Governor Pritzker Visits Sparta
On Tuesday, Governor Pritzker visited the district to announce a new mobile vaccination site at the Worldwide Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta. He followed the announcement by stating that anyone who receives the vaccine at the WSRC mobile site will receive 100 free targets of trap, skeet, or sporting clays for use at the WSRC. The site is set to be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 14th, and Saturday, May 15th for adults 18 and over.
Additionally, I am pleased to say it looks very promising for the WSRC to once again be hosting the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships. This is a major economic boon for our area and an exciting event. I will keep you up to date on details as we get closer to the event.
Legislative Maps and Secret Rooms
A Wednesday evening report from WCIA’s Mark Maxwell uncovered the secret room where Democrats are drawing their legislative maps. After months of Democrat lawmakers calling for an open and transparent process, we find it hypocritical that they are hiding their plans behind a keypad-locked, nondescript door on the 4th floor in the Stratton Building.
My House Republican colleagues held a press conference just outside the secret meeting room. There, they called out Democrats for their lack of transparency. This is unacceptable behavior from our Democrat counterparts. Furthermore, we must use U.S. Census Bureau data for this process. Currently, Democrats have decided to move forward with data from the American Community Survey. This data doesn’t include the detailed, block-level data showing exactly where people live – the kind of data needed to draw equal-size legislative districts.
While Democrats continue to work in the dark, Republicans will continue to fight for open, transparent mapping and the creation of an independent, bipartisan committee to fairly drawn maps so that no one party can continue to gerrymander the state to their will.
Illinois Set to Move to “Bridge Phase”
This long-awaited transition will create a rapid pathway towards Phase 5. The Bridge Phase, set to begin on Friday, May 14, will enable expanded table service at Illinois bars and restaurants. It will also loosen remaining restrictions on indoor crowd sizes at weddings, festivals, and group banquet events. Many places of work and personal service, including offices, places of personal care such as hair salons, museums, theaters, amusement arcades and parks, and health and fitness classes, will be authorized to operate at 60% of capacity. During the Bridge Phase, COVID-19 metrics will continue to be monitored closely by the Illinois Department of Public Health, including new coronavirus positivity diagnoses, hospital admissions, and the numbers of persons assigned to ICU beds with COVID-19. The Bridge Phase announcement was made on Thursday, May 6.
Invest in Kids under Threat
With time running out to enact a state budget for FY22, the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2021, a key feature of Illinois income tax law is endangered by the budget plan put forward by Gov. Pritzker. The Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program offers a 75 percent income tax credit to individuals and businesses that contribute to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs). The SGOs then provide scholarships for students whose families meet the income requirements to attend qualified, non-public schools in Illinois.
Supporters of these private schools, including the Catholic Conference of Illinois, say these scholarships are an essential part of helping schools operate and welcome students from all backgrounds. However, the Pritzker budget plan would sharply reduce the tax credits used to fund these scholarships. The future of the Invest in Kids program is at stake and will be part of the State budget negotiations going forward.
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