Get ready to break out some birthday candles — make that lots of birthday candles. Might want to grab a fire extinguisher too: Illinois turns 200 on Dec. 3, 2018.

The yearlong bicentennial celebrationhonoring two centuries of statehood has begun.

Like any milestone birthday or anniversary, bicentennials are a good excuse to look back, look forward and, most of all, have some fun.

In Travel, we're marking the occasion with a 200 To-Do List: two hundred things every Illinoisan should do — or see, eat and drink — at least once in a lifetime. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

Click here for the first 20 entries in the History category.
House Bill 2388, Supported by Rep. John Cavaletto and enacted earlier in 2017, becomes effective on January 1, 2018. The bill directs the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to establish and maintain an accessible-to-the-public database on key facts involving day care safety and security.

The database shall provide information on whether, within the past five years, a day care center had its license revoked or if its application for license renewal was denied by the Department. Under the law prior to the enactment of this bill, a day care center could win back its license by appealing a decision by DCFS to revoke or to refuse to renew, and DCFS had no legal way to tell the public that the original decision had been made. Enactment of HB 2388 closes this loophole.
Second weekend of firearm deer season shows harvest improvement numbers. The preliminary total tag count is 80,021 deer for the seven days that hunters were allowed to hunt with shotguns in Illinois. This marks an increase of 462 animals from the 79,559 deer harvested in the comparable 2016 season.

Harvested deer by county in the 107th District:
      Bond - 323
      Clinton - 370
      Effingham - 385
      Fayette - 690
      Marion - 898
Key to the successful season numbers was a strong harvest in the second firearm weekend ending December 3, in which hunters were able to drop and tag more than 3,600 additional deer compared with the second weekend of 2016. This enabled the overall season to end up in the black despite a slow statewide start during the first shotgun weekend.

While the shotgun season is now over, additional seasons remain. The muzzleloader-only season is December 8-10; two antlerless-only/CWD deer seasons will follow the muzzleloader season in certain Illinois counties, concluding on January 14, 2018; and deer bowhunters will be able to use their bows until Jan. 14 as well.
Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced the launch of a statewide helpline to provide immediate assistance for those impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances.

The helpline will provide a confidential outlet for individuals experiencing opioid use disorders, their families and anyone affected by the disease 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Helpline specialists are trained in evidence-based approaches to help connect callers with treatment and recovery-support services. To reach the helpline, individuals can call 1-833-2FINDHELP.

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) joined fellow southern Illinois legislators in Mt. Vernon on Wednesday to meet with the Japanese Consul General Naoki Ito, and discuss on-going business projects that will create more jobs in the southern Illinois region. Rep. Cavaletto is shown in the photo with Consul General Ito and George Evans, Dean of Career and Technical Education and who was named this week as the Interim President for Kaskaskia College.

Learn more about the Japanese Consul General's visit by clicking here to read the article by WJBD-WSIQ Radio.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law today a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where flood damages were sustained in July.

The bill, signed at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago this morning, creates a natural disaster credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes.

Included counties are 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 last summer.

“July’s severe storms pushed rivers and lakes over their banks across a wide swath of Illinois,” Rauner said. “Many home and business owners are still working to restore their properties after the inundation of water, debris and mud they suffered through, in some cases for weeks. In northeastern Illinois counties, the flooding was unprecedented. This tax credit offers a measure of much-needed relief.”

Qualified properties include a taxpayer’s 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 Internal Revenue 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, and those assessors shall certify to the Illinois Department of Revenue listings of flood-damaged properties.

The fiscal impact to the state is estimated at $4.6 million, based on damages previously reported to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) announced today that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Project Next Generation grants are being processed and paid right now. The grants are administered through the State Librarian who is the Secretary of State. Centralia Regional Library District is the recipient of a $10,000 grant.

“I am pleased to have one of the libraries in my district receive this grant,” commented Rep. Cavaletto. “We work with libraries on a regular basis through the Summer Reading Club and as locations for public information programs like the recent Property Tax Seminar at the Bryan-Bennett Library in Salem.”

The project grants are intended to bridge the technological divide of residents within communities. The grants allow public libraries to pair technology with tutoring to assist students, aged 10-18, in developing skills that they may find useful in school and later in life employment. The grants are made, based upon community need, and allow access to technology and computers that would typically not be available to the students that participate in this program.
State Rep. John Cavaletto, on behalf of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus in the Illinois General Assembly, presented a check for $200 to Athletic Director Scott Steward for the Salem Community High School Bass Team.

These funds will go to purchase life jackets for students for tournament fishing competition. The two finalists will wear them to the State Tournament.

“It is a good feeling to be able to support these young people in their team competitions," said Rep. Cavaletto. "This year we were able to support three grant applications from Marion County to encourage young people to enjoy the outdoors and learn to fish and shoot safely."
Trapshooting Team Members from Iuka and Kinmundy accept the grant check from
Rep. Cavaletto are (l-r) Tyler Gordon, Cole Gordon, and Macy Donoho

State Rep. John Cavaletto, a member of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus in the Illinois General Assembly, presented a check for $200 to three members of the Southern Illinois Sportsman's Trapshooting Team.

