Future Energy Jobs bill also supports renewable energy, energy efficiency, and invests in low-income communities

CLINTON – Governor Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 2814, the Future Energy Jobs bill, at a ceremony at Clinton High School in Clinton. The bipartisan legislation ensures the Quad Cities and Clinton power facilities remain open for another 10 years, saving thousands of good-paying jobs, while protecting working families, seniors, and thousands of other high-quality, good-paying jobs throughout the state by capping residential and business energy rates.

“When this legislation was originally drafted, it was a Christmas tree loaded with special interest goodies that would have skyrocketed energy costs on families and businesses across the state,” said Governor Rauner. “So we needed to find a balance, because I was unwilling to gamble with these communities, gamble with thousands of good paying jobs and gamble with our energy diversity. While this legislation isn’t perfect, it allows us to protect jobs, ratepayers and taxpayers.”

Before Governor Rauner’s involvement, the legislature was poised to pass a massive bill with demand rates that could have skyrocketed energy bills for consumers. Governor Rauner laid out a pathway for a deal with his statement of principles which outlined any energy agreement should preserve jobs while protecting ratepayers and taxpayers.

“Thank you to those who negotiated in good faith to help make this bill a reality, and most importantly, thank you to the people of the Quad Cities and Clinton for your persistence, your patience, and hard work,” Governor Rauner added.

Senate Bill 2814 ensures the Clinton and Quad Cities power facilities remain open for another 10 years. It contains a guaranteed cap that energy prices cannot increase more than 25 cents on the average residential home, and cannot increase more than 1.3 percent on commercial and industrial users over the next ten years. Rates are projected to decrease for the first several years due to the utilities being able to amortize energy efficiency. It also promotes unprecedented wind and solar expansion and preserves zero-emission generation, maintaining Illinois’ status in leading the nation in zero-carbon generation.

“A joint study conducted by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Power Agency, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity found that allowing several nuclear plants to prematurely close would cause our electric rates to increase by as much as 26% during stress events while grid reliability and capacity would significantly decrease. Closing the plants would also cost Illinois approximately 7,800 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic activity,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Burr Ridge). “At the end of the day, had we failed to take action Illinois and Illinois consumers would suffer, and our electric rates would get dramatically out of hand.”

"Gov. Rauner continues to be an advocate for downstate Illinois, and without his help, this bill would still be languishing in committee and thousands of good paying jobs would now be lost," said State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), who represents Clinton. "Moreover, this new law protects energy consumers from massive rate hikes, ensures reliable, clean, and cheap power for years to come, prevents the construction of more power lines, and, as mentioned, protects a vital sector of Illinois' economy. I was honored to host then candidate-Rauner for a tour of the Clinton plant back in 2014 - and now, to have a Governor who spends so much time in downstate Illinois and cares about what is important to us is incredibly refreshing."

“This is a great day for Central Illinois and the state as a whole. We have fought for several years now to save the Clinton Power Station, the economic engine of DeWitt County,” said State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). “This legislation will preserve our nuclear plants and protect thousands of good-paying jobs for working families. I want to thank our local leaders for their tremendous efforts and I especially want to thank Governor Rauner and Leader Durkin for their support and leadership. This was not an easy bill to pass and they moved mountains to help get it done.”

Springfield, IL – State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) filed legislation Friday to create an “In God We Trust” Illinois license plate. The idea was suggested to Mitchell by local Cub Scout Aidan Baker.

The Baker family accompanied Rep. Mitchell Friday at the Capitol to file House Bill 6617 on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives. The legislation would create an “In God We Trust” license plate with proceeds going to assist Illinois Veterans’ Homes.

“Aidan and his father approached me with the idea of creating the ‘In God We Trust’ license plate at a recent town hall I was hosting,” Rep. Mitchell said. “I think it’s a great idea and I’m especially pleased that proceeds from the sale of these plates will help fund our Veterans’ Homes. I’d like to thank Aidan and the Baker family for coming to Springfield to file the bill with me.”
For the second year in a row, the Illinois General Assembly missed its deadline to pass a balanced state budget. However, unlike last year, no budget for elementary and secondary education has been passed, threatening the opening of schools across Illinois this fall.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is blasting the Democrat majority’s failure to pass an education budget and is urging Governor Rauner to call a special session of the General Assembly to resolve this crisis.

“I am sending a letter to Governor Rauner, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton urging them to call a special session to debate education funding and pass a budget that will ensure our schools open on time this fall,” Rep. Mitchell said. “While the House is currently scheduled to be in session once a week in June, that is not enough time to find a workable solution to this crisis. The Governor should demand lawmakers return to Springfield and work around the clock to pass a balanced budget that takes care of our schools.”

