Illinois House

Peter Medlin

Illinois state representatives from both sides of the aisle came to Northern Illinois University this week. They fielded student questions, debated state budget issues and discussed the challenges of the political process.

The Illinois House of Representatives boasts dozens more Democrats than Republicans. But Representatives from both parties said they were encouraged by bipartisan action they saw when working on the budget.

tomdemmer.org

Democrats dominate both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, but Republicans were able to get some of their measures passed in the final days of the legislative session.

Republicans had reservations, or even opposition, to several Democratic bills, such as the legalization of recreational marijuana.  But House Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer says his party was able to get support from across the aisle for reforms in conjunction with the budget.

House Republicans Vow To Fight Graduated Income Tax

Feb 28, 2019

Republicans in the Illinois House are speaking out against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax.

www.facebook.com/reploulang

A former Democratic leader in the Illinois House has resigned his seat.

 

Lou Lang announced Monday that he's ending his 32-year legislative career. The 69-year-old from Skokie joined the lobbying firm Advantage Government Strategies.

courtesy Bob Pritchard / Facebook

A state representative from northern Illinois is leaving the legislature six months early. 

Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, announced last year that he wouldn’t run for re-election, but he planned to continue representing the DeKalb area until his replacement is sworn in in January. That plan changed this week.

"I’ve been appointed to a board by the governor," said Pritchard. "As such, I had to resign from my legislative position. And that is all taking place on July 1."

Illinois Policy Institute

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives twice expressed unanimous opposition Wednesday to expressions of racial animus.

In an official 105-0 vote, the House adopted a resolution -- sponsored by Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, and Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills -- which vilifies white supremacists. The proclamation specifically “repudiates and condemns'' neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and others that “espouse hate.''

Flickr User Nadbasher/ CC 2.0

Illinois lawmakers have approved a new version of a plan to keep emergency 911 call centers funded past June 30.

The plan will increase phone fees to pay for emergency services and allow Illinois to drop traditional landline service.

The original measure sponsored by Harrisburg Democratic Rep. Brandon Phelps would increase the telephone surcharge for emergency services. It would go to $5 from $3.90 in Chicago and from 87 cents to $1.50 in the rest of the state. 

Rauner called those hikes "unacceptable.'' 

repnekritz.org

One of the top  Democrats in the Illinois House is resigning. Democratic Representative Elaine Nekritz is stepping down after nearly 15 years in the General Assembly.

She’s helped pass major legislation on state pensions and criminal justice — and has a record of working to find bipartisan support for legislation.

M. Spencer Green/AP

Tougher sentences for repeat gun offenders passed the Illinois House by a 70-41 vote Monday.

The bill says if you're convicted of a gun crime more than once, then you face up to 14 years in prison.

The measure, intended to help curb violence in Chicago, won approval after a contentious two-hour debate.

Illinois House lawmakers voted to update state birth certificate laws for transgender residents.  

Current law allows a transgender person to change the official record of gender designation, but only after undergoing sexual reassignment surgery. However, Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago notes the law should reflect modern medical standards, which don't require the operation. 

Wikimedia Commons

A measure to mandate state licensing of Illinois gun shops is advancing in Springfield. Gun dealers already are licensed by the federal government.

The bill passed a House committee mostly along party lines. The National Rifle Association argues this bill would impose added fees on the shops that sell guns in the state. 

"Despite what people have said, this is about running people out of business," lobbyist Todd Vandermyde said. "They expect to see smaller dealers go out and not want to contend with this."

Flickr User That Guy DouG/CC 2.0

Illinois House Democrats passed legislation Wednesday that would compel state agencies to buy more American-made products.

State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, said the proposal he sponsored aligns with President Donald Trump’s focus on American manufacturing.

“I could just reference your president’s executive order regarding ‘Buy American,’ " he said. "This is saying our state taxpayer dollars should put our people to work and we should use the buying power of our state to create jobs and economic opportunity.”

Women from across Illinois are expected in Springfield today for a march and rally at the Statehouse.

The event is drawing a long list of Democratic officials and activists. Senate President John Cullerton and other state politicians will be joined by three gubernatorial candidates and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Flickr User Konstantin Leonov/CC 2.0

The Illinois House approved a bill that would let hunters use crossbows during archery season. 

Sponsor Jerry Costello says the weapon is more humane than a longbow.  

"Many times, people who use a longbow don't practice enough and they end up wounding a lot more animals," he says. "A crossbow is typically more accurate.  It has the action of a gun, it has a scope and a trigger.  In my opinion, it's a more ethical harvesting of game."

"170 - Typing" by Flickr User Hillary / (CC X 2.0)

Two bills meant to expand internet privacy rights cleared procedural hurdles in the Illinois House.  

Chicago Democratic Rep. Art Turner Jr., says he wants to make it easier to find out what kind of information companies collect. He says that’s particularly important since President Trump and Republicans in Congress are scaling back federal protections.

“Illinois is in a unique position now to provide privacy rights and that protection for consumers here," Turner says.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse

Barack Obama's name is revered in his home state. But the Illinois House has rejected making his birthday a state holiday.

