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Illinois Auditor General Audit Reveals Issues Concerning Oversight of Group Homes for Developmentally Disabled

Today, the Auditor General released a performance audit of the Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs) program administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). The audit was directed by House Resolution 34 sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville). Rep. Meier requested the audit in light of the abuse and neglect which took place throughout the state in group homes for the developmentally disabled dating back to 2011. According to State Representative Charlie Meier, “This audit reaffirms that more work must be done to improve the quality of care our most vulnerable population should expect to receive. Not all group homes are bad, but there is no excuse for these mistakes to happen again. Since 2015 the state has made improvements; however there is always room for improvement. I won’t give up advocating for better care for our developmentally disabled. In the meantime I will continue to review this audit with my staff in order to help advocate for more improvements.”The following is an excerpt from the Auditor General’s report which can be found at https://www.auditor.illinois.gov. Continue reading

2018 Session Update from Rep. Charlie Meier

The legislature completed its regular session work for the 100th Illinois General Assembly on May 31, 2018. The 2018 session was a busy one for State Representative Charlie Meier. During the 100th GA, Rep. Meier sponsored a total of fifty-one pieces of legislation. Here are a few legislative highlights from this session: Judicial Election Reform (HB 4176) If enacted, states that no judge or former judge may submit his or her candidacy for a vacancy in a judicial office by any method other than seeking retention in his or her office, unless that judge or former judge is seeking judicial office in a higher or lower court or he or she has not served as an elected or appointed judge for at least 2 years.The legislation is in response to the decision made by three St. Clair County judges Baricevic, Haida and LeChien to avoid retention and the requirement to receive 60% voter approval to remain on the bench. Instead, the three judges chose to run for election which only required approval from over 50% of the voters in the November 2016 election.Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee Income Tax Hike Repeal (HB 4211) Would repeal the 32 percent income tax hike which took effect in 2017. The current income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95 percent and 7 percent for employers. Rep. Meier’s bill would roll back the income tax to 3.75% on taxable income and 5.25% for employers. Meier’s legislation would reduce the tax burden placed on individuals and families while saving thousands of Illinois jobs.“Our state continues to lose population because of higher taxes and fewer jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “We need more jobs and less taxes in our state which is why I filed a bill to reduce taxes on individuals and businesses. I voted against the final bill which forced the recent 32 percent income tax hike onto Illinois taxpayers.”Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee Concealed Carry License for Armed Forces in Illinois (HB 4177) Creates an exemption for non-resident active duty members of the Armed Forces or their spouses to apply for concealed carry licenses.  “I have been pushing for this bill ever since ISIS put out their hit list on our current and former service members,” said Rep. Meier. “Our service members put their lives at risk to protect our freedom, its common sense that we allow them to protect themselves and their family when they are in public.”The legislation provides that whether or not the laws of the state where the non-resident resides are substantially similar to Illinois, the Illinois State Police shall allow by rule a non-resident license application if the applicant is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State or the spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State.Status: Passed Judicial Criminal Committee, then held up by Anti-Gun Lawmakers Continue reading

34 Illinois laws effective June 1, 2018

Here are the 34 new laws that take effect on June 1 that you should know about: Local governments cannot prohibit autonomous vehicles(Public Act 100-352, House Bill 791)No unit of local government, including home rule units, may enact a local ordinance which prohibits the use of vehicles equipped with automated driving systems. Designating lottery funds for education(Public Act 100-466, House Bill 213)This legislation amended the Illinois Lottery Law to direct that any money transferred from the lottery fund over to the Common School Fund be considered supplemental to any money due to be transferred into the fund, rather than in lieu of those funds. Publicizing the child abuse hotline(Public Act 100-468, House Bill 370)The Department of Children and Family Services is empowered to cooperate with school officials to distribute in school buildings materials which list the toll-free telephone number established by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. This information can also include the methods of making a report under the Act. Changes to some boat safety registration information(Public Act 100-469, House Bill 434)Boats operated, used or stored in Illinois must have on board a valid certificate of number issued under the Boat Registration and Safety Act or another federally-approved numbering system. The identifying number must be displayed on both sides of the bow of the boat. Fees for obtaining these numbers will increase slightly, and expiration of certificates will be extended to September 30 of the relevant year instead of June 30. The legislation also limits the requirement for a certificate of title for watercraft required to be numbered to those over 21 feet, rather than all watercraft as in the current law. Notification of highway detours(Public Act 100-473, House Bill 799)The Department of Transportation and local governments will be required to post notice of highway detour locations on their websites at least 10 days before the detour becomes active. The requirement will not apply in the case of an unanticipated emergency, nor will it apply to a local government that does not have a website maintained by full-time staff. A local government can post on its website a link to IDOT’s notice in order to satisfy its posting requirement. Continue reading

