Latest News

IDNR Accepting Applications for Recreational Trails Program (RTP), Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV), and Illinois Bicycle Path (Bike Path) Grant Programs

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced applications will be accepted through March 14 for grants through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV), and Illinois Bicycle Path Grant Programs beginning on January 14, 2019.

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a reimbursement grant program that provides 80 percent of project funding with a required 20 percent local match. This grant program is federally funded and is administered by the IDNR in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The funds can be used to assist government agencies and trail groups in the rehabilitation, development, maintenance, and acquisition of recreational trails and related facilities. The trails may be motorized, non-motorized, or multiple use trails. RTP funds can also be used for environmental protection and safety education projects related to trails. This program is funded through the transfer of federal gas taxes paid on fuel used in off-highway vehicles used for recreational purposes. The program generally has $1.5 million available for grants, with a maximum development grant amount of $200,000. There is no maximum on acquisition grants. 

State Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, has signed as co-sponsor of an amendment to the Illinois Constitution filed in the House of Representatives on Thursday that would take the process of redrawing legislative districts out of the hands of politicians in Springfield and instead establish an independent commission to ensure that districts are not drawn primarily to favor one political party over another.

The amendment Representative Keicher has signed on to co-sponsor is HJRCA 10, introduced by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs.  The amendment presently has 43 co-sponsors.

“We are long overdue for an independent map drawing process that will protect voter rights, create a more transparent process and make legislative races more competitive with more qualified candidates running for office,” Keicher said. “Under our proposal, Illinois families would be guaranteed to live in districts where communities are not carved up for partisan advantage, but rather are drawn to reflect common-sense geographic boundaries. By taking politics out of the process, we can let voters choose their legislators instead of the other way around. Fair maps are better for everyone in Illinois.”

If enacted, the amendment co-sponsored by Representative Keicher would be effective beginning with redistricting in 2021 and applied to members of the General Assembly elected in 2022 and thereafter.

Proposed amendments to the Illinois Constitution require approval by a three-fifths majority in both the Illinois House of Representatives (71 votes) and the Illinois State Senate (36 votes).

Recent citizen-led initiatives to put a Fair Maps amendment on the Illinois ballot have all been derailed. The first effort was initiated by the League of Women Voters in 2010, intended for the 2012 statewide ballot. With only modest funding, volunteer labor, and a late start, the process came to an end when it appeared unlikely that enough signatures would be collected to put the measure on the 2012 ballot.

A second effort, YES for Independent Maps, was launched in 2013, initiated by the group CHANGE Illinois. This time, by 532,000 signatures were collected from across Illinois. The initiative came to an end when an elections attorney for the Illinois Democratic Party, Michael Kasper, defending the current system, filed legal challenges. In a decision that kept the Amendment from appearing the ballot, a judge ruled the measure unconstitutional.

Advocates of independent redistricting tried again in 2016. This time, over 560,000 verified signatures were collected. A series of legal challenges went all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court, which ruled 4-3 to keep the Independent Maps amendment off the ballot.

According to a poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, 72 percent of Illinois residents, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, support the creating of an independent commission to draw legislative district maps. Constituents who wish to sign an online petition in support of Independent Maps can do so by visiting Representative Keicher’s website at 

For questions or more information, please contact Representative Keicher’s office at (815) 748-3494.
View from Rep. Keicher's seat as Governor JB
Pritzker delivers his inaugural address.

State Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, issued the following statement after attending the inauguration of JB Pritzker as the 43rd Governor of the State of Illinois:

Today I attended the inauguration of Governor JB Pritzker in Springfield. It was encouraging to hear the Governor set a positive tone for Illinois’ future while being realistic about the many challenges we face together. I will work on behalf of the families of the 70th District with Governor Pritzker on solutions to strengthen Illinois’ ag economy, be a champion for NIU and our students, and provide a stable and secure safety net for individuals and families with special needs. There is a lot of room for bipartisan agreement and achievement in these areas and more. I am concerned with the extent of spending and taxation discussed today and hope there’s a recognition of the tipping point we find ourselves as a state in that regard. While we may differ at times on the best course of action, we all share the goal of restoring Illinois as a thriving state where everyone can afford to raise a family and pursue their dreams. That’s a pretty good place to start from at the dawn of our third century as a state.”

The Secretary of State’s office will be issuing REAL ID Act-compliant driver’s licenses and IDs (DL/IDs) at Driver Services facilities statewide by April 2019 to Illinois residents who want them.

It is important to emphasize that there is no urgency for residents to obtain a REAL ID-compliant DL/ID because Illinois’ existing driver’s licenses and IDs are acceptable for domestic travel and entry into military bases and secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020.  Individuals who have a passport (which can be used in place of a REAL ID DL/ID), or who do not travel by air or enter military bases or secure federal facilities will have the option of obtaining a standard DL/ID.
Inauguration of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield.

State Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, was sworn in for his first full term on Wednesday, joining all 118 members of the Illinois House of Representatives for the inauguration of the 101st General Assembly held at the Sangamon Auditorium on the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield. Keicher has represented Illinois’ 70th District since July 2018 serving portions of DeKalb, Kane and Boone Counties.

“I will work to find common ground with our incoming Governor on needed changes to create jobs, strengthen schools, support our agriculture industry and enact meaningful and lasting property tax relief,” Keicher said. “We also need to do a better job of keeping our best and brightest students in Illinois after they graduate high school. Whether they choose to pursue a college education, attend a trade school, or start their career in today’s job market, we have to make Illinois a place of opportunity for everyone.” 

The House of Representatives for the new 101st General Assembly is comprised of 74 Democrats and 44 Republicans. Representative Michael J. Madigan of Chicago was re-elected Speaker of the House for another two-year term. Representative Jim Durkin of Western Springs was re-elected Minority Leader.
If you and your family are interested in visiting some of Chicago’s world-class museums, Rep. Keicher’s office has a museum pass to use for free admission for select Chicagoland locations. Any resident of the 70th District can reserve our Constituent Education Resource Card on a first come, first served basis, to visit any of the following museums in 2019:

Immediately upon ringing in the New Year, 253 new laws will become effective in 2019 that have wide ranging impact. Here are few of those laws families should know about:

  • Children under the age of 2 years old must be restrained in rear facing car seats unless they weigh 40 or more pounds or are 40 or more inches tall. (PA100-0672)
  • Every Illinois school will be required to conduct at least one law-enforcement led active shooter drill a year. School safety drills must be conducted within 90 days of the start of the school year. (PA100-0996)
  • Nursing mothers upon request will be exempt from jury duty. (PA100-0696)
  • Stalking laws expanded to include messages sent through social media. Additionally, businesses, places of worship and schools can seek restraining orders against stalkers.
  • The Lyme Disease Prevention and Protection Act was enacted opening the door in Illinois for new treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. (PA100-1137)
  • All children in kindergarten and the second, sixth, and ninth grades of any public, private or parochial school shall have a dental examination. (PA100-829)