While this week was scheduled to be the last week of our spring legislative session in Springfield, it didn’t turn out that way. Instead, we will be returning next week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Why? Because the majority party couldn’t produce a budget by their own self-imposed deadline.
As we go into the last few days of legislative session, I promise to fight hard to represent you to the best of my abilities. You can follow along live at https://ilga.gov/houseaudvid.asp on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
As usual, thank you for making our communities what they are. I am honored to serve as your State Representative.
State Representative David Friess
Statement Concerning Democrats’ Budget Stalling Tactics
We knew that state revenues would decline when pandemic aid from the federal government ended. Instead of planning for that decline, Democrats in the General Assembly made long-term spending promises with the temporary funds, setting us up for a very difficult budgeting situation ahead.
Now, in the final session day before we are scheduled to adjourn, and 5 months into the calendar year, we have not seen a single page of what will probably be a several thousand page, $50 Billion Dollar budget.
The House calendar came out in January. The Governor’s Budget Address was in February. It is the middle of May. We have been in Springfield about 15 weeks and yet the Governor and Majority Party have zero problems with no one outside their secret circle knowing what is going on. Drafting a $50B budget behind closed doors, in secret, is not how Illinois should be run. The process is shameful, and we deserve better.
Statement on the Need for Ethics Reform in Springfield
If we are going to create a corruption-free environment in Springfield, we have to work together to make that happen. As long as corruption is present in our system, we cannot meet the needs of the people we represent to our fullest ability, and that is NOT acceptable. As legislators, we are here to fight for what’s best for the people we represent. As long as corruption stands in the way of that, I will do everything in my power to stand against it.
This past week, we passed HB0351, which is an encouraging step in the right direction. This legislation dictates that a person convicted of a felony, bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime for an offense committed while he or she was serving as a public official in the state is ineligible to hold any local public office unless the person’s conviction is reversed.
We need to pass more legislation like HB0351. I will support any bills that help lessen the corruption prevalent in Springfield.
Rep. Friess Releases Statement on the Passing of SB1909
Illinois is already the most radically pro-abortion state in the nation, yet the majority party in Springfield is still not satisfied. The democrats now, through SB 1909, seek to amend the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The amendment specifically identifies and names pregnancy centers and purports to prohibit pregnancy centers from the “use or employment of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation … to interfere with or prevent an individual from seeking to gain entry or access to a provider of abortion.” In reality, the amendment targets crisis pregnancy centers in our state and seeks to unlawfully ban pregnancy centers from exercising their Constitutional right to free speech and prohibit people from telling pregnant women about the negative side effects of an abortion.
It breaks my heart to say this, but it appears that the democrats do not want to give expecting mothers an option to terminate their pregnancy and kill their unborn child. In addition, SB 1909 is an example of state government going far beyond the Constitution, pro-life advocates have an absolute Constitutional right to speak to women about pro-life options. If advocates of abortion celebrate a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions free of interference from politicians, why are those same advocates using the power of government to interfere with a woman’s ability to seek services and care from a pregnancy center?
This hypocrisy needs to end. If advocates of abortion truly wished to defend “a woman’s right to choose”, they wouldn’t exclusively advocate for abortion clinics, but would equally advocate for pregnancy care centers and the services they provide. Pregnancy care centers provide women with life-saving options for their reproductive care needs.
Rep. Friess Honors Mentors and Mentees at Women’s Leadership Initiative Dinner
On May 4th, 2023 State Representative Friess honored participants in the culmination of the Spring session of the Women’s Leadership Initiative. Each mentor received a Certificate of Appreciation for their dedication to the goals and success of the program. Each Mentee received a Certificate of Completion. The dinner was held at the Broadway Bayou restaurant in Sparta, IL. Everyone in attendance shared personal stories of the mentorship program and how their experience positively affected them.
Each session a request is sent to each high school administration in Representative Friess’s district to select students that not only meet the qualifications but can benefit from the experience. Upon the recommendations of the school administration, three of our students were selected from Sparta High School. Thank you to Abbey Miles, Spartas Guidance Councilor for selecting three outstanding students: Ellie Grobb, (Sr. Sparta HS) Latrice Littlepage (Jr. Sparta HS and Layla Cahoon. From Red Bud High School, Principal Guehne selected Emma Heineman (Jr. Red Bud HS). This session, nominations were open to Juniors as well as Seniors.
