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In a passionate speech on the floor of the House on Friday, State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catilin) told members of the House Democrat Caucus that the time has come for them to stand up to their leader, House Speaker Mike Madigan, and continue working with Republicans in a bipartisan manner toward a compromise budget. "Sometimes its OK to speak truth to power in your own party," said Hays. "Sometimes its OK when groups from your side of the aisle say Mr. Speaker, it's time to cut the deal.'"

To watch Rep. Hays' plea to the Democrats, click here.
House Republicans held a press conference today immediately following the vote of an appropriation plan that spends $7 billion more in revenue than the state has coming into its coffers.

House Republicans were denied a vote verification for a 500-page bill that was introduced a mere 90-minutes before it was called for debate on the House Floor. Democrats then limited the debate to less than an hour with a parliamentarian move.

SB2048 appropriates $14 billion - that with court orders, continuing appropriations and consent decrees would push state spending over $40 billion.

State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) spoke on behalf of the House Republican Caucus and expressed their disgust with the process that had just taken place on the House floor. You may listen to his press interview by clicking on the image above.
State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) applauded a strong showing of bipartisanship today that will allow $700 million in dedicated funds to be sent to human service agencies that have been caught in the middle of a budget battle between the Speaker of the House and the Governor.

“Two weeks ago Republicans and Democrats came together to find $600 million in available revenue that could be used as emergency funding for our community colleges and universities, and today we again worked collaboratively to allocate $700 million for human service agencies that are at risk of closing their doors,” said Hays. “It was not a perfect bill, but it matched expenditures with available revenue. These agencies that provide critical services will now be able to continue with the delivery of services through the end of the fiscal year.”

Through SB 2038, the following funds are allocated:
  • Department of Human Services: $247,989,000
  • Healthcare and Family Services: $5,400,000 
  • Department of Public Health: $17,988,300
  • Department on Aging: $243,492,100
  • Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority: $9,098,600
  • Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: $458,000
  • Department of Military Affairs: $1,266,500
  • Department of Transportation: $343,500
  • Department of Revenue: $170,500,000
“As a General Assembly, we can do a great deal when we set partisan politics aside and actually work toward shared goals that benefit our constituents,” said Hays. “While I wish this bill could have done more, the give-and-take and compromise that created SB 2038 will provide a lifeline to agencies that are really struggling.”

SB 2038 now heads back to the Senate for their concurrence and then to the Governor’s desk.
State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) will join Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) on Monday, May 2 for the dedication of a stretch of Route 1 between Westville and Georgetown as Sgt. Kenneth R. Nichols Jr. Memorial Highway.

Nichols was killed during service to his country in 2009, and in December the General Assembly approved legislation memorializing him. The dedication ceremony will be held on May 2 at 10:00 AM at the Georgetown Township building on Route 1.

“I had had the pleasure of meeting Sgt Nichols’ father and family last year, and I look forward to the dedication ceremony that honors this brave soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” Hays said.

Nichols grew up in Chrisman and graduated from Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School. He died on December 1, 2009 when his unit was attacked by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. At the time of his death, Nichols had served for four years in the U.S. Army.


 “Through this highway designation, Sgt. Nichols’ memory will live on forever and will serve as a reminder for us all that we have brave men and women locally who have answered their call to serve so that we may all enjoy our freedoms.”
Colleges and Universities Receive Emergency Funding through Bipartisan Stopgap Measure
A stopgap measure that allows Illinois’ universities and community colleges to remain open during the budget impasse was approved by the Illinois House Friday morning. The legislation also provides funding for one semester of Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.

Through an amendment to SB 2059, $600 million in existing Educational Assistance Fund (EAF) money will be utilized to provide short-term funding for schools that face an uncertain future due to the General Assembly’s inability to pass a budget. The emergency funding measure will fund operations through the start of September, when next year’s tuition payments arrive. While the obvious best solution would be a balanced budget that included adequate funding for higher education, this amendment to SB 2059 will provide a critical lifeline to our community colleges and universities. It represents the kind of creative solutions that can be reached through bipartisanship while a full budget solution is reached.

While each public four-year institution will receive an allocation that will see them through the end of August, the Illinois Community College Board will receive a lump sum of $74,142,300 to disperse to struggling community colleges across the state. “I am pleased to see funding for community colleges included in this stopgap measure,” Hays said, “because these two-year colleges provide vital educational services to a great number of Illinois citizens.”

The Senate also approved the bill on Friday and it was signed into law Monday morning by the Governor. Meanwhile, Comptroller Leslie Munger issued a statement Friday afternoon, saying she will begin sending money to the community colleges and universities, and allocate money for MAP grants right away.

Bipartisan Bill Sets New Standard for Health Insurance Networks in Illinois
Few things are more sacred than the relationship between a physician and a patient, and having a dynamic in place where a physician’s network status can change without notice can have catastrophic financial and emotional consequences for patients. For that reason I was proud this week to serve as the Chief Co-Sponsor of new, bipartisan legislation that establishes new standards for adequacy, accessibility and transparency of all health insurance plans sold in the state. HB 6562 would require insurance companies to file specific information with the Illinois Department of Insurance before marketing any health plan, including details about the professionals and institutions covered by the plan, and a requirement that “in-network” physicians and hospitals be located a reasonable distance from insured people’s homes. Perhaps most important, this bill requires insurance companies to let insured people know in a timely manner when a physician or care facility is no longer in-network. Especially in rural areas where we already drive close to an hour to receive medical care, these new provisions add a much-needed new layer of consumer protection.