These funds will go to support this youth sport shooting team to help purchase team jerseys, targets for practice, and entry fees for competitions and clinics. Trapshooting is a specific form of shotgun clay target shooting. Trapshooting is a game of movement, action and split-second timing. It requires the accuracy and skill to repeatedly aim, fire and break the clay discs which are hurled through the air at a speed of 42 mph, simulating the flight path of a bird fleeing a hunter.

“I’m happy the Sportsmen’s Caucus is able to support our young people in Marion County who are interested in this sport,” said Rep. John Cavaletto.

State Rep. John Cavaletto, a member of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus in the Illinois General Assembly, presented a check for $200 to Gerald Lively of Odin on behalf of the Forbes Lake Limbhangers.

These funds will go to support the 18th Annual Forbes Lake Limbhangers Jakes Day. Forbes Lake is located north of Omega on the east side of Marion County. Jakes Day is an annual program for kids 2 to 17 to participate in various outdoor activities, including archery, BB Gun and shotgun shooting, primitive fire starting and safety demonstrations.

“I’m happy the Sportsmen’s Caucus is able to support a program like Jakes Day that teaches children safety and encourages them to be outdoors and active for a healthier lifestyle,” said Rep. John Cavaletto.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), announced today that he returned back to the state another $11,528.38 in his state office allotment for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17). Cavaletto has returned money back every year he has been in the Illinois House of Representatives, and with this year’s amount the total is estimated at $140,781.88. That is an average of more than $15,500 annual savings for the taxpayers of Illinois.

“Some may say that’s not much considering the state owes more than $15 billion in back bills, but if all 177 legislators in the General Assembly were to return the same average amount of $15,500 each year, then over $2.7 million could be saved every year,” commented Rep. Cavaletto. “My district staff and I have been able to run our office and programs efficiently with the use of technology like e-mail communications to save on postage and conserving use on office supplies,” Cavaletto added.

Residents are able to stay connected to legislative activities at, at Rep. Cavaletto’s web site (, and on Facebook. For more information, contact Rep. Cavaletto at 618-548-9080 or at his on-line office at [email protected].
SALEM… State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), opposed House Bill 40 and made the following statement this afternoon:

“My faith and moral compass tell me that life begins at conception and that every life is precious. I worked with special needs children since I was in school at summer camps to help give them a more fulfilling life. Those camps and programs were used to help develop what has become known as the Special Olympics. Also, I have worked to help keep open the Murray Developmental Center that serves people who need constant care because they too are valuable human beings.

I’m disappointed with the actions of the governor today to expand spending public dollars on a procedure that I oppose and is opposed by the majority of people in my district. I will work with other conservatives to draft legislation and reverse this new law.”
Equifax, an Atlanta based credit-rating agency, suffered a security breach on July 29th that exposed sensitive information of millions of Americans. Such information included social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, birthdays, and addresses. It has been determined that 5.4 million Illinois residents have been affected by the breach.

The company has set up a website where you can check if your personal information was affected by the breach:

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has opened an investigation into the recent security breach, and called on Equifax to provide free credit freezes to all Illinois residents in the wake of the breach. She urges Illinois residents to take the Equifax breach seriously and take steps to protect themselves from the possibility of identity theft:

· Seriously consider placing a credit freeze on your credit reports with all 3 consumer reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax;

· Regularly request your free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;

· Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;

· Consider placing alerts on your financial accounts so your financial institution alerts you when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;

· Beware of potential phishing emails; don't open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and

· Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

With questions on the data breach, you can contact Equifax at 866-447-7559, or the Illinois Attorney General’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1 (866) 999-5630.
Photo of Rep. Cavaletto courtesy of Bruce Kropp at WJBD Radio.

Names of All Emergency Responders Killed at World Trade Center Are Read and Their Steps Traced
The Salem Fire Protection District remembered those who lost their lives in 9-11 with a program in Bryan Memorial Park over the weekend.
Salem Fire Lieutenant Greg Miller says it is important the memory of the 9-11 attacks be kept alive.
"On September 11, 2001 eight EMTs, 60 police officers, 343 fire fighters lost their lives responding to help others. Since that day another 653 have died from 911 related illnesses. We are gathered here today to mourn their loss and to celebrate their dedication and devotion to people they have never met and would have never met," said Miller. "Memorial events like this one are vital if we are going to keep the events of 911 from just being another page in a history book."
State Representative John Cavaletto told emergency responders they have strong representation at the State Capitol in Springfield.
"You have done great work, and I want to thank all of you for what you do. We can't forget the people that have past and gone on because of fighting the fires, the policemen and the firemen," said Cavaletto. "Let's take a moment of silence for them."
Read the full story on the WJBD radio web page by clicking here.
CHICAGO (Aug. 31, 2017) – Flanked by school children and legislative leaders, Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed historic school funding legislation that puts children first and makes lasting changes that will help generations of children to come.

“The passing of this historic legislation was no easy feat, but it’s a reminder of the good things we can accomplish when we put politics aside and focus on what’s important: our children and our future,” Gov. Rauner said. “I am proud to sign this bill, which will bring more money to school districts based on the needs of the children, guaranteeing that all Illinois students have access to adequate education funding.”

