The newly-formed House Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment held their first hearing Thursday. Rep. Jimenez, the Republican Spokesperson on the Task Force, has a recap below.

You can view future hearings held in the Bilandic Building's House committee room here.

 


State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez today announced that she has been selected to serve as the House GOP Spokesperson on the newly-created House Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment. Formed in the wake of recent reports of alleged harassment at the State Capitol, the Task Force will seek solutions to address sexual harassment and discrimination in both the public and private sectors.

“Sexual harassment must never be tolerated, period.” said Rep. Jimenez. “No one should ever feel they have to endure unwanted comments or advances in fear for their job or their safety and I’m proud to have an opportunity to help shape policy that will provide new protections.”

The Task Force was created by House Resolution 687 to conduct a thorough review of sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace, considering both legal and social ramifications, and to then make recommendations to the General Assembly on ways to better protect employees.
Rep. Jimenez led the House this week in helping Pease's Candy celebrate it's 100th year of providing sweet treats to families in Central Illinois. House Resolution 659 commemorates the milestone.


Rep. Jimenez this week led the House in a memorial tribute to the late Bert Weber, who championed the needs of Illinois seniors for 37 years at the Illinois Department on Aging.

Representative Jimenez was proud to participate in this year's Edgar Fellows Program, founded by former Governor Jim Edgar. Click below to learn more about the program and Representative Jimenez's experience.

Local Halloween Events
There are a lot of exciting Halloween events taking place over the next two weeks that will be a fun time for families in the 99th District to enjoy. Below is a list of area events taking place to celebrate Halloween. If you have any questions, please contact my office at (217)782-0044.

1. The Rocky Horror Show Live- Oct 26-28th at Hoogland Center.

2.  Muni Mayhem Oct 26-28 at The Muni.

3. Haunted Illinois Wine and Ethnic Food Festival Oct 27-28 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.  6pm to 10pm at Ethnic Village. Tickets are $30 at the door.

4. Halloween Dreams at the Legacy Theater. Friday October 27th through Sunday October 29th. For more information on ticket prices and show times, please click here.

5. Fall Festival at New Salem Oct 28-29. For more information, please click here.

6.  Halloween Family Carnival at the Hoogland Center Oct 28-29th at 12pm.

7. Springfield Police and Fire Halloween Safety Event Saturday October 28 from 430pm to 630 825 E. Capital St. Springfield.

8. Halloween at the Market Saturday October 28th from 8:00am to 12:30pm. All the details can be found here.

In celebration of National Principal Month, Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez learned what is like to be "Principal for a Day" at New Berlin Elementary School. Click the image below for the story.

http://newschannel20.com/news/local/state-representatives-play-principal-for-the-day
                                                       

Have you ever been to the top of the dome of the State Capitol building? In the latest Under the Dome Rep. Jimenez climbs with you to the top to check out the architecture and the view.


I just wanted to take a little time to update you on the latest news from the Capitol as the House has concluded session in recent weeks and we take a break from session until later this year.

Historic Education Funding Reform Becomes Law
Last week, Governor Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-0465 which for the first time in 20 years, reforms the school funding formula in Illinois. For the past 2 ½ years, Republican and Democrat members of the House and Senate have been working to reform the school funding formula to create a more equitable and fair formula to ensure every child in Illinois is provided the resources their school needs to succeed. A bipartisan consensus determined that an evidence based funding formula was the best path toward changing the formula in a way that is fair and equitable to every student in Illinois. The legislation that passed and was signed into law provides additional resources to every school district in the 99th district and treats every district in Illinois the same. Click here to learn more about the details.

Click to learn more about the new Springfield Downtown Discounts program for UIS and LLCC students initiated by Rep. Jimenez's Higher Education Student Advisory Committee in partnership with downtown businesses.

Members of State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez’s Higher Education Student Advisory Committee have partnered with several downtown Springfield businesses to create a new shopping discount program for University of Illinois-Springfield and Lincoln Land Community College students. By simply showing their student ID at downtown businesses displaying the Downtown Discounts decal, students will receive discount deals at many of their favorite local stores and eateries.

