News Update

Session Update for the week:

Last week we got a late start in Springfield, beginning our work on Wednesday after the Primary Election on Tuesday. Along with being the election, Tuesday was also National Agriculture Day – a day to recognize the hardworking farmers and ag workers throughout the state and to recognize the huge impact agriculture has on our lives and our state’s economy. I have the privilege of serving as the Minority Spokesperson on the Agriculture Committee in the House, meaning I am the top Republican on the Committee. In that role, I regularly get to advocate for our farmers, ag businesses, and overall our agriculture community.

In Springfield last week, we mainly held committee hearings and voted on legislation in committee. In this newsletter, I am going to give you an update on some of the legislation that I’m watching along with:

Legislation I’m Watching –

As we move through committees, there have been bills introduced in the House that are outrageous. I recently updated you on a bill that would bring California environmental regulations to Illinois. Thankfully, there was enough push-back on the bill, that we think it will not move forward. But, there are other proposals that I’m watching that I will work against them passing. Here’s a list of a few:

 House Bill 4876 – would amend the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to say an “abused child” is one whose parents deny abortion services, or “gender-affirming services”.

This could mean having your minor children removed from your home simply because you won’t allow them to make permanent medical decisions that you may determine are unsafe. You can read more here.

House Bill 5152 – would create a $500 income tax credit available for taxpayers who permanently relocate to Illinois from a state with more stringent abortion laws or laws that restrict access to gender-affirming care. Why would we give taxpayer dollars to out of state citizens seeking abortions or gender transitions?

House Bill 4603 – would prohibit police from pulling drivers over for practically any moving violation. This includes: failing to display license plates or registration stickers; driving with an expired sticker; improper lane usage; defective mirrors, bumpers, or windshield wipers; excessive window tint; failure to wear a seatbelt; excessive exhaust; or speeding up to 25 mph over the limit. It would also limit the evidence that can be used from traffic stops at trial.

This means that virtually all traffic stops – which play a vital role in community safety – would cease to exist.

House Bill 1231 – would mandate Chicago businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, or pawn shops to hire private security guards. I wonder why they would need private security – the Democrats in Illinois defund police, pass policies that prioritize criminals, and then after crime goes up, they require businesses to hire private security? Maybe we should just punish criminals and support our law enforcement.

House Bill 4895 – would require that, “every public high school shall include instruction on climate change and the impacts and causes of climate change in grades 9 through 12.” This bill makes almost every science class in high school a climate change class. We need to let our teachers teach and keep political agendas out of the classroom.

House Bill 4239 – would mandate that Illinois medical school curriculum include a “course that covers, among other things, the effects of institutional racism on medical education, medical research, and medical care in the United States.” I want our doctors to have the best education. I trust our medical schools to provide that education without social agenda mandates from the state.

House Bill 5568 – aims to make it easier for undocumented migrants to qualify for in-state tuition at Illinois colleges and universities. The bill eliminates the necessity of living with a parent or guardian and attending a state high school for three years. We need to make it easier for actual Illinois residents to afford tuition. This is going to make that problem worse.

Ethics Legislation Proposal –

This week we saw another court filing from the Federal Government in their case against former Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. While the Democrats in Springfield would like to forget about Madigan and move on, we all know that we can’t let that happen. We need to remember that the system that empowered Madigan is still alive and well today.

That is why as House Republicans, we are fighting hard for stronger ethics laws and to hold those in power accountable. One piece of legislation that we have introduced is House Bill 4119 which prohibits elected officials from using their campaign funds to pay for criminal defense. In just a one month period in 2022, Mike Madigan spent $4 million of campaign cash on his legal defense. And he has spent millions more since. This should end. Donors give money to support candidates, not to bail out legal troubles.

Another bill we are supporting, House Bill 1277, would end pension payments while officials are under felony indictments. There are officials like Mike Madigan who are awaiting trial and raking in tens of thousands of dollars a month in a legislative pension. We should end this practice.

This month is Ethics Awareness Month, but it seems like in Illinois we are always aware of the lack of ethics by some in power. I’ll keep fighting to hold these bad actors accountable.

Professional Licensing Proposals –

Of all of the failures of Pritzker’s state agencies, one issue we hear about regularly in our office are challenges people have getting or renewing their professional license with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Among all of the states, Illinois already has more professional licenses than most states. This makes it more difficult for people to get to work.

We are working on proposals to fix the professional licensing delays. As House Republicans, we released a package of legislation aimed at reducing wait times, cutting through red tape, and modernizing technology as Illinoisans seeking employment certification in multiple critical industries continue to face unacceptable wait times and uncertainty.

You can read more here.

Down on the Farm:

During the year in Session, there are a few times when the Farm comes up to Springfield. As I told you last week, we were able to welcome hundreds of FFA students to the Capitol along with some other friends in Ag.

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