Take a look at this clip from Chicago Tonight on August 10 where I joined Rep. Lou Lang, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, and Rep. Ron Sandack to discuss issues all over the spectrum with Chicago Tonight host, Carol Marin. 
The issue followed up on the release of videotapes showing officials of Planned Parenthood negotiating the transfer of fetal tissues for supposed medical research purposes. The negotiations included discussions about the condition of the tissue and the price to be paid for the expenses involved in recovering and transferring them. 

Under Illinois law, the transfer of human tissue is controlled by the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act. HB 4266, filed by Rep. Peter Breen and sponsored by Rep. Barb Wheeler, provides that this Act covers individual human organisms from fertilization until live birth, and bans the use of the Act to cover the transfer of fetal tissue resulting from an abortion. HR 671, filed by Rep. Jeanne Ives and sponsored by Rep. Barb Wheeler, asks the Illinois Attorney General, the Executive Inspector General, and other enumerated branches of State government to investigate Planned Parenthood’s procedures for abortions and the sale or donation of human tissue. HR 689, filed by Rep. Thomas Morrison and sponsored by Rep. Barb Wheeler, urges Gov. Rauner and the members of the Illinois House to withdraw State funding from Planned Parenthood, and asks the State Police to investigate whether Illinois taxpayer dollars have been complicit in the transfer of fetal tissue/baby body parts. All three measures were filed on Wednesday, August 5.

Come out and join us on Friday August 14, 2015 from 5:00-7:00pm to celebrate the return of Happy Hour to Illinois at Crystal Lake Rib House! All drinks are half off! 

Looking forward to seeing you there! All are welcome!

Despite the ongoing budget impasse in Springfield, three of my bills that are important to Lake and McHenry County taxpayers have been signed into law. House Bill 299, which deals with court security officers, House Bill 437, which deals with compostable waste, and Senate Bill 38, which address an overtime pay loophole, were all signed by Gov. Rauner last week. 

“Though the Governor and Democratic leaders may be at a standstill in Springfield over a balanced budget, I’m glad that a strong level of cooperation allowed these bills to pass and be signed into law quickly,” said Wheeler. “These three bills address important issues that directly impact our communities here in Lake and McHenry Counties and I’m glad I was able to sponsor these bills in the House.” 

House Bill 299 provide a direct benefit to a unique problem in Lake and McHenry Counties with regards to security offices in each county’s court system.

In Illinois, many counties hire court security officers through their County Sheriff’s Departments, which makes officers hired in this manner subject to the disciplinary rules of the Illinois Sheriff’s Merit Commission. However, in four Illinois Counties, Lake and McHenry Counties being among them, a structure exists in which some officers are hired directly by the court system and not the Sheriff’s Department. Due to this, it was unclear how to deal with disciplinary matters for these officers and led to a legal conundrum. HB299 clarifies that only officers hired as certified applicants through the Sheriff’s Merit Commission will be disciplined under those guidelines, while other officers will be subject to the guidelines upon which they were hired.

House Bill 437 authorizes municipalities and counties to approve one-day compostable waste collection events. Creation of these one-day events, which will be operated in a manner similar to one-day yard sale events, will encourage homeowners to work with compostable waste collectors to turn their yard waste and compostable household garbage into useful materials. This bill became necessary as more and more communities banned the burning of lawn waste, leaving homeowners with few options to dispose of the waste. 

Senate Bill 38 amended a loophole in the minimum wage law that allowed union contract employees to receive overtime pay for working non-traditional hours though they hadn’t exceeded normal weekly work hours. This bill clarifies that if a contract included an alternate shift schedule then overtime hours will only be paid when a worker actually exceeds the normal amount of hours in a work week, like it is for other non-union workers.

House Bill 299 and Senate Bill 38 take effect on January 1, 2016, while House Bill 437 is effective immediately.