Chicago, IL – State Representative Christine Winger (R- Bloomingdale) stood alongside House Republican colleagues Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) today to introduce legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax.

The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.

“Longstanding small businesses that have been pivotal in the community are going to suffer, especially when residents can walk less than a mile to a different store in a county that isn’t affected by the tax to buy their goods,” said Rep. Winger. “Residents will choose a different store over one they have gone to for years to avoid paying this. I have heard first-hand the severity this tax has already had in its first two weeks. Some say sales have already dropped 80% on certain products.”

Specifically, House Bill 4082 would prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold. It applies to any county ordinance adopted on or before the effective date of the bill, repealing the existing Cook County ordinance.

The City of Philadelphia recently enacted a similar, 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to pay for universal preschool. Following the implementation of the tax, beverage sales fell by as much as 50 percent and more than 400 jobs were lost. Additionally, actual beverage tax collections for the first six months are $6.9 million below the city’s estimate of $46.2 million.

The impact on Cook County is expected to be even more devastating. An economic analysis in 2016 found that the beverage tax, which Cook County estimates to provide $67.5 million in new revenue in 2017 and $200.6 million in 2018, could result in a loss of 6,100 jobs, $321 million in lost wages and $1.3 billion in lost economic activity. There have already been a number of complaints and lawsuits as retailers struggle to comply with the implementation of the tax.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently notified Cook County that portions of the tax were illegal and that the state could stand to lose more than $86 million in federal funding if the problems are not resolved.

Additionally, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has voiced its concerns with Cook County as well, stating that the new tax “may lead to practices that violate the Illinois Liquor Control Act.”

Today Governor Bruce Rauner issued a proclamation calling for Special Session in Springfield, to further urge action on school funding reform.

SB1 is the current education funding reform bill that passed both Chambers in the General Assembly on May 31st, but since then, no further action has been taken on the bill due to a procedural move by Democrats in the Illinois Senate.

As is, schools cannot open in the fall. While $778 million in funds for K-12 education were allocated in the budget passed earlier this month, they cannot be distributed until a new evidence based education funding model is passed.

Governor Rauner has stated his plans to issue an amendatory veto of SB1, and remove the Chicago Public Schools’ pension bailout within the legislation. The bill currently gives CPS $221 million for their pension costs through the school funding formula. While other school districts are funded through the state pension code, CPS is the only school district that pays the employer contribution for their teacher pensions.

In its current form, SB1 directs 64% of all new funds for education to Chicago Public Schools, which represents $495 of the $778 million--despite the fact that CPS has only 19% of the state’s student population. The evidence based funding model uses tiers to determine the schools that are in the greatest need; money is given first to the neediest school districts. Yet because of distortions, CPS was moved to a tier one school district allowing them to get a larger share of new money.

The alternate plan to school funding reform would fairly distribute new money to all schools statewide, instead of favoring one district over all the rest. Governor Rauner recently launched a website to help calculate individual school district’s school funding under SB1124. Using this model, more funding would be given to every school district.

Special session will convene Wednesday in Springfield where lawmakers will continue to work toward an agreeable solution.

House Bill 4069 is good for all the state’s 852 school districts. Unlike Senate Bill 1, the legislation does not single out one district to pit students from different regions against each other. Instead, all schools are all treated the same under a formula that is the same for everyone regardless of their zip code.
State Representative Christine Winger recently held an informational property tax seminar, where she gathered local tax assessors to help explain the property tax assessment and appeal process. The event helped area residents understand how their properties are assessed and provided information about the appeal process, should they find their assessments unfair.

Property tax assessors from Bloomingdale, Addison, Wayne and Hanover Townships helped give a detailed presentation. During the event, Rep. Winger also addressed the state’s property tax issue and discussed legislation considered in the general assembly on the matter. “This event gives area residents the necessary information, resources and tools to understand exactly how their property tax bills are calculated,” said Winger. With the event held just after area property tax bills were mailed, it gave residents the perfect opportunity to ask any questions about the process specific to their community.