“I am so proud of these young men and women on my Higher Education Advisory Committee. They have taken their role beyond discussing legislation to actively working for the betterment of our community. The discount program they have spearheaded will help get young adults involved downtown, and hopefully, develop a relationship that will make them want to stay here;” said Rep. Jimenez.

“This discount program is an example of students and local leaders working together to improve the community for everyone,” said Kaelan Smith, Co-Chair of the Higher Education Advisory Committee. “I hope this program inspires more students to become active partners with community members to enhance the quality of life in Springfield.”

Invest in Kids Act


SB 1947 passed the Illinois House on a vote of 73-34-3 and passed the Senate on a vote of 38-13-4. This legislation fundamentally reforms the school funding formula for the first time in 20 years and provides additional resources to support our schools across Illinois in a fair and equitable way. Here are some of the highlights of the legislation:

• Evidence Based Model: Every district will have an adequacy target based on the needs of the children in the district. 

• Distribution Model:  New funds will be distributed so that those districts that have the largest gap between their adequacy target and local available resources will receive the majority of funds.  Over time, there will be no Tier I districts as more and more districts move closer to adequacy.

• A permanent hold harmless provision per school district to ensure every district in Illinois receives at least the same amount of funding as the previous year

• The legislation recommends an additional $350 million per year be added to the formula to move Illinois closer to fully funding the student adequacy target.

• The Chicago Pension provision that was contained in SB 1 has been removed from the legislation and the school funding formula.

• There is significant mandate and property tax relief for taxpayers including:
o P.E. and Driver’s Ed mandate relief
o A more streamlined waiver process
o A property tax referendum to be put before voters to reduce property taxes for school districts that are above 110% of adequacy.

• A scholarship tax credit for individuals that provide donations for scholarships to private schools in Illinois.
o Eligibility for the scholarships will be for a student whose family is 300% or less of the federal poverty level for the first year and up to 400% after.
o 5 year pilot program

• A Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Task Force is created to review current TIF laws in Illinois and propose changes to TIF districts.

Each of these provisions are the result of bipartisan negotiations in the House and Senate and with the Governor to produce the best possible agreement to reform our broken school funding formula. I am pleased to see both parties come together to find common ground so that every child in Illinois has access to great schools.

If you have any questions about the legislation, please contact my office at (217)782-0044.
Two new laws sponsored this spring by State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez will expand the successful Veterans and Service Members Court Program in Illinois, and modernize some record keeping and information sharing at the Department of Agriculture.

Senate Bill 1238, recently signed into law as PA 100-0088, will expand access to Veterans treatment courts to more counties in downstate Illinois so our veterans will be able to take advantage of this program closer to home. In 2010, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Veterans and Service Members Court Treatment Act. These specialty courts allow for veterans who have committed certain non-violent offenses the ability to receive rehabilitation services as an alternative to the traditional judicial system.

“I am honored to have sponsored this legislation in the House, along with Senator McCann in the Senate, to assist our nation’s veterans who participate in these court programs. We must continue to do all we can to support our men and women in uniform during their service and especially after they return home. This new law is one small act at helping our veterans after their service is complete, Rep. Jimenez said.

Rep. Jimenez was also the chief House sponsor of House Bill 2998, signed into law as PA 100-0111. This initiative allows the Department of Agriculture to do away with its antiquated requirements that physical books be kept on regulations regarding diseased animals, and that paper brochures be printed since all records are now kept and information is readily available online.

“Doing away with requirements for paper books and printed paper brochures makes the Department’s record keeping and information sharing more modern, efficient, and cost-effective for taxpayers. Working with state employees, I’m confident there are many more efficiencies and cost savings we can achieve,” said Rep. Jimenez.
Statement of Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez on the signing into law of SB 1238, expanding the successful Veterans Treatment Court program in Illinois:


“I am pleased that the Governor signed SB 1238 into law. This law will expand access to veterans treatment courts to more counties in downstate Illinois so our veterans will be able to take advantage of this program closer to home,” said Representative Jimenez

In 2010, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Veterans and Service Members Court Treatment Act. These specialty courts allow for veterans who have committed certain non-violent offenses the ability to receive rehabilitation services as an alternative to the traditional judicial system.

