community later in life.”

This special day at the Capitol has been a learning experience for thousands of Girl Scouts since it first began in 2004. Girl Scouts are working to let everyone know that the organization is so much more than selling cookies. Girl Scouts help girls and young women learn to believe in themselves, learn to believe in their dreams and learn how to make those dreams a reality.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) reported that his legislation to clarify the ‘Open Meetings Act’ has passed the House. The changes include special meetings and emergency meetings of public boards and will require the same from subsidiary bodies of the public body. All must post agendas and minutes the same as regular meetings of the public body.

“The idea for this correction to the Open Meetings Act came from local people who work with a variety of public bodies and have seen actions taken that people did not know about,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook, a member of the Government Transparency Committee. “When the taxpayers are put on the hook for the cost of the public body’s actions, they need to have the right to know about and attend these meetings to be heard in favor or opposition to all proposals.”

The changes to the Open Meetings Act would require that a public body that has a website maintained by a full-time staff to post the agenda and notice of meetings for both the governing body and all subsidiary bodies of the public body. The failure of a public body to post on its website notice of any meeting or the agenda of any meeting shall not invalidate any meeting or any actions taken at a meeting, and provides that such provision shall apply unless the failure to post notice was the result of bad faith on the part of the public body.

Allows a court to declare null and void any final action taken at a meeting in violation of the Act, regardless of whether or not the meeting was a closed meeting. Provides that a court shall (rather than may) assess against any party, except a State's Attorney, reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred by any other party who substantially prevails in any action brought under specified provisions of the Act. Also, there is a provision requiring a court to consider the degree to which the relief obtained relates to the relief sought when determining reasonable attorney's fees.

House Bill 4583 passed out of the House this week and now heads to the Senate.
Pictured (l-r) State Senator Chapin Rose, Trent Moore, David Falk, Cindi Reed, and State Rep. Brad Halbrook.

Thank you to the pharmacists who traveled to the State Capitol recently to testify about the medicaid reimbursement rate disparity. We need to keep the market competitive to keep pharmacies in our rural areas of the state to provide for the health care needs of our residents.
British Consul General John Saville with
Rep. Brad Halbrook on the floor of
the Illinois House of Representatives.

Mr. John Saville was appointed Her Majesty’s Consul General for Chicago in November 2017. The British Consulate General in Chicago maintains and develops relations between the UK and the USA.

"I look forward to working with the Consul General to promote economic opportunities between our countries," said Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville).

Mr. Saville joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1981 and has had a range of Diplomatic Service appointments including as Deputy Head of Mission in Cuba and as High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam. His most recent appointment was Her Majesty’s Ambassador to The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The Consul General is the senior UK official in a Consulate General, which is a subordinate office to the Embassy or High Commission, usually located in another major city. The Consul General represents the UK government and is typically responsible for consular, visa and trade activities in their city or region.

Our work involves dealing with a wide range of political, commercial, security and economic questions of interest to the UK and this region of the United States. We also provide consular assistance to British nationals in our region.

Find out more on our USA and the UK news page.

We provide services to British nationals living in and visiting Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

You can access UK government services while in the USA.

Task Force recommends building state-of-the art
facility at Quincy Veterans Home

SPRINGFIELD (May 1, 2018) – The Combined Veterans’ Capital Needs Task Force, created by Governor Bruce Rauner to analyze infrastructure needs and develop key strategies on how to improve the health and safety of residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy (IVHQ), has submitted a final report to the Governor and General Assembly.

“This report encompasses months of research and dialog around the needs facing our veterans of today and for generations to come,” said Erica Jeffries, Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs and Chair of the Task Force. “The recommendations offered will support residents at the home in Quincy and provide a template for veterans’ housing across the state.”

The Task Force provided four recommendations for continued remediation efforts at the home and notes that “anything less than complete reconstruction will fall short” of its full support. The recommendations include:

  • Building a new, state-of-the art skilled nursing care facility that could house up to 300 residents.
  • Constructing a new, underground water loop that feeds existing buildings and new construction.
  • Develop an alternate water source and make improvements to the existing water treatment facility as necessary.
  • Purchase and renovate the closed, off-site nursing facility to provide a safe and comfortable temporary living environment for up to 180 IVHQ residents. The facility could hold up to 90 residents permanently.

The estimated cost of complete reconstruction is between $202 and $245 million dollars, which requires the approval and appropriation of the General Assembly.

“Legislators from both sides of the aisle have promised to put financial support behind our efforts to rebuild this home and take care of the veterans who have served our country,” Governor Rauner said. “Our number one goal is to protect our heroes. We’ve already taken significant steps to reduce the risks of Legionella at the home and we look forward to working with the General Assembly to put stronger protections in place.”

The Task Force report also put forth the following legislative initiatives that will expedite the process on rebuilding the campus and protecting Illinois’ heroes for generations to come.
  • Pass SB 3128, which will extend the sunset date for the Design Build Act (30 ILCS 537/5) and permit CDB to use the design-build delivery method on public projects. 
  • Pass SB 667, SB 3127, and SB 3144, which will allow the state to access federal reimbursement funding for capital projects. There is currently more than $12 million in the fund, with an additional $4 million expected in the near future.  The bills have cleared the Senate and are currently awaiting action in the House.
  • Increase thresholds for financial disclosures in the Illinois Procurement Code. Section 50-35 of the Procurement Code (30 ILCS 500/50-35) requires financial disclosures from all vendors and subcontractors with a contract over $50,000 prior to work beginning on a project.  Waiting for compliance from vendors and subcontractors can slow the project start time.  Increasing the threshold for financial disclosure requirements form $50,000 to $250,000 can help expedite the projects referenced in this report. 

