Legislative Update: Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch On Heroin Task Force, Clean Water Initiative And More

The following update is brought to you by the offices of State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-7th):

Legislative Report from State Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-7th

This week I returned to our State Capitol in Springfield after a six week paternity leave.  Let me begin by first reporting that mom, baby Marley and big brother Tyler are all doing well.  They were happy to send me back to work to address issues important to all of you.

Heroin Task Force

I began the week by attending my first meeting of the House Heroin Task Force.  I accepted the appointment to this important working group to research the increases in heroin use in Illinois and to make policy recommendations to help find a solution to this growing epidemic.  Members of the Task Force sponsored House Resolution 883 resolving to develop a comprehensive, bold, and durable package of legislative proposals to combat the Illinois heroin crisis.  As such, the Task Force will be conducting four hearings in April while the legislature is on Spring Break.  If you have any helpful information that will lead to solutions, please feel free to reach out to me at repwelch@emanuelchriswelch.com.  To view the complete text of HR883, please go to www.ilga.gov.

Clean Water Initiative 

This week I also joined Representative Elaine Nekritz as a sponsor of HB4382.  HB4382 expands Governor Pat Quinn’s Clean Water Initiative to include stormwater and green infrastructure projects.  This eligibility expansion allow units of local government to secure low-interest loans for capital projects that prevent flooding and remove pollutants from stormwater.  Communities in the 7th District have benefited greatly from this program, and expansion of the program will allow other units of local government in the district to participate.

Pay It Forward College Program

I was proud to cast a vote in favor of HB5323 this week.  HB5323 establishes the “Pay It Forward” plan.  This plan calls on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to consider programs other states have adopted to address the rising cost of a college education.  Such programs allow attendance at community colleges or state universities tuition-free as long as the student signs a contract to repay the state from a portion of future earnings.  This bill was approved 111-0 by the House of Representatives and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Finally, a number of bills that I have sponsored are picking up co-sponsors and being assigned to committees for consideration.  I will share more detailed information on my bills as they progress.  In the meantime, please feel free to visit www.ilga.gov orwww.emanuelchriswelch.com.

The House has adjourned until Wednesday, March 19.  I will share my next Legislative Report with you on Friday, March 21, 2014.

Until then,

Emanuel “Chris” Welch

State Representative, 7th District

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