Legislative Update: November 19 2018

Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Fall Veto Session

Legislators returned to Springfield last week to begin the six-day 2018 Fall Veto Session. We were in session on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and will return for the final three days the week after Thanksgiving. Of the 612 bills that both the House and Senate approved this year, Governor Rauner vetoed 83 of them. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that to override the veto, both houses have to affirmatively vote “yes” to override with three-fifths majorities in each, or else the bill dies. Thirty of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by a simple majority vote. 

Through floor action last week, 17 vetoed House Bills received the requisite number of votes to override; two of those votes failed; and House members accepted the Governor’s amendatory language on one bill. In the Senate, lawmakers overrode 20 Senate Bills while two attempts to override the Governor’s veto failed. The bills that received three-fifths override votes in one chamber now move to the other chamber, where another three-fifths vote will be required for the bills to become law.

Mazzochi Honors Veterans in Remembrance Ceremony

On Veterans Day it was my honor to participate in the 90th anniversary celebration of the Hinsdale American Legion Post 250’s Memorial and “Victory of Hinsdale” statue. The statue, which was created by the same sculptor who designed the sculptures and engravings at Hoover Dam, was recently restored. The original statue was dedicated in the foyer of the Memorial Building on November 11, 1928, ten years after the World War I Armistice. I’m shown in this photo with Doug Stetina, Post Chaplain Charles Hartley, Post Commander Jack Orell and Adjutant Commander Tom Lynch. 

Rep. Mazzochi Addresses Large Spike in “Failure to Appear in Court” Cases in DuPage

When I learned that several suburban counties recently experienced a significant spike in the number of accused people who are out on bail for serious crimes, but who fail to appear in court. People were skipping bail because the punishment for failure to appear to answer for a crime was less than the penalty for the crime itself—which incentivized avoiding the court if you were likely to be found guilty of a crime. I signed on as the primary Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that addresses this problem. HB 5980 seeks to amend the Bail Reform Act (P.A. 100-0001) to address this problem and incentivize the accused to actually appear in court to answer charges.

More specifically, the Bail Reform Act that took effect in Illinois on January 1 of this year was part of a national movement to improve the pre-trial justice system in this country. While that Act includes some beneficial provisions, one specific change has disincentivized defendants from showing up for court dates. Failure to Appear in Court instances in DuPage County for more serious Category A offenses, which include murder, home invasion, and aggravated violent felonies, jumped by 83% during the first seven months of 2018 as compared to the same timeframe in 2017. Category B offenses jumped 71% during that same time.

The new law stipulates that failure to appear offenses are imposed at one Class lower than the original crime for which a defendant is charged. Often judges would decline to sentence offenders to jail time for skipping bail. Under these new bail guidelines, an increasing number of defendants would rather take their chances and flee justice than appear on court-mandated dates to face their charges. This is unacceptable.

Proposed changes to the Bail Reform Act include:

  • Individuals who are out on bail and fail to appear in court would be charged with a “failure to appear” offense of the same Class (instead of the next lower Class) of the original crime with which he/she has been charged 
  • “Failure to Appear” offenders would not be eligible for probation for bail jumping 

Rep. Mazzochi Attends Fall Senior Festival in Westmont

I recently spent a wonderful morning talking with seniors from the Westmont area at the Fall Senior Festival in Westmont. The Chamber of Commerce put on a great event and they had a large turnout. We are fortunate in the 47th House District to have beneficial organizations catering to the needs of seniors, and I was pleased to be able to attend this annual event and meet many active older adults. 

Mazzochi Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Penalties against Human Traffickers

I am leading the fight in Springfield to increase penalties for those who would engage in human trafficking of underage children in Illinois by serving as the Chief House Sponsor of HB 5079. While Illinois relies on its transportation expertise for economic growth, one dark side of this efficiency is that our network attracts a criminal element as well. We have long known that human trafficking occurs in Illinois, and that there is a type of predator who targets those who are underage. When other states have enhanced penalties, and Illinois does not, that gives perverse incentives to exploit children here in our state. We need to send a clear message that forcing people- often young girls- into involuntary servitude through human trafficking, will not be tolerated and that those who engage in this despicable crime will face a very severe penalty.

