2018 Session Update from Rep. Charlie Meier

The legislature completed its regular session work for the 100th Illinois General Assembly on May 31, 2018. The 2018 session was a busy one for State Representative Charlie Meier. During the 100th GA, Rep. Meier sponsored a total of fifty-one pieces of legislation. Here are a few legislative highlights from this session:

Judicial Election Reform (HB 4176)

If enacted, states that no judge or former judge may submit his or her candidacy for a vacancy in a judicial office by any method other than seeking retention in his or her office, unless that judge or former judge is seeking judicial office in a higher or lower court or he or she has not served as an elected or appointed judge for at least 2 years.

The legislation is in response to the decision made by three St. Clair County judges Baricevic, Haida and LeChien to avoid retention and the requirement to receive 60% voter approval to remain on the bench. Instead, the three judges chose to run for election which only required approval from over 50% of the voters in the November 2016 election.

Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

Income Tax Hike Repeal (HB 4211)

Would repeal the 32 percent income tax hike which took effect in 2017. The current income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95 percent and 7 percent for employers. Rep. Meier’s bill would roll back the income tax to 3.75% on taxable income and 5.25% for employers. Meier’s legislation would reduce the tax burden placed on individuals and families while saving thousands of Illinois jobs.

“Our state continues to lose population because of higher taxes and fewer jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “We need more jobs and less taxes in our state which is why I filed a bill to reduce taxes on individuals and businesses. I voted against the final bill which forced the recent 32 percent income tax hike onto Illinois taxpayers.”

Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

Concealed Carry License for Armed Forces in Illinois (HB 4177)

Creates an exemption for non-resident active duty members of the Armed Forces or their spouses to apply for concealed carry licenses.  “I have been pushing for this bill ever since ISIS put out their hit list on our current and former service members,” said Rep. Meier. “Our service members put their lives at risk to protect our freedom, its common sense that we allow them to protect themselves and their family when they are in public.”
The legislation provides that whether or not the laws of the state where the non-resident resides are substantially similar to Illinois, the Illinois State Police shall allow by rule a non-resident license application if the applicant is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State or the spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State.

Status: Passed Judicial Criminal Committee, then held up by Anti-Gun Lawmakers

Utilizing Fracking Revenue to Pay Illinois Debt (HB 5028)

“This bill will help chip away at Illinois’ debt if and when fracking comes to Illinois,” said Rep. Meier. Provides that 50% of the moneys received under the Hydraulic Fracturing Tax Act shall be paid into the General Revenue Fund and 50% of the moneys received under the Act shall be paid into the Pension Relief Fund (currently, all of the moneys are paid into the General Revenue Fund). Provides that moneys in the Pension Relief Fund shall be used to make employer contributions required under certain provisions of the Illinois Pension Code.

Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

Improving the Ability to add Veteran Designation on Driver’s License (HB 4332)

“This bill was brought to my attention from a constituent, it’s a good bill  to provide more options for Illinois Veterans to more easily obtain a Veteran designation on their driver’s license and identification cards,” said Rep. Meier.

The legislation expands the eligible documents for Veterans to receive the “Veteran” designation on their driver’s license to permit a Veteran to include a Department of Defense form DD-2 (Retired), an identification card issued by the Federal Government, and a United States Department of Veterans Affairs summary of benefits letter to the list of approved documentation in order to receive the designation on a driver’s license.

Status: Passed the House and Senate, now heads to the Governor’s Desk

Cutting Red Tape for Dairy Farmers (HB 4428)

Would allow dairy farms without access to computers or printers to hold a copy of the inspection report, which can eliminate needless inspection point deductions to a dairy farm. Rep. Meier’s legislation provides that the Department of Public Health or a unit of local government electing to administer and enforce the Act shall provide a dairy farm with a paper copy of the dairy farm’s inspection report.

“This bill will certainly correct the burden that dairy farmers are currently faced with,” said Rep. Meier. “Pending the Governor’s signature, this new law will require inspections to go back to the way they have been conducted for decades, requiring the inspector to leave a hard copy of the inspection report to the dairy farm following an inspection – it’s just common sense.”

Status: Passed the House and Senate, now heads to the Governor’s Desk

Opposes Any Tax on Miles Driven by Motorists (HR 766)

Encourages the legislature to take a stand by opposing any Mileage Tax legislation introduced in the General Assembly. Meier’s bill opposes any potential tax on the number of miles driven by Illinois motorists. A mileage tax placed on Illinois drivers has been a topic of discussion in the state legislature.

According to Rep. Meier, “A vehicle mileage tax is outrageous, it would impose undue hardship and disproportionately impact rural Illinoisans who must drive longer distances to work and school. A tax on miles driven places a burden on downstate motorists, a proposal I cannot and will not support.”

Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

Clinton County Veterans Memorial Road (HJR 100)

Passed unanimously out of the House, upon passage in the Senate, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be directed to erect at suitable locations, consistent with state and federal regulations, appropriate plaques or signs giving notice of the name “Clinton County Veterans Memorial Road” along Old US 50 in Clinton County.

“It is highly fitting that we pay honor and respect to the truly great individuals who have served our country and, in doing so, have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” said Rep. Meier. “Their sacrifice and service is a reminder that freedom is not free but comes at a cost. We should always remember the men and women who helped preserve the freedoms that we all enjoy.”

Status: Awaiting approval in the Senate

Welcoming New Solar Jobs and Protecting Farmland (SB 2591)

Will require commercial solar energy developers to enter into an agricultural impact mitigation agreement (AIMA) with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). This legislation to help generate more solar projects while protecting farmland now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature in order to become law. Rep. Meier anticipates his proposal will help create more solar energy jobs in the state.

“These commercial solar projects are coming in quickly and creating a lot of jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “Everything is different in their contracts. Establishing a uniform standard for commercial solar projects will help provide some standards for landowners and help make sure there is financial protection for decommissioning the projects. We want to make sure this is done right while protecting Illinois’ number one industry, agriculture.”

Status: Passed the House and Senate, now heads to the Governor’s Desk

To check the latest status of any legislation listed above, please visit www.ilga.gov.