ROCKFORD – State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, will host his 2018 Ice Cream Social for local kindergarten through sixth grade students who participated in his ‘Camp Out With a Good Book’ Summer Reading Program’ on Thursday, July 19, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Peak Sports Club, located at 4401 Peak Drive in Loves Park.  

“This year’s summer reading program featured the theme of camping as a way to encourage kids to explore the unlimited paths of adventure they can discover through reading while enjoying the outdoors,” Rep. Sosnowski said. “We will be recognizing the readers who completed the program with ice cream, certificates and some great prizes.”

ROCKFORD Winnebago and Boone County families are invited to attend State Rep. Joe Sosnowski’s annual Kids’ Health and Safety Fair, to be held from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm on Saturday, July 28 at Rockford Christian Schools, located at 1401 N. Bell School Road in Rockford. The event features over 50 health and safety booths from local organizations, businesses and government agencies that provide a wide range of educational, health and child care, recreational programs and other activities for kids.

Other special attractions include the popular Cool Vehicles exhibit featuring over 20 trucks and emergency vehicles for kids to see and interact with; as well as bouncy houses, a petting zoo, Knocker Ball, a free kids identification kit and diabetes screening.

Guests are encouraged to bring a donation of canned food items to enter a drawing for prizes and giveaways. Canned food donations will benefit the Rockford Rescue Mission. Admission to the Kids’ Health & Safety Fair is free and open to the public:
Happy to support the 815 Read Challenge. Thanks to Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney for promoting. To learn more about this important local children's literacy program, please click HERE.  #read815 #bookaweek #readingselfie

By State Representative Joe Sosnowski


The question of reinstating passenger rail service to the Rockford region has generated recent renewed debate within our community. Petitions are currently being circulated seeking to put a nonbinding referendum on the November ballot in Boone and Winnebago Counties asking voters whether the State should reinstate passenger rail service from Chicago to East Dubuque.

This question misses the point and is a gross oversimplification of the issue.

ROCKFORD State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, is sponsoring a FREE paper shredding event for residents of Boone and Winnebago Counties from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 28 in the parking lot of Rockford Christian Schools, located at 1401 N. Bell School Road in Rockford. 

Paper documents will be accepted for safe and secure destruction to help protect local residents from identity theft. Documents can be brought in boxes or in bags. Drivers are asked to remain in their car while the documents are unloaded by shred truck staff. Parking is available for those who wish to stay and watch the documents be shredded on-site.

“Protecting yourself from the risk of identity theft and fraud is one reason to take advantage of our free shred event,” Rep. Sosnowski said. “Many families also find it helpful and convenient to reduce clutter by safely disposing of unwanted documents you may have lying around or stored in a closet or basement. We hope to see you at the shred truck on July 28!”
Rep. Joe Sosnowski attended the groundbreaking ceremony today at Rockford International Airport for the new 120,000 square foot expansion of the Airport's International Cargo Facility. Nearly 1.4 billion pounds of cargo traveled through the Airport in 2017, a 50 percent increase over the prior year. Local and federal officials participating in the ceremony included Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. During the event, the Airport also celebrated the start of construction on a new $3.5 million ramp for cargo aircraft parking.


The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued several public policy changes over the past few weeks.  Below is an overview of a few of those landmark decisions.

Mark Janus v. AFSCME 31 et. al.: 
My job, My choice.

On June 27, 2018, SCOTUS ruled by a 5-4 vote, that government workers should not be required to pay union agency or fair share fees to help pay for collective bargaining.  This decision stemmed from a complaint filed by state employee Mark Janus challenging the constitutionality of the Illinois state law authorizing agency fees. Janus believed that charging an agency fee for non-union workers in a union-represented workplace was a violation of his rights as a citizen and further violated the First Amendment. Governor Bruce Rauner also shared Janus's concerns, but the Governor's complaint was dismissed by a District Court. The Janus v. AFSCME 31 decision overturned a 41-year-old case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. It was determined in Janus v. AFSCME 31 case that the Supreme Court had failed to accurately assess the principles of First Amendment rights in Abood.
I am a co-sponsor of House Resolution 1138 (HR 1138), which is a referendum allowing voters to decide whether or not the city of Chicago should be its own sovereign state. The United Kingdom experienced a similar undertaking when a successful referendum occurred allowing voters to decide if they wanted to exit the European Union (EU). The supporters of Brexit believed their values were underrepresented in government and demanded change. There is another initiative in California to separate the state into smaller units.  Many downstate Illinoisans share their sentiment that there can be a better way.