  • Modify the Veterans Affairs Act, granting licensing and control of off campus buildings to ensure continuity of care for residents who are housed at the off-site nursing facility.

“We are working with the General Assembly to draft language for the legislative initiatives and look forward to passage by the May 31st deadline,” said Michael Hoffman, senior advisor to the governor. 

The report is available here, on the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs website.  
Pictured are Margie Carter of Tuscola and State Rep. Brad Halbrook testifying at
the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee.

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) passed his legislation out of the House to require a school district to take into consideration the classroom placement of twins or higher order multiples in kindergarten through grade 5 as requested by the children's parent or guardian upon registration. The measure passed nearly unanimously and now goes to the Illinois Senate for consideration.

“House Bill 4368 is a constituent lead initiative that I am pleased to work on,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook. “It is a bi-partisan effort and I look forward to its passage in the Senate.”

Earlier this month, Margie Carter from Tuscola, a mother of twin daughters, came to Springfield to testify on House Bill 4368 that would require schools to allow parents of twins to decide if their children are better in a classroom together or in separate classrooms.

Once the bill is signed into law by the governor, it would take effect immediately.

Thirty-seven Illinois hospitals got the highest grade for patient safety in the latest Leapfrog Group assessment. Leapfrog, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, grades acute-care hospitals across the country twice annually on 30 patient safety measures. The assessment does not include children's hospitals.
"Congratulations to Carle Foundation Hospital on this designation and recognition," commented Rep. Brad Halbrook, who's district residents in the Champaign County area are served by Carle Foundation Hospital.
Of the 107 Illinois hospitals included in the current survey, 37 earned an A. Among those, 11 have received A grades for the past five years:
• Amita Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates
• Carle Foundation Hospital (Urbana)
• Elmhurst Memorial Hospital
• Loyola Medicine Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (Melrose Park)
• Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital (Winfield)
• OSF St. Joseph Medical Center (Bloomington)
• OSF St. Mary Medical Center (Galesburg)
• Rush Copley Medical Center (Aurora)
• Rush University Medical Center (Chicago)
• University of Chicago Medical Center (Chicago)
• West Suburban Medical Center (Oak Park)

Nationally, Illinois is No. 15 this spring, up from No. 26 in fall 2017. Leapfrog calculates national rankings based on the percentage of A's in each state. Leapfrog includes only hospitals that respond to its surveys. If a hospital does not have enough data available for all the measures in the survey, it is excluded from the report.
You may read the full Crain's Chicago Business article with rankings by clicking HERE.
Rep. Brad Halbrook debates his legislation in the Illinois House.

State Representative Brad Halbrook announced that three of his bills have been heard in committees this past week and one has passed the House and moved over to the Illinois Senate for consideration. House Bill 4253 which would amend the Public Water District Act and provides that an appointing authority may remove a public water district trustee it appointed for misconduct, official misconduct, or neglect of office.

“The legislation that is moving through the process this past week focuses on township and county government and may not be glitzy for most people but it is about good government practices and helping our local township governments function more efficiently,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook, a member of the Government Consolidation & Modernization Committee.

HB 4271 Amends the Counties Code to provide that the county authorities may (rather than shall) require that all auxiliary deputies be residents of the county served by them. HB 4697 would amend the Township Code to provide that if a vacant township supervisor office is filled by appointment, the appointed supervisor shall fulfill the bond requirement for township supervisors.

The fourth bill which passed out of committee this last week was House Bill 4822 that would create the Local Government Electronic Notification Act. It would allow a unit of local government to establish a process to allow people to select electronic notifications through an electronic notification delivery system for governmental mailings that are being sent by United States mail.

“With the ever-growing comfort level of people to use electronic systems to do business, permitting government to save money in postage and use electronic notifications makes sense,” added Rep. Halbrook.

To follow legislation and watch or listen to the proceedings of the House, you may click HERE to connect to the Illinois General Assembly web page.
Rep. Halbrook met with (l-r) Abby Radcliffe, Director of Small and Rural Hospital Constituency Section at the Illinois Health and Hospital Association,  Aaron Puchbauer, President/CEO HSHS Good Shepherd Hoispital, and
Sam Brown, Administrative Fellow for HSHS Central Illinois.

Rep. Brad Halbrook pictured with Amy Arnett - RN, MS, CPHQ, the Quality/Infection Prevention Manager
and Darcie Mathews - RN, the Medical/Surgical Manager at Paris Community Hospital.

Rep. Brad Halbrook pictured with Michelle McLain - Physical Therapist at
HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville.
Greg Parrott - Director of Environmental Services and Taffy Creviston - MPH, MT, CIC at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana talk about the services they provide to residents  in Champaign County of the 102nd District .

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) welcomed representatives from hospitals in his area this past week at the Illinois State Capitol. HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville, Paris Community Hospital, and Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana were all represented this year.

“Health care is a huge issue everywhere and we are fortunate to have in our area quality healthcare facilities for our families and seniors,” said Rep. Halbrook. “We have worked with our facilities on a variety of events including the diabetes awareness and prevention luncheon with Paris Community Hospital this past year.”