Dear Neighbor:

The legislature recently began the spring legislative session to continue work on a number of important issues, including the state's FY 13 budget, pension reform, and Medicaid reform. Next week, the governor will deliver his budget address and present his proposed budget to the General Assembly; I will keep you updated on these budgetary developments. He has already delivered his State of the State address, the full text of which can be found here.

Here at home, I am hosting a number of events in the coming weeks, including a "Coffee & Conversation" session, satellite office hours in the 43rd and 46th Wards, a workshop for job seekers, and a seminar on financing higher education. I hope to see you and a friend or neighbor at one of these events!

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Sara Feigenholtz
State Representative
12th District

  • Legislation
  • Satellite Office Hours
  • Coffee & Conversation
  • Job Seekers Workshop
  • Financing College Seminar
  • Black History Month
  • Tax Preparation Assistance
  • Community Events

  • Legislation

    Below is some of the legislation I am sponsoring this year. If you have any questions, please contact me.

    Human Services Budget: The House Human Services Appropriations Committee, which I chair, oversees more than half of the state's spending on state programs, including money for senior citizens, individuals with mental illness, the homeless, the disabled, veterans, low-income families, public aid, health care, and Medicaid.

    Last year, the strict state spending cap we set for ourselves required my committee to cut more than $1 billion from human services. We needed to make some extraordinarily tough decisions, but we did it.

    Although the level of funding cuts from next year's Fiscal Year 2013 budget is unclear, the state's rising pension and Medicaid costs leave us with less money to spend elsewhere. My committee is preparing to make additional budget cuts.

    Nevertheless, I remain committed to ensuring that services are available to citizens most in need. Increasing budgetary efficiencies - such as investing in affordable home care instead of costly nursing homes - to serve more people for less money continues to be my priority. As I work on next year's budget, I will appreciate and listen to your input.

    Benefit Corporations: I introduced House Bill 4708 to create a new business classification for businesses to opt-in and incorporate as a "benefit corporation" designed to serve a public benefit to society. This helps socially conscious businesses keep their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility over financial profitability. If passed, Illinois would be the 8th state with benefit corporations. More information on how benefit corporations work can be found here.

    Small Business Healthcare Cooperatives: House Bill 3976, which I am co-sponsoring, makes it easier for individuals and small businesses to access affordable health insurance by allowing them to voluntarily form non-profit cooperatives. Identical legislation passed the House last year but was not voted on in the Senate.

    Marriage Equality: I am proud to be a chief co-sponsor of House Bill 5170 to offer full marriage rights to every Illinois citizen, regardless of their sexual orientation. Although I was thrilled that civil union legislation passed in 2010 extended legal rights to LGBT couples, civil unions were always intended to be a stepping-stone to full marriage rights. We can only achieve full, unconditional equality when all individuals have the right to marry.

    Condominium Association Smoking Policies: House Bill 4134 codifies a condominium associations' right to adopt policies to regulate or ban tobacco use inside their buildings.

    Social Security Offset: I am again co-sponsoring legislation (House Bill 3975) to eliminate the "Social Security offset" rule that prevents older workers from collecting full unemployment benefits when they lose their jobs. This continues to be a top priority of the AARP and senior citizens in the 12th District.

    Eliminating the General Assembly Scholarship Program: I am sponsoring several pieces of legislation (House Bills 3810, 3901, 3941) to eliminate the controversial General Assembly scholarship program that allows state legislators to grant tuition waivers to students living in their district. My office does not participate in this program. While I fully support making higher education affordable for all families, I am very concerned with the lack of oversight of the program. Additionally, the cost of the tuition waivers is absorbed by the state's public universities; these funds could otherwise go towards rising tuition costs or Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants. Students and parents planning for financing college should attend my financing college seminar on Thursday, March 15 in the Nettelhorst Elementary Auditorium. The seminar begins at 6:30 p.m.

    Police Officer Eavesdropping: Currently, Illinois law imposes on any resident a felony penalty (punishable by up to 15 years in jail) to audio record a law enforcement officer in public, including recording unprofessional behavior. I am co-sponsoring House Bill 3944 to overturn this ban and permit the recording of officers performing a public duty in a public space.