The Representative has hosted this event annually, and each year the event draws a full crowd. “Property taxes are a top issue for my constituents and hosting this event at this time is a priority so everyone in the area has access to the right information,” said Winger.

For questions on the seminar or to request information, please contact Rep. Winger’s District office at (847) 252-9311.
Last week, the House of Representatives adjourned without reaching a budget agreement. The fiscal year deadline was extended to June 30th, giving lawmakers a few more weeks to come to an agreement on the state budget, and a solution to Illinois’ fiscal crisis.

This year the House did not address any budget proposals that make any effort to pay down the state’s massive backlog of bills. Instead, the proposal considered in the Senate proposed to spend $5 billion more than revenue forecast of $32 billion for the fiscal year 2018.

State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) voiced her concern about the lack of a state budget after the close of the spring legislative session in Springfield last week:

“The state budget crisis continues as we concluded legislative session. Continuing to operate without a budget is damaging to all residents and the future of our state. We need a budget that will address the true obligations of our state, and this will only happen through genuine compromise.”

With the unfunded pension liability nearing $130 billion, inadequate and inequitable school funding, and the highest property taxes in the nation, much needs to be accomplished to move Illinois forward. The House of Representatives should continue to meet throughout the month of June in the hopes of reaching a balanced budget agreement.
The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) will be voting on a third test schedule to measure noise from O’Hare Airport. They will meet on June 3rd to decide the nature of the third test.

The first two testing initiatives used alternate methods to help reduce noise levels surrounding residential communities experience from the airport. The first test began in 2016 and for 25 weeks it tested noise relief efforts by alternating arrival and departure runways for overnight traffic. Due to the popularity of the first test amongst area communities, a second test was commissioned. This second initiative began in late April and for 12 weeks, has incorporated new combinations and patterns for flight arrivals and departures. Still ongoing, this test will conclude in mid-June, and will help improve existing runway rotation plans.

It has since been determined that a third test is needed, which will incorporate a new model. There have been several different suggested plans as to what runways will be used. Such proposals have suggested hybrid pairings of different runways, or alternating between east/west and diagonal runways for nighttime traffic.

Should the ONCC approve the third test for airport noise relief, it is likely to last much longer than the previous two test schedules. Read more on the potential test schedule and plans here.

State Representative Christine Winger has launched her third annual summer reading program.

The program is open to K-5th graders who live in Rep. Winger’s 45th District. Students are asked to read 8 books of their choice, and send their completed reading list form back to Rep. Winger to be invited to a special party in the fall! You can find the brochure here that includes information and instructions on how to participate.

Winger holds her reading program every summer to encourage students to keep learning during their time away from school. “Reading during the summer months is important so students can continue learning and thinking creatively,” said Winger. “This program is a fun opportunity, to keep students engaged and on track, and something that I hope they look forward to participating in every summer,” said the Representative. Rep. Winger wants every student to enjoy their summer vacation, and have fun choosing good books to read!

The program is officially open and will run through August 21st, when forms are due back in Rep. Winger’s District Office. Click here to find out if you live in Rep. Winger’s 45th Legislative District.

Should you have any questions about the program, contact Rep. Winger’s office at (847) 252-9311.
State Representative Christine Winger recently welcomed students from Westfield Middle School to her district office to celebrate their accomplishments in art.

Twice a year, pieces of artwork completed by the Westfield students is hand selected to hang in Rep. Winger’s Student Art Gallery in her district office.

The students are invited to Winger’s office to see their artwork in the gallery, meet their Representative, and celebrate their artistic talents with the fellow artists and their families. Each student that was honored was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from the Illinois House of Representatives.

Winger encouraged each artist to speak about their work, and say a few words about their process and final product. “Every piece of artwork chosen this time is very colorful, and adds a great touch to the office” said Winger. “It is wonderful to be able to display the talents of local students’ right here for all to see, and a pleasure to be able to meet each artist in person,” she added.