“I am honored to have sponsored this legislation in the House, along with Senator McCann in the Senate, to assist our nation’s veterans who participate in these court programs. We must continue to do all we can to support our men and women in uniform during their service and especially after they return home. This new law is one small act at helping our veterans after their service is complete,” Representative Jimenez said.

Much needed state procurement reforms co-sponsored by State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez were signed into law today, paving the way for savings on state purchases.

Senate Bill 8 was introduced to allow for cost savings, while still maintaining oversight and transparency in the state procurement process. Some of the reforms included will establish a “best value procurement” pilot program for several state agencies and allow Illinois to enter into joint purchasing agreements with other governmental entities. The reforms also create a special committee to look at State procurement with minority, female, disabled, and veteran businesses.

“We can and must do a better job of reducing the cost of delivering government services to local families. The reforms signed into law today will provide increased flexibility and efficiencies in state purchasing guidelines that has the potential to result in savings for taxpayers;” Rep. Jimenez said.

Rep. Jimenez noted that the procurement reforms attracted a long list of supporters, including many Illinois colleges and universities, and Chief Procurement Officers from numerous state agencies including the Capital Development Board, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Central Management Services.

“This package of reforms passed both the House and Senate with strong bi-partisan support. It’s a significant achievement, but more must follow.  I am committed to continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach agreement on further reforms that will help grow our economy and provide savings for taxpayers;” Rep. Jimenez concluded.

Program’s goal is to encourage respectful and collaborative leadership


URBANA — For the sixth consecutive summer, a group of 40 emerging leaders from across Illinois has been selected as Edgar Fellows and will gather in Champaign from Aug. 6-10. The Edgar Fellows Program is an initiative designed to inspire respectful and collaborative leadership to address the state’s major challenges.

The men and women selected this year were chosen from a field of more than 140 nominees and reflect the state’s rich political, racial, ethnic and geographic diversity. They include elected and appointed officials from all levels of government, leaders of non-profit organizations, and individuals who are making their mark in the business world.
State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez today joined Governor Bruce Rauner and Auburn School District 10 Superintendent Darren Root in support of fair school funding that provides the best outcome for Sangamon County schools. Rep. Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) stressed that additional dollars for Chicago Public Schools contained in Senate Bill 1 takes potential funding from our local schools.    

“We have a chance to make history and adopt a new school funding plan that for the first time ensures all school districts in Illinois are equitably and adequately funded.  Unfortunately, under Senate Bill 1, a majority of new funds for education is directed to CPS.  That’s not fair and equitable, and it’s money that comes directly out of our local schools’ budgets,” Rep. Jimenez said.


“Our state and our district is in desperate need of a new formula and I’m urging all sides of this issue to come together on a solution that is good for all districts in Illinois,” said Darren Root, Superintendent of Auburn Unit School District 10.


This spring, Rep. Jimenez and many of her colleagues in the Legislature pushed for passage of a similar funding reform proposal (HB 4069/SB 1124) that would have more fairly distributed funding statewide but neither bill was allowed a vote. Senate Bill 1 passed both the House and Senate, but supporters have used a procedural maneuver to block it from being acted upon by the Governor, leaving all schools in the lurch. Rep. Jimenez today called on Democrat colleagues to either release Senate Bill 1 so that the Governor may make his promised changes and return it to the Legislature, or allow a vote on the alternative bills.


“Our alternative funding bills would provide more than one million dollars in additional funding for school districts here in the 99th Legislative District,” Rep. Jimenez said. “It’s is not fair to give CPS more than its fair share at the expense of other school districts around the state which are also struggling and need our help. That’s not reform. It’s the same rigged system that got our state into this mess. Stand with us to fix the inequities in Senate Bill 1 so children in each school district can thrive.”                                                 
                                      

If you and your family are interested in visiting some of Chicago’s world-class museums, Rep. Jimenez's office has a museum pass you can borrow, which is provided by the Museums in the Park Organization. Any resident of the 99th District can borrow our Constituent Education Resource Card, to visit any of the following museums in the city of Chicago for 2017:

