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.