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Decatur - “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mayor Mike McElroy. Mayor McElroy was a wonderful man who had a tremendous passion for the City of Decatur. My thoughts and prayers are with the McElroy family during their time of grief. I’ve know the Mayor for 25 years; he had the wonderful gift to never have met a stranger. He was a good man.”
State Representative Bill Mitchell will host a utility bill clinic with the Citizens' Utility Board (CUB) in Mahomet, IL on Thursday, July 16 at the Mahomet Village Hall from 1pm to 3:30pm.

Please join State Representative Bill Mitchell and CUB, for a FREE utility bill clinic. Bring your gas, phone, and electric bills for a one-on-one consultation by CUB representatives. Call (217) 876-1968 to reserve your spot!

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Decatur, IL – State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) visited senior centers in Clinton, Decatur and Monticello Tuesday to call for the protection of funding for vital senior services and to urge passage of welfare reform to resolve the state’s ongoing budget crisis.

Rep. Mitchell discussing vital senior services with constituents.
Mitchell, a long-time advocate of welfare reform, believes State officials should make senior services the priority over welfare handouts.

“We’re now in the State’s new fiscal year and no budget agreement is in sight,” Mitchell said. “The Chicago politicians want to hold our senior citizens hostage so they can continue to spend recklessly on welfare for the able-bodied. That’s not right. I’m here to talk to seniors about why we should be prioritizing our limited resources for our retirees who worked hard their whole lives and paid their taxes year in and year out.”

With the Fiscal Year 2016 Illinois State Budget in limbo, funding for critically important senior services is at risk, including community care programs, in-home care programs, and senior congregate and home-delivered meals programs.

“These programs are so important for our seniors,” Mitchell added. “Without funding for these programs, many of our senior citizens would lose their independence and be forced into nursing homes.”

Representative Mitchell is once again sponsoring welfare reform legislation to require drug testing of welfare recipients, to include a work requirement in order to receive food stamps, to crack down on LINK card fraud, and to ban illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded benefits.

“The General Assembly needs to pass strong welfare reforms to put a stop to the waste, fraud and abuse of the welfare system,” Mitchell said. “With 4.7 million Illinoisans on welfare, more than one-third of our citizens are receiving taxpayer-funded benefits. We simply cannot afford to do nothing.”
The Illinois Department of Central Management Services has released a list of questions and answers that State Government Employees may have about working during a government shutdown.

We understand state employees have questions on how their benefits will be impacted as the state budget is no longer in place beginning July 1. The following Q&As were designed to help answer any questions you may have.

Employee Benefits

Q.  Will an employee's health, dental or life insurance be affected?
A.  No. Group insurance coverage during a budget situation will not be impacted. If paychecks are delayed, and as long as the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, insurance premiums will be taken accordingly. The missed payroll deductions will be taken once paychecks are issued.

Q.  What will happen to an employee's contributions to any flexible spending accounts (i.e., MCAP, DCAP) during the budget situation?
A.  Employees enrolled in MCAP will not be impacted. ConnectYourCare debit cards will continue to work. If the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, deductions should be taken accordingly. If MCAP deductions are missed, they must be made up when the budget situation is resolved.

Employees enrolled in DCAP may be impacted as reimbursements are limited to the available account balance contained in their DCAP account. If the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, and once all payroll deductions are deposited into the DCAP account, reimbursements can be made for eligible expenses up to the available account balance.

Q.  What will happen to an employee's Commuter Savings Program benefit?
A.  Employees enrolled in the Commuter Savings Program will continue to receive the benefit under this program. Employees will owe any underpaid amount upon their return to payroll.

Workers' Compensation Program

Q.  Will an employee's Workers' Compensation benefits be affected?
A.  No. In the event of a budget situation, Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD) and survivor death benefit payments under the Workers' Compensation Act will continue through July. Work-related injuries should continue to be reported through the procedures in place today.

Deferred Compensation Program

Q. What will happen to an employee's Deferred Compensation contributions during the budget situation?
A.  As long as the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, payroll deductions for Deferred Compensation should be taken accordingly. Deferred Compensation contributions can only be made through payroll deduction. The employee cannot deposit money directly to his or her fund to catch-up the contributions.

