Winger's Weekly Wrap-Up for April 30th

IEPA to Study O’Hare’s Environmental Effect

State Representative Christine Winger’s bill, HB5272 requires the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to conduct a study of the effects of both noise and the toxic atmospheric impacts around O’Hare Airport.  The results of this study would be presented to the Illinois General Assembly no later than October 31, 2020.

HB5272 recommends that the IEPA pay particular attention in their study to the impacts of air pollution, noise pollution, and the emission of gases and fluids by aircrafts as they can impact the quality of life, health and property of residents who live in close proximity to the flights patterns used by O’Hare Airport.

Representative Winger stressed the importance of this study, as the environmental and noise concerns could only be exacerbated with the upcoming O’Hare transformation project. 

Representative Winger presented the bill to the Transportation committee where it unanimously passed.  Rep. Winger also had Mayor Nunzio Pulice and Deputy Mayor Art Woods from Wood Dale present to testify in support of the bill. 

Upcoming Job Fair

Representative Winger is hosting a Job Fair that will bring over 80 hiring employers to her district.  The job fair will be held on Monday, May 7th at the Itasca Park District, 350 E. Irving Park Road, from 10am-1pm. 

A variety of employers will be at the event to discuss available positions. Skills workshops will also be held throughout the day at the event, which will help candidates in their job search.  The workshops will include job search strategies, interview tips, and how to avoid job scams, and are all free to any attendees.

Representative Winger is committed to getting Illinoisans back to work, and encourages job seekers to dress to impress and bring plenty of resumes to the Job Fair.

“This is an opportunity for residents to easily meet with hiring managers and discuss employment opportunities,” said Winger.  “The goal of the event is to bring as many hiring companies as possible together under one roof, to maximize the opportunities for those seeking jobs.”

Admission to the event is free and it is open to the public.  With questions, contact Rep. Winger’s District Office at (847) 252-9311. To view the event flyer and participating employers, visit

Revenue Estimate Requested

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady filed joint resolutions Thursday to adopt a revenue estimate in order to begin the budgeting process for fiscal year 2019.

“It is our constitutional duty to taxpayers across Illinois to spend within our means – something we have not done in decades here at the Capitol,” Durkin said. “The rejection of certifying a revenue estimate in Springfield is not acceptable and is legislative malpractice. We owe it to Illinois taxpayers to take this first step in finally balancing the state’s checkbook and putting Illinois on the right track towards fiscal stability.”

House Joint Resolution 124 adopts a revenue estimate of $37.672 billion for fiscal year 2019, based on the estimate provided by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA).

“This resolution, and the need for a revenue estimate, is an important step forward as it will help the budgeteers that are currently meeting to work toward a balanced budget,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady. 

A revenue estimate is required by state law:

“The House and Senate by joint resolution shall adopt or modify such estimates as may be appropriate. The joint resolution shall constitute the General Assembly’s estimate, under paragraph B of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution, of funds estimated to be available during the next fiscal year (25 ILCS 155/4(a)).”

It is also required by Subsection (b) of Section 2 of Article VIII of the Constitution of Illinois:

“Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.”

The editorial board of the State Journal-Register, the Springfield state capital paper that closely covers state government, joined the call for adoption of a revenue estimate in an editorial published on Thursday, April 26. 

Federal Grant to Fight Opioid Abuse

The $16 million federal grant will be paid through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to medical service providers who help fight opioid abuse and provide treatments.  States hit by opioid abuse are getting help from Congress through the 21st Century Cures Act. 

The abuse of opioid drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, played a role in the deaths of an estimated 2,000 Illinois residents in 2017.  Much of the grant money is earmarked for new treatment and recovery services, including medication-assisted treatment.  Medication-assisted treatments for opioids include limited allocations to patients of medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as methadone and buprenorphine.  Persons recently released from prison or county jail who are diagnosed as being at risk for recidivism will be offered treatment options.  Some of the grant money will be used to strengthen enforcement of the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, the State program to monitor and enforce the prescription status of opioid painkillers.

The grant will supplement efforts already underway to make universal the first responder access to naloxone, the opioid agonist that if administered in a timely manner can save the life of a victim who is in an overdose situation.  In its ongoing outreach to paramedic forces and other first responders, IDHS has learned that funds like these have trained nearly 18,000 responders to administer naloxone.  

Apprenticeship Pathways to Jobs

In coordinated visits, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti toured Continental Tire’s world headquarters in Hanover, Germany and the firm’s Illinois tire-manufacturing plant in Mt. Vernon.  The Rauner administration is looking to expand our state’s infrastructure of apprenticeship opportunities, a pathway to work training that is already in active use in many German-managed industrial firms.  In Mt. Vernon, Sanguinetti spoke to apprentices at the factory who are learning job skills as they prepare to fully enter the Illinois workforce.

Illinois is pushing toward leadership in apprenticeship opportunities.  Over the past four years, Illinois school funding has increased by more than $1.2 billion.  Some of these funds have been invested to expand apprenticeship programs in Illinois high schools.  Many Illinois community colleges have developed task forces with local employers to adjust their curricula in the direction of apprenticeship pathways and job-oriented work certification programs.  Future automated workplaces will demand a well-trained Illinois workforce.  Current numbers show that Illinois has enjoyed a net gain of 18,200 manufacturing jobs over the most-recently-reported 12-month period of employment in the Prairie State.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security figures cover the period from March 2017 to March 2018. 

Illinois Sells General-Obligation Debt

The sale of $500 million in general-obligation obligations was concluded on Wednesday, April 25.  The action “rolled over” existing commitments made by Illinois to maintain its capital infrastructure and conduct other essential long-term elements of public policy.  While Illinois’ debt is given a relatively low ranking by international credit-measurement agencies, the obligations continue to be ranked as investment-grade securities. For example, leading bond analytical firm Moody’s Investors Services ranks Illinois general obligation debt at Baa3 with a negative outlook. 

In Wednesday’s debt transaction, Illinois and its taxpayers promised to pay a package of yields that scale upwards with the lifespan of each individual packet of bonds sold.  The longest-tailed bonds were stamped with an expiration date of 2043 and were sold with a tax-free interest rate of 4.88%.  Interest rates on the bond package as a whole averaged 4.55%.

The interest rates of more than 4.5% that Illinois will have to pay are significantly higher than the three-percent-plus rates paid by most public-sector debtors selling tax-exempt fixed-yield securities.  Much of the cloud that lies over Illinois’ credit rating and fiscal prospects is driven not by general-obligation debts, such as the instruments sold by Illinois on Wall Street this week, but by other, separate, sets of State commitments relating to unpaid bills and State-managed pensions.  While Illinois’ general obligation debt load has remained steady since FY10 at a level that fluctuates between $25 billion and $30 billion, Illinois also has more than $7.3 billion in unpaid bills and more than $130 billion in estimated unfunded pension obligations.   

Veterans Honored in Bicentennial Initiative

The Illinois Bicentennial Commission, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), has announced an initiative to honor selected veterans from throughout Illinois.  The “Honor 200” initiative authorizes Illinoisans to nominate a friend or neighbor who is: (a) a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, and (b) exemplifies the meaning of selfless service, courage, and compassion.  Illinoisans who want to participate in the selection process are invited to submit nominations to IDVA no later than Tuesday, July 31.  The nomination must include the nominee’s DD214 proof of honorable discharge, and should also include a written summary of the nominee’s life achievements.  The nomination form contains guidance categories to set forth these achievements, including military service dates and a list of the nominee’s military awards and decorations.  The “Honor 200” Illinois veterans will be honored on Illinois’s birthday, December 3, 2018.                       

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