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Representative Butler voted no on legislation that would allow law enforcement to utilize drone technology at large scale public events. Rep. Butler stressed that citizens' Constitutional rights must not be violated by crowd control/safety arrangements put in place for concerts and other large public events.

Rep. Butler on Thursday helped with House passage of legislation addressing the oldest unpaid bill in Illinois' bill backlog -  back pay owed to state AFSCME workers promised to them in a contract negotiated in 2011.

In recognition of Illinois' bicentennial year, Representative Butler shared with his House colleagues Wednesday the story of why April 18 is a  historic day in Illinois history. 200 years ago on April 18 the federal legislation enabling Illinois to move towards statehood was enacted by President Monroe.

This week Rep. Butler led the Illinois House in recognizing and congratulating the Rochester Rockets High School football team on clinching their second consecutive state championship title.

Rep. Butler Thursday led the Illinois House in a moment of silence for U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Michael Aiello, whose remains were returned home to Sangamon County this week. Sgt. Aiello was killed in action in the Netherlands 73 years ago. He will be laid to rest at Camp Butler National Cemetery  on Saturday, October 28th.

Reforms Still Needed
Our two and a half year state budget stalemate finally came to an end this summer, but not in the way I had hoped. Both the House and Senate, by razor-thin margins, overrode Governor Rauner’s  budget veto, paving the way for permanent state income tax increases on Illinois families and job creators.  Upon the override vote, your personal state income tax rate increased from 3.75% to 4.95%. The budget also includes a new 5 cent per gallon state tax on gasoline which goes into the General Revenue Fund rather than into the Road Fund where it would be dedicated to repairing our infrastructure.

As disappointed as I am with the tax increases, what’s truly troubling is that Speaker Madigan adamantly refused to even consider any of the structural reforms we need to truly stabilize our finances. If this sounds familiar that’s because it is the same failed approach that the state took in 2011 – increase taxes without addressing any of the underlying issues hurting our state, and we all remember what happened. Families and businesses fled our state while our debts and unpaid bills continued to grow.

Simply increasing taxes is not a budget solution. I fought to pass a responsible, balanced comprehensive budget and reform package; and I will continue to do my best to advance new policies to make Illinois a place that families and businesses want to call home again.

All Students Win under New Education Funding Formula
In contrast to our strong budget disagreements, this week members of both parties in the House and Senate worked together to pass a new formula for funding our schools that will benefit all schools and students in Illinois. The governor has promised to promptly sign it.
The new “evidence-based” formula contained in SB 1947 prioritizes funding for our most impoverished schools and students while ensuring all 852 school districts in Illinois are treated fairly. Schools here in the 87th legislative district are poised to gain approximately $1.6 million in new funding compared to FY17.

Other important components of the plan include:
• A property tax relief provision, providing many homeowners the ability to reduce their property taxes;
• A tax credit scholarship program to help low and middle income students whose best educational option is private school;
• More equitable charter school funding so every child will be treated fairly according to their parents’ choice; and
• Mandate relief to provide districts more budgeting flexibility.

 This plan is realistic, fair and represents the best and most reasonable outcome for all Illinois students.
Representative Butler was proud to welcome to the Illinois House Mike and Brie Allison from Hand of Fate Brewing Company in Petersburg in recognition of Hand of Fate’s  What the Fuzz peach ginger cream ale being selected as the official craft beer of the Illinois Bicentennial.

At the Illinois State Fair, Hand of Fate beat out entries from 17 other craft breweries in Illinois to win the Craft Beer Competition, and the coveted official Bicentennial craft beer designation.