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Proud to Support Local Fire Fighters

Last weekend I was proud to support the Northern Tazewell Fire District's Annual Chili Supper with some of my family. As always, the food was terrific. Congratulations to Chief Baker and everyone associated with the fire district for another successful event. Thank you to all of our first responders for everything that you do to protect us.


Welcoming the Grain and Feed Association

On Monday I had the honor of welcoming the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois to town for their annual convention. I enjoyed the discussions, listening, and answering questions while providing a Springfield update. My thanks to those of you which help drive the economy by promoting agribusiness in Illinois.


Increasing Penalties for Attacking DCFS Employees

All too often the jobs of state employees require them to put themselves at risk to protect Illinois residents. It was the case with Pamela Knight, a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigator who was brutally beaten last September while trying to take a 2 year-old child into protective custody. She died last week from injuries sustained in the attack. Her accused assailant is facing multiple charges and is awaiting trial.

In response to this senseless act of violence against a state employee, I co-sponsored HB 4147, this legislation that would enhance the penalties for attacking a DCFS worker in the performance of their duties, making it an aggravated felony. Ultimately it would provide DCFS employees the same protections as law enforcement officers and firefighters who put themselves in harm's way.

The job DCFS investigators perform can be dangerous and it is important that the state does all it can to protect them and penalize those who do them harm. Representative McCombie honored slain DCFS employee Pamela Knight last week as the House held a moment of silence in Knight's memory.

Peoria/County legislative breakfast

Last Friday, I participated in the Peoria City/County legislative breakfast with many local officials and a few of my colleagues; we then provided an in-depth Springfield update with Q and A to a great group of community members, representing a variety of professions in East Peoria and it's surrounding areas. I always appreciate these opportunities to connect with my district as we continue to work together to solve the most challenging problems facing our state and it's communities.

State seeks nominations for Governor's volunteer service awards

The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) is accepting nominations for the ninth annual Governor's Volunteer Service
Awards. These awards recognize individual volunteers and for-profit businesses and highlight the importance of community service in Illinois.

Nominations are due to Serve Illinois by February 16, 2018. Please visit www.serve.illinois.gov for nomination forms and more information. You may also nominate online here.

Serve Illinois will host a ceremony on April 18, 2018 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield to honor recipients.

Fulton Co Farm Bureau 101st annual meeting
Fulton County Farm Bureau's 101st annual meeting

On Monday I attended the Fulton County Farm Bureau's 101st Annual Meeting in Lewistown. Congratulations to Bill Carlberg for his reelection as President and to Manager Elaine Stone on another successful year. The Lewistown High School Jazz Ensemble was very impressive and did a fantastic job with the entertainment.
graduate_students_smiling.jpg
Survey of higher education graduates shows Illinois is 13th of 50 states

Illinois outranked almost all states in the interior of the United States in percentages of residents with bachelor's and graduate degrees. High-ranking states tended to be located on the East Coast. Two exceptions, Colorado and Illinois, were heartland states centered on big cities with world-class airports.

The rankings were generated by database presenter WalletHub, which examined key factors across the 50 states that are used to gauge a well-educated population. Factors used by WalletHub include educational attainment, school quality, and achievement gaps between genders and races.
House returns Feb. 27

The Illinois of Representatives returns to session February 27th. You may view or listen to session live at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27 here.
Governor Bruce Rauner revealed his annual budget address today during a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate. State Representative Mike Unes (R-Pekin) released the following statement:

“Today, the Governor outlined a budget proposal that the legislature will now review and negotiate over the course of the next few months.  Given our State's financial condition, it remains imperative that we thoroughly consider each and every aspect of this proposal, while working together to enact a balanced budget. I will discuss his proposals with local leaders and constituents from across the district, and will use that feedback to help build consensus around another responsible spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The bottom line is we are in this financial predicament because of years of irresponsible spending. Today’s proposed budget actually spends more than the budget passed last summer, which cut billions of dollars from State spending.”
District Update
February 9, 2018
Shadid moment of silence
House takes moment of silence in honor of George Shadid

