This week, I was sworn into my fifth term as a state legislator. Of course, the big news this week, though, was that Michael Madigan is no longer Speaker of the House. Madigan had served as Speaker for all but two years since 1983. He was the longest serving Speaker in the country.
The new Speaker is State Representative Emanuel Chris Welch. Speaker Welch in his acceptance speech after being elected Speaker of the House promised to set a more civil tone in the House. One of the biggest complaints that we as Republicans had with Mike Madigan was his heavy-handed approach. If you had a bill that was important to your constituents, you had to get his blessing to get it moved. We had very little rights as members of the minority party when Madigan was in charge.
It is my hope that we can take Speaker Welch at his word. I would very much welcome a more respectful and more cooperative legislative process. For far too long, the views and values of people in the rural parts of Illinois have been ignored at the state level. I sincerely hope that changes.
This week’s newsletter highlights legislation rammed through the lame duck session at the last minute that makes our communities less safe; a big win for small businesses and a big policy change regarding red light cameras in Illinois.
As always if you have any questions, feel free to email me or call my office at 217-774-1306.
Legislature advances police reform legislation
The Illinois House this week approved sweeping changes to community policing in Illinois.
The House approved HB 3653 with the minimum number of votes to pass a bill (60) after the Senate approved the measure a little before 5 in the morning.
While the current legislation does not include the controversial ban on qualified immunity, it does include many other dangerous policy changes. HB 3653 eliminates cash bail within two years; further restricts the use of deadly force; eliminates the signed affidavit of complaint to expedite the decertification of officers; places limitations on police departments in the purchase of specialized tactical gear and finally it mandates all police officers to wear body cameras by 2025.
This legislation was rammed through at the last minute and virtually no time was given to thoroughly vet this legislation. We had mere hours to comb through a 700-page bill and we were only given about 40 minutes to ask questions about it on the House floor. This is a clear example of why so many have lost faith in our institutions. There was no reason to rush this bill. There was no reason to silence the voice of the hundreds of thousands of citizens who stand with law enforcement against this bill.
Massive backdoor tax increase on IL businesses avoided
One of the few bright spots of the last few days in Springfield is the defeat of legislation that would have been a massive tax increase on Illinois businesses. There were few wins in the lame duck session, but the defeat of SB 1199 was certainly a bright spot.
Congress approved a change in tax law last as part of the CARES Act. Basically, business would be able to deduct losses from their taxes in the current year, rather than being required to spread them out over multiple years. What Senate Bill 1199 would have done is decouple Illinois’ tax code from the part of the federal tax code dealing with the deductions for income loss. In essence, Illinois small businesses would not have been able to write off their losses on their state income taxes.
More than 440,000 businesses would have been impacted. The change in policy would have cost Illinois businesses about $1 billion.
It is absolutely offensive that at a time when businesses are struggling to survive due to mandated government lockdowns the State would hit these same businesses with what amounts to $1 billion in taxes. Thankfully, this bad bill was defeated.
I fully expect this legislation to come up again later this spring. If it does, I certainly will be a “NO” vote.
For more information, logo onto: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-lawmakers-could-soon-erase-up-to-1-billion-in-business-tax-assistance/article_3f16e3ac-5587-11eb-8041-4345328f4533.html.
Comptroller no longer collect red light camera fines
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced that beginning Feb. 6th, the state will no longer collect fines for tickets generated through the use of red-light cameras.
The move means municipalities will not be able to use enforcement tools such as seizing tax returns or payouts to collect unpaid fines.
“My office is taking decisive action in response to unethical arrangements that have come to light regarding the red-light camera industry,” Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza said. “As a matter of public policy, this system is clearly broken. I am exercising the moral authority to prevent state resources being used to assist a shady process that victimizes taxpayers.
Illinois-based red light camera company SafeSpeed has been at the epicenter of bribery scandals involving former Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval.
There are ongoing efforts to ban red light cameras in Illinois. I will continue to support red light camera bans. The corruption surrounding the use of these cameras is reason enough to get rid of red-light cameras once and for all.
To learn more, log onto: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-comptroller-will-no-longer-withhold-state-payouts-for-red-light-camera-fees/article_038ca76e-5441-11eb-acc9-032dc334795d.html.