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From the Association of Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Districts Press Release

Springfield - Norine Hammond, State Representative was recognized and awarded as the 2017 Legislator of the Year at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD) held recently in Springfield.

State Representative Norine Hammond represents the 93rd District in the Illinois House of Representatives. The district encompasses all or part of 8 counties including; Knox, Fulton, Warren, McDonough, Schuyler, Cass, Brown, and Mason.

Her legislative priorities are based on the concerns and issues as they relate to the residents of Central and Downstate Illinois. She represents the State of Illinois on the Council of State Governments Agriculture Committee and is a member of the Board of the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders (SARL), a group of legislators from throughout the United States and 8 Canadian Provinces focusing on agriculture issues.

In presenting this award, we thank Norine Hammond, State Representative for her dedication, and providing support to the SWCD.


MACOMB –Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) received word on Tuesday that she has been appointed to the Underrepresented Groups in Academia Task Force.

In addition to this appointment, Hammond continues to serve as Minority Spokesperson of the Higher Education Committee and as a member of the Higher Education Appropriations Committee, giving her influence over statewide policy on both higher education and funding issues.

Representative Hammond stands as one of the strongest voices in the Illinois House for Higher Education issues facing downstate universities and colleges. “Examining ways to increase representation in higher education from minority groups is a topic on which I look forward to working. We need to constantly be looking at ways to use higher education as a way to lift up communities and inculcate the next generation of industry leaders with a world-class skill set right here in Illinois,” said Rep. Hammond on Tuesday from Macomb, the home of the Western Illinois University.

The Underrepresented Groups in Higher Education Task Force was enacted through House Joint Resolution 2, a bipartisan measure Representative Hammond co-sponsored this Spring. Expanding services and programs for underrepresented students can provide opportunities for a more marketable skill set that lends itself to enhancing the growth and economic viability of the State of Illinois. The Illinois Board of Higher Education has also been in discussions about developing a conference specifically focused on assisting underrepresented student populations at both public and private institutions. The Underrepresented Groups in Academia Task Force could help to promote this cause as well and/or connect its work to such a forum.
Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) provided the following statement as result of the special session called for K-12 Education Funding Reform:

“Governor Rauner called a special session to start on Wednesday, July 26 for the purpose of reforming the way in which the state funds K-12 education. Over the course of this last legislative session, it was agreed to by both chambers and parties that an evidence-based K-12 education funding formula was the most equitable funding formula for the students of Illinois.

During the legislative session, Senate Bill 1, which reforms the state’s K-12 education funding formula to an evidence-based one, passed the House and Senate but was never sent to the Governor. I support moving to an evidence-based model of school funding. I cannot, however, support SB 1 in its current form. If my colleagues can agree to remove the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) pension payment from the formula, I could support this measure. Until then, though, I will be working with my colleagues to make changes to the legislation.

The reason for this is not a small one. Millions and millions of dollars in general state aid are sent to CPS to pick up the cost of one school district's initiatives and pension obligation under SB 1. The rest of the state's school districts, however, must pick up the cost of programs like Early Childhood Education, different forms of transportation, and pension and healthcare related costs, where CPS does not because the entire state subsidizes them.

For that reason, I continue to support the evidence-based alternative with true equity, HB 4069. According to Illinois State Board of Education data, under HB 4069, which is identical to SB 1 with the exception of the millions that go to CPS pensions, all Illinois school districts are treated fairly and receive more equitable funding. SB 1 favors one school district; HB 4069 treats all school districts based on the agreed upon evidence-based funding formula.

If the state of Illinois is going to create a more equitable funding formula for K-12 education, we should do so without favoring one school district.”
Hammond makes fiscally responsible choice for all Illinoisans

SPRINGFIELD, IL…Assistant Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) released the following statement explaining her YES vote to override the Governor’s veto on Senate Bill 9:

“Issues like taxes and spending – especially right now in Illinois – are of much concern and many people in the 93rd District are widely divided on the issues, which put me in a difficult position when I cast my vote.  Ultimately, I voted YES on overriding the veto because I believe it to be the most fiscally responsible path forward.

If we continue this course we have for the last two years – which we undoubtedly would if this budget package is not passed – Illinois’ bond rating would definitively become junk status. This means that if Illinois ever wanted to borrow money, the state would be paying so much in interest that it would take decades, if ever, to pay off without massive tax increases.

Today, the State is paying $20 million a day in interest and penalties on unpaid bills, which now total approximately $14 billion. If we do not pass the budget package, that backlog would total $24 billion and the tax increase included in the budget package would have to be even larger, depending on the timing from 5.5%-8%, if the State ever wanted to see a balanced budget or a day in which bills are paid on time.

