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From the Governor's Office:

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed legislation that expands the Illinois Veterans' Home at Quincy and cuts the red tape on future construction projects, allowing the administration to move quickly to build a new state-of-the-art facility at the campus.

"We're building a brand new facility and making sure our veterans have a safe place to call home," Rauner said. "Building this new facility should not be caught up in the bureaucratic process. Our veterans deserve the best. They have fought to secure our freedom and we're fighting to make sure they have the care they need for generations to come."

Rauner signed Senate Bill 3128, allowing the state to use the design-build delivery method to renovate, rehabilitate and rebuild the Illinois Veterans' Home at Quincy. This method will eliminate redundant steps in the traditional state construction process, shave months off the overall project time and save taxpayer dollars.

"More than 360 veterans call the Illinois Veterans' Home at Quincy home and we're excited about moving forward with this project," said Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Director Stephen Curda. "This home is a staple in the community and we hope that never changes. We are all proud of this home and just last week, we gave Quincy residents an opportunity to learn more about the new home development process and provide ideas on what it could look like."

Rauner also signed House Bill 5683, which makes the recently purchased Sycamore nursing facility an official part of the Illinois Veterans' Home at Quincy. Renovations are already underway on the Sycamore unit and are expected to be complete by the end of the year. Securing this unit will ensure continuity of care and temporary housing for veterans while construction on the new facility at the existing campus is ongoing. 

"We continue to move quickly on a number of initiatives to serve our veterans," said Mike Hoffman, senior adviser to the governor. "This includes the renovation of the Sycamore building, ongoing water management projects, and development of a new master plan for the Quincy campus."

State legislators applauded today's actions.

"Securing the design-build contract is one of the final steps to kick-start the Quincy Veterans' Home $52 million capital development plan," said Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy. "Over the next five years, the campus will undergo a major rehabilitation to update the care facilities and residence to ensure it is up to code and safe for all of our veteran residents and their families. I'm glad to see the governor taking such swift action to begin construction on one of Quincy's most important landmarks."

"The heroes who live at the Quincy Veterans' Home deserve the very best care that can be provided, and today we took a major step in ensuring that will happen," said Rep. Randy Frese, R-Quincy. "Our veterans and the entire Quincy community are thankful and are looking forward to a remodeled and revitalized Quincy Veterans' Home."

"The acquisition of the (Sycamore) transitional facility is an important step toward making sure our veterans receive the best care possible," said Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo. "I commend not only Gov. Rauner, but the bipartisan working group that identified this as a solution to keeping our veterans in Quincy at a site they call home."

"This is part of a multi-pronged effort to provide top notch facilities for our state's veterans in Quincy," said Rep. Mike McAuliffe, R-Chicago. "It will guarantee that the veterans that are moved to Sycamore during ongoing renovations to Quincy are still seeing the same familiar, caring faces."
This month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will start mailing out the new Medicare cards to residents in Illinois

In 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. This law requires the removal of Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019 and the issuing of new Medicare cards to replace the old ones. This new initiative is to protect against fraud and identity theft. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status and claim status.


The new Medicare card will have a completely different and randomly assigned identifier that will be 11 characters long, containing a mix of numbers and uppercase letters. This is the MBI. CMS is also removing the gender and signature line from the new Medicare card. The MBI is confidential like your SSN and should be protected as personal health information.

If a beneficiary is new to Medicare after April 2018, the beneficiary will receive the new MBI card. CMS has until April 2019 to mail out new cards to all 60 million national Medicaid beneficiaries. Current Medicare cards will be accepted until December 31, 2019, after which only the new MBI card will be accepted.

The new card will not impact current Medicare benefits or status. Beneficiaries are asked to destroy, not throw away, their old Medicare cards once the new one is received.

If you need to update your mailing address you can do so online here or by calling 1-800-772-1213.