This compromise also provides much-needed mandate relief for school districts and presents avenues for property tax relief to homeowners.

“I’ve said for the past two-and-a-half years that we can make progress on the major issues facing our state as long as both sides respect the priorities of the other, and that’s precisely what happened,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). “This compromise ensures that all Illinois children will have access to an education that is funded fairly and equitably. It also provides flexibility to school districts and relief to homeowners through lower property taxes and expands opportunities for school choice for children from low-income families. My hope is that, moving forward, this will serve as an example of what can happen when we put partisan bickering aside and negotiate in good faith to get things done for the families of Illinois.”
 On Monday State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), a member of the Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education Committee, during the Special Session of the Legislature, supported the final compromise legislation to change the school funding formula in Illinois.

“No School district will receive less than they were allocated last year and this historic change, for me, was about the students and the parents,” said Rep. Cavaletto, a 38-year retired educator. “I promised all along that I would fight for whatever proposal brought the most money to my area without a bailout to Chicago Public Schools pensions.”

Senate Bill 1947 changes the way education dollars are allocated based upon a new ‘evidence-based funding formula model with a minimum funding level (MFL) of $350 million per year. Starting in Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) $50 million will be used for a property tax swap to high-taxed low-wealth school districts so they can reduce their local property tax burden.

There is Mandate relief in this legislation. It replaces Physical Education (PE) requirements to a minimum of three days per week, allows for exceptions for students who participate in athletics and expands to 7th – 12th graders instead of just 11th & 12th. Under this new law, a school district may hold a public hearing on a PE waiver request at a regularly-scheduled board meeting instead of at a separate meeting. Also, a school district may contract with a third-party offering driver’s education without submitting a mandate waiver request. This is a common practice in many states across the country.

With this legislation comes the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Task Force to study the benefits and costs of TIF districts; the interaction of TIF law and school funding; the expenditure of TIF funds; and the expenditure of TIF surplus funds. The Task Force shall submit its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by April 1, 2018.

“This legislation is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direct for fairness in funding for all 842 school districts and it keeps the schools open for our children to get the education they need to be successful in their lives,” added Cavaletto.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), Republican Spokesperson for the Fire & Emergency Services Committee, announced today that Governor Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-0270 that allows for the testing of all infectious diseases when a first responder or law enforcement personnel is accidentally exposed to a suspects bodily fluids through being spit upon or stuck by a suspected drug needle.

“The idea for this legislation came from the Marion County Sheriff’s office as a result of multiple incidents where law enforcement personnel were accidentally exposed from drug needle sticks while arresting people,” explained Rep. Cavaletto. “The law in Illinois only allows for testing of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes AIDS) and not any other infectious diseases like hepatitis for example. This new law will help protect our first responders as well as their spouses and children from unknowingly being exposed to life-threatening and life-altering diseases,” Cavaletto added.

The incident to bring urgency to this infectious disease testing initiative involved a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who was assisting local law enforcement on serving a warrant and making an arrest. That officer was stuck by a needle while searching the premises of the arrest and only because the suspect eventually voluntarily agreed to have their blood tested, that it was discovered they carried a contagious virus (not HIV). But by this time the spouse and children of the US Marshall had already been exposed.

“I want to thank Detective Anthony Decker of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department who brought this matter to my attention. I’m sorry it took an incident where innocent family members became exposed through no fault of their own to change and update the law,” he added. “This is an example of common-sense legislation where we worked with a variety of groups from first responders to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) to consider balancing individual liberties with public health and safety,” Cavaletto concluded.

In the hearing, no opposition appeared, but a number of groups supporting this legislation appeared as witnesses in favor including the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Chief EMS Committee, State Ambulance Association, State Medical Society, and the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing. The bill passed the House and the Senate unanimously on its way to the Governor’s desk.
Springfield….On day 2 of 4 scheduled Special Session days, State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) is urging Senate President John Cullerton to send SB 1, the revamped school funding formula bill, to the Governor’s desk. The Senate has been holding on to the bill for more than 6 weeks, something Cavaletto says is a purposeful manipulation of the democratic process.

“The Chicago politicians that run the House and Senate are putting pressure on school districts and families and trying to create a crisis of schools not opening on time to score political points,” Cavaletto said. “They are using school kids as pawns in a high stakes political blame game.”

Cavaletto says the Senate is holding on to the school funding bill instead of sending it to the Governor because the Governor has pledged to take out a provision in the bill that allows Chicago to move to the front of the line to receive money to bailout Chicago public schools’ underfunded pensions.

“SB 1 as it currently is written would prioritize paying Chicago pension debts over increasing funds for schools in southern Illinois. That isn’t fair. That money should be going to classrooms in southern Illinois,” Cavaletto said. “Governor Rauner has promised he will fix SB 1 using his veto power. We want to make sure that all districts in Illinois receive equitable and adequate funding. That’s what the Governor’s amendatory veto will accomplish and I fully support him.”

After two press conferences on Wednesday where Governor Rauner singled out Chicago Democrat Senate President John Cullerton for holding back the school funding bill, Cullerton said he plans to send SB 1 to the Governor on Monday, July 31, which is also the final day of 4 planned Special Sessions.

