As I write this, the election has been over for a week and the first week of the General Assembly’s fall veto session is underway. There’s no question that this has been the most contentious election in recent memory. But it’s over. It’s time to put the animosity behind us and focus on the future because here in Illinois we have a lot of work to do, and to succeed we’re going to need to work together. First and foremost, we must pass a balanced state budget. Read more at Positively Naperville.
 Members of Governor Rauner's staff met in Naperville this week with Rep. Grant Wehrli and members of his Special Needs Advisory Committee to discuss  ideas to improve funding and services to our most vulnerable populations.

" I would like to take a moment to extend my gratitude to everyone who attended  today’s very informative and constructive meeting on behalf of the developmentally and intellectually disabled in our community and throughout the State of Illinois," Rep. Wehrli said. "It is with that dialogue we find both short and long term solutions for a system that frankly is not serving this segment of the population well.  We have made a great first step today and I am committed as is Rep. Patti Bellock to assisting when and where we can with legislative remedies as well as working in a bipartisan way to solve our budget crisis.


In the meantime, those  that represent the departments administering policy and procedures
responsible for the oversight of state services heard many solutions that address bureaucratic inequities for which we can begin rectifying and insure that  we are providing the best service possible."
It’s officially fall in Illinois. That means football, cooler weather, and getting ready for the upcoming Holiday Season. For members of the General Assembly it’s also time to get ready for the Fall Veto Session and to brace for a possible “lame duck” surprise. Read more at Positively Naperville.
State Representative Grant Wehrli was recently awarded the Guardian of Small Business Award by the National Federation of Independent Business in Illinois (NFIB). The NFIB awarded Rep. Wehrli (R-Naperville) a 100% approval rating for his votes in support of small businesses in Dupage County and across the state.

“Small businesses are the very backbone of our community. Strong small businesses create more jobs and provide support for vital local services and I’m proud to do all I can to help them thrive and grow,” Rep. Wehrli said. 

Serving as the voice of small business, the NFIB has over 11,000 small business members in Illinois, all of whom count on state legislators to make for a healthy small business environment.

The designation of Guardian of Small Business was given to Illinois legislators based on key small business votes taken in the 99th General Assembly. Every two years state legislators are given a score based on their votes related to small business matters. In order to earn the Guardian distinction, a legislator must score 80 percent or better on the NFIB voting record.

When playing cards, the dealer shuffles the deck as a way to level the playing field and help ensure the outcome is fair. But in Springfield there’s a different sort of “shuffle” in play. Instead of leveling the playing field, the “Springfield Shuffle” actually stacks the deck for the majority party to ensure they can kill legislation they don’t like, while still proclaiming to the public that they supported it.

Read the rest at Positively Naperville.
From a Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity News Release:

State Announces September 1 Start of Low Income Energy Assistance Program Enrollment



The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Energy Assistance announced today that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will begin accepting applications for winter heating assistance for seniors and people with disabilities beginning September 1, 2016.

LIHEAP and the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program are funded as part of the stopgap funding plan signed into law by Governor Rauner.

LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low-income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households. Applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state. These agencies will begin accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis from the elderly and people with disabilities starting on September 1, 2016.

For more details, click here.


(Naperville, IL – August 29, 2016) – Under a bill that became state law this summer, Freestanding Emergency Centers like the Edward Plainfield 24/7 ER at 24600 W. 127th St. are now able to accept certain Advanced Life Support (ALS) patients via ambulance. Previously, all ALS patients had to be taken to an ER at the site of a full-service acute care hospital.

House Bill 4388, with primary sponsors Rep. Grant Wehrli (R – Naperville) and Sen. Michael
Connelly (R – Naperville), was signed into law on August 5 by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Other sponsors of the bill included Rep. Mark Batinick (R – Plainfield) and Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D – Plainfield).

“The new law truly has a community-wide impact that benefits patients, families, hospitals, and fire departments or fire protection districts,” says Rep. Wehrli. “Patients are able to stay close to home for care, we’re able to keep wait times down in the hospital-based ERs because there are fewer patients and our paramedics are back on call sooner in their own neighborhoods.”
State Representative Grant Wehrli today said House Speaker Mike Madigan’s recent defense in the media of Auditor General Frank Mautino contained glaring inaccuracies about both the nature of the investigations into Mautino’s finances and his response.

