I have been busy making my way around the district talking with constituents and learning about issues that are important to our local communities. This past week I was able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Travel Center coming to Pocahontas and I toured the Marathon Oil facility and attended their Energy Star Award ceremony. I also was able to visit the Murray Center with legislators from throughout Illinois so they could meet the residents and their families and better understand the importance of places like the Murray Center.
I am always watching our state’s finances and with the way the Democrats like to spend taxpayer dollars, it is no surprise that they like to increase taxes whenever they can. Recently, we have seen the average household income in Illinois decline. That means that the income tax revenue we will receive at the state level could also decline in the coming years. We need to watch and be ready to push back should Illinois Democrats try to raise taxes to make up for that decline in income taxes. There was recently an article in The Telegraph with my warnings against the Democrats reintroducing their graduated income tax plan. You can read the whole article here: https://www.thetelegraph.com/news/article/meier-fears-higher-taxes-coming-18372968.php.
SAFE-T Act Ending Cash Bail Implemented This Week
As I mentioned last week, this week the SAFE-T Act began to be implemented in counties across Illinois. It has only been a few days since it began but we have already heard stories of people accused of committing gun offenses being let back out onto the streets.
I voted against the SAFE-T Act and eliminating cash bail. I believe there will be many unintended consequences of this law. Besides the fact that criminals will be put back on the street much faster, individuals faced with drug addiction may not be able to receive the treatment they need in some jurisdictions as they will be put back on the street. Another unintended consequence will affect individuals arrested that have mental health issues. I am talking about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this vulnerable population will be put back on the street instead of being transferred to a state facility for mental health treatment. The unintended consequences of no-cash bail will leave some of our local law enforcement and prosecutors with no choice and limited options.
With that said, I know our courts, prosecutors, and law enforcement are doing everything they can under the law to keep our communities safe. I will do everything I can to support them and welcome their feedback and suggested improvements to help them enforce the law and keep our communities safe.
I was able to talk with Fox 2 about this law and my concerns with eliminating cash bail. You can read the whole story here: https://fox2now.com/news/illinois/no-cash-bail-era-begins-in-illinois-amid-worry-from-prosecutors/
Local Fire Department Grant Opportunity
The Office of the State Fire Marshal announced the application period is open for the Small Equipment Grant Program. The OSFM will award $4 million to eligible fire departments and ambulance services for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment. All interested departments should send an application to OSFM electronically or postmarked by December 15, 2023.
The Small Equipment Grant Program was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 to eligible departments. A total of $1.5 million was awarded to 64 fire departments/districts and EMS providers across the state in March.
This program is an innovative approach to a problem that has long caused difficulties for the fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services in Illinois, particularly those that have hardships in generating the necessary revenue for small equipment. The grants allow eligible applicants the opportunity to purchase small tools and equipment that they may otherwise not be able to purchase. In addition to firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE), applicants can also apply for personal infection control items such as masks, gowns, and gloves this application cycle. Most Illinois fire departments, fire protection districts, and township fire departments are eligible to apply. In addition, stand-alone, not-for-profit ambulance service providers are eligible to apply.
All applicants are required to have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for a minimum of two years prior to applying. The OSFM will require departments to be current from September 2021 through August 2023 for this grant period.
Additional information including the application can be found here: https://sfm.illinois.gov/…/firede…/grants-and-loans.html
Completed applications should be submitted to:
Office of the State Fire Marshal
Small Equipment Grant Program
1035 Stevenson Drive
Springfield, IL 62703
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