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State Representative Christine Winger passed an animal welfare measure in the House today.  The bill, HB5477, will require an animal shelter or animal control facility to report the total number of dogs, cats, and other animals taken in by the shelter, the number of animals that leave the shelter and the ending inventory of the shelter at the end of every year.  The inventory will be reported to the Department of Agriculture, and will serve as part of animal shelters’ annual renewal application.

Currently, Illinois shelters and rescues are not required to report to the Department of Agriculture on the numbers of dogs they are importing or where these dogs originate. Rep. Winger’s legislation will require better records to be kept of dogs and cats in our State’s animal shelters.

Representative Winger’s bill will help increase transparency in animal shelters throughout Illinois, and help promote better health and wellness for animals in such shelters.  The legislation had no opposition and moves forward to the Senate for further consideration.

State Representative Christine Winger has advanced a legislative measure to help reduce noise from O’Hare Airport on the surrounding communities, and increase awareness of the airport’s environmental effects. 

Representative Winger has sponsored legislative measures throughout her tenure in the House to advocate for solutions for the neighboring communities who have been dealing with increased noise from the airport, as well as other adverse effects. This week, Rep. Winger presented a House Resolution to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to focus on the environment surrounding O’Hare Airport.

The resolution, HJR110, provides that more money be allocated from the Federal Aviation Administration Passenger Facility Charge. These additional funds would be provided to the FAA to support community airport noise mitigation and community airport air quality monitoring.

This initiative, which was adopted by the Transportation, Roads and Bridges committee this week in Springfield, is another step forward in her effort to fight for O’Hare’s neighbors.
Chicago-Area Homeowners Pay Higher Property Taxes than 93% of U.S 

Homeowners in the Chicago area are paying higher property tax bills, on average, than 93 percent of the country, according to a new report.  The average 2017 tax bill on a single-family home in Lake County was higher than nearly 99 percent of the 1,414 U.S. counties covered by the report, released this week by Attom Data Solutions.

The region's other counties aren't far behind. The average bill in DuPage County is higher than nearly 98 percent, followed by Kane County and McHenry County (both 96 percent), Cook County (94 percent) and Will County (93 percent).

The report covers only counties with 10,000 or more single-family homes. In all, the nation has 3,144 counties, or more than twice the number in Attom's study. The report includes
a county-by-county map of the average property tax bill for single-family homes. Read more in Crain's.

Property taxes are especially high in Illinois due to the state’s overall high-tax political environment. State Representative Christine Winger has supported property tax reforms, and legislative measures such as HB 4066, which have sought to enact comprehensive property tax reforms, including freezes on the levels of property tax “extensions” demanded by local taxing bodies.  However, these measures have all been bottled up in the House Rules Committee by the Democrat majority and have not been allowed to be debated or voted upon.

State Needs Full-Year Balanced Budget 

Speaking to the press on Monday, April 9, Governor Bruce Rauner framed his overall legislative agenda around the State’s need for a balanced, full –year budget for FY19. The Governor’s call came in the context of widespread rumors in Springfield that some people may want a partial budget or a deficit budget for non-policy reasons. 

Illinois’ budget picture has been clouded by the State’s continuing inability to enact permanent reforms to its pension systems. Illinois is legally responsible for $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, an expense which must be paid by state taxpayers. The unfunded pension crisis is a key element in the continuing decision by New York’s three major credit-rating agencies to rank Illinois debt at close to “junk bond” level.

Rauner and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin are calling for the State to return the traditional practice of determining and certifying the revenues that the State of Illinois can reasonably expect to receive in FY19, the fiscal year that will begin on July 1, 2018. Once the revenue estimate is determined, the State can develop a budget and spending plan, including appropriations bills, to spend no more money than will come in. Fiduciary experts believe that a repeated demonstration by Illinois that it has returned to sound budget practices will enable the State to slowly retrieve the lost ground that it has suffered in its now-near-junk-level credit rating.    

