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The Illinois Chamber of Commerce recently presented State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) with the Champion of Free Enterprise Award. The award recognizes legislators that have made special contributions in the defense of free enterprise, and the furtherance of economic opportunities for Illinoisans. Area Chamber of Commerce Directors announced the honor at the joint Business After Hours gathering in East Peoria on Thursday.

“I am honored to be recognized for having a voting record that supports our small and large businesses in Illinois,” said Rep. Unes. “Our legislature can make an impact on our state’s economy. For that reason, I won’t stop advocating for more jobs, helping to make Illinois a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

To be eligible for the “Champion of Free Enterprise” award, a lawmaker must have received an average of 85 percent or better voting record over the previous two General Assemblies, as determined by the Illinois Chamber. The ratings are based on legislators’ votes on the key business legislation of the 100th General Assembly.

“The Illinois Chamber’s Legislative Ratings indicate to Illinois families, small businesses, and taxpayers that a legislator voted in favor of private sector job creation and a stronger economy,” said Todd Maisch, president and CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

"Representative Unes is very deserving of this honor. His actions show that he fully understands the importance of  job creation and pro growth legislation, both of which help the working poor and the middle class," said Canton Chamber of Commerce Director, Amanda Atchley.

The breakdown of members of the House of Representatives can be viewed by visiting https://ilchamber.org/Resources/8de67f80-b619-4507-9de1-1b0f5609ba37/100thGA.Legislative.Ratings.Final.pdf


State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) was named Legislator of The Year by the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) at their annual convention held in Peoria September 20th-September 23rd.

The Award is given based on a Legislators proven record of legislative support forhealth care advocacy and the patients served by the profession. The recipient is chosen annually by the IOA's Legislative Committee.

“Representative Unes' leadership skills are always appreciated in Springfield. Because of his strong work ethic, the working relationships that he has on both sides of the aisle, and his willingness to listen and learn the issues, he has established a reputation of being one of the most respected and hardest working Legislators” said IOA Executive Director, Leigh Ann Vanausdoll.

"I believe in the mission of the IOA to protect, promote, and advance their profession while providing quality patient care. I am truly honored and humbled to be named Legislator of the Year by such a dedicated group of professionals,” said Rep. Mike Unes.

The IOA is a voluntary association of Illinois optometrists and has been dedicated to making optometry a stronger, better, more visible profession. The IOA was founded over a century ago.

For more information on this award, please contact Rep. Unes’ District Office at 309-620-8631.

State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) is honored to announce that he is the recipient of the 2018 Voice of Senior Care Award from the Illinois Health Care Association (IHCA), which was awarded to him at IHCA’s Convention in Peoria on Sept. 11th.

The Award is given based on a legislators’ proven record of commitment to improving the care for seniors throughout Illinois.  Rep. Unes has sponsored several pieces of legislation addressing care for nursing home residents all across Illinois. Most recently, he has taken a leadership role to address the Medicaid pendings issue that has forced many nursing homes to close their doors, putting a huge burden on residents and their loved ones.

“Families with a loved one in a long-term care facility can rest easier because of the leadership of Rep. Mike Unes. His passion and energy advocating for his constituents is refreshing. He understands long-term care issues and the impact it has on the communities he serves. He has been a champion in protecting the services of his District and he is most deserving of this recognition,” said IHCA Director of Legislative Policy, Ashley Snavely.

“I believe in the mission of IHCA’s member organizations to provide quality accessible health care to those they serve as an integral part of their community’s health program. I am truly honored to receive the Voice of Senior Care Award and will continue working hard to ensure that we improve our long-term care delivery system in Illinois,” said Rep. Mike Unes.

The Illinois Health Care Association was founded in 1950 and is led by a 13-member board of directors.  IHCA is a non-profit organization comprised of nearly 400 licensed and certified long term care facilities as well as facilities/programs for the intellectually and developmentally disabled throughout the state.

For more information on this award, please contact Rep. Unes’ District Office at 309-620-8631.
For the first time in Illinois history, victims of sex abuse in Illinois will soon be receiving the better care they deserve under a new law initiated by State Rep. Mike Unes.  The measure especially improves treatment for pediatric sexual assault victims by providing them greater access to emergency services from specialized clinics, such as Peoria’s Pediatric Resource Center.   It also aims to increase the statewide number of pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and physicians--which is currently very limited, particularly in downstate rural areas.