Field Museum photo credit: Nimesh Madhavan

• Adler Planetarium
• The Art Institute of Chicago
• Brookfield Zoo
• Chicago Botanic Garden
• Chicago Children’s Museum
• Chicago History Museum
• Dusable Museum of African American History
• The Field Museum
• Lincoln Park Zoo
• Museum of Contemporary Art
• Museum of Science and Industry
• National Museum of Mexican Art
• National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
• Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
• John G. Shedd Aquarium

Please contact Rep. Jimenez's office at (217)782-0044 and provide your name and address along with the dates you are requesting (can be used for up to 3 days) and we will provide you with the Constituent Education Resource Card for your use.

What a Balanced Budget Means
• Ending decades of fiscal irresponsibility by balancing the budget through spending reductions of over $3 billion (Current spending level is near $40 billion), the budget passed this week spends $36.5 billion
• There will be a stream of revenue dedicated to paying down the backlog of unpaid bills.
• Medical providers and vendors waiting for State payments will begin to see some payments made to what they are owed
• Schools will receive funding that will allow them to start on time this fall
• Provides certainty for higher education institutions including the University of Illinois Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, and SIU School of Medicine
• Transportation infrastructure projects will continue across the state
• Social service and human service provides will be properly funded and the most vulnerable will be cared for

Failure to Pass a Balanced Budget
• Bill backlog will continue to grow (currently at nearly $15 billion) to a record $22 billion by the end of FY 18 (Report: Illinois unpaid bills to hit $22B by 2018)
• Springfield area hospitals and providers will wait even longer for payment
o Hundreds of millions of dollars is currently owed to Springfield area medical providers. (Orthopedic Center requiring up-front payments from state workers)
• State credit rating will be downgraded to junk bond status (first US State ever to reach that) resulting in record costs to borrow (Illinois could soon become America's first 'junk' state)
• Schools will not receive general state aid and likely will not be able to open on time in the fall (School districts forced to consider dooms day plans thanks to state budget impasse)
• Transportation infrastructure projects around the state will end immediately, impacting over 30,000 jobs (Illinois Road Construction Shutdown Leads to Layoffs Amid Budget Impasse)
• The State will experience a serious cash flow problem following the recent court ruling on how much the State must reimburse Medicaid providers each month to the tune of $2 billion more than is currently being spent (Judge Rules Illinois Not in Compliance on Medicaid Payments)
Statement of Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez on today’s budget and revenue votes in the House:

‘Today was the toughest day in my professional life.

Since the day I was sworn into office in November 2015, Illinois has been in crisis. I became State Representative six months into this budget impasse. Since then, our financial situation as a state has deteriorated to the point that we are hours away from junk bond status, which means that with every day we delay, the tax increases will be higher and the cuts will be deeper.

For the past several months I have been meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House to work towards a compromised solution that will end this budget impasse.  I continue to believe the path forward is through a combination of cuts, reforms, and revenue to a balanced budget.

Today's budget responsibly reduces spending by more than $3 billion, begins to pay down our backlog of bills, and provides desperately needed resources for our colleges, universities, human service providers, social services, and other vital services. Most importantly, this is a budget that is truly balanced.

No one ever wants to pay more in taxes, but there has been no legitimate proposal introduced this spring by the Governor, Republicans or Democrats that didn't include a need for more revenue to balance the budget.

By passing a balanced budget we can finally begin to climb out of the enormous financial hole and prevent a further erosion of our credit rating. Today’s vote is not the end of our crisis but a step in the right direction. We didn’t get into this mess overnight and we certainly won’t get out of it overnight either. I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to continue the work of passing meaningful reforms that will grow our economy and create jobs across Illinois. This balanced budget package is the first step toward stabilizing our state and putting us on the right track for years to come.”  

                                                                      -Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, 99th District
Rep. Jimenez today on the House floor stood to encourage colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue working together to end the impasse by passing a compromise state budget.


“This morning, I invited some of my colleagues in the House to visit and tour the Department of Children and Family Services Training Academy at the University of Illinois Springfield. This training academy is an important resource for DCFS to provide real world training that allows them to experience situations they will confront in the field. Joining me were Representatives Randy Frese and Michelle Mussman.

