Springfield, IL… Legislation introduced by State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) has unanimously passed both legislative chambers. The bill requires women to be informed if they have dense breast tissue, which raises a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. It also requires mammography providers to inform them of additional tests that may be needed for a proper diagnosis of breast cancer.
Non-dense breast tissue appears dark and transparent on a mammogram. However, many women have dense breast tissue, which appears as a solid white area on a mammogram. This makes cancer much more difficult to detect as it is difficult to see through and because cancer tumors also appear white. In these cases, a mammography alone can miss cancer diagnoses; as often as one third of the time.
 “The earlier cancer is detected and treated, the better the outcome,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Unfortunately, many women are left unaware that their mammogram results were inconclusive and that they have a right to additional testing.”
In 2017, Illinois passed legislation to require that insurance cover MRIs or ultrasounds in addition to mammograms if a mammogram shows the presence of dense breast tissue. House Bill 4392 will serve to improve that mandate by requiring mammography providers to inform women if they have dense breast tissue and advise them of any supplemental tests they may need.
HB 4392 was sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago). It now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Chicago, IL … State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) is set to offer his yearly Senior Driving Seminars in collaboration with the Illinois Secretary of State. The classes are offered through June and give senior citizens an opportunity to refresh their memory for the written driving test when renewing their licenses. The seminars are taught by an instructor from the Secretary of State’s Office and include an extensive overview of the contents of the Rules of the Road booklet and sample test.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office imposes additional requirements and measures for senior drivers:
·                 Illinois drivers can renew their licenses for 4 years between ages 69 and 80.
·                 Until the age of 86 licenses drivers can renew for 2 years and after 87 years the license needs to be renewed annually.
·                 All drivers have to take a vision test.
·                 Drivers will be asked to take a written knowledge test every 8 years, unless they have no traffic violations. If your driving records indicate an accident, then you will need to pass a written and/or driving test.
·                 Drivers over 75 years have to take a road test at the time of renewal.

“Every year the seniors in my district express to me the importance of these driving seminars. They really accredit their successes on the written portion of the driving test to attending this refresher course,” explained Rep. McAuliffe. “I invite any and all senior citizens to these driving seminars as I know they will benefit greatly.” 

WHAT: Senior Driving Seminars 
WHEN: Thursday, June 7th at 6pm – Olympia Park, Chicago
Tuesday, June 12th at 10am – Oriole Park, Chicago 
Friday June 15th at 10:30am – White Eagle Banquet Hall, Niles

If you have any questions or would like to attend, please RSVP by calling Rep. McAuliffe’s office at 773-444-0611 or register via the button on the right hand side of the website. 

Springfield, IL… Recognizing the need to change the culture both in the public and the private sectors, State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) overwhelmingly advanced legislation through the House to require sexual harassment training for state licensees.
Last fall hundreds of female legislators, lobbyists, and staff signed on to a letter revealing the open secret of Springfield’s culture of sexual harassment. The General Assembly took action, passing new ethics legislation and creating the Illinois Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Task Force. Rep. McAuliffe serves on the task force and has heard firsthand how prevalent the issue in both government and politics as well as in private businesses.

“Over the course of the past six months we’ve conducted a thorough review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Given what we’ve heard, this legislation is sorely needed. Everyone has the right to feel comfortable in their place of work.”
House Bill 4953 requires professions licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) that have continuing education requirements include at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training. The newly required training would take effect for license renewals beginning in 2020. IDFPR already requires training on other issues including domestic violence.
“If IDFPR requires licensees to be trained in a number of issues, it is common sense that ensuring a safe workplace environment be included,” Rep. McAuliffe continued.

HB 4953 unanimously passed the House, 103-0. The bill is awaiting further action in the Senate and is sponsored by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).
The Combined Veterans’ Capital Needs Task Force, created by Governor Bruce Rauner to analyze infrastructure needs and develop key strategies on how to improve the health and safety of residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy (IVHQ), has submitted a final report to the Governor and General Assembly.