The student art gallery gives the Representative a unique opportunity to connect with young students in the community, and celebrate their creative learning.

Rep. Winger’s student art gallery incorporates a new group of student art twice a year, something the Representative looks forward to every time, to not only meet with students and hear about their creative learning but also celebrate the great talents in the community.
State Representative Christine Winger passed a consumer protection bill this week in the House. HB3251 aims to prevent cyberstalking, or the electronic monitoring of an individual using spyware or electronic tracking software. 

This offense is committed when a person knowingly installs, conceals, or otherwise places electronic tracking software on an electronic device without the consent of the owner for the purpose of monitoring and following the user.

Current law does not mention this type of electronic tracking or monitoring under the existing criminal offense of cyberstalking. HB3251 extends current law to include the offense, a first violation of which would be declared a Class 4 felony and a second or subsequent conviction is a Class 3 felony.

Thousands of cases of cyberstalking are reported to local police departments each year, with women being the victim in the majority of these cases. Rep. Winger believes this legislation is necessary to protect every citizens’ privacy and safety. When spyware or tracking software is installed, it often is done so for the purpose of harassment or stalking. Winger believes the extension of this bill will specifically help protect victims of domestic violence who are trying to conceal their locations from their abusers.

“With the increase in technology and countless software systems available at our fingertips, we need to increase security and protections in response,” said Winger. “A person should not have to worry about their safety, and this will help provide some assurances. This bill will help prevent any malicious tracking and harassment that unfortunately has become all too common in today’s world.”

HB2351 moves onto the Senate where it will continue to proceed through the legislative process.
State Representative Christine Winger passed House Bill 3244 in the House of Representatives this week. The bill will allow premium finance companies to send notices or documents electronically. While previous legislation provides for insurance companies to do so, this bill extends this option to include premium finance companies.

Delivering notices and important documents by electronic means provides for more efficient communications between consumers and companies. The legal effectiveness, validity, or enforceability of any agreements in documents sent electronically is to be considered the same as if sent in another manner.

This bill was brought to the attention of Rep. Winger by a local business, which recognized the need for this option to be extended to include a larger scope of businesses.  HB3244 passed smoothly in the House and is now under consideration in the Senate.
Another runway rotation test is set to begin on April 30th, in order to further determine the best way to mitigate airplane noise from O’Hare Airport on the surrounding community. This plan will alternate the use of diagonal and parallel runways over a period of 12 weeks.

The new runway rotation plan was approved on March 10th by the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission. This is the second runway rotation test, and has addressed several issues that stemmed from the original test. The Suburban O’Hare Commission analyzed data from the first runway rotation test, sorted out any problems and created an improved runway rotation test. This rotation plan will run over a period of 12 weeks, half the time of the previous test, and it is hoped that this method of testing will be more efficient and effective.

The goal of the newest initiative is to provide relief to the surrounding communities who are the most affected by the airport noise at all hours of the day and night. The data from the new tests will be used to create a new Fly Quiet program that will be implemented in 2018. Beginning at the end of the moth, the new test will run through July 22nd. Learn more about the upcoming test and find the 2017 runway rotation schedule here.
Representative Christine Winger filed several bills in the 100th General Assembly to advocate for those communities in her district who are adversely affected by the noise from O’Hare Airport. Two of her bills on the matter, HB3248 and HB3240 recently passed out of the House and are being considered in the Senate.

HB3248 concerns both the safety and quality of life for residents living nearby the airport. The expansion of O’Hare Airport has only exacerbated such concerns, and this bill calls for the IEPA and IDOT to monitor noise and air pollution over the next two years and produce a written report to the General Assembly by October 31st, 2019 on their findings.