Rep. Meier’s bill to help create solar energy jobs sent to Governor

Legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) to help generate more solar projects while protecting farmland now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature in order to become law. Rep. Meier anticipates his proposal will help create more solar energy jobs in the state. “These commercial solar projects are coming in quickly and creating a lot of jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “Everything is different in their contracts. Establishing a uniform standard for commercial solar projects will help provide some standards for landowners and help make sure there is financial protection for decommissioning the projects. We want to make sure this is done right while protecting Illinois’ number one industry, agriculture.” Continue reading

Meier co-sponsors resolution opposing progressive income tax

State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville), along with his House Republican colleagues recently co-sponsored House Resolution 975 to state their opposition to a proposed progressive income tax on Illinois residents. The Resolution was introduced by Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). “More taxes will not solve Illinois’ spending problem,” said Rep. Meier. “People are leaving our state as a result of having the highest tax burden in the country. We need to do more with less while growing our economy. More jobs, spending less, and no more taxes is the common sense approach my colleagues in the legislature should follow.” Illinois already has the highest effective state and local tax burden in the nation, according to a report by WalletHub. Studies have shown that states with progressive income taxes create even more of a tax burden on the middle class and dissuade economic prosperity. According to House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, “The General Assembly cannot continue spending money frivolously and expect Illinois taxpayers to pick up the tab with more tax increases like this progressive income tax proposal from the Democrat party. It is our constitutional duty to protect our constituents, and we will remain firm as a caucus on blocking any progressive tax measures.”

Rep. Meier Recognizes All Saints Volleyball Team for State Title Win

This week, State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) invited the All Saints Academy of Breese eighth grade girls’ volleyball team to the State Capitol to recognize their recent state championship victory. The Saints won the 2018 Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA) Class S State Championship. “It is my honor to recognize the achievement of these young ladies,” said Meier. “Winning a state championship is an impressive accomplishment in its own right, but these young ladies did it in truly incredible fashion by going undefeated with a perfect record of 31-0. Congratulations to the Saints, their coaches and their families on this wonderful success.” The Saints defeated Altamont Lutheran in three sets by a score of 25-22, 20-25, and 15-3 in the Championship match at Herrin High School on March 24, 2018. Although the third volleyball team in All Saints Academy history to win a state title, their perfect 31-0 season tied the school record for the most wins in a season and marked a new milestone as the only team in school history to go undefeated. This state championship victory also makes All Saints Academy the first school in the history of the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA) to win a volleyball state championship on three different levels (Class L, Class M, and Class S). Rep. Meier honored the championship team and coaching staff with the adoption of House Resolution 951 earlier in April. This week, Meier introduced the coaching staff and players so they could be honored before the House of Representatives. The Saints team includes: Head Coach Jennifer Jasper and Assistant Coach Jenna Ratermann; Emma Huelskamp, Sophie Hustedde, Emily Johnson, Riley Kleber, Jenna Martin, Tori Mohesky, Meg Poettker, Annalyse Richter and Alivia Lampe (7th grade).

Rep. Meier Honors Okawville Rockets Boys Basketball Championship at the Capitol

State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) honored the Okawville High School varsity boys basketball team, the Rockets, on winning the 2017-2018 Illinois High School Association Class 1A State Championship during Tuesday’s session of the Illinois House of Representatives. “I am extremely proud of the Okawville boys basketball team on winning their first state championship,” said Rep. Meier. “The dedication and hard work that took place in order to win a state championship is a skillset the team can carry-on throughout life. Congratulations to my hometown team, the Okawville Rockets on winning the state championship.” The Rockets defeated Annawan by a score of 59-48 on March 10, 2018 at Carver Arena in Peoria. The Rockets set a Class 1A state finals record from the three-point range, shooting 8-of-14, or 57.1%, during the championship game. The Rockets have been to the state tournament nine times in school history, but this is the first time the Rockets have won the state championship. The Rockets ended their season with an overall record of 27 wins and 8 losses. Rep. Meier recognized the championship team and coaching staff by adopting House Resolution 947. The following were recognized and congratulated by Rep. Meier’s Resolution; Head Coach Jon Kraus, Assistant Coaches Ryan Heck, Jackie Smith, Mike Frederking, and Cameron Obermeier; Rockets Boy’s Basketball Teammates; Payten Harre, Lucas Frederking, Caleb Frederking, Will Aubel, Jordan Green, Wyatt Krohne, Luke Hensler, Carter Killion, Drew Riechmann, Tyler Parsley, Tyler Roesener, Payton Riechmann, Lane Schilling, Tom Segelhorst, and Jackson Heckert. The Okawville High School cheerleading squad joined the team at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 24th to show support, members of the cheerleading team include; Tiffany Thompson, Emily Bening, Lauryn Cepeda, Jordyn Curtis, Alyssa Jenkins, Katy Kinzel, Caryssa Kennelly, Bryleigh Prest, Abby Schmersahl, Anna Schmersahl, Erin Wiedwilt, and Taylor Bleisch.

