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Dixon… Governor Bruce Rauner on Thursday signed legislation backed by Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) providing a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners who were victims of flood damage in July in 18 counties declared disaster areas.
“Many homeowners and businesses are still recovering from flood damage in July throughout Illinois,” said Demmer.  “This credit will provide some relief to those affected by this flooding and allow them to continue on the path to recovery.”
Senate Bill 403 created a natural disaster tax credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes.  Counties eligible for the tax credit include Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson, and Whiteside- all of which were declared state disaster areas by the Governor this Summer.
Qualified properties include a taxpayers principle residence or land owned by a small business, but not a rental or leasing business.  The allowable income tax credit will be the lesser of $750 or the deduction allowed under the IRS Code for each taxpayer who owns qualified property in a county declared a state disaster area.
The bill provides that township assessors shall issue eligibility certificates for appropriately requesting property owners (you may request this letter by contacting your local township assessors office), and that assessors shall certify to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) the listings of flood-damaged properties. 

IDOR expects to be publishing an additional bulletin detailing the steps a taxpayer may utilize to access the credit prior to tax filing season.  That bulletin will be published on the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website at http://tax.illinois.gov.  Taxpayers needing further information on the credit or any other tax credit question, may contact the IDOR Taxpayers Assistance Hotline at 800-732-8866.

Dixon… Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) was honored on Friday by the Illinois Psychological Association with their “Legislator of the Year” Award for 2017.
The Illinois Psychological Association (IPA) presented Demmer with the Award for his public and personal commitment to ensuring that those with mental illness received access to quality and affordable treatment.  Rep. Demmer serves on the House Human Services-Appropriations Committee, the House Human Services Committee, and as Republican Spokesperson of the House Mental Health Committee and Substance Abuse Subcommittee.
“I am proud to work toward mental health recovery for the hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans battling these issues every day,” said Rep. Demmer.  “The Illinois Psychological Association has been a leading voice in Springfield dealing with mental health services and funding.  I am proud to be honored by them for my work on these issues and I thank them for the work they do every day for Illinois families.”
Founded more than 60 years, the Illinois Psychological Association is the largest professional association of psychologists with over 1,200 Illinois members and works closely with the American Psychological Association and its 150,000 members nationwide.  IPA feted Demmer at their Annual Conference on Friday, November 3rd in Schaumburg.

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United States and State flags at half-staff from Sunrise on Thursday, November 9, 2017, until Sunset on Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Bruce Rauner that all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff in honor of:

Rockford Police Officer Jaimie Cox

Officer Cox was killed in the line of duty on November 5, 2017.

Flag Honors are from:

Sunrise on Thursday, November 9, 2017, until
Sunset on Saturday, November 11, 2017

"My thoughts are with Officer Cox's friends, family, and fellow officers following this terrible tragedy," said Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon). "Officer Cox's service to his community and our State will not be forgotten."
From US News & World Report
November 7, 2017

Read more at: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/illinois/articles/2017-11-07/great-lakes-basin-fails-to-appeal-freight-rail-decision

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — A group has failed to appeal in federal court the rejection of its application to construct a more than 260-mile freight railroad from northern Indiana to southeastern Wisconsin.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation had 60 days starting Aug. 31 to appeal the Surface Transportation Board's decision, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

The board said it rejected the company's $2.8 billion plan because it didn't provide accurate financial information. Company officials had previously said that potential investors were waiting for the project to receive federal approval before committing to it.

The railroad would've provided freight trains a path around Chicago that would've allowed them to avoid the congested city. The plan also called for 26 connections to existing railroads. The line would've be able to support as many as 110 trains a day, according to the application.

"The failure of GLBT to appeal certainly brings an end to the current proceeding," said Howard Learner, the executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, which fought against the transportation group in court.
Dixon… State Representatives Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), and Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) urged prayers and community awareness following a brutal attack on a DCFS Child Protective Investigator at a child welfare check on Friday, September 29th in Carroll County.

The three legislators offered the following statement today:

“This tragic attack highlights the dangers faced by our child welfare officers every day and the profound need to continue to educate communities on eliminating violence, especially domestic violence.  Along with our fellow legislators, we offer our prayers to the family of the DCFS Investigator, as well as to her co-workers and fellow employees who are saving lives in Illinois’ child welfare system every day.  This is terribly frightening and traumatizing for all of our hardworking Child Protective Investigators, but this incident shows how important their work is in protecting children from violence and harm.”

