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Legislation authored by Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) to make a more effective and efficient Sangamon County Government passed the Illinois House today by a vote of 110-3.  House Bill 3521 would eliminate the office of Township Collector in Sangamon County.  

"The Township Collector office has become outdated and is duplicative of the office of County Treasurer," said Butler.  "The Treasurer handles the same duties of collecting and disseminating property tax dollars, and in many cases, the Treasurer is currently doing the job for the Collectors.  I applaud the Citizens Efficiency Commission for identifying elimination of this position as a positive step towards more efficient, streamlined government in Sangamon County."
Redistricting Reform
Several of my House colleagues and I have called on Speaker Madigan to respect the wishes of Illinoisans by allowing redistricting reform, HJRCA 17, to be called for a vote immediately.  

The measure 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. You can view my comments from the press conference below. 


Budget
House Appropriations Committees continue to take testimony on the Governor’s proposed budget. Over the past two weeks more than 30 of the Governor’s funding proposals for agencies have been heard in committees with testimony from the agency directors.  The hearing process will take two or three more weeks before legislation emerges on these proposals.

Discussions are also continuing on the so-called “Grand Bargain” budget bills in the Senate, but there was no floor action this week on bills that comprise the plan. So far, about half of the bills involved have been passed. All of the bills in this package would need to be passed and signed into law for any of them to become effective.

Meanwhile, this week the non-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) added a new challenge to the discussions, reporting that revenues are currently falling short of projections by approximately $800 million.
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."