Over the past week, I have heard from many residents concerned about a costly new rule change proposed by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal.
This rule would require high-rise buildings at least 80 feet tall and built before 1975 to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems. The proposed rule change is now under consideration in the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, the committee charged with reviewing rule proposals for State agencies. You can read the full text of the proposal here.
Fire safety in high rises is a policy priority for all of us, and Chicago's existing fire code sets extremely high standards. With the City's municipal regulations mandating fire alarm systems, automatic elevator recall and smoke detector requirements, Chicago has some of the most stringent fire safety protections in the country. This rule change would be cost prohibitive for many 12th District families and residents and will lead to rent increases and costly special assessments to homeowners.
JCAR has a comment period for every rule they file. JCAR is accepting public comments on the proposal until August 12th. To share your support or opposition to this rule change and how it will affect you personally, you as a condo owner or your condo association, send your correspondence to the following address:
Joint Committee on Administrative Rules
700 Stratton Building
Springfield, IL 62706
On Tuesday August 6th at 9 am, the IL State Fire Marshal will be holding a public hearing regarding the rule change at the Illinois State Fire Marshal's headquarters in Springfield (1035 Stevenson Drive). I will continue to keep you posted as we get more information.
On the legislative front, the concealed carry bill, HB 183, became law despite the Governor's veto and serious concerns about public safety. Meanwhile, the bipartisan, bicameral conference committee continues to meet on pension reform. Education funding for our communities will be at risk unless we take action on our growing pension costs. Schools in our neighborhoods are already grappling with how to manage FY 14 budget cuts. For more details on all of these issues scroll down to the "Legislative Updates" section below.
As always, please feel free to contact me or a member of my staff if we can ever be of assistance to you. You can also follow my office on Facebook and Twitter.
Very truly yours,
Concealed Carry: Illinois, as the last state without a concealed carry law, had a court ordered mandate to pass a law by early June. After receiving a deadline extension, the Governor issued an amendatory veto calling for common-sense amendments to the concealed carry bill that passed in spring session. Some of these changes included banning carrying weapons in any establishment that serves alcohol, limiting magazine capacities for concealed firearms, and requiring citizens to disclose their weapons to law-enforcement officials. While HB 183 does have some important public safety exceptions missing from previous bills, I voted against the measure to override the veto in a special session on July 9th. The Governor's proposed amendments would have strengthened the legislation and allowed home rule units to enact certain gun ordinances that HB 183 prohibits. I believe they were constructive recommendations.
The House voted 77-31 to override the Governor's objections, and the Senate voted 41-17. Even though concealed carry is now the law of the land, I fully expect to see trailer bills in future sessions that will amend the language in Illinois' concealed carry law as needed.
Pension Reform: During spring session, the House and Senate passed competing pension reform plans with two completely different goals - cost savings on the one hand and passing constitutional muster on the other. The General Assembly formed a conference committee earlier in the summer to create a workable pension agreement. For weeks, the bipartisan committee has been hearing testimony from stakeholders across the state to pound out an agreement that will pass in both chambers.
Many of my constituents have expressed great frustration with the lack of progress on pension reform. Please know that I share your frustration. The Governor expressed his own frustration by vetoing legislative pay, sending the message that further inaction is unacceptable. Message received, Governor.
CPS Budget Cuts: I am very concerned about the budget shortfalls at schools in the 12th District and across the rest of the city. With the CPS system facing a $600 billion budget gap, our local schools and students will feel the effects of the resulting cuts. My staff and I hear from alarmed teachers and families every day, and it's clear that we need to take a hard look at how we fund education across the city and the state. I urge the City of Chicago to help lighten the burden on educators by declaring a TIF surplus and redirecting those funds to schools, some of which face 10% cuts across the board. I will continue to send updates as this issue develops.
Early Intervention Services: SB 626 provides much needed relief for the families of children suffering from developmental disabilities. Beginning on June 28th, when the Governor signed the legislation into law, insurance providers are no longer allowed to deny coverage to families supporting their children with Early Intervention (EI) services. As the chief House sponsor of the measure, I am thrilled to see families across our state protected from this form of health care discrimination. I remain committed to supporting legislation that safeguards families, children, and patients in Illinois from unscrupulous insurance practices.
Fracking Regulations: On May 30th, the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act passed the Illinois House on a vote of 108-9. The Senate voted in concurrence on May 31st, and Governor Quinn signed SB 1715 into law on June 17th. I supported a two-year moratorium on high volume horizontal fracking, co-sponsoring the moratorium bill in the House. However, without any regulations to speak of and a lack of support for the moratorium, natural gas companies were already free to frack in Illinois without any oversight whatsoever. I voted in favor of SB 1715, which puts in place the strictest fracking regulations in the country to protect the environment and the people of Illinois.
Are you finding a million things in your home that you don't want to throw in the trash but aren't sure if you can recycle? Click on this link to find out how to recycle anything from cardboard to CDs.
|CountyCare & Affordable Health Care
If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible to receive no-cost health insurance through a new Illinois Medicaid program called CountyCare. Once you are a CountyCare member, you do not pay for covered services, including routine doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, laboratory and x-ray services, mammograms, transportation and many more services. In addition, you can receive mental health and substance abuse services, which traditional Illinois Medicaid does not cover.
To qualify, you must:
- Reside in Cook County
- Be 19-64 years old
- Make less than $15,282 for an individual and $20,628 for a couple
- Not be eligible for Medicaid, Medicare or CHIP
- Be a legal immigrant for five years or a U.S. Citizen
- Have a social security number or have applied for one
Patients who qualify choose a primary care site from a network of dozens of Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) area providers located all over the County, including community health centers and Cook County clinics. For more information or to apply, call 312-864-8200 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. To learn more about CountyCare, visit www.CountyCare.com.
For more information on finding affordable health care in our community, download my 12th District Guide to Health Care.
Dearborn Garden Walk
Sunday, July 21, 12 pm - 5:00 pm
Entry at The Latin Middle School, 45 W. North Blvd
$35 tickets at the door, with $30 in advance. Advance tickets are limited, and the sale closes Saturday, July 21st, noon. Advance ticket sale purchasers will automatically be entered in a drawing for hotel packages.
Ticket entry includes: admission to over 20 distinctive rear gardens, narrated architectural walking tour of historic Dearborn Street, live jazz and classical performances in select gardens, and garden vignettes.
44th Ward Senior Picnic with Alderman Tunney
Thursday, July 25, 11 am - 1:30 pm
Lincoln Park, Lake Shore Drive and Wellington
Join Alderman Tunney for the 9th Annual Senior Picnic on Thursday, July 25th at 11AM-1:30PM in Lincoln Park. There will be music, dancing, lunch (of course) and prizes.
Buena Park Arts Expo
Month of July
4101 North Broadway
Buena Park Arts Expo is a celebration of the arts and community. Buena Park Neighbors has converted a defunct cleaners into a temporary home for 8-weeks of programs that will bring theatre and performance, visual arts, poetry and spoken word, drawing, architecture, and much more, to our neighborhood.
The Buena Park Arts Expo will be located at 4101 North Broadway at the corner of Belle Plaine. Programs are scheduled Thursday through Sunday for the months of June and July 2013.
Check out the full list of programs for July here.