I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. As we start a new year and a new spring session, I wanted to provide you with a brief update on some of the things going on around the district and in Springfield.
The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) Fly Quiet Committee met for the fourth time on Monday. As a founding member of the bipartisan and bicameral O’Hare Noise Impact Legislative Caucus, I took a moment to address the commission. I spoke about legislation being proposed this spring and the strategies to reduce noise being utilized by Heathrow Airport outside of London. I talked about Senate Bill 636, a bill I spearheaded through the House and became law, which encourages Chicago and O’Hare to modernize their noise monitoring technology.
This week I filed a resolution to bring this new technology and Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) data to the FAA’s attention for the purpose of updating the official status and standing of noise-affected homeowners. SB 636 changed the paradigm used to measure O’Hare noise to CNEL and now requires the generation of new noise contour maps. The technology and paradigm used previously was from the 1990s. The hope is that we will be to better able to understand the impact of airport noise on our communities and quality of life.
New State Agency Created
Governor Bruce Rauner signed an executive order last week to create the new Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) which will transform and consolidate the state’s information technology functions into one agency.
While there has been some consolidation of IT services under CMS, each agency has been left in charge of developing its own technology solutions. That created a patchwork of systems that were often redundant, not interoperable, and vulnerable to cyber attacks. Currently, agencies often cannot share data easily to identify waste, save taxpayer money, and more efficiently serve businesses and residents. This new agency will be able to make state government more efficient and accountable while saving taxpayer money.
Spring Session Starts
The General Assembly convened for the first time in 2016 last Wednesday to hear the Governor’s State of the State Address. You can read the address here. After a contentious and partisan year, the Governor struck a conciliatory tone and called for the General Assembly to enact laws to bring prosperity to all citizens and all parts of Illinois. The majority of his speech focused on forward looking proposals like those in criminal justice, innovation and IT, the education funding formula, procurement reform, and transforming how the state delivers human services. He also announced his support for Senate President Cullerton’s proposal to reform the state’s broken pension system.
It was announced last week that President (and former State Senator) Barack Obama will visit Springfield when we are back in town on February 10th. He will address the General Assembly and talk about “what we can do, together, to build a better politics – one that reflects our better selves,” according to a travel advisory from the White House.
Oriole Park Elementary
A little while ago I received several letters and cards from students at Oriole Park Elementary who were concerned about CPS funding and how it might impact their teachers and art programs. Last week I went to Oriole Park and spoke with a 5th grade civics class. I talked to them about the job of a State Representative and walked them through how a bill becomes law. I was impressed with how much the students were learning about government and the questions they asked.
I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns by contacting my office at (773) 444-0611 or email at email@example.com. I will continue to keep you updated on any important news and information as it becomes available.