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Chris Welch has served two full terms in the House and he is in the middle of his third term. During his first two terms in 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 two terms 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 Healthcare 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).
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.
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 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.
Rep. Welch has received numerous awards during his term in the Illinois General Assembly. Rep. Welch has been recognized for his work on education, immigration, and for his work toward helping working families in Illinois. Rep. Welch has received the following awards:
Most Distinguished Man in Illinois
Continuing Academic Training Children and Youth Services (2018)
Friend of Education (Recognizes support & commitment to public education)
- Illinois Education Association-NEA (2018)
State Representative of the Year
- National Association of Social Workers-IL Chapter (2018)
Environmental Leadership Award
- Illinois Environment Council (2017)
Recognition for support of public education, labor unions, and working families
- West Suburban Teachers Union (2017)
Legislative Leadership Award
- Home Care Association of America –Illinois Chapter (2017)
Legislative Champion (for work on HB3611)
Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (2017)
100% Environmental Voting Record Award
- Illinois Environmental Council (2014 &2017)
Certificate of Appreciation for endless support to the Village of Eternal Light
- Maywood, Ill Police (2016)
Certificate of appreciation for dedication and support in law enforcement efforts
- West Suburban Chief Association (2016)
Unity Change Maker Award
- West Suburban Action Project (2016)
Legislator of the Year Award
- Illinois Association of School Social Workers (2016)
Honor for legislative advocacy on homeless and housing service funding
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (2016)
Kwame Mack Humanitarian Award: Legislator of the Year
- The Answer Inc. (2016)
Honorary Host Committee Member
- A Safe Haven (2016)
Recognition of Outstanding Service to the Schools of the State of Illinois
- Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (2016)
Zeke Giorgi Award - Outstanding IL Labor Legislator
Illinois AFL-CIO (2016)
Bold Leadership Award
The Monroe Foundation (2015)
Legislator of the Year
LeadingAge Illinois (2015)
Appreciation for Support and Dedication to the Summit of Hope
Illinois Department of Corrections (2013)
Compassionate Service Award
Outside the Walls Academy (2013)
Progressive Community Service Award
Progressive Life-Giving Word Cathedral (2013)
Congratulations on being a compassionate Christian
Vision of Restoration (2012)
Thanks for contributing for the future of students from school dists. 209, 89, and 91
Community Champions (2012)
Image Award for Outstanding Service in the Community
- PLCCA, Inc. (2011)
PLCCA, Inc. (2006)
Community Leader of the Year
The Broadview Chamber of Commerce
Partners in Quality Award
Recognition of support in promoting the health and awell-being of the youth through soccer
- Copa Refrescos de Mexico (Melrose Park)
Appreciation for Timeless Service and dedication to Illinois teacher education
Illinois Association of Colleges & Teacher Education
Legislative Accomplishment in support of Teacher Preparation
Outstanding commitment as an elected Official
Hustle up the Hancock presented
- Illinois Respiratory Health Association