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State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) is co-hosting a free solar energy workshop with the University of Illinois Extension on Tuesday, July 17, 7:00 p.m. at the University of Illinois Extension, located at 1163 N. 4th St., Breese, IL 62230.

Attendees will learn more about the benefits and opportunities for solar, wind and biomass energy. The event is free and open to the public.

For individuals interested in attending the FREE Solar Energy Workshop in Breese, please RSVP by contacting Representative Charlie Meier’s district office at 618-651-0405.
The Honorable Bruce Rauner
Governor of Illinois
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Governor Rauner,

I am writing to urge you to veto Senate Bill 2368 sponsored by Senator Bill Haine and Representative Jay Hoffman. Senate Bill 2368 is purely political and if this bill were to become law, it would be detrimental to Metro East taxpayers – which is why I voted against this bill in the House.

Senate Bill 2368 was introduced as a way for Metro East Democrats to take back control of the Metro East Sanitary District (MESD), a board they had control of since the Act was created in 1974. In fact, for thirteen of the last fifteen years, MESD was operating under a deficit. It was drowning in debt for years while the politically connected failed to make the necessary repairs to adequately provide flood control in the sanitary district. Today, MESD is operating at a surplus and now can afford to make repairs due to the fact that twenty four patronage jobs were cut from their budget when new leadership took over in 2017.

Under current law, the Metro-East Sanitary District Board (MESD) is comprised of five members. Three members appointed by Republican Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler and two members appointed by Democrat St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern.

If signed into law, Senate Bill 2368 would amend the Metro-East Sanitary District Act of 1974 to eliminate one of Madison County’s three appointments to MESD by replacing one of Madison County’s appointments with the Mayor of Granite City. This bill would severely weaken Madison County’s overall representation on the MESD board and it would also create a conflict of interest for the Mayor of Granite City, since the Mayor currently serves on the Granite City Wastewater Treatment Board.

Just because one party controlled MESD for 44 years and they lost control as a result of the 2016 election, it doesn’t mean they should be able to change the law to their own benefit. Again, I ask you to veto Senate Bill 2368.

If you would like to discuss my opposition to this bill, please contact my office at 618-651-0405.
Sincerely, 

Charlie Meier
State Representative, 108th District

The legislature completed its regular session work for the 100th Illinois General Assembly on May 31, 2018. The 2018 session was a busy one for State Representative Charlie Meier. During the 100th GA, Rep. Meier sponsored a total of fifty-one pieces of legislation. Here are a few legislative highlights from this session:

Judicial Election Reform (HB 4176)


If enacted, states that no judge or former judge may submit his or her candidacy for a vacancy in a judicial office by any method other than seeking retention in his or her office, unless that judge or former judge is seeking judicial office in a higher or lower court or he or she has not served as an elected or appointed judge for at least 2 years.

The legislation is in response to the decision made by three St. Clair County judges Baricevic, Haida and LeChien to avoid retention and the requirement to receive 60% voter approval to remain on the bench. Instead, the three judges chose to run for election which only required approval from over 50% of the voters in the November 2016 election.

Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

Income Tax Hike Repeal (HB 4211)


Would repeal the 32 percent income tax hike which took effect in 2017. The current income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95 percent and 7 percent for employers. Rep. Meier’s bill would roll back the income tax to 3.75% on taxable income and 5.25% for employers. Meier’s legislation would reduce the tax burden placed on individuals and families while saving thousands of Illinois jobs.

“Our state continues to lose population because of higher taxes and fewer jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “We need more jobs and less taxes in our state which is why I filed a bill to reduce taxes on individuals and businesses. I voted against the final bill which forced the recent 32 percent income tax hike onto Illinois taxpayers.”

Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee


Concealed Carry License for Armed Forces in Illinois (HB 4177)


Creates an exemption for non-resident active duty members of the Armed Forces or their spouses to apply for concealed carry licenses.  “I have been pushing for this bill ever since ISIS put out their hit list on our current and former service members,” said Rep. Meier. “Our service members put their lives at risk to protect our freedom, its common sense that we allow them to protect themselves and their family when they are in public.”
The legislation provides that whether or not the laws of the state where the non-resident resides are substantially similar to Illinois, the Illinois State Police shall allow by rule a non-resident license application if the applicant is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State or the spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State.

