The McDermed Dispatch for October 15th

Upcoming Veto Session 

Governor Rauner signed 529 new laws in the spring and summer of 2018. A total of 612 bills passed both houses; meaning almost 90 percent of them were signed, but 83 bills were vetoed.  

Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which the Governor suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language change a bill. These changes can be minor or could result in a nearly complete rewrite of the bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority. However in nearly four years Speaker Madigan has yet to call for a vote on an amendatory veto, instead choosing to attempt to completely override the Governor.   

Both houses will convene in Springfield on the Tuesday following Election Day to consider the Governor’s vetoes. All 118 House seats are up for election on November 6th and with a nearly historic amount of State Representatives NOT running for re-election this year, including 13 of the 51 House Republicans, the start of the 101st General Assembly in January will have a dramatically different look than the previous one.  

While engaging lately with constituents, I have heard a number of good bill ideas. As we look towards returning to Springfield for the veto session and the 101st General Assembly, please feel free to share with me any legislation you would like to see me work on or file.  

Trimming the State Government Fat

One thing that comes to mind when I think of Illinois government is BULK. While it’s fairly well known that Illinois has the most units of township government of any state in the nation (nearly 7,000!), other areas of Illinois government are bloated as well. Recently, Governor Rauner issued an executive order abolishing 53 inactive boards and commissions that serve no public purpose and have been inactive for years, some for as long as two full decades.  

Over the years, the State of Illinois has created more than 600 authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, committees, councils, task forces, and other similar entities. Many of them have completed their work and no longer operate, yet they still appear in State publications, public-facing websites, and Legislative Research Unit reports as if they were still doing the people’s work. One of the organizations that the Governor eliminated – the State Government Accountability Council – was formed in 1999 and there isn’t any recorded activity since that time  

The Governor also issued another executive order prohibiting executive agency heads from the practice of nepotism in the appointment, promotion or recommendation of a relative to any agency or department under their control.  

Financial Health Report; 50 out of 50

According to a recent financial ranking of the 50 states from Mercatus Center at George Washington University, Illinois is last in the nation in fiscal health. The study measures how well states can meet short-term and long-term bills by examining their financial statements. It looked at cash on hand, long-run solvency, how much debt a state has, and budget shortfalls. Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Florida, and Oklahoma ranked in the top five states. Top-performing states tend to have higher levels of cash, low unfunded pensions, and strong operating positions, which doesn’t exactly sound like Illinois does it?   

A key finding of the states that passed tax reforms and cuts during the time period this study analyzes is that in the case of states (i.e. Indiana) where these reforms were accompanied by base-broadening or spending reforms, it resulted in neutral or positive impacts on the states’ financial positions. By contrast, Kansas’s much-maligned tax reform of 2012 cut rates, but narrowed the tax base by including an income tax exemption for sole proprietorships and did not undertake spending reforms. This led to a steady decline in Kansas’s budget solvency. Illinois passed a massive tax increase last year, but it has done virtually nothing to improve our long term fiscal health because it was not accompanied by any major spending or pension reforms.   

Concealed Carry Anniversary

In addition to the Firearm Owners’ Identification Card (FOID Card) required of all gun owners, the act of carrying a concealed weapon requires a special Concealed Carry License (CCL) license and training. The five-year anniversary of the legalization of concealed-carry firearms has the Illinois State Police getting ready for a spike in renewal applications as many of the initial licenses will expire in 2018-19.   

The State Police is not currently accepting CCL renewal applications from applicants who are more than five months away from license expiration. Their staff support is limited, and due to the spike in projected applications, they must concentrate their renewal scrutiny upon licenses that are nearing the end of their lifespans.  

Prior to submitting paperwork for their CCL renewal, re-applicants will need to undergo three hours of training by a certified instructor in concealed-carry safety.  The State Police has posted an online list of CCL instructors whose approved curriculum includes a three-hour renewal class.  The State Police recommends that prospective concealed-carry card re-applicants undergo required retraining at about the six-month mark, and then start the renewal process at the five-month mark.   

Fire Safety from the Illinois State Fire Marshall 

As the temperature starts to drop, the Office of the State Fire Marshal is offering a few tips that will help Illinoisans stay safe:

  • Be sure to remove leaves and debris such as sticks, branches and shrubs from the roofs and gutters of homes as they act as fuel to a fire. These items should also be cleared before lighting a bonfire. It is recommended that all recreational fires, such as bonfires, be contained in a pit, with sidewalls, and do not exceed 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall.
  • Avoid burning leaves and debris on windy days, as wind can cause a fire to get out of control quickly. All fires are recommended to be a minimum of 15 feet from structures and combustible materials and should remain attended at all times.
  • Anyone opting to use a space heater to keep warm should be sure it is placed at least three feet away from other objects, such as curtains, and always be sure to unplug it when it’s not in use. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) space heaters account, annually, for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires.
  • All fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected before use to ensure everything is in proper working order. Utilize a fireplace screen to keep sparks from floating out of a fireplace and always put out a fire before going to bed or leaving the house.

Hickory Creek Middle School Honored 

Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti was recently in Frankfort to recognize the only middle school in Illinois to be named a blue ribbon school, Hickory Creek. The national award is granted based on an individual school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. This year 349 schools were recognized nationwide. With 24 total Illinois learning centers recognized, Illinois tied with Texas in having the most schools named in the program in 2018. An awards ceremony for all the honorees hosted by the Secretary of Education is scheduled for November 7th and 8th in Washington, D.C.   

Proud to be a Friend of Agriculture

Thank you to the Illinois Farm Bureau for the ‘Friend of Agriculture’ Award for my voting record in the Illinois General Assembly!