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State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) released the following statement and video regarding the divisive political actions taken by House Democrats Thursday on proposed right to work legislation:

“The working men and women of Illinois deserve better than this charade. They deserve leaders who will stand up for middle-class families, not use them as pawns in a political power struggle.

“Today’s vote is more political theatre from the same Chicago politicians who have bankrupted our state and hurt middle-class families. They aren’t standing up for working families. The Democrats are playing games with their livelihoods. This so-called right to work bill is nothing more than a cynical attempt to hold onto power at all costs.

“Let me make my position perfectly clear: I opposed right to work under former Governor Quinn. I oppose right to work under Governor Rauner. I will not vote for it.

“I come from Decatur, Illinois – a manufacturing town with hardworking, middle-class families.

My hometown has struggled tremendously due to the loss of good-paying jobs. Our unemployment rate has been consistently higher than the state and national averages.  "Twenty plus years ago, Decatur was torn apart by labor wars that pitted neighbor against neighbor. It was terrible. It divided families and cost many hardworking people their jobs. I do not want to see a return to those difficult times.

“This so-called right to work bill is wrong for our working families. It’s not what Illinois needs to turn our economy around. Even the Illinois Chamber of Commerce said that ‘Illinois doesn’t need right to work (laws) to compete with its neighbors.’

“Today’s vote is a farce. It’s not about protecting working families. It’s all about dividing people. I oppose right to work, but I will not participate in this charade. It’s not fair to middle-class families who deserve better than this shameful display of power.”
State Representative Bill Mitchell with two Legislative Pages from the 101st District 
at the State House in Springfield, ILL.

Springfield – With clocks springing forward this week, a local lawmaker wants to make daylight saving time the year-round standard for Illinois.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) has introduced House Bill 1562, which provides that daylight saving time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire state. Mitchell said the idea came to him from an editorial published last year by the Decatur Herald & Review decrying the time change and the physical adjustments people must make when they gain or lose an hour.

“The time change has a negative impact on people and messes with their circadian rhythms,” Mitchell said. “There are several studies that demonstrate the health benefits and improved economic activity associated with daylight saving time. With more daylight in the evening hours, people will go out and shop. In terms of crime, there’s less crime because there are more daylight hours in the evening.”

According to research, in the days following the change to daylight saving time, rates of heart attacks, traffic accidents and workplace injuries increase slightly – likely the effect of people’s bodies being forced to adjust to the missing hour of sleep. Workplace productivity, meanwhile, tends to decrease. A 2007 study showed that people’s circadian rhythms never really adjust to the daylight saving shift.

Representative Mitchell said that some of his constituents have asked him to get rid of the time change. Their concerns led to an informal poll on the subject, which found that most people would like to have an extra hour of sunlight in the fall and winter months.

“I want to be clear that my legislation does not get rid of daylight saving time,” Mitchell added. “It simply makes daylight saving time the standard year-round. No more springing forward or setting our clocks back in the fall.”

HB 1562 has been assigned to the House Executive Committee.

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Decatur – With the State’s Child Care Assistance Program running out of funds to pay child care costs, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is introducing an accountability and oversight reform package to protect the future of the program.

Mitchell introduced his reform proposals at Kids-N-Fitness daycare in Decatur Tuesday.

“I’m pleased to be here at Kids-N-Fitness to announce my Child Care Assistance Program accountability and oversight reform proposals,” Mitchell said. “My legislation urges the Illinois Auditor General to audit this program and will help ensure that working people receive the child care assistance they need to support their families.”

The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides payments to child care providers for services provided to low income, working families. The FY15 State budget passed by legislative Democrats and signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn deliberately underfunded CCAP costs by approximately $300 million. CCAP is currently out of funds to pay child care providers for the remainder of FY15.

“I believe Governor Rauner will announce a plan to restore child care funding during his budget address tomorrow,” Mitchell said. “While I still need to see the specifics, I intend to support the Governor’s effort to protect CCAP. My message today isn’t just about more money but a better way to spend the limited taxpayer resources we have.”

Representative Mitchell’s CCAP reform package includes legislation to require regular audits of the program, establish asset value tests for participating families, require proof of legal residency in Illinois, and include the father’s identification when applying for the program.

“Recently, I was made aware that some of our local daycare centers have children listed as being part of the program who have never shown up at these daycare centers,” Mitchell said. “Nobody knows who or where these children are. By requiring regular audits of the State’s child care program, we will be able to cut down on fraud and misuse of our tax dollars and ensure that funds are going to those truly in need.”

Springfield... Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his first State of the State Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) applauded the Governor’s focus on job creation, property tax relief and improving education.

“Governor Rauner made it clear that he wants to partner with legislators on an agenda to reform Springfield and get Illinois working again,” Mitchell said. “I appreciated his focus on issues that I have supported for many years, such as increasing education funding, merging the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer, and hiring more prison guards to reduce overtime costs. I will strongly support helping working families here in Illinois.”

Representative Mitchell added that the State’s budget crisis will be dealt with in the Governor’s upcoming budget address and ongoing budget negotiations this spring.

“Certainly, my focus is on dealing with our fiscal crisis,” Mitchell said. “We have a $6 billion hole in the budget that will require some very difficult decisions to be made. Welfare spending is eating up our budget and I believe we have to pass strong welfare reforms to get that under control. And we have to cut wasteful spending. Get rid of the state planes, merge the Comptroller and Treasurer, and fund our shared priorities first. That’s how we’ll fix this mess.”

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Decatur – State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) will be focusing on education and energy policies in the new 99th General Assembly, as Illinois House committee appointments were announced over the weekend.

Representative Mitchell, an Assistant Republican Leader in the House, landed several key committee posts, including Republican Spokesperson of the new Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing Oversight Committee.

“As the ranking Republican on this important committee, I look forward to continuing my advocacy for quality education, great teachers and excellent schools for Illinois families,” Mitchell said.

With the future of the Clinton Power Station in question, Rep. Mitchell was pleased to be named to several critically-important committees, including Public Utilities, Energy and Environment.

“The Clinton power plant is a major economic engine for Central Illinois,” Mitchell said. “Families throughout the area depend on it for good-paying jobs and our schools and other units of local government receive significant tax revenues from the plant. I will be working with Exelon, along with federal and state officials, to ensure the continued safe operation of the Clinton nuclear plant.”

Illinois’ 11 nuclear units and 6 stations produce 48 percent of the state’s electricity. According to Exelon, the Clinton Power Station produces enough electricity to power 1 million homes. The plant is the largest employer in DeWitt County, providing nearly 700 jobs at an annual payroll of $54 million and generating $13 million in tax payments.

Representative Mitchell was also appointed to serve on the House Special Committee on Health & Healthcare Disparities. Mitchell represents the 101st House District, which includes all or portions of Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean and Piatt counties.

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