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from SaukValley.com (http://www.saukvalley.com/2017/09/20/ogle-carroll-among-counties-eligible-for-federal-flooding-assistance/aixrixd/)

September 19, 2017

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Gov. Bruce Rauner said that federal loan assistance is being made available for residents in five Illinois counties affected by flooding in July.

Rauner’s office said Tuesday that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s request for help. That means people and businesses in Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties are eligible to apply for low-interest, long-term loans.

Rauner said the assistance will help those affected “begin the next phase of their recovery from this disaster.”

Click here to apply for assistance.

Or for more information, please contact:

SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DDLOC)
Highland Community College
2998 West Pearl City Road
Building H – Student Conference Center
Freeport, IL 61032

Opens:: Thursday, September 21; 11:00am - 5:00pm
Hours:: 8:00am-5:00pm; weekdays
10:00am-2:00pm Saturdays (closed Sunday))
Closes:: Thursday, September 28; 8:00am - 3:00pm
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 303 on September 19, a bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming Illinois’ asset forfeiture system. The reforms will increase transparency and shift burdens of proof to protect innocent citizens while maintaining the proper use of asset forfeiture as a tool for law enforcement. Gov. Rauner was joined by Illinois State Police (ISP) officials, ACLU members, legislators, and advocate organizations.

“Illinois residents should be protected from the unfair seizure of their private property,” Gov. Rauner said. “This legislation will enact needed reforms to prevent abuse of the civil asset forfeiture process, while maintaining its importance as a critical tool for law enforcement to make our communities safer.”

When properly applied, asset forfeiture strikes at the economic foundation of criminal activity. The seizure of monetary assets has been utilized as an effective method to disrupt the business activities of drug trafficking organizations and bring down high-level drug distributors.

However, if asset forfeiture is misused, it can have major economic ramifications on Illinoisans who may be innocent of any wrongdoing. The forfeiture of cash, a vehicle, or even a home can also affect their family members and exacerbate financial insecurity.

This important piece of legislation will provide for greater public transparency in Asset Forfeiture proceedings through the collection and publicly accessible reporting of forfeiture data, as well as additional sanction authority for abuse and violations of forfeiture rules by the ISP.

HB 303 also shifts the burden of proving guilt to the government, and increases the burden of proof to mirror that of the federal government in forfeiture cases from probable cause to a preponderance of the evidence, a fair and equitable standard. It also makes a number of other changes such as eliminating restrictive bonding requirements and adjusting the threshold amounts of money subject to forfeiture as well as the levels of cannabis and controlled substance possession that can lead to forfeiture proceedings as a way to thoughtfully limit the use of this system to its intended purposes.

Funds received through the Asset Forfeiture Program support the costs of law enforcement overtime and wire intercepts for major investigations, training, intelligence centers, prevention programs and investigative equipment.

“I am glad Illinois has taken this dramatic step forward, especially while the federal government seems poised to go backwards on this issue,” said state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “It's a simple concept - the government should have to prove that it has a right to take your property, not the other way around.”

“Asset forfeiture laws target the heart of much criminal activity – the financial gain. However, as with any law, we need to make sure it does not unduly burden those who may be innocent,” said state Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), a cosponsor of the law who served more than 32 years in law enforcement, 20 years as Lee County Sheriff. “House Bill 303 makes sure that the spirit of civil asset forfeiture is not abused.”

“We must strike the proper balance between targeting criminal enterprises and safeguarding the rights of innocent property owners,” said state Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville). “The Institute for Justice gave Illinois a D- for our current civil forfeiture laws. The law signed today seeks to improve the current system by providing increased protections for property owners and requiring greater accountability from law enforcement.”

“Civil asset forfeiture in Illinois and across this country is out of control—Americans lose more of their property each year to forfeiture than to burglary,” state Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) said. “This landmark bill gives Illinoisans some of the strongest protections against unjust forfeitures in the country, and it's a crucial step in restoring faith between civilians and law enforcement.”

“Civil asset forfeiture reform is an important step to ensure the Constitutional rights of Illinoisans are being protected,” said state Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Rochelle). “This law protects property rights, reduces the chance for abuses of power, and defends the rights of the individual. I’m proud to support this bipartisan initiative.”

Video of the event will be posted here: <https://www.illinois.gov/cms/agency/media/video/sitepages/videos.aspx>.