Q.  If an individual is currently receiving a distribution from their Deferred Compensation account, will that distribution continue during the budget situation?
A.  Yes. Current distributions and changes to distribution amounts will continue to be processed. To make any changes in distribution, call T. Rowe Price at 1-888-457-5770.

Q.  Will hardship distributions/loans from an employee's Deferred Compensation account be available during the budget situation?
A.  A loan provision is available at any time and allows a participant to have one outstanding loan and borrow a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $50,000 or 50% of their account balance over a five year period. The interest you pay goes back to your account along with the principal amount each month as you repay the loan through Automatic Clearing House (ACH) deductions from your bank. Employees would likely not qualify for a hardship distribution as they will be made whole of any missed payrolls when the budget situation ends.

Q.  How do I borrow from my Deferred Compensation account?
A.  To apply for a loan from your account over the phone, call T. Rowe Price at 1-888-457-5770 to speak to a Representative. There is a $75 processing fee and you will need to supply bank routing and account information for your checking/savings account numbers to set up the automatic ACH deduction. Participants are allowed one outstanding loan at a time. You may repay the full loan balance amount at any time through the same phone number at T. Rowe Price.

State Employee Compensation

Q. What options exist if certain parties take action to temporarily block pay for state employees?
A. State employees will be paid for their work. If certain parties take action to temporarily block pay for state employees, there may be an opportunity for employees to get bridge loans from local financial institutions. Credit Union 1, for example, has already agreed to offer no-interest loans for qualifying members of the credit union should salary payments for state employees be delayed. To be eligible to receive 0% interest loans from Credit Union 1, participants must have been members on or before May 1, 2015. Employees who have become members of Credit Union 1 since May 1, 2015, can apply for a loan, subject to normal criteria, rates and terms.

With no budget in sight, Rep. Mitchell introducing legislation to ensure state & university employees are paid

Decatur, IL – With the State of Illinois set to begin Fiscal Year 2016 without a budget in place, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is introducing legislation to ensure thousands of state and university employees will still receive paychecks.

As a result of Governor Rauner’s veto last week of the Democrats’ $4 billion unbalanced budget, there is no budget resolution in sight, with both sides deadlocked over spending and taxes. Without a budget in place by July 15, the State will be unable to make payroll for employees in numerous agencies.

However, under a 2014 law passed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, lawmakers, legislative staff and judges will still receive their paychecks, with or without a new budget in place. Senate Bill 274 (P.A. 98-682) included a “continuing appropriation” for the salaries and operational expenses of legislators and judges.

“I think a lot of folks will be shocked to find out that legislators will still get their paychecks in the absence of a new state budget,” Mitchell said. “That was one of the items slipped into last year’s budget implementation law by the Democrat majority. If lawmakers are getting paid, our state and university employees should also get their paychecks. Thousands of working families have to pay their bills whether the State has a budget or not.”

Representative Mitchell’s legislation (HB 4235) would include state employees and public university employees in the continuing appropriation law so that those employees would continue to receive paychecks in the event a new state budget is not in place by July 15.

“This is a matter of fairness for our state employees and their families,” Mitchell added. “Due to federal mandates, welfare checks will still go out with or without a budget agreement. Again, if lawmakers are getting paid and welfare checks are going out, our hardworking state employees should not have their livelihoods put in jeopardy. They should continue to do their jobs providing services to the taxpayers and they should continue to be paid.”

Placing telemarketing calls to wireless phones is - and always has been - illegal in most cases.

Why the confusion about telemarketing to wireless phones?

Consumers report receiving emails saying they'll soon begin receive telemarketing calls on their wireless phones. The confusion seems to stem from discussions in the wireless phone industry about establishing a wireless 411 phone directory, much like your traditional (wired) 411 phone directory. A number of email campaigns seem to suggest that if your wireless telephone number is listed in a wireless 411 directory, it will be available to telemarketers, and you will start to receive sales calls. In addition, some of these email campaigns suggest that there is a separate do-not-call "cell phone registry," which you must call to have your wireless phone number covered by the do-not-call rules. This information is inaccurate.

The facts

Even if a wireless 411 directory is established, most telemarketing calls to wireless phones would still be...

Read more here.