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Officer David Tapscott, photo Courtesy of SJR
On Wednesday, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a joint resolution designating the portion of North 9th Street between East Converse Street and East Ridgely Street in Springfield as the "Officer David Tapscott Memorial Street". House Joint Resolution 147 is sponsored by Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and was introduced at the request of Springfield’s 4th Ward Alderman John Fulgenzi.

Officer David R. Tapscott died December 26, 1979 from injuries sustained from an accident while on duty the evening of Christmas Eve, December 24, 1979.

“David Tapscott graciously and compassionately served the citizens of Springfield,” said Rep. Butler. “I have been told he was well-liked by his fellow officers as well as the public. Officer Tapscott loved his profession and he excelled at his work. He exemplified the true meaning of a dedicated policeman.”

At approximately 10:00 p.m. on December 24, 1979, Tapscott responded to a disturbance call at a northend Springfield tavern. Tapscott was following a sheriff’s deputy as they approached the railroad underpass on North 9th Street.  The deputy in front of David Tapscott drove left of the center pier to get around a vehicle on the right. Officer Tapscott began to follow, then realized the vehicle had stopped allowing him time to pass it and pull back into the right northbound lane.  The prisoner transport van Tapscott was driving did not maneuver well on wet surfaces and it was unable to move quickly enough to avoid hitting the center pier head on. He was severely injured and transported to St. John's Hospital where he died two days later.
The Illinois House of Representatives recently approved legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) to provide the ACT test to any high school junior who wishes to take the exam for purposes of demonstrating and measuring college readiness. In late 2015, the State Board of Education announced that it would stop offering the ACT and instead provide high school juniors with the SAT as the examination for college application and admissions purposes.

The legislation (House Bill 4362) introduced by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) would give each individual student the option to take either the ACT or SAT without incurring a financial burden. Subject to state appropriations for a college entrance exam, the State Board of Education would pay for each student to take either one of the college entrance exam.

“The ACT has been the preferred college entrance exam by parents and high schools throughout Illinois for years,” said Rep. Butler. “It’s the most popular exam in the Midwest. Most importantly, providing parents and students an option to take the ACT will help students reach their next step before entering the college of their choice. This legislation will help our future college students by removing a roadblock which hinders the advancement of our students.”
The Illinois General Assembly approved bipartisan legislation on Friday to provide $600 million in stopgap funding for higher education.

Senate Bill 2059 appropriates almost $600 million from the Educational Assistance Fund (EAF) for Illinois’ public universities, community college system, and MAP grants for college students.

“It is far past time that we provide funding for our higher education system in Illinois,” said Rep. Butler.  “This bill provides a lifeline to students, universities and community colleges at a time when one is definitely needed.  Our work is not done; we need to find a compromise solution to fund higher education and all of our budget, but this is a step in the right direction towards bipartisan solutions.”

Governor Bruce Rauner has stated he will sign the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk.
Proposal to Charge Illinois Drivers by the Mile Pushed Aside
Six days after Democrat Senate President John Cullerton revealed his proposal to tax motorists for each mile driven on Illinois roads, Cullerton ended up stating he no longer will purse the proposal.

Under the Cullerton proposal, owners of motor vehicles licensed in Illinois would be asked to choose between three separate taxes, each intended to collect 1.5 cents per mile. The amount charged and collected would rise or fall depending on the level of surveillance the driver would agree to have imposed on his or her motor vehicle, with the highest level of taxation tied to the lowest level of surveillance.

Term Limits for Legislative Leaders
On April 11 I announced my support of legislation which would limit the years a Member of the Illinois General Assembly could serve in a leadership position. The bill, introduced by State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), is an effort to ensure that the Statehouse will receive new leadership on a regular basis.

For decades only a handful of lawmakers have controlled what legislation comes before the General Assembly. The citizens of Illinois do not get to vote on who becomes the leaders of the House and Senate, but this legislation would ensure citizens have turnover of these positions far more regularly than they have currently. Enacting term limits for the positions which control the legislature would bring more accountability and more cooperation to the Statehouse.

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 7 (HJRCA7) would limit the years a Member could serve as Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House and Minority Leader of the Senate to a total of 8 years in any single position and 12 years combined in 2 or more positions. If passed, this resolution would apply to service beginning in January 2017.

The Illinois House of Representatives this week unanimously approved House Bill 4315, legislation sponsored by State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) to offer motorcyclists an opportunity to purchase Route 66 license plates.  Butler lives on an original 1926 alignment of the Route 66 Scenic Byway.

“Route 66 is one of the most iconic landmarks of our American culture,” said Rep. Butler. “Illinois played a leading role in the creation of this road, being the first to claim having Route 66 paved end-to-end across a state. Today people from around the world dream of traveling the 'Mother Road' for an adventure of their own, including thousands who travel on motorcycle.  Many of these folks begin their Route 66 journey right here in Illinois.  Given the support we see from motorcyclists traveling Route 66, it is only natural we would give them an opportunity to show their support of our historic byway by placing a special Route 66 license plate on their bike.”

Currently, Illinois Route 66 license plates are only available for passenger vehicles, trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles, but not motorcycles.  Proceeds from the additional fees collected from the new plate will benefit the Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project Fund. The Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project Fund was created for the development of tourism, through education and interpretation, preservation, and promotion of the former U.S.  Route 66.

Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, historic Route 66 starts in Chicago and ends in Santa Monica, California. In Illinois there are three active alignments of the road.
State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) has signed on as chief co-sponsor of legislation which would limit the years a Member of the Illinois General Assembly could serve in a leadership position. The bill, introduced by State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), is an effort to ensure that the Statehouse will receive new leadership on a regular basis.

"For decades only a handful of lawmakers have controlled what legislation comes before the General Assembly," said Rep. Butler.  "The citizens of Illinois do not get to vote on who becomes the leaders of the House and Senate, but this legislation would ensure citizens have turnover of these positions far more regularly than they have currently.  Enacting term limits for the positions which control the legislature would bring more accountability and more cooperation to the Statehouse.”

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 7 (HJRCA7) would limit the years a Member could serve as Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House and Minority Leader of the Senate to a total of 8 years in any single position and 12 years combined in 2 or more positions.  If passed, this resolution would apply to service beginning in January 2017.

Rep. Butler added, “What we have seen from the current situation is that unabated power leads to a squelching of ideas and a stifling of debate.  Legislative leaders shouldn’t be able to hold power for decades to further their own agendas.”

HJRCA7 awaits approval in the Illinois House of Representatives.