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Springfield, IL ... State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) passed bipartisan legislation through the Illinois House last week to protect senior citizens and other adults from financial abuse and exploitation.  SB 1309, which allows state agencies additional ability to look into financial records of persons they serve with state programs in an effort to prevent financial exploitation and investigate alleged abuse more quickly, passed the Illinois House last Wednesday after already clearing the State Senate in April.

“We know that financial exploitation of seniors and adults with disabilities happens too often and we need additional tools to catch it earlier and investigate it more thoroughly.  This bill will allow that to happen, and will protect some of the most vulnerable people we represent,” said Rep. Unes in advocating for the passage of the bill.  “We also know that this kind of abuse often means additional strain on public support systems, so we hope that by curbing this type of abuse, we can save taxpayer dollars,” continued Rep. Unes.

Robert F. Harris, Cook County Public Guardian and one of the proponents of the bill’s passage, explained the bill’s need: “Senate Bill 1309 gives Public Guardians throughout Illinois the tools to act quickly and protect the elderly and adults with disabilities who are being or at risk of being abused, neglected or financially exploited.”

SB 1309 will now go to Governor Rauner before becoming law.  Rep. Unes hopes that the bills unanimous passage in both the House and Senate will help to send a signal to potential abusers that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in Illinois.

For more information on this or any other state issues, contact Rep. Unes’ Pekin District Office at 309-620-8631.
Rep. Mike Unes was proud to welcome Sheriff Bob Huston of Tazewell County and Sheriff Jeff Standard of Fulton County to Springfield this week.

It's always good to get an update from our local Salvation Army advocates on the great programs they administer. Thanks to the Pekin and Canton chapters for taking the time to come see me today.

Unfortunately, the games continued in Springfield yesterday.  Speaker Madigan's Supermajority called Budget Votes on the House Floor after filing a budget only hours earlier.  No one from the public, human service agencies, or state agencies were allowed to testify on these budget amendments before we were asked to adopt them on the House Floor.  They completely circumvented the committee and public input processes.  The only way we can move forward as a State is if we put an end to these terrible games being played!  This was dysfunctional government at its worst! 

With very little notice, legislators were notified Speaker Madigan was convening a 'Committee of the Whole' on Tuesday regarding Worker's Compensation. The witness list of who would be testifying was supplied to the minority caucus 20 minutes before the Committee began. Not exactly a model of transparency and good government. Unfortunately, the whole exercise was far more about good theater than good public policy. It's unfortunate and I hope we give this topic the serious debate it deserves and invite everyone to the table the next time we discuss this important issue.

Springfield, IL ... State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) announced he is thankful the Governor has restored funding to the Autism Program, indigent burial, and services for the developmentally disabled and mentally ill for the current year’s state budget.

The Fiscal Year 15 State Budget was passed along partisan lines last year and signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn.  Unfortunately, the likely unconstitutional budget contained a $1.6 billion deficit.  Upon taking office, Governor Rauner signed Executive Order 15-8 to suspend a number of grant programs and fund sweeps aimed at addressing this problem.  Included in those grant suspensions was $26 million in programs through the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability announced this week that revenues outpaced expectations by between $300-500 million in one-time revenue.

“I am thankful that Governor Rauner has made the decision to restore funding to these important programs.  We know that nobody wants to make any cuts to programs helping the most vulnerable among us and I view this is as a compassionate move to try to provide relief to those families impacted by these cuts.  I look forward to working with Governor Rauner on our remaining budget challenges for both the current FY 15 budget and the upcoming FY 16 budget to begin in July,” said Rep. Mike Unes

For more information on this or any other state issues, contact Rep. Unes’ Pekin District Office at 309-620-8631.

"Great to meet with students and administrators from Spoon River College with Rep. Norine Hammond today in Springfield today.  The students and administrators have been working hard at ideas to make college for affordable.  I applaud their efforts and advocacy today in Springfield.  Obviously, there are a lot of great future community leaders in this photo!" ~ Rep. Mike Unes