In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Speaker Madigan repeatedly referred to the ongoing state and criminal investigations into former State Representative Mautino’s campaign finances as mere “inquiries” in an attempt to lessen their seriousness in the eyes of the public.

“First of all, the U.S. Attorney’s Office doesn’t conduct ‘inquiries’. They conduct investigations as the Speaker, himself an attorney, knows full-well. He also knows that this particular investigation into Frank Mautino’s finances may yield serious criminal charges. Speaker Madigan is intentionally attempting to be misleading. The reporter, on the other hand, correctly states that the U.S. Attorney and the State Board of Elections are conducting investigations involving significant sums of money from then-Representative Mautino’s campaign fund,” Representative Wehrli said.

Now that the dust has settled on our overtime legislative session, I wanted to share with you details of the stopgap funding plan passed for state operations and education.

First and foremost, the plan fully funds our schools for the entire fiscal year. As you know, this was my top priority. The bipartisan agreement funds our schools at 100 percent foundation level for the first time in seven years. That means the majority of school districts across the state will receive more state funding than they received the year before. None will receive less.

Read the rest here at Positively Naperville.
What do you do with a top ranking ethics officer who is himself facing serious questions of unethical behavior?

First, you ask for answers. In the case of the campaign finance and accounting questions surrounding Illinois’ new Auditor General Frank Mautino, lawmakers from the House and Senate have asked for answers time and time again over the past four months. Now, we’re out of patience.

 Read more at Positively Naperville.

Update: Since the writing of this article, a growing group of 21 members of the House and Senate have formally requested that Auditor General Mautino take an unpaid leave of absence until the state and federal investigations are concluded. So far, the only response has been "no comment" from Mautino's press spokesman.
Via workNet DuPage:

Transitioning Veterans and Unemployed Veterans

This workshop will cover a basic overview of the Job Search plus representatives from various veteran organizations to explain available services.

9am to 1200pm

Wednesday , June 15, 2016

workNet DuPage Career Center

2525 Cabot Drive, Suite 302

Lisle, Il 60532


Service Organizations: workNet DuPage, Illinois Department of Employment Security Veterans Employment Representative, DuPage County Veterans Assistance Commission, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, DuPage County Vet Center.

 
A group of Illinois lawmakers today  urged Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to voluntarily take an unpaid leave of absence while numerous investigations persist into irregular campaign expenditures and reporting procedures dating back to his time in the Illinois House of Representatives. The lawmakers stressed that Mautino cannot effectively do his job while under a lingering cloud of suspicion.

“Over the last four months we have formally asked Auditor General Mautino four times to provide answers to the questions raised in the investigations, and still no answers are forthcoming. Recently it has come to light that federal authorities are looking into his campaign spending and reporting practices as well. There is no way that he can effectively do his job as Auditor General while defending himself against potential criminal charges and a State Election Board investigation,” said State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville).
You're Invited to a discuss the state budget, other legislative topics, and where we go from here...

State Representative Grant Wehrli on Friday stood up with his  House Republican colleagues calling for  the House to continue working through the Weekend on a responsible compromise budget solution.

Rank and file members have been participating in working groups aimed at bridging the gap and coming up with both reforms and budgetary compromises, but Speaker Madigan this week dismissed the groups' efforts , and, with mere days remaining in the scheduled spring session, on Friday adjourned the House for the weekend.

Representative Wehrli again stressed that he is ready to work every day on a responsible, balanced budget compromise.

There’s an old saying about the wisdom of helping those who are also willing to help themselves. I couldn’t help but think of this saying recently as I reviewed details of the latest proposal to reform how we fund public schools in Illinois.

There’s no question that our current formula for funding schools is broken. It allows for huge disparities from one region to another in dollars that are available to spend on students. Some of that disparity is by chance (despite local efforts, there is simply not enough property wealth in the district to raise adequate property tax revenue for schools), but some is by choice (the property wealth is there, but local officials refuse to tap into it). Read more at Positively Naperville.

