Press Release: Cross, Sandack bill to improve transparency advances

April 17, 2013 SPRINGFIELD –Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) passed a new transparency initiative out of the Illinois House Tuesday to make state and local government more accountable to taxpayers.  [caption id="attachment_3147" align="alignleft" width="300"]Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) and Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) hosted a tele-press conference in Plainfield to unveil transparency initiatives. (February 13, 2013) Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) and Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) hosted a tele-press conference in Plainfield to unveil transparency initiatives. (February 13, 2013)[/caption] House Bill 1555 allows every property taxpayer to access the details on how their taxes are being spent. The legislation expands the Illinois Transparency Portal (ITAP) to include all taxing bodies and their employee-related expenses, including employee pay and pension costs. “With all the well-documented fiscal problems Illinois faces, there are some easy things we can do to increase government transparency and save taxpayer money,” Sandack said. “We would like to provide a common and easily accessible place for residents to go to get this important information.”  The Illinois Transparency Portal (ITAP) is already in place and will not require a new website or require a new expense to the Illinois taxpayers. The Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal (ITAP) is maintained and run by the Governor’s office.   “This will provide a one stop shop for taxpayers to see how the state, their school districts, park districts and other local governments are not only spending their money but also to see what debt is piling up,”  added Cross. HB1555 now goes to the Senate for consideration.
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Press Release: Cross' Diabetes Awareness lic. plate bill advances

April 16, 2013 

Springfield, IL – In an effort to further fund and support diabetes research throughout Illinois, House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) advanced legislation out of House committee today calling for the creation of a Diabetes Awareness license plate.  The legislation will see proceeds deposited into the Diabetes Research Check Off fund for the issuance of each license plate.  

[caption id="attachment_3348" align="alignleft" width="300"]Rep. Tom Cross presents the Diabetes License Plate bill in committee Tuesday morning in Springfield.  House Bill 1815 passed out of the Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee unanimously. Rep. Tom Cross presents the Diabetes License Plate bill in committee Tuesday morning in Springfield. House Bill 1815 passed out of the Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee unanimously.[/caption] “Awareness is key when it comes to diabetes detection and treatment,” said Cross.  “By creating a diabetes awareness license plate we can further fund diabetes research efforts that continue to work towards a cure, while also preventing many of the side effects of diabetes such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.”     If passed, House Bill 1815 would charge Diabetes Awareness license plate applicants a $40 fee for original issuance in addition to the appropriate registration fee. Of this fee, $25 would be deposited into the Diabetes Research Check Off Fund.  Money in the Diabetes Check Off Fund is made available through Illinois Department of Public Health grants.  The grants are dispersed to public or private entities in Illinois for the purpose of funding diabetes research.   HB 1815 now heads to the House floor for consideration.
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PRESS RELEASE: Cross to host forum: Danger in Our Backyard April 25th

April 16, 2013 (Oswego) Reps. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville), law enforcement, school officials and concerned parents are hosting a “Danger in Our Backyard” free forum to discuss the risks of substance abuse among teens and local adults at 6 p.m. on April 25th at Oswego High School. “The threats of heroin, marijuana, prescription drug abuse and alcohol are very real to young people in our communities,” said Cross. “We hope this forum will provide an open discussion between parents, law enforcement, educators and health officials about these dangers that are right in our backyards.” Small graphic Danger in our Backyard“It’s critical for parents to be proactive – to understand the risks and to know the warning signs that their child may be involved with drugs,” Hatcher added. “At the forum, concerned parents will be able to discuss the issue directly with other parents who have worked through this ordeal with their families.” The program will feature a speaker from the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization, Edward Hospital, Oswego High School, and Oswego Police Department. In addition, parents who have dealt with these issues directly and a recovering addict will also offer some insight during the forum. Click here to view the flyer for the event. The Danger in our Backyard forum will take place on Thursday, April 25th at 6 p.m. at Oswego High School, 4250 Route 71 in Oswego. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information on this free program call 815-254-0000.
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Will Co. Farm Bureau comes to Springfield

