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Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers, in voting YES on an FY 19 State Budget that is balanced and relies on “no new taxes”.

“When this process started, we pushed hard for three goals: a balanced budget, a full-year budget, and no tax increases,” said Rep. Hammond.  “This budget funds many of our priorities and provides critical stability to State Government which suffered under a nearly two-year budget impasse in recent past.”

The FY 19 State Budget fully funds the new bipartisan K-12 education funding formula to local schools, funds the MAP grant program as well as providing a four-year commitment for MAP recipients, creates a new merit-based scholarship program to keep students in Illinois (a proposal that came out the Higher Education Working Group, on which Rep. Hammond served), provides a 2% operations funding increase for universities and community colleges (including Western Illinois University), and includes more than $400 million for the Department of Corrections unpaid vendor bills from FY 17 and FY 18.

“Last year, I crossed the aisle to end the gridlock and pass a state budget after a two-year budget impasse,” said Rep. Hammond.  “This year, I was pleased to see the byproduct of the trust built last year was an agreed budget negotiation process that yielded a far more bipartisan rollcall.  This budget provides the stability needed by so many of our stakeholders, as well as implementing programs that will help us keep our best and brightest in Illinois to grow our way out of this mess.”

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Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) passed Illinois Farm Bureau-backed legislation to address a constituent issue related to spousal transfers of wooded acreage qualified under the “transition percentage” assessment program.

“This legislation clearly defines for County Assessors how the wooded acreage is to be addressed for tax purposes.  This issue was brought to us by a constituent who was assessed at a higher rate by the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) after transferring qualified acreage to a spouse.  The bill allows a spousal transfer exception, which would prevent IDOR from going after other unknowing constituents in this manner,” said Rep. Norine Hammond.

“When wooded acreage is transferred from spouse to spouse, the couple should not be penalized with a higher property assessment,” said Sen. Jil Tracy.  “The county should recognize that transferring property to one’s spouse is not equivalent to selling or transferring to an outside individual.  I’m glad our constituent brought this issue of oversight in the law to our attention.”

Senate Bill 2274 passed the Illinois House on Tuesday and passed the Illinois Senate on April 11.  It will now go the Governor for consideration. 

“Senator Tracy and I are very attuned to issues brought forward by our constituents that may require legislative changes.  We are confident that this legislation will help wooded acreage owners who may find themselves in a similar situation,” Hammond continued.

The Illinois Farm Bureau supported Senate Bill 2274 and joined in seeking additional clarity on this policy issue. 
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Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond joined Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz in urging Illinois firearm owners to file paperwork early to renew their Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) Cards as the first wave of the 10-year renewal will create a backlog of renewal applications.

“With more than 50,000 FOID cards due for renewal between June 1 and August 1, I am urging my constituents who are FOID holders to renew as early as possible to allow adequate time for processing prior to expiration,” said Rep. Hammond on Tuesday.

Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz recommends, “gun owners get their renewal application in at least one to two months in advance so we have adequate time to process them and get a new card our before expiration.”

The Illinois State Police oversees the FOID card system and issues the cards that are required to buy or possess a firearm or ammunition in Illinois.  FOID card applications require state and federal background checks, as well as review of the database from the Illinois Department of Human Services to confirm applicants have not been in a mental institution in the past five years.  Persons with common names may find additional delays as identities are confirmed.

Illinois State Police have already sent renewal notices to those whose cards will expire June 1.  Applicants can visit the ISP’s Firearms Services Bureau website at ispfsb.com to renew online.  The cost of the card is $10.  

Applicants must be Illinois residents and include their Driver’s License or State ID card number.  Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parents’ signature on the application.  Anyone who needs assistance with the FOID card renewal, and those who prefer paper applications, may call 217-782-7980 and select menu option 0.  Applicants should also make sure the name and address on FOID applications match the records on file for them at the Secretary of State’s Office, otherwise the renewal process will be delayed further.
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Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond passed legislation adding important consumer protections to Illinois’ public nursing home care program (long-term care Medicaid program).

“For over three years, I have worked with providers and constituents who have struggled to get through this convoluted process. The application process is cumbersome, unwieldy and seemingly impossible to navigate for persons in good health, let alone our vulnerable populations,” said Rep. Hammond.  “Significant changes are much-needed, and after three years of negotiating these changes, I am pleased to present this package of reforms with the consumer experience in mind.”

House Bill 4771, an agreed bill between all stakeholders, passed the Illinois House unanimously and will now be taken up in the Illinois Senate.

Under provisions of Hammond’s legislation, Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) will make critical consumer protection reforms including instituting a system of provisional eligibility, providing a step by step checklist of documents required, departments must provide written receipt of documents turned in, must develop an electronic application process, and ensures applications do not ‘start over’ just because of a change of the applicant’s legal representative.

“Too many seniors and their families struggle with this process and it is past time we improve this system to make their experience easier and better protect their rights as an applicant,” Rep. Hammond continued.
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Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond passed legislation expanding Veteran’s Preference to those who live in Illinois, but served in another state’s National Guard unit.

“We owe a great debt to these Veterans.  When they serve in our military, they serve us all, regardless of state lines.  If they are an honorably discharged Veteran, they should receive hiring preference regardless of the state in which they enlisted or served,” said Rep. Hammond.

House Bill 4288 passed the Illinois House unanimously and will now be taken up in the Illinois Senate.  The measure was supported by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Under current law, members of National Guard units from states other than Illinois are not granted Veteran’s preference for state employment purposes.  Every state in the nation offers some form of Veteran employment preference in the public sector.  At the federal level, members of the National Guard only apply for Veteran Employment Preference if they were activated and served continuously for two years, or the entire time for which they were called to active duty. 

Under provisions of Hammond’s legislation, a person who has been a member of the Illinois National Guard shall be given priority over a person who has been a member of the National Guard of any other state.
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MACOMB – Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) issued the following statement regarding Governor Rauner’s Budget Address on Wednesday:

“In all matters, we as legislators in Springfield, must follow the US and Illinois Constitution to guide our actions,” said Rep. Hammond.  “Adhering to our constitutional mandate means we start the budgeting process by the Illinois House setting a Revenue Estimate that realistically reflects the funds coming in to our State.  We cannot spend more than we bring in, so we must first set the revenue estimate and then hold appropriation committee hearings to go line by line through the budget to insure that our expenditures do not exceed our revenues,” Hammond continued.

“As a member of the Higher Education Appropriations Committee, I look forward to reviewing the Governor’s proposal in detail over the coming months as we hold our appropriations committees hearings.  Just like hardworking Western Illinois families cannot spend more than they bring in, so it should go with their state government,” Hammond went on to say.


Rep. Hammond was critical in ending the logjam that prevented a budget for two years ending last Summer.  “Illinois cannot go without a budget again this year.  Nothing would be more damaging to our State.  I will again be pushing for a budget resolution before the May 31 Spring Session deadline for the General Assembly.  Service and payment interruptions like we saw in the past are not acceptable,” Hammond said on Wednesday following the Governor’s speech. “I will be talking with all the taxing bodies throughout the district to get their feedback on how these proposals will affect their budgets.”

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