First Bill Passes out of the House
My first piece of legislation has passed out of the House. HB1755 allows the Kaskaskia Regional Port District, and similar port districts throughout the state, to apply for and accept grants, loans, or appropriations from both the federal and State government. Knowing the importance of port districts to local economies and beyond, I am very excited about this legislation and the benefits it can bring to District 166. Senator Terri Bryant will carry the bill forward in the Senate on my behalf.
Republican Leaders Talk Dem Hypocrisy
On Wednesday, Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Representatives Spain, Brady, and Butler called into question Democrats’ beliefs in a fair, bipartisan mapping process. Democrat leaders plan to use data from the American Community Survey to draw legislative and Congressional maps by June 30. However, this data is incomplete and fails to include everyone counted during the 2020 census. Illinois is not slated to receive that data until the middle of August or early September.
My colleagues argued that the use of incomplete data will lead to poorly drawn districts that will fail to properly account for population and demographics. We continue to believe the best possible solution is an independent, bipartisan commission to fairly draw the maps based on full US Census data. Anything less opens the door for further gerrymandering by the Democrat party, continuing the tradition of unfair elections in Illinois.
We must not forget that Speaker Welch is on record of supporting a bipartisan commission. In a 2016 op-ed entitled “Why Redistricting Ensures Minority Representation” then-Representative Welch argues for the passage of HJRCA58, a “comprehensive, bipartisan measure that will put an independent commission in charge of drawing state legislative district boundaries and protect minority representation.” Just last year, democrats supported efforts to institute a fair maps commission. Now they have gone back on those promises.
Leadership Term Limits
On Thursday afternoon, we passed HB642 which imposes term limits on leadership positions in the General Assembly on a nearly unanimous 115-0-1 vote. I was proud to have been a co-sponsor of the legislation. This is an important first step forward from out of the shadow that was Mike Madigan. I believe that we now need to go further and institute term limits for other lawmakers as well. I propose a 10 to 12 year limit for all lawmakers. We need to avoid incentivizing career politicians.
Evansville Public Library and Technology Take Apart Day
I recently had the pleasure of donating some old pieces of technology to the Evansville Public Library for their upcoming Technology Take Apart Day. This is a fun event where kids will be able to see the inner workings of many common items from our everyday lives.
Illinois Caverns to Reopen for the First Time in Over 10 Years
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the plans to reopen Illinois Caverns. The cave system, one of two famous systems in Monroe County, has been closed since 2010 due to the presence of White Nose Syndrome found in bats. Thankfully, WNS has declined, and repairs are now able to be made in the caves. I look forward to tracking the progress towards reopening and sharing these updates with you.
2021 US Open and Grand American
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has also recently announced authorization for the World Shooting Complex in Sparta to host both the US Open and Grand American competitions this year. This is welcome news in light of some previous concerns surrounding the facility and the state of Illinois.
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