Rep. Friess’ Week in Review – 10/8/21

Firearms Report

I’ve been an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment my entire life. I believe, as our founders did, that everyone has a God-given right to carry arms. Whether for hunting or self-defense and everything in between, this right shall not be infringed. 

That said, a new report from the Illinois Auditor General shows that Illinois’ current FOID card system, and the accompanying Conceal-Carry License system, are wholly failing the people of Illinois who are trying to exercise their constitutional right. The report shows that since 2019, the Illinois State Police has been failing to keep up with the demand for licensure and has been failing to meet constitutional deadlines for approval required for each card. These continued delays and backlogs have caused numerous lawmakers, including myself, to call for revoking the requirements. Illinois is one of only four states to have a FOID card system. It’s time to remove ours as well.

ISBE Overreach

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education have been found to have acted in an overreaching fashion in cases of withdrawing recognition of schools who have failed to comply with their mandated COVID procedures. The State Superintendent, Carmen Ayala, had taken it upon herself to summarily withdraw recognition to nonpublic schools for breach of mandates without first investigating the claims. A court found this to be improper, and as such, ISBE has altered its procedures. That said, this blatant disregard for nonpublic schools and the autonomy they hold is frightening and is sadly another example of government overreach into our lives. Schools should be free to decide how to manage themselves, not big government. 

Congressional Redistricting 

This week, the Illinois General Assembly began holding a series of hearings in Chicago, Joliet, Waukegan, Springfield, Peoria, and, Edwardsville. The hearings began on Thursday, October 7, and are scheduled to conclude on Thursday, October 15.  

Like what we saw with the legislative maps this summer, we are confident that these maps will be designed specifically to benefit Democrats and hurt Republicans. For too long, this state has had a history of gerrymandering for political gain. The voters of Illinois have been clear that we need an independent, bipartisan commission to draw our legislative and congressional maps. It is past time to implement a new way of doing things. We need a process that is fair and open, not closed-off and obscure. We will learn more during veto session later this month.

Veto Session

After holding two brief special sessions in August and September, the Illinois General Assembly will return to Springfield in late October for the fall veto session. The General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, October 19, and is scheduled to adjourn on Thursday, October 28.  

In addition to congressional maps, we are expecting the General Assembly to also take steps to address the looming threat of more than $4.3 billion in emergency debts borrowed by the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund

Interest (charged at a rate of 2.27%) has begun accumulating on this debt, which was borrowed to pay unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.