Rep. Sosnowski targets common-sense reforms to make state government more accountable

Rep. Joe Sosnowski

ROCKFORD Illinois suffers from chronic structural inefficiencies that contribute to the destabilization of the state budget, siphoning scarce resources away from vital services meant to ensure a safety net for Illinois families. In an effort to reshape some the state’s basic priorities in a forward-thinking way, State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) has introduced common-sense solutions by crafting a good governance legislative package that improves government transparency, efficiency and accountability.

“Restoring faith in state government and opportunity and growth to our economy begins with making common-sense reforms to the shortcomings in current law that allow for waste, fraud and abuse,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “This package serves as a step towards moving Illinois forward by setting priorities to make state government more accountable and effective.”

Rep. Sosnowski’s Good Governance Package includes House Bill 3402, legislation to reducethe stipend amounts paid to local government officials such as county assessors, treasurers, coroners, sheriffs, etc. Minimum amount stipends are established by state law; however, they range from $8,000 to more than $13,000. This legislation will reduce the stipend amounts for populations of 100,000 to 400,000 or more. The state currently pays these stipends to the officials. By reducing these stipends we can redirect those resources to vital state programs and services.
House Bill 3406 would create a pilot program to require all applicants and recipients of government aid to meet the standards of a zero tolerance policy prior to receiving government aid. This pilot program would be beneficial whether it shows marginal or astronomical cost savings.  Illinoisans will be provided definitive proof as to whether or not drug abuse is prevalent within the public aid system, to what degree and whether additional action is necessary to address the problem.
House Bill 3397 would ensure greater accountability by public employees. Currently, collective bargaining contracts allow an employee to be late for work without a corresponding reduction in pay. This bill would remove that provision and require a reduction in pay if the employee is late to work.
“Accountability should be the cornerstone of every policy we put in place,” Rep. Sosnowski said. “Illinois families and taxpayers deserve to have greater confidence in how their tax dollars are spent.”
Other bills within the package (House Bill 3405 and House Bill 3401) would curb abuse within the Illinois LINK program for low-income individuals and families. Currently, Illinois’ LINK cards may be used out-of-state to purchase goods. This legislation would require the benefits to be used only in-state; and require the name and photo of the primary cardholder and, at the option of the primary cardholder, the names of secondary holders who are authorized to use the card.
The Good Governance Package would also preserve and strengthen Second Amendment rights and better protect students from potential teacher strikes. These highlights of the package include:
  • House Bill 3398: Allow an Illinois resident who moves out of state to a substantially similar state to use the fee paid from their in-state permit to the cost of the non-resident permit. 
  • House Bill 3403: Would set a higher bar for educational employees to engage in a strike by amending state law to require three-fourths (75%) of the bargaining members to authorize a strike. This is the existing requirement for the Chicago Teachers Union to authorize a strike.
  • House Bill 3407: Removes a provision that allows certain units of local government from engaging in “swap” agreements and purchasing variable rate bonds.
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