Today the Illinois House of Representatives approved SB1947 which will allocate necessary state funding for education to school districts state-wide. The bill represented a compromised agreement from legislative leaders to reform school funding in Illinois. Special session convened today in Springfield for a vote on the bill, which passed with bipartisan support.

State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) supported the measure that utilizes an Evidence-Based Funding Formula to adequately and equitably fund Illinois schools.

“The funding formula has been broken for too long,” said Winger. “Today’s agreement is a historic step forward for education funding, one that will help our students have the opportunities they deserve to succeed while also ensuring all school districts are treated fairly.”

This model creates an adequacy target for each school district to prioritize funding. Under this bill, no school district will lose money, but rather it secures historic funding levels for all Illinois school districts.

Rep. Winger noted the mandate and property tax relief provided in the bill as extremely beneficial as it “provides greater flexibility for school districts, and also more opportunities for students,” said Winger.

The bill replaces the daily Physical Education requirement in schools with a minimum requirement of three days per week. It also allows 7th-12th graders to be exempt from Physical Education if they participate in athletics. Also included is a property tax referendum to give certain homeowners the ability to reduce their property taxes with a property tax relief provision.

Effective immediately, the passage of SB1947 allows funding to be allocated to school districts.
The Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test program was created by the Chicago Department of Aviation to determine whether alternating flight patterns across different runways at night would better disperse noise and reduce noise levels experienced by residents impacted by O’Hare Airport.

The third O’Hare Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test began the evening of July 23, 2017 and continues for 12 weeks, through the Week of October 8th. Each new week, the tests will begin on Sunday evening at 10 p.m.or after, when demand allows for one arrival and one departure runway.

The purpose of conducting a third test is to test in real time a runway rotation without the use of diagonal runway 15/33, which is slated to be decommissioned in the spring of 2018.

You can find more information on the Fly Quiet program here, and to view the entire schedule for the current 12-week test click here.

Representative Winger has diligently worked to provide noise relief for area residents through legislative initiatives in the General Assembly. “Hearing feedback from area residents on these tests is vital to their success and to finding the best solution that will provide the most relief,” said Winger. The Representative encourages residents to fill out the brief survey about the current Fly Quiet runway test to provide their feedback.

The survey will be available until October 14th. All questions must be answered in order to complete the survey.

Two of State Representative Christine Winger’s bills were recently signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner.

HB3240 and HB3251 are now public acts. The bills represent two important initiatives Rep. Winger worked on this year in the General Assembly, to better provide for the safety and well-being of the 45th District community.

HB3240 sets a deadline for implementation of the O’Hare noise monitoring upgrade already approved and mandated by the Illinois General Assembly. The community has been largely affected by adverse effects, especially increased noise, from O’Hare Airport. This bill will provide for the necessary noise monitoring upgrades—and ensure they are implemented by June 30, 2018.

HB3251 creates the offense of illegal electronic monitoring in the statute concerning cyberstalking. Rep. Winger filed this bill to help protect citizens’ privacy and safety from spyware and tracking software being unknowingly installed or downloaded onto cell phones for the purpose of harassment or stalking.

Both bills became effective as law when they were signed by the Governor on August 18th, 2017.

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.”