Peoria, IL—There are over 12,000 professional social workers in Illinois, all of whom dedicate their careers to either helping people transform their lives, or improve environments that make such progress possible. These individuals serve as agents of positive change in their communities, working to improve the fabric of society by serving as advocates for people who need help addressing serious life challenges and exploring their options.
This year’s National Social Work Month theme, “Social Work Matters," celebrates the many ways professional social workers make a difference for people every day. In honor of Social Work Month, the National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter (NASW Illinois) is honoring the exceptional social workers and individuals whose work promotes social justice and social change with and on behalf of the people and clients they serve.
One exemplary Illinois citizen being honored this year at the NASW Illinois West Central District Awards event is NASW Illinois Chapter Public Citizen of the Year Representative David Leitch. Representative David R. Leitch (R-Peoria) is serving his eleventh term in the Illinois General Assembly. He has received numerous awards for his community service, responsiveness to his constituents, and his legislative service. When the local (Peoria) state hospital was closing in 2002, Rep. Leitch organized a meeting of mental health providers to plan for community-based treatment and ensure community agencies and hospitals were adequately funded to deliver treatment in the community.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with 150,000 members and over 7,000 in Illinois alone. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.
Peoria, IL... The Medicaid reform process produced extraordinary and long overdue reform, Rep. David R. Leitch (R-Peoria) said today.
Major changes in income verification, program eligibility, and new information technology are highlights of the measure, said Leitch, a lead sponsor of the bill and a member of the Special Medicaid Reform Committee.
"Among the many positives, I was especially pleased the Department of Healthcare and Family Services will now be required to embrace 21st Century technology," Leitch said.
"With the federal government paying 75% to 90%, we must obtain data analytics; for example, this will enable the department to manage at-risk pregnancies to prevent expensive hospital treatment for newborns; the same analytics identify fraud patterns."
"Many of us have been demanding these actions for years; new Healthcare and Family Services director, Julie Hamos, a former House member, seems determined to carry out these changes."
Leitch also praised Auditor General Bill Holland whose scathing audit of Gov. Blagojevich's "All Kids" insurance program provided a factual platform for addressing the incompetence and system dysfunction.
Other reform categories include: End of Year Bills; Care Settings: community based and facility based care; Program Integrity; Provision of Care; Capitated Managed Care; Provider Reimbursements; All Kids Reforms and Agency Reorganization.
Springfield, IL... State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) has been promoted to the position of Deputy Leader for the Illinois House Republican Caucus, House Republican Leader Tom Cross announced today.
"Representative David Leitch is a highly respected member of our leadership team and he deserves the promotion to Deputy Leader. I often seek his counsel on a variety of issues because of his experience and insight. His financial expertise is invaluable particularly as we work through our state's budgetary problems, and he is a leading expert in the area of human services," said Cross. "I am proud to have him as a part of our team."
Rep. Leitch served in the Illinois Senate in 1986-1987, and has been a member of the Illinois House since 1989. He formerly worked as Vice-President of the National City Bank and has been awarded numerous "Legislator of the Year" awards.
"It is an honor to be selected Deputy Leader. In my new role I will have more say in the development of the House Republican agenda, and will help Leader Cross guide our caucus to do what is best for the people of our state," said Rep. Leitch.
Springfield, IL... Illinois Democrats passed an historic 2% income tax increase Tuesday night. State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) opposed the income tax increase calling for spending cuts – not higher taxes – and streamlining government instead of continuing to grow a dysfunctional system.
"We must work to restructure state government and cut spending, instead of propping up the irresponsible spending of the past decade. Until there are meaningful spending reforms, an income tax hike only hurts our taxpayers and kills job growth; I am adamantly opposed to the bill," Rep. Leitch said. "It's no surprise the same Democrat majority responsible for today's financial mess is now demanding a major tax hike instead of doing the hard work of reforming the tax and spend culture so entrenched in Springfield."
The income tax increase passed the House on vote of 60-57. The personal income tax will be 5%, up from 3%. Corporate rates increase from 4.8% to 7% plus the 2.5% personal property replacement tax for a total of 9.5%.
Rep. Leitch continued, "I am pleased with the reform we saw last week on Medicaid. The reform will save millions of dollars by cutting waste, fraud and inefficiency. Yet what we saw this past week is just a start and additional, aggressive reforms must continue to get Illinois back on track. The Medicaid reform was a bi-partisan effort. The tax increase came from the back room."
"Since 2002, Blagojevich and Quinn have overspent by $14 billion," Leitch said.
The tax increase passed in the Senate about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Springfield, IL... Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) is pleased to see the new Medicaid Reforms recommended by the Medicaid Reform Committee passed by the Illinois House today by a vote of 111-4-2. Leitch sponsored the measure.
Leitch, a member of the Medicaid Reform Committee, said it was, "an honor to serve on this bipartisan committee which brought forward the most significant reforms to Medicaid in Illinois since I became a legislator over two decades ago."
The reform measure, House Bill 5420 (SFA 2) included proposals by both Republican and Democrat members which will save "hundreds of millions of dollars to this fastest growing segment of the state budget. The path we were on was not sustainable and it is crucial that we get control of this system," Leitch stated.
Some of the key components of this important reform measure include:
- Electronic income and residency verification for clients, including data sharing between state agencies.
- Ending the practice of automatic re-enrollment.
- Two-Year Moratorium on Medicaid eligibility and program expansions.
- Capping income eligibility for All Kids at 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Moving a large portion of Medicaid into managed/integrated care programs by 2015.
- Extends a civil remedy provision to Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) against those who engage in Medicaid fraud.
- Long overdue modernization of computer technology.
It is estimated Illinois taxpayers could enjoy over $800 million in savings with these critical bipartisan reforms.
