Springfield, IL… Proposed spending without revenue, playing political theater at its best according to State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago).

“Here we are again just a few days before the legislative session is set to adjourn discussing the state budget.  House Democrats propose a budget that by their own omission is more than $3 billion out of balance. Illinois’ constitution requires the General Assembly pass a balanced budget. Voting in favor of this unbalanced budget would be a violation of the oath we took as legislators,” said Fortner.

“Spending money we don’t have and avoiding reforms needed will dig Illinois further into its fiscal hole. A partisan budget does not solve anything but adds to false hopes for state funded services for our most vulnerable and to educate our children. We need a serious process with both parties at the table.”


State Representative Mike Fortner questions Speaker Madigan on the lack of individual protections from future inflation of a constitutional imposed "Millionaire Tax".
Springfield, IL…Today, State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) released a statement speaking to the need for Illinois elected official term-limits in order to end the partisan political agendas.

“Over the years in the General Assembly, at the beginning of nearly every spring session, I file a proposed constitutional amendment to limit terms of leadership for Speaker of the House, Minority Leader of the House, Senate President and the Senate Minority Leader. I do this because I have seen first-hand how necessary it is to have turn over in these positions,” said Fortner. “Term limits can have benefits that are not the obvious new face in office but an opportunity for new original ideas.”

“Ohio, a Mid-West state that does recognize term limits, placed an amendment on the ballot last December with a bipartisan support to reform redistricting and end some of the gerrymandering games that had become a point of contention in their state.  The only reason this happened, was because the members whose terms were limited could leave redistricting reform as part of their legacy. Had they thought they’d be serving past 2020, when the next redistricting is scheduled, it would have been unlikely to see them agree to the bipartisan reforms,” said Fortner.
Springfield, IL…Today, State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) passed legislation in the House to strengthen individual rights to their social media privacy’s. House Bill 3527 was filed as a result of the newly effective laws that require students to release their private social media passwords to the schools upon request so long as the school notified the parents about the new policy and published it in the schools handbook.

In 2014, a bill passed requiring school districts to create an official policy on how to address cyberbullying. That bill, House Bill 4207, became effective Jan. 1, 2015. House Bill 3572 is a measure that clarifies and defines the term “reasonable cause” relating to social media, which has been used as a blanketed policy to demand students hand over their personal social media passwords. As introduced HB 3572 provides clarity of “reasonable clause” and actual scenarios that the schools would have to comply to avoid a violating a student’s individual privacy. 

“Without having a true definition of “reasonable cause” and what falls within those parameters, it became apparently clear to us that there were no regulations stopping schools for asking for this information,” said Fortner.

House Bill 3572 provides that a school does not have reasonable cause to request a student’s social networking password unless a victim or concerned party, such as a parent or guardian, has filed a complaint with the school or a school personnel have witnessed cyber-bullying taking place.

“In 2014 a school decided the way to comply with the cyberbullying law would be to send notification to parents indicating school personnel could demand Facebook passwords from students if a case of cyberbullying existed. The current law is not being interpreted correctly, this bill will clarify that only in the case of “reasonable cause” can the school make such a request,” said Fortner. “There should be a real event going on before demanding private passwords, otherwise it’s just fishing without cause.”
Once again the Democrat-controlled House brought sham legislation to a vote for the sole purpose of putting Republican lawmakers in a trick bag and embarrassing the new Governor.

House Republicans have long worked to provide Illinoisans with much needed and deserved property tax relief. Each year members of the House Republican Caucus introduce legislation that would deliver property tax relief and each year the Democrats block those measures. The real roadblock to property tax relief has been the Democrat-controlled legislature. 

It is not without merit that House Republicans question the majority leadership’s commitment to property tax relief, when out of the clear blue sky they embrace so-called property tax freeze legislation that neither includes reforms nor guarantees that property taxes won’t increase. It is not hard to draw the accurate conclusion that it is just more political theatre.

After being sworn-into office, Governor Rauner took action to address high property taxes. He assembled a bipartisan working group to look holistically at thoughtful reforms that would provide meaningful property tax relief without strangling schools and local governments. The group is considering unfunded mandates, pensions and other factors impacting costs that keep property taxes high. Once the working group completes its assessment, they will bring their work product to the proper standing committee for a full hearing – provided the Democrat leadership permits it to get that far.

After Republicans voted present on an amendment to a bill going nowhere, State Representative Ron Sandack called for HB136, a property tax relief measure he filed early in session, to be released from the Rules Committee where the Democrats have kept it bottled up for the entire session. Sandack’s legislation, a carefully crafted, measured approach to property tax reform targeting homeowners who have lost value on their homes, was immediately dismissed through draconian House rules that provide the majority party a defense against virtually any legislation they don’t like. 

Once again the majority leadership in the Illinois House showed why nothing gets accomplished in Springfield. Republicans stood together with Governor Rauner, casting a “present” vote to express their disdain with the process. 

Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) discusses the lack of seriousness in amendments brought to the house floor. Comparing the proposed "Right to Work Bill" to the recently ruled unconstitutional "Pension Reform", as legislation that was designed for nothing other than failure and recorded votes from members of the House.

Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) discusses the lack of seriousness in amendments brought to the house floor. Comparing the proposed "Right to Work Bill" to the recently ruled  unconstitutional "Pension Reform", as legislation that was designed for nothing other than failure and recorded votes from members of the House.