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State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) announced that House Bill 4954 passed the full House on Friday to amend the State Commemorative Dates Act to include November 4 each year as “G.I. Bill of Rights Day” to recognize the date when eight men met in Salem Illinois at the American Legion Post 128 to discuss ideas for helping returning veterans from World War II.

“This commemorative date is an important historical date not only for Salem and our Local American Legion Post 128, but every community represented at that meeting on November 4, 1943 can share in this pride,” said Rep. John Cavaletto. “There were Legionnaires from Effingham, Olney, McLeansboro, Springfield, Lemont, and Chicago. We can all be proud of the huge impact of the G.I. Bill on our veterans, schools, and communities.”

Rep. John Cavaletto explains his bill to designate November 4th
each year as "G.I. Bill of Rights Day" in Illinois
“We appreciate Rep. Cavaletto sponsoring this legislation to recognize that November 4 is the date in history when the G.I. Bill of Rights was ‘born’ at the Luther B. Easley Post 128 right here in Salem, Illinois,” commented American Legion Post 128 Commander Harold Kocher. “Every year we can remind people that Legion members from both here and around the state were instrumental in getting this idea off the ground. This legislation helped our soldiers readjust to civilian life after the war and it all started with notes jotted down on napkins at the American Legion on Main Street.”

Officially known as “The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944,” and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, this legislation established programs and support for returning soldiers in the areas of education, home loans and small business loans.

House Bill 4954 now goes to the Senate for consideration. If it passes there, it would go to the Governor for his consideration.
SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia has been named one of the thirty-seven Illinois hospitals designated with the highest grade for patient safety in the latest Leapfrog Group assessment. Leapfrog, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, grades acute-care hospitals across the country twice annually on 30 patient safety measures. The assessment does not include children's hospitals.

"I am proud that one of the local hospitals in our area has been designated as a top hospital for patient safety," said Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem).

Of the 107 Illinois hospitals included in the current survey, 37 earned an A grade. Nationally, Illinois is No. 15 this spring, up from No. 26 in fall 2017. Leapfrog calculates national rankings based on the percentage of A's in each state.

The survey uses data from the federal government and from the American Hospital Association to produce a letter grade representing a hospital's overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors, according to Leapfrog.

"With more than 200,000 people dying due to errors in hospitals every year, communities must be vigilant in monitoring the safety records of their local facilities," Leah Binder, CEO of Leapfrog Group, said in a statement announcing the grades.

Leapfrog includes only hospitals that respond to its surveys. If a hospital does not have enough data available for all the measures in the survey, it is excluded from the report.

Please click HERE to read the full Crain's Chicago Business article and see the full list of Illinois hospitals that received an A for spring 2018.


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.