O’Hare Expansion

Representative Winger recently met with the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation, Ginger Evans. Alongside fellow lawmakers, Winger attended the meeting to learn more about the O'Hare Airport expansion plan, and the impact on her district.
The credit rating agency, Moody's Investors Service, recently labeled the recent O’Hare International Airport expansion plans as a “credit negative.” The project plans to spend an estimated $8.4 billion on expansion and updates, which the credit rating agency believes will increase leverage and airline costs above those of other comparable airports.

A vote by the Chicago City Council to approve the initial spending for the plan has already taken place. That proposal set the initial borrowing for the project at up to $4 billion.

Ongoing Action Against Sexual Harassment and Assault

Members of the Illinois General Assembly, especially female legislators, have begun several separate actions intended to reduce sexual harassment in the Illinois legislature, in Illinois state government, and in the Illinois private sector.

Both the House and the Senate have formed bipartisan Task Forces on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination. As a member of the House Sexual Harassment Task Force, Representative Winger has listened to hours of testimony about cultures of sexual harassment. In one such culture, identified with an Illinois assembly plant owned by the Ford Motor Company, United Auto Workers (UAW) shop stewards have been accused of being sexual harassers and protectors of sexual harassment. A House Resolution was filed, HR 783, which urges a full investigation of the Ford-related allegations.

New laws have been passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Police officers are now required to undergo training to improve sensitivity towards victims of sexual assault. The law requires law enforcement officers to take reports for each allegation of sexual police jurisdiction the alleged incident took place.

The Bloomingdale Chamber of Commerce recently announced the 2018 "Best of Bloomingdale" Awards, recognizing outstanding Bloomingdale businesses in 2018. This award is community focused, and relies on area residents for nominations. The event is sponsored annually by the Chamber of Commerce, and truly highlights the best of Bloomingdale community and business!

This year's recipients are as follows:

Business Name                                                       Award-Winning Category

Eagle Falls Dentistry                                                      Best Large Business
Ducat Chiropractic                                                         Best Small Business
Anyway's American Grill & Pub                                   Best Full Service Business
Chick-fil-A Bloomingdale                                             Best Quick Service Business
Fruitful Yield                                                                  Best Retail Business
Bloomingdale School of Music                                     Best Service Business
Bloomingdale Park District                                         Best Non-Profit Organization  
Firehouse Subs                                                            Rising Star - Outstanding New Business
Star Smiles Orthodontics/ Pediatric Dentistry            Overall Best Business 

Our sincere congratulations to these business winners for 2018!

State Representative Christine Winger currently serves on the Sexual Harassment Task Force in the House of Representatives. As a member on the Task Force, Rep. Winger has listened to hours of testimony from Illinois residents who have experienced harassment in the workplace.

The latest Task Force meetings have included testimonies from several women who experienced brutal sexual harassment while working at Ford Motor Company. In response, a House Resolution was filed this week that calls on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, and the U.S. Department of Labor to do more.

Today in Springfield, Winger wore black, to show support for the #TimesUp movement and support the end of sexual harassment. She urged all members of the House of Representatives to support House Resolution 783, which calls for a continued investigation into the culture of sexual harassment within the United Automobile Workers labor union and asks for increased support of the women who have come forward to testify to their experiences at Ford Motor Company.

Rep. Winger was appalled at the testimonies of so many women, who have been harassed and abused in the workplace. “It is unbelievable and unacceptable that this behavior has continued to plague the workplace and affect so many women in our State,” said Winger. “Today, I stand in support of those women who so bravely told their stories so that together, we can work to make positive change and I will do everything in my power to put an end to this.”

The Representative was also encouraged to hear that Governor Rauner signed an executive order to more adequately respond to harassment claims. Through the order, the Governor would create a compliance office that will give all employees in Illinois a reliable and responsive outlet for reporting harassment.

Representative Winger believes this is another positive step forward to help put an end to sexual harassment, and effectively respond to these issues in Illinois.