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Members of the House Republican Caucus today called on House Democrats to respect the wishes of Illinoisans by allowing redistricting reform, HJRCA17, to be called for a vote immediately.  

“This is one of the strongest statements we can make about reforming Illinois,” said State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield). “This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue, so it’s time for the Democrats to decide if they stand for the status quo or for a stronger, better Illinois for generations to come.”
HJRCA 17 would allow voters to decide, by statewide referendum, to amend the Illinois Constitution to create the Independent Redistricting Commission for the purpose of drawing legislative districts. A poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute last fall found that 72% of voters, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, supported the creation of an independent commission to draw legislative district maps.
Strike Vote
The news this week that a majority of state workers who belong to AFSCME have voted to authorize a strike is disappointing, but I remain hopeful that agreement on a fair contract may yet be reached.

I understand employees’ frustration with the lack of recent progress, but a strike would not help us bridge the differences that exist; in fact, it may widen them.  And it would most certainly impose great hardship on employees’ families, and families throughout our district and the state who depend on the services they provide.

I will continue to encourage both sides to return to the bargaining table to renew good faith negotiations.

Budget Negotiations Continue
Leaders in the Senate are continuing to negotiate the budget “Grand Bargain” that will hopefully soon end our year and a half long budget stalemate. As it currently stands, the package remains a combination of tax and fee increases, spending limitations, tax credit changes, and fee reductions, but discussions are very fluid and the details of the bills included continue to change.

As the plan is structured, all of the bills included must pass for any to become law. That will require 30 votes in the Senate, 60 votes in the House and the Governor’s signature.

Route 66 Centennial Commission Advances
This week I secured unanimous House approval of House Bill 66 which creates the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission. The commission will lay the groundwork for celebrating the famous road's 100th anniversary in 2026.

Route 66 is the most famous road in the world and Illinois lays claim to where the Mother Road begins. The centennial of Route 66 will truly be an international celebration of this famous strip of pavement.  Illinois is uniquely positioned to welcome and entertain travelers from around the world who want to experience the magic of our scenic byway.

The centennial celebration may include events about the history of how local communities grew and changed with the construction of Route 66; the cultural impact of Route 66 in the United States and internationally; the portrayal of Route 66 in music, artwork, and folklore; and how to maintain the mystique and appeal of Route 66 for future generations. The commission will help guide these activities in Illinois. 

State Representative Tim Butler on Friday helped lead the Illinois House in honoring the memory of former U.S. House Minority Leader Bob Michel of Peoria.

The 2016 IHSA Class 4A Champion Rochester Rockets Football team and coaches this week were recognized for their achievements by the Illinois House of Representatives. House members unanimously adopted State Representatives Tim Butler and Sue Scherer’s House Resolution 17 outlining the team’s road to victory, and congratulating athletes and coaches on their outstanding championship season.

“Last year’s victory marks the Rockets’ sixth Class 4A football championship in seven seasons – a tremendous achievement,” said Rep. Butler. “I was proud to welcome these young men and their coaches to the Capitol and to recognize their hard work and dedication.”

The Rockets’ sixth state championship puts them just two behind East St. Louis and Wheaton Warrenville South for the statewide lead for a public school. 

You can read the full resolution here.

State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) issued the following statement upon learning of the death of former U.S. House Minority Leader Bob Michel:
"Our Nation, our State, and my hometown of Peoria have lost a true giant.  Bob Michel embodied the best of what it is to be a public servant.  Bob brought his humble, Main Street, Central Illinois values to Washington, a background that allowed him to succeed like few Members who serve in the minority party have ever have.   Bob stood on principle, but his deep belief in civility and establishing common ground to make progress is something that is sorely needed in today's political environment.  It was a true honor to know Bob and be able to call him my friend.  My condolences go to his family and all of those who knew this wonderful man."

Budget Priorities
On Wednesday the Governor gave his annual budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly. As you know, bi-partisan negotiations on a new budget have been progressing in the Senate over the past few weeks, and today the governor said that his basic requirement for a compromise deal approved by the General Assembly is that it must be good for taxpayers and job creators. Some notable points the Governor made include:

• We must control spending so state government can live within its means.
• New revenue will be considered if it is accompanied by changes to help create jobs and grow our economy.

It’s good news that Democrats and Republicans are now in agreement that some structural economic reforms are needed to grow jobs and repair our budget and our state economy, and I’m optimistic that a workable compromise will soon emerge from the ongoing negotiations.

Securing State Employees’ Pay
Efforts are continuing in the House to block Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s attempt to halt state employee pay while the budget negotiations continue. Legislation I’m sponsoring, House Bill 2803, now has more than 25 co-sponsors. It would make state employees’ pay a continuing appropriation this year and in future years to ensure workers will be paid for the work they do even when we disagree on the budget. We’re pushing for a prompt hearing in the House.

Tens of thousands of workers have been caught in the middle of our ongoing budget stalemate. It’s simply wrong for the Attorney General to attempt to use their pay as political leverage.

In the new 100th General Assembly State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) will serve on committees crucial to the economy of the 87th District. Key among these assignments, Representative Butler has secured positions on the House Public Safety Appropriations Committee which has oversight of the Illinois National Guard and Illinois State Police; the Tourism, Hospitality and Craft Industries Committee which will have input on the important tourism industry as well as the burgeoning craft industry movement in Illinois; and the Museums, Arts and Cultural Enhancements Committee.
“Tourism and history are major drivers of the economy in our area of the State," Butler said.  "From the Lincoln sites and museum to the Route 66 attractions our history is not only an important part of the fabric of our communities it is a vital engine for our local economy. Additionally, the National Guard not only makes ours a secure State, but having the home of the Guard in Springfield is a great contributor to our economic well-being.   Securing a spot on these committees ensures our area has a seat at the table throughout the process and allows us the ability to advocate for issues of importance to our Central Illinois communities.”