This Week in the 104th District: Session Edition

This week, I traveled to Springfield for the first week of Session. It was an eye-opening experience. I am eager to return and work with my colleagues in bettering Illinois.


Session began on Tuesday. We convened at 2 p.m. the first day. I was introduced to the House Floor by Leader McCombie, with also newly appointed, Representative Nicole La Ha. Following the Leader’s introduction, I was able to express my eagerness to get to work on legislation. 

Adjournment followed on Wednesday, with our next convening scheduled for February 7th. To watch the House Floor live, visit the Illinois General Assembly website, and click “Audio/Video”, which is nested under “House”. The schedule for Session is also available under “Schedules”, nested under “House”. 

On Wednesday, February 21, coming together for a joint Session, Governor Pritzker will address the General Assembly with the Fiscal Year 2025 State of Illinois Budget. 


The University of Illinois system freezes undergraduate tuition for the 2024-2025 school year. This freeze applies to Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, and Chicago campuses. This is the first annual system-wide freeze in more than 25 years. The current U of I in-state tuition rate schedule is $12,712 per year at Urbana-Champaign, $11,178 per year at Chicago, and $321.50 per credit hour at Springfield. Other state universities, such as Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University, are not part of the U of I system and set their own tuition rates. 

U of I student costs will continue to go up for ancillary expenses, headed by on-campus and off-campus housing. An “in-state” student is a student who achieves admission to the University of Illinois system from a home in Illinois. The U of I Board of Trustees decision on tuition was made public on Thursday, January 18.      


Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is suggesting a New Year’s resolution for Illinois motorists: Ditch the DMV.

On Thursday, Alexi Giannoulias announced expanded online services for the “Skip the Line, Do It Online” program to save taxpayers’ time and reduce historically long queues at driver and motor vehicles services facilities. If not via the web, mail and telephone transactions are available.

The expansion includes varied services. A website portal now helps customers determine the exact service they need and necessary subsequent steps. When a visit is necessary, appointments can be made online. Now, text messages will follow to remind them and ask them to confirm or cancel. Two separate telephone lines now cater solely to seniors and teens and their questions.

Since the program launched in September, the secretary of state has taken care of 800,000 motorists by appointment, resulting in little to no wait time, according to Giannoulias. Of 2.25 million drivers needing to renew licenses this year, 1 million can do it online, through the mail or by phone, and the same is true for 10 million vehicle registration renewals.



The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) made changes to its form December 31st. Previously, the form required students and parents to answer multiple questions about finances, to determine aid eligibility. With the new form, the system was meant to be streamlined and easier to fill out. Each institution provides its own priority filing date to receive the most aid. Check your institution’s website for more information or visit to see when the submission deadline is. Below is information about the colleges in the district.

University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana FAFSA

Parkland College FAFSA

Danville Area Community College FAFSA


LIHEAP stands for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, helps individuals with low incomes with utility bills. This organization is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and the State of Illinois and was put in place to help with burdensome utility costs. 

Individuals living in Champaign County may contact the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission for more information about eligibility and organization details or visit the listed websites. 

Champaign County Regional Planning Commission

1776 E. Washington St.

PO Box 17760

Urbana, IL 61803

(217) 328-3313

Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. M-F


Those living in Vermilion County, may contact the East Central Illinois Community Action Agency location in Danville, or use either website to access information. 

56 North Vermilion Street

P.O. Box 1335

Danville, IL 61834

(217) 554-9100

Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. M-F