“Since day one, my goal has been to ensure that this most vulnerable population of victims that has been through unthinkable trauma, may obtain the care they need and deserve from the most qualified medical professionals,” said Rep Unes.  “While this bill enhances the quality of care for all victims of sexual assault, the greatest improvements will undoubtedly be for children.  This bill truly gives a voice to the voiceless, and raises the standard of compassion and care for those who need it the most.”

Throughout this two-year-long process, Rep. Unes has worked closely with hospitals, law enforcement entities, the Attorney General’s office, and local physicians in an effort to carefully craft and achieve this legal milestone for sexual assault victims in the State of Illinois.

“This legislation represents the very first of its kind in the state, and finally helps address the fact that the sexual assault of a child is inherently different from the sexual assault of an adult,” said Dr. Channing Petrak of the Pediatric Resource Center in Peoria.  “As a pediatrician who specializes in child sexual assault, I am tremendously grateful for the tireless dedication that Representative Unes has given to this long-overdue initiative.”

While both the Attorney General’s office and the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) have recognized that more nurse’s training in the area of sexual assault has been needed, past efforts have fallen short of achieving adequate levels of clinical expertise in many emergency rooms.  This law provides the necessary direction to make this issue a high priority, achieving greater levels of competent care and justice for these victims. 

“Working with others to help and protect our most vulnerable citizens is the cornerstone of public service,” said Unes. “It has truly been a privilege for me to fight for this legislation for the past two years.  Few issues as complicated as this have received the overwhelming and unanimous support enjoyed by this legislation, and it gives me the unique confidence that we truly got it right.  It's going to make a tremendous difference.”
State Rep Mike Unes’ bill (HB 4319) to help redevelop the former Hanna City Work Camp has officially become law. The legislation paves the way for redevelopment of this blighted area by permitting private investment in the now-vacant property for economic development purposes.

“This bill gives the county full control of the site, while providing a mechanism to seek private development opportunities upon its clean-up,” said Rep. Unes. “This common sense measure to invest in the property is a win-win for all involved.  Allowing for private investment should help pique the interest of potential developers and eventually grow the local economy.  In fact, my office has already received inquiries from interested parties looking to connect with the county about this property, and so I believe that the outlook is exceptional.”

The Hanna City Work Camp closed in 2002 and sat vacant for nearly 16 years. The former prison work camp was owned by the State of Illinois and was operated by the Department of Corrections. In 2009, the State conveyed the land over to Peoria County, but with strict limitations. The 40 acre site has remained vacant and blighted, largely due to regulations that prevented private investment.  This law will change that by allowing for the property’s private development, with 10% of any sale proceeds being paid back to the State of Illinois.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to Representative Unes for his efforts and persistent negotiation with the State on behalf of Peoria County,” said County Board Chairman Andrew Rand. “Putting this land to better use provides the great potential for creating economic opportunity for our county and its taxpayers.  It is our hope that the site will one day be home to either a not-for-profit entity, or some viable commercial enterprise.  This bill gives us the flexibility we have long required to accomplish that, and we are anxious to finally move forward on that initiative.”
Families of fallen service members now have one less burden when mourning the loss of their loved one.  A new law allows more flexibility to such families in terms of real estate leases.  The legislation, which was introduced by Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) allows surviving families to terminate their lease without penalty when their loved one is killed in action.

Rep. Unes vowed to assist military families after he met Kylie Riney, the widow of fallen soldier Sgt. Douglas Riney. She and her two young children needed to move back to Illinois from Texas after her husband was killed in action but her landlord required her to pay penalties for early termination of the lease.  The restrictions ultimately led to a weeks-long separation between Kylie and her two young children in the immediate aftermath of their father's death, a time when the family support system is so important.

“The goal of this legislation has been to ensure what happened to the Riney family will never happen to a Gold Star family in Illinois,” said Rep. Unes. “All members of our nation’s military and their families deserve the highest level of care and compassion in every circumstance, and I am proud to do what I can to make sure that we are upholding that standard.”
Landmark legislation led by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) to improve access to emergency room treatment for pediatric sexual assault victims cleared the General Assembly.

“The effects of a sexual assault can last a lifetime, particularly when the victim is a child,” said Rep. Unes. “Survivors, especially children, deserve specialized care that treats their physical wounds and those that cannot be seen as easily. This legislation is the result of more than a year of negotiations, and I appreciate leadership and advocacy for survivors. I urge the governor to sign this critical legislation.”

Access to pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and physicians is extremely limited—particularly in downstate rural areas--and this bill seeks to address that. House Bill 5245 sponsored by State Rep. Mike Unes, will ensure that pediatric sexual assault victims are able to receive timely care from health care professionals who specialize in providing treatment for children victimized by sexual assault.