Legislation to make the 44th president's Aug. 4th birthday a state holiday fell six votes short Tuesday. Chicago Democratic Rep. Sonya Harper says it would honor a man who adopted Chicago as his home and served in the Illinois State Senate.

But Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva suggested it be honorary. The Republican floor leader says even Obama wouldn't want the cash-strapped state to give state workers another paid day off.  

"A Teacher's Library" by Flickr User Angie Garrett / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois House members are picking up education funding reform where they say a commission convened by the governor left off.

Lawmakers gathered Tuesday to discuss proposals to revise the way Illinois finances its public schools. They plan this spring to write legislation to overhaul what many say is an outdated education funding model.

An Illinois legislative package aims to get more local farmers and small businesses into the marketplace.

It streamlines farmers market regulations, which currently vary by county.  The measure also expands the sale of homemade foods and makes it easier for producers to sell raw milk.  State Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago supports the measure.  

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Two proposals on raising the minimum wage in Illinois will be tackled by the new General Assembly.

The Decatur Herald and Review reports that Senate members have proposed raising the current minimum wage, which is $8.25 an hour, by 50 cents each year until it reaches $11 in 2021 as part of a bipartisan budget package.

A proposed bill by House members, meanwhile, is looking to bump up minimum wage to $15 an hour by October.

Wikipedia

The Illinois House approved a plan meant to help victims of violent crime across the state.  

Many people who commit crime started out as victims. And in some neighborhoods, this can lead to a cycle of trauma and retribution.  The plan would  address the role of trauma in criminal behavior, targeting high-risk, underserved communities. People would be on the ground, building relationships to help victims better deal with their grief and anger. 

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he'll meet with legislative leaders to negotiate a budget deal, and he's willing to include money he vetoed for Chicago Public Schools if it's part of a ''comprehensive package.''

Rauner said Friday that meetings are scheduled Saturday and Sunday with the four legislative leaders and ''I'm not taking anything off the table.''

Campaign websites, social media

The 69th District covers an area of far northern Illinois and includes the communities of Belvidere, Caledonia, Capron, Cherry Valley, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Roscoe, South Beloit, and Timberlane. Republican Joe Sosnowski has represented the district since 2010.

This year, Sosnowski is being challenged by Democrat Angelique Bodine of Poplar Grove. She says she’s running because of her frustration with the state budget impasse, and she pledges to stand up for working families.

House Dist. 68: Sweeney Challenges Cabello

Oct 27, 2016
campaign websites and social media

The 68th district includes portions of Rockford, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Loves Park, and Cherry Valley. This election features a political newcomer against a two-term incumbent.

Republican John Cabello was appointed to the 68th district seat in August 2012 when Rep. Dave Winters resigned. Cabello was elected to the seat three months later and has held the position since then.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Illinois House and Senate approved $700 million to partially finance various human service programs that have gone without state funding since last summer because there's no budget.

    

A House committee on Wednesday unanimously advanced the bill to the full chamber. The measure would use $450 million from a fund dedicated to human services and $250 million from other special funds.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris says the bill is intended to be a stop-gap measure until lawmakers and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner agree on a full budget.

"NOT 100% EFFECTIVE" BY FLICKR USER NATE GRIGG / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois House passed legislation today requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control.

Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook says this is already federal law, but the proposal's aim is to ensure women in Illinois have access by allowing a 12-month prescription. 

The measure had significant pushback from representatives who oppose abortion because it includes emergency contraception. 

​Republican Rep. Dwight Kay, of Glen Carbon, says the legislation is burdensome to businesses.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Senate today moved swiftly to approve a spending plan the House passed yesterday.

It authorizes spending nearly 4 billion dollars on higher education and social services -- two areas that have been caught without funding during a prolonged political fight. But Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno says it doesn't mean universities or programs would actually get money. 

Radogno says the state has none to give.

"If you vote for this, you're voting for a hollow promise,” Radogno said. “Let's look at the bills that have funding." 

State of Illinois

For the first time in three weeks, state representatives will convene Thursday in Springfield.

Not much has changed in those three weeks. There's still no agreement between Democratic legislators and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a state budget.

But representatives are back anyway, and they do have some budget measures on the table.

For one, they're set to discuss Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to exempt some middle-class homeowners from paying higher property taxes.

State of Illinois

State legislators are done with their work until Republican Bruce Rauner becomes governor next month. Members of the House finished their work Wednesday, and after a morning of debate, the Senate adjourned yesterday afternoon.  The General Assembly meets over a two year cycle.  This one is coming to a somewhat lackluster close. Though the House declared itself totally done, Senate President John Cullerton is leaving open the possibility of calling legislators back to Springfield. "But it's not anticipated we'll be having any more action.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford has a new state representative. Litesa Wallace was chosen from five finalists today to replace retired 67th District Democrat Chuck Jefferson. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

State Representative Chuck Jefferson surprised constituents and political watchers alike by quietly submitting his resignation. The Rockford Democrat has served in the State House since 2001. 

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