    Electric Car Charging: Electric cars are coming. To keep them running, I am sponsoring legislation, House Bill 5332, that requires condominium associations to develop policies regarding electric car charging stations, if requested. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill, which expands on legislation passed last year that requires similar policies for solar panel installation.

    Hate Crimes: Adding gender identity to the list of punishable hate crimes has been a priority of our community's LGBT activists and mine. House Bill 4725 includes gender identity, immigration status, and military status as hate crimes. I am proud to co-sponsor this bill to give law enforcement the tools to protect the safety and human rights of all Illinoisans.

    Shark Fin Ban: I introduced House Bill 4119 to ban the sale of shark fins in Illinois. Largely unrelated, shark fin hunters catch the sharks and cut off their profitable fins. Because shark meat is unprofitable, the mutilated, but still alive shark is thrown back into the water. Shark fin hunting cruelly decimates the shark population and threatens the ecosystem.

    Satellite Office Hours

    Satellite Office Hours/>

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    Coffee & Conversation

    coffee and conversation

    Job Seekers Workshop

    Job Seekers Workshop
    Facilitated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security & Chicago Workforce Center
    Saturday, March 3, 2012
    10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Weiss Memorial Hospital Auditorium, 4646 North Marine

    10:00 a.m. - Illinois Department of Employment Security Workshop:
    • Create an appealing resume
    • Use online job search databases
    • Navigate Illinois Job Link and Illinois Work Net
    • Take advantage of free local resource centers
    • Master the application process
    • Answering commonly asked interview questions

    12:00 p.m. - Chicago Workforce Center Workshop:
    • Social media and networking skills

    RSVPs received by Tuesday, February 28 are appreciated. For more information or to RSVP, please contact my office at (773) 296-4141 or sara@staterepsara.com.

    Financing College Seminar

    Financing College Seminar
    Hosted by Rep. Feigenholtz and the Nettelhorst Community Group
    Thursday, March 15
    6:30 p.m.
    Nettelhorst Elementary School Auditorium, 3252 North Broadway (entrance on Aldine)

    The seminar is facilitated by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and covers:
    • The financial planning timeline
    • Types of aid available
    • College access programs
    • Savings plans
    • Government and private aid
    • Alternative ways to lower the cost of higher education

    RSVPs received by Monday, March 12 are appreciated. For more information or to RSVP, please contact my office at (773) 296-4141 or sara@staterepsara.com.

    Black History Month

    Each year, the Chicago City Treasurer's office sponsors an essay contest in recognition of Black History Month. The deadline for this year's contest is Friday, March 2 and the winner receives a $1,000 non-renewable college scholarship. Students must send a completed application form, official high school transcript, letter of recommendation, college letter of acceptance and an essay (no more than 500 words) that answers the following questions:

    1. Please describe the institution you plan to attend, your intended major, if you have selected one, and how you plan to succeed in college.
    2. What can African American small business owners do to become more competitive in the Chicago business community?

    For more information, eligibility requirements and to download the application, please visit the Choose Your Future website.

    Tax Preparation Assistance

    Changes to Illinois 2012 Tax Forms: The Illinois Department of Revenue's January 2012 Informational Bulletin highlights changes made to 2012 tax forms. Note that the deadline for filing 2011 taxes is April 17, 2012.

    Military Personnel: The Illinois CPA Society CPAs for the Public Interest offers free federal and state tax assistance and guidance to deployed or recently deployed Illinois military personnel and their families. For eligibility requirements and more information, visit www.icpas.org/militarytaxrequest.

    City of Chicago Tax Assistance Center: If your income is less than $25,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a family, you can receive free tax preparation assistance through the City of Chicago. Sites are located across the city and are open through April 17. The nearest location for 12th District residents is at Truman College (1145 West Wilson); assistance is available Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For a full list of locations and a list of documentation to bring with you, click here.