The program will start again in the fall. If you are a Junior or Senior within Representative Friess’ District (which includes Randolph, Monroe, Perry, Jackson, and portions of Washington County), please make your school administration aware that you have an interest in participating in the Women’s Leadership Initiative.
The space is limited to a small number of students each session. Being an alumnus of the program gives you support long after your session ends.
If you are a female leader in the community and would like to become a mentor, please call Representative Friess’ District Office in Red Bud at 618-282-7248
During each session of the program, we ask leaders of our community to help our mentees along the way. Red Bud’s Mayor Susan Harbaugh has volunteered her time since the inception of the program. Linda Adkisson – Nurse Practitioner /Administrator – in Cape Girardeau, and Dawn LaPorte – Forensic Scientist – in Texas, were instrumental to the effectiveness of the program, sharing their experience and knowledge in fields which the students have expressed an interest.
Governor’s Office revises FY23 revenue numbers sharply downward. The revision came in the monthly report that is required by law to be presented by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) to the Legislative Budget Oversight Commission. By statute, the Oversight Commission oversees compliance by the executive branch with the budgets enacted by the General Assembly. In April 2022, the legislative branch enacted a budget for FY23 (the 12-month period starting on July 1, 2022, and ending on June 30, 2023) that was believed at the time to be in surplus.
The General Assembly’s budget-monitoring arm, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), has already warned that Illinois’ FY23 tax revenues are falling far short of projections. Tax payments made to the Department of Revenue (IDOR) in the key tax payment month of April 2023 generated disappointing numbers. Now, GOMB has updated its April 2023 and FY23 numbers to reflect these tax shortfalls. The gap is a massive one. For example, GOMB had expected that, for April 2023, the State would receive individual income tax payments of $3.77 billion. In reality, the State received only $3.13 billion from this source in April 2023, leading to a shortfall of $637 million for the month. Corporate income tax payments and sales tax payments also fell short of expectations in April.
The GOMB report confirms that sharp, bipartisan action will be necessary if the General Assembly is to maintain its constitutional responsibilities and enact a balanced budget for the approaching FY24. With many facets of the global economy slowing down, money is coming in well below projections, and this is not a problem that going to go away. At the same time, many Democrats in Springfield are pushing for new spending programs and more generous funding for existing programs. The balanced annual Illinois State Budget is a Constitutional requirement set forth in Section 2 of Article VIII of the Illinois Constitution.
As Republicans push back against ballooning costs associated with free health care for undocumented immigrants, Democrats shut Republicans out of budget talks. The Medicaid-style health benefits program for undocumented immigrants now costs $1.1 billion, which is $880 million more than had been previously projected by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS).
Within the terms of this controversial program, Illinois has repeatedly expanded taxpayer-funded health benefits for undocumented immigrant adults. The current program covers all adults in these categories who are aged 42 and up. These adults are covered in age groups aged 42 to 54, aged 55 to 64, and those aged 65 and up. Immigrant enrollees pay no insurance premiums or co-pays for this taxpayer-funded health benefits program.
Budget analysts say that the cost of this program, which has seen massive expansions in the Democrats’ budgets as recently as April 2022, is now swallowing up almost all of the natural growth in resources enjoyed by the State sector of Illinois’ overall public sector. Because this program is growing so fast, there is no additional money to deal with other urgent priorities.
The Rules of the House and Senate chambers of the Illinois General Assembly provide for appropriations committees to meet, hear witnesses, discuss the budget issues facing Illinois, and allocate available money. In a series of moves associated with Illinois’ current budget shortfall, and with the sharp cost pressures associated with undocumented immigrants and other needs, the hard numbers in the FY24 budget have been pulled out of the appropriations committees and moved behind the Democrats’ closed doors.
Official end to COVID-19 emergency in Illinois. After 1,155 days of continuous rollovers, Governor JB Pritzker allowed the coronavirus emergency proclamations in effect throughout Illinois to expire. The expiration marks the end of more than three years of mandatory stay-at-home orders, partial economic shutdowns, and mandatory facial coverings and vaccinations in a variety of workplaces and settings. These government-ordered precautionary measures changed the daily lives of millions throughout Illinois. The COVID-19 emergency was first declared by disaster proclamation on March 9, 2020, as infectious coronavirus spread into the United States from mainland China.
Illinois was one of the last states to declare an official end to the coronavirus pandemic. By May 2023, 44 of the 50 states had already ended their pandemic states of emergency. The final COVID-19 emergency proclamation orders expired in Illinois on Thursday, May 11.