Springfield - On Wednesday, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned for the summer without passing a budget for the third year. The following statement on the adjournment can be attributed to State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee):

“It is unthinkable, unconscionable, and unexplainable that the House failed to fulfill its constitutional duty to pass a balanced budget and glaringly failed to advance any budget at all. The majority speaker controls which bills are called and the speaker called bills impacting catfish sold in restaurants and feral cats, but not the budget!  I came to Springfield prepared to work for the people of the 79th district on the biggest issues facing our state including the budget and pension reform. Unfortunately, discussions about the budget failed to occur. My efforts to call for the constitutionally required revenue estimate fell on deaf ears and it was never adopted or even entertained.  As a freshman representative, I am energized and excited to do all I can do to push the budget to the forefront. I am disappointed with the absolute control the majority wields and frustrated by the failure of leadership in the House under Speaker Madigan to get past political games and do what is right for Illinois."
Springfield, IL… On Tuesday, State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee), met with the head of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Randy Blankenhorn, to advocate for local transportation projects including a much needed upgrade to the I-57 and IL-17 interchange.
Image result for kankakee exit“When I took office in January, this was one of the first projects shared with me by Kankakee Mayor Nina Epstein because of the hugely beneficial impact it will have on Kankakee and Bradley-Bourbonnais businesses and the development of my entire district,” Rep. Parkhurst said.

The project in question will open up the 312 exit to Kankakee off I-57 to allow for truck traffic. The city of Kankakee requested an upgrade to the interchange well over a decade ago and the need for improvements lingered and languished in discussions since 2001. The discussions stalled in 2013.

“In addition to bringing the interchange up to current IDOT safety and regulation standards, this exit expansion will usher in further economic development to the district,” Rep. Parkhurst continued. “Today trucks avoid this intersection because of the tight turn radius, yet this area is ripe for new economic development. Everything is in place; we just need improved access at the intersection of Routes 57 and 17. These improvements are an important selling point to businesses looking to relocate to our district, including Hoekstra Transportation and Ricky Rockets Fuel Center.”

Rep. Parkhurst initiated the meeting with the head of IDOT, representatives from the Governor’s office, and Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong to jump start the project. At the meeting, Rep. Parkhurst advocated for it to be included in IDOT’s 5 year funding plan for FY2018-2022 and Blankenhorn agreed to do a site visit this fall. 

In addition to this interchange, Rep. Parkhurst is actively negotiating with IDOT on other local transportation projects.
Today State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst followed through on a promise to her constituents and filed House Resolution 437 opposing the private Great Lakes Basin railway. The resolutions states that the House opposes the three state rail plan for the fiscal, ethical, and environmental strain it would put on the many Illinois counties in its path.

Rep. Parkhurst is in the process of securing co-sponsors for the resolution. Should HR 437 pass a copy of this resolution will be delivered to the Federal Surface Transportation Board.
Springfield, IL - On Thursday, State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst joined her colleagues in sending a letter to the Attorney General's office asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan to use her power to force the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate before passing any spending bills.

"For over a decade the State of Illinois has not passed a balanced budget," Rep. Parkhurst said. "A major reason for this has been the House's proclivity to blindly dole out money without regard for how much the state has to spend. Adopting a revenue estimate is a key component to a balanced budget."

A revenue estimate is required by the Illinois Constitution and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to meet the state's balanced budget requirements. For the last two fiscal years, no revenue estimate had been filed or adopted by the General Assembly. Only 12 days remain until the May 31 deadline to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2018.

To read to the letter, click here
Kankakee, IL… State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) signed on to shepherd a bill through the House to eliminate pension abuse and protect taxpayer money. The bill was filed in response to the Fox Lake scandal involving the death of Lt. Charles Gliniewicz, his embezzlement of taxpayer money, and his wife’s involvement.

Senate Bill 896, filed by Senator Pam Althoff (R-McHenry), prohibits someone from receiving public employee survivor pension benefits if they’re convicted of a felony involving the service of their spouse.

“Our pensions and survivor benefits are here to help those who lost a loved one,” said Rep. Parkhurst. "This isn't a bank for those who commit crimes to freely withdraw.”

Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz committed suicide in Fox Lake in an attempted cover-up. His widow, Melodie Gliniewicz, who is not yet convicted, is facing charges for her alleged involvement in the embezzlement of public funds by her husband. Through her survivor’s benefits, she could potentially receive 50-75 percent of Gliniewicz’s salary, which was about $96,000 per year.