Before the House of Representatives on Tuesday we held a moment of silence in honor of George Shadid. Peoria lost one of its most notable icons with the passing of George. Generations of Peorians remember him well for his gregarious personality and dedication to public service. Many will recall his advocacy for school consolidation--one of his many bits of wisdom that still holds true today. I have no doubt that George will continue to be well-remembered for years to come, and very sorely missed.
George Shadid
George P. Shadid
1929-2018

George P. Shadid, 88, of Peoria, IL, passed peacefully at 1:37 a.m. on Saturday, February 3, 2018, with his family at his side.
George was born on May 15, 1929, in Clinton, IA, to Edna Massad Shadid and Philip A. Shadid, the first generation of proud Lebanese immigrants. He married Lorraine K. Unes on May 30, 1953. Lorraine survives.
Also surviving are his son, James (Jane) Shadid; daughter-in-law, Mikie Shadid; and four grandchildren, James E. (Anne) Shadid, Joseph G. Shadid, Margaret L. Shadid and Lauren E. Shadid; as well as his sister Pauline Unes; and brother, Fred (Jean) Shadid. 

His son, George P. Shadid Jr., preceded him in death, along with his siblings, Gladys Abraham, Louise Shadid, Joan Petit, Jeannette Harris, Mitchell Shadid and William Shadid.
George was a Peoria Police Officer from 1953 to 1976, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He was the Peoria County Sheriff from 1976 to 1993 and was a State Senator from the 46th District of Illinois from 1993 to 2006.

From 1997 to 2004, while in the Illinois State Senate, his seatmate was then State Senator, Barack Obama. They became lifelong friends.
George used all the gifts God gave him to be a good husband and father, all the while helping countless others as a selfless public servant.

George lived a good, long life. He helped many people. He, like all his brothers and sisters, did their family name proud. He could pass peacefully with no regrets.

Memorials may be made to the Easter Seals Autism Unit, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria or the George P. Shadid Jr. Memorial Scholarship at Bradley University.
The family expresses their thanks to the staff at Heartis Village and Elysian Hospice for their comfort and care for George in his final days.
Friends and family may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences here.
Visited with The Center for Prevention Abuse on Thursday

I had a great visit on Thursday afternoon with leaders from the The Center for Prevention of Abuse. They recently launched a new program to address the very serious and troubling problem of Human Trafficking in Central Illinois. Part of their objective in combating these crimes is to raise awareness throughout the community, and I believe there is something that each and all of us can do to help. 

For my part, I was proud to promptly sponsor a resolution in the House recognizing the Center for their efforts. I will remain a committed advocate and partner in their work to insure that ALL people have the opportunity to live a life free of violence and abuse.
District Update
February 2, 2018

Welcoming Mid-West Truckers Association to Peoria

I was proud to welcome the Mid-West Truckers Association to Peoria for their annual conference. It was nice to see so many familiar faces last night and to have the opportunity to make new friends. It is once again an honor to serve as Minority Spokesperson for the Transportation: Vehicles & Safety committee. I will continue to work on many important issues such as improving our infrastructure and safety on Illinois roadways.
First State of the District a Success for Pekin Community High School

In case you missed it, Pekin Community High School held its first ever State of the District on Monday evening. The event showcased various programs the school offers to students and allowed the community a chance to learn more about their high school. 
The Pekin Daily Times did an excellent job covering the event. You may view the story here.

Helping military families when faced with a tragedy

Did you know nearly 55,000 Illinois residents currently serve our country in the military? This makes Illinois the 13th highest number of residents of all 50 states serving our nation. Not only do thousands of military members call Illinois home, so do their families. Unfortunately, when a soldier is killed while serving in the military, our fallen soldier's family is left with many difficult decisions to make and oftentimes faced with a little known hurdle called a lease.

