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Rep. John Cavaletto (Dist. 107) from Salem signs an Illinois Bicentennial Flag on the House Floor
for fellow Rep. Grant Wehrli (Dist. 41) from Naperville, IL.
Illinois Top 200 survey names Wrigley Field as Illinois’ top building. Participants in the Illinois Bicentennial’s Top 200 survey were asked to pick their favorite building in Illinois. The popular choice was Wrigley Field, the century-old Major League Baseball park that became the home of the Chicago Cubs in 1916. After many generations of mixed results, the storied Friendly Confines became the home of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.

Other Illinois buildings were also supported by survey participants. Coming in second was a building owned by the people of Illinois, Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House. The Prairie Style house contains artistic motifs that celebrate Illinois’s ecology and landscapes, and is fitted with more than 100 pieces of Wright-designed furniture, lights, and art glass. The Wilmette Baha’i Temple, Chicago’s Willis Tower, and Chicago’s Robie House were honored with selection slots #3 through #5.

Illinoisans can join the state’s 200th birthday celebration by choosing the 200 greatest people, places, and things in state history in online voting coordinated by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The State Journal-Register, and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

Every two weeks through the rest of 2018, the public will get to select the best movies, most inspiring leaders, greatest books, top businesses and much more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories – the Illinois Top 200.
Our children’s education remains a top priority for Illinois House Republicans, which is why they have taken action to address the growing teacher shortage in our state. First and foremost, our members are committed to ensuring highly prepared and effective educators are teaching our children. To do that, Illinois must address the teacher shortage. 

Background
The Illinois State Board of Education said the 2017-18 school year began with about 2,000 unfilled teaching positions across the state.* And a recent survey conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools found that school districts were increasingly having difficulty finding qualified candidates to apply for teaching positions.

The results of the survey showed concerns about teacher shortages were more prominent in rural districts in the central part of the state, and substitute teacher shortage concerns were most evident in southern part of the state. The most difficult positions to fill include bilingual, Spanish, special education teachers as well as nurses and school psychologists.

“The reduced candidate pool is likely caused by a combination of factors such as educators leaving Illinois, educators leaving the profession entirely, fewer students enrolled in Illinois approved programs leading to licensure, out-of- state educators choosing not to come to Illinois, and/or out-of-state educators unable to meet Illinois’ licensure standards without substantial delays and additional requirements being met. These issues span across the entire state and are not isolated to rural or urban communities, a particular district type, or geographic location.” **

Legislative solutions
House Republicans have been working closely with educational professionals to devise solutions to increase the number of qualified teachers in Illinois classrooms. Their legislative agenda to address the teacher shortage is outlined below:

*To address the need for substitute teachers, Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst introduced legislation establishing a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License. This special provision requires applicants to have an associates degree and allows them to substitute teach in a classroom for a no more than five consecutive days. This provision would allow more qualified individuals to enter the substitute teaching pool.

*Rep. Bob Pritchard’s measure establishes the Growing Future Educators Program to train qualified high school graduates to become secondary language educators beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. This effort is designed to help meet the need for bilingual and Spanish teachers. Rep. Pritchard also offered legislation to address the shortage of school psychologists by removing the requirements that those who already hold a valid Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential take additional state-mandated tests for licensure. 

*To help future teachers complete their education expeditiously, Rep. John Cavaletto submitted legislation that requires Illinois public universities with an educator preparation program to offer those enrolled in it a three-year degree completion program. This is an effort to feed more teachers into the system as soon as possible.

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is outraged that very important pieces of public safety legislation were not advanced out of the House Judiciary-Criminal committee yesterday. With the committee deadline today, these bills will not advance to the House Chamber this legislative session.

“The message from the House Democrats yesterday is clear – partisan politics are more important to them than protecting the most innocent and vulnerable in our state,” Durkin said. “Our message to them is that the House Republicans will not stand down and will continue to fight for victims of crime, first responders and all the citizens of Illinois.”