The second piece of legislation, HB3240, mandates the city of Chicago’s Department of Aviation to implement an upgraded noise monitoring system by June 30th, 2018. This system is new smart meter technology so that the airport noise can be measured in real time, to more accurately collect data to gauge the overall impact airport noise has on the surrounding communities.

Rep. Winger’s bills continue to proceed through the legislative process after receiving bipartisan support in the House and moving forward.
State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) led a subject matter hearing today to fight for property tax rights for veterans. The hearing was held in front of the Property Tax Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, where Rep. Winger explained the need for her legislation, HB3195. This legislation would give any veteran who returned from an armed conflict prior to 2007 a homestead tax exemption for the 2017 and 2018 tax year.

While recent veterans are given a onetime property tax exemption, Winger’s bill would extend this exemption to include veterans who returned from active duty prior to 2007.

“This property tax exemption is a small effort we can make to help benefit our veterans who have already given so much for our country,” said Winger. “It is important to equalize this exemption so that all veterans—no matter the war or generation in which they fought can benefit.”

The tax exemption in the current law provides a $5,000 reduction in the EAV of a veteran’s principal residence upon returning from active duty in an armed conflict beginning in the year 2007. The exemption is for two consecutive years, the year the veteran returns from active duty and the following year.
State Representative Christine Winger filed a series of bills concerning the noise from O’Hare Airport and the effects the noise has on the surrounding areas. Today, Rep. Winger moved two bills from this O’Hare Airport Noise initiative forward. Both bills are part of the package of legislation introduced in the 100th General Assembly to bring relief to area residents in the surrounding area from the airport noise, and find more answers to the longer term effects of the airport on the surrounding area.

Today, both pieces of legislation, House Bill 3240 and House Bill 3248 were presented by Rep. Winger to the Transportation Committee in the House, where both passed with no opposition.

House Bill 3240 is an extension of a previous bill passed during the 99th General Assembly, and enforces the measures created in that legislation. The bill mandates the city of Chicago’s Department of Aviation to change and modernize the way it conducts noise monitoring around O’Hare Airport. Winger’s legislation adds a deadline of June 30, 2018 for implementation of an upgraded noise monitoring system. The previous network of noise-monitoring machines will be replaced with new smart meter technology so that airport noise can be measured in real time. The data collected by these noise-monitoring machines will be run through an algorithm that can weigh airport noise by sound pressure and time of day. This number will be calculated to gauge the overall impact the airport noise has on the surrounding communities. HB3240 will move the process along, and urge the city to comply with state law.

The constant expansion of O’Hare Airport and the changing of the airport’s runway layout has not only created noise but also had other adverse effects on the surrounding communities and residents. Representative Winger’s second bill, House Bill 3248, will conduct a study to measure these environmental effects. The bill directs the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), to study the noise around the airport and determine the environmental side-effects. Not only does this legislation require an environmental study, but it calls for a report to be presented to the General Assembly no later than October 31, 2019.

In this legislation, the specific environmental concerns that will be assessed include air pollution, gas and fluid emission by aircrafts, and the quality of life, health and property values of the residents living nearby.

HB3240 and HB3248 will move forward to the House for further consideration.
In an effort to make state government and the legislative process more accessible to Illinois residents regardless of their national origin or spoken language, below are the links to translate the Illinois General Assembly website,, into any one of dozens of different languages.

The Illinois General Assembly website contains legislator profiles, full text of all legislation introduced in the House of Representatives and State Senate, live audio and video feeds of legislative session and committee hearings; and a wide variety of other legislative information and support services.

