IL State Fair Initiates Survey to Improve Future Fairs


Attendance at the Springfield, Illinois 2016 State Fair dropped by more than 13% on a year-to-year basis. While severe weather events – heading by a flood-level cloudburst on the night of a key scheduled musical concert – were blamed for part of the attendance shortfall the overall numbers indicated growing problems with bringing in fair-going customers and exhibitors this year. Springfield fair attendance fell from 411,547 in 2015 to 357,409 in 2016.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, which operates the Illinois State Fair, has begun an 80,000-recipient survey. A wide variety of selected Fair attendees are being sent online questionnaires intended to gather data about their State Fair visit. Questions include the recent hike in State Fair admission ticket prices. People who get the survey will be asked to rate their State Fair experience, including exhibits, entertainment, and food. Respondents will also be asked to help the State Fair understand how many miles people travelled to attend the Fair, how many tickets were bought by a household, and whether a ticketholder also visited the Fair on a different day.

Results from the survey will be used to help shape future State Fairs. One of the biggest challenges facing the Fair is the infrastructure of the buildings and grounds that house most of the Fair’s activities.

Illinois Department of Transportation Shares Winter Driving Tips

Be sure to keep in mind the need to drive defensively when driving near snowplowing machinery, likely spots for road ice appearance and buildup, and items to be carried in a motor vehicle during winter. A standard winter survival-supply kit for winter driving will include blankets, a first-aid kit, reflectors, an ice scraper for windshields, jumper cables, and a cellphone. Motorists should keep in mind that not all sections of Illinois have continuous, seamless cellphone service.   

Visit the IL Department of Transportation's website to learn more about safe winter driving...  

Labor and management agree on unemployment insurance relief for steelworkers. Affected could be up to 2,000 workers at the Granite City Works. The mill complex makes hot-rolled sheet steel, which is used in furniture, appliances, oil and gas drilling, and many other uses. Declining prices for hot-rolled sheet steel, and accusations that massive quantities of steel are being illegally dumped by China and other Asian countries, have led to the partial shutdown of this mill and the layoff of most of its workers.

SB 1941, approved by the Illinois House on December 1, grants emergency relief to Granite City workers who have been laid off. Most or all of them have exhausted their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and SB 1941 grants extended benefits to most of them to enable their ongoing search for new employment. In most cases, this measure will grant 26 weeks of additional unemployment relief. The bill was approved by both labor and management entities that keep watch over the financial solvency of the UI trust fund. The House vote on SB 1941 was 107-2-0; the Senate concurred with the House amendment and sent the compromise measure to the Governor’s desk.

·        New Illinois license plate design unveiled.  Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced a program to retire the State’s current motor vehicle plate design for individual motor vehicles (such as cars and light trucks).  Designs for a new license plate were unveiled on Tuesday, November 15.  The new license plate features Abraham Lincoln’s head, supplemented by a silhouette that is framed by outlines of the Illinois State Capitol dome in Springfield and the Willis Tower in Chicago.

Secretary of State White expressed the hope that the new plates could be stamped starting next year.  Starting to stamp new plates could make it possible to replace the older plates being used by some vehicles in active use in Illinois.  Under a tentative schedule released by the Secretary of State and his Office of Vehicle Services, plates made in calendar years 2000 and 2001 would be scheduled to be replaced first, in calendar year 2017, at no additional cost to motorists.  Under the proposed plan, persons requesting the new plates ahead of schedule would be able to submit requests starting in January 2017 for a replacement fee of $29.       
U.S. 67 near Jacksonville has been formally designated the Dick Rawlings Memorial Highway. The Illinois General Assembly and Illinois Department of Transportation officially named the highway after the Morgan County Commissioner and Corridor 67 chairman who passed away in 2014. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) and Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview). Friends and family were on hand for the unveiling of the sign naming the highway for Rawlings.

Rep. Davidsmeyer and other House Republicans sent a letter to Governor Bruce Rauner and Roberta Lynch, AFSCME's Executive Director, requesting both sides to return to the table for thoughtful, good-faith negotiations.

Yesterday, State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) advanced legislation that remembers fallen South Jacksonville Police Officer Francis Scot Fitzgerald. “House Joint Resolution 138 creates a lasting memorial for Officer Fitzgerald,” said Davidsmeyer.

Officer Fitzgerald was killed while responding to a medical emergency on March 4, 2016.

Officer Fitzgerald’s family joined Rep. Davidsmeyer in Springfield yesterday and witnessed passage of the resolution.