The Task Force provided four recommendations for continued remediation efforts at the home and notes that “anything less than complete reconstruction will fall short” of its full support. The recommendations include: 

  • Building a new, state-of-the art skilled nursing care facility that could house up to 300 residents.
  • Constructing a new, underground water loop that feeds existing buildings and new construction.
  • Develop an alternate water source and make improvements to the existing water treatment facility as necessary.
  • Purchase and renovate the closed, off-site nursing facility to provide a safe and comfortable temporary living environment for up to 180 IVHQ residents. The facility could hold up to 90 residents permanently.
The estimated cost of complete reconstruction is between $202 and $245 million dollars, which requires the approval and appropriation of the General Assembly.

The Task Force report also put forth the following legislative initiatives that will expedite the process on rebuilding the campus and protecting Illinois’ heroes for generations to come.
  • Pass SB 3128, which will extend the sunset date for the Design Build Act (30 ILCS 537/5) and permit CDB to use the design-build delivery method on public projects.
  • Pass SB 667, SB 3127, and SB 3144, which will allow the state to access federal reimbursement funding for capital projects. There is currently more than $12 million in the fund, with an additional $4 million expected in the near future.  The bills have cleared the Senate and are currently awaiting action in the House.
  • Increase thresholds for financial disclosures in the Illinois Procurement Code. Section 50-35 of the Procurement Code (30 ILCS 500/50-35) requires financial disclosures from all vendors and subcontractors with a contract over $50,000 prior to work beginning on a project.  Waiting for compliance from vendors and subcontractors can slow the project start time.  Increasing the threshold for financial disclosure requirements form $50,000 to $250,000 can help expedite the projects referenced in this report.
  • Modify the Veterans Affairs Act, granting licensing and control of off campus buildings to ensure continuity of care for residents who are housed at the off-site nursing facility.
The full report is available here.

Springfield, IL – Today State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) joined other representatives in introducing a measure widely supported by both the business and labor communities. House Bill 5864 would create the Blue Collar Jobs Act, legislation designed to incentivize construction projects in the State of Illinois and create jobs for the middle class.
“Our state workforce is unmatched; they deserve an economy that can put them to work,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Cook County has an unemployment rate of 5.5%, higher than the state average of 4.8% and the national average of 4.1%. This Act will spur much needed economic development and help strengthen the State’s middle class by creating good paying jobs.”
The Blue Collar Jobs Act offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital improvements in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. It does this through the creation of four new tax credits, including:
-          High Impact Business construction jobs credit
-          Enterprise Zone construction jobs credit
-          New Construction EDGE Credit
-          River Edge construction jobs credit
The program will work under the same structure as the current EDGE program:
-          Tax credit value is 50% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement;
-          Tax credit value rises to 75% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement in areas designated to be in an underserved area that meets certain poverty, unemployment, and federal assistance rates;
-          Tax credit is issued to the organization that builds, renovates or expands the building just as the EDGE tax credit goes to the company hiring the workers. The tax credit is meant to incentivize the company to construct new buildings or improve existing buildings which can’t be built without the use of Illinois labor.
“With an unemployment rate ranked at number 40, Illinois lags behind the rest of the country in ensuring people have access to quality jobs,” Rep. McAuliffe continued. “Illinois needs to encourage investment and growth if we are ever going to stop the population outflow. ”
The tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. There is no risk to the State for a company not meeting its requirement as the State has already captured the withholding tax prior to the tax credit being issued.

Springfield, IL… In response to the State’s slow moving efforts to expand newborn screening tests, State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) unanimously advanced legislation to help speed up the implementation process of additional tests like Krabbe disease.

Krabbe disease is a rare neurological illness that must be identified as soon after birth as possible if it is to be treated. By the time symptoms appear in babies, it is often too late to receive treatment. A state law passed in 2007 added Krabbe to the newborn screening panel, a state-mandated public health program designed to catch certain genetic, metabolic, and congenital disorders in newborn babies. Ten years later and testing is still slow to be administered. Five children in Illinois have died of Krabbe since the statewide screening should have begun.