“This is a completely avoidable crisis that the Senate President and Speaker Madigan are causing,” Cavaletto said. “Why are they waiting? People are tired of this. I’m tired of this. Our children don’t deserve to be treated this way. I’m calling on Senate Democrats to do what’s right and send SB 1 to Governor Rauner so he can fix it now.”

The Illinois State Police Merit Board is currently processing applications
for Cadet Class 127, tentatively scheduled for February 4, 2018. In order
to be considered for Cadet Class 127, the Merit Board must receive your
completed application and required documentation by July 15, 2017.

Education Requirement Update
Effective July 1, 2017, Any person who has been honorably discharged who
served in a combat mission by proof of hostile fire pay or imminent danger
pay during deployment on active duty, or has served 3 years of full
active and continuous military duty and received an honorable discharge,
meets the collegiate educational requirement of the Department of State
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), a member of the Cost Benefit Analysis Committee, today voted to support the Governor’s veto of the budget plan that raises the state income tax rate from 3.75% to 4.95%.

“My vote on Sunday for the proposal in front of us was based on the ‘junk bond’ rating threat to the State of Illinois and that huge negative impact on borrowing and the cost to Illinois taxpayers,” said Rep. Cavaletto. “But I found out this morning directly from Moody’s that this budget plan doesn’t seem to help and they are still considering a downgrade from Baa3 rating level because Illinois’ debt obligations does not have stable funding to meet our obligations, even with this tax increase,” Cavaletto continued.

“The more than one thousand calls, emails and Facebook messages I have received have been about 10 to 1 opposed to any more taxes. The message from my constituents has been loud and clear that they do not want a tax increase so I had to oppose this plan with a permanent tax increase,” Cavaletto said.

As part of this plan there is a 5% across the board cut of state agencies and a 10% cut in the funding to Illinois colleges and universities. But there are not enough reforms to change the way government spending is handled in Illinois.

“We’re pushing people out of this state with high taxes and property taxes and we need reforms and tax relief to keep people here and attract more with job growth,” Cavaletto concluded.
 State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), a member of the Cost Benefit Analysis Committee, is not happy with the last minute changes to a new school funding formula bill that bails out Chicago schools and short-changes the students in his district. Passing with the bare minimum number of votes, this bill now goes to the governor for consideration.

“I do not like that our students are short-changed and the Chicago schools would receive a disproportionate amount than our kids deserve downstate,” said Rep. John Cavaletto. “I did not feel comfortable supporting Senate Bill 1 in its current form,” he added.

The legislature has debated the issue of school funding reform for a number of years, including this past legislative session. Many believe that we need a more equitable school funding formula in Illinois that lessens our reliance on local property taxes while providing that the State make education a higher priority. Right now, Illinois only provides 24% of total education spending.

The political games that were played during the last two days of the Spring Session did not provide for reasonable and adequate education reform for ALL Illinois students. Legislators have been engaged in bi-partisan talks with the advocates of the funding reform model for months. But the advocates pushed their own version of the legislation at the last minute that would send almost $500 million more of our tax dollars to Chicago with nothing in return for our local school districts. We must fix this inequity.

In addition, Illinois has not had a full budget in two years. This school funding reform proposal requires $350 million in new money even though the State cannot afford to pay schools for current year programs. SB 1 would allocate the monies at a 70% - 30% ratio with 70% for Chicago that has only 23% of the students. The Illinois Education Association (IEA) was not a proponent of this bill which says a lot about an advocacy group that is never silent on legislation that impacts teachers.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues to develop a new formula to provide an equitable and adequate education for all two million students in Illinois public schools, not just a select few,” concluded Cavaletto. “We have the ability to accomplish this historic feat soon, but we must all work together to do so without political games that continue to be played in Springfield.”

This slide uses Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 as an example from the last year
we had a state budget in place.

Many of you have contacted me about your frustration that there hasn't been a full, balanced budget for Illinois in two years now. I share your frustration and want you to see the process as it is supposed to happen under our state constitution. You may click HERE to see the entire power point presentation.

"A big thank you to AT&T for underwriting the cost of this shred truck again this year," said Rep. John Cavaletto, Republican Spokesperson for the House Environment committee. "This was popular last year for those who took advantage of the opportunity to destroy old documents with personal information on medical and financial paperwork," Cavaletto added.

Effingham Fire Chief Joesph Holomy and Rep. John Cavaletto (107th District)

Rep. John Cavaletto, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, and Rep. Carol Sente

State Rep. Carol Sente, State Fire Marshall Matthew Perez, Ramsey Fire Chief, & Rep. Cavaletto.

State Rep. Carol Sente, State Fire Marshall Matthew Perez, and Rep. John Cavaletto

"This memorial program that I have attended every year while serving in the state legislature, hits close to home with mixed emotions of pride and sadness for me," said Rep. John Cavaletto, who serves as the Republican Spokesperson on the Fire & Emergency Services committee. "I have a son who is a firefighter and I feel for the families each year who have lost a loved one," Cavaletto added.