Local School Groups Visit Capitol
I always enjoy visiting with constituents when they come to Springfield, and last week several school groups from Vermilion County spent a day touring the State Capitol in Springfield. Shown in these photos are two groups of students from the First Baptist Christian School in Danville with School Director Stephanie 
Tidwell, and a group from the Danville Area Community College’s Adult Area Education Classes with their Director Laura Williams. If you have a school or other group that will be visiting Springfield, please let my Springfield office know so that we can schedule time for a visit. You may reach that office at (217) 782-4811.

Vehicle Emissions Test Notices Resume
Drivers of motor vehicles in several areas of Illinois are required by federal law to get their cars and trucks tested for compliance with emissions standards. The vehicle owner must present proof-of-testing as part of the documentation submitted at the time the motor vehicle’s sticker is scheduled to expire. The tests must be performed on a rolling schedule tied to the age of each vehicle, and there is an official list of test centers authorized to perform the emissions tests.

Until December 2015, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) routinely sent out friendly notices of vehicle emissions testing deadlines to motor vehicle owners. The notice cycle was suspended at that time due to the State’s budget crisis, leading to widespread protests. The IEPA has announced they have renegotiated the terms of their notice mailing process with their testing system private partner, and notices of duty-to-perform 0.5 million vehicle emissions tests are now in the process of being mailed out. The notices cover vehicles due for emissions tests during a three-month period starting on March 1, 2016 and ending on May 31, 2016. Mailings resumed on Wednesday, April 6.

A separate suspended mailing program by the Secretary of State’s office to vehicle owners to remind them to renew their vehicle license stickers and purchase new ones has not been resumed. Vehicle owners will continue to be responsible to renew their vehicle license stickers on their own and will pay penalties if they fail to do so. The Illinois House recently approved HB 4334, which would temporarily suspend the delinquent registration renewal fee when it is being charged and collected under these circumstances. That bill is now pending in the Senate.

Hays Community College Bill Clears House; Now Being Considered in the Senate
Common sense legislation that assists community colleges with data collection practices was sent to the Senate this week after passage in the House last week. HB 6009 provides relief to community colleges by reducing data redundancy and eliminating data collections that are not vital to the goals established by the Illinois Community Colleges Board (ICCB). It also removes sections of the Community College Act that are outdated, and clarifies the coordination of specific responsibilities between the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Community College Board.

By cleaning up the laws, our community colleges can be more efficient. For example, in 2015 the ICCB approved 95 different locally-funded projects and leases, including a one dollar land purchase. These people don’t need to be spending their time micromanaging projects that are being funded locally.

“Visit Champaign County” Group Visits Springfield to Promote Tourism
It was my pleasure to visit with Jane DeLuce, President and CEO of Visit Champaign County and a group of leaders from that wonderful organization. This valuable organization was created in 1982 as the official tourism destination, marketing and management institution for Champaign County. They work hard to market Champaign County’s events and unique features to promote tourism and the positive impact it has on the local economy.






State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) will join Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) on Monday, May 2 for the dedication of a stretch of Route 1 between Westville and Georgetown as Sgt. Kenneth R. Nichols Jr. Memorial Highway.

Nichols was killed during service to his country in 2009, and in December the General Assembly approved legislation memorializing him. The dedication ceremony will be held on May 2 at 10:00 AM at the Georgetown Township building on Route 1.

“I had had the pleasure of meeting Sgt Nichols’ father and family last year, and I look forward to the dedication ceremony that honors this brave soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” Hays said.

Nichols grew up in Chrisman and graduated from Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School. He died on December 1, 2009 when his unit was attacked by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. At the time of his death, Nichols had served for four years in the U.S. Army.

“Through this highway designation, Sgt. Nichols’ memory will live on forever and will serve as a reminder for us all that we have brave men and women locally who have answered their call to serve so that we may all enjoy our freedoms.”
A stopgap measure that allows Illinois’ universities and community colleges to remain open during the budget impasse was approved by the Illinois House Friday morning. The legislation also provides funding for one semester of Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.

Through an amendment to SB 2059, $600 million in existing Educational Assistance Fund (EAF) money will be utilized to provide short-term funding for schools that face an uncertain future due to the General Assembly’s inability to pass a budget. Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin), who represents students and employees from the University of Illinois, Danville Community College and Parkland Community College, said the emergency funding measure will fund operations through the start of September, when next year’s tuition payments arrive. “While the obvious best solution would be a balanced budget that included adequate funding for higher education, this amendment to SB 2059 will provide a critical lifeline to our community colleges and universities,” said Hays. “It represents the kind of creative solutions that can be reached through bipartisanship while a full budget solution is reached.

While each public four-year institution will receive an allocation that will see them through the end of August, the Illinois Community College Board will receive a lump sum of $74,142,300 to disperse to struggling community colleges across the state. “I am pleased to see funding for community colleges included in this stopgap measure,” Hays said, “because these two-year colleges provide vital educational services to a great number of Illinois citizens.”

The Illinois Senate indicated it would consider the bill right away and Governor Rauner said he will sign it if it reaches his desk. The official House vote on the amended bill was 106-2.