April 12, 2013 Members of the Will County Farm Bureau visited with Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) on April 11, 2013 about important legislation they are working on and watching in Springfield. [caption id="attachment_3330" align="alignleft" width="300"](From L to R) John Andermann, Tom Nugent, Mark Schneidawind, Rep. Cross, Judy Ogalla, Rep. Renee Kosel, Roger Bettenhausen, Glenn Ginder, Jim Robbin (From L to R) John Andermann, Tom Nugent, Mark Schneidewind, Leader Cross, Judy Ogalla, Rep. Kosel, Jim Robbins, Glenn Ginder and Roger Bettenhausen.[/caption]
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Press Release: Cross’ Constitutional Amendment to eliminate Lt. Governor's office passes IL House

April 11, 2013

CapitolDomeSpringfield, IL…State Representative Tom Cross (R-Oswego)’s constitutional amendment that would ultimately, if voters agree, eliminate the Lieutenant Governor’s office, passed out of the Illinois House today. 

 “In an effort to streamline Illinois government, the majority of my colleagues in the Illinois House agreed that we do not need this executive office,” said Cross.  “This measure could ultimately save taxpayers $2 million.” 

Listen to Cross' explanation here.

Currently, the Lt. Governor’s office does not have any duties outlined in the constitution, except to succeed the Governor if he/she is unable to serve. 

House Joint Constitutional Amendment 18 would remove the Lt. Governor in that succession. The Attorney General would replace the Lt. Governor as next in the line of for Governor if this Constitutional Amendment is adopted. The vacancy in in the Attorney General’s Office would be filled by an appointment from the Governor. The appointee will hold office until the next election. 

If passed by the Senate, this constitutional amendment would put on the ballots for voters to consider in 2014.  If approved by the voters, the office would be eliminated in 2019. 

Six other states do not have the office of lieutenant governor including: Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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Rep. Cross, Kendall Co. State’s Attorney Weis’ law enforcement bill passes House

ethicsApril 11, 2013 Springfield, IL…State Representative Tom Cross (R-Oswego)’s bill that creates an intensive probation program for non-violent offenders passed the Illinois House today. “We are thankful that State’s Attorney Weis brought this idea to our attention,” said Cross. “It is important that we remain committed to strict enforcement of our laws, recognizing what works and doesn’t work in terms of punishment for first time, non-violent offenders.” House Bill 3010 will create a program similar to the Offender Initiative Probation program that became law last year. The initiative will give counties that don’t have pretrial diversion programs, such as Kendall County, the option of an alternative disposition for first-time, nonviolent offenders who are found guilty or plead guilty at trial.
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Rep. Cross, Senior Advisory Council Host Seminar to Help Families Plan for Aging Parents’ Futures

April 8, 2013 Oswego…State Representative Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and his Senior Advisory Council invite area families to gather information for meeting the housing needs of an aging parent at an April 22nd seminar they are hosting at the Oswego Senior Center.walker “Family Matters – Planning for Your Aging Parents Housing Needs” will be held from 7:00pm to 9:00pm on April 22nd at the Oswego Senior Center located at 156 East Washington Street in Oswego to help families review housing options and create a financial plan to ensure their aging parents future needs will be well met. “This is an issue that in time touches all of our families,” Representative Cross said. “We all want our parents to live long, healthy and active lives; and we need to plan to ensure we are prepared to help make that happen.” Local participants in the “Family Matters” Seminar will include Senior Services Associates of Kendall County, local assisted and supportive senior living facilities, nursing home care, in-home care, and financial planning. “The goal of this seminar is to help families understand what the options are and where they can go for more help and information. I encourage seniors and their families to join us, and begin making a plan together,” said Representative Cross. For more information on the “Family Matters” Seminar, please contact Lois Maguire at Representative Cross’s office at 815-254-0000 or e-mail tom@tomcross.com.  
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Rep. Cross to host Shorewood office hours

