Dear Neighbor:

The General Assembly was adjourned after approving an FY12 budget, reauthorizing capital construction projects, and passing important changes to workers compensation, education and gaming.

The state budget is the primary concern for many of my constituents - those who feel that the state did not cut enough from the budget and those upset over cuts to state services. There were tough decisions made all-around and unfortunately the FY12 budget leaves no one happy or satisfied. We face unprecedented circumstances and legislators had a responsibility to protect our state's most vulnerable citizens while also fulfilling our obligation to reduce spending and balance the state budget.

The very first order of business was cutting legislative pay and benefits; legislators must be willing to share in the sacrifice and lead by example during these difficult times. We passed legislation to again forego cost of living adjustments and take 12 unpaid furlough days. I co-sponsored legislation to reduce legislative salaries and district office budgets by 10% - both of which I will continue to push as the state brings its fiscal house in order.

This year's budget negotiations were far more transparent, bi-partisan and thorough than they have been for at least twenty years. For the first time in my tenure as a legislator, appropriations committees were given the primary responsibility of shaping their own budgets. Rather than giving the Governor an emergency lump sum budget as in past years, the legislature sent him a line-item budget that assumes low revenue estimates. These low revenue estimates allow us to dedicate surplus revenue the state brings in to paying down the state's backlog of past due bills.

As the chairperson of the House Human Services Appropriation Committee, I worked with my committee to make line-item cuts, examine individual state programs for effectiveness and cost-efficiency and craft a results-driven human services budget that will give Illinoisans the most for their money. Ultimately, this committee made over $1 billion in cuts in order to stay in line with House revenue estimates.

The legislature made a lot of progress, but our work is far from over. There are still lingering issues that have yet to be resolved; pension reform, education funding and other budget difficulties will continue to be prominent issues during this legislative recess and through the fall veto session.

To help me better represent my constituents as the legislature considers these important issues, I am spending the summer months visiting coffee shops, meeting with my citizen advisory committees, hosting informative seminars and going door to door to speak one-on-one with constituents about the issues affecting residents of the 12th district. I hope to see you this summer and discuss some of these issues with you. Please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of my staff if we can ever be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Sara Feigenholtz
State Representative
12th District

  • In the News
  • Join me at my summer events!
  • Other legislative updates
  • Community events
  • School supply drive

  • Join me at my summer events!

    Business Services Workshop hosted by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz
    Thursday, June 30, 8:30 am - 11:30 am (Registration begins at 8:15 a.m.)
    Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Olson Auditorium, 836 W. Wellington (1st Floor)

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will be on hand to discuss a number of topics including:

    • Unemployment insurance claim protests
    • Tax credits for new hires
    • Mock adjudication interviews
    • New employee bonding programs
    • TaxNet

    Additional presentations will focus on current labor market conditions and services for those re-entering employment. Experts from IDES will answer questions and provide additional assistance to those in attendance. Space is limited! Please RSVP to my office at 773.296.4141 or sara@staterepsara.com to reserve your spot.

    Town Hall Meeting
    Tuesday, July 5, 6:30 p.m.
    Center on Halsted Hoover-Leppen Theater, 3656 N. Halsted St.

    Join me for updates on legislation and the FY12 state budget. Share your thoughts on the issues that affect you so I can use your input to more effectively represent the 12th districts' needs and concerns. RSVP is appreciated but not required; 773.296.4141 or sara@staterepsara.com.

    "Understanding Your Credit" seminar hosted by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz
    Thursday, July 7, 6:30 p.m.
    23rd District Police Station Community Room, 850 W. Addison

    At this seminar, facilitated by Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford's office, you will have a chance to learn about the importance of your credit, credit score and credit report, what is included in your credit report, what to do if you find an error in your report, steps to build or rebuild your credit, and how to help protect yourself from identity theft. Staff from the Illinois Treasurer's Office will also be on hand to search the state's "Cash Dash" system to see if you have unclaimed money or valuables owed to you. RSVP to 773.296.4141 or sara@staterepsara.com.

    Back to School Fair
    Monday, July 25, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Gill Park, 825 W. Sheridan

    Save the date for my back-to-school fair co-hosted by Senate President Cullerton. More information to follow.

    Other legislative updates

    Education Reform

    Senate Bill 7 passed the legislature with near-unanimity and emphasizes teacher performance over seniority in educator hiring and placement decisions. A trailer bill, House Bill 1197, addresses the concerns of teachers relating to collective bargaining rights. Senate Bill 7 was the result of months of negotiations among legislators, advocacy groups and teachers unions and received widespread, bi-partisan support in the legislature. Senate Bill 7 is a step in the right direction and a signal that the legislature is serious about reforming Illinois' troubled public education system. As I continue to fight for adequate funding for public education, I hope that you will continue to share your education reform ideas with me and consider joining my citizens' education advisory committee to collaborate with other stakeholders and help me make the most informed decisions for our students. Senate Bill 7 and House Bill 1197 were signed by the Governor last week.

