On January 1, 237 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Unfortunately, a balanced budget is not among them.

Several of the new laws affect children, veterans and the elderly. Others affect drivers and consumers. Below is a quick look at some of the more notable laws taking effect on Friday,
January 1.

For the full list, click HERE.

Rep. Sosnowski - "Had a great time at the Illinois Manufacturers' Association (IMA) Luncheon. Thank you for all you do. Also, Congratulations to a local Rockford business, J & M Plating, who received special recognition by IMA for being a 25 year member."
Congratulations to the Rockford Park District on unveiling the UW Health Sports Factory. Thank you for your partnership in making the downtown sports complex possible.
On Monday, November 9, 2015, Enbridge Energy Company, Inc. dedicated a new scholarship at Rock Valley Community College while also donating a company truck to the Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry.

The new scholarship, known as the Enbridge Energy Company Pipeline Industry Awareness Scholarship, will award five $1,000 scholarships to students in Boone County.

In addition, Enbridge is donating a 2006 white Chevy Silverado to the Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry to assist them in transporting food and non-food products throughout northern Illinois.

The Secretary of State Office (SOS) is now offering paperless license plate renewal notices via email.

Signing up will offer a convenient and secure way for Illinois motorists to go green and receive their notice by e-mail.

To receive license plate renewal notices by e-mail,  motorist will need their Registration ID and PIN located on the renewal notice they received in the mail or current registration card.

To sign-up, please visit the following link http://www.ilsos.gov/greenmail/

Governor Bruce Rauner’s plans to tackle the state's budget crisis have been transparent and consistent since taking office this past January. He has vowed to turn Illinois around with rational reforms that aim to grow our economy and set the course for a more sustainable and promising future for all Illinoisans.

He was elected to make tough decisions that past and current leadership in Springfield have failed to make. These decisions will break the status quo and the costly practices that have been unfair to hardworking middle-class families for over a decade.

To say that Governor Rauner is holding his reforms as “ransom” is disingenuous to Illinois taxpayers. He has been in office for nine months and has been tasked to fix over a decade of mismanaged finances, all while being waylaid by House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. Both of whom have been elected politicians in Springfield for a combined 80 years.  

This means a lot of change has been thrown at different areas in respect to reforming Illinois. People who are familiar with a particular process may have trouble adjusting and understanding the long-term goals of the governor’s reforms.  

In response to “Prevailing wage a good deal for workers and taxpayers,” as seen in the Rockford Register Star on September 6, 2015, Illinois sets minimum “prevailing wages” for workers on state and local construction projects. These prevailing wages are significantly more than minimum wages. Over the years, prevailing wages have generally been set to match the union scale, even though a majority of construction workers in Illinois are not part of a union.

In addition, Illinois law permits, but does not require, the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for construction projects. A PLA is negotiated by the state and unions before the project is awarded to a private contractor.

The private contractor is then forced to comply with the terms negotiated by the state and the unions, which increases cost. While not mandatory, the state has been increasingly prone to attach union-only PLAs to construction projects.

Estimates show that mandatory PLAs can drive up the cost of a project by roughly at least 18 percent, with prevailing wage requirements having a similar effect. The requirement to pay prevailing wage is a concern to many municipalities. The City of Elgin in 2012 requested estimates on an environmental public works project (that was eventually delayed) and expressly sought estimates for the cost with and without prevailing wage rates. The estimate with the prevailing wage rate ($910,000) came back $510,000 higher than the estimate without the prevailing wage rate ($400,000); that means the community would have been obligated to pay 227% more to meet prevailing wage rates.

Governor Rauner’s proposed reform would allow Home-Rule local governments the ability to determine local prevailing wages, a local prevailing wage would not apply to a state-funded project (but a federal prevailing wage would continue to apply, if the project is federally funded). The reform would also prohibit the use of PLAs for state-funded projects, except when required by federal law.

Rockford has one of the highest property taxes in the nation.  The state of Illinois has a growing budget deficit making college funding appropriations unknown. In addition, the Rockford area has lost population, and enrollment at Rock Valley College (RVC) has dropped.