Some critical public safety bills that were killed by Democrats in committee yesterday are:

  • House Bill 5649, introduced by Leader Durkin, would deny bail for offenders who commit battery against a police officer while in police custody.
  • House Bill 5079, introduced by State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), increases the penalties for human traffickers.
  • House Bill 4586, introduced by State Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), increases a battery charge to aggravated battery if the victim is an employee of the Adult Protective Services Program, the Ombudsman Program or Department of Child and Family Services and the offender knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement of the victim. This bill was the result of the tragic death of DCFS employee Pamela Knight who was murdered while trying to take an abused child into custody.
  • House Bill 4318, introduced by State Rep. Michael Unes (R-East Peoria), would make it illegal for a sex offender to knowingly reside within one mile of the victim of the sex offense. Currently, the law allows sex offenders to live as close as 500 feet to their victims.

“Our single, greatest duty as legislators is to protect our constituents, and these actions by the House Democrats are appalling, egregious and unacceptable,” Durkin said, who previously served as a felony prosecutor at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. “These bills are responsible, thought out, and will have an immediate impact in providing protections for innocent victims of crime.”



"I was honored to be a part of the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Kick-Off event at SIU's Touch of Nature Environmental Center on Friday.

Thank you to all of the athletes, volunteers, students, and community members who made this a success!"


--Rep. John Cavaletto


To watch some of the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Kick-Off,
click here to see the WSIL-ABC Channel 3 video.

Athletes, organizers and volunteers at the Opening Ceremony on April 6, 2018.


Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne (McGlone) Burke
recounting her memories of visiting Touch of Nature
camps at Southern Illinois University in the 1960's.

Some of the ribbons, pins, medals, and programs
from the past 50 years of Special Olympics.
Justice Anne Burke Lounge at Dr. Freeberg Hall -- Dedicated on April 6, 2018.
The new plaque honoring Justice
Anne Burke donated by one of
the SIU Student groups,
Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity.


*Contest open to Illinois residents only

*Designs should depict an aspect of Illinois or Illinois history

*One entry per contestant may be submitted at
www.IllinoisCoinContest.com

*Winning design will be minted on Illinois' Bicentennial Medallion

*Final winner will be announced on June 18, 2018
Pictured Members of KC’s Postsecondary Agricultural Student team with members of the KC board of trustees. Front row (L to R) Dr. Dee Boswell, Jack Mays, Linda Stover, Hannah Ehlers, Campbell Hill; Haley Gregson, Waterloo; Taylor Snow, Greenville; Bree Smith, St. Rose; Emilia Langel, Greenville; Cady McGehee, Okeechobee, Florida. Back Row (L to R) Laura Wedekemper, Bill Hawley, KC Interim President, George Evans; Bill Waggoner, KC Ag Instructor; Brock Irwin, Belvidere; Morgan Olbrich, Harvard; Kade Gambill, Sandoval; Shaylee Clinton, Ina; Josh Kelly, Trenton; Aaron Heinzmann, KC Assistant Professor of Agriculture.

The KC Board of Trustees approved a resolution proclaiming the month of April as “Community College Month”, recognizing the role college’s such as KC play in providing high quality educational opportunities at affordable costs in locations accessible to all students. KC interim President George Evans said, “Community colleges like Kaskaskia College are the first step for many students achieving their career goals and beginning their educational journeys, as well as providing workforce training, serve as the engines for economic development and provide numerous social and cultural activities for our residents.” During the month KC will be hosting open houses at its education centers around the district. The public is invited to attend any, and all to learn more about what KC can do for them.
April 2 – Nashville Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 11- Greenville Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 12 – Trenton Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 17 – Vandalia Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 18 – Salem Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 30 – KC Main Campus from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Prior to the start of the meeting the board recognized KC’s Postsecondary Agricultural Student team that just competed in the National PAS competition in Louisville, Kentucky, taking home two, team national championships and seven individual national award winners.

Click here to read the complete WGEL story.