Rep. Breen Advocates for Public Safety, While Protecting Civil Liberties

fire_arms_order_of_protection_bill_signing_038.JPGState Representative Peter Breen joined law enforcement, advocates, and public officials today for the signing into law of HB 2354. This groundbreaking legislation will help prevent people who are a threat to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing guns, while protecting civil liberties. Breen was the lead Republican negotiator and the principle Chief Co-Sponsor of the life-saving legislation.

“Acts of senseless violence in schools, churches or other public places are all too often committed by individuals who have shown signs that they are mentally unstable and interested in causing harm to themselves or others,” said Breen. “This tightly worded legislation puts critical protections in place to help curb mass shootings by disturbed individuals who should not have access to guns. It’s an excellent example of how we can produce good legislation when politics is set aside, and Republicans and Democrats work together.”

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement who petition for an emergency order must show that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing harm to themselves or others. If probable cause is established through a court hearing, the judge will enter an order that will allow the Illinois State Police (ISP) to suspend or revoke the Firearms Owner Identification card of the respondent and, if necessary, issue a search warrant to remove any firearms from the person’s residence. 

The respondent must be given a full hearing within 14 days, where it must be proven by strict clear and convincing evidence that the person is dangerous. If so, the emergency order is extended to a six-month order, which may be renewed on continued proof of danger. But if the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties for perjury would also apply to those who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

Gov. Rauner Signs into Law Breen Bill to Reduce Frivolous Lawsuits

home-2003068_640.pngState Representative Peter Breen's bill to prevent public funds from being spent on unnecessary lawyer costs and fees was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner.  PA 100-0595 cleans up the Counties Code and Municipal Code to ensure that neighbors bringing lawsuits against a zoning or building code violator sue the correct parties, and avoid filing suits that will ultimately be dismissed. “When residents pursue legal action against their neighbors for violations of local codes, the unit of government setting zoning law is not supposed to be included in the suit,”  Breen said.  “But residents continue to mistakenly attempt to add the county or municipality to their suit. This new law clarifies the matter, so governments don’t waste taxpayer dollars defending these frivolous claims.”

The need for the bill was brought to Breen’s attention by DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, as a method of reducing the number of lawsuits improperly filed against the county, when the complaint concerns violations by another private property owner.

“At a time when the residents of the 48th District are desperate for tax relief, I want to ensure their tax dollars are not wasted on suits that will be tossed out of court,” Breen said.  “By eliminating some of these meritless suits that send taxpayer funds toward unnecessary lawyer costs, we can reduce the amount of money these governing bodies earmark for legal services and provide an opportunity for tax relief.”

The provisions of the new law take effect immediately.

Rep. Breen Opposes Madigan's So-Called Progressive Income Tax

State Rep. Peter Breen stood with Illinois taxpayers by opposing HR 1025, which expresses support for the implementation of a progressive or graduated income tax system in Illinois.

“Instead of working on property tax relief, we’re sitting here discussing ways to raise taxes even higher on middle class Illinoisans,” said Breen. “This is one of the worst, most ill-considered and most unwanted resolutions for the people of this state.”

The resolution floated by House Democrats did not include proposed tax rates. The resolution sponsor suggested that the General Assembly should be trusted to set necessary rates. Breen noted, “Why in the world would the people of Illinois hand us the power to raise their taxes to levels previously unseen or unheard of in the history of this state?”

Breen Opposes Taxpayer Funding for Elective Abortions in FY19 Budget

With just two days remaining until the budget deadline passes, State Representative Peter Breen urged lawmakers today to reject any FY 2019 budget that includes state funding for elective abortions as outlined in HB 40. "Every human life is a treasure of immeasurable worth," said Breen. "But predictably, this General Assembly is now faced with the question of whether to fund the Democrat program of elective abortions. This is the first year when that question will be answered.” 

Click on the video to watch his floor speech.


Rep. Breen Crafts Plan to Ensure Fair Maps in Illinois House and Senate Districts

fair_map.pngState Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) filed legislation this week to take politics out of Illinois’ legislative map-drawing process and instead ensure a transparent, objective, and fair process for adopting legislative maps. Breen’s proposal, drafted in cooperation with nationally recognized fair map expert, Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), would invite everyone in Illinois to submit proposed maps, which would be ranked by how few towns and counties are split to form districts, and then by compactness of districts drawn. The House and Senate would then have the option of adopting one of the top three fairest maps, or else allowing the top-ranked map to go into law. If the General Assembly does not put fair maps on the ballot in 2018, Breen’s fair maps amendment is drafted to meet the legal requirements for a potential citizen-led ballot initiative in 2020.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for fair maps,” said Breen. “Our legislative districts should keep towns and counties together, and be as compact as possible. Gerrymandered maps are wrong because they allow politicians to unnaturally divide communities in favor of partisan interests. While there are other Illinois fair maps proposals, this proposal is the only one with specific, objective standards written into it, to guarantee the mapping process stays entirely transparent and fair.”

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Breen Helps Create Legislation to Protect Public Safety

hammer-802301_640.jpgToday, bipartisan legislation was filed that would allow family members or law enforcement personnel to seek an emergency “firearms restraining order” to remove firearms from individuals posing an immediate and present danger to themselves or others. State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) was the leading Republican negotiator for the bill and has now signed on as a chief co-sponsor of the measure.