Nine month RVC faculty members earn a base salary on average of $66,000 (which does not include extra duty pay or summer pay) and have a generous Cadillac health insurance plan. They now want more, a lot more at taxpayer expense.

RVC Faculty Union recently turned down a Federal Mediator (a neutral third party) proposal that would have ended the strike and returned college students back to their classroom.   The decision was disappointing and is proof that the taxpayers of Winnebago, Boone and McHenry counties need our support now more than ever.

The Federal Mediator’s proposed agreement increased salaries by $4 million over five years and required an increased insurance premium from 17.5% of cost to 25% for the life of the entire five-year contract. The agreement would have raised faculty salaries by $1,000 in the first two years and more than $2,500 in the final year of the agreement.

Again, property taxes are high, enrollment is down and state funding is likely to decrease. At a time when common sense should prevail, “Why should taxpayers provide any raise at all?”

I recently saw a social media post from a part-time instructor at RVC. He is out of work due to the strike and presented an interesting perspective.  He indicated that as a part time faculty member, his classes are often dropped or taken from him and given to full-time faculty to meet their union contract requirements. As a part-time instructor he is not eligible for the same health insurance package as the full-time faculty and, like many Americans, his health insurance premiums skyrocketed after the implementation of Obamacare. The individual health-insurance plan he pays for through the marketplace has a $6,000 deductible and costs $180 a month. Current faculty health insurance for an individual plan is a $750 deductible and costs $100 a month.

The Board of Trustees of Rock Valley College should know that the taxpayers support their efforts to provide fair salaries and benefits to the Faculty while at the same time being mindful of the dwindling tax dollars in the region. I encourage the RVC Faculty Union to be supportive of our students, their education and to take into account financial realities.

State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) thanks Enbridge Energy for meeting with local Fire, EMS and elected officials in his district. The group met to answer questions and toured the facility.

State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) had the opportunity to tour and meet with staff at Heritage Woods, an assisted living community in Rockford.

Rep. Sosnowski talked with residents and facility employees about current issues and gave an update on what has been happening in Springfield.  

Special thanks to Dan Proft, Pat Hughes, Matt Besler, Michael Lucci from the Illinois Opportunity Project and the Illinois Policy Institute respectively. We discussed turning Illinois around and how proper policies can make Illinois great.

- State Representative Joe Sosnowski 
Much appreciation and gratitude to all my summer readers that participated in this years Kickin' It Summer Reading Program. I hope those of you who were able to join me at the ice cream social enjoyed the amenities at Peak Sports Club. Thanks again to all the supporters of the program, it wouldn't be possible without you!

- State Representative Joe Sosnowski

ROCKFORD – State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) will host his 2015 ‘Kicking It Summer Reading Program’ Ice Cream Social Wednesday, August 26, from 5-6 p.m. at Peak Sports Club, 4401 Peak Drive in Loves Park.

“I am excited to say the program is in its’ fifth year,” said Sosnowski. “We try to keep the kids interested in reading, so this year we switched up the theme to include Ninjas. We will be recognizing the readers who completed the program with ice cream, certificates and some great prizes.”

Participants were allowed to choose their own books and were asked to complete and return a list of books read before attending the ice-cream party. At the celebration, the summer readers will enjoy ice cream, receive prizes for their achievement as a summer reader, and also be entered for the chance to win various gift cards to Barnes and Noble

“The goal is to allow children the opportunity to see how reading can impact their lives in a positive way,” said Sosnowski. “Reading can open up unlimited possibilities for kids and keep their minds active as they have some fun during summer break. We try to make the brochures available to every kid within the age bracket, but I invite anyone interested in participating next year to contact my office.”   

All students in grades kindergarten through sixth grades were invited to participate in Rep. Sosnowski’s Summer Reading Program. Before school adjourned in the spring, flyers were distributed to elementary schools, local libraries and other learning centers throughout the 69th District.
It is important that youth engage in government at an early age and I greatly appreciated the hard work and dedication from my summer interns. You all did a wonderful job and I wish you the best at school. It is very important to give back to your community through public service and I am grateful to you for your leadership and commitment to making a positive difference.