The budget passed by Illinois House Democrats two week ago weighed in at approximately $40 billion in spending with only $33 billion in estimated revenue. The Democrats unbalanced, unconstitutional proposed budget was $7 billion out-of-balance and would require a 47% tax hike to pay for all the additional spending. Their fellow Democrats in the Illinois Senate refused to pass such a massively unbalanced budget and the General Assembly adjourned on May 31 without any approved budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which beings July 1.
“Illinois continues to be the laughingstock of the nation with its fiscal mismanagement by the Chicago politicians,” Rep. Mitchell said. “We’ve gone almost 12 months without a balanced budget and have gone way past the breaking point. The Democrats who control the General Assembly couldn’t even agree amongst themselves on a spending plan for next fiscal year. The lunatics are truly running the asylum.”
Exelon Corporation today announced it will move forward to shut down the Clinton nuclear power plant, given the lack of passage of important Illinois energy legislation.

State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), who represents Clinton and DeWitt County, spoke to the media at the Clinton Chamber of Commerce this afternoon and issued the following statement:

“I am deeply saddened by Exelon’s decision to close the Clinton Power Station next year. We must all keep fighting to prevent this closure from happening. The Illinois General Assembly will be in continuous session throughout the month of June. There is still time to pass energy legislation that would place our nuclear plants on a level playing field with renewables such as wind and solar, which are heavily subsidized by ratepayers. Crain’s reported today that progress has been made on legislation to keep our nuclear plants at full operation. I am working with local leaders to redouble our efforts in Springfield to reach an agreement to keep Clinton open. We simply cannot afford to lose 700 good-paying jobs and $13 million in annual tax revenues used to support our schools and units of local government. This is a crisis that must be addressed by the General Assembly this month. I will keep fighting to make that happen.”
Tom Kacich

SPRINGFIELD — "Gabby's Law," the legislation named for a 5-year-old Monticello girl who died from sepsis four years ago, is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.

The Illinois House voted 115-0 for HB 2403, which will require Illinois hospitals to adopt, implement and periodically update protocols for the early recognition and treatment of patients with sepsis or septic shock.

Tom Kacich

SPRINGFIELD — Not only would the closing of the Clinton nuclear plant west of Champaign damage the central Illinois economy, legislators said Thursday, but it also would result in higher electric bills.

About a dozen community leaders from DeWitt County and the surrounding area met Thursday morning with Gov. Bruce Rauner at the governor's Capitol office, explaining how the loss of 700 jobs and the nuclear plant's assessed valuation would be harmful to the region.

Rauner was unavailable for comment but state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forysth, said Rauner listened and said he is studying a Senate bill that would give Exelon, the owner of the Clinton plant and a second endangered nuclear plant near the Quad Cities, financial assistance to continue operating the units.

"It's a large bill and they're looking at it," Mitchell said of the 613-page proposal. "That's all that we could hope for."

Springfield – Legislation to protect patients from life-threatening sepsis infections is making its way through the Illinois House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 2403, aka “Gabby’s Law,” is named in honor of Gabriella Giada Galbo of Monticello, who passed away from sepsis at the age of 5. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. Anyone can develop sepsis; however it is most common and dangerous in older adults and those with weakened immune systems. 

“Gabby’s Law” requires Illinois hospitals to implement evidence-based protocols for the early recognition and treatment of patients with sepsis. It further requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish a sepsis information collection and reporting procedure.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is sponsoring “Gabby’s Law” in the House and presented the bill Wednesday to the Human Services Committee, where it was unanimously passed. Gabby’s parents, Tony and Elisabeth Galbo, were with Rep. Mitchell at the committee hearing and Mr. Galbo gave heart-wrenching testimony about the medical complications and lack of action taken early that could have prevented Gabby’s death.

“I am thankful to the Galbo family for bringing awareness to this issue and for showing great strength in their testimony to the committee today,” Rep. Mitchell said. “Illinois hospitals need to implement sepsis protocols to help ensure that no other family has to go through the pain and loss the Galbos suffered. Senator Rose and I are hopeful that our legislation will help advance medical treatment to prevent sepsis deaths.”

Senate Bill 2403 (Rose/Mitchell) is modeled after legislation in New York, which is the first state to require all hospitals to adopt best practices for the early identification of sepsis. Illinois does not currently have a sepsis reporting law for hospitals.
Monticello, IL – With last month’s announcement that the State of Illinois has overpaid $168 million in tax revenue to local governments since 2014, State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is sponsoring legislation to forgive the overpayments.

A recent tax system modernization initiative at the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) has uncovered a misallocation to the Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) Fund that began under the Quinn administration. The error has resulted in overpayment of an estimated $168 million to the taxing districts that receive PPRT disbursements. Approximately 6,500 districts are impacted by the misallocation that began in 2014. Monticello CUSD 25 owes the State $830,884. The City of Monticello owes $153,806 and Piatt County owes $222,537.