 I would like to thank Acting DCFS Director Walker and her staff as well as Executive Director Susan Evans and Dr. Betsy Goulet from the University of Illinois Springfield for having us out at the facility and answering our questions. For more information on the Training Academy please click here.”         
 “As a member of the House Mental Health Committee, I invited members of the committee to tour the Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Center in Springfield this week to learn about their facility and how we can help facilities like theirs around the state.

I’m thankful that Representatives Rita, Andersson, Severin, Mussman, Lily, Kifowit, Fine, Stratton, Chairperson Conroy, and Feigenholtz were able to attend this tour.

Thank you also to Lincoln Prairie CEO Mark Littrell for providing us with the tour.”

-Rep. Jimenez














                                                                                         
"This week the House will continue to meet in special session to discuss and hopefully vote on a comprehensive budget solution that will end the budget crisis with a balanced budget.

The Governor issued a proclamation on June 15th calling for the House and Senate to convene beginning June 21st and ending on June 30th. That proclamation can be viewed by clicking here.

Prior to the start of this special session, the House Republican Caucus put forth its own budget solution that includes a balanced budget, cuts, and reforms that will help spur economic growth. This “Capitol Compromise” is meant to be a starting point for discussion and negotiation between Republicans and Democrats in the House. Details on the House Republican plan can be seen here.

Finally, if you would like to follow the House during special session this week, please visit the Illinois General Assembly website which has video and audio of all floor and committee activity. That can be found here.

As always, if you have any questions on what is happening at the Capitol this week, please feel free to contact my office at (217)782-0044."      
                                                                                     -Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez
Statement of Rep. Jimenez:

“Today I am traveling from the capital city to Chicago, where the House Higher Education-Appropriations Committee will convene yet another subject matter hearing to hear testimony on the financial hardships inflicted on colleges and universities by our ongoing state budget impasse. With all due respect, merely listening again to testimony we’ve already heard on multiple occasions won’t get us any closer to solving the problem. We need to act. Our Committee must move on from re-hashing the problem to advancing potential solutions.

This spring, a bi-partisan agreement to fund higher education was crafted in the Senate that would fully fund MAP grants, and would restore state funding for universities to approximately 90% of funding they received before the impasse (FY 15). We should debate that proposal in an upcoming committee, offer changes, and vote on it.

I support House consideration of any proposal that will provide adequate, long-term funding for our colleges and universities. If other members of the Higher Education Appropriations Committee have other funding proposals to help our Universities in crisis, I am ready and willing to consider them as well, but we must move forward and begin advancing workable solutions.”

Summer internships are available in Rep. Jimenez's office! These are unpaid positions, but they offer great experience for those interested in the workings of their state government.

Click here to apply, or contact Rep. Jimenez's office at 782-0044 with questions.


 
 
 
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.
In this week's Under the Dome video, Rep. Jimenez takes you on a tour of the House Gallery where you can watch the action in person on days when the House is in session.


Rep. Jimenez with Computer Banc Executive Director David Fowler
Computer Banc is teaming up with State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, other area lawmakers, and state officials and agencies to help improve children’s access to digital literacy tools. The pilot program aims to repurpose surplus government computers to provide children low cost learning tools for education readiness both at school and at home. Rep. Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) said she is excited to work with Computer Banc on its idea to get more computers to schools at a low cost and help children access vital technology.

Grand Bargain Update
The Senate is still in discussions on the grand bargain that could potentially bring an end to the budget impasse. It is so important for our area and the state of Illinois that we end the budget impasse as quickly as possible and get our State on the path of fiscal responsibility. I will continue to press my colleagues in the House and Senate to work together in a bipartisan manner to end the impasse and pass a truly balanced budget that will help grow our economy and put our state on the right path for years to come.

Local, brave mom fights for her family
News Channel 20 did a story this week on a courageous family from the 99th District that is pushing for reforms to the Department of Corrections that will prohibit inmates convicted of sexual offenses against minors from possessing photos and images of minors while they are incarcerated. HB 806 is a common sense bill that will protect families and children from having to continue to be victimized while the offender is in prison. I have been working with the Department to craft language that will allow the Department to enforce this prohibition in a responsible manner. You can view the story here.
In this installment of "Under the Dome" Rep. Jimenez talks about the House Committee process, and how you can follow a piece of legislation through the process in the Capitol Committee rooms or online.