The 24th Annual Memorial program for Illinois Fallen Firefighters and Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Awards can be found here.

"In 1993 the Illinois Fire Services Association unanimously agreed that a monument should be erected to serve as the official memorial; it was to be located on the grounds adjacent to the state Capitol building. The Memorial would be viewed by thousands of visitors year ‘round.

The Firefighter Medal of Honor Committee, appointed by the Governor, assumed the responsibility of bringing the Memorial to reality. Working with the Secretary of State’s office, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and a nationally recognized sculptor, the committee developed a design concept to transform the site into a Memorial in which the fire service of Illinois would be proud.

The Illinois Firefighter Memorial is dedicated to the firefighters of Illinois, who have given their lives in the line of duty and to those firefighters who heroically serve with courage, pride and honor. The artist was commissioned to design and construct an original bronze work of art consisting of four life-size figures of firefighters in full gear, a child, a ladder and hose.

There are 2,400 red paver bricks which are enclosed by a 2 foot wall with capstones engraved with contributor’s names. It is here, at the Illinois Firefighter Memorial, that we honor those who have made the supreme sacrifice."

Patoka School cooks who make the program work are (l-r) front row: Tammy Adams, Linda Felchlia, Mary Vosholler, and Kristi Beckman. Back row is Superintendent David Rademacher, Rep. Cavaletto, and Ashley Hoffman, U of I Extension.

State Rep. John Cavaletto attended an open house at Patoka School this morning to observe a new school breakfast program. This pilot program called "Breakfast After the Bell" was established with legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Cavaletto, who serves as Republican Spokesperson on the Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing, Administration & Oversight Committee as well as the Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education Committee.

"I spent 38 years working in education as a teacher, coach and principal, and I know first-hand the importance of having breakfast and its impact on learning," said Rep. Cavaletto. "Not only is there better academic achievement from students who eat breakfast, but the research shows that there is better cognitive performance and a decrease in behavioral problems," he added.

This program will start in the 2017-2018 school year and will bring an additional $42 million in federal reimbursements to Illinois. The "Breakfast After the Bell" program provides schools the flexibility to choose a delivery model that works for them. Some of the options include Grab 'N' Go (where students can pick up a bag breakfast before or after school and eat in the cafeteria, on their way to class or at their desk), In the Classroom (where school nutrition staff deliver meals to the classroom as the school day begins), and Second Chance (where the meal is served in the hallway or cafeteria after first period).

Some of the community groups supporting this pilot program include the Illinois Parent-Teacher Association, the Central Illinois Foodbank, the YMCA and Catholic Charities.

Rep. Cavaletto and House Colleagues Thursday announced the Administration's agreement to rescind
planned nursing layoffs and to return to the bargaining table on the issue of sub-contracting.

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), joined other House Members this morning at a press conference in Springfield to explain that he and his colleagues urged the administration to rescind the layoffs and return to the negotiating table to find a solution to the issue of subcontracting of over 120 nurses positions at Illinois corrections facilities. The administration has agreed, and the layoffs have been rescinded while the negotiations proceed.

“When I heard about the planned layoffs, I immediately urged the Administration to reconsider their decision,” explained Rep. Cavaletto, who has a prison in his district. “Legislators cannot negotiate for either side, but I will continue to urge both sides to negotiate in good faith to find a solution.”

In discussions with the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) on April 20, representatives from the Department of Corrections and the Department of Central Management Services offered several ideas to start discussions on a framework of concepts which would allow the Department to achieve cost savings and operational flexibility without subcontracting the nursing services currently provided by INA-represented employees.

The Vandalia Correctional Center is located in the 107th District represented by Rep. Cavaletto and two other facilities are outside of the district (Centralia Correctional and Big Muddy Correctional) but have constituents employed at these locations.
Hi Everybody:

We have a critical message today for all the people of Illinois.

Our state is at a crossroads. We can either keep going down the path of broken budgets, stopgap spending, higher taxes and disappearing jobs — or we can demand a truly balanced budget, job creation and property tax relief.

Just last week, one Republican senator proposed a balanced budget plan with hard spending caps, job creation, a property tax freeze, term limits and pension reform. His proposal was ignored. Instead, Speaker Madigan’s long-awaited stopgap could be introduced within hours.

Stopgap spending plans do nothing to balance the budget — they don't grow jobs — they don't freeze property taxes — they don’t fix a broken system. They force higher debt and higher taxes down the road. They keep our universities, community colleges and social service agencies on the verge of collapse with no permanent funding to keep their lines of credit intact.

A few months ago, I told you that Speaker Madigan and his majority Democrats would not support a truly balanced budget with the changes we need to create jobs and lower property taxes. And we said we wouldn’t support the Speaker’s tax-hike forcing, stopgap spending without something real and lasting to protect taxpayers — something like a permanent property tax freeze.

That commitment remains steadfast. Instead of focusing on stopgaps that serve the Springfield insiders, we should be coming together to pass real and lasting solutions to our problems — a truly balanced budget, job creation, a property tax freeze, spending caps, term limits and pension reform.

We hope the Speaker’s majority will reconsider. But we cannot accept a Madigan stopgap without a permanent property tax freeze to protect the hard working taxpayers of Illinois.