“I am honored to have Officer Fitzgerald’s family’s blessing to ensure that his service is always remembered,” said Davidsmeyer. “It was also great to have the family with me as we honored his life in the Illinois House of Representatives.”

HJR 138 now moves to the IL Senate for approval. A portion of IL Route 267 will be designated as the “Officer Scot Fitzgerald Memorial Highway” once the resolution is adopted by the Senate.

State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) released the below statement on the passage of Senate Bill 2038 – emergency funding for social services.

“Yesterday, we once again took a step to prove that true compromise can work. Republicans and Democrats came together and passed nearly $700 million in funding for human services.

The money appropriated today, unlike other pieces of legislation, will only spend dollars that the state has in the Commitment to Human Services Fund and a couple of other state funds directly related to these services. Since there are no funds from the General Revenue Fund, the state will not be adding to its backlog of bills by appropriating this money.

However, yesterday’s funding only amounts to 46% of the dollars used to fund Human Services in Fiscal Year 2015. The General Assembly must work towards a balanced budget that fulfills its obligation to those most in need.”

Students from Jerseyville traveled to the State House on Tuesday, May 10 to display their 2016 Technology projects.  
Rep. Davidsmeyer with Jerseyville High School Students. 
Rep. Davidsmeyer with Jerseyville Grade School Students. 
Rep. Davidsmeyer with Jerseyville Middle School Students. 

Representative Davidsmeyer and Senator McCann (center) with members of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) joined a bipartisan, bicameral group yesterday to announce stopgap funding that would fund student MAP grants and state universities. “Our proposal will immediately provide one semester of MAP grant funding to Illinois’ neediest students, while work on a full budget continues,” said Davidsmeyer.

The proposal, devised by Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), taps the projected $600 million dollars currently held in the Educational Assistance Fund (EAF). 

The EAF is used to fund a mix of K through 12 education and higher education. The K through 12 portion has already been appropriated, leaving $600 million in the fund.

MAP grant recipients would receive one semester of funding at a cost of $198,536,550 from the EAF. State universities and the Illinois Math and Science Academy would receive four months stopgap allocation from May until August of 2016. The estimated four month allocation is $359,726,867 and nearly exhausts the EAF. 

“The General Assembly must act to ensure that our students receive the promised MAP funding and to make sure our universities remain open. This is just a first step towards funding higher education.”

A Chicago-based group will soon be hitting the airwaves and mailboxes with untrue negative attacks on State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville). “After this past primary, haven’t we seen enough negativity and mudslinging,” said Rep. CD Davidsmeyer. “I’m working to find a true budget compromise that will put the State of Illinois on a path for a better future. This means that neither the Governor, nor the Speaker of the House can get everything on their ‘want list’ until we take care of the needs of our state.”

Rep. Davidsmeyer continues to encourage the Governor’s Administration and Chicago Democrats to work on a compromise budget that will end the ten month budget battle. “I am ready to be the adult in the room and will compromise with anyone who shares my open mind,” said Davidsmeyer.

Rep. Davidsmeyer encourages Democrats to begin negotiations on employee back pay and Fiscal Year 2016's budget. 
Rep. Davidsmeyer took to the IL House floor to fight for employee back pay during debate .
State Representative CD Davidsmeyer with Members of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives.

With the Illinois House of Representatives in the midst of a month-long break, a group of Downstate GOP lawmakers want the House to return to session to work on a compromise to end the nine-month long budget impasse.

State Representatives Bill Mitchell, C.D. Davidsmeyer, John Cavaletto, David Reis and Avery Bourne held a press conference in Decatur Wednesday to urge Democrat leaders to call the General Assembly back into session.

“The sad fact is Illinois is broke. Our colleges, students and human services are suffering because of the Chicago politicians’ refusal to compromise on desperately-needed economic and spending reforms. We are nine months into Fiscal Year 2016 without a budget and the House has only been in session nine days this entire year. What are we doing? Speaker Madigan needs to end this month-long break and get back to work,” said Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth)

Illinois House Republicans, furious about the lack of a state budget and seemingly empty session calendar thus far this year, challenged House Democrat leadership to not adjourn as scheduled for the month of March. At the conclusion of the House session on March 3, Republicans made a
motion to bring the legislature back the following day. Despite being completely in line with the House Rules, the motion was ruled out of order, with Democrat leadership scurrying quickly from the chamber to prevent debate on the issue. House Democrats cleared out of the chamber despite the requests from Republicans to keep working.