Grand Bargain
While the House was in recess last week, Senators made another attempt to pass several bills included in the budget “Grand Bargain” they have been negotiating for the past several months. As you know, all of the bills included in the package must be passed and signed into law for any to take effect. There has been some difficulty in recent weeks in securing the votes needed to pass some of the measures through the Senate, but I am encouraging members of both parties and the Governor to continue negotiating a bi-partisan compromise solution.

State Employee Pay
I was proud to stand with my colleagues this week urging bipartisan support for a bill that would
ensure that state employees continue to get paid for their work, as Attorney General Lisa Madigan takes to the state Supreme Court her push to halt employee pay during the budget impasse.

I am a chief co-sponsor of House Bill 2803 which would make state employee pay a continuing budget appropriation, making sure employees would be paid for the work they do despite our budget difficulties. The legislation could receive a hearing in the House State Government Administration Committee on March 15th.
In this edition of "Under the Dome" Rep. Jimenez discusses which communities and neighborhoods are included in the 99th House District, and how you can find out in which area House District you reside. Click below to watch.

 
http://www.ilhousegop.org/jimenez_petition
 State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is pushing legislation to open up the primary process. Rep. Jimenez has introduced House Bill 3655 which would include all primary election candidates on a single ballot, ending the current multiple-ballot system that requires voters to publicly declare which political party they support.

“As voters, we are guaranteed that our vote is confidential, but having to declare our political party preference in order to receive a primary ballot may actually discourage some from voting at all,” Representative Jimenez said. “Many residents in Sangamon County have talked to me about their concerns about declaring their party.  Opening up the process will protect privacy, and it will also provide voters with a wider range of options on their primary ballot.”

 AFSCME Strike Authorization Vote
With the news this week that AFSCME members have voted to authorize a strike, it is more important now than ever before for both sides to return to the negotiating table as quickly as possible to come to an agreed solution to the employee contract. I have been urging both the Administration and the union to return to the table for the past year and believe that is still the best way to end this standoff.

An employee strike would be detrimental to our local economy, to families across the 99th district, and taxpayers throughout the state who rely on services. It is my hope that this vote does not result in an actual strike and both sides can return to the negotiating table to come to a finalized contract for state employees.

“Grand Bargain” Update
Talks are continuing in the Senate on the so-called “grand bargain” budget package and we may see votes on some of the components in that chamber as early as next week. The package has continued to evolve over the past few weeks, and contains provisions ranging from tax and fee increases, spending limitations, tax credit changes, and fee reductions.

While I can’t be sure what specifics will survive voting in the Senate and advance to the House, I am very encouraged that negotiations are continuing to move forward.
Rep. Jimenez was very pleased Thursday to lead the House in congratulating Springfield native Ryan Held on winning the Gold Medal for Team USA in the Men's 4x100 relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio!  Ryan is a 2014 graduate of Sacred Heart Griffin High School (SHG) in Springfield. 

Rep. Jimenez Statement on the AFSCME vote to authorize a strike:
 
“With the news out this morning that AFSCME members have voted to authorize a strike, it is more important now than ever before for both sides to return to the negotiating table as quickly as possible to come to an agreed solution to the employee contract. I have been urging both the Administration and the union to return to the table for the past year and believe that is still the best way to end this standoff. An employee strike would be detrimental to our local economy, to families across the 99th district, and taxpayers throughout the state who rely on services. It is my hope that this vote does not result in an actual strike and both sides can return to the negotiating table to come to a finalized contract for state employees.”

Judge Denies Attorney General’s Motion to Stop State Worker Pay

Thursday afternoon, A St. Clair County judge denied Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s motion that would have stopped state workers' paychecks during the budget impasse.  Even though this ruling favors state workers, during this uncertainty, we are continuing to push for a hearing on our bill, HB1787 which would provide a continuing appropriation for employees to provide certainty for them and their families as we continue to negotiate an overall compromise solution.

