The General Assembly once again adjourned session without passage of a bipartisan balanced budget.  Illinois continues to lead the nation in job loss, population loss, and economic stagnation.  Our state’s backlog of bills exceeds $14 billion, and our unfunded pension liability now total nearly $140 billion. 
I entered the legislature in January with optimism that both sides of the aisle would come together to support a balanced state budget and implement economic reforms to grow jobs in Illinois.  It was my hope, that after two years of budget inaction, Illinois leaders would set aside their differences and work together for a solution to the budget impasse.  I cannot adequately convey my disappointment that the General Assembly has once again failed to act.  
I sincerely appreciate the good-faith efforts of the Illinois State Senate to implement a grand bargain.  This effort toward compromise must continue in both chambers of the State Capitol. 
By missing the May 31 deadline, cooperation will be necessary from Republicans and Democrats to get something done prior to the start of new fiscal year (July 1).  Both parties need to respect and understand the other’s priorities.  My priority is a balanced budget, paying down old bills, and returning economic growth to Illinois.
A true budget solution for Illinois will involve tough choices.  I’m prepared to make tough choices and to compromise, but good faith efforts and cooperation will be needed. Let’s roll up our sleeves and work together to pass a budget by June 30 -or sooner.    

Rep. Ryan Spain
State Representative, 73rd District

As the Illinois House continues in Session this Memorial Day, please keep the family of Special Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens in your thoughts and prayers.  SCPO Owens was an Illinois Valley Central (IVC) High School graduate who died in the line of duty in January 2017.

PEORIA… Following House passage in April, the Illinois Senate on Thursday passed legislation proposed by State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) to allow volunteer work to be performed at Illinois State Parks.

“I am happy the Senate has followed suit and passed this legislation without changes.  It will now head to the Governor.  This is common-sense legislation that allows volunteers to create an Adopt-a-Trail program as well as allow volunteer work at State Parks and trails," said State Representative Ryan Spain.  

This legislation attempts to resolve a long-standing problem at many State Parks and facilities where volunteers are being told they are not permitted to help keep trails clean and maintained.  Currently, those individuals are able to assist with removal of trash and litter.  Spain continued, “my intention has not been to take away work historically done by State employees, but rather to allow supplemental efforts to help keep our state natural resources in even better shape for future generations.”

Following House passage in April, Spain said, “we should want our citizens to be engaged in our state parks and facilities.  We should want them enjoying these trails and parks with their families and taking personal ownership in seeing them kept in the best shape possible.  This legislation will clarify and allow for better care of our parks and trails.”

Representative Spain sponsored House Bill 3455, a measure suggested to him by trail riders at Jubilee State Park in rural Brimfield and negotiated with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other stakeholders.  The legislation attracted bipartisan support and co-sponsorship and achieved unanimous support in both the House and Senate.  Testifying in support of the bill were the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as well as the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois.

Peoria… State Representative Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) announced the official launch of his First Annual Summer Reading Club Program for grade school students who live within the 73rd Legislative District.  The program is offered to encourage students to read over the summer and promote the lifelong benefits of literacy.

“Students who read over the summer enter the school year in the fall ahead of students who do not read over the summer.  This is a fun way to reward students with a free ice cream and swimming party for simply reading eight books over their summer break and returning a form signed by a parent or guardian to invite them to a swimming party.  It’s incumbent on all of us in the community to encourage students to get ahead by becoming better readers,” said Spain.

Brochures were distributed recently through area schools, but are also available below or by calling Rep. Spain's Peoria District Office.  Participation in this program can overlap with any other summer reading program offered through area libraries.  Participating students have until July 31st to read their eight books and will be invited to a Summer Reading Ice Cream & Swimming Party in August upon completion of the program.  Attendees of the party will also be given an opportunity to receive information on college savings programs offered through the State of Illinois.