"The Speaker's scheduled month-long 'spring break' amounts to a complete dereliction of duty, especially while kids wait for needed college funding and seniors go without needed help. I continue to ask the Speaker to find the will to come together to compromise for the future of all Illinoisans,” said Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville)

“Our universities and community colleges are paying a steep price for the Speaker’s blatant disregard of his constitutional duties. EIU, WIU and SIU are all laying off employees, cutting back on course offerings, and many students are facing a grim future without financial aid. We filed legislation in January to fund higher education and MAP grants. Unlike the Democrats’ sham spending bills, our plan actually has a funding source. Let’s go back to Springfield, get back to work and pass a real plan to fund higher education,” said Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill)

“Our people are hurting. Unemployment is high and good-paying jobs have disappeared. Working families can’t afford to send their kids to college. Instead of working together to address these problems, Speaker Madigan and his Chicago allies decided to take a nice long vacation. We need a budget that works for our families, communities and state. Enough delays, enough stalling, enough political games. Let’s get this done,” said Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem).

“I and my colleagues are here ready to work.  Unfortunately Speaker Madigan is not.  It is time to stop playing political games with the future of Illinois and pass a balanced bipartisan budget,” said Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond). 

The Downstate GOP lawmakers are sending a letter to Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) requesting that he and Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) call the General Assembly back into special and/or continuous session to deal with the ongoing budget crisis. Article IV, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution states that special sessions of the General Assembly may be convened by joint proclamation of the presiding officers of both houses. As legislators are entitled to a per diem of $111 for special session days, the GOP lawmakers have pledged to not accept per diems for any special session days called for budget purposes.
Rep. Davidsmeyer urges Democrat colleagues to stop promising money the State doesn't have.
Rep. Davidsmeyer pictured with the 2015 IHSA Girls Softball State Champions from Calhoun High School.  Congratulations to the Lady Warriors!  

Winners for State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) student art contest are:

• High Schoolers: Thomas Asama, Routt Catholic High School, Jacksonville

• 6th through 8th Grades: Lexi Lane, Salem Lutheran School, Jacksonville
  •  3rd through 5th Grades: Callie Howerton, Waverly Elementary, Waverly

• K through 2nd Grades: Maggie Alexander, St. Francis/Holy Ghost, Jerseyville

“Congratulations to everyone who participated in my legislative student art contest. The entries for this year’s competition were incredible. The judges and I were blown away by the skills and talents that our students have,” said Davidsmeyer.

Winning entries will be hung in Rep. Davidsmeyer’s State House office.

“I will proudly display this year’s winners in my State House office. Everyone who visits me will be able to see the talent and beauty of the 100th District.”
Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget address was an olive branch of compromise to Democrats who want to begin negotiating on a bipartisan budget. Sadly, Members of the Illinois General Assembly are still divided.

This division was on display today when the Governor called on General Assembly Members to pass a budget that fully funds education. Republicans clapped but Democrats did not. 

Funding education and investing in our future should be something that everyone agrees on.
U.S. President Barack Obama will address the IL General Assembly on Wednesday at 1:0pm (C).  You can watch the President's address by clicking here.
State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) is co-sponsoring legislation that will block an automatic pay increase for Illinois lawmakers.

“It is appalling to hear that state legislators could receive a pay raise when social service agencies are cutting back or even closing their doors and students at our institutions of higher education aren’t receiving needed support,” said Davidsmeyer.

The automatic Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is based on statistics created by the Federal Bureau of Labor. Legislators would receive the increase regardless if the money is appropriated or not. 

Pledges to work in a bi-partisan manner

A year ago, the Speaker welcomed Republicans to the negotiating table for the
first time in over a decade. Unfortunately for the last 10 months the actions of his ruling party have proven contrary to that invitation by only offering the same ‘my way or the highway’ solutions with ZERO negotiations. That’s precisely what has put Illinois in this horrible position.

Less than a year ago, we proved that Republicans and Democrats can come together when we fixed the FY2015 Budget.  We are now past-due for that cooperation on some of the reforms mentioned today and immediate passage of FY2016 Budget.

I pledge to work with any and all who want to fix the many issues that were outlined today. My pledge is to be part of a solution that leads towards stability for all Illinoisans and away from the uncertainty that has been caused by a decade of unbalanced budgets.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will give his annual State of the State Address today at 12 Noon (Central Standard Time).  You may watch his speech online by clicking here or here.

Deadline to submit an entry is January 31, 2016

JACKSONVILLE…State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) is reminding area school students that the deadline for his art competition is quickly approaching. “The deadline for my student art contest is January 31,” said Davidsmeyer.

“The art contest has four categories based on age; Kindergarten through second grade, 3rd grade through 5th grade, 6th grade through 8th grade and high school Freshman through Senior,” said Davidsmeyer.