If we expect to send our children to school in the fall, we have to pass a budget. If we value our universities and community colleges, we have to pass a budget. If we want to provide meals and services to seniors and the disabled, we have to pass a budget.

The budget package passed by the House and Senate represents a compromise of approximately $2.5 billion in cuts with additional revenue. Unequivocally, there was extensive input from Republicans on what should be included and excluded from this budget proposal. 

As to the much-needed reforms to change the long-term fiscal trajectory of our state, I am continuing to work with my colleagues on critical reforms to improve Illinois’ climate for job creators. I will be the first to advocate for lowering taxes and spending when we are able to improve the climate for jobs and grow our revenue base. For now, I stand firm knowing that I made the most fiscally responsible choice for all Illinoisans.”

“I was sent to Springfield to fix our problems, not to make them worse.”

SPRINGFIELD, IL…Assistant Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) released the following statement explaining her vote on Senate Bill 9:

“By voting today we’re protecting the disabled and senior citizens who are on Medicaid. We’re providing meals to senior citizens. We’re ensuring the public schools open on time. We’re ensuring necessary funds to improving infrastructure. We’re providing our local communities the money that they’re owed. We’re saving Western Illinois University and our local community colleges. We are ensuring the State of Illinois has a balanced budget.

Illinois is within days, if not hours, of earning junk bond status by New York bond houses that determine the rate of interest we pay on bonding. That rate affects all of us and inhibits our ability to refinance debt and dig ourselves out of this mess. We are currently paying $20 million in interest every day on $14 billion of unpaid bills. Those bills and the interest owed will grow to $24 billion in less than a year if we do nothing.

I was sent to Springfield to fix our problems, not to make them worse. My vote today was to keep the State of Illinois out of financial ruin. Nobody wants to take hard votes, but families in West-Central Illinois sent me here to get our State back on track.

This is a balanced budget that spends $2.5 billion less than what we’re currently spending. I took the hard vote today to save our state.

Our work, however, is far from finished. Our vote today was only the first step of many required in order to put our state on a path toward prosperity. I pledge to the citizens of the 93rd District to continue to work with my colleagues in the House on crucial reforms that are paramount to ensuring Illinois thrives for generations to come.”

MACOMB –Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) provided the following statement as an update to the Special Session in Springfield:

“On June 15, the Governor issued a proclamation calling the General Assembly back to Springfield on June 21 for the purpose of considering legislation that addresses a comprehensive state budget as well as economic and structural reforms. Today, as the House and Senate go into Special Session, I want to renew my pledge to the citizens of the 93rd District: I remain ready and willing to debate, negotiate, compromise on, and pass a comprehensive, balanced budget.

This budget must include adequate funding for our state universities, MAP grant recipients, human services, among so many other state agencies and programs. Negotiating and compromising on a comprehensive budget is not a simple task. This task, however, is attainable. In fact, it is not only attainable, it must be accomplished before the end of this fiscal year.

I know, as so many individuals and businesses that I’ve spoken with have told me, that you are all counting on Springfield to do what is right by the state and pass a comprehensive state budget. Again, I am ready and willing, as I have been for the entirety of this impasse, to work with all of my colleagues in the House, negotiate, and compromise in order to accomplish this task.”
It is, indeed, entirely unacceptable that Illinois is poised to enter a third year with no State Budget in place.  We need a balanced budget right now!  We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  We also cannot let the bad pass as good just to drop a mission accomplished banner and pat ourselves on the back.

Without a real balanced and austere solution, we will soon begin to see irreversible damage done to our schools, institutions of higher education, social service providers and the businesses and vendors that provide goods and services to our State.  What we cannot do, though, is repeat the mistakes of the past.  Passing an unbalanced budget only causes further damage to a state that is already fiscally insolvent. 

However, if we recognize in a bipartisan way that our State is at the brink of disaster, we can begin to address the problem in a meaningful way.  The Senate’s tax increase proposal does little to address the systemic problems that got us here.  The notion that we can dig out without a combination of some new revenue and some reforms is simply naive.  We need a coordinated effort in June by members of both parties to work together and turn this situation around.  We cannot allow the State to go into the new fiscal year beginning July 1st without a compromise, balanced budget in place.

A lot can happen in a small amount of time in Springfield if we truly work on this problem together, recognizing each others’ priorities.  It’s going to take hard work and a very real commitment by both sides to do so.  So let me be clear- I continue to be committed to putting aside my ideology in recognition of these challenges, but we must avoid “magical thinking” if we hope to dig our way out.  Anyone who tells you this can be fixed without sacrifices is lying to you.  Make no mistake- there will be sacrifices if we want the games to end.  There will have to be resolve to break the bad habits that got us to this tragic condition.  Stop the games, stop the politics and let’s work together to get this done.

Rep. Norine Hammond

State Representative, 93rd District