Rep. Bunting’s Springfield news update for February 23

In this issue:

  • State of the State and Budget Address
  • Opposing a bill to force California emission standards on Illinois
  • Gun ban appealed to U.S. Supreme Court
  • Education Advisory Committee

State of the State and Budget Address

This week we heard Governor Pritzker deliver his State of the State address and outline his budget proposal for the coming year.

Instead of a plan for more responsible spending and finding efficiencies to help address our $775 million deficit, he proposed to continue the spending spree and raise taxes to pay for it. The Governor also doubled down on more state spending for health care for undocumented immigrants in Chicago. So far, the state has spent $1.6 billion on health care benefits for undocumented immigrants – with no end in sight.

Republicans have called for accountability in state spending, for no new taxes, for tackling our pension debt, for reforming our ethics laws and for fixing poorly-functioning state agencies. The Governor had very little to say about any of these in his speech. It was also disappointing that there was no mention of our bipartisan estate tax reform legislation or extending the successful Invest in Kids scholarship program.

Illinois has lost population for ten consecutive years. We have the second-highest property taxes in the country, and one of the most corrupt political environments of any state.

We need to make significant changes. The Governor only proposed more of the same.

Opposing a bill to force California emission standards on Illinois

My office received dozens of calls, emails and text messages about House Bill 1634, legislation to allow California bureaucrats to make policy for trucks in Illinois. I oppose this bill and will vote No on it if it comes up on the House floor.

HB 1634 would require the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to implement the motor vehicle emission standards of the state of California.

The bill was scheduled for a hearing in the House Energy and Environment committee on Tuesday afternoon, but that committee hearing was cancelled. We have not heard when the next committee hearing will be. In the meantime, anyone interested in filing a witness slip with the committee to express their opinion on this bill may do so by clicking here.

Gun ban appealed to U.S. Supreme Court

The 2023 Illinois law banning many semi-automatic firearms and related items has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Many Illinois gun owners have maintained that the federal Second Amendment prohibits bans like the one enacted in Illinois, but it has so far been allowed to go into effect. The State Police have created a website for existing owners of these firearms to register them in accordance with the new law, but so far it appears many have declined to do so. Meanwhile, several gun rights organizations have taken legal action against the new law.

A petition filed last week with the U.S. Supreme Court formally asked that lower court rulings upholding the Illinois law be reversed and the law struck down. They cite prior court rulings from the Supreme Court in other cases that have created precedents in favor of the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

It is not yet known when we might get a decision from the Court on whether to hear the case, of when such a hearing might occur.

Education Advisory Committee

Monday morning we held our quarterly Education Advisory Committee meeting. We discussed topics such as staffing, mandates, funding, school report cards and safety. I appreciate the conversations with the three superintendents, two principals and two school board members who were able to participate! They certainly educate my staff and me.

We are so appreciative of all the educators in the 106th district. Thank you for all that you do!

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 $1,378,810,669. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $2.3 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.

Illinois headlines

Sign the petition to end Illinois’ sanctuary state status

Illinois pumping $250M more in taxpayer funds to help illegal migrants in Chicago

Free income tax preparation assistance available for qualifying taxpayers

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association launches ‘Makers Madness’ competition

Cover crop incentive deadline coming up in Illinois