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.