“This bill will protect our pensions and survivor funds from those who abuse the system and ensure it's there for those who need it the most,” Parkhurst continued.

Senate Bill 896 passed the Senate unanimously 57-0.

Kankakee, IL - Earlier this year, Representative Lindsay Parkhurst distributed a district wide survey which was mailed to the residents of Illinois' 79th District. In addition to being mailed, the survey was available on her website. Parkhurst's intent for the survey was to get a better feel for what the district expected out of their representative in Springfield.

"Thank you to everyone that took the time to answer my legislative survey," Rep. Parkhurst said. "My job as State Representative is to bring the district's interests, ideas, and concerns with me to Springfield. Armed with these answers I can better work for my constituents."

The survey consisted of 11 questions for participants to answer. The results are as follows:

Kankakee, IL…  On May 1, 2017, Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc. (GLBT) filed a formal application with the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to construct and operate a rail line running through Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. This application calls for a 260 mile privately owned and operated railway, tollway, and airport. In response to the application, State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) is voicing her opposition to the proposed plan.

“The use of eminent domain in our state and our nation is to provide land for public use in appropriate instances.  It is not for private gain and the GLBT project plans just that- taking private productive land for private individual gain,” Rep Parkhurst said. “This proposed plan is economically not feasible, not sound, and not sensible. It improperly damages the rights of property owners who rightfully own the land in its path, endangers the Kankakee River and local wildlife and habitats, and tears apart the communities who depend on that land.”

If the plan were imposed in its current form, Grundy County and Kankakee County would lose an estimated $70 million and $90 million per year respectively in agricultural revenue. This revenue can never be replaced.  The GLBT railway is facing bipartisan opposition from elected officials across three states as well as by legitimate railroads.

The railway must receive SBT approval before going forward to the next step and GLBT must show their plan is not inconsistent with public convenience and necessity. The public may also file comments regarding the proposal by going to www.sbt.gov. The public comment period will ‪end on June 5th. A coalition of groups opposed to the application filed a request with the STB for an extension of time for the comment period.

Rep. Parkhurst encourages the public to use appropriate avenues to make their opposition known. In addition, she plans to draft legislation to reform eminent domain in Illinois to secure the rights of local landowners.  She strongly supports the rights of private landowners. 

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Firefighters from around Illinois were honored this week in Springfield where three Kankakee firefighters received special awards.

Chris Salazar is a firefighter with the Kankakee Fire Department and was designated the Medal of Honor recipient, the highest award given by the State of Illinois. This award goes to a firefighter for an act of outstanding bravery or heroism, selflessness, and personal courage above and beyond the call of duty, under adverse conditions, with the possibility of extreme personal risk.

Among others recognized were two additional Kankakee firefighters, Lt. David Kruse II and John Burke who both received the Firefighters Excellence Award, an award given to acknowledge an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence and professionalism in service to citizens of the State of Illinois.

Noah Hubly, who lost his father in the line of duty in 2008 and used the Kankakee Firefighter Department Scholarship Fund to follow in his father’s footsteps, was the guest of honor at the ceremony.  Rep. Parkhurst said, "I am impressed and thankful for the brave and fearless firefighters that we have willing to protect our community and go above and beyond the call of duty."

All the firefighters and their families were welcomed to Springfield for the special ceremony to honor all of Illinois firefighters. A memorial was also held to honor firefighters in Illinois who had fallen. 
State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst hosted a district open house on Thursday in her new office. The open house was held with the cooperation and help of the Kankakee Chamber of Commerce. Rep. Parkhurst, who took office in January, officially celebrated the opening of her district office with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

The 79th district stretches all the way from Coal City in Grundy County to the east through Kankakee to Hopkins Park. The office is centrally located in downtown Kankakee at 370 E Court Street. 

In attendance were many notable members of the community including recently elected Kankakee Mayor Chastity Wells-Armstrong, Kankakee City Clerk Anjanita Dumas, and Kankakee County Auditor Jake Lee. 

Over the course of the two hour event many constituents had the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns about state issues. 

"It was great to meet and talk with many members of the 79th district," Rep Parkhurst said. "I want everyone to know that my office is an open and available resource for them."