In response to an opinion article written in the Rockford Register Star on June 25, 2018, I am well aware of the economic and political issues that plague our state. Legislators are tasked with many responsibilities and represent a vast constituent base of concerns. A common concern I hear from constituents is the lack of representation of their values due to the political power amassed by the city of Chicago through gerrymandering.  I support mapping reforms but the entrenched Springfield leadership has stopped any efforts in that direction; therefore, as another method, I am a co-sponsor of HR 1138.
State Rep. Joe Sosnowski joined Governor Bruce Rauner at Children's Home & Aid in Rockford on Thursday to announce Illinois' first-ever Adoption Tax Credit.  Included in the new FY 2019 state budget that takes effect on July 1, the Adoption Tax Credit will provide assistance to adoptive parents who provide stable, loving homes for needy children here in the Rockford region and throughout the state; up to $5,000 per child.



The Illinois General Assembly approved a state budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which the Governor signed into law on June 4. While Illinois averted another unnecessary crisis by passing a bipartisan full-year state budget on time, the budget agreement falls short by ignoring the long overdue reforms that are needed to improve Illinois’ long-term fiscal health and generate economic growth. 

Specifically, Illinois needs comprehensive and constitutional pension reform, property tax relief and common-sense workers compensation reform in order to ignite private sector job growth in the Rockford region and across every major industry in our state. Until we act on these reforms, we are only treating the symptoms and not the causes of Illinois’ dire and persistent fiscal challenges.

With the new budget scheduled to take effect on July 1, let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
Rep. Joe Sosnowski enjoyed spending time visiting with members of Roscoe Boy Scout Troop 622 to discuss state government, constitutional rights and responsibilities.

BELVIDERE - State Rep. Joe Sosnowski enjoyed greeting local seniors at the Boone County Council on Aging Healthy Living Expo at Belvidere North High School on Tuesday. Rep. Sosnowski's office sponsored the free hot breakfast for seniors in the cafeteria. Rep. Sosnowski also had a booth in the gym offering state brochures and resources for residents of the 69th District.

Rep. Joe Sosnowski
 SPRINGFIELD State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, issued the following statement in response to final passage of a state budget for Fiscal Year 2019 today by the Illinois General Assembly:

"While Illinois has averted another unnecessary crisis by passing a bipartisan full-year state budget on time, this budget agreement falls short by ignoring the long overdue reforms that are needed to improve Illinois’ long-term fiscal health and generate economic growth. Specifically, Illinois needs meaningful and constitutional pension reform, property tax relief and common-sense workers compensation reform in order to ignite private sector job growth here in the Rockford region and across every major industry in our state. Until we act on these reforms, we are only treating the symptoms and not the causes of Illinois’ very dire and growing fiscal challenges. ” 

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ROCKFORD State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, has officially launched his 8th Annual Summer Reading Program for kindergarten through sixth grade students who live or attend school in the 69th District in portions of Boone and Winnebago Counties. The “Camp Out With A Good Book” program is offered to encourage students to start or maintain positive reading habits.

“I have always been an avid reader and encourage my own kids to enjoy the limitless possibilities for adventure found in books,” Rep. Sosnowski said. “I hope kids join our reading challenge and make memories that will shape their future growth and inspire a passion for lifelong learning. The summer reading program can also be a time for families to unplug and enjoy quiet time together as a family.”

“Camp Out With A Good Book” challenges students entering kindergarten – 6th grade to read ten (10) books over the summer. To celebrate Illinois’ bicentennial, Rep. Sosnowski is encouraging students to read a book about Illinois or any of the notable men and women who are Illinois natives that went on to make major contributions to U.S. history in civic leadership, science and technology, the arts and humanities, education, athletics, the Armed Forces or any other category.

