Redistricting; LaSalle Veterans Home; Trailer Fees

Welcome to Illinois

Republicans Discuss Redistricting Efforts

On Monday, my Republican colleagues, Representatives Avery Bourne and Tim Butler were joined by Congressman Rodney Davis to discuss the ongoing redistricting hearings that are currently taking place throughout the state. For over twenty hearings, Republicans have called for the need to institute a bipartisan commission that will draw maps in a fair, balanced manner. The current method allows the General Assembly to draw maps along partisan lines which opens the process to gerrymandering. This can lead to unbalanced and unfair maps drawn to help only one party.

The majority of Illinois citizens support a fair maps commission. The majority of legislators, as well as Governor Pritzker, also claim to support a commission. We need to hear from Governor Pritzker on where he stands on this issue. Now is the time for a mapping process that is open, transparent, and citizen-led.

LaSalle Veterans Home Lawsuit Filed against Pritzker Administration. 

The legal action was filed by the executor of Richard John Cieski Sr., a U.S. veteran who had been a patient in a group home operated by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. 

The LaSalle facility had been set up to provide multistage care for U.S. veterans, and their spouses, with multiple pre-existing chronic health conditions. Although patients in this category had already been known to be especially at risk from the COVID-19 coronavirus, the lawsuit alleges that the Illinois Veterans Home did not take sufficient care to prevent the spread of the contagious virus. When the Korean War veteran died on November 15, 2020, COVID-19-related pneumonia was listed as the cause of death.

The Cieski estate’s lawsuit is believed to be the first initiated by a plaintiff seeking recompense for alleged negligence at LaSalle, but other litigation is expected. Thirty-six U.S. veterans died at LaSalle in November and December. Other COVID-19 deaths have taken place at two of the three other veterans homes operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Forty-six death certificates, associated with State veterans’ homes in Quincy and Manteno, list the coronavirus. A joint report published in March 2021 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, with the cooperation of two State agencies, showed that all four State veterans homes lacked implementation of standardized infection prevention practices.      

Trailer Fee Reductions

Calls grew louder on the House floor this week as Reps. Bourne and Butler, along with Democrat Rep. Marty Moylan, all voiced their support for moving forward with a bill to reduce trailer fees from $118 to $18. Representative Bourne’s HB636 has bipartisan support and I remain hopeful that this fix will move forward soon.

Illinois Unemployment Rate Fell in March 2021.

The Illinois unemployment rate fell to 7.1% for March 2021, a drop of 30 basis points from the 7.4% unemployment rate notched in February.   

While the March 2021 numbers represented a continued improvement in the employment picture of Illinois, the Prairie State continued to underperform both its near neighbor states and the U.S. economy as a whole. 

The nationwide preliminary unemployment rate for March 2021 was 6.09%. Furthermore, Illinois’ March 2021 unemployment rate was nearly double the number counted in March 2020, the last partially pre-pandemic month, when joblessness was 3.7% in Illinois.

Illinois saw rising employment in March 2021 in several specified fields that had been hard-hit in 2020. Nonfarm payrolls were up 32,200 jobs in March. Leisure and Hospitality gained 13,700 jobs statewide. Spurred by a booming housing sector, Construction gained 6,300 jobs in March. 

The Government public sector shrank by 2,600 jobs during the month. 

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