Starting this Wednesday, the City of Chicago will implement a $0.07 tax per each bag received at retailers. The new tax will apply to both paper and plastic bags and the consumer will be responsible for the tax on each bag received upon check-out. To avoid the tax, shoppers are encouraged to bring reusable bags when shopping.

In the event city residents are looking to obtain reusable shopping bags, there are several free opportunities listed below:

- The City of Chicago will be handing out around 25,000 free, reusable bags outside CTA stations Wednesday.

- Jewel-Osco will also be giving the first 100 shoppers free bags on Saturday.

- Whole Foods will also be giving free bags to customers on Wednesday.

To remind consumers, the tax will apply to ALL retailers alike. According to the Chicago Tribune, many retailers will be passing the tax along to their customers including: Walgreens, Jewl-Osco, Whole Foods, Mariano’s, Target, CVS, PetSmart and T.J. Maxx.

To read more about the bag tax, see the Chicago Tribune’s story here or visit the City of Chicago’s website here.
Today, Governor Bruce delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. During the speech, the Governor
addressed the need to collaborate in a bipartisan effort in order to tackle the state’s financial impasse.

State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) was optimistic after listening to the Address and offered his thoughts:

“I was happy to hear the Governor stress the importance of working across the aisle in an attempt to find common ground for a budget solution. We have been presented with an opportunity to pursue some much-needed reform while implementing a balanced, fiscally responsible budget,” said McAuliffe. “Our state has taken many positive strides in the past and we must continue in our efforts to search for common sense solutions to adopt a budget, attract business and create jobs in Illinois.”

The State of the State Address will be followed by a budget address to be given by the Governor on February 15, 2017 at the Capitol.
Today, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announced the Leadership Team for the 100th General Assembly. Among those named was State Representative Michael McAuliffe, whose districts includes parts of the northwest side of the City of Chicago as well as the neighboring suburbs.

In naming Rep. McAuliffe as Assistant Minority Leader, Durkin commended McAuliffe’s dedication and resolve in working for not only the people of his district, but also for the good of all of Illinoisans:

“I have worked with Representative McAuliffe for many years and he has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his constituents and a willingness to collaborate with other legislators to better the lives of Illinois families. Rep. McAuliffe will be an asset to the House Republican Leadership Team,” said Durkin.

Rep. McAuliffe was first elected as state representative in 1996 and will be serving his first term as a member of House Leadership during this 100th General Assembly.

“I am flattered and honored to be named Assistant Minority Leader,” said McAuliffe. “I thank Leader Durkin for his confidence in me and am grateful at the opportunity to serve as a lead voice in our caucus as we work to move Illinois forward.”

Through his years of service Rep. McAuliffe has garnered attention for his legislation aimed to help senior citizens, public safety officers and veterans and to raise awareness of certain public health initiatives. Rep. McAuliffe lives in Chicago and is married with two children.

Happy New Year!
The new year is now upon us and I hope that you were able to share in the joys and warmth of the holidays with your loved ones. Most of us are very fortunate in that we are home for the holidays, however many of those in the armed forces and our first responders are called away from their families to serve and protect; I ask you to keep them in your thoughts as the year moves on.

New Year Brings New Laws
As with each new year, 2017 brings in many new laws; many of which will affect you. I hope that you take a moment to read through this list of some of the more notable laws that became effective January 1st. In total, there are 191 new laws. Here are the 26 laws that you should know about:

Social media right to privacy
Public Act 99-610, House Bill 4999
Amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it illegal for an employer or prospective employer to request or require an employee or applicant to access a personal online account (such as Facebook) in the presence of the employer. It is also illegal to request or require that an employee or applicant invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee, or applicant, or join an online account established by the employer.

Employee Sick Leave Act
Public Act 99-841, House Bill 6162
Under the new law, employees may now use personal sick leave benefits for purposes dealing with a child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or step parent. The employee can use such time as may be necessary on the same terms that employee would use the time for their own illness or injury.

Traffic stop education 
Public Act 99-720, House Bill 6131
Students taking drivers education courses will now be educated on safe procedures to follow during a traffic stop by law enforcement. The lesson will include such tips as remaining calm and keeping one’s hands in view at all times and will also educate drivers on their rights when in the presence of law enforcement.

To see the complete list, click here.

Looking Forward
The 100th General Assembly will be sworn in on January 11th and I look forward to continuing to serve as your state representative and voice in Springfield. I am hopeful that we can work together this spring to find common ground in moving this state forward for the better of all Illinoisans.

Happy New Year and thank you for you continue trust and confidence.