“Early identification can literally mean life or death in these tragic situations,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “The sooner we can get these tests implemented, the more babies lives we will save. Bureaucratic red tape should not stand in the way of that.”

New tests and screenings as well as medical advancements require new equipment. House Bill 4745 amends Illinois’ procurement law so that it no longer applies to contracts for services, information technology purchases, commodities, and equipment to support the delivery of timely newborn screening services provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The procurement process, while intended to make sure we’re getting the best use of taxpayer dollars, is often lengthy and cumbersome. Last fall IDPH testified before the House Health Care Availability and Access Committee and said that the nearly two year procurement process is partly to blame for the delayed implementation of new testing.

HB 4745 passed out of the State Government Administration Committee 7-0 and will now be considered by the full House of Representatives.
Springfield, IL… State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) unanimously advanced legislation to require women to be informed if they have an increased risk of breast cancer or if they need to seek additional tests.
Statistics suggest that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Around half of women have dense breast tissue, which makes the cancer much more difficult to detect. According to the Mayo Clinic, nondense breast tissue appears dark and transparent on a mammogram while dense breast tissue appears as a solid white area, which makes it difficult to see through. Cancer tumors also appear white. Often a mammography alone, the gold standard for breast cancer screening, can miss cancer diagnoses; as often as one third of the time. Dense breast tissue also raises a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
“Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women and the earlier the detection, the better the odds of survival,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Many women don’t know that they have dense breast tissue and that they need more than the standard mammography test.”
A few years ago Illinois passed legislation that stated that if women have dense breast tissue they may be afforded an ultrasound covered by insurance. House Bill 4392 will serve as an educational enhancement to that mandate. It requires mammography providers to notify women who have dense breast tissue and inform them of the implications so that they can go to a doctor and discuss supplemental tests and breast imaging tools that may be necessary for a proper diagnosis.
HB 4392 passed the House Human Services Committee today on a 12-0 vote. Along with Rep. McAuliffe the committee heard testimony from Dr. Georgia Spear, Chief of Mammography at NorthShore University HealthSystem, and Bridget Pargulski and Patricia Beyer, two women who received breast cancer diagnoses after inaccurately clean mammograms.
The bill now heads to the floor for a full House vote. Similar legislation is in the Senate sponsored by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago).
The Illinois House and Senate are adjourned until April 9th. Speaker Madigan sets the schedule and all told the House has met for just 12 days this year. When the House returns, we will be in session nearly every day until scheduled adjournment on May 31st. By then we are expected to have passed a budget. However, the House has yet to adopt a revenue estimate and has failed to do so for years. This estimate serves as a taxpayer protection so we don't spend more money than we have available. As a result, over the past few years we have had budget deficits ultimately culminating in last year's tax hike.
It can be incredibly difficult to pass meaningful legislation and make tough budgetary choices in an election year. Increasingly partisan politics means neither side wants to give the other a "win".

Gun Legislation Update
Both within Illinois and across the nation, public safety is under threat from gun violence and mass shootings. We need to give our law enforcement officials, our regulatory agencies, and our communities the tools they need to help prevent tragedies across the state. We can do that while maintaining a respect for an individual's 2nd amendment rights.The Illinois House has responded with the following legislation:
Today House Republican Leader Jim Durkin appointed State Representative Michael McAuliffe to serve on the Firearm Public Awareness Task Force. The task force was created by House Resolution 648, which passed the House on February 28th. 

HR 648 reconstitutes a task force that expired in 2012 and was originally responsible for finding and analyzing data from states with concealed carry laws and the number of handgun crimes in each state before and after the laws went in to effect. Illinois’ own concealed carry law was adopted in 2014. 

The new reiteration of the Firearm Public Awareness Task Force will analyze the distribution of shootings in regions across the state, the flow of illegal guns into Illinois from other states, the conditions and gun dealer practices that facilitate straw purchases, and states with the best practices for regulating handguns and rifles. 