Statement of State Representative Grant Wehrli on Auditor General Frank Mautino responding to lawmakers’ third demand for answers to longstanding finance and ethics questions with yet another delay:
 
“A week and a half ago more than 20 members of the House and Senate  sent Auditor General Mautino a third letter demanding answers to serious inquiries about questionable campaign expenses and reporting practices, and for the third time he refused to answer and responded with another excuse for delay-the latest delay excuse is the State Board of Elections Hearing.
 
Auditor General Mautino needs to recognize that this is not just a State Board of Elections matter. These are serious ethical and possibly criminal questions that go to the very core of his fitness and ability to do his job safeguarding taxpayer dollars. The Auditor General also needs to recognize that he answers to the General Assembly and the taxpayers we represent; and we are out of patience,” said Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville).

A group of Illinois lawmakers began in February formally requesting that Auditor General Frank Mautino work expeditiously to answer serious questions about campaign expenditures and reporting procedures dating back to his time in the Illinois House of Representatives. Today, more than three months later, lawmakers stressed that Mautino’s foot dragging needs to stop.

“Our first letter to Auditor General Mautino was sent on February 1st. He requested a bit more time to which we willingly agreed. At the end of February, he told us we could expect an answer within weeks. But now we’re in the month of May, and these questions are still festering because he simply won’t address them,” said State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville). “If there’s nothing improper, as he asserts, then why won’t he simply answer the questions so he and we can put this issue behind us?”

"As the ongoing budget standoff in Springfield slowly moves toward a year of financial gridlock, state legislators from DuPage County and state Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said they are frustrated yet hopeful...." Read more here in Suburban Life,.

If you were unable to attend the town hall in person, you can view it here.


Via American Legion Post 43 and VFW Post 3873:

The Hines Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) will be at the Naperville VFW Post on Tuesday, May 3rd from 9AM until 2PM. Come in and get signed up for VA healthcare. The Hines staff is there to assist you in getting enrolled. Make sure you bring a copy of your DD-214 or if you are a WWII Veteran your discharge papers.

In order to access many of the programs the VA offers you must be enrolled in VA Healthcare. If you enroll now, when the time comes to use the VA you can have immediate access. Also, remember this, the VA budget is based on

The State VFW Veteran Service Officer (VSO) will also be there to answer questions and help in filing claims.

Statement of State Representative Grant Wehrli on Passage of Senate Bill 2059 as amended:

“After a ten month stalemate and a week of game-playing by the Speaker, today we saw a ray of hope. Sincere, bi-partisan efforts by rank-and-file members have yielded an agreement that will give universities, community colleges and our students that depend on MAP grants some breathing room. The $600 million in emergency funding will come out of the Educational Assistance Fund. The money is there, and the Governor has agreed to sign the allocation when it reaches his desk. This is proof that we can find solutions when we work together. Now, let’s get that spirit of bi-partisan cooperation working on a full year, responsible budget,” said State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville).

I have learned a lot of things in my first year in the General Assembly, but a few lessons stand out above the rest. One of those is the undeniable fact that Illinois government is addicted to promising money that it does not have. This past month, there were two perfect examples in the General Assembly of lawmakers promising money to struggling universities and students that their proposals won’t deliver. Read more at Positively Naperville.
While my policies and politics don’t generally align with the current occupant of the White House, it’s always an honor to host the President of the United States and to have him speak to you and your colleagues in person. Last month, President Obama returned to the Illinois Capitol where his political career was launched and spoke to a joint session of the Legislature in our House chamber. His message centered on civility, compromise, and a return to “better politics,” and frankly, it couldn’t have been more timely. Read more at Positively Naperville.
While the Democrat majority in the Illinois General Assembly this week pushed more votes on
unfunded appropriations bills, State Representative Grant Wehrli again urged a compromise on a real Higher Education funding solution.

“The sad fact is that these votes are not about higher education, they’re about election year headlines,” said Representative Wehrli (R-Naperville). “These are funding bills with little or no actual funding. That’s not a solution; it’s just another empty promise and Illinois families will continue to pay the price.”