HB 2354 is the product of months of bipartisan discussions and negotiations, in hopes of putting together a bill that could be a national model for this type of legislation,” said Breen. “Keeping firearms out of the hands of those who would use them to harm others or themselves is not a Republican or a Democrat issue. We’re all outraged over the senseless violence occurring in our schools and other public spaces. But too often we learn later that the offenders showed signs of severe mental instability and expressed a desire to cause harm. With the passage of this bill, Illinoisans will have a means to prevent a dangerous person’s access to firearms, while still respecting folks’ Second Amendment rights.”

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Rep. Breen Files Legislation to Help Local School for Autistic Children

Soaring Eagle Academy is an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)-approved school in Lombard that caters to the needs of autistic students. State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is taking steps to grant the school the ability to transport students in grades K-12 to educational school activities. 

Breen filed an amendment to HB 2040 on Monday, after learning that existing law only provides for the transport of Soaring Eagle students in grades 9-12. “This is an ISBE-approved school that caters to the needs of students with unique learning needs,” said Breen. “The school has their own bus, but current law limits their ability to transport younger students. My amendatory language to HB 2040 would expand the transportation availability to also include K-8 students.” 

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Rep. Breen Files Bill to Strengthen State Stalking Law and Protect Victims

Capitol_Buidling_.JPGRep. Peter Breen received a hearing and unanimous vote in the Judiciary-Criminal Committee to advance his HB 4506, which proposes revisions to preserve Illinois’ Stalking Laws, which were struck down as unconstitutional in large part this past November.

“HB 4506 keeps laws in place that provide adequate protection against crimes, while protecting the First Amendment rights of Illinoisans. The changes that passed committee provide sound, thorough protections for victims of stalking, while shoring up constitutional weaknesses in our current law,” said Breen, a constitutional attorney who has served in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2015. “The ruling has left many victims of stalking vulnerable and without legal protections. My bill, drafted in consultation with the ACLU of Illinois, would be immediately effective, to protect victims of stalking as soon as possible.”

In November, the Illinois Supreme Court, in People v. Relerford, found portions of the stalking statute unconstitutional, as overbroad and impermissibly infringing on the right to Free Speech. HB 4506 seeks to revise the law in accord with the dictates of the United States Constitution. Breen developed his bill, with the help of expert law professors and the ACLU of Illinois, to protect victims of stalking and cyberstalking in Illinois. The bill revises several constitutionally suspect parts of state stalking law, including prohibitions on causing “emotional distress” and content-discriminatory picketing exemptions.

HB 4506 will now be considered by the entire House of Representatives. If approved by the General Assembly, the bill would take effect immediately upon its signing into law.

Rep. Breen's Comprehensive Legislative Agenda for 2018

Breen_Committee.jpgThis year, Rep. Breen's legislative agenda includes 21 House Bills and 1 House Resolution. These bills represent a variety of topics aimed at protecting taxpayers, reducing fees, improving government transparency and addressing fraud and abuse of state systems. His first bill of 2018, HB 4789, recently received a unanimous recommendation for approval from the House of Representatives’ Elementary & Secondary Education- Licensing, Administration & Oversight committee. HB 4789 would have a major impact on our educational administrative spending, which is two to three times the national average. HB 4789 would amend our current outdated administrative cost cap law to instead require school districts to (1) reduce their administrative expenses to the national average, a reduction in the hundreds of millions of dollars and (2) cap annual increases thereafter to the lesser of the consumer price index or 5%, instead of the current flat 5% increase. This measure would have a multi-billion-dollar impact on our educational system over the next ten years and ensure that more school funds go into the classroom, not to administration, or be returned to residents in the form of lower property taxes.

Other bills included in Breen's 2018 agenda include:

HB 4372 Prohibits the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) from approving any red light camera installation until the requesting municipality or county provides proof that a significant increase in public safety will result from the use of the automated traffic law enforcement system.

HB 4373 Bans red light cameras in DuPage County.

HB 4374 Extends the period of time that a driver’s license is valid by providing that licenses expire after eight years rather than four years, as allowed under the enhanced requirements of the federal “REAL ID” law, and provides that the Secretary of State will reexamine every licensed driver every 16 years rather than every eight years.

HB 4375 Requires local units of government to issue pubic email addresses to all elected officials and mandates that all official business be conducted via those public email addresses; also provides that all work-related emails for local elected officials be considered public records, even if email is generated from a personal email account.

HB 4376 Removes the current bar forbidding parents from using their Illinois Bright Start program funds (529 Plan) for the cost of K-12 parochial or private schools. Federal law was changed at the end of last year to allow this use of 529 funds, but Illinois law forbids it. HB 4376 also provides for a rollover of 529 plan funds into an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account to help individuals living with significant disabilities.

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Rep. Breen Meets with Local League of Women Voters

LeagueofWomenVoters2018.jpgThis week, Rep. Peter Breen met with representatives from the local chapter of League of Women Voters to discuss issues that matter to their members. They discussed topics ranging from fair maps to firearms.