Rep. McAuliffe was one of five members of the Illinois House Republicans to be selected for the task force and the only one whose district includes parts of Chicago, a city plagued with gun violence. In addition to state legislators, the task force will include representatives from the policing community, gun violence advocates, the Illinois’ Department of Public Health and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.  

State Representative Michael McAuliffe successfully passed a resolution to honor Brian Urlacher on his induction in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Urlacher played linebacker for 12 years for the Chicago Bears from 2000-2012. He was voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility on February 3rd. 

Image result for brian urlacherIn his first season, Urlacher recorded 124 tackles and eight sacks, breaking the franchise rookie record. He was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000. He holds the Chicago Bears record for total career tackles; 1,353. As an incredibly popular player with nationwide recognition, Urlacher was voted in to eight pro bowls. Throughout his career he received numerous accolades including the Ed Block Courage award for sportsmanship and courage on and off the field. Urlacher is just the 28th Chicago Bear to enter the Hall of Fame.

The resolution was passed by the 100th General Assembly on February 13th. It applauds Brian Urlacher on his accomplishments, hard work, and the positive impact he has had on the Chicago Bears and the City of Chicago. Copies of the resolution will be presented to Urlacher and the Chicago Bears Organization.
At Governor Rauner's State of the State Address, Rep. McAuliffe and fellow state representatives wear black in solidarity against sexual harassment and discrimination

The Illinois School District Library Grant Program recently announced the recipients of Fiscal Year 2018 grants. The list includes several school libraries in the 20th district.  

Image result for School District Library Grant ProgramThe program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for the students of public schools in Illinois. The state legislature has authorized up to a $.75 per pupil expenditure for qualifying schools. The grant award is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the official enrollment as of the previous September 30th of a school district.

The program was started by Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White:

“As a former public school teacher and administrator, I know our school libraries are very important in helping students learn and prepare themselves for the future. Illinois was the first state to implement a school district grant program for libraries, and I am pleased that we can continue to provide them with some of the financial resources they need to produce well-educated students.”

East Maine School District #63 will receive the largest grant in the district, at nearly $2,500. The other libraries include Ridgewood Community High School District #234 and Schiller Park School District #81.

Image result for quincy veterans home hearingThe Illinois House and Senate Veterans' Committees held a joint session this week in Chicago to investigate the continued outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at the Quincy Veterans Home. Thirteen residents at the home have died from the disease over the past three years, including 12 who died in 2015 and one death last fall- two years after the initial outbreak.

At the hearing, the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Erica Jeffries, and the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Nirav Shah, defended the actions undertaken since the onset of the outbreak. Both agency heads said they took immediate steps toward remediation, implemented every protocol suggested by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and ultimately would not have done anything differently. 

Legionnaire's disease can be contracted when people inhale infected water vapor through showers, sinks, and fountains. Since 2015, the state has imposed new treatment protocols and spent nearly $6.4 million on emergency upgrades to the complex’s water treatment system.

In December, the CDC released its most recent report on the outbreak noting that Illinois agencies have committed considerable time, effort, and resources to address the problem, but complete eradication of Legionella in any large, complex building water system may not be possible. Director Jeffries said that the water in the facility is now tested more than 3,000 times each month.

"We owe our state’s veterans the best treatment and care possible," Rep. McAuliffe said. "As the Republican Spokesperson on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, I stand ready and willing to work together with those in the General Assembly and our state agencies to find a permanent solution to ensure the health and safety of our veteran’s at the Quincy Home."

Lawmakers at the hearing suggested a new capitol bill to pay for a complete overhaul of the plumbing at the home and to finance a new facility on the campus to replace one of the older infirmary buildings. Both the Senate and the House will hold additional hearings on the outbreak and the progress being made at the home. In addition, Governor Rauner plans to create a task force dedicated to investigating and remediating the issue.