Chris Welch has served one full term in the House and he is in the middle of his second term. During his first three years of office, Representative Welch has proven to be one of the most accomplished and effective legislators. Rep. Welch lead the fight to protect our communities from gun violence, worked to save the Maywood library, and passed common sense education reforms.
The following are a few issues Representative Chris Welch focused on during his first term representing our families:
Pushing Budget Transparency
Rep. Welch is fighting to increase transparency in the budget process and make sure Illinois residents know how their tax dollars are spent. To make information more available to the public,
he supported legislation requiring state agencies to file full and detailed reports on bills that have been incurred by the agencies and post them on the Illinois comptroller’s website. House Bill 1682 sent to the governor.
The state budget process should be open, not hidden from the public. That’s why Welch backed legislation requiring the governor’s Office of Management and Budget to publish the budget of the State of Illinois on its website within 60 days of becoming law. House Bill 2955 sent to the governor.
Providing Health Care to Those in Need
To help relieve more than $950 million in financial pressures
for health care costs, Rep. Welch helped pass legislation taking advantage of federal dollars to provide health coverage to low-income and high-need Illinois residents who are currently uninsured. He also worked to make sure that those who need coverage the most, like children who must be kept on ventilators, those who have epilepsy and the developmentally disabled, receive it. Senate Bill 26 is now law (Public Act 98-0104).
Cracking Down on Gangs
Taking a stand against gang violence in our neighborhoods, Rep. Welch introduced legislation recreating the gang crime witness protection program. This program aims to provide extra protections for those who assist in the prosecution of gang crimes. House Bill 1139 is now law (Public Act 98- 0058).
Fighting Skyrocketing Property Taxes
To help lower the property tax burden on local families, Rep.
Welch worked to increase the General Homestead Exemption in Cook County to $7,000. The exemption is available for residential property that serves as the homeowner’s primary residence. Senate Bill 1894 is now law (Public Act 98-0007).
To reduce property taxes for families across Illinois, Rep. Welch voted to pass legislation allowing property tax rates to be calculated beyond three decimal points, making rates as close to the levy requested as possible without exceeding it. Currently, property tax bills are rounded up after three decimal places, costing taxpayers more than they truly owe. This measure helps to increase accuracy while putting extra money in taxpayers’ pockets. House Bill 189 passed the House and is awaiting further action.
Fighting for Our Schools
Rep. Welch knows we have an obligation to prioritize state spending to protect vital services like education. The governor’s proposed budget called for slashing education funding by more than $300 million—cuts that would have been disastrous for many local schools. Welch worked to prevent these cuts and instead increased funding for education by $156 million by prioritizing spending and cutting non-essential areas of state government.
Study after study has shown that a child’s earliest years of development, when their minds are still forming, are the most critical. This is a short window but one that must be utilized to help develop children’s full potential and put them on a path to success. The budget supported by Rep. Welch prevents potentially harmful cuts to early childhood education funding. The Fiscal Year 2014 state budget is now law.
Protecting Our Classrooms from Violence
To help combat gang violence in schools, Rep. Welch passed a bill requiring school principals to contact law enforcement agencies when school safety is threatened by weapons or gang activity. The legislation also requires law enforcement officials to notify a school principal when a student has been arrested for gang activity. House Bill 2768 is now law (Public Act 98-0059).
Cutting Legislators’ Pay
Rep. Welch believes elected officials must lead by example and do the right thing to help get Illinois back on track. He supports legislation to cut his own salary by making lawmakers work 12 days without pay and freezing cost of living increases for legislators and other elected officials. House Bill 1441 passed the House and is now under consideration in the Senate.
Keeping Our Families Safe
The victims of sexually based crimes relive terrible nightmares for the rest of their lives. Sexual predators should not get away with despicable acts because their victims were afraid to come forward right away. Rep. Welch sponsored legislation that removes the statute of limitations on major sex crimes committed against children under 18, allowing law enforcement to charge dangerous offenders at any time when corroborating physical evidence is available.
House Bill 1063 is now law (Public Act 98-0379).
Fighting Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates more than 230,000 new breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States this year. To provide assistance to those battling this horrible disease, Rep. Welch passed legislation to create and implement an educational campaign to inform breast cancer patients about the availability and coverage of breast reconstruction, prostheses, and other options. House Bill 3175 is now law (Public Act 98-0479).
Bring Your Parents to School Day
Rep. Welch understands that parental involvement is vital to improving education. To help give parents an opportunity to see firsthand the daily activities of their students, Welch passed legislation establishing ‘Bring Your Parents to School Day’ on the first Monday in October of each year. This legislation aims to provide parents and guardians with a better understanding of their students’ coursework and allows them to build ongoing partnerships with teachers, administrators and staff. House Bill 129 is now law (Public Act 98-0304).
Cracking Down on Domestic Violence
Besides the visible physical injuries, domestic violence can lead to hidden pain, like depression, anxiety and substance abuse. To punish domestic abusers and prevent future incidents of violence, Welch helped pass a new law to increase criminal penalties for repeat offenders to make sure these dangerous criminals are behind bars where they belong.
House Bill 958 is now law (Public Act 98-0187).
Protecting Consumers from Investment Scams
During difficult economic times, seniors, working families and many others are vulnerable to fraud and scams. Rep. Welch supports legislation to help bring justice to seniors who become victims of phony investment schemes by allowing more time to prosecute con artists.
House Bill 2969 is under consideration in the House.
Funds for the District
Rep. Welch has brought back millions of dollars in grant money for communities all across the district including grants for park districts in Maywood, Bellwood, Melrose Park, Lagrange Park, and Forest Park. He has also brought back green infrastructure grants to Forest Park, River Forest, Lagrange Park, and the Westchester Public Library.
Rep. Welch is personally responsible for summer youth employment grants awarded to the village of Maywood and several local non profit organizations.
Rep. Welch has also secured funding for local organizations throughout the district that are currently on hold due to the budget impasse.
Rep. Welch has been named the Legislator of the year for two consecutive years by the Chicago Teachers Union and this year he was named Legislator of the year by Leading Age Illinois, an advocacy group for seniors and the elderly.