Brochures have been distributed to local elementary schools, but are also available for pickup at Rep. Sosnowski’s District Office or online at www.joesosnowski.org. Participation in this program can overlap with any other summer reading programs offered through area libraries, schools, or other organizations.

Participants will be invited to an ice cream party and receive a certificate from the Illinois House of Representatives. To earn your spot at the ice cream party, a parent or guardian must fill out and sign the form and return it to Rep. Sosnowski’s office by Monday, July 9th. Students or their parents/guardians may also obtain the form online by clicking the following link.

SPRINGFIELD Supporters of independent redistricting in the State of Illinois have been denied again, as a key deadline came and went on Sunday, May 6 with no legislative action.

Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution requires a minimum six-month window between when a constitutional amendment ballot referendum is approved by three-fifths of both chambers of the General Assembly and the next General Election. Consequently, there will be no “Fair Maps” referendum on the November 6 ballot this year.

“It is unfortunate and yet another sign of poor leadership in Springfield that voters are once again not allowed to vote on fair maps,” said State Representative Sosnowski, R-Rockford. “It is long past time that we give voters the ability to end the practice of politicians choosing their own voters.  There is no mistaking that the current redistricting process is deeply flawed and must be reformed.”

Representative Sosnowski is a co-sponsor of House Resolution 995 calling for independent redistricting reform and enacting a non-partisan mapmaking process prior to the upcoming redistricting cycle. The resolution has a total of 51 co-sponsors in the Illinois House of Representatives.

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ROCKFORD—State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R- Rockford) is pleased to announce four local library districts are winners of the Annual Per Capita Grants from the Illinois Secretary of State.

The Library districts are Ida Public Library receiving $31,981.25, Cherry Valley Public Library District receiving $20,010, Talcott Free Library District receiving $17,221.25 and South Beloit Public Library receiving $9,865.

“Libraries are very vital resource to our community,” said Sosnowski. “These grants will allow the local libraries to keep up needs such as new material, technology and other resources to serve our community better.”
SPRINGFIELD – As the first wave of the 10-year Firearm Owners Identification card come due for renewal, Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz is urging FOID card holders to apply early to remain active.

“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 August 1. The General Assembly amended the state’s law that requires gun owners to carry a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card in 2008, allowing the cards to be valid for ten years.

The Illinois State Police (ISP) oversees the FOID card system and issues the cards. They’ve already sent renewal notices to people whose cards will expire June 1.

Applicants can visit the ISP’s Firearm Services Bureau website at www.ispfsb.com to renew online. 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.
SPRINGFIELD The Illinois House of Representatives unanimously approved common-sense pension reform legislation on April 19 sponsored by State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, to allow a municipality to hire a chief of police that had previously retired from the municipality without allowing them to collect a pension in addition to a salary.  The legislation, House Bill 5490, will now advance to the State Senate for consideration.

Specifically, Representative Sosnowski’s legislation provides that a chief of police who has voluntarily entered into an irrevocable agreement with a municipality to not participate in that municipality's pension fund is not eligible to participate in that municipality's pension fund.

“Cities around the state are looking to enter into these types of agreements,” Representative Sosnowski said. “This is common-sense, good government legislation. Municipalities can bring a retired former chief of police back to work and without having them entitled to start earning a second pension. Communities can benefit from the public safety experience and leadership of their police chief in a way that does not add additional taxpayer burdens on the pension fund.”
Our children’s education remains a top priority for Illinois House Republicans, which is why they have taken action to address the growing teacher shortage in our state. First and foremost, our members are committed to ensuring highly prepared and effective educators are teaching our children. To do that, Illinois must address the teacher shortage. 

Background 
The Illinois State Board of Education said the 2017-18 school year began with about 2,000 unfilled teaching positions across the state.* And a recent survey conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools found that school districts were increasingly having difficulty finding qualified candidates to apply for teaching positions.


SPRINGFIELD State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, joined Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, and members of the House Republican Caucus in filing House Resolution 975 on Tuesday to state their opposition to a proposed progressive income tax on Illinois residents. 

