Rep. Grant to Host Mobile DMV Event on September 10 in Wheaton
At a time when lines at the DMV are hours long, on September 10th I will be offering a mobile DMV event at my office in Wheaton for residents of the 42nd District. This event will be by appointment only. The mobile DMV event will take place from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM at my district office, located at 416 E. Roosevelt Road, Suite #111. Services offered include:
- Traditional driver’s license renewals (Real IDs cannot be obtained at this event)
- Vehicle sticker renewals
- Completing change of address forms
Representatives from the Secretary of State’s driver services department will be on hand to help drivers complete the services through individual scheduled appointments. Residents are encouraged to sign up through this link (preferred). Appointments may also be made by calling my legislative office.
There’s Still Time to Participate in 2020 Census
As you probably know, the 2020 census is currently taking place. If you haven’t completed your census form yet, there’s still a small window of time. The census deadline has been extended to September 30, 2020. You can submit your census information by mail, by phone, or by computer. If you want our federal tax dollars returned this area in the highest amounts possible, it is imperative that you complete your census.
An accurate census count is very important in determining federal funds, grants and other financial support that comes to states, counties and communities. When you fill out the census, you are making sure your community gets its fair share of more than $675 billion per year in federal funds. These census-driven funds go to schools, hospitals, roads, and other important programs that help our communities thrive.
When companies are deciding where to build stores, offices and factories, they look at census data. When everyone participates in the census, developers have a full and accurate picture of a community and that can translate to new jobs and greater economic opportunity. At the federal level, population figures from the census help determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets.
Rep. Amy Grant Hosts Successful Child ID Event
On August 27, I hosted a successful free Child ID event at my Wheaton office. Families scheduled appointments between 2:00 and 6:00 PM, and we helped provide parents/guardians with a useful information sheet that included a photo of the child, a full set of fingerprints, and space to be filled out for personal, medical and dental information. My deepest thanks go out to Officer Potter of the Wheaton Police Department, who assisted with fingerprinting, and to the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI), for the donation of drug disposal bags for the event. Each family left the event with their child ID(s) and a few of the prescription drug disposal bags. Every appointment slot was filled for this wonderful event, and we did a fine job of ensuring safety by only allowing one family at a time in each room of my office.
Grant Renews Call for Special Session on Ethics Reform
In mid-August, Senator Terry Link became the latest on a long list of disgraced Illinois lawmakers who have been indicted on corruption charges during the last year. In response to the announcement that Senator Link will face charges of federal income tax evasion, I renewed my call for a special session on ethics. Right now, the House Republican Caucus has 59 different ethics reform bills that have been filed in the current 101st General Assembly. Not one of them has been granted a hearing and not one of them have been brought to the floor for a vote.
I view a recent package of bills recently touted by House and Senate Democrats nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” as they try to obtain political cover in the current political climate. Almost every one of their ideas is already in bill form, filed by a House Republican earlier this year. Until these lawmakers are willing to stand up to their leadership and demand a special session to address ethics, it’s hard to take their overtures seriously.
Included in the bills Democrats have blocked this year is my HB 4002, which would put in place a two-year prohibition from when a statewide elected official, executive or administrative head of a State agency, or member of the General Assembly leaves their position and when they can become a lobbyist. Illinois is one of only a few states that has no “revolving door policy,” which prohibits high-level state officials from serving in their position one day and lobbying their colleagues the next. There should be a cooling down period of at least two years.
House Republicans Urge Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform to Reconvene Immediately
The last time the bipartisan and bicameral Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform met was March 5. Even though most panels, boards and commissions have resumed meeting via online platforms or in person with safety precautions in place, the Joint Commission on Ethics has been dormant for almost six months.
Under the cloud of the massive federal investigation into Illinois political corruption, the work of this commission is vital if we are ever going to address ethics in a substantive way. Last week the Republican House and Senate members who serve on the commission held a press conference and demanded the group reconvene and complete their bipartisan work. Only July 23, the four Republicans sent a letter to the co-chairs of the commission asking that the panel reconvene and finish their work, which includes agreeing on policy recommendations and approving a final report. No meeting was set for a full month after the letter was received.
Shortly after the August 24 press conference, the Democratic co-chairs announced that a final report would be issued in the coming weeks. I asked my House Republican colleagues who serve on the commission if a meeting has been set to finalize their work, and was told there has not. It appears that the majority party is once again going to exclude Republicans from providing input with regard to policy recommendations and the group’s final report. It’s incredibly disappointing that on an issue as important as ethics reform, that members of the majority party are still playing political games. It only strengthens the importance of a full, special session on ethics reform.
University of Illinois Develops Faster, Safer Saliva Test for Coronavirus
University of Illinois researchers have developed “Shield T3,” a new coronavirus test procedure that provides quick, accurate results. A team of chemists and engineers developed a saliva-based test strip procedure that enables a single lab to test 10,000 individual samples per day, with minimal risk to lab personnel. The success of the U of I saliva test was confirmed when the procedure received emergency full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month.
House GOP Questions Pritzker Move to Vacate Patronage Ban amid Madigan/ComEd Scandal
In a recent court filing, Governor Pritzker is seeking to vacate a set of court decrees that seek to prevent politically motivated hiring, as well as politically motivated firings or other punishments against public employees, known as the Shakman decrees. Against the backdrop of one of the largest patronage scandals in the history of the state involving House Speaker Michael Madigan and ComEd, a group of House Republicans held a press conference questioning Pritzker’s move.
The Shakman decrees consist of three federal court orders issued as a result of a class-action lawsuit filed by Michael Shakman against the Democratic Organization of Cook County. The decrees, issued in 1972, 1979 and 1983, prohibit politically motivated firings, demotions, transfers or other punishments of government employees. It is also unlawful to take any political factor into account when hiring public employees, except for positions such as policymaking. These decrees are binding on more than 40 offices statewide, including the Governor’s office.
Despite the Governor’s push to vacate the decrees, the court-appointed monitor for the state’s hiring practices, Noelle Brennan, reported earlier this year that Pritzker’s administration still has not completed a comprehensive employment plan to address the issues protected by the decrees. In fact, she said the administration began restricting communication between her staff and state agencies.
Drivers’ License Expirations Extended by Full Year for Seniors 75 and Over
The expiration date for valid driver’s licenses held by Illinois drivers who are 75 years of age or older has been extended for a period of one year past the licenses’ current 2020 expiration date. As a result, drivers age 75 and older with a 2020 driver’s license expiration date do not need to visit a facility to renew their driver’s license until shortly before their birthday in 2021. There are approximately 147,000 drivers age 75 and over with expired or expiring driver’s licenses in 2020. Letters are being sent to drivers that qualify for this extension.
All other expiration dates for driver’s licenses/ID cards and license plate stickers have been extended until Nov. 1, 2020. As a result, expired documents will remain valid until Nov. 1 so customers under age 75 do not need to rush into Driver Services facilities, especially during hot weather. The public is urged to consider using online services when possible instead of visiting a facility due to heavy customer volume. Customers who can conduct business online may go to www.cyberdriveillinois.com to take advantage of online services – such as renewing license plate stickers – from the comfort of their own home. People who conduct online transactions will avoid waiting in line at a facility.