Keicher’s Korner: Upcoming Blood Drive, Legislation Update & More

The 103rd General Assembly is in full swing now with House members filing legislation and the committee process underway to review legislation for advancement to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

I was selected by new House Republican Leader Tony McCombie to serve as Caucus Chairman. I am grateful to Leader McCombie for the confidence she has placed in me, but more importantly, the opportunity this position in Leadership affords me to advocate for the issues important to our district and the people of Illinois. We will work to pass with our colleagues across the aisle needed policy changes to create jobs, strengthen schools, support our agriculture industry and enact meaningful and lasting property tax relief. We also need to prioritize keeping our best and brightest students in Illinois after they graduate high school. Whether they choose to pursue a college education, attend a trade school, or start a career, we have to make Illinois a place of opportunity for everyone. I believe in Illinois’ future and in my new leadership role as Caucus Chairman I pledge to focus on bringing people together to deliver meaningful results for the families each of us are privileged to serve.

Below is more information about recent happenings at the Capitol and from the 70th District. I’d also like to highlight our upcoming blood drive with Sen. Syverson next week. We still have some donation slots available, so please consider donating if you are able and willing. 

 Upcoming Blood Drive, Legislation Update & More

March 6th Blood Drive in Hampshire.

State Sen. Dave Syverson and I are hosting a community blood drive at our Hampshire office in partnership with Versiti on Monday, March 6. The blood drive will take place from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 115 W Oak Knoll Drive, Hampshire, IL 60140. Donors will receive a coupon for a buy one, get one entrée from Noodles & Company while supplies last.  Click here for more details and to sign up.

Named Spokesperson on three House Committees.

The committee level is where the bulk of most legislation is crafted with public testimony from concerned citizens and stakeholders from across Illinois. Serving Minority Spokesperson on the Insurance Committee, Immigration and Human Rights Committee, and the Gaming Committee will enable me to have a broad impact across a wide range of policy areas over the next two years. I believe in Illinois because we are home to a highly skilled workforce, incredible not-for-profit organizations, innovative manufacturers and small businesses that create jobs and opportunity, and last but not least outstanding community colleges like Waubonsee and world-class universities like NIU. There is nothing we cannot achieve when we work together in good faith and set partisan differences aside for the common good.  Read More Here.

Legislation filed to improve access to mental health resources for students.

Sadly, feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide have been on the rise among our students over the past several years, and the school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated this problem. In Illinois, we’ve been working diligently over the past few years to not only increase awareness about mental health resources, but also make it easier to access those resources. House Bill 2156 helps us advance that goal by putting the confidential resources of Safe2Help Illinois directly into the hands of our students.  Read More Here.

Valentines for Seniors Drive collects thousands of cards to spread joy.

When Sen. Syverson came up with this idea during COVID to show our seniors how much the community cares about them, I was amazed by the outpouring of our residents in the district. This year has blown the door off the prior two years. This program is all about honoring those who came before us by sharing joy and love with them on Valentine’s Day. I am truly blown away by the giving spirit of our community, and I am sincerely thankful to everyone who took the program to heart and made it our most successful year yet.  Read More Here.

Response to Governor’s budget proposal.

On February 15, Governor Pritzker gave his joint State of the State and Budget Address. I was glad the Governor addressed improving the climate for job creation. Illinois can, and should, once again be the economic powerhouse of the Midwest. His proposal to improve access to childcare to make it easier for families to work could help us achieve these goals, and I’m interested to see the details.

However, I have concerns about increasing state spending by nearly $3 billion when he has not offered proposals to improve accountability or address longstanding structural problems like procurement and personnel shortages. I also worry about rolling out new programs with long-term costs when we still have areas we need to shore up. Ultimately, we risk seeing tax revenues drop when inflation eventually settles down. We should focus on fully funding the needs of existing programs, especially those for seniors and adults with disabilities before we go about spending money on new programs.

Finally, I would have liked to see the Governor talk more about the responsiveness of his administration to the citizens of Illinois. I’ve heard a constant drum beat of complaints that the basic services and response expected from our state haven’t been met, whether we are talking about unemployment, DCFS, health care programs or senior services. We need to be sure we see the people of Illinois as our customers when delivering the services they’ve been taxed to pay for.  Read More Here.

Legislation to address the unintended consequences of BIPA rulings.

It’s no secret Illinois is already one of the most difficult places in the country to start and grow a business. The recent decisions by the Illinois Supreme Court concerning our biometric privacy law highlight just how bad the climate is for job creators and why we need to take action quickly to address the unintended consequences.

Each person has the right to have their biometric data protected and not used without consent, but sometimes laws with good intentions lead to costly errors. Now we need to fix those errors before we see even worse outcomes.  Read More Here.

Genoa, Hampshire Park Districts receive grant funding.

I’m very pleased that the Genoa and Hampshire Park Districts have both received funding through the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant program to improve outdoor recreation opportunities in our communities. These are growing communities that will benefit greatly from this funding, and I look forward to seeing their park projects come to fruition.  Read More Here.

Non-Profit Spotlight: Project SEARCH Northwestern Medicine at Kishwaukee Hospital.

Recently, my District Director, Jesse Sheehan, visited Project SEARCH Northwestern Medicine at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb to tour their facilities and speak with program interns.

Project SEARCH is a unique, business focused, one-year school to work transition program for students with disabilities that takes place entirely in the workplace. The selected students work in three internships over the course of the year in combination with classroom instruction, goal setting, career exploration, and hands on training through worksite rotations. Each student works with a team that includes their family, an instructor, a department mentor, rehabilitation counselor and employment specialists to create their employment goal and to support the student during their transition from school to work. This is truly an amazing program!  Learn More Here.

I hope you’ve found this update helpful. I’m honored to serve you as your State Representative. As always, please feel welcome to call or e-mail me with any questions, concerns, or feedback on these or any other issues.