Latest News

Representative Winger and daughter Samantha attend the First Annual West Chicago Food Festival, with food and entertainment, in downtown West Chicago.
Representative Winger visits a community recycling event in Carol Stream, sponsored by the Village of Carol Stream, SCARCE, and CoreCentric Solutions Inc.

Illinois Department of Insurance Releases ACA Exchange Health Care Insurance Rates for 2019
On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) released its on-Exchange health care rate and plan analysis for Plan Year 2019, showing that rates have stabilized for the first time in recent years.

Average rates for the 2019 lowest cost silver plans decreased four percent and the lowest cost gold plans decreased by six percent from last year. Overall, rates for the lowest cost bronze plans modestly increased approximately six percent, far less than the 20 percent increase reported for 2018 rates. "Illinois consumers will finally have some relief after facing years of on average double -digit increases in health insurance premium rates," DOI Director Jennifer Hammer said. "We are starting to see signs that the Exchange is stabilizing given this year's rates, a new insurer entering the on-Exchange market in 2019, and no insurers from last year exiting."

Illinois consumers in all counties will have options to purchase health insurance coverage on the Exchange.

Get Covered Illinois (GCI) is the official health marketplace or "exchange" for health insurance for all Illinoisans. Individuals and small businesses can purchase their health insurance on the GCI website. Because GCI facilitates the federal subsidies, consumers are able to see their monthly premium at the discounted price.

DOI is advising consumers enrolling or re-enrolling in coverage to start shopping early, due to the six week enrollment period set by the federal government, and to look at all options available to them on and off the Exchange, from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018. "We continue to focus on our core mission - to protect and educate consumers," Hammer said.

"We recognize some families may have to face difficult decisions this fall, and we will be visiting all 102 counties for the second year in a row to discuss coverage and answer questions about mental health and substance use disorder treatment. We want to make sure consumers are aware of all their options."

Consumers are encouraged to visit DOI's GCI website at: https://getcovered.illinois.gov for further information and assistance, or to contact their trusted licensed insurance agent. The Get Covered Connector on the website allows consumers to search for options by zip code to find local, free application help in English or Spanish. Consumers can also use this tool to schedule in-person assistance appointments with navigators and certified application counselors. Anyone may call DOI at 866-311-1119 for additional resources and information regarding health insurance.

Illinois Department of Revenue Launches New Website
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is inviting taxpayers to explore the new look of its redesigned website; tax.illinois.gov. The new mobile-friendly website features simplified site navigation and enhanced functionality to provide businesses, tax professionals, and the public easier access to the information needed most.

"As times have changed, so have the ways taxpayers access and consume information," said Connie Beard, IDOR Director. "With this website redesign, we make it easier for the public to navigate our information, no matter what device is utilized."

Key features of IDOR's new website include encrypted security, better accessibility, a drop-down menu system at the top of every page, and real-time traffic-driven listings showing users what questions, forms, and tax types are currently garnering wide interest.

Visitors accustomed to the former IDOR website at http://tax.illinois.gov will be automatically redirected to the new website located at https://www2.illinois.gov/rev. IDOR advises anyone with previously saved bookmarks to visit the new website to update their favorites.

Department of Homeland Security Approves Illinois Drivers’ Licenses for One More Year of Air Travel 

Illinois’ drivers’ licenses are out of compliance with various REAL-ID mandates intended to maintain and increase security of U.S. air travel. The federal agency has granted Illinois a further extension of almost one year, until June 1, 2019, to move further towards compliance with these mandates. During this extension period, federal agencies will be allowed to accept currently valid Illinois drivers’ licenses as adequate ID-card identification for admittance to federal buildings, nuclear power plants, and commercial aircraft takeoff and landing space. Illinois drivers’ licenses are printed and issued by the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.

As part of its movement towards REAL-ID compliance, the Secretary of State’s office has already consolidated the way that it produces and prints out the license cards. The cards, which were once printed and handed out on the spot to applicants at local Secretary of State Driver Services offices statewide, are now manufactured in a secure facility and mailed to approved applicants. Illinois is being urged to adopt further components of the REAL-ID Act. These additional mandates impose separate sets of additional verification information that (a) new drivers’ license applicants, and (b) applicants for license renewal, will be required to provide. All applicants, including renewal applicants, may soon be asked to bring in a Social Security card, a passport or other form of secure supplemental personal identification, and proof of current address such as a utility bill that has been computer-addressed and mailed to their place of residence. In addition, new applicants may be asked to submit additional information.
Representative Winger visited "Build Day" at Oak Brook Elementary School, Wood Dale. Wood Dale School District 7 received a grant from Discover Financial Services to build a new playground for the students at Oak Brook Elementary. The program is in partnership with KaBoom!, a nonprofit dedicated to giving kids great, safe places to play.

