Despite the May 31 adjournment of the regularly scheduled spring legislative session rapidly approaching, a great deal of work remains on controversial legislation, and the resolution of many major issues is unclear.
I strongly oppose legislation that we will hear next week allowing the Illinois income tax system to change from a flat tax rate to a graduated tax rate. I am also fighting against the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Lawmakers must also approve a budget for Fiscal Year 2020. Action is also needed on a long overdue capital improvement plan. Both our Peoria district office and our Springfield office have been busy preparing for the capital improvement plan, assessing needs and collecting data about local projects and improvements throughout the district.
Throughout the coming days, Senate Republicans will continue to meet on these issues and hope to resolve them in the best interests of the state and their constituents. Someone needs to stand for the hard-working men and women of our state.
Wall of Remembrance display opens in Capitol
The Illinois Senate Republican Caucus unveiled its annual Wall of Remembrance on May 23 in honor of Memorial Day. The Wall of Remembrance display was officially opened by Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady in the Rotunda of the Capitol.
The Wall of Remembrance features a moving display of photos and stories of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Visitors also have the opportunity to share their own stories and memories of loved ones and friends who have fallen in the line of duty, or to simply express gratitude by filling out notes to post on the Wall.
Addressing attendees at the ceremony was Jim Frazier, a former Marine, contract Survivor Outreach Services Coordinator for the Department of the Army and Gold Star Dad, who stressed the importance of celebrating the memory of those who have served. His son Jacob Frazier, a Staff Sergeant with the Illinois National Guard, was killed in an ambush in south central Afghanistan in 2003.
“There’s an old saying, ‘A person dies twice, once when life leaves their body, and again when their name is spoken for the last time.’ Remember them, speak their names,” Jim Frazier said.
The Wall of Remembrance display is open to the public from May 23 to July 4, during normal business hours in the Capitol.
Helping service members and spouses
Members of the Armed Services and their spouses who are stationed in Illinois may soon have an easier time finding work in their field, under legislation passed by the Senate unanimously.
House Bill 1652 creates an expedited professional license application process for service members and their spouses. The applicant must be licensed in another state, stationed in Illinois, and otherwise eligible for licensure in this state. The legislation will also require the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to designate a staff member to serve as a military liaison to review and report on the process of the expedited licensure program.
House Bill 1652 is now headed back to the House of Representatives for a concurrence vote.
Public safety bills move
Those drivers who do not properly stop for school buses on the roadway will be fined twice as much if Governor J.B. Pritzker signs House Bill 1873.
House Bill 1873 seeks to crack down on those drivers who ignore the stop arm on school buses, by increasing the fine from $150 to $300 for the first offense, and from $500 to $1,000 for the second or subsequent offense.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, on average, 33 school-age children are killed every year nationwide in school-bus related crashes, many of which are caused by a passing vehicle in violation of the school bus warning systems.
House Bill 1873 passed the Senate unanimously with a vote of 53-0 and now heads to the Governor for his consideration.
Another public safety measure, House Bill 2383, which would crack down on drivers who violate right-of-way rules and injure pedestrians in crosswalks, passed the Senate during the week. House Bill 2383 would require a one-year suspension of an individual’s driver’s license if they commit a right-of-way violation at a crosswalk or a crosswalk in a school zone that results in bodily harm or death. The legislation was filed in response to the death of an Iroquois resident who was killed in a traffic crash when a semi-trailer truck failed to obey a posted stop sign.
House Bill 2383 passed the Senate unanimously on May 21 and is now headed back to the House of Representatives for a concurrence vote.