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Final days of the 97th General Assembly

The 97th Legislature is moving toward final adjournment on Jan. 8 prior to the seating of the newly-elected 98th General Assembly. We are in the middle of six days in the “veto session” prior to six days in the “lame duck” session in the first weeks of January.

The veto session is dedicated to actions of the governor regarding legislation passed in the spring, as well as action on unfinished legislation. Many controversial issues could emerge so I encourage you to follow the news and share your views with me by phone or email. In the week ahead, I expect legislative votes dealing with driver’s licenses for all motorists, a new proposal for reforming pensions, a fee on satellite TV and a number of override votes.

Increased park funding bill goes to governor

A bill to increase funding for state parks which stalled in the Senate last spring was approved and sent to the governor this past week. SB 1566 will raise an estimated $32 million annually by increasing the license plate cost for passenger cars and pickup trucks by $2, implementing a usage stamp for off-highway recreational vehicles and collecting other fees.

General revenue fund appropriations for the Department of Natural Resources have been reduced from $107 million in 2003 to about $48 million in 2012. Staffing levels were reduced from 2,600 employees a decade ago to about 1,100 this year.

Inauguration invitation

If you would like to be part of history as the 98th General Assembly takes its oath of office, I invite you to join me on Jan. 9 in Springfield. The ceremony begins at noon but there will be receptions in the morning, tours of the capitol, a private lunch and opportunity to visit the Lincoln Museum.

Contact my office to reserve a seat.

Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, is the state representative for the 70th Legislative District, which includes most of DeKalb County. He can be reached in DeKalb at 815-748-3494, or online through his website, www.pritchardstaterep.com.

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