At the conclusion of the second day of hearings dedicated to Governor Pat Quinn’s troubled Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) program, State Representative David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) issued the following statement:

“This weeks hearings were frustrating, but in the end cooler heads prevailed. I believe the lawmakers who sit on this bipartisan, bicameral commission came together in the best interest of Illinois taxpayers. We unanimously agreed that we should avoid doing anything that might impede the federal grand jury investigation into Governor Quinn’s failed NRI program, and agreed to delay further questioning for 90 days.

The commission is now scheduled to reconvene on October 8th to continue its work but the gathering of important and relevant documents will continue. "I remain fully committed to completing our work to determine the full extent of the mismanagement and fraud tied to the NRI program."

Governor Quinn unveiled his failed anti-violence NRI program in the fall of 2010 just weeks before the fall election. The audit revealed the program was hastily implemented and riddled with mismanagement and deficiencies.

"As legislators, our role is to determine how it was possible for this level of mismanagement to take place and to provide additional legislative remedies that will prevent fraud and abuse like this from happening again", Reis said. "We have a duty to the taxpayers of Illinois to ensure that their tax dollars are put to good use and not wasted on disingenuous purposes.”

Reis, a member of the twelve member Legislative Audit Commission, said documents relating to the scathing audit and subsequent hearings can be found online at:
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn's administration has turned over an estimated 2,000 emails to a panel of lawmakers investigating a troubled anti-violence program.

 Quinn spokesman Dave Blanchette confirmed Tuesday that the trove of emails linked to the $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was forwarded Friday to members of the General Assembly's Legislative Audit Commission.

 One member of the panel, state Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said the emails were requested by the panel on July 3. He said they paint a picture of a badly managed program that was quickly put together. "It goes to show the breadth and scope of what was going on," Reis said.

 To read more, click here.

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Police (ISP) officials announced today that an alternative application option to apply for a Concealed Carry License (CCL) is now available for those individuals without computer access.

Applicants can contact the ISP Firearms Services (FSB) Customer Service Center phone line at (217) 782-7980 and provide a FSB call taker with the same CCL application information that is currently required through the CCL on-line process.

The FSB call taker will need the applicant’s full name, any previous names, date of birth, driver’s license number or state ID, Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card number, current mailing address, ten years of previous address history, fingerprint Transaction Control Number (TCN) (which is optional), training instructor’s name and the Concealed Carry Trainer’s Identification (CCTID) number. Applicants should have this information readily available prior to calling the FSB Customer Service Center phone line.

Upon validation of the FOID number and driver’s license or identification card, payment in the form of credit card or electronic check will be needed and securely processed by the FSB call taker.

Once the CCL telephone application interview is completed and payment confirmed, the applicant will receive the application in the mail. Upon receipt, the applicant must review the application for accuracy, initial all required areas, answer the background check questions, and sign and date the application. The applicant must also attach a 2 inch by 2 inch headshot photo (shoulder to head) taken within the last 30 days and provide all required training certificates.

The completed application, photo, and training certificates must be returned to the ISP through the U.S. Postal Service before the application will be processed and a license issued.

The Illinois State Police is providing this alternative method to ensure that the public has options to participate in the CCL application process and to ensure turnaround times are met in accordance with the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.

To date, more than 78,000 CCL applications have been submitted and more than 60,000 are active across Illinois.

ISP continues to encourage the public to use the on-line CCL application option when possible for the most efficient processing method.

Completed CCL applications, photo and required training certificates can be mailed to:

The Illinois State Police
Attn: CCL Application
801 South 7th Street, 400M
Springfield, IL 62704

Article Link:
(CHICAGO) A subpoena has been unanimously approved by the legislative audit commission in the case of the controversial anti-violence program that has Governor Pat Quinn on the spot.

Barbara Shaw is the former Quinn aide who’s been subpoenaed to testify to what she knows about what the Republicans call a slush fund to buy votes for the governor in the 2010 election.