"The way this committee conducted itself, in a truly bipartisan way, should serve as an example to how further budgetary reforms could be explored, debated and passed without the name-calling and demagoguery that has, all too often, characterized the proceedings of the General Assembly," Leitch said.
Leitch reports that these important Medicaid reforms will now go to the Governor.
Peoria, IL... State Rep. David Leitch (R-Peoria) is sending his heartfelt congratulations to area high school students who were recently named 2011 Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).
Illinois State Scholar winners rank in the top ten percent of the state's high school seniors from 749 different high schools across the state. Selection is based on SAT, ACT and/or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores, and/or class rank at the end of the junior year. High school guidance counselors work in conjunction with ISAC to determine winners.
"I am so proud of the students from my district who earned this prestigious statewide plaudit," said Rep. Leitch. "It's a tribute not only to the hardworking students, but also their families, teachers, and school administrators."
"Excellent high school grades are tremendously important for laying the groundwork for future college success," said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. "Illinois State Scholars are the best and the brightest in our state's high schools, and we salute them, their families and their teachers on this achievement."
Leitch encourages graduating seniors attending a state school in Illinois to contact his office if they would like to be sent an application for the Illinois General Assembly Scholarship. Applications will be sent out in January, but it is not too early to call to be placed on a list to be sent an application. Students or parents may request an application by calling Rep. Leitch's Peoria Legislative Office at 309-690-7373.
Students may also want to visit ISAC's website for additional information about college financial assistance programs. The site offers career counseling services, a planning timeline, virtual campus tours, and online applications.
Springfield, IL... State Rep. David Leitch (R-Peoria) was appointed on Tuesday, November 30, to serve on a newly formed committee aimed at identifying significant reforms and cost saving measures to the state's Medicaid system.
The Special Committee on Medicaid Reform, consisting of 14 members, seven appointed by the Speaker of the House and seven appointed by the House Republican Leader, has been established to recommend specific measures to reduce Medicaid costs by creating efficiencies, reducing fraud and preserving a safety net that is essential to the well-being of Illinois citizens.
"With Medicaid being one of the largest portions of the state budget, it is obvious to look there for cost saving measures," said Leitch. "I look forward to what I hope is a sincere bipartisan effort to reform this state program ripe with inefficiencies."
Over the past two years, House Republicans have been pushing for significant reforms to the state Medicaid system, including legislation to tighten eligibility requirements and measures to increase oversight and fiscal accountability for the program.
- The committee will convene for a subject-matter hearing at the Michael A. Bilandic Building in Chicago on Friday, December 3 at 11 a.m.
Peoria, IL... State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) today is being honored with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Champion of Free Enterprise Award. Rep. Leitch is being recognized for his long-standing leadership and commitment to the promotion of free enterprise.
"The number one priority of state government during this economic downturn must be job creation. One in ten Illinoisans are out of work. If we ever hope to get our state fiscal condition back on track we need to get residents working again. I support legislative initiatives that will make Illinois more-friendly to business and ultimately create new jobs," said Leitch. "I am honored to be recognized by the chamber for my efforts towards that goal."
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce Champion of Free Enterprise Award is awarded biennially and recipients are selected by their voting record. The Champion of Free Enterprise Award is presented to legislators with Illinois Chamber ratings averaging 85% or better over the previous three General Assemblies. The Chamber's ratings are based on votes on key business legislation that are designed to generate jobs and create a business-friendly atmosphere in Illinois.
"The chamber believes that legislators who work hard to defend free enterprise and to advance economic opportunities for Illinoisans deserve our recognition," said Todd Maisch, the Chamber's Vice President for Government Affairs. "The Champion of Free Enterprise Award demonstrates that State Representative David Leitch knows what it takes for employers to be successful and that he is working to address the number one problem in our state: creating more jobs."
"Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill to encourage bow hunters to harvest more deer," Representative David R. Leitch (R-Peoria) said today.
HB 5307 restores the ability of bow hunters to purchase an additional "either sex" permit for $15 rather than being forced to buy a full $26 combination permit.
"Archery hunters will now have the financial incentive to continue hunting, especially as their vacations near an end toward the end of the season," said Jeff Baile, a retired Department of Natural Resources Conservation officer who asked Leitch to introduce the bill.
"Now a bow hunter will be able to spend $15 for another single "either sex" permit, instead of the $26 previously. The DNR should enjoy more revenue and more deer taken yearly with the passage of this bill."
Senator Dale Risinger sponsored the bill in the Senate. Last year, Leitch and Risinger, at Baile’s urging, enacted legislation to extend deer hunting hours to a half-hour after sunset.
The bill will be effective January 1, 2011.
Springfield, IL... To encourage local youth to read over the summer, State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) has kicked off his annual Summer Reading Program for 1st through 5th graders.
"The kids and adults who participated last year had a great time eating ice cream at the swim party," Leitch said.
"The first few years of elementary school are critical in a child's reading development," said Leitch. "But many students discontinue reading during the summer, and then lose some of their ability to read proficiently and retain the knowledge they have learned. This program provides students with an incentive to continue reading throughout the summer and encourages them to continue practicing their reading and written communications skills."
To participate, students must read eight books during the summer. After completing the reading, students must list the books, have a parent or guardian attest to their accomplishment, and return the list to Rep. Leitch's district office. A Summer Reading Program brochure and participation return form can be obtained by calling the office at (309) 690-7373. Due to increased demand, Rep. Leitch will be hosting two ice cream/swim parties this year. One will be on August 6th in Peoria and the other on August 13th in Chillicothe, to better accommodate Northern Peoria County and Marshall County.
"Through books, students not only expand their knowledge in the topic about which they are reading, but also enhance their knowledge of language and vocabulary," said Leitch.