    Community Events

    Mid-North Association, Monthly Meeting
    Monday, February 20
    6:00 p.m.
    St. Paul's Church, 2235 North Orchard

    The Mid-North Association is bounded by Lincoln Park, Fullerton, Lincoln and the Ogden Right-of-Way. Meetings are held monthly on the third Monday of the month.

    Business Partners Chamber for Uptown, "State of Uptown" Luncheon
    Tuesday, February 21
    12:00 p.m.
    Furama Restaurant, 4936 North Broadway

    Business Partners and Uptown United invite you to join them for a very informative luncheon meeting featuring State Senator Heather Steans, Coleman Goode of State Representative Greg Harris's office, 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, and 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman as they discuss their priorities for the Uptown community in 2012. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members. RSVP to rsvp@uptownbusinesspartners.com.

    Central Lakeview Merchants & Lake View Citizens' Council, "Renter's Rights Seminar"
    Tuesday, February 21
    7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    Bittersweet Bakery & Café, 1114 W. Belmont

    Save the date for this renters' rights seminar hosted by the Central Lake View Merchants Association and Lake View Citizens' Council. The seminar features special guest speaker Mason Cole of Cole Sadkin, LLC.

    Belmont Harbor Neighbors, Meeting
    Tuesday, February 21
    7:30 p.m.
    Nettelhorst School Community Kitchen, 3252 North Broadway

    Belmont Harbor Neighbors was founded over 30 years ago to represent the more than 10,000 people who live in one of the most diverse and energetic communities in Chicago. Belmont Harbor covers the area from Belmont, Addison, Halsted, and Lake Michigan. Their meetings include information on public safety, local schools, zoning, and any other issues of interest to the community.

    Old Town Merchants & Residents Association, Member Networking Social
    Thursday, February 23
    5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    Mama Milano's Pizza Bar, 1419 North Wells

    Up-to-date members of the Old Town Merchants and Residents Association are invited to attend this free event and sample Mama Milano's delicious menu items. RSVP with the OTMRA office by calling (312) 951-6106.

    Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field Annual Advisory Community Meeting
    Monday, February 27
    6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    23rd District Police Station, 850 West Addison

    For an agenda and topics that will be discussed at this annual meeting, visit Alderman Tunney's website here.

    Cyber Bullying Seminar
    Thursday, March 1
    6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    Conred Sulzer Regional Library Lerner Auditorium, 4455 North Lincoln

    Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's Office and the Chicago Police Department are sponsoring an informational seminar on cyber-bullying. Topics include prevention and action. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP by February 27 to (773) 334-4066 or gina.ceh@cookcountyil.gov.

    Chicago Tribune
    January 17, 2012
    Critics blast Quinn's 'rebalancing' plan for state facilities

    January 23, 2012
    The county targets Lollapalooza's tax exemption

    Inside Booster
    January 25, 2012
    Feigenholtz's office now a drop-off location for cell phones for soldiers

    January 29, 2012
    State rep probes Lollapalooza sales tax

    Press Release
    January 30, 2012
    Feigenholtz Plan Gives Condominium Associations Power to OK Smoking Restrictions

    Chicago Sun Times
    January 31, 2012
    State mulls ban on shark fins

    Chicago Talks
    January 31, 2012
    Illinois Extends Tax Cuts for Filmmakers, Hoping to Boost Economy

    Chicago Tribune
    February 1, 2012
    Letter to the Editor: Support Feigenholtz's shark fin ban

    Lakeview Newspaper
    February 2012
    Feigenholtz Encourages College Bound Students to Apply Early for Financial Aid

    Lakeview Newspaper
    February 2012
    New law increases health standards in Illinois nursing homes

    Inside Booster
    February 1, 2012
    Rep. Feigenholtz offers satellite office hours

    February 1, 2012
    County to Lollapalooza: Pay up!

    Chicago Tribune
    February 6, 2012
    Time to tax the big music fest

    Inside Booster
    February 8, 2012
    Feigenholtz hosting college financing seminar

    Inside Booster
    February 8, 2012

    Chicago Tribune
    February 8, 2012
    Bumpy ride ahead for state budget

    phone: (773) 296-4141