Please click any of the links below to translate the Illinois General Assembly website into your preferred language:

Spanish Español

Arabic عربي

Hindi हिन्दी

Chinese (Simplified) 中文简体

Chinese (Traditional) 中文繁體

Japanese 日本語

Korean 한국어

Russian Русский

French Français

German Deutsch

Italian Italiano

Polish Polski

Greek Ελληνικά

You can translate the Illinois General Assembly website into as many as 57 different languages using any of the above links.
Governor Rauner – Medicaid Proposal
Gov. Bruce Rauner makes major Medicaid proposal. The proposal to increase the percentage of Medicaid medical cases that move through “managed care” was unveiled on Monday, February 27. The state’s chief executive called for expanding existing Medicaid managed care programs to cover 80% of Illinois’ three million Medicaid patients. This would mark a major increase in managed care from the current percentage of nearly 67%. In Medicaid managed care, private insurance firms serve as “gatekeepers” for treatments, performing a role similar to insurance firms that manage groups of families that receive employment-based health care.
Chicago – Thompson Center
The Chicago Sun-Times editorializes in favor of State disposal of James R. Thompson Center. The editorial asserts that the troubled 1.2-million-square-foot structure reflects the values of a bygone period of public-sector arrogance and has reached the end of its useful life. Studies indicate that the building has been under-maintained for many years. Building experts say that the State would have to pay $326 million merely to renovate the building back to working conditions. In addition, the State currently has to pay $25 per square foot in Thompson Center heating, cooling, cleaning, and upkeep bills.
In his Budget Address to the 100th General Assembly, Governor Bruce Rauner was optimistic that a bipartisan compromise can be met, and one that will benefit both tax payers and job creators.

The Governor stressed the importance of job creation as an essential part of economic growth, and the key to returning Illinois to a state of prosperity. While noting the difficulties of the last two years in which the state has gone without a budget in place, Governor Rauner encouraged lawmakers to work together to make progress.

The Senate was recognized for their efforts in bipartisan compromise in producing their ‘Grand Bargain.’ Today, Governor Rauner disclosed parameters of his own that he sees essential to a balanced budget agreement. Some of these ideas included a permanent property tax freeze, economic reforms, pension reform, term limits, job creation, workers compensation reform, and a refusal to tax retirement income.
Gambling – Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets
Rep. Christine Winger introduces resolution calling for investigation and audit. Recent investigative reports have revealed that many “scratch-off” tickets for Illinois State Lottery games are pulled from public retail store counters and shredded before the prizes printed on the tickets have been awarded. In response to these reports, Rep. Christine Winger has sponsored HJR 26, which asks the Office of the Illinois Auditor General to audit the ticket-sale cycle and report to the General Assembly, no later than January 31, 2018, on whether buyers of Illinois game tickets are getting the prizes promised.
Each year, The Conference of Women Legislators (COWL) awards college scholarships to women ages 25 years and older to help them attain an undergraduate degree. The purpose of the program is to support women who, for various reasons, have not had the opportunity to begin or complete their education at an earlier stage due to life changes and/or financial difficulties.

The one-year undergraduate scholarship will cover tuition, books and fees up to $2500 per year, including summer school.
Budget – FY17
Fitch Ratings cuts Illinois’ credit rating. The move by one of the “Big Three” debt rating agencies serves as further evidence of the dismal state of Illinois’ public finances. Fitch Ratings cut Illinois’ general obligation bond rating this week from BBB+ with a negative outlook to BBB with a negative outlook. The new rating is only one notch above the lowest possible rating (BBB-) that can be granted to an entity that is viewed as an investment-grade credit risk. Two other bond issues that are tied to the State of Illinois, the bond issued by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and the bonds issued by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, also saw cuts in their ratings from Fitch. The New York-based credit rating house added that they believe that the failure of the State to deal with its fiscal challenges “has fundamentally weakened the state’s financial profile.”
State of the State Address
Governor Rauner optimistic about the State of the State. In his third annual State of the State Address, Governor Bruce Rauner indicated that he is optimistic about the future of Illinois and used the opportunity to talk about Illinois’ accomplishments, as well as the work that still lies ahead.

