PictureDeputy Sheriff Dwight Maness
Yesterday, I was privileged to offer a resolution in the Illinois House of Representatives to honor the memory of McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Maness. Deputy Maness recently lost his battle with recovery following the Holiday Hills shooting in October of last year that left him severely injured.

This month has been a very difficult one for the area. Deputy Maness will always be remembered for his desire to do right by the community, something that anyone who knew him would tell you from first-hand experience.

Deputy Maness had served with the McHenry County Sherriff’s Office for nearly eight years, following a 20 year U.S. Army career that involved service overseas in the 1990-91 Operation Desert Storm and designation as an Army Ranger. 

Deputy Maness started quickly in his law enforcement career, graduating from the Police Training Institute as winner of the Ervin A. Warren Award, given to the graduate who best exemplifies honor, integrity and professionalism. His background and experience was quickly realized within the Sherriff’s office following training and led to him serving as a field training officer, SWAT team member and first aid instructor, along with receiving numerous letters of commendation and recognition during his time with them. 

One of two officers severally injured at the Holiday Hills incident in October of 2014, Maness was determined to recover from his injuries and return to community service as soon as possible; despite a positive recovery, he lost his battle back to health this month. Maness was awarded a Purple Heart, named Officer of the Year by the Illinois Association of the Chiefs of Police and awarded the Illinois State Police Medal of Honor for his actions. 

Nothing can replace the void left by the loss of Deputy Maness. I, like many others, hope that his efforts to serve his community and his nation, and make public service his life’s work will be an example to the next generation.

The resolution is House Resolution 780 and may be read in full here. It was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives on Thursday September 24, 2015.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake), Illinois State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), provided the address by state legislators for Illinois at this year’s annual NFWL conference. The conference in Oklahoma City features women legislators and aspiring young women from around the country. Wheeler’s address provided the conference attendees a look at a legislative success story from this spring’s legislative session.

Wheeler’s address centered around House Bill 3533, recently signed by Gov. Rauner to curb repeat drunk driving incidents, “This year, Illinois enacted House Bill 3533 to ensure that the progress we’ve made in curbing intoxicated driving fatalities over the past few decades doesn’t start to rise again,” said Wheeler during her address. “Too often, repeat [DUI] offenders get around the requirement of their [in-car] breathalyzers by using a family members car instead of their own. To help stop this go-around, repeat offenders will now have to have a BAIID device installed in all their family’s vehicles, at their own expense, to ensure every vehicle they may commonly drive is protected from unsafe use.”

The NFWL annual conference began on Friday and continues through Tuesday, September 15. The conference features leading women in government from around the country and also provides programs to help the next generation of aspiring women leaders. Each year, the NFWL provides college bound young women with an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the conference and a $3,000 college scholarship.

“It was an honor to address this wonderful group of women leaders,” said Wheeler. “I hope the young ladies who won this year’s scholarships have been able to take full advantage of the leadership opportunities NFWL offers and I look forward to hearing of their successes as the next generation of leaders for our country.”

Today we mourn with the entire District 64 community on the senseless act of violence which took place in Fox Lake yesterday morning. My prayers continue to be with the family of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz and the entire Fox Lake community. 

I am also praying for and would like to thank all law enforcement officers throughout the district, state, and country that have assisted in this situation and that continue to put their lives on the line in the interest of public safety. We are forever grateful for the sacrifices made by our law enforcement officers. 

Out of respect to the officer and the mourning community of District 64, 

The entire community of District 64 remains in my thoughts and prayers. 

Sincerely yours,


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. 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.