Spring Session Comes to a Close
The Illinois House of Representatives came to a close early Tuesday morning. It was another spring of bad policy and poor leadership from the House Democrats. Let’s dive into some of the highlights:
Late Night Budget
With little time to review, Democrats passed a budget with $42.3 billion in revenue and $42.2 billion in spending. You might think that sounds balanced, but the details tell us otherwise. This budget heavily taxes our small businesses with measures such as reinstating the franchise tax, capping the losses a business can deduct, and raising taxes on foreign income. To make matters worse, the budget includes $1 billion in pork projects for Democrat lawmakers. We had a chance to pass a truly balanced budget and get relief to our job creators; however, the Democrats forced through a budget that will only drive more people out of Illinois.
Election Laws and Gerrymandered Maps
Last week, with just days left in the legislative calendar, Democrats introduced and passed legislative maps for the House and Senate that were drawn and gerrymandered in purely partisan fashion. These maps were drawn behind locked doors in the Stratton building where democrat members could come and pick their voters. Governor Pritzker vowed to veto any maps drawn this way, so we will see if he holds onto his word.
In the meantime, Democrats also passed SB825 which rewrites our election laws. Included in the language was moving the primary date to June 28th, 2022, allowing county jails to have polling places for incarcerated individuals, allowing politicians to illegally buy gas with their campaign funds, and allowing counties to use American Survey Data to draw county maps. Democrats rigged the maps, and now they’re rigging our elections.
(Mostly) Fixing the Trailer Fee Increase
Last year, before I entered office, the General Assembly voted to increase trailer license fees from $18 to $118. This caused outrage among many members and their constituents, especially in rural communities. In a rare effort of cooperation, we passed SB58 which rolled back that increase to $36 per year. While it wasn’t the full rollback we wanted, it was a compromise that will ease burden on Illinoisans.
Ethics Bill Passes
Late Monday night, the House passed SB539 which was this year’s attempt at an ethics reform package. This bill was a far cry from what Illinois needs, and its citizens demand, in terms of ethics reforms. The fact that we considered an ethics bill at all is a step forward, and for that reason, I voted yes. But don’t get me wrong, there is a long way to go before we root out corruption in Illinois. This year alone, House Republicans introduced more than 3 dozen ethics reforms in the General Assembly. Our ethics reform packages are much tougher and would help prevent much of the corruption we continue to see. Something was better than nothing, but to restore public trust we must continue to fight for stronger reforms.
Bad Bill of the Week
SB 667 further erodes the authority of local law enforcement and its ability to cooperate with federal agencies on the issue of illegal immigration. The bill sets forth that the existing agreements between local jails and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must end by Jan. 1, 2022. The bill also prohibits any future agreements between ICE and local units of governments to house or detain individuals for federal civil immigration violations.
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