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SPRINGFIELD State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) issued the following statement today on the status of the ongoing state budget impasse amid indications that the State Senate may proceed with passing an unbalanced budget that raises taxes without matching state spending with projected revenue:

Rep. Joe Sosnowski
“We are more than halfway through the spring session with little to no progress made on the state budget. It is long past time that leaders in both parties get serious about working together to pass a responsible budget. I am proud to be co-sponsoring bipartisan pension reform legislation to save the state billions of dollars moving forward. This is one example of how we can and must work together. One thing we cannot do is pass an unbalanced budget that includes tax increases and no responsible reforms that provide taxpayer relief. We can bring manufacturing jobs back to the Rockford area and other parts of the state by insisting that economic reforms be part of any final budget agreement.”

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Legislative Update for the Week of March 20-24
Please scroll below for selected updates on the state budget, jobs, cybersecurity in Illinois, a new pension reform proposal filed today, and a helpful guide on safe driving during the spring road construction season.

Budget – COGFA testimony
  • Nonpartisan budget watchdog office testifies on FY17 budget situation.  The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) presented FY17 and preliminary FY18 budget projections to the House Revenue and Finance Committee this week.  COGFA, a nonpartisan economic watchdog office within the Illinois General Assembly, presented a revised estimate of $33.1 billion in FY17 general funds ($30.2 billion net of refund funds and non-general funds distributions) inflows for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.  These numbers represented significant reductions from the FY17 preliminary estimates of $33.9 billion ($30.9 billion net of refunds/non-general funds distributions) published by COGFA in July 2016. 
Click HERE to download the application for Representative Sosnowski's Summer Legislative Internship Program!

In an effort to make state government and the legislative process more accessible to Illinois residents regardless of their national origin or spoken language, State Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) is providing a link to translate the Illinois General Assembly website, www.ilga.gov, into any one of dozens of different languages.

The Illinois General Assembly website contains legislator profiles, full text of all legislation introduced in the House of Representatives and State Senate, live audio and video feeds of legislative session and committee hearings; and a wide variety of other legislative information and support services.

Please click any of the links below to translate the Illinois General Assembly website into your preferred language:

Spanish         Español
Arabic          عربي               
Hindi           हिन्दी      
Chinese (Simplified) 中文简体               
Chinese (Traditional) 中文繁體                
Japanese       日本語 
Korean          한국어             
Russian         Русский 
French          Français    
German        Deutsch             
Italian            Italiano           
Polish             Polski        
Greek             Ελληνικά            

You can translate the Illinois General Assembly website into as many as 57 different languages using any of the above links.

Rep. Joe Sosnowski is the chief sponsor of the bill, which could help alleviate Rockford's 'GED crisis'


By Isaac Guerrero
Rockford Register Star

ROCKFORD — Lawmakers are considering a bill that could help the Rockford region provide a high school diploma to more than 40,000 adults in Boone and Winnebago counties.

State law prevents school districts from awarding high school diplomas to students who are 21 or older. Adult learners instead have the option of earning an equivalency certificate, such as the General Equivalency Development diploma. Although more than 700 adults in Boone and Winnebago counties earn a GED diploma each year, hundreds more young adults in the region drop out of high school every year.

Illinois House Bill 2527, introduced by state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, would effectively eliminate the high school diploma age cap. If approved, the legislation would allow a nonprofit agency, in partnership with the state Board of Education, to establish a school for adult learners that would issue high school diplomas and additional vocational credentials so that graduates have a certified job skill upon graduation…
Rep. Joe Sosnowski
SPRINGFIELD The Illinois House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation today, House Bill 791, to block local governments from enacting any ordinance prohibiting the use of autonomous vehicles on its roadways. "Autonomous vehicle" means any vehicle equipped with technology that has been integrated capable of driving the vehicle without the active control or monitoring of a human operator. State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) reacted to the bipartisan consensus that led to the unanimous passage of the bill:

“In the interest of public safety, it is critical that we avoid creating a patchwork of laws throughout the state with regard to autonomous vehicles,” Rep. Sosnowski said. “If some communities allowed the use of self-driving cars while others banned it, an unfeasible situation would exist endangering public safety and creating a legal and insurance nightmare. It is more appropriate that we take the necessary time to assess this innovative technology thoughtfully and come to a consensus on the best way to move forward as a state.”
SPRINGFIELDMembers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 voted to give their union bargaining committee the authority to call a strike on Thursday, threatening the interruption of critical taxpayer-funded services across Illinois as the union remains at an impasse in contract negotiations with Governor Bruce Rauner. Since taking office in 2015, the Rauner Administration has successfully negotiated new contracts with the state’s 20 other unions, agreements that balance the needs of Illinois’ diverse and talented workforce with respect for taxpayers.  

State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) reacted to the vote by AFSCME members today to authorize a strike:

“The Governor has negotiated in good faith with AFSCME, the only union which has refused to compromise on terms for a new contract in the past two years. As the representative of the taxpayers at the negotiating table, the Governor has consistently offered a fair, common-sense proposal that includes merit pay, allowing volunteers to lend their time and talents to assist government agencies, and stating that overtime pay can be earned for any time worked beyond 40 hours per week. Caving in to AFSCME’s extreme demands and refusal to compromise would result in higher taxes on all working families in Illinois; an outcome we should not accept. Instead of striking and jeopardizing the services Illinois families pay for and rely upon, I encourage AFSCME members to pressure their leaders to negotiate with the Governor in good faith and agree to a fair contract as soon as possible.”