I hope you and your family had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Giving Tuesday
Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, a social media holiday designed to kick off the charitable season. This unofficial holiday is appropriately celebrated the Tuesday after the blessings of Thanksgiving and the shopping “holidays” of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Over the weekend my family and I donated toys to the New Hope Food Pantry in Norwood Park.
I encourage you to do something this holiday season for those less fortunate. Everyone can give something, whether it is a gift, money, or just your time and effort. Click here to find local organizations and non-profits in your community.

The House recently debated, and failed to pass, a hotly contested piece of legislation. Senate Bill 1905 would have prohibited local governments from enacting “Right to Work” zones in their communities. It would prohibit local communities from allowing individual workers a choice in whether or not they want to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

I respect the great work unions do for our middle class and our communities. I do not support turning Illinois into a right to work state nor do I believe that Illinois is in danger of becoming one.

However, the bill went much further than I was comfortable with. One of the components of the bill would have made violations of the Act a criminal misdemeanor. This could have resulted in the jailing of local elected officials, which is an obvious overstep.

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Saturday, November 25th is Small Business Saturday. This unofficial holiday began in 2010 to encourage people to shop local and shop small. Statistically, the weekend after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping weekend of the year. This year, according to the National Retail Association more than 164 million people are expected to shop over the weekend and Cyber Monday.

"Small businesses are vital to the Illinois economy, their success is our success", Rep. McAuliffe said. "If you plan to shop this weekend, I encourage you to visit many of the small and family owned businesses in our community."

Illinois small business statistics:

  • ​1.2 million small businesses in Illinois (99.6% of Illinois businesses)
  • 2.4 million small business employees in Illinois (46% of all Illinois employees)
  • 311,609 minority-owned small businesses in Illinois
  • Small business makes up 90% of Illinois’ exporters
  • Small business created 43,836 net jobs in 2014
  • Construction, real estate & arts, entertainment & recreation are the three largest small business employers in Illinois
Small businesses can create personalized #shopsmall online marketing tools here
State Representative Michael McAuliffe today was appointed to the House Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. The task force will conduct a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment, in both the public and private sectors.

The task force was created by House Resolution 687, which was unanimously passed last week in Springfield. In the final week of veto session, the Illinois General Assembly took many steps to address sexual harassment, including passing comprehensive legislation and conducting new training. This outpouring of response was prompted recent revelations about the harmful culture in Springfield and Illinois politics for women. 

"Like many I have been concerned, disappointed, and outraged by what I have heard in recent weeks," Rep. McAuliffe said. "We in Springfield must do better if we are to lead this state by example. I am committed to working on concrete steps to rectify the culture in Springfield."

The task force will file a report with the General Assembly by the end of next year outlining the best practices to improve procedures for accepting sexual discrimination and harassment complaints, process and structure for reporting allegations, process for filing civil complaints, process for filing complaints with Department of Human Rights, and prevention of sexual discrimination and harassment in the public and private sector.