Rockford… State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) sponsored legislation that was signed into law today that clarifies Illinois’ Municipal Code concerning the Budget Officer position. Senate Bill 1470 would permit mayors or presidents of municipalities under 10,000 in population, to also be the municipal budget officer.

“This will allow small local governments the opportunity to save money. SB 1470 is a common sense approach to saving taxpayer dollars, because the municipality will not have to hire extra staff during the budgeting process,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “This legislation addresses an unofficial opinion issued by the Attorney General.”

Again, according to the new law, a budget officer of a municipality with a population fewer than 10,000 may hold another municipal office, elected or appointed, including, but not limited to, the office of the mayor or president. However, that mayor or president of a municipality that serves as the municipal budget officer may not receive compensation for both offices.

“This piece of legislation acts as a responsible change because it effectively streamlines officer positions and prohibits dual compensation,” added Rep. Sosnowski.  

The bill takes effect immediately.
The 2015 Boone County Fair kicked off today. State Representative Joe Sosnowski was in attendance for fair festivities and will have a booth at the fairgrounds all week long.

The representative will be hosting a coloring contest with Comptroller Leslie Munger's office. There will be a table for kids to color aged 4-5, 6-8 and 9-10. There will be a winner from each age group picked to receive a $15 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.

Participants do not have to color it at the fair and will be allowed to take it home, but it must be turned in at the fair or post marked by Wednesday, August 19th to Rep. Sosnowski's office at, 305 Amphitheater Drive, Rockford, IL 61107. Only one entry per person.

On Wednesday and Thursday of the fair, an ICASH representative from the Treasurer's office will be on site to help fair goers locate unclaimed property/cash with the state.

In addition, Rep. Sosnowski's booth will include a wheel people can spin to win prizes.

For more information please call Rep. Sosnowski's office at (815) 547-3436.

Springfield… Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation into law today that would add grandparents to Illinois’ adoption registry. State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) crafted the legislation (HB 3967) at the request of several constituents in the district.  

“It’s important that we have mechanisms in place to allow adopted children to reconnect with biological family members if both parties choose to communicate,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “Illinois’ adoption registry provides this ability to many family members besides grandparents. When a group of constituents presented this to my office it was a common sense piece of legislation. Adding grandparents to the registry should have a positive impact for any adopted child seeking communication.”

All adoptions in Illinois are closed adoptions and the registry is a way for adoptees or birth parents/family members to find their adopted children and make contact if the child is also seeking communication. However, grandparents were an excluded group.

House Bill 3967 provides grandparents the authority to file with the adoption registry if both birth parents are deceased. 
Rep. Joe Sosnowski's (R-Rockford) Annual Kids Health & Safety Fair was a big success this past weekend as more than 50 health and safety booths made up of local organizations, businesses and government agencies gathered at Rock Valley Community College.

The event drew a reported crowd of over a thousand. Other features included more than 20 trucks and emergency vehicles, free kid's identification kit, car seat safety check and diabetes screening.
In addition, the event featured a free paper shredding truck to dispose of unwanted paper materials.

Photo's from the Fair

Thank you Capron Rescue Squad for making me a part of your ribbon cutting. Congratulations on the new facility. Also, best wishes to Chief Ahrens on your retirement. Thank you for everything you have done for the community.

Springfield… State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) has issued the following statement in response to the passage of House Bill 576, which repeals the COLA and salary adjustments for legislators in FY16.

“I voted against the budget which authorized the increases and fully support eliminating any future automatic salary and COLA increases. Madigan has been defending legislators pay raises for months. Now he has finally been forced to move based on public outrage.”

“In January of 2015 I introduced HB258, a bill which would permanently eliminate salary increases for legislators. Madigan’s bill (HB576) only stops pay raises for one year. The legislature must exercise financial constraint rather than proceed as if everything is okay. It is better late than never; however, this slow reaction symbolizes how partisan gridlock hinders common sense progress.”

