Archive for the ‘advocacy’ Category

Redistricting Maps

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Cook County judge takes first step to strike down “Independent Map” amendment. The proposed constitutional amendment was spearheaded to give voters an opportunity to vote on whether to reform the way Illinois legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years. The amendment, if presented to the voters and adopted, would erase the political procedure currently used to draw these maps and create a new nonpartisan process in its place. The new process is intended to produce a map that is not “slanted” in favor of one political party or the other.

Opponents of the proposed constitutional amendment filed a lawsuit in Cook County circuit court, demanding that voters not be permitted to vote on the measure and that it be barred from appearing on the November 2016 ballot. Their lawsuit won a victory in Cook County circuit court on Wednesday, July 20. In her decision in the case of Hooker vs. Illinois State Board of Elections, Judge Diane Joan Larsen cited several constitutional concerns as fatal flaws in the amendment and ordered that it be struck from the ballot. The decision is likely to be appealed.

Ill. Budget: FY 17

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Budget experts warn of continued Illinois deficits. Although Illinois’ lawmakers enacted a stopgap budget in late June to cover the first six months of FY17, budget analysts warn that this move was not equivalent to a constitutional balanced budget for the entire year. In fact, the act of “spreadsheeting out” the money being spent, and comparing it to honest projections of the money coming in, reveals that Illinois’ expected spending will outweigh expected FY17 revenues by $7.8 billion. The Reuters news service believes this is the largest single deficit by a state in U.S. history. Expected spending totals $39.5 billion and expected revenues total $31.8 billion.

Although the state Constitution contains a legal requirement that the State annually enact a balanced budget, the requirement has been widely ignored in recent years. Continued ten-figure State deficits have led to a growing backlog of unpaid Illinois bills. The Comptroller’s office now counts the State’s unpaid bills at almost $8.0 billion. The unpaid bill total is contained in Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger’s “The Ledger”, a subpage of the Comptroller’s webpage.

This Week’s News: Do You Have Workforce Development Needs?

Monday, July 18th, 2016
July 18, 2016
In This Issue


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95.9 The River
Above Board Indoor Environmental
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
BMO Harris – Bilter Rd.
BMO Harris – Eola Rd.
BMO Harris – Lake St.
BMO Harris – N. Farnsworth Ave.
BMO Harris – W. Indian Trail
CARSTAR North Aurora Collision Center
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
Chicago Tribune Media Group
Copy King Office Solutions, Inc.
Dependable Contracting Services
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Dolan & Murphy
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Northwestern Medicine
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Central DuPage Hospital
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
SmithAmundsen, LLC
Sole Unique Dance Complex, Inc.
State Farm Insurance Companies
Steffes & Associates Language and Translation (SALT)
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Trust Lending
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

The Vistas Fox Valley
Kimberly Pederson
1599 N. Farnsworth Ave., Aurora
(630) 898-9400
Supportive Housing/Assisted Living

Midwest Coach Limousine
Esmeralda Arellano
199 Poplar Place Ste 6, North Aurora
(331) 903-0088


Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189



Share Your Thoughts on Workforce Needs
Last week, we shared a brief highlight of the recent Summer Career Exploration opportunity with 75 local high school students. We received a number of comments and inquiries about the program and other workforce development efforts we are working on. As a result, we wanted to follow up with a bit more detail about Aurora Regional Pathways this week.

Working from a memorandum of understanding, the Aurora Chamber coordinated with the City of Aurora, Waubonsee Community College, and school districts East Aurora, Indian Prairie, Oswego, and West Aurora to coordinate a weeklong career exploration opportunity for nearly 75 high school students interested in careers in advanced manufacturing, health sciences, and information technology.

Junior Achievement of Chicago provided students with a half-day of soft skills and personal branding training on Monday following the kick-off and welcome from Waubonsee’s Dr. Christine Sobek.

From Tuesday through Thursday, students were treated to tours and hands-on learning experiences based on their pathway interest.

Manufacturing students visited Mitutoyo America Corporation, ASK Products/TMA, Cabot Microelectronics, International Paper, Diamond Envelope, and Caterpillar.

Health sciences students heard from Aurora Police Department Forensics Unit, Kane County Coroner, Rush-Copley Medical Center, Orchard Road Animal Hospital, Aurora Dental, Waubonsee Community College Sports Medicine, and North Aurora Fire Department EMT Service.

Information technology students were treated to presentations and projects by Rasmussen College, ByteGrid, Waubonsee Community College, Digital Alliance, and Northern Illinois University,

On Friday, the students received certificates of completion from Mayor Tom Weisner.

During the wrap-up and discussion, students shared their experiences. Based on post-assessment feedback:

92% of the participants were more interested in careers in the pathway of choice

92% benefitted from the week-long career exploration

94% were able to identify careers of interest in the pathway

98% were able to identify high school courses required for the pathway career

90% were interested in work-based learning opportunities in their pathway

Much of the activities and experiences will continue to be offered. For instance, this fall, the health sciences pathway is organizing additional work-based learning opportunities for students.