HB 5079 would amend the Criminal Code to increase penalties for Class X human trafficking offences to 12-30 years of incarceration. The bill also adds the offense of involuntary sexual servitude of a minor to the definition of sex offenses for sex offender registration purposes, and provides victims with enhanced opportunities to seek justice through civil suits.

IL Department on Aging Assists Seniors for Medicare Open Enrollment

The Illinois Department on Aging’s (IDoA) Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is reminding seniors of the free counseling assistance available to Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers during Medicare Open Enrollment occurring October 15th through December 7th. During open enrollment, eligible adults can adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage, move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan – or vice versa – switch between Medicare Advantage plans, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty; all of which can be overwhelming and confusing.

With over 350 SHIP offices across Illinois, the agency stands ready to refer clients to their closest site, which can schedule an appointment to assist with open enrollment. SHIP counselors work through the Medicare.gov system to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. Contact SHIP, by calling 1-800-252-8966, weekdays 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM. For more information about SHIP, including a list of SHIP locations, visit the website at: http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx. To compare 2019 drug and health plans on your own and to find out more about Medicare options, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at: www.medicare.gov. Medicare customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at: 1-800-633-4227.

Open Enrollment is also underway for all people needing insurance through the Affordable Care Act. During this time period, Illinoisans can enroll in or change plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace for the next year. For more information, call (866) 311-1119 or visit www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov.

There’s Still Time to Take My Legislative Survey

I appreciate the number and complexity of issues at hand in the State of Illinois. To ensure nothing slips through the cracks, I encourage everyone to provide direct input through a legislative survey that has been posted to my web site. I will rely on these survey results so that I can appropriately represent the issues and priorities of our 47th District residents. I would appreciate hearing from you! I will read every survey that is submitted, so please take a moment to share your opinions. Click here to get started. 

State Sells $250 Million in Build Illinois Bonds

Proceeds from the largely tax-free debt offering will be used to finance capital infrastructure investments. No new taxes will be required to pay off the bonds, which will mature in equal stages from 2019 until 2043. The Build Illinois Bond Act sets aside a slice of revenues from existing sales taxes to service the bonds. Prior to using money from its sales taxes for day-to-day operating purposes, the State has pledged to its bondholders that it will use a portion of this sales tax money for long-term capital investment.



Many investors see Illinois sales tax revenues as a relatively secure revenue source, and despite the State’s overall fiscal challenges the bonds were rated several significant notches above the “junk bond” level. S&P Global Ratings rated the new issue at AA-, and Fitch Ratings rated the issue at A-. The bonds were sold to Wall Street investors on Tuesday, October 16. Money from the debt issuance will be used for long-term investments such as roads, bridges, and educational infrastructure.

Mazzochi Visits Local Plasma Donation Center; Discusses Importance of Helping Companies Grow in Illinois

