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).