Bruce Rauner
Governor of Illinois

The 47th Annual Illinois Agriculture Legislative Day (IALD) was held this week on March 30th. The Ag legislative Day brings together farm, agricultural commodity organizations and other diverse agriculture interest groups to the state Capitol during National Agriculture Month to speak to state lawmakers in Springfield. Jointly, they provide baskets filled with agricultural products and specialty lunches for the legislators. This package simply serves to remind lawmakers about the multiple facets agriculture has in the lives of their constituents and the impacts their choices make on the world of Agriculture.

(Top Photo) Greenville FFA: Stephen Zimmerman, Kimberly Lovatto, Skylar Snow, Brooke Krankel, Taylor Snow, Shlebi McCvay, Chad Stearns, JT Thiems, Cole Wall, and Caleb Gaffner.

"I am always impressed with the young leaders in FFA who come to the Capitol to advocate for their program," said Rep. Cavaletto, Republican Spokesperson for the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and also serves on the Appropriations Committee for Elementary and Secondary Education.

(Bottom Photo) Sandoval FFA: 

Front Row: Cady Williams, Abby Shaffer, Savannah Estes, Hope Beckmann, Jalynn Day, and Mika Taylor. Back Row: Levi Brown, Beth Pennington, Bailee Dykstra, Riley Thompson, Dori Brandt, and Mack Weiss.

This year, IALD hosted a working breakfast for the sponsoring organizations to meet and connect with friends of the ag community. Legislators and their staff received an invite to the have a cup of coffee with agricultural leaders. IALD added a new dimension to their regular program by inviting the majority and minority leaders from the Agriculture and Conservation Committee to address the group.The Illinois Farm Bureau gave a briefing from the Round Table Discussion held earlier in the year. This briefing covered the various issues that were determined as priorities for the current legislative session from the agricultural organizations.

Reaching out to state senators and representatives to communicate the agriculture priorities of the year is the main purpose of the Ag legislative Day. The Illinois FFA President and the Illinois County Fair Queen visit their local legislators, give remarks to the Senate and are recognized by the House of Representatives.

The sponsoring organizations provide the legislators and their secretaries a uniquely packed lunch featuring Illinois products and legislators receive a commodity basket filled with foods and items from the sponsoring organizations. Illinois FFA members and agricultural instructors assemble and deliver these baskets to the legislators.
Marion County's new Coalition Against Drug Use met on Wednesday and was told by Marion County Coroner Troy Cannon that there have already been five deaths in the first two and a half months of the year from confirmed or suspected heroin overdoses.

The group is currently focusing on opioid addiction. After watching a film called "Chasing the Dragon," the moderator opened the floor for questions and comments. Most of the comments centered around the idea of marijuana as a gateway drug and the need to fight against its legalization.

Read the full story from WJBD Radio by clicking here.
The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD), is a grass roots organization formed in 1948. It is made up and serves Illinois’ 98 member Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). The AISWCD’s board members are representatives from local SWCD’s. Each local District is governed by an elected five member board. Members of each local board represent their district at the prednisone Land Use Council (LUC) level. Each of the 16 Council’s elects one Director to the voting body of the AISWCD Board of Directors.
Along with technical assistance the Illinois SWC Districts will help you with developing conservation planning and implementing conservation practices with help from the state and federal agencies.

Pictured (l-r) are Rep. Charlie Meier, Rep. John Cavaletto, and Judy & Tom Beyers from Marion County. The Beyers were in Springfield at the Capitol for Soil & Water Conservation Legislative Day. They are active in the Farm Bureau and sponsors of the 2016 Envirothon Compitition.
Illinois Department of Agriculture Assistant Director, Don Moffit, addresses the Kaskaskia Watershed Assn.

The 17th Annual Kaskaskia Watershed Association (KWA) Summit was held at the mariners Village Conference Center  at Carlyle Lake on Monday. The KWA is a groups of volunteers that works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve watershed issues that includes the five counties in the 107th district of Rep. John Cavaletto, Republican Spokeperson for the House Environment Committee.

The Kaskaskia Watershed Association has been a key partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and now with the Illinois Farm Bureau to address issues concerning water quality and  
water use. Currently, the Farm Bureau is working to reduce nutrient loss from farm run-off that eventually ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. Clinton County farmers are participating in a Nutrient Stewardship Grant program focused on the relationship between cover crops and manure application.

“I am proud of the research work going on in Clinton County with the assistance of Kaskaskia College students to study different cropping systems,” said Rep. John Cavaletto. “This another one of those win-win situations where farmers can save money on the cost of fertilizers by lowering the run-off and the water quality can be improved for use by people down-stream,” he added.

Completed in 2016, the Carlyle Lake Fisheries Habitat Improvement Project received a $20,000
Army Corps of Engineers ‘handshake grant’ to improve fisheries habitat and complement the operation of existing brood pond facilities at the James Hawn Access Area. Other habitat improvements included placement of artificial fish structure, planting of aquatic vegetation, and planting of willow and cypress trees. Partners in the project also included: Alan Crocker (Let’s Talk Fishin’), Bromley Excavating, the McKendree University Bass Fishing Team, The Highland High School Bass Fishing Team, the Carlyle High School Bass Fishing Team, and the Lake Volunteer Association.