The collaborative is interested in hearing from you. Please click this link to participate in a brief survey to share your thoughts on career opportunities for our high school students. As always, if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Premier Members
Premier Members
Events for Members
Coffee & Connections
Painters District Council No 30, 1905 Sequoia Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by Aurora University
Tuesday, July 19, 8:30-10 a.m.

Open House: MG Ward Solutions
896 S. Frontenac, Ste 104, Aurora
Friday, July 22
Ribbon Cutting: 9:30-11 a.m.
Open House: 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Business Development Leads Group
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora
Tuesday, July 26, 7:45 a.m.

Grand Opening: Family Vision Development Center
452 N. Eola Rd., Ste D, Aurora
Wednesday, July 27, 4-8 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting: 4:30 p.m.

Fox Valley Networking Professionals 2016
Pomegranate Restaurant, 55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora, 60504
Thursday, July 28, 8:00 a.m.

Grand Opening: Waxing the City, Aurora
4430 Fox Valley Center Dr., Ste 108, Aurora
Thursday, Aug. 4, 3:30-8 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting: 4 p.m.

Grand Opening: Anytime Fitness, Aurora
1311 Butterfield Rd, Aurora
Wednesday, Aug. 10, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting: 11:30 a.m.

Open House: NorthStar Credit Union
444 N. Eola Rd., Ste 101, Aurora
Friday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting: 11:30 p.m.

Business Development Leads Group
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora
Tuesday, Aug. 23, 7:45 a.m.

Fox Valley Networking Professionals 2016
Pomegranate Restaurant, 55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora, 60504
Thursday, Aug. 25, 8:00 a.m.

Public Policy Update
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Visit the Chamber blog:

Paid Leave Amendment Filed

State of Illinois Completes Rollout of New Job Opportunity for Unemployed Illinoisans

Representative David Welter Appointed to Serve Northern Illinois District

Education: School Funding Formula

Education: Common Core Testing

Budget: FY17

Health Care: Land of Lincoln

Letter Supporting Our Region’s Community Services

Member News
If you have news to share with your fellow members, please forward to Be sure and check out our blog and social media for what’s happening in our region.

Kane Co. Fair Opens July 20

“What Floats Your Cardboard Boat” Race on August 20, 2016!

Farnsworth and I-88 Construction Delayed

Aurora Early Childhood Collaboration Benefits from Additional Dunham Fund Grant

Wellness Works 2016

VNA Health Care hosts local event for the global “Big Latch On” Breastfeeding Awareness Celebration on August 5

Aurora Firefighters 5th Annual Golf Outing

Midweek Farmers Markets Open for the Season

New Bike-Share Program Available in Aurora

Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 |
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.


Paid Leave Amendment Filed

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

An amendment was recently filed by Sen. Daniel Biss (D- Evanston) that would create the Family Leave Insurance Act. Under the proposed amendment, an employee would be allowed to take up to twelve weeks of family leave within any 24-month period for the purpose of providing care for the birth of a child, adoption of a child or placement of a foster child, or serious health condition of a family member.

This comes in light of a spring legislative session that saw several employee lave mandates introduced.

The legislature is currently not in session until after the election so it is unclear at this moment what the sponsor’s motives are.  However, the Chamber will continue to monitor the amendment.

State of Illinois Completes Rollout of New Job Opportunity for Unemployed Illinoisans

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Illinois Job Link is a resume’-posting platform operated by the Department of Employment Security (IDES) that is open to persons seeking employment in Illinois. Under a new policy going into effect on Sunday, July 17, persons filing for Illinois unemployment benefits after being laid off are going to be asked to fill out and post their resumes on Illinois Job Link as a condition of completing their application for benefits.

The Department is aware that some of the people who need to file for benefits will have some questions about how to complete the JobLink process and complete a resume. The JobLink home page can be found HERE. In past years, nearly 60% of Illinois unemployment benefit filings did not include a work history or resume, despite the importance of these documents to potential employers. IDES believes that linking JobLink resume filing with unemployment benefits will speed up the hiring of unemployed persons who may have work experience and credentials of which they are not fully aware, and will reduce unemployment by increasing publicly posted information about the Illinois residents who are motivated to find a job.

Representative David Welter Appointed to Serve Northern Illinois District

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Republican leaders in the 75th District have appointed David Welter to represent the district in the Illinois House of Representatives. The district centers along communities close to Interstate 80, including Morris and Seneca, comprising portions of Kendall, Grundy, LaSalle and Will Counties. Welter’s appointment came after former 75th District Rep. John Anthony resigned in June to accept a new job as executive assistant to the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Under State law, the appointment was made by the four GOP chairpersons from the counties located within the 75th District. The chairpersons cast a weighted vote by population of their counties within the vacant district. The selection of Welter, the current Grundy County Board Chairman, was unanimous. Welter will maintain a district office in Morris, Illinois to serve his constituents. Committee assignments are pending. Welter, who had served on the Grundy County Board since 2010, will also run for a full term as state representative on the November 2016 ballot. Welter was appointed State Representative on Saturday, July 9.

