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 HB 4789 would amend our current outdated administrative cost cap law to instead require school districts to (1) reduce their administrative expenses to the national average, a reduction in the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. 

Rep. Breen Speaks to Lombard Chamber of Commerce

Breen_Lombard_Chamber_027.jpgOn Wednesday, Rep. Peter Breen was the keynote speaker at the monthly Lombard Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He spoke to a group of 50 local business leaders about what's wrong with Illinois and how it can be fixed. 

Breen Bill to Reduce School Administrative Spending Passed Out of Committee Unanimously

dollar-499481_1280.jpgThe House of Representatives’ Elementary & Secondary Education- Licensing, Administration & Oversight committee recommended approval of legislation sponsored by State Rep. Peter Breen, which would bring public school district administrative costs in line with national averages. The bill would also limit future administrative spending increases to the consumer price index or 5%, whichever is lower.

“It’s long past time to get control of our school district administrative spending,” said Breen. “Illinois schools are spending about 2 ½ times the national average on these costs. When our school districts bring these expenditures in line with national norms, we can either redirect that money toward classroom instruction, where kids would directly benefit, or use that money to reduce property taxes.”

According to Breen, the General Assembly last took up the Limitation of Administrative Costs section of Illinois law in 1997, and two decades later, the metrics in that section used have become outdated and insufficient. “Whether school districts use shared service agreements, intergovernmental agreements, or the consolidation tools available to them, there are a variety of ways to get administrative costs back to the national average,” Breen said. “The Better Government Association suggested last year that $400 million could be saved if Illinois schools limited administrative spending to national averages, as outlined in this bill.”

With the committee’s 8-0 recommendation for approval, Breen’s HB 4789 will now be forwarded to the House floor for a full debate and vote.

Rep. Breen Files Bills to Ban Red Light Cameras

red_light_camera.jpgThis year, Rep. Peter Breen renewed his efforts to eliminate unsafe, unwanted, and unnecessary red light cameras with the filing of two bills.

HB 4372 would prohibit 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. "If red light cameras are about public safety, let’s see the data," said Breen. "There is no compelling evidence of improved safety from these cameras—just money out of your pocket."

Breen also filed HB 4373, a measure that would ban red light cameras in DuPage County. “I hear regularly from folks who feel red light cameras are nothing more than a hidden tax on drivers, meant to bring in revenue to local units of government,” said Breen. “The cameras tag unsuspecting motorists with traffic tickets that no police officer on the scene would ever give.”



Breen & McConchie File "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act"

Cooking_Oil_Russ1.jpgToday, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) filed the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would prohibit units of government in Illinois from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions, reversing key provisions of the recently enacted House Bill 40. Breen and McConchie are pressing for full debate and a floor vote on the measure during the upcoming fall veto session later this month, before HB 40 goes into effect in 2018.

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Breen Chosen to Serve on PANDAS Advisory Council

After championing legislation this year to provide insurance coverage for medically-advised treatments for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorder and Syndrome Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS/PANS), State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has been appointed to serve on an advisory council that studies the disorder and advises the Illinois Department of Public Health on research, diagnosis, treatment and education relating to the disorder and syndrome.

The PANDAS Advisory Council was created in 2015 through Public Act 99-0320 in the 99th General Assembly, and Breen will serve as part of a combined group of lawmakers, medical professionals and family members with children with PANDAS/PANS to increase public awareness and education of the condition. “It’s an honor to be chosen to serve on this important advisory council, especially since we have families right here in the 48th District who are coping with PANDAS/PANS on a daily basis,” said Breen. “I look forward to our work and hope to shine a light of understanding on the impact and treatment of this condition.”

According to Breen, he initially learned about the disorder after meeting Kate Drury of Lombard, whose son, Charlie, developed PANDAS/PANS after a case of strep throat at the age of eight. “In Charlie’s case, after being treated for strep throat, his immune system essentially began to attack his brain, which led to obsessive-compulsive and other harmful behaviors. The family had to pay out-of-pocket for years due to the relative unknown nature of the condition. On the heels of our recent legislation requiring insurance coverage of PANDAS/PANS, my hope is that we can highlight this disease so that other families obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment much sooner.”

As part of their work, the council will issue a report to the General Assembly each year that includes recommendations concerning:

·       Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder

·       Mechanisms to increase clinical awareness and education among physicians, school-based health centers and providers of mental health services

·       Outreach to educators and parents

·       Development of a network of volunteer experts to assist in education and outreach

“No child should have to suffer through the neurological effects of this syndrome, and I look forward to helping to improve public understanding and treatment options available for those diagnosed with PANDAS/PANS,” Breen said.

Breen Responds to Gov. Rauner's Broken Promise on Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

HB40_Press_conf.JPGI’ve had a front row seat to watch the performance and ability of Bruce Rauner over these past three years.

I’ve seen him rapidly hire and terminate numerous staff members, highly competent professionals who were proven successful in their prior roles. Inexplicably, they appeared incompetent while working for Rauner.

I personally observed him badly botch negotiations with the General Assembly on a variety of subjects, finally getting to the point where Governor Rauner couldn’t even be in the same room as House Speaker Mike Madigan. Madigan is the one guy who Rauner promised to stand up to, but he can’t or won’t even enter the arena for that fight.

I’ve heard Rauner promise the people of Illinois that he had “no social agenda” and as such firmly commit to legislators, the public, and even to Chicago’s Cardinal, Blaise Cupich, that he would veto taxpayer funding of abortions. But he has now broken that commitment, signing a bill that puts taxpayers on the hook to pay for an expected 20,000-30,000 aborted lives per year. And without any source of funding, in the throes of an unbalanced budget. Now, I’ve come to expect politicians to shade the truth, but what’s clear today is that Rauner’s promises were just flat out lies.

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Rep. Breen's bill to legalize 360 Beer Can Technology Signed into Law

NoonWhistle_360cantop_cropped.jpgAt the Illinois Bicentennial Craft Beer Competition held at this year’s State Fair, Governor Bruce Rauner announced that he signed into law Rep. Breen's legislation to allow craft brewing companies in Illinois to utilize new “360-lid” technology. During his remarks, he thanked the owners of Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard for bringing forward the idea for the legislation. These 360-lids are the newest innovation in beer can technology, and permitting their use will provide Illinois brewers with a competitive edge in the marketplace. By essentially removing the entire lid of a beer can, an aluminum drinking vessel is created that allows consumers to better enjoy the aromas associated with IPAs and other hoppy beers. With the signing of HB 2386, Illinois becomes the 15th state to allow these new lids. HB 2386 is now listed in the statutes as Public Act 100-0051.