I recently had the opportunity to tour the CSI Behring Plasma Donation Center in Melrose Park and learn about how this local business works with local residents to become the life force of a multi-step bio-therapeutic process that saves lives. Patients who suffer from rare critical diseases depend heavily on donor plasma to stay alive. Plasma collected at the CSI center is transported to a larger facility in downstate Kankakee, where it is transformed into life-saving treatments for individuals living with blood coagulation disorders like hemophilia, immune deficiencies and many other diseases and disorders. The products are also used during cardiac surgeries, organ transplantation and other major surgeries; the company has developed a new innovative treatment product that is heading into FDA clinical trials. 
This facility operates anywhere between 40 and 60 beds regularly, seven days per week and it was busy on the Friday afternoon when I was visiting. While there, I was able to speak with Jesus Castillo, Associate Director of Operations & Quality at CSL Plasma, John Conrad, President and CEO of the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Roy Pura from CSI Behring Government Affairs, and others about the center’s successes and challenges. 
The life sciences field has been rapidly expanding, and that the global personalized medicine market alone is forecast to reach $2.4 trillion by 2022. Other states such as North Carolina and Texas; and cities such as Boston and New York have recognized the opportunity for growth in this field, and are doing all they can to support start up and established businesses alike for the jobs and benefits they bring. Illinois, in the nation’s heartland; with two national laboratories in DuPage County; multiple companies innovating in this field; and with a highly skilled workforce, should be a life sciences national leader. We should really be helping current businesses grow and expand here rather than moving operations to other states. Other states are rolling out the red carpet for these types of businesses, and tailoring college programs to well-paying jobs, while Illinois continues to require overly-burdensome regulations and red tape. There are clear areas for improvement to do better. 

Veterans Honored by Bicentennial Commission

The announcement marked the climax of the “Bicentennial HONOR 200” recognition process, in which Illinois residents were asked to submit the names of veterans of the U.S. armed services who are their neighbors and who are key leaders in their local communities. Nominators were asked to describe how these veterans have continued their lives of service as members of their hometowns and neighborhoods. The process concluded with the naming of 200 Illinois veterans of special honor. The named guests will be invited to the state’s flagship birthday celebration on December 3, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago. They will represent more than 50 of the 102 counties of Illinois, from Chicago in the north to Carbondale in the south. The Bicentennial Commission unveiled the list of honor on Thursday, October 25. 
One of the honorees being recognized is Ralph Pechanio of Elmhurst. Ralph is a long-time businessman, civic leader and community volunteer. In addition to decades of community involvement with the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Elmhurst Veterans Memorial Commission, the American Legion, Kiwanis Club and other local organizations, Ralph is a veteran of the United States Army, where he served with distinction from 1965-1967. Congratulations to Ralph Pechanio!



Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Now Accepting Applications for Class of 2022

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora is now accepting applications for the Class of 2022. IMSA’s highly acclaimed residential program is designed for students who have exceptional talent and interest in the areas of science and math. Students attending IMSA have access to expanded educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), world languages, and humanities. Please contact IMSA at www.imsa.edu for additional information about the curriculum and application process.

Let My Office Know About Upcoming Community Events
If your organization has an upcoming event, occasion or newsworthy item to share, please send the information to my office via email at mazzochi@ilhousegop.org. We will be including local items of interest in a 47th District Community Calendar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lastly, as we enjoy this Thanksgiving week, let us all take a moment to count our many blessings and let those we appreciate know how thankful we are to have them in our lives. Perhaps you have a neighbor who routinely shows kindness to you and your family without expecting anything in return. This week is the perfect time to extend a gesture of friendship and thanks for the good deeds and overall happiness they bring to your life. 
Another wonderful way to show appreciation this time of year is by donating to one of the many food pantries in DuPage County. To make a donation, click here, and then use the “map application” link to view a map of DuPage County food pantries so you can find the pantry most convenient for you.



Don’t forget about the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot in Elmhurst on Thanksgiving morning. This marks the 35th year for this popular community event, and as always, proceeds will help feed hungry families in DuPage County. Click here for more information or to register for this year’s 5K run/walk.

One of the things that makes our district such a great place to live are the people in our community. If you know of a community volunteer, civic organization, service organization or simply a person in your neighborhood who goes above and beyond in the name of goodness that you believe deserves recognition, please send me an email at mazzochi@ilhousegop.org and share the information.

For those of you frying turkeys this week, please remember that you can recycle cooking oil. While DuPage County offers nine locations where cooking oil can be recycled year-round, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving there will be several locations accepting used cooking oil in sealed containers. Click here to learn more about this service, which is provided by SCARCE a local recycling organization.

On behalf of my staff and me, please accept my very best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!