Bill to allow service members in Illinois to conceal and carry fails to pass House committee

The Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee voted down legislation to allow non-resident active duty members and their spouse living in Illinois from obtaining a concealed carry license. The legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) would be helpful to service members and their families, particularly stationed at Scott Air Force Base. “I have been pushing for this bill ever since ISIS put out their hit list on our current and former service members,” said Rep. Meier. “Our veterans put their lives at risk to protect our freedom, it’s common sense that we allow them to protect themselves and their family when they are in public.” House Bill 4177 creates an exemption for non-resident active duty members of the Armed Forces or their spouses to apply for concealed carry licenses. Provides that whether or not the laws of the state where the non-resident resides are substantially similar to Illinois, the Illinois State Police shall allow by rule a non-resident license application if the applicant is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State or the spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State. Rep. Meier added, “I won’t give up trying to make this bill become law – we owe it to our veterans. This bill has bipartisan support, it even passed the Illinois Senate last year. It’s a common sense bill to help those who protect us by offering them their Constitutional right to protect themselves and their families from danger.”

Sentinel endorses Charlie Meier 'Meier is top choice for representative'

On Sunday, March 11, 2018 the Morning Sentinel endorsed Charlie Meier's re-election in the Republican primary to be held on Tuesday, March 20. Here is what the paper had to say... Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) is seeking re-election to the Illinois House in the 108th District. He deserves your consideration and your vote. First, Charlie is available to all constituents and others every hour of every day. He freely distributes his cell phone number and will answer calls while working the farm or working the floor of the Illinois House.He listens, he acts and he gets results. The people who should be most interested in getting Charlie re-elected are the residents and parents of residents at the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. Unfortunately, many of them cannot vote. Charlie took up the cause when the former administration tried to close the center. He never gave up the fight and he never backed down. Parents who do not live in Charlie’s district still support him and very publicly. Local support from the parents is visible and vocal. Charlie has proved he will not give up on Southern Illinois. He will remain a strong advocate for this area, for new jobs, lower property taxes and for paying off the state debt. When the Illinois Department of Agriculture laboratory closed, he worked with Rep. John Cavaletto of Salem to get the building donated to Kaskaskia College. When the state delayed paying utility bills at the Centralia Correctional Center, Charlie worked with the state to keep the resources needed to keep the center open. He assisted residents of New Minden after a tornado that killed people and damaged property. He helped block a proposal that would have prevented church members and volunteers from serving food at local fundraisers. He corrected a law that allowed a local health department to prevent a young girl from baking and selling cupcakes. He helped pass a law making handicap-accessible parks eligible for Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant funding. He remains active in educational reform and is a strong supporter of the U.S. Route 50 Coalition, which promotes a four-lane Route 50 across Southern Illinois. He is a familiar face at many locals breakfasts and dinners and he knows a lot of people at each event by name He voted for a Democratic income tax increase at the procedural level, but voted against the actual tax increase. He is the Republican spokesman for the House Agriculture Committee and understands the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy. He is a farmer himself. He has served on the BCMW Board and currently serves as vice chairman. Through BCMW, he has helped provide meals to seniors, funding to help low-income residents pay their power bills, youth programs and clearing blighted buildings, primarily in Centralia. He also serves on the Heartland Conservancy Board which works to protect the Kaskaskia Watershed. In a sometimes toxic environment, Charlie Meier is a breath of fresh air and he should be elected to continue to represent us as he has proven that he can.

State Rep. Candidate Don Moore Lone Vote in Favor of Severance Pay and Benefits for Criminals

The Madison County Board recently approved a resolution to prevent the county from awarding severance pay and benefits to political insiders convicted of a crime. Despite 26 County Board Members voting in favor of the anti-corruption reform, County Board Member and Republican candidate for state representative Don Moore voted against the reform, essentially supporting severance pay and benefits to corrupt political hires convicted of a crime. The anti-corruption resolution was approved by the Madison County Board on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by a vote of 26-1. Don Moore was the only Madison County Board Member opposed to the reform. “Madison County residents should be ashamed of Don Moore for supporting the use of their tax dollars to award severance pay and benefits to convicted criminals,” said Rep. Charlie Meier. “Why does he support rewarding a severance package and benefits to political insiders convicted of a crime? 26 county board members voted in favor of the reform. This was poor judgment by Moore. Thankfully the resolution passed despite Moore being the only vote against this anti-corruption reform.” According to the resolution approved Wednesday night, “In the event an Appointed Official or Department Head is convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than one year, or a crime of dishonesty or deceit, then the Appointed Official or Department Head may be terminated by the Chairman and County Board for cause without notice. The termination of the Appointed Official or Department Head shall be effective immediately upon approval of a Resolution by the Board terminating the employment. Further, and under such circumstances, the Appointed Official or Department Head shall not be entitled to any severance or benefits, save those that are required to be provided or offered by State, or Federal law.” The resolution to remove the requirement to award severance pay and benefits to Madison County political hires convicted of a crime can be found on page 19 enclosed.