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Katie Kelly

ROCKFORD – State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, has announced that Kathleen “Katie” Kelly of Roscoe has joined his staff as Legislative Aide for the 69th District effective January 14. Kelly manages Sosnowski’s District Office located at 305 Amphitheater Drive in Rockford and handles all constituent casework. Prior to joining Representative Sosnowski’s office, Kelly was a Victim Service Provider for the DUI/ Major Traffic Unit with the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office since 2015.        

“I am pleased to welcome Katie Kelly to our team and look forward to her maintaining the excellent standard of constituent service our office prides itself in,” Representative Sosnowski said. “Katie will be a strong advocate for constituents interacting with state agencies and programs and help to keep local residents informed of everything I’m working on in Springfield and here at home.” 

“I am thrilled to be working in Representative Sosnowski’s office,” Kelly said. “This position is an excellent opportunity to get to know more people in our wonderful community. I look forward to serving the people of Winnebago and Boone Counties.”
Inauguration of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield.

State Representatives Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, and John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, took the oath of office for a new term on Wednesday, joining all 118 members of the Illinois House of Representatives for the inauguration of the 101st General Assembly held at the Sangamon Auditorium. Sosnowski has served the 69th District since 2011 and Cabello has represented the 68th District since 2012.
                                    
“We are going to fight against proposed tax increases and work together to find common ground with the new Governor on needed changes to create jobs, strengthen schools and enact true property tax relief,” Cabello and Sosnowski said. “Illinois presently ranks second in the nation for people leaving for lower taxes and better opportunities elsewhere. Our first and most immediate priority in 2019 is to reverse this trend by making Illinois more competitive for job creators and more affordable for families and seniors.”

The House of Representatives for the new 101st General Assembly is comprised of 74 Democrats and 44 Republicans. Representative Michael J. Madigan of Chicago was re-elected Speaker of the House for another two-year term. Representative Jim Durkin of Western Springs was re-elected Minority Leader.
Immediately upon ringing in the New Year, 253 new laws will become effective in 2019 that have wide ranging impact. Here are few of those laws families should know about:

  • Children under the age of 2 years old must be restrained in rear facing car seats unless they weigh 40 or more pounds or are 40 or more inches tall. (PA100-0672)
  • Every Illinois school will be required to conduct at least one law-enforcement led active shooter drill a year. School safety drills must be conducted within 90 days of the start of the school year. (PA100-0996)
  • Nursing mothers upon request will be exempt from jury duty. (PA100-0696)
  • Stalking laws expanded to include messages sent through social media. Additionally, businesses, places of worship and schools can seek restraining orders against stalkers.
  • The Lyme Disease Prevention and Protection Act was enacted opening the door in Illinois for new treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. (PA100-1137)
  • All children in kindergarten and the second, sixth, and ninth grades of any public, private or parochial school shall have a dental examination. (PA100-829)

Illinois’ motor fuel tax on gasoline is 19 cents per gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1990. All revenue from the tax goes to the Motor Fuel Tax Fund. In Fiscal Year 2017, $1.35 billion in State revenue was collected (approximately the same amount as was raised in FY16). 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proposed raising the gas tax by 20 to 30 cents per gallon to fund a new Capital program and infrastructure improvements. That would more than double the current 19 cent per gallon State gas tax.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn has also called for an increase in the State gas tax by at least 15 cents per gallon.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker on December 12 did not dismiss the possibility of a gas tax hike to help pay for rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, but he also cautioned that a major construction program won’t come quickly when his administration begins in January.

Pritzker also said a capital program and money to pay for it isn’t something the lame-duck legislature should pursue when it returns to Springfield on January 7.
Winners have been announced for the 5th Annual 69th District Photo Challenge Contest sponsored by State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford. The contest is offered each year to give Stateline area residents an opportunity to share their interest in photography with the public. Photo submissions can be of nature, architecture, or daily life in Illinois’ 69th District, which includes portions of Boone and Winnebago Counties. 

Winners have their photos displayed in Springfield for one year at Representative Sosnowski’s office in the Capitol Complex. This year’s winners are:

Sharon Thomas
Photo of Belvidere Park, Belvidere, IL

Elizabeth Carville

Photo of Espenscheid Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL
Rasha Abdullah
Photo of Belvidere Park, Belvidere, IL 
“Our annual photo challenge is a way to celebrate life and nature around the Stateline and recognize the talents of local residents who have a passion for photography,” Representative Sosnowski said. “I would like to congratulate this year’s winners and thank everyone who submitted their outstanding photos.”

For questions or more information, please contact Representative Sosnowski’s District Office at (815) 547-3436.
Today I had the opportunity to stop by and talk with Rockford Christian third graders on how government works in Illinois. Had some great questions and enjoyed speaking with all the students!



By Joe Sosnowski
State Representative, 69th District

Illinois is facing a mammoth pension crisis. The credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service released a report showing that Illinois’ unfunded pension liability has reached a staggering $250 billion. Put in perspective, that’s $19,531.25 in debt for every man, woman, and child in Illinois. This crisis threatens the retirement security of workers who have played by the rules and paid in their fair share over the years; and it threatens every Illinois taxpayer who is on the hook for somehow, some way, bailing the state out of a disaster decades in the making. Previous Governors, Democrat and Republican share in the blame for how we got here. However, finger-pointing doesn’t solve the problem or help us achieve a solution. 

Illinois can find a solution by looking at Arizona. Last month, Arizona voters approved a referendum to amend the state’s constitution in a way that will allow for needed reform to two of their major pension systems, following on the heels of a similar proposition they approved two years ago impacting just one pension system.  The voter-approved Arizona referendum is primarily aimed at reasonable reductions in annual cost-of-living increases (COLA). Instead of an automatic 4% annual increase, Arizona has adjusted the COLA to stay in line with the economy by tying it to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is a common-sense reform that Illinois would benefit from. Pairing this reform with a cap on maximum pension payouts (one proposal would cap pension benefits at $106K per year) would provide substantial savings to Illinois taxpayers on an annual basis while still ensuring a secure retirement for pensioners.