“Thank you to all those who wrote letters, called, and to the press for helping raise awareness on this issue.”
For the fourth consecutive week legislators departed Springfield without a budget compromise in place. House and Senate Democrat Leaders are asking for a tax increase to cover the $4 billion gap in the budget they already passed while the Governor would like to see reforms coupled with the budget to help improve Illinois’ finances.

All three leaders have refused to consider each other’s proposals, except the Governor has stated he would be open to talk about new revenue if his reforms were to be considered. Until then, House Republicans will continue to stand united in support for a truly balanced budget that protects the interests of taxpayers, working families and seniors.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, EDITORIAL BOARD: Your Money, Madigan's Money (click here)
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA: More children in Illinois, U.S. living in poverty than before recession (click here)
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, EDITORIAL BOARD: Cold comfort for Rod Blagojevich in Tuesday's federal court ruling (click here)
Why is Illinois Manufacturing Suffering?
By: Illinois Policy, Austin Berg

Illinois is home to the worst manufacturing recovery in the Midwest. Just this month, the state saw four manufactures shut down in 10 days.

The Land of Lincoln is hemorrhaging blue-collar jobs as Michigan and Indiana boom on the back of smart policies, and the Illinois manufacturing workers who have managed to hold on to their jobs take home the lowest pay in the Midwest.
Mark Selvaggio, president of family-owned Selvaggio Steel in Springfield, Illinois, knows exactly whats hurting businesses like his. He shared his thoughts with us on the factor floor. [video link here]
Illinois needs workers' compensation reform, along with worker freedom and a property-tax freeze, to help spur a manufacturing comeback - the likes of which Indiana and Michigan are experiencing as Illinois businesses like Selvaggio Steel struggle mightily.
Summer Fun Activities!
It is that time of year again! Summer break is here. Children learn so much throughout the school year, and it is important to continue to keep their minds active during the summer. Please consider having your child participate in my summer reading program. This is a great way to expand their imagination and keep reading skills sharp. Click here to view the reading brochure.

This year's Superhero Kid's Health & Safety Fair is Saturday, August 8th from 11 am to 2 pm at Rock Valley College.  This is a fun day for the whole family to visit with businesses and government agencies to learn more about health & safety. Also, the event will showcase several interactive activities including bouncy houses, a rock climbing wall, trucks and emergency vehicles (flier here). I will also have a shred truck on site (flier here) for document shredding.
As always, if you have any questions or comments about the topics discussed in this newsletter, or any other part of state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (815) 547-3436 or email me at sosnowski@ilhousegop.org.


Joe Sosnowski
State Representative
69th District
Thank you Rockford Park District, RACVB and all those who made the Downtown Sports Complex construction tour possible. The facility's amenities will be a great asset to the community. - Rep. Joe Sosnowski. 

Rep. Joe Sosnowski addresses budget questions
Attendees listen in on Rep. Joe Sosnowski's PP Presentation
Belvidere Chamber of Commerce hosted a State of the State coffee talk. Great questions and feedback. Thank you to all those who attended.

Springfield… State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) has issued the following statement in response to the budget impasse discussions in Springfield this week.

“There has been a lot of talk from Speaker Madigan and his Springfield leadership about "extreme" actions as he refers to the Governor, but he is the only "extreme" actor in Springfield. He refuses to work with the Governor under any condition and instead continues to state that a tax increase is the solution.  He says any other discussions about ‘non-budget’ items are not important.”

“Unfortunately, these "non-budget" items are business reforms that would grow the economy and are desperately needed.  In 2008, there were 200,000 more people in Illinois working than today and our population growth has been flat while other states grow.  This problem costs Illinois desperately.  Fewer workers, less taxes, less spending, less economic activity, less people is a big "budget" problem for Illinois.”

“For Speaker Madigan and his Springfield leadership to say otherwise is extremely misguided.”
(Click on the image to enlarge)

I had the opportunity to meet with the Lao American Association of Northern Illinois and their 2015 graduates. I had a wonderful time and thank you for inviting me to your graduation picnic. Graduates, best wishes for continued success!

Congratulations ServiCom! Thank you for your investment in Rockford. Your company will truly provide a sustainable career path for many in the community.