Illinois K-12 High-Speed Internet Connectivity Rises to 96%
It was announced this week that 96 percent of K-12 school districts in Illinois can access the internet at speeds of 100 kbps per student, a substantial improvement from 71 percent just three years ago. Median bandwidths also have markedly improved, increasing 2.5 times since 2015.

High-speed connectivity ensures that students have access to more digital resources, which in turn expands learning opportunities. By making high-speed internet accessible, educators and students gain the benefits of greater interactivity, collaboration, engagement and personal instruction.

Illinois’ digital advances were reported by the EducationSuperHighway which tracks progress toward K-12 connectivity across the United States. The national nonprofit advocates for upgrading internet access in every public school classroom in America.

While Illinois has advanced its school digital resources, work remains. EducationSuperHighway says that 407,093 students in 32 school districts across the state still need adequate bandwidth for digital learning. There also are 136 school campuses that lack scalable fiber-optic broadband connections.

The Illinois Classroom Connectivity Initiative, launched by the Rauner administration in 2016, is an effort to ensure that all districts receive the support and funding to close this school broadband gap. The FY19 education budget includes a $17 million Broadband Expansion fund to help cover costs of fiber upgrades for school districts. There is also provision for free technical assistance.

Illinois State Fire Marshal Wants You to Have a Fire Free Fall
Fall is officially here and so are cooler temperatures. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is offering a few tips that will help Illinoisans stay safe as temperatures continue to drop.

This Fall, be sure to remove leaves and debris such as sticks, branches and shrubs from the roofs and gutters of homes as they act as fuel to a fire. These items should also be cleared before lighting a bonfire. It is recommended that all recreational fires, such as bonfires, be contained in a pit, with sidewalls, and do not exceed 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall.

Avoid burning leaves and debris on windy days, as wind can cause a fire to get out of control quickly. Always follow your local ordinances when burning and disposing of yard waste and remember, embers from burning leaves can spread and start a larger fire. All fires are recommended to be a minimum of 15 feet from structures and combustible materials and should remain attended at all times. This helps ensure the fire is controlled and prevents it from spreading.

Make sure all Fall and holiday decorations are flame retardant and use a battery light instead of a candle in jack o' lanterns.

Anyone opting to use a space heater to keep warm should be sure it is placed at least three feet away from other objects, such as curtains, and always be sure to unplug it when it's not in use. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) space heaters account, annually, for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires.

All fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected before use to ensure everything is in proper working order. Utilize a fireplace screen to keep sparks from floating out of a fireplace and always put out a fire before going to bed or leaving the house.

Additional fire safety tips can be found on the NFPA website or on the Office of the State Fire Marshal website.

Representative Winger tours Superior Ambulance in Elmhurst, a local provider of emergency medical services.

Illinois Pioneers Community College Pathway to Professional Status
In these times of soaring tuition bills and increased costs of residential campus living, many Illinois families are finding increasing challenges in helping their loved ones afford four years of attendance at a traditional college or university. Many students are responding to these challenges by starting out their higher education in one of Illinois’ 48 community colleges. There, they take courses that build up credits that can be transferred to a four-year institution.

This week, data released by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) shows that many of these students have a bright future. Among all 50 states in the calendar period studied, Illinois now ranks #1 in terms of the rate of bachelor’s degree completion among community college students that transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

Illinois, the state with the first community college in the nation (Joliet Junior College), has worked intensively to coordinate community college credits with a baccalaureate pathway that a student can follow to a four-year degree and eventual professional status.

The study tracked a group of first-time college students who enrolled in Illinois community colleges in 2010, and then subsequently transferred to four-year schools. The students were tracked through 2016; by that year, 53.8% of them had earned a bachelor’s degree. This was the highest four-year transfer completion rate of any U.S. state with community colleges.

