In this issue:
- Injunction issued against gun ban
- Guilty verdicts in ComEd corruption trial
- Fighting against possible McLean County tax increase
- Illinois headlines
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.
Federal judge issues injunction against gun ban law
Late on Friday a federal judge issued an injunction against the gun ban which was passed by the General Assembly in January and signed into law shortly thereafter by Governor Pritzker. The judge found that there is a likelihood of unconstitutionality and halted enforcement of the ban. But on Thursday an appeals court placed a stay on the injunction, meaning the law can be enforced, though that action can be appealed to the Supreme Court by the plaintiffs.
House Republicans argued all along that this legislation was an unconstitutional infringement on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Illinoisans. Multiple lawsuits were filed in state and federal court against this new law, which was rushed through the lame duck session of the legislature early in January.
There could be additional court action taken on this issue. I will be keeping a close eye on further developments and will keep you posted.
Guilty verdicts in ComEd Four corruption trial
On Tuesday afternoon a federal jury in Chicago returned guilty verdicts against four executives of Commonwealth Edison accused in a bribery and corruption scandal. The trial brought to light the kinds of practices that big special interests have used to get their preferred legislation passed. It also highlighted the ties the defendants had with former Speaker of the Illinois House, Mike Madigan. Madigan faces his own corruption trial next spring.
With these convictions, yet another influence-peddling scandal in state government has been exposed. How much more of this do Illinoisans have to suffer before we pass the kind of significant ethics reform which we need in order to clean up state government?
Fighting against possible McLean County tax increase
A bill has been proposed which would expand the Central Illinois Regional Airport Authority to cover all of McLean County. This could include expanding a property tax levy to rural areas of the county not currently included.
Last week I was one of the four House members who represent a part of McLean County who wrote to the chair of the House State Government Administration committee asking him to postpone consideration of this bill until the people of McLean County can weigh in on it. Unfortunately, our plea was ignored and the bill has now advanced to the House floor.
Click here to read our letter.
Public Safety Working Group unveils legislation to protect Illinoisans
Since the start of this General Assembly in January a group of my fellow House Republicans have been working on legislation to fight back against growing crime in Illinois. A few days ago they released their recommendations and a package of bills to take action.
The final project from the Truth in Public Safety working group includes bills to “protect crime victims, restore cash bail with reforms, and recruit and retain police officers.” It was created after months of discussions with law enforcement and crime victim advocates. That is a stark contrast to the process that was used to create the SAFE-T Act in 2021.
In all, the project includes 20 bills split among three categories. To protect victims of crime, the proposals include legislation to ban probation for offenders convicted of a felony sex offense and expands the definition of aggravated domestic battery to include offenses against victims over the age of 60.
Another part of the proposal restores cash bail, which was eliminated by the SAFE-T Act, with reforms. As one of the sponsors said, it “considers the rights of the accused, but not at the expense of the remainder of Illinois residents.”
The third section addresses the shortage of police officers which has grown acute in the last few years. It includes proposals to remove the ability to file anonymous complaints against officers, creates a loan repayment program for officers working in under-staffed areas, and my bill to establish a Back the Badge Program for helping local police departments recruit the best officers around.
Click here to read the full proposal.
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 $901,201,343. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $2.1 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.