Many others are being invited to testify and Democrats on the commission are pushing to get it all over sooner than later, what with the election coming.

But downstate Republican David Reis countered with this. “Some are saying we’re being political here. It’s just as political saying we don’t want to get all the answers. We’re not gonna sweep this under the rug. This is almost Blagojevich-esque.”

Story by 89 WLS Reporter Bill Cameron
To read the full article, please click here.
By Frank Main Dave McKinney: The state spent almost half a million dollars on a flawed study of Gov. Pat Quinn’s now-defunct anti-violence program — the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative — after officials rejected a more rigorous evaluation that would have been free, auditors say.

The $498,351 study by the University of Illinois at Chicago didn’t even examine whether the program helped reduce violence, according to Auditor General William Holland’s office.

State Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said the study leaves taxpayers in the dark about whether the $54.5 million program made an impact in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the Chicago area.

“We don’t know whether this money was flushed down the toilet,” he said.

Auditors learned the state turned down an offer by the University of Chicago Crime Lab to conduct a more in-depth study for free.

Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman said the governor wasn’t involved in any discussions or decisions about the study.

“Those who helped oversee and manage this program are no longer employed by the state,” Klinzman added.

Republicans have questioned Quinn’s motivation for launching the anti-violence program a month before his tight election in 2010. The troubled program was shut down in 2012.

“I believe this was to put money on the streets to shore up a base that was very loose in a tight campaign,” Reis said.

To read the entire article, please click here.
SPRINGFIELD — After weeks of listening to predictions of doom and gloom from top state officials, Democrats in the Illinois House are poised to roll out a spending plan that relies on an extension of the temporary income tax.

Rather than imposing tough cuts on schools, prisons, universities and social services, the spending plan would mirror a budget proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn that adds more cash for schools, universities and social service programs, said state Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat who chairs a House appropriations committee.

The majority party could schedule a vote on the budget blueprint as early as Thursday, with an eye on asking lawmakers to extend the temporary income tax at a later date.

Specific details about the plan still were being drafted Tuesday. State Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said GOP lawmakers have been largely locked out of the talks over the final version because Republicans oppose making the 2011 tax increase permanent.

To read Kurt Erickson's full article, click here. 

The article is also featured in the Herald-Review, The Southern and the Pantagraph.
Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) hosted a Legislative Breakfast on April 22 in cooperation with Shawnee Community College (SCC) to bring awareness of top educational issues and how they affect community colleges to local legislators.

Pictured are (front row, l-r) Dr. Tim Bellamy, SCC President; Kappy Scates from Sen. Dick Durbin’s office; and Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC President.  Back row includes (l-r) Sen. Dale Righter; Dr. Pat York, SIC Board Chair; Jim Ellis, SIC Board; John Hansen of Rep. John Shimkus’ office; and Rep. David Reis.

Rep. David Reis of the 109th district and Sen. Dale Righter of the 55th district were on hand to respond to current state legislative issues and took questions regarding their stands on related topics.  Reis expressed particular interest in the fight for economic development in the region.  He encouraged the colleges by saying, “Community colleges can turn on a dime,” to bring appropriate curriculum to the workforce and prepare students for new industry work such as oil and gas.

Righter agreed with this statement and discussed fiscal matters of the State, particularly the status of budget talks in Springfield and the economic challenges Illinois continues to face.

Kappy Scates represented U.S. Senator Dick Durbin's office and expressed the Senator's concern with for-profit colleges.  Many studies suggest for-profit colleges use lots of taxpayer dollars yet leave students with massive debt.

John Hansen from U.S. Representative John Shimkus' office also was present at the meeting and expressed the Congressman's interest in the need for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Technology (STEM) education.
From left to right: Rep. Reis, Sadie Marks, Ellie Marks, Clay Marks and foreign exchange student Karina Schleuning of Germany.