Representative Winger attends an open house celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Roselle History Museum. The Roselle History Museum provides a dynamic historical and educational resource for residents and visitors.
REMINDER: September Supply Drive
State Representative Christine Winger has joined a group of DuPage County State Representatives and Senators through the entire month of September to help Loaves & Fishes obtain personal care items.

Loaves & Fishes is a not-for-profit food pantry that feeds up to 800 DuPage County families per week. Last year it served 7,607 children and 1,238 senior citizens. Families in need can shop for free in a grocery store-like setting.

According to Loaves & Fishes President and CEO Mike Havala, the pantry is experiencing a shortage of personal care items to supplement the food staples families need. Items needed include diapers and wipes, laundry detergent, toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste and household cleaning products.

Representative Winger will be collecting needed items through the end of September. Those who wish to donate may drop items off at Rep. Winger’s District Office in Bloomingdale: One Tiffany Pointe, Suite G3, from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Please call the office before drop-off at (847) 252-9311. The drive will end on September 28th.

Representative Winger traveled to the White House and met with U.S. Department of Transportation official Anthony Bedell. At the meeting, she discussed what could be done by the Federal Aviation Administration to help decrease noise levels from airports and airplane flight patterns. Noise from planes and has been a constant issue in Rep. Winger’s 45th District especially for those neighborhoods that fall under O’Hare Airports flight patterns.
NEDSRA

Representative Winger with Rick Poole (Executive Director, NEDSRA) and Maryfran Leno (Executive Director, Itasca Park District) at the NEDSRA Special Recreation Golf Classic at White Pines Golf Club, Bensenville. NEDSRA provides recreational and social programs to improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities.   

Winger Concludes Fourth Annual Summer Reading Program
State Representative Christine Winger recently celebrated with students who participated in her 2018 Summer Reading Program. 
The program invited students in grades K-5 to read 10 books over the summer, and with the completion of their reading lists, they were invited to celebrate with their State Representative.

This is the fourth annual summer reading program that Rep. Winger has hosted. Providing this program every summer has been important for the Representative, to provide a fun way for students to continue learning during the months away from school. In fact, research has shown that children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer.

The Representative always loves to hear each student’s favorite books, and encourages the summer readers to keep up the good work throughout the school year.

“In the reading program, the kids get to choose the books they want to read—which helps motivate them to want to read,” said Winger. “Making this program fun and ending the summer with a celebration, makes students eager to read more and be a part of this.”

At the party, the summer readers received Certificates of Recognition from the House of Representatives and enjoyed frozen custard provided by Culvers.

Rep. Winger looks forward to hosting another successful program next year!

State Representative Christine Winger recently celebrated with students who participated in her 2018 Summer Reading Program.

The program invited students in grades K-5 to read 10 books over the summer, and with the completion of their reading lists, they were invited to celebrate with their State Representative.

This is the fourth annual summer reading program that Rep. Winger has hosted. Providing this program every summer has been important for the Representative, to provide a fun way for students to continue learning during the months away from school. In fact, research has shown that children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer.

The Representative always loves to hear each student’s favorite books, and encourages the summer readers to keep up the good work throughout the school year.

“In the reading program, the kids get to choose the books they want to read—which helps motivate them to want to read,” said Winger. “Making this program fun and ending the summer with a celebration, makes students eager to read more and be a part of this.”

At the party, the summer readers received Certificates of Recognition from the House of Representatives and enjoyed frozen custard provided by Culvers.

Rep. Winger looks forward to hosting another successful program next year!

BLOOMINGDALE . . . State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) was recently recognized as a Champion of Free Enterprise by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

This recognition was awarded to Rep. Winger based on her votes on the key business legislation of the 100th General Assembly and their impact on the business community.

Legislators with a favorable Illinois Chamber rating over the previous two General Assemblies demonstrated their commitment to legislation that frees the entrepreneurial spirit qualified for the award.

Representative Winger, a member of five local chambers in the 45th District, was honored to receive this recognition. “I am proud to support our local businesses and be an active member in our chambers of commerce throughout my legislative district,” said Winger. “Supporting our business community both at home, and legislatively in the General Assembly is important to the economic success of our State.”

The Champions of Free Enterprise Awards are given biennially. The Chamber will be presenting the awards to lawmakers in their districts at local chamber events in the coming weeks. Representative Winger looks forward to receiving her award in person.