Texas, Conventions, Ethics & Vacancies 3.5.21

This week Texas opened up completely. 

Instead of mandates and capacity limits placed on businesses, Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to give power back to the people. Businesses are free to set their own policies in terms of mask requirements and social distancing guidelines, but they are no longer being forced to comply with state rules.

In other words, the government of Texas is treating adults like adults. A novel concept these days…The truth is self-governance is the foundation of a free society. We don’t need government micromanaging our lives. What is happening in Texas is what freedom looks like. Unfortunately, freedom has been in short supply – especially in states like Illinois. 

As COVID-19 cases continue to drop and more people get the vaccine, we need to take a hard look at the policies we have in Illinois and restore freedom back to the people. 

This week’s newsletter highlights the impact of no conventions being allowed in Illinois; efforts to make the Legislative Inspector General more independent; and how vacant state properties are costing taxpayers.  

As always if you have any questions, feel free to email me or call my office at 217-774-1306.


Brad Halbrook


Illinois losing revenue from conventions due to strict lockdown rules

Chicago is the nation’s third largest city and is historically a destination for a wide variety of conventions and conferences. While the pandemic has certainly slowed in person conventions, there are signs of life as more and more groups and associations are moving forward with in person gatherings.

Unfortunately, the 50-person rule for gatherings has ensured Illinois is not a destination for conventions. Hotels generate about $8 billion in tax revenue for the state and local communities and much of that income comes from conventions and conferences. Without that revenue, each household would have to come up with $1,600 to make up the gap.

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security the hospitality industry has lost 193,400 jobs during the past year – a 31 percent decline. It is time to address the impact these lockdowns are having on our economy. We need a clear path to normalcy – not the carnival barking of an inept plutocrat bitterly clinging to the vast emergency powers he refuses to let go. To learn more, click here: 


Bill would give Legislative Inspector General more authority in investigations

The Legislative Inspector General is a position that is overseen by a partisan group of legislators who make up the Legislative Ethics Commission. The Inspector General must get permission to launch most of her investigations and she has very little independence.

House Bill 2575 would change that and give the Legislative Inspector General greater ability to be more independent. It is a total conflict of interest to have legislators deciding what information gets released about their colleagues and what investigations are allowed and which ones are not. The Legislative Inspector General should be truly independent. 

To learn more, click here:  


Vacant properties costing taxpayers

Last year, taxpayers in Illinois paid just over $1.7 million simply to maintain vacant properties.

Part of the problem is that state law requires property to be sold for fair market value, which makes it difficult for the state to unload these properties. There is a bill in the Senate (SB 60) to address these issues but until the law is changed, taxpayers will continue to have pay to maintain buildings the state no longer needs and no longer uses. 

This is just another example of the mismanagement of our state and our resources. Instead of spending money on buildings we no longer need and use – let’s put money and resources toward our state parks and other resources that people actually want and actually use.

To learn more click here:


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  • Brad Halbrook
    published this page in News 2021-03-07 13:01:33 -0600