Rep. Bunting’s Springfield news update for March 28

In this issue:

  • Public safety concerns are a top priority
  • Unemployment rate rose in February
  • Visit to Colmac Coil
  • Tour of One Earth Energy

Public safety concerns are a top priority

House Republicans continue to propose solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing the state. Recently the Truth in Public Safety working group rolled out a series of bills meant to improve public safety, recruit and retain police officers and provide assistance to crime victims. The package is collectively known as the Community Protection Act.

The working group was formed at the start of the current General Assembly to put together a package of meaningful reforms which will hold criminals accountable, improve public safety and provide support to law enforcement. The group has met with law enforcement groups, retired judges, state’s attorneys and others involved in public safety to put together their proposal.

The package of bills includes giving judges more discretion when it comes to detaining people accused of felonies. They would also revoke pre-trial release if the defendant is charged with another offense while already on pre-trial release. Some other proposals include creating a better process for removing someone from a county jail if they have been found unfit to stand trial (and reimbursing the county if the person is not removed promptly), creating a co-responder model to involve social workers in responding to victims in need of mental or behavioral health services, and restoring the process for courts to issue warrants for a defendant who fails to appear in court.

The chair of the working group, a former state’s attorney, said that the members stand ready to assist the Democrat supermajorities in restoring law and order and safe communities throughout Illinois. The House will be back in session next week.

Unemployment rate rose in February

Illinois already has a higher unemployment rate than the nation as a whole and as compared to our neighboring states. Last month our unemployment rate ticked up slightly, moving from 4.7% to 4.8 percent.

Job growth was mostly concentrated in sectors like Government and Leisure and Hospitality, while the Manufacturing sector saw a decline. Less than ten percent of Illinois’ non-farm workforce is employed in factories or other manufacturing facilities.

Nationally, unemployment in February stood at 3.9%, also up slightly from the month before. Overall, Illinois’ unemployment rate is up 0.5% compared to where we stood one year ago.

Visit to Colmac Coil

While I was in Springfield for session last week, Kira went on a tour with several community leaders from Paxton at Colmac Coil Manufacturing Inc.

Colmac Coil manufactures new and replacement plate fin heating and cooling coils, dry coolers, air-cooled condensers and heat pipe air-to-air heat exchangers for the commercial, industrial and heat transfer markets. No two products will be the same as everything is custom made. Colmac Coil is one of the largest employers in Ford County employing around 140 employees.

Thank you for allowing us a chance to tour!

Tour of One Earth Energy

Nearly a third of all corn grown in Illinois is used for making ethanol. There are 13 ethanol plants in Illinois and one of them is located here in the 106th district.

One Earth Energy is one of the state’s most efficient ethanol and distillers’ grain producers. They are committed to maximizing returns and enhancing the economic development of American agriculture.

Representatives from One Earth Energy provided an opportunity for legislators to learn more about the ethanol industry and carbon capture. There were also geologists and researchers from the Prairie Research Institute and professors from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign available to answer any questions during the informational presentation. 

They had also provided a report regarding a study that was completed about Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilization in Illinois. Read more about it here.

Thank you to everyone that was able to attend!

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 $1,090,512,424. 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.

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