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).