“The General Assembly cannot continue spending money frivolously and expect Illinois taxpayers to pick up the tab with more tax increases like this progressive income tax proposal from the Democrat party,” Durkin said. “It is our constitutional duty to protect our constituents, and we will remain firm as a caucus on blocking any progressive tax measures.”

Sosnowski echoed Durkin’s remarks, adding, “These progressive income tax proposals would raise taxes on most Illinoisans, including the vast majority of people living in Boone and Winnebago Counties. By implementing a progressive income tax, we would be driving higher income earners out of Illinois and saddling middle class families with a huge tax increase, all without any spending reforms whatsoever. This is the wrong solution for Illinois.” 
I am very excited for the Indoor City Market. This will be a great addition to downtown Rockford and continue to breathe excitement into the central business district. Congratulations!




State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, and his staff participated in the 2018 Boone County Business Expo at the Community Building in Belvidere on Saturday, providing constituents with information and resources about state government. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

SPRINGFIELD State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, issued the following statement today in response to Governor Rauner’s State of the State address delivered to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly:

"The fact is, Illinois’ economy is not growing the way Wisconsin and other neighboring states are. With a shrinking population following jobs and opportunity out of state, we need to put our priorities back in the right place with a new approach in 2018. This means passing budget reforms that will set Illinois back on a path toward growth and prosperity, such as real property tax relief, meaningful workers compensation reform and pension reform. We know that will not be easy with the current political dynamic in Springfield, but I am committed to doing my part to bring Republicans and Democrats together on issues where we can find common ground.”

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SPRINGFIELD State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, has filed new legislation to allow working families with a child over age 12 to babysit younger children by lowering the minimum age at which a child can be home without supervision from 14 down to 12. Currently under state law, a child under the age of 14 who is left without supervision for “an unreasonable amount of time” is considered neglected; and a parent or other individual responsible for a child’s welfare can be charged with child abandonment for leaving a minor under the age of 13 without supervision by a responsible person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more.

“This bill to help protect single and working parents from a harsh state law under which they can be charged with neglect and lose custody of their kids for leaving a minor under the age of 14 home without supervision,” Representative Sosnowski said. “Illinois has by far the most restrictive law of its kind in the nation. My bill would reduce the threshold to children under the age of 12, recognizing that working parents who struggle to afford child care should not live under the fear of losing their kids simply for working hard to support their family.”
ROCKFORD Four local school districts will be awarded school library grants from the State of Illinois, State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, announced today. The grants are from the School Library Grant program administered by the Illinois Secretary of State. The list of area school districts slated to receive grants and the amount of each grant is as follows:

School District                                                                               Community         Grant Amount
Belvidere School District #100                                                   Belvidere             $5,922.75
North Boone CUSD #200                                                            Poplar Grove      $1,192.50
Rockton School District #140                                                     Rockton               $1,101.00
Hononegah Community High School District #207               Rockton               $1,555.50

"School libraries are a cornerstone of a quality education,” Representative Sosnowski said. “Whether in printed or digital form, books play an integral role in a child’s ability to learn and develop his or her own potential. We are proud that four of our local school districts serving students in Boone and Winnebago Counties have earned this grant and will utilize them toward improving school library services.” 

SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, filed new legislation today, House Bill 4227, to even the playing field for non-public schools seeking official recognition from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in order to be eligible to receive funds through the state’s new School Scholarship Tax Credit Program that took effect on January 1.

"I have been working with private schools throughout the Rockford region over the past several months to prepare for the launch of the new scholarship tax credit program, which brought to my attention the hurdles many face in acquiring state recognition,” Representative Sosnowski said.

“I immediately took action to draft this new bill because it is important to guard against excluding schools and actively support the educational institutions working to gain state recognition. Currently, the process for educational institutions to become certified by the state often takes up to a year or longer. Parents and donors deserve the opportunity to support schools as they undergo the extensive steps for state recognition. It is vital to ensure all schools receive adequate support.”
January is National Blood Donor Month! Consider giving blood, because it saves lives. Every day in the United States, doctors and hospitals use over 36,000 units of red blood, 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma while treating patients. Your donation will make a difference. 

To learn where you can give blood to help people in our community, please click the image below.