Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. For the latest news from state government or to share your ideas and opinions, please visit my legislative website at repbunting.com.
Gun ban legislation facing skepticism in federal court
The gun ban bill which was passed and signed in early January has been the focus of many lawsuits in both state and federal court since it was enacted. Three of the cases in federal court were recently the subject of an order by U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn of the Southern District of Illinois, directing the state to provide “illustrative examples of each and every item banned” under the law.
Some observers speculated that the use of this phrase suggested that the judge is taking issue with the vaguer sections of the law. “Unconstitutional vagueness” is a legal term which has been used by federal courts to strike down unconstitutional laws.
The law (which started out as House Bill 5855 but ultimately passed as House Bill 5471) has some sections which are very detailed about what is banned or regulated, and others which are extremely vague. It is not known when the federal courts might issue a ruling. Several suits are still ongoing in state court as well.
Supporting our police
Last Friday I introduced my first piece of legislation, House Bill 3217, the Back the Badge bill.
Over the past few years, our police officers and police departments have been challenged by legislation which has made it much harder for them to keep our communities safe. Officers have retired early or otherwise left the profession, while crime has increased.
My bill would create a Recruitment Division within the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to recruit, hire and train the best police officers anywhere in the country in order to keep Illinois safe.
House Republicans unveil legislative agenda
As this year’s spring session gets rolling, House Republicans are putting forward a positive legislative agenda to produce solutions to some of the most serious problems facing Illinois. In order to come up with legislation to address the challenges we face, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie has set up five working groups of Representatives to look at different issues and develop solutions.
These groups will focus on sustaining and protecting at-risk kids, supporting women and families, reigniting Illinois’ strong economy, addressing student learning loss and improving literacy, and improving public safety to make our neighborhoods safe again.
The working groups will meet with policy experts and everyday Illinoisans to make progress on these important issues. The creation of these working groups, and the legislation that they will produce, is a symbol of House Republicans’ ongoing commitment to working hard in Springfield to enact positive change. There is much work to be done, and we are eager to get started.
This is Grain Bin Safety Week in Illinois
Disaster can strike quickly when working in a grain bin: in just a matter of seconds, a full-grown adult can be buried in grain in the event of an accident. Suffocation from engulfment is a leading cause of death in grain bins according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the State Fire Marshal. To promote safety when working around grain bins, the IDOA and OSFM have joined forces for Grain Bin Safety Week.
Some safety tips for working around grain bins include using a long pole to break up crusted grain from the outside, rather than entering a grain bin; wear a harness with a properly-secured rope; and have a couple of people outside the bin who can help if someone inside becomes trapped. You can find more information by clicking here.
Our current bill backlog
When a vendor provides the state with goods and services, they submit the bill to the Illinois Comptroller for payment. The Comptroller processes the paperwork and pays the bill when funds are available in the state’s checking account. Currently the total amount of unpaid bills is $1,946,461,341. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $3.5 billion in bills awaiting payment. This only includes bills submitted to the Comptroller for payment, not unfunded debts like the state’s pension liability, which is well over $100 billion.