Springfield, IL... State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) is pushing for legislation to strengthen Illinois's state laws to protect students from sexual predators in schools. A recent Chicago Tribune investigation found that CPS failed to protect its students from sexual abuse and assault over a 10 year period. The Chicago Tribune identified 72 school employees as alleged perpetrators and detailed the various ways in which CPS poorly responded and mistreated student victims. 

"Sexual predators have no place in our society, let alone our schools," Rep. McAuliffe said. "The fact that CPS does not have a set procedure for what is clearly a pervasive problem, and that they failed to report it to the Department of Child and Family Services as required by law is absolutely unacceptable. This investigation shined a light on serious lapses not just in CPS policy, but state law."

House Bill 5914 requires a school board to establish a hearing procedure for student victims of alleged sexual assault or sexual abuse by a licensed educator that allows a student victim to testify. School districts may not interview a student without their parent or guardian's permission. It would also require all complaints of abuse be forwarded to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and require the removal of an educator under investigation from the classroom. In addition, it makes it a crime for a school authority figure to have sex with a student regardless of age. Current state law limits this crime to the age of 17. 

"School administrators should not be in charge of these investigations; they are not equipped to handle them," Rep. McAuliffe continued. "Not only did CPS and individual schools mishandle sexual abuse cases as they occurred, but some of these predators should not have been allowed to step foot in schools in the first place."

The Tribune’s investigation found CPS conducted negligent background checks when hiring teachers and a failure to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities. Some teachers that were investigated by CPS were later hired elsewhere. 

HB 5914 mandates that ISBE be aware of, and monitor, the process with regard to each individual background check conducted by school districts. It also amends the Freedom of Information Act to allow school districts to disclose to another school district the disciplinary records and internal investigative findings of personnel relating to sexual abuse. Any arresting agency is required to share its reports pertaining to the arrest of a licensed educator with the superintendent of any school district that employs the educator.

HB 5914 has been filed with the Clerk and awaits committee assignment. The Illinois House and Senate will hold hearings this summer to further investigate the issue and consider additional policy recommendations. 

Springfield, IL… State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) has successfully shepherded a bill through the House and on to the Governor that will be an important part of the efforts to effectively address the Legionella outbreaks that have occurred since 2015 at the Quincy Veterans Home. 

“We need to be able to use every tool and every avenue we have until the situation at Quincy is fully rectified,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Any and all options should be on the table to make sure our veterans are getting the care that they deserve. With this bill we are ensuring that IDVA can move forward with any renovation plans and know that veterans will have a place they’re taken care of in the interim.”
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House Bill 5683 changes the definition of "Veterans Home" to include a facility operated and maintained by the Department of Veterans' Affairs in the City of Quincy that provides housing to residents of the Veterans Home at Quincy. The idea to use a nearby vacant Sycamore Healthcare nursing home as a temporary facility for the Quincy veterans was among the many proposals to come from the task force created by the Governor in January to study solutions to the ongoing outbreak. The State would purchase the home for veterans to live in while the Quincy home is extensively renovated. The bill was proposed by the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs and if efforts are made to move forward with the former Sycamore facility, it will be staffed by State of Illinois employees.

The bill was carried in the Senate by Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Murphysboro). It passed both the House and Senate Unanimously.

Springfield, IL... Today in an unprecedented move, the Illinois House passed a balanced budget with overwhelming bipartisan support.  State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting the budget and released the following statement:


"For the first time in what feels like forever the General Assembly managed to handle the budget process in a meaningful manner and negotiate a bipartisan balanced budget. I am most proud that this budget will ensure that we are following up on our commitment to education by ensuring an additional $350 million for our K-12 schools and fully funding MAP grants. It will also provide much needed money for the Quincy Veterans Home in addition to putting significant funding towards other capital investment projects, including ones in the 20th district.

The budget is not perfect, but it does manage to offer new pension reforms and cut spending while protecting our State’s priorities. It is a great first step and proves that we can work together to achieve better policies and reforms in the future."