Rep Wehrli and House Republicans moved Thursday to remain in session to work on
the budget. Democrats said no and adjourned the House for a five week vacation.
Representative Wehrli stressed that several options remain on the table that will actually provide needed emergency funding for students’ MAP grants, community colleges and 4-year universities including House Bill 4539, which he is sponsoring. This legislation would provide approximately $1.68 billion that would come from general revenue to adequately fund colleges and universities, and students’ MAP grants. It would work in tandem with the recently filed Unbalanced Budget Response Act – legislation that would afford the Governor ability to manage monies in existing funds to adequately fund programs including higher education.

“Students’ and universities’ budgets are at the breaking point. They can’t pay the bills with an empty promise. They need a plan that will provide actual dollars now. My House Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly asked the speaker and our Democrat colleagues to sit down and work with us to negotiate a responsible bi-partisan funding solution,” Representative Wehrli said. “Instead of adjourning until April, the Speaker needs to keep the House in session and work with us to get it done. Today House Republicans made a motion to reconvene tomorrow. Democrats said no and headed home for their five-week vacation.”
 
Statement of State Representative Grant Wehrli on Governor Rauner’s budget address to the General Assembly:

“The Governor today proposed two very different paths to get us to the balanced budget we need; one includes structural reforms that will help us control spending, the other option involves deeper cuts. I believe reforms are needed for a true, lasting fix to our budget problems, but either way, the Governor has again demonstrated his desire to get this done and his willingness to compromise.”
I love Chicago. It’s home to the Blackhawks and the Cubs. It’s also home to the best restaurants, best cultural attractions, best entertainment and best shopping of any major city in the country.

Sadly, Chicago is also mired in a huge financial mess.

Chicago city pension systems that cover city employees, teachers and police and firefighters are in real danger of sinking into insolvency and Chicago Public School teachers have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike over benefits and wages. Rather than embracing meaningful and substantial fiscal reforms, however, Chicago leaders continue to look to taxpayers here in the suburbs and across the state to bail them out.

 Read the rest of the update at Positively Naperville.
Rep. Wehrli was honored to host Governor Rauner and Lt. Governor Sanguinetti in Naperville Friday to announce legislation stemming from the bi-partisan consolidation task force.

" Efficient, transparent, cost effective delivery of service is cornerstone to all Naperville units of government. I thank the Governor for choosing Naperville as the spot to announce these much needed legislative changes that allow better service delivery opportunities by units of government across our great state!" Rep. Wehrli said.

Four new bills were announced today based on the task force's recommendations. Click here to read more about them.
With Illinois college and university budgets stretched beyond their breaking point, State
Representative Grant Wehrli said he’s disappointed and angry that Speaker Madigan today stalled consideration of a realistic plan to provide emergency funding, and instead pushed a Democrat-sponsored plan that simply offers more empty promises.

“This week several of my House Republican colleagues and I introduced an emergency plan that would provide a real path to securing emergency funding for the rest of this fiscal year for four-year universities and community colleges, and to also fund MAP grants that students depend upon. It deserves an immediate vote,” Representative Wehrli said. 
Statement of State Representative Grant Wehrli on Governor Rauner’s State of the State Address:

“Decades of ‘business as usual’ in Springfield are what got us into our current mess. The Governor is right that continuing to simply throw more money at the problems won’t solve them. We need fundamental change in the way state government operates, and that starts with coming together to pass a responsible, balanced budget,” said Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville). “I was glad to hear the Governor focus today on education, and on making Illinois more competitive in attracting and keeping good jobs. I was also very glad to hear him reach across the aisle in the spirit of compromise.”
Just a reminder: To cut costs during the ongoing state budget stalemate the Secretary of State's Office is no longer mailing vehicle registration renewal reminders to motorists.

If you allow your registration to expire, you may be subject to a $20 late fee when you renew in
addition to the $101 renewal fee, so please check the sticker on your license plate for the expiration month.

You can also sign up sign up online to receive renewal reminders via e-mail by clicking here.


Join members of the Naperville Police Department to learn tips and techniques to help you avoid
 falling victim to scams at the Naperville Senior Task Force's first speaker series event of 2016. 

The Scam Prevention Seminar is free and open to all members  of the public. It will be held on Wednesday, January 13 from 9:30am to 10:30am in Meeting Room B of the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle Street in Naperville.