The Governor recognizes the state’s challenges, but with great challenges comes great opportunity. He is optimistic these challenges can be solved by working together to improve the future of Illinois. He discussed the administration’s accomplishments including ethics reform, record education funding, job creation and making government more efficient. While much work lies ahead, we build on the bipartisan agreement that change to the system needs to occur with passing a truly balanced budget.
Governor Bruce Rauner recently gave his third annual State of the State address to the 100th General Assembly. His optimism about the state’s accomplishments over the last two years was evident throughout, as he acknowledged the major improvements made in education funding, ethics reform, job creation, and criminal justice reform.

Representative Christine Winger appreciated the Governor’s noted optimism, and believes that despite the current challenges facing state lawmakers, “positive change has happened for Illinois, and it is encouraging to remember that we can accomplish great things through compromise.”

Illinois’ biggest challenge is the state budget. Yet, working toward a balanced budget agreement to rectify the state’s financial crisis has been no easy feat.

Governor Rauner recognized the Illinois Senate for their work on a budget proposal, most notably for their efforts in compromise, collaboration, and negotiation. Representative Winger is encouraged to see this progress and continued movement in in the right direction.

“As lawmakers we are responsible for making the hard decisions and working to serve our taxpayers,” said Winger. “I hope we can continue to build on the success we had over the last two years to find solutions on our states biggest issues.”

Winger has embraced the optimism in the Governor’s message and is looking forward to getting back to work when legislative session resumes February 8th in the Illinois House of Representatives.
College women looking to learn more about the political process are encouraged to apply for NEW Leadership™ Illinois.

NEW Leadership™ Illinois is a non-partisan, week-long residential program for college women designed to increase women's representation in all elements of public life, including elected office. The program challenges our brightest students to think critically and creatively about public policy and encourages them to make a commitment to public leadership early in their careers.

Budget – Unpaid Bills
Unpaid bill total now well above $11 billion. The total of unpaid bills reported by the Office of the Comptroller is now greater than $11.3 billion. The unpaid-bill total includes bills that are in the Comptroller’s office waiting to be paid, and bills that are still in the various agencies of the State, such as the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, that the Comptroller knows about but which have not yet been forwarded for payment. These are past-due bills that represent services that providers have expended resources for, pursuant to State law, but for which they have not yet been paid.
Heads up, Gmail users: a new phishing attack is making the rounds and it's fooling even technically-savvy, security-conscious users.

The ruse aims to steal usernames and passwords for Gmail and other services, and "is being used right now with a high success rate," according to Mark Maunder, CEO of WordPress security plugin Wordfence, who described the campaign in detail. Like other phishing attacks, this one starts with an email. Instead of a random person, the email may appear to have been sent by someone you know, and it may include an image of an attachment you recognize from the sender.

"You click on the image, expecting Gmail to give you a preview of the attachment. Instead, a new tab opens up and you are prompted by Gmail to sign in again. You glance at the location bar and you see in there," Maunder wrote.

Once you sign in, the attackers have full access to your account. Read the rest of the story by PC Magazine.
Winger takes the oath of office.
Rep. Wingers begins her 2nd term. On Wednesday, State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) took the oath of office with 117 other members of the 100th General Assembly. The historic inauguration took place at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Winger won re-election to the Illinois Legislature last November and will begin her second term in the House of Representatives. Read more.

100th General Assembly Convenes
On Wednesday, State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) took the oath of office with 117 other members of the 100th General Assembly. The historic inauguration took place at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Winger won re-election to the Illinois Legislature last November and will begin her second term in the House of Representatives

“I am honored to continue representing 45th District families,” said Winger. “Over the last two years I’ve learned a great deal about how Springfield works and look forward to being an effective voice on behalf of my constituents.”

The human trafficking of children for sex in Illinois happens in every small town and big city throughout the state. In 2016, DCFS investigated 143 calls to the hotline for allegations of Human Trafficking. Many of the reports involved children being victimized within blocks of where they live.

Trafficking is not just an issue that happens to people in other countries. The United States is a source and transit country, and is also considered one of the top destination points for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States; anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises (source: It’s important to remember that anyone under the age of 18 involved in this crime is a victim.