Representative Mitchell was in Monticello Monday to announce his legislation with local school officials.

“Today is the 300th day of the State of Illinois not having a budget. We have $7 billion in unpaid bills, owe 50,000-plus vendors and are pro-rating funding for our schools. We have no business demanding repayment of millions of dollars from local governments and schools already facing financial difficulties. The State messed up and misallocated PPRT funds, through no fault of our local officials. My legislation forgives the overpayment, allowing local districts to keep the funds, rather than having to repay the State,” said Rep. Mitchell.

With the future of the Clinton Power Station in question, area legislators and local officials met in Clinton Thursday to discuss efforts to protect the continued safe operation of the nuclear plant.

State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is backing legislation that would provide a market-based solution to protect the future of the Clinton Power Station and other nuclear plants in Illinois.

“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. Not only are the jobs important, but with Illinois’ nuclear plants producing about half of our state’s power, this is about maintaining our energy independence.”

Despite the ongoing budget impasse and billions of dollars in unpaid bills, the Illinois House voted Tuesday to continue a controversial program that provides welfare benefits for illegal immigrants.

Covering ALL KIDS, a remnant of disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration, provides health care coverage for children, regardless of immigration status. Undocumented enrollees are not eligible for federal Medicaid funds, so the entire cost of providing health insurance to illegal immigrants is paid for by Illinois taxpayers.

The ALL KIDS program was set to expire on July 1, 2016. House Bill 5736 would continue the program for another three years. State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) stood in strong opposition to the legislation, voting against HB 5736, which passed the House on a vote of 77-38.

“ALL KIDS has been a fiscal disaster for Illinois taxpayers, costing us more than $500 million,” Mitchell said. “If you ever want to know why we’re broke, just look at ALL KIDS. Illinois is drowning in a sea of red ink, with $7.6 billion in unpaid bills. We have no budget. Our universities and community colleges aren’t being funded. Vitally important services for seniors and our most vulnerable citizens aren’t being funded. The State of Illinois has no business providing welfare benefits to people who are in this state and country illegally, especially when we can’t even take care of our own citizens.”

ALL KIDS program audits conducted by the Illinois Auditor General show that nearly 70 percent of the enrollees and 65 percent of the total cost comes from undocumented immigrants. Between Fiscal Years 2009 and 2014 (latest audit available), Illinois spent $320 million on health coverage for undocumented immigrants under the Expanded ALL KIDS Plan. None of these costs were matched by the federal government. Illinois taxpayers paid the entire cost for these non-citizens.

“Working families in my district want to know why the State is using their tax dollars to provide free health care to illegal immigrants,” Mitchell said. “Illinois has become a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. We give them health care coverage, drivers’ licenses and in-state tuition. All I can say is ‘if you subsidize it, they will come.’ I warned against this when ALL KIDS originally passed. Here we are, a decade later, having spent half a billion dollars, and the Chicago politicians want to continue this failed program for another three years? I remain absolutely opposed to this giveaway to illegals.”

House Bill 806 (P.A. 94-693) created the Covering ALL KIDS Health Insurance Act. Rep. Bill Mitchell was one of 28 House members to vote against the Blagojevich initiative when it originally passed in 2005.

With the Illinois House of Representatives in the midst of a month-long break, a group of Downstate GOP lawmakers want the House to return to session to work on a compromise to end the nine-month long budget impasse.

State Representatives Bill Mitchell, C.D. Davidsmeyer, John Cavaletto, David Reis and Avery Bourne held a press conference in Decatur Wednesday to urge Democrat leaders to call the General Assembly back into session.

“The sad fact is Illinois is broke. Our colleges, students and human services are suffering because of the Chicago politicians’ refusal to compromise on desperately-needed economic and spending reforms. We are nine months into Fiscal Year 2016 without a budget and the House has only been in session nine days this entire year. What are we doing? Speaker Madigan needs to end this month-long break and get back to work,” said Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth)

Decatur… With the State’s budget impasse entering month seven, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is calling for passage of new legislation that will require lawmakers to pass a budget that is truly balanced – or not be paid.

Speaking at Richland Community College Tuesday, Representative Mitchell discussed the negative impact the lack of a state budget is having on Richland.

“We’re in our seventh month without a budget. Illinois is a dysfunctional state. The lack of a budget, along with years of unbalanced budgets, is hurting our schools, colleges and providers. Here at Richland, the lack of a budget has had a profoundly negative impact. Millions of dollars in grants have been lost, tuition has been increased and there’s no MAP funding for students this semester,” said Rep. Mitchell.

“Our current balanced budget provision in the Illinois Constitution has no ‘teeth’, and as a result, some General Assemblies and Governors have used budget gimmicks and accounting tricks to get around it, or simply ignored it altogether with no real consequences to themselves. The consequences to our communities, however, have been devastating,” said Mitchell.