News from State Representative Jason R. Bunting
In this issue:
- Legislation would keep Constitutional challenges out of local courts
- Unbalanced state budget signed into law
- Going to Chicago during summer vacation?
- 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.
Traveling long distances for judicial access
Over the past few years Illinoisans have sued the state, challenging the constitutionality of state actions like the stay-at-home orders during COVID and the recent gun ban legislation. These Illinois citizens went to the courthouse in their home county and filed their lawsuit. In some cases, judges agreed with them and ruled against the mandates and laws. But thanks to legislation passed in the closing days of session, that may no longer be an option for many.
House Bill 3062 prevents Illinois citizens from having lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of laws or executive orders heard in any county besides Sangamon (Springfield) and Cook (Chicago). House Republicans strenuously opposed the bill, arguing that it is unconstitutional to deny individuals the right to petition their government at the local level if they feel their rights have been infringed upon.
The legislation drastically increases the time and expense involved with filing suit against the state if a resident of one of the state’s other 100 counties feels their constitutional rights have been infringed. Illinois should be striving to uphold the principles of fairness, equal treatment and consistency in the legal system, not making it harder for millions of Illinoisans to exercise them just because of where they live.
Governor signs unbalanced state budget
The $50-billion state budget has been signed into law by Governor Pritzker. The budget is one of the largest spending bills in the history of the state of Illinois. It raises pay for legislators by 5% and spends $550 million on free health care for undocumented immigrants. Left out of the budget was any kind of tax relief for Illinoisans, who will now see their taxes on purchases like groceries and medicine go up.
This budget takes $700 million away from state assistance to local governments and repurposes it to the state’s General Revenue Fund to help pay for all this spending. The local governments will have to replace the money they lose from this move, possibly by having to raise local property taxes. Illinois is second only to New Jersey in having the highest property taxes in the country.
I opposed this budget because I believe the people of Illinois deserve better.
Heading to Chicago this summer?
Are you planning a trip to Chicago during summer vacation? We have many available dates remaining for the Museum Constituent Education Resource Card! Please take advantage of free admission for 4 to any of the following:
Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Chicago Botantic Garden
Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago History Museum
DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center
The Field Museum
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Lincoln Park Zoo
Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Science and Industry
National Museum of Mexican Art
National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
John G Shedd Aquarium
Please contact Kira by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone at 779-218-3070 to reserve the card!
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 $1,282,136,745. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $2.9 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.