2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the completion of Carlyle Lake that was begun in 1958. There are activities June 9-11, 2017 at the Dam West Recreation Area in Carlyle.

Clinton County Farm Bureau leads the demonstration of nutrients movement through water.

In 1922, just two years after women were given the right to vote, Lottie Holman O'Neill was the first woman elected to the Illinois State legislature.  She continued to serve in the Illinois House and Senate for 40 years.

Two years later, in 1924Florence Fifer Bohrer, daughter of Governor Fifer, was the first woman elected to the Illinois Senate.

Floy Clements of Cook County became the first African-American woman to be elected to the Illinois House in 1958.

Fifty years after the first woman from Illinois was elected to the U.S. House, the first African-American woman was elected to that position. Cardiss Collins became a U.S. Representative in 1973 and served until 1997. In 1979 she became president of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The first woman in a leadership position in the Illinois legislature was Celeste Stiehl who became the first Assistant House Minority Leader in 1975.

Earlene Collins, elected as the first African-American woman to the Illinois Senate in 1977, served until 1999.

In 1985 Adeline Geo-Karis became the first woman to serve as Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois Senate.

Dawn Clark Netsch was elected as Comptroller in 1990 becoming the first woman to be elected to a constitutional office. Four years later she ran for governor, becoming the first woman in Illinois to be nominated by a major party.

In 1994Carol Mosely-Braun became the first African-American woman in the U.S. Senate.

Also in 1994Judy Baar Topinka was elected State Treasurer, the office she held until she ran for governor in 2006. In 2010 she became Comptroller. Topinka was the first woman to become the Illinois GOP’s nominee for governor, first woman to serve as state Republican chairman and first woman to win two different statewide offices.

After 18 years in the Illinois House, Barbara Flynn Currie became the first woman to become the House Majority Leader in 1997, a position which she continues to hold.

In 1997Sonia Silva became the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Illinois House.

Corrine Wood served as the state's first woman Lieutenant Governor beginning in 1999.

In 2003, the first Hispanic woman, Iris Y. Martinez, was elected to the Illinois Senate.

And, in 2003Lisa Madigan was the first woman to be elected Attorney General in Illinois.

Debbie DeFrancesco Halvorson became the first woman to hold the position of Senate Majority Leader in 2005.

State Senator Christine Radogno became the state's first woman Caucus Leader, Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate in 2009.

Information from the website of the Illinois Conference of Women Legislators.
In light of the severe storms that came through Illinois last night, this is a reminder that we need to be prepared in case of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages people to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared to act quickly if storm warnings are issued. The month of March is designated as "Severe Weather Preparedness Month" to remind residents about the resources available in the case of an emergency.

IEMA suggests that people have storm radios on and wireless emergency alerts enabled on their smartphones in case more storms roll through.

Seek shelter immediately if a tornado warning is issued for your area. The best shelter is in a basement or cellar. If an underground shelter is not available, find an interior room or hallway on the lowest level, such as a closet, small interior hallways and bathrooms without windows.

You can download a disaster kit checklist HERE to help you and your family be better prepared.
After years of service as the treasurer of the Illinois Legislative Fire Caucus, State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) has been tapped to Co-Chair the 'Fire Caucus' for the historic 100th General Assembly.

This is a bi-partisan, bicameral group that works with the Illinois Fire Services Association made up of 13 major fire service organizations representing more than 42,000 career and volunteer fighters and EMS (Emergency Management Services) service in rural, suburban and urban areas across Illinois.

"Through this 'Fire Caucus' partnership," explained Rep. Cavaletto, "we join with fire chiefs from around the state to promote good public policy that impacts not only fire protection for Illinois residents, but also impacts the working conditions for our firefighters."

"For those of you familiar with my advisory groups that I have convened over the years, this is the same kind of group, only at a state-wide level," explained Rep. Cavaletto, who also serves as the Republican Spokesperson for the Fire & Emergency Services Committee in the Illinois House.

In addition to an on-going conversation about potential legislation, the Fire Caucus sponsors and annual legislative breakfast at the Capitol for all legislators and governmental affairs professionals interested in fire safety to come together and discuss issues of mutual concern.

The State Journal-Register reports that more than 70 food, beverage and agricultural vendors are expected for the 19th annual Illinois Products Expo at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield this weekend.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Orr Building. Food samples are free, and the $5 admission includes five beverage tastings and a glass of wine. Children 10 and younger are admitted free.

This year's theme is "Taste of Illinois Agriculture," including fresh meats, pizza, sauces, homemade jams and jellies, ice cream, gourmet seasonings, as well as non-food products such as soy candles, soaps and lotions. The Illinois Wine Garden will once again be featuring Illinois wine samples, and sales by the glass and bottle.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture also sponsors the "Buy Illinois Challenge," which asks consumers to spend at least $10 a week on Illinois products.

"The Buy Illinois Challenge is a great tool to generate consumer and business awareness of Illinois-made products," Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe said in a statement.