Status: Passed Judicial Criminal Committee, then held up by Anti-Gun Lawmakers
The fiscal 2019 Illinois budget enacted last week includes a voluntary pension buyout plan and a boost in school funding, which are credit-positive moves for the relatively low-rated state and its school districts, Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday.

The $38.5 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 incorporates $423 million in savings that would be generated by current or former public-sector workers choosing to accept a buyout of their pensions or a retirement benefit in exchange for cash raised by the sale of up to $1 billion of state general obligation bonds.

“The state’s buyout offer is credit positive because it will generate significant pension liability savings to the extent that employees accept the offer,” Moody’s said, adding that actual savings could fall short if participation fails to meet targets of 22 percent of vested former workers and 25 percent of retiring current workers. Read the rest of the story.
Here are the 34 new laws that take effect on June 1 that you should know about:

Local governments cannot prohibit autonomous vehicles
(Public Act 100-352, House Bill 791)
No unit of local government, including home rule units, may enact a local ordinance which prohibits the use of vehicles equipped with automated driving systems.

Designating lottery funds for education
(Public Act 100-466, House Bill 213)
This legislation amended the Illinois Lottery Law to direct that any money transferred from the lottery fund over to the Common School Fund be considered supplemental to any money due to be transferred into the fund, rather than in lieu of those funds.

Publicizing the child abuse hotline
(Public Act 100-468, House Bill 370)
The Department of Children and Family Services is empowered to cooperate with school officials to distribute in school buildings materials which list the toll-free telephone number established by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. This information can also include the methods of making a report under the Act.

Changes to some boat safety registration information
(Public Act 100-469, House Bill 434)
Boats operated, used or stored in Illinois must have on board a valid certificate of number issued under the Boat Registration and Safety Act or another federally-approved numbering system. The identifying number must be displayed on both sides of the bow of the boat. Fees for obtaining these numbers will increase slightly, and expiration of certificates will be extended to September 30 of the relevant year instead of June 30. The legislation also limits the requirement for a certificate of title for watercraft required to be numbered to those over 21 feet, rather than all watercraft as in the current law.
Legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) to help generate more solar projects while protecting farmland now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature in order to become law. Rep. Meier anticipates his proposal will help create more solar energy jobs in the state.

“These commercial solar projects are coming in quickly and creating a lot of jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “Everything is different in their contracts. Establishing a uniform standard for commercial solar projects will help provide some standards for landowners and help make sure there is financial protection for decommissioning the projects. We want to make sure this is done right while protecting Illinois’ number one industry, agriculture.”

Senate Bill 2591 sponsored by Rep. Meier and supported by the Illinois Farm Bureau, will require commercial solar energy developers to enter into an agricultural impact mitigation agreement (AIMA) with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). The goal is to protect landowners and assure land impacted by construction and deconstruction be properly restored.

IDOA uses AIMAs to set minimum wind energy and utility construction standards on agricultural land, while landowners can negotiate additional easement requirements for their property.

Rep. Meier added, “Finding a way to help develop solar projects in our state and protect our farmland was a proposal I have worked on for quite some time. I anticipate this new law will prove beneficial to our state.”

The Illinois Senate approved legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) to alleviate concerns brought forth by local dairy farmers. In Illinois, dairy farms are getting hit with lower grades simply because an inspection report from the Division of Food, Drugs, and Dairy (FDD) is not clearly posted when health inspectors arrive at the farm. This has been an issue since the FDD changed the way they handle inspections last fall. For decades dairy farm inspectors would leave a copy of their inspection report for dairy farmers to keep in hand, but not since last fall.

“This bill will certainly correct the burden that dairy farmers are currently faced with,” said Rep. Meier. “Pending the Governor’s signature, this new law will require inspections to go back to the way they have been conducted for decades, requiring the inspector to leave a hard copy of the inspection report to the dairy farm following an inspection – it’s just common sense.”

The legislation (HB 4428) sponsored by Rep. Meier would allow dairy farms without access to computers or printers to hold a copy of the inspection report, which can eliminate needless inspection point deductions to a dairy farm. Rep. Meier’s legislation provides that the Department of Public Health or a unit of local government electing to administer and enforce the Act shall provide a dairy farm with a paper copy of the dairy farm's inspection report.