Budget Address

This week the Governor delivered his third, and perhaps his most important state budget address in the House Chamber. I believe a responsible budget compromise is within reach. You can watch my video reaction below.



You can also click here to view the Governor’s full budget proposal.
In this week's edition of Under the Dome, Rep. Jimenez highlights the State Capitol building in Springfield, and how to make the most of your visit. Click below to watch.

The Illinois House Judicial-Criminal Committee Wednesday heard testimony from a Central Illinois family working with Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez to pass legislation barring convicted child sex offenders from possessing in prison any photographs or images of their victims or other minors. House Bill 806 received a Subject Matter hearing in committee Wednesday afternoon.

“In our opinion if a person is rightfully convicted of any sexual crime that involves children, he or she should not have the right to possess any photos or portrait sketches of any child under the age of 18 during their incarceration,” said David Lewis, who, with his family, brought the need for the legislation to Representative Jimenez’s attention.
Statement of State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez on the Governor’s Wednesday Budget Address:

“I believe a responsible budget compromise is within reach, and I was pleased today to hear the Governor lay out his parameters on the budget package currently being negotiated in the Senate. For the first time in two years members on both sides of the aisle agree that some economic reforms are needed to help rebuild our economy, and that’s encouraging. We need to continue working together to move the ball forward on a plan that will be good for our families and our communities,” said Rep. Jimenez.

State Employee Pay
While the Senate is currently in the process of negotiating a budget agreement that includes reforms to our economy, Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit to block state employee pay until a budget is finalized. Throughout the entire budget impasse, I have supported state employees receiving their paychecks on time. It is the right thing to do. That is why I am sponsoring, along with 25 of my colleagues in the House, a bill to ensure that state employees would continue to be paid despite the ongoing budget challenges. HB 1787 would make all state employees part of a continued appropriation that would keep their pay continuing during any budget impasse. This is the same protection that legislators and judges currently receive, so it only makes sense to include state employees in this as well.

 I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to find an end to this budget impasse. I believe that the path forward is through a combination of cuts, reforms, and revenue. I am hopeful that a framework will emerge from the Senate very soon so we can review and vote on it here in the House.

Committee Assignments
Recently, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin appointed me to several committees that are important to the 99th District. For the 100th General Assembly I will be serving on the following House Committees: State Government Administration, Agriculture and Conservation, Appropriations Higher Education, Mental Health, and Museums, Arts, and Cultural Enhancements.

Each of these committees will allow me to be a voice for our area as important bills move through the House that will reform state government, promote our agriculture industry, and find ways to support our higher education institutions. In addition, the special committees on mental health and museums will give me the opportunity to study these issues that are increasingly becoming important to our area. I am looking forward to serving on all of these committees during the upcoming session.
 
Over the next couple of weeks Rep. Jimenez will be posting videos here that give you a behind the scenes look at the Capitol. In the first installment of “Under the Dome” Rep. Jimenez gives you a look at her legislative office in the Stratton Building, and the staff who work with her and assist constituents.


This week, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) appointed State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) to the following committees: State Government Administration, Agriculture and Conservation, Appropriations Higher Education, Special Committee on Mental Health, and the Special Committee on Museums.
State Representatives Sara Wojcicki Jimenez and Tim Butler have introduced legislation to ensure state employees will continue to receive their paychecks through Fiscal Year 2017. House Bill 1787, filed Wednesday, provides a continuing appropriation to secure employees’ pay against Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s move to halt paychecks until the budget stalemate comes to an end.

“This ongoing budget crisis has already caused a great deal of stress and uncertainty for state employees and their families. It’s unconscionable that Attorney General Madigan is now attempting to hold their pay hostage as a negotiating tactic. We cannot allow that to happen,” said Representative Butler (R-Springfield).

House Bill 1787 provides a continuing appropriation for each state agency and constitutional officer, as well as state boards and commissions, to meet their personnel expenses for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

“Over the past several weeks we’re finally seeing some real progress made toward a potential budget compromise. Attorney General Madigan’s legal maneuvering is putting that progress at risk and potentially punishing workers who are caught in the middle. We must continue to pay employees for the work that they do, and this legislation is a way to accomplish that,” said Representative Jimenez (R-Leland Grove).
Attorney General Madigan is wrong to try to block state employees’ pay

Most of you have probably read or heard by now that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is going to court to try to stop state employee paychecks until the state budget stalemate is resolved.