Poe pointed out that Illinois is the nation's top food-processing state with annual sales of $186 billion. Nearly 2,400 food-processing companies employ approximately 71,000 people in Illinois, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Additional expo information is available at Additional information on the Buy Illinois Challenge is at

You can hear my comments from the Illinois House Chamber after the joint session today
where Gov. Rauner gave his third budget address since being elected.

You can review the proposed Illinois Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 by clicking HERE.

Historic Vandalia Statehouse - Lincoln served here.
Lincoln Home in Springfield, IL


Illinois soon will give visitors a chance to donate online to free-admission historic sites such as Abraham Lincoln's Tomb and the Old State Capitol.

The State Journal-Register reports that such sites have relied on suggested donations from visitors but they haven't had a way to pay online.

The new electronic payment system is expected to be operating in a couple of weeks.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency collected more than $494,000 in donations at 22 historic sites last year.

Ryan Prehn of the agency tells the newspaper that Illinois is behind other nearby states in offering an electronic payment option. He says the online donations will go toward outstanding maintenance. Illinois has gone years without a capital budget for infrastructure improvements.

Thank you to the eleven Walmart stores in the area (Carlyle, Centralia, Godfrey, Highland, Jerseyville,  Litchfield, Mt. Vernon, Pana, Salem, Shelbyville, and Vandalia) who joined forces to raise $3,000 to donate towards the window project at the Historic Vandalia Statehouse where Abraham Lincoln served as a State Representative. This $3,000 will help repair one of the thirty-three windows.

The Vandalia Walmart store manager, Cheryl Pollard, invited the Walmart Regional Market Manager, Cynthia (Cindy) Humerickhouse, to the annual Christmas reception at the Statehouse in December where she learned about the efforts of the Vandalia Historical Society to repair the 33 windows to stop the water damage leaking in through the old windows. Ms. Humerickhouse then brought the idea to her stores in the region to work together because the Vandalia Statehouse is an educational and historical site that attracts visitors from around the country and world. Recently, the Canadian Consulate General visited the Statehouse for a tour while visiting the Patoka Tank Farm in Marion County.

Rep. Cavaletto on the Illinois House Floor.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) has been named to seven committees in the Illinois House of Representatives for the 100th General Assembly. Three of those committees he will be the Minority Spokesperson and will serve as the lead Republican. The committees Rep. Cavaletto is assigned to include:

Appropriations – Elementary & Secondary Education

Cost Benefit Analysis

Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing (Minority Spokesperson)


Environment (Minority Spokesperson)

Fire & Emergency Services (Minority Spokesperson)

Government Transparency

“I am honored to be assigned to serve on these committees and appointed as spokesperson to three,” said Rep. Cavaletto, who is beginning his fifth term in the Illinois House. “I have also been asked to co-chair the bi-partisan “Fire Caucus” this session which organizes an annual meeting for fire chiefs from around the state to come to the Capitol to discuss public safety ideas and potential legislation,” Cavaletto added.

The Illinois House currently has forty-five standing committees and 11 special committees. If people are interested, they may keep up with activities of the legislature by going to my web page ( or they may track the status of legislation and watch or listen to live debate by going on-line to the General Assembly web site at

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) attended the 19th Annual Industry Awards & Installation of Officers for the Home Builders Association of Greater Southwest Illinois. The association was established in 1998 when the HBA of Southwest IL merged with the Home Builders Association of Madison County.

Home Builders Association (HBA) is a professional organization of more than 250 builders, developers, remodeling contractors, specialty trade contractors, and associate members. In order to assist the consumer in new home purchase or home improvement decisions, the HBA provides information about builders, remodelers, developers, and affiliated companies that have agreed to abide by the HBA Code of Ethics, to use accepted professional and business practices, and to meet or exceed local, state and federal standards and regulations.

“When the turnaround in our economy takes off, there will be a need to build more new homes for the new workers in our state as well as a great number of remodels and upgrades to existing homes,” said Rep. Cavaletto. “I applaud the work of the Home Builders Association to set standards and a code of ethics to build quality homes in Illinois,” Cavaletto added.

Jim Heberer with "Coach" Cavaletto.
While waiting to give his remarks, Rep. Cavaletto noticed someone staring at him from across the room. He didn't recognize the man and wasn't sure what to expect when the man approached him after he'd made his comments.

"I wasn't sure what to expect when this guy came up to me and said I KNEW IT WAS YOU!, Rep. Cavaletto, described jokingly. "It was a former high school basketball player from Mascoutah Community High School who took the final shot in a game against my team at the time, Mater Dei Catholic High school prednisone in Breese. That potential winning shot missed, Mater Dei won the game, and went on to the Illinois State Tournament where we finished 4th in the state in 1974," remembers "Coach" Cavaletto.

The former basketball player was Jim Heberer who now is the Residential Loan Officer at Associated Bank in Fairview Heights.

"I've always felt that playing team sports like basketball teaches young people communication and leadership skills that they will use for the rest of their lives," added "Coach" Cavaletto. "Jim is a prime example of how he uses that skill set to help people realize the American Dream of home ownership in our area," concluded Cavaletto.