Education: School Funding Formula

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Gov. Bruce Rauner establishes School Funding Commission; House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announces names of five panel members. The 25-member bipartisan commission established by Gov. Rauner will study Illinois’ school funding formula, the law used to divide up and distribute Illinois school aid money into payments made to individual Illinois school districts. Illinois’ 863 school districts, the local units of governance that operate public elementary and secondary schools, depend on biweekly school aid payments to keep their doors open.

Increasing concerns about the school aid formula contained in the current School Code has spurred the creation of this commission. The five House Republican members of the bipartisan commission are Representatives Avery Bourne, Sheri Jesiel, Dwight Kay, Bob Pritchard, and Christine Winger. The school funding formula last saw major structural changes in 1997, although the overall distribution of money to Illinois schools has been repeatedly ‘tweaked’ and modified since. The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission has been asked to report its findings to the Illinois General Assembly by February 1, 2017.

Education: Common Core Testing

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Significant move away from Common Core Testing. State law requires Illinois public high schools to use a standardized test to evaluate their students’ readiness for college. Until now, the test used has been the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a test developed in compliance with nationwide Common Core guidelines and standards. PARCC tests were administered to Illinois high school students in spring 2015 and again in spring 2016.

Questions were raised about the performance of Illinois high schools and school districts in enabling their students to meet PARCC guidelines. Many school districts reported that the protocols used to prepare for and administer the PARCC tests were highly technical, cumbersome and resistant to full compliance. They further reported that PARCC preparation and testing interfered with other tests that school districts wanted or needed to administer as an expression of their autonomy and the challenges faced by their pupils, such as AP tests and traditional college entrance exams.

The State Board of Education announced on Monday, July 11 that they would not supervise the administration of a high school PARCC test in spring 2017 or following spring terms. Instead, the State will subsidize and supervise the administration of a statewide SAT college entrance exam in spring 2017. Students in 11th grade will take the SAT. The SAT is administered according to an established nationwide protocol and its results are published in numbers that are relatively accessible and familiar to students and educators. SAT tests will be administered in compliance with the State law evaluating high school student body performance and progress. Students in grades 3 through 8 will continue to take separate PARCC tests geared to their age groups.

Budget: FY17

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Bills signed into law on June 30 did not enact a full-year budget. The financial markets are reminding Illinois that the current spending patterns being resumed by the State do not represent a stable long-term course for the State and do not constitute an annual, constitutional balanced budget.

The package enacted on June 30 covers some back payments for FY16. It also covers projected spending over a variety of State departments for six months, until December 31. The State’s multi-billion-dollar budget deficit and pile-up of unpaid bills remain untouched by the June 30 budget compromise. As of Thursday, July 14, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger estimates the current count of unpaid Illinois bills as being more than $7.7 billion. These factors are expected to hold Illinois’ credit rating down at the bottom of the debt ratings posted for America’s 50 states. Continued slow State payments to public institutions of higher education are also causing credit-rating cuts in the debts issued by Illinois colleges and universities.

Despite these flaws, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the “stopgap” FY17 budget as a way of appropriating money to open Illinois K-12 educational institutions on time and keep operations going in other essential State buildings and points of infrastructure.

Health Care: Land of Lincoln

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Key provider of Obamacare health insurance must liquidate. Land of Lincoln Health, a health care insurance co-operative set up under the terms of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), has defaulted on its payments. The State of Illinois initiated steps on Tuesday, July 12 to wind up the operations of the failing firm and shut it down. 49,000 Illinois residents had purchased mandatory health care insurance through Land of Lincoln, which sold its policies to the individual, individual family, and self-employment markets. They will have to find emergency new coverage before the close of calendar year 2016.

The failure of Land of Lincoln paralleled the failures in other states of Obamacare co-ops, which have been whipsawed by heavy claims rates and mandatory risk adjustment payments. Under the current Affordable Care Act, co-ops are required to pay expensive “risk adjustment payments” to established, private-sector health care insurers such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. These payments are meant to compensate Blue Cross and other established insurers for the established cost base locked onto these existing insurers by the pre-existing health care conditions of these established firms’ policyholder bases. At the same time, co-ops thought they would be getting federal “risk corridor” payments to compensate them for, among other variables, the cost of the risk adjustment payments. Adequate risk-corridor payments never appeared, however, and the co-ops found that their risk adjustment payments were due in full. They faced a lethal whipsaw. One after another of these co-ops, including Land of Lincoln in Illinois, have gone or are going out of business.

Partly as a result of the ongoing failure of many firms within the ACA co-op industry, increasing numbers of Americans are facing monopoly suppliers of mandatory health care insurance. In whole states, such as Alabama, only one firm will sell insurance to individuals under terms that comply with the myriad requirements and mandates of the Affordable Care Act. In these geographic areas, U.S. citizens are required to comply with the terms and premium rates set by the single supplier.