In the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, our state employees have continued to perform their work every day and have provided services to the people of Illinois while facing tremendous pressure and uncertainty. I am thankful that every state employee has continued to receive a paycheck throughout this impasse.

It is extremely disappointing that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is attempting to block state employee pay until a budget is finalized. We have seen tremendous progress in the last couple of weeks towards hopefully ending this stalemate. I am calling upon Attorney General Madigan to drop her efforts to block state employee pay and allow the members of the General Assembly to finish the work that the Senate has begun and negotiate a balanced budget that will get our state back on the right path.

State of the State Address Provided a Realistic Assessment, Hopeful Outlook


This week, the Governor delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. I think it was a fair and realistic assessment on where we stand and the serious challenges we still face; most notably, passing a responsible, full-year budget.  I agree with the governor that we need to grow, and we need to work together to create jobs and to move our state forward and I’m optimistic that we can do that.  You can view my full video response here.

“In the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, our state employees have continued to perform their work every day and have provided services to the people of Illinois while facing tremendous pressure and uncertainty. I am thankful that every state employee has continued to receive a paycheck throughout this impasse. It is extremely  disappointing to hear that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is attempting to block state employee pay until a budget is finalized. We have seen tremendous progress in the last couple of weeks towards hopefully ending this stalemate. I am calling upon Attorney General Madigan to drop her efforts to block state employee pay and allow the members of the General Assembly to finish the work that the Senate has begun and negotiate a balanced budget that will get our state back on the right path."

Following the Governor's State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly, Rep. Jimenez said she was pleased with his focus on the need for increased bi-partisan cooperation to address our budget stalemate and other challenges.

Governor Rauner's State of the State Address starts at noon today. You can watch the live video here.
The 100th General Assembly is Underway
All 118 house members of the New General Assembly took the Oath of Office Wednesday at Sangamon Auditorium on the UIS Campus. 

I am deeply honored to have been chosen by my neighbors to be their voice in the Illinois House for
this historic 100th General Assembly, and we have a lot of urgent work to do. Unfortunately, we’re starting out the New Year and the new General Assembly without a state budget. Getting a responsible plan in place must absolutely be our first priority. I’m encouraged by the recent bi-partisan discussions in the Senate, and I want to work to build on that foundation.

I’m also looking forward to continuing efforts begun last year to bring state jobs back to our district. A study I initiated revealed that hundreds of good state jobs could be brought back to the Capitol city area. This year, we need to move forward with the plan to begin their relocation.

Edge Tax Credit Program to be Temporarily Extended

Before the new General Assembly was sworn in this week, the outgoing 99th General  Assembly in its final hours voted to extend for four months the state’s EDGE tax credit program.

 EDGE, which has served as one of the state’s leading economic tools to encourage employers to locate or expand here in Illinois, expired on December 31st. Senate Bill 513, which passed both chambers by large, bi-partisan margins,  extends the program through April 30th while the new General Assembly considers options for its revision and improvement.  Governor Rauner has indicated he will sign the four month extension into law.
Before family, friends and supporters, Sara Wojcicki Jimenez today took the oath of office to represent the 99th district in the new 100th General Assembly. All 118 house members were sworn in at noon today at Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Rep. Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) said this year it’s more important than ever that the new General Assembly hits the ground running.

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen by my neighbors to be their voice in the Illinois House, and we have a lot of urgent work to do,” Rep. Jimenez said. “Unfortunately, we’re starting out the New Year and the new General Assembly without a state budget. Getting a responsible plan in place must absolutely be our first priority. I’m encouraged by the recent bi-partisan discussions in the Senate, and I want to work to build on that foundation.”


The Inauguration ceremony for the 100th Illinois General Assembly begins at noon on Wednesday,  January 11th in Sangamon Auditorium on the University of Illinois at Springfield campus. Watch the ceremony live here.