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The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has published state gross domestic product (GDP) numbers for 2017 as compared with 2016. The federal data table has mixed numbers for Illinois. On the one hand, Illinois’ economy grew in real terms in 2017, with real (inflation-adjusted) GDP rising 1.2% as compared with 2016. The Land of Lincoln’s per capita numbers were even better, with Illinois residents enjoying real GDP in 2017 that was 1.5% greater than that of 2016. 

On the other hand, most U.S. states continued to outperform Illinois. The Prairie State scored 33rd in real 2017 GDP growth among the 50 states, with 32 states outperforming Illinois’ growth rate. Furthermore, Illinois’ good per-capita GDP numbers were helped out by our State’s declining population, with a smaller number of people sharing a slightly larger pie. 
For more than 24 months, from the end of June 2015 until mid-July 2017, the state of Illinois spent taxpayers’ money without an approved budget. The partial withdrawal of Illinois’ legislative branch from the job of overseeing and controlling Illinois spending effectively kicked this oversight power over to the federal and state judiciary, and created wide gaps between Illinois spending areas. Although the General Assembly maintained partial oversight of state spending through continuous public hearings and discussions of spending programs and issues, this partial oversight fell short of the mandate contained in subsection 2(b) of Article VIII of the state Constitution. This subsection requires the General Assembly to make annual formal appropriations for all expenditures based upon funds estimated to be available in the approaching fiscal year. 
FOID cards are required for the legal possession or purchase of a firearm in Illinois. People seeking to renew these cards should submit their applications in a timely manner. Since June 1, 2008, an Illinois FOID card has been valid for 10 years. In the summer of 2008 many Illinois residents applied for 10-year cards, and these cards are all expiring this summer. 

The Illinois State Police urges Illinois current and prospective gun owners who are looking towards applying for or renewing a FOID card this summer to submit their application as soon as possible. The vast majority of applications are submitted online. Delays could happen as the State Police works through the statistical bulge of applications that are expected to come in this summer. 

From the Lake County Clerk: Door-to-door sales people working in unincorporated Lake County must carry a solicitor’s certificate while on the job. 

Every solicitor must:
  • Register annually in-person with our office. Registration is free. 
  • Work only between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm. 
  • Carry his/her own Certificate of Registration bearing the sales person’s name, employer’s name, manufacturer’s name, type of business, and our embossed seal. 
  • Observe any “No Solicitation” signs. 
  • Respect your request if asked to leave. 
If a solicitor comes to your door, ask to see the certificate before conducting any business. You may report unregistered vendors to the Lake County Sheriff’s office (847.549.5200).
In January of 2016, an important new law to fight human trafficking took effect in Illinois, the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act. This law (Public Act 99-0099), which State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) carried through the Illinois General Assembly, utilizes the business community to ensure human trafficking victims have access to essential services. 

“Human trafficking is a much more pervasive practice than many of us realize and it is essential that we increase awareness and engage the public to fight this form of modern day slavery,” said Wheeler. “The Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act makes information about a very important resource available to victims and witnesses, which has taken us another step closer to ending this horrific practice.” 

The Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act provides that specified businesses and establishments conspicuously provide information concerning the availability of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The law not only helps victims of this heinous crime gain access to the resources they need to overcome the trauma they have experienced, but also acts an avenue for anyone who observes or suspects trafficking the ability to report it to the proper authorities. 
From the Lake County Sheriff's Office: On Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is taking back unwanted prescription drugs. Each year, the Sheriff’s Office partners with the DEA on the national ‘Drug Take Back’ program which encourages the public to prevent substance abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. 

The service is free, anonymous, and offered at the following three locations:
  • Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 W. Wadsworth Road, Beach Park 
  • Long Grove Fire Protection District, 1165 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove 
  • St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 27551 Volo Village Road, Volo
The House bill voting deadline will come at the end of this week on Friday. April 27 is the cutoff date for bills originating in the House to be favorably considered by the full House in floor debate and sent to the Senate for final passage. Bills that are not passed by the deadline will be sent to the House Rules Committee, which is the primary pathway under the rules of the House to “table” bills that will no longer be considered. 

Following the House deadline for consideration of its own bills, the focus will shift toward consideration of Senate bills. The House will reconvene on Tuesday, May 8 to hold committee hearings for testimony and discussion of bills that originated in the Senate. Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly will have a four-week period to consider the bills passed by the other chamber and reach final compromises on the difficult issues of 2018. The House and Senate are scheduled to adjourn regular session on Thursday, May 31.