Under current law, if a military family is living in a home they are leasing and they want to move following the death of their loved one killed in action. The military family can't get out of their lease. This law must be corrected!

This is why I introduced House Bill 4317 to codify Illinois law in order to provide relief to the families who depend on our nations heroes more than anyone when the unthinkable occurs.

The legislation was brought to my attention by the widow of a fallen soldier, whom shared her frustration over having to pay penalties to terminate the lease on their family home after the soldier (her husband) was killed in action (KIA) overseas. Early termination of the lease was necessary, as the family (that included two very small children) simply could not cope with living in the home that they made with their now deceased husband/father. The widow pointed out that current law allows for tenants to terminate leases without penalty when a soldier is deployed, but not when the soldier is KIA and leaves behind a family that needs to move out as soon as possible for one reason or another. In the meantime, I will keep you updated as this legislation moves forward in the legislature.

If you would like to show your support for this legislation, you may fill out a witness slip in support here.
House Returns Feb. 6

The Illinois of Representatives returns to session Februrary 6th-8th. You may watch or view session live at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 6 here.
In response to another devastating accident on IL Rte. 24 and Cameron Lane on October 12th—this time involving a young mother and her toddler, which resulted in the mother’s loss of life—State Representative Mike Unes organized a meeting with officials from both the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois State Police (ISP).  The result of that meeting was a thorough review of the intersection, and a determination by IDOT’s Safety Committee that the intersection warrants traffic lights.

“I’ve represented this area in the 91st District for seven years now, and throughout my tenure there have been many accidents and close-calls at this particular intersection. I share the belief of many residents of this area that something needs to be done to improve the safety along this portion of Rte. 24, and after last month’s fatal accident, I wasn't going to allow another day go by without acting,”  said Rep. Mike Unes.

After meeting with the Hollis Township Road Commissioner, Representative Unes immediately called into town Assistant IDOT Secretary Rich Brauer, as well as a representative from the ISP to thoroughly assess the intersection and discuss solutions for improving its safety.

Further review of the crash and traffic data near the intersection determined that the installation of traffic signals would provide the best remedy based upon current IDOT standards.  According to the IDOT Safety Committee, the increasing volume of traffic, particularly truck traffic, along this route is a major factor warranting this safety improvement.
Today is a sad day in Illinois.  It’s a day in which I take no joy.  Today my thoughts are with the people of my district and across this state.  Compounding that sadness is the hate and misinformation being spread on these tremendously important issues.

Many have asked, “why did you support this bill?”   During the last two years, I have been to every corner of my district.  I’ve heard from you on the need for a balanced budget and seen the effects of the lack of any budget at all.  These effects have grown worse with each passing month.  It has now gotten to the point where these effects will rear their ugly head for all of us, if they haven’t already.  Without a budget many schools will not open, health care and nursing home facilities will close, small businesses will shutter, property taxes will become even higher and thousands will lose their jobs.  These are not realities somewhere years down the road, these are the realities of the coming weeks and months.

So I fought for the best budget bill attainable.  It’s a bill that’s a long way from perfect, but it’s a bipartisan bill that immediately cuts $3 billion in spending and projects a $7.5 billion reduction of Illinois’ backlog of bills, big steps in the right direction.  Most importantly, it keeps the doors of our small businesses and schools open, the elderly will remain in the care of skilled professionals and Illinoisans will continue to go to work and support their families.  I supported this bill because the alternatives are as bad as we can imagine.  I firmly believe that the further financial hardship caused by moving forward without a budget would ensure income tax hikes twice that of this weeks increase.  The responsible thing to do was to take this step in the right direction.

Over two decades of one party control have put this state in this dire position.  Now is the time for the tough choices that will guide us to better days ahead.  I am proud to be your representative and I will to continue to fight for the reform that this state so desperately needs and the prosperity that its citizens deserve.

Mike