Greetings and welcome back to school! I hope this finds you well as you may be hustling kids out the door and/or welcoming the new fall weather around the corner. For everyone traveling this weekend for Labor Day, be safe and have a wonderful weekend!
Last month, the former chief of staff to the office of the Speaker of the House was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. House Republican Leader Tony McCombie reacted to the verdict by renewing the Republican caucus’ call for ethics reform: “We have too many glaring reminders that we must eliminate bad actors, self-serving politicians, and corruption from our statehouse, and this is just another verdict to prove it.”
This month, the Jewish faith is recognizing the new year with Rosh Hashanah beginning on September 15th. I wish all 20th District constituents of the Jewish faith a happy and blessed Rosh Hashanah later this September. Shana tova!
We will be returning to the Capitol for our fall veto session next month in the weeks around Halloween. Please feel free to reach out to my office at any time with your thoughts on legislative or policy issues in Illinois. Your feedback is welcome and essential to my job representing you in Springfield! Give my office a call at (773) 444-0611 or email us at email@example.com.
This month, we recognize the 22nd memorial of September 11th, 2001. Let us resolve to never forget the tragedy and heartbreak of that terrible day and walk with those who lost loved ones in support and compassion.
Fall Electronics Recycling, Shred, & Prescription Drug Drop Off Event
I’m hosting a Fall Electronics Recycling, Shred, & Prescription Drug Drop Off event THIS MONTH with Sheriff Dart! Join us on Saturday, September 23rd from 9 AM – 11 AM at my district office parking lot (5515 N. East River Rd., Chicago). Find more information online here.
This week, we also send our deepest condolences and prayers to the family of Chicago Fire Lieutenant Kevin Ward, who passed after being injured in a fire in the 20th District. Take time to appreciate and thank firefighters who continue to put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe each and every day.
The July 2023 State of Illinois revenues dropped significantly from moneys taken in one year earlier. This decline affected our state’s fiscal standing as it completed the first month of FY24. While Illinois took in $3,594 million in general funds revenues in July 2022, in July 2023 this intake dropped to $3,406 million, a decline of $188 million.
This July 2023 decline reflected something that many Illinois lawmakers had predicted: the end of the federal ARPA emergency aid program. Illinois took in $584 million in ARPA “reimbursements” in July 2022, but this number dropped to zero twelve months later. This decline accounted for all of the overall July 2023 revenue loss. Other facets of the State’s July 2023 revenue picture displayed positive numbers, but could not fully make up for the end of the ARPA program.
August Marks Conclusion of the Bill Signing Cycle Following the 2023 Spring Session
Lawmakers have introduced 6,717 bills since taking our oaths of office in January, with 4,129 bills filed in the House and 2,588 measures submitted to the Senate as of August 24th, 2023. Only a bit more than 8% of these bills have become law as of the August conclusion of the 2023 spring session signing cycle. More than 6,000 Illinois legislative measures were either rejected by the General Assembly, ignored, or folded into other bills. Some bills are being held over for further consideration in the fall veto session and beyond. In some cases, a key stakeholder will ask that a bill be held to enable further discussion of a key issue. Persons looking for information on where any bill they may be following is in the process, or information on the effective date of a new law, can consult the Illinois General Assembly website here.
Organized Retail Theft an Increasing Threat to Illinois Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the cost of Illinois retail theft at more than $4 billion per year. The initial figure of $2 billion, representing the value of the goods directly lost to theft, must be more than doubled to cover the ancillary costs of retail shrinkage. These include the higher operating costs required to pay workers to expose themselves to a high-crime environment, insurance costs related to high-theft environments, maintenance costs to operate video and other security systems, and many other related expenses.
Rob Karr of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) agrees with