April 3, 2013  

Shorewood -- Illinois House Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) invites all residents of the 97th District to attend his traveling office hours in Shorewood on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.  “This is a good opportunity for residents to meet with our staff and discuss state government issues,” said Cross.  “We are always happy to hear the concerns, opinions and suggestions from our constituents.”   The purpose of traveling office hours is to provide access and services to constituents at a convenient location and time.  The traveling office hours will be held on Tuesday, April 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Shorewood-Troy Library boardroom located at 650 Deerwood in Shorewood. A member of Rep. Cross’ district office staff will be available to meet with residents.  For more information, please contact Rep. Cross’ district office at (815) 254-0000.
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PRESS RELEASE: Pass balanced budget or don't get paid

March 22, 2013 Springfield…With the Illinois General Assembly facing its most difficult budget challenges in generations, House Republicans today stressed the need for passage of a new, effective Constitutional Amendment that will require lawmakers to pass a budget that is truly balanced – or not be paid. balanced-budget-snack-list-r2“Our current balanced budget provision in the state Constitution has no ‘teeth’, and as a result, some General Assemblies and Governors have used accounting tricks to get around it, or simply ignored it altogether with no real consequences to themselves. The consequences to our budget, however, have been devastating. That has to stop now. We need to inject some true accountability into the state budget process,” said House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego). Today House Republicans introduced House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 32 to put real “teeth” into the state’s balanced budget requirement. It demands that within 30 days of the enactment of a budget, the Auditor General’s Office must certify that the budget will be balanced with expenses not exceeding expected revenue. If the Auditor General declares that the budget is not balanced then the Comptroller will: o Stop payment for the salary of General Assembly members and Constitutional Officers; and o Stop all payments, besides those affecting public safety of the State, required by law, or required by the federal government “For several years now, lawmakers have passed budgets that were absolutely unbalanced, leaving billions in unpaid bills,” said Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). “It’s time to hold Page 2. state government accountable to the taxpayers. Our balanced budget amendment will force lawmakers and the Governor to put their money where their mouths are. Pass a truly balanced budget or don’t get paid. This is a common-sense fiscal reform that is sorely needed in Springfield.” “In the past, tricks and gimmicks have been used to create the illusion of a balanced budget,” said Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon). “This new amendment sends a simple, clear warning to the General Assembly and the Governor: we need to do our jobs or we won’t get paid.” HJRCA 32 also requires that within 10 days of the Auditor General declaring the budget is not balanced, the General Assembly must convene to address the unbalanced budget. Upon passage of a new budget, the Auditor General must certify if it is balanced, and only then will the Comptroller be allowed to continue payments. If at any time the current fiscal year budget becomes unbalanced, the Comptroller must alert the General Assembly and Governor. The same protocol must then be followed as if the Auditor General declared the budget unbalanced. “As a certified public accountant and a former small business owner, I know what it means to balance the books. If a private business operated like state government, that business would go under in the first year,” said Representative Pam Roth (R-Morris). “This constitutional amendment not only requires the state to operate within its means, but it increases transparency by providing an impartial evaluation by the Auditor General.” If adopted by the General Assembly, the new constitutional balanced budget amendment would then be placed on the ballot for approval by voters statewide in 2014. “This is about respect for hard working taxpayers, for businesses that contract with the state, and for families that rely on state services. They deserve an honest, balanced budget that actually delivers what it promises. Enacting a new, strong balanced budget amendment will help ensure that’s what they get from us each and every year,” said Representative Ed Sullivan Jr. (R-Mundelein). House Republicans have created a webpage where the public can add their name to a petition showing their support for a truly balanced budget.  Click here to sign the petition.
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Aurora Beacon: Cross: Tougher laws needed to protect our kids

March 20, 2013 by Denise Crosby State Republicans have declared it’s time to take the kid gloves off.  House Republican Leader Tom Cross, our representative from Oswego, was part of a group that last week introduced new legislation they believe will help keep children safer from shootings that have grabbed national headlines and placed yet another black eye on the state of Illinois. Click here to read the entire article.  
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