    Pension Reform

    Senate Bill 512 and House Bill 149 were major pension reform proposals for current public employees, expanding on the reforms already in place for employees hired after January 1, 2011 ("tier 2" employees). These bills were not finalized during this legislative session, giving legislators the opportunity to spend the summer break working with stakeholders and listening to constituent concerns.

    Workers Compensation

    The General Assembly passed House Bill 1698 to help improve Illinois' business economy and keep increasing workers compensation costs in line with competing states. The bill reduces the medical fee schedule by 30%, resulting in cost-savings for employers, and allows employers to set up a network of preferred providers (the employee still has the right to choose their own physician not in this network). Also under this legislation, employees must prove that the injuries occurred on the job and will not be able to receive compensation if they were intoxicated at the time of injury or refuse to take a blood alcohol test. In response to reports of workers compensation abuse by state employees, House Resolution 131 requires an audit and review of fraud control policies, state worker claims and the settlement process. Alternative proposals threatened to completely eliminate the state's workers compensation system, leaving all cases to be settled by the court system. House Bill 1698 will need Governor Quinn's signature before becoming law.

    Community events

    Chicago Pride Fest
    Friday, June 24, 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Saturday, June 25, 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
    Halsted & Waveland

    Hosted by (and benefiting) the Northalsted Business Alliance, Pride Fest showcases an eclectic lineup of arts & crafts, food and other vendors. It also features entertainment on two stages including one dedicated to some of Chicago's fine performers in the gay community. Sunday's parade steps off from Belmont & Halsted at 12:00 p.m. For a parade route map and information on street closures, parking restrictions and CTA bus reroutes, visit Alderman Tunney's website.

    Free Outdoor Movie, "Toy Story III"
    Sunday, June 26, 7:15 p.m. cartoons and 8:00 p.m. movie
    Hawthorne School, Seminary & School

    Alderman Tom Tunney, Central Lakeview Merchants, The Cubby Bear , Central Lake View Neighbors and Hawthorne Neighbors are sponsoring a series of three outdoor movies, kicking off with "Toy Story III." Bring a chair or blanket. The rain date is July 10.

    19th District Police Blood Drive
    Monday, June 27, 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    19th District Police Station Auditorium, 2452 W. Belmont Ave.

    Hosted by LifeSource and the Chicago Police Department, prepare for your blood donation by eating well, staying hydrated and bringing appropriate ID with you. Appointments are recommended but walk-ins are also welcome. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call the Community Policing Office at 312.744.5574

    Lincoln Park - Lakeview - Roscoe Village Joint Chamber of Commerce Networking Event
    Tuesday, June 28, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    Midtown Tennis Club, 2020 W. Fullerton

    The Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Roscoe Village Chambers of Commerce have partnered to provide local businesses access to the contacts and connections they need to succeed. Network with contracts new and old as your business plays for match point at the Midtown Tennis Club. Food, beverage and networking are included in this event sure to attract an engaging crowd. Tickets are $30 if paid by June 24 or $40 at the door. For more information or to register for the event, click here.

    School supply drive

    supply drive

    In the News

    May 4, 2011
    FOX Illinois
    Advertising against human services cuts in Illinois may boomerang

    May 6, 2011
    Illinois House OKs Feigenholtz plan to snag extra $100 Million

    May 6, 2011
    Northwest Indiana Times
    Illinois House takes budget behind closed doors

    May 6, 2011
    PINK Magazine, Pink Picks Health
    Feigenholtz Passes Medicaid Maximization Legislation

    May 6, 2011
    Suburban Publications
    State budget process: Hard part still to come

    May 8, 2011
    Northwest Indiana Times
    Illinois law opens original birth certificates to adoptees

    May 11, 2011
    Chicago Tribune, Ray Long
    House proposes deep cuts in human services budget

    May 11, 2011
    News Gazette, Tom Kacich
    House committee cuts $1.2 billion from Quinn's human services budget

    May 17, 2011
    Pink Magazine
    Sara Feigenholtz Helps Local Residents to Avoid Foreclosure

    May 20, 2011
    FOX Illinois, Diane S.W. Lee
    Tough choices drive cuts to human services in Illinois

    May 22, 2011
    Gay Chicago Magazine, Gary Barlow
    Feigenholtz gets AIDS funds back in budget

    May 26, 2011
    Letter to the Editor, Chicago Tribune
    Streamlining mental health care

    May 30, 2011
    Chicago Tribune, Todd Wilson
    Bill toughening nursing home rules passes House

    May 30, 2011
    Illinois Statehouse News
    Lawmakers look for wiggle room in tight budget

    June 7, 2011
    Gay Chicago Magazine
    Feigenholtz hails legislators' budget effort

    June 8, 2011
    Windy City Times, Carrie Maxwell
    Legacy walk to transform Halsted Street into a walking museum

    June 9, 2011
    Examiner, David Ormsby
    Hundreds of IL adoptees born before 1946 get birth certificate for first time

    June 9, 2011
    Chicago Tribune, Bonnie Miller Rubin
    For many Illinois adoptees, door will soon open to the past

    phone: (773) 296-4141