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On Monday, the Illinois House of Representatives passed SB 1238 on a vote of 108-1-0. SB 1238 expands the Illinois Veterans Treatment Courts to allow for the Chief Administrative Judge in a Circuit to expand the specialty courts to be located in one or more county in the circuit. This legislation passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to the Governor’s desk for signature.

“This legislation is important for our veterans, especially in more in rural parts of the state that are participating in these veterans treatment courts,” said Representative Jimenez. “When our service men and women return home from serving our country, often times they struggle with the transition from military to civilian life and turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. Veterans service courts provide our veterans who have committed non-violent offenses the ability to receive rehabilitation services as an alternative to the traditional judicial system.”


"The finances of the state of Illinois are in crisis, and we must do better. The time for resolution is now. We are a bipartisan group of House members committed to seeing that happen.
 
There have been many ideas submitted both inside and outside the Statehouse. The key question for any of them is “do they have the votes to pass?” The Senate offers one set of ideas in the form of a grand bargain negotiated by both Democrats and Republicans in that chamber. 
 
We believe a solution that can pass the House and Senate and be signed by the Governor needs to include a package of bills that fundamentally addresses the needs of the state, and most importantly provides a normal, full-year budget for our state agencies, schools, and social service providers.
 
Let’s be clear; we aren’t looking at a simple all or nothing vote on a package sent from the Senate. We understand that a package sent from the Senate will not be complete or perfect, and it will change. Our legislative process allows hearings and amendments from both chambers, and we think that’s the best way to negotiate a deal that serves our constituents and the state as a whole.
 
We want to do what we were elected to do; govern the state. To do that we need to pass a budget. We understand a package from the Senate will be complex. Some parts may make members uncomfortable, and that’s not unusual in a negotiated deal.
 
We ask the Senators from both parties to pass the best negotiated package they can, and then we will take up their work in the House.  We publicly support the hard work of the Senate and wish to continue their efforts."
 
Signed by:

Representative Ann Williams,   Representative Kelly Cassidy,
Representative Anna Moeller,   Representative Linda Chapa LaVia'
Representative  Barb Wheeler,   Representative Litesa Wallace,
Representative Bob Pritchard,   Representative Marcus Evans,
Representative Camille Lilly,   Representative Mike Fortner,
Representative Carol Sente,   Representative Norine Hammond,
Representative Chad Hays,   Representative Sam Yingling,
Representative David Harris,   Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez,
Representative Elaine Nekritz,   Representative Sonya Harper,
Representative Elgie Sims,   Representative Stephanie Kifowit,
Representative Grant Wehrli,   Representative Steve Andersson,
Representative Jehan Gordon,   Representative Terri Bryant,
Representative Jerry Costello,   Representative Tim Butler,
Representative Keith Wheeler,   Representative Tom Bennett,
Representative Kelly Burke,   Representative Juliana Stratton
 
Speaker Madigan and House Democrats have pushed through the House another temporary state spending plan. Rep. Jimenez said the time for temporary measures has passed. The Speaker must join the other three legislative leaders and the Governor in negotiating a full year compromise budget.

Grand Bargain Update
The budget discussions are still ongoing. A separate budget proposal was introduced this week by Senator Bill Brady that would provide for a balanced budget. It is important to keep the conversations related to the budget moving by putting forth ideas on how to end the impasse. I am urging my colleagues in the House to join the discussions so we can pass a balanced budget as quickly as possible and get it to the Governor’s desk so he can sign it into law. We can only end this impasse by bringing Republicans and Democrats together in a bipartisan manner. The longer we put off passing a balanced budget the more difficult the choices will be for climbing out of the financial hole we are currently in. I am prepared to take the tough votes that are necessary to end the gridlock and move our state forward.

St. John’s Nursing Students
 I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with over 35 nursing students from St. John’s College of Nursing this week to discuss legislation important to nurses and the healthcare industry. I was inspired by the students’ passion for their work and dedication to quality patient care. 

Grant Middle School
I was happy to recognize student-athletes from the Grant Middle School 7th Grade Boys Basketball Team for winning the State Championship this year. The team’s hard work and dedication has paid off.
In this edition of “Under the Dome” Rep. Jimenez offers a look at the "Blue Room" in the Capitol Building where press conferences are typically held. Click below to watch.


Grand Bargain Update
As we are about to end the 22nd month without a full and complete budget, it is more urgent now than ever before for Republicans and Democrats to work together to end the budget impasse by passing a balanced budget. Every day that we fail to act more and more vendors are waiting even longer to be paid for services provided to the State. This is unacceptable. I will continue to call upon my colleagues in the House and Senate and the Administration to negotiate a path to end the budget crisis. We can pass a balanced budget through a combination of cuts, reforms, and revenue.

These are not going to be easy choices, but we must work together in a bipartisan manner so we can end the impasse and put in place pro-growth policies that will allow our businesses to thrive and create good paying jobs for years to come.


Computer Banc
I was honored to join Computer Banc and Governor Rauner on Wednesday to announce a partnership between the Computer Banc and the State of Illinois that will provide refurbished computers to school districts around the state for a modest fee. I have been working with the Computer Banc over the last year to figure out a way to allow Computer Banc access to some of the state's surplus computers for a fee to refurbish them so schools can utilize technology in the classroom. Learn more about this neat, new initiative here.