We are now underway with legislative session in the Illinois House and I am happy to provide an update on what we have been working on down in Springfield.
In Springfield, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and case counts surging, the General Assembly reconvened on January 5th to begin our 2022 session. However, the rest of our regularly scheduled session days in January were cancelled. Session was canceled this week due to the winter storms expected across central Illinois, cutting an already shortened legislative session even shorter. We have a lot to achieve this spring in order to get Illinois on the right path forward.
To stay updated on what is happening in the General Assembly during our Spring Session, you can visit ILGA.gov to find committee and floor streams, legislation, and how to file a witness slip.
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, let’s take time to think about the people important to us in our lives and who we love. I encourage you to perform a random act of kindness each day in February and see how much joy you can bring to your life and others’ lives.
Here are some updates from Springfield and the 20th District:
House Passes Judicial Sub Circuit Redistricting
At a time when crime is out of control, Democrats are more interested in packing the courts with political appointees than addressing the spiraling crime in our communities.
With little to no public notice and a zoom committee hearing that saw no witnesses testify, the passage of this legislation that creates new judicial sub-circuits is an affront to transparency and good government. January’s House Redistricting Committee hearing revealed that members of the court system of the State of Illinois were not consulted about these changes.
Just like Washington liberal-Democrats, Illinois Democrats are working to pack the courts with political appointees that favor their anti-police, pro-criminal agenda. Our communities will ultimately be less safe because of this legislation.
Democrats are using the redistricting process to change circuit court maps, adding more politicians to the bench, and changing the rules to give themselves a competitive advantage to elect more Democrat judges.
House Republicans Call for Repeal of Democrats’ “Damaging and Dangerous” SAFE-T Act
The SAFE-T Act is the omnibus criminal justice reform bill passed in the final hours of the lame-duck 101st General Assembly. This legislation included many controversial provisions, including:
- Abolishing cash bail
- Making it more difficult for prosecutors to charge a defendant with felony murder
- Adding further requirements for no-knock warrants
- Giving judges the ability to deviate from mandatory minimum sentencing requirements
- Making changes to the “three strikes” law
- Decreasing mandatory supervised release terms
- Mandating body cams be worn by all officers
- Creating a new felony offence of law enforcement misconduct
- Creating an anonymous complaint policy
- Making changes to the law enforcement officer certification and decertification process, including the creation of a new Law Enforcement Certification Review Panel
The new SAFE-T Act has made Illinois a less safe place to live for just about everyone. Something needs to be done to address violent crime in Illinois but it’s clear rushing legislation through the General Assembly was not the right solution.
House Republicans have filed legislation to repeal the dangerous SAFE-T Act and we have established a petition to get your input. If you agree we need to repeal the SAFE-T Act, please sign our petition at ilhousegop.org/repeal.
Funding Available to Preserve Affordable Housing
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is accepting applications under its Capital Bill Preservation Program: Limited Rehab. This will provide subordinate financing to current developments with existing income and occupancy restrictions that have outstanding capital improvement needs that can’t be met using existing reserves.
Job Openings at Chicago Public Schools!
Chicago Public Schools is hiring Board Custodians and Crossing Guards! Find more information in the flyers above.
State Fire Marshal Life Safety Award Nominations Open Until March 1st
The State Fire Marshal Life Safety Award recognizes extraordinary efforts performed by individuals to further fire prevention and life safety. If you know someone who deserves this award, you can and are encouraged to fill out a nomination form and submit it to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Nominations are due by Tuesday, March 1st, 2022. You can find the nomination online here and recipients will be presented the award during the Fire Fighting Medal of Honor ceremony in Springfield on Tuesday, May 10th.
Illinois Sheriff’s Association Scholarships
The Illinois Sheriff’s Association is offering college scholarships for Illinois students attending higher learning institutions in the 2022-2023 school year. Applications are due by March 15th. Find more information online here.
Building Blocks of Success: IDOT February Dates for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program
The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting free virtual workshops in February as part of its continuing Building Blocks of Success series for firms interested in participating in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, strengthening their skills, and bidding on state construction projects. Workshop dates and topics vary and are throughout the month of February. Find more information on the workshops online here.
Radon Video Contest & Radon Poster Contest Open
Last month was Radon Action Month—a month urging Illinoisans to test their homes for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the American Lung Association in Illinois announced the continuation of two statewide contests to encourage students to promote radon awareness with their creative talents: the Radon Video Contest for high schoolers and the Radon Poster Contest for middle schoolers. Submissions are due March 18th! Learn more online here.
Proposed Laws You Should Know About: Reducing Sales Tax on Diapers
Families dealing with the rising cost of just about everything could get a break under legislation filed by Southern Illinois State Rep. Paul Jacobs to cut the sales tax on diapers and diaper wipes from 6.25% to 1%–an 84% reduction. This rate would be the same as that for medicine and food. Learn more about this legislation online here.
Reimagine Illinois: Ensuring Public Safety
Do you believe the State of Illinois should require citizens to possess a FOID card in order to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms? Take the survey online here and learn more about ensuring public safety at ReimagineIllinois.com.
Illinois Flashback: History from the Prairie State
- Chicago’s pioneer: Chicago became the largest city in Illinois in the 19th century. First the lake brought visitors and settlers. Then it was the rivers, followed by the railroads, the highways and the airports. Millions of people now call Chicago home and it all started with one pioneer – Jean Baptiste Point du Sable.
- The Father of Cool: Jazz is widely credited with having gotten its start in New Orleans, growing out of American blues and ragtime music popular around the turn of the 20th century. While its roots are in the American South, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time got started right here in Illinois.
- Trailblazer of aviation: Since the dawn of flight, Illinoisans have been soaring into the heavens. In the late 1930s Willa Brown took a crucial step that opened the doors of aviation to many more Americans who sought to spread their wings.
- Illinois’ frosty history: Throughout history Illinois has endured some truly brutal and bone-chilling winters.
Prairies, Presidents & Patriots History Podcast
- “I’m Going to Have the Rights of Every Other Congressman”: Learn more about Congressman Oscar DePriest and the first African American legislators from Illinois.
After rising rapidly in December and the first half of January, the headcount of patients seeking admission to hospitals for coronavirus symptoms and treatment has begun to scroll downward. While many patients continued to be hospitalized for COVID-19, and some have conditions that require treatment in intensive care units (ICUs), overall hospitalized patient headcounts and ICU headcounts have begun to drop in many sections of Illinois.
Hospitals report their bed-count numbers daily to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and inpatient hospitalizations for coronavirus peaked at 7,380 on Wednesday, January 12th. One and a half weeks later, at the close of Sunday, January 23rd, this number has dropped to 5,328, an eleven-day decrease of more than 25%. Other U.S. states are reporting similar declines in their numbers.
At least four separate variants of COVID-19 coronavirus have hit Illinois over the past 24 months, and the virus now has a known ability to mutate and renew its attack on human beings.
Individuals interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine who live in Suburban Cook County can visit here. Individuals who live in Chicago who are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can visit here. You can also visit Vaccines.gov to locate a COVID-19 vaccine.
Were you forwarded this message? Sign up for my e-newsletter updates by visiting my website here. You can also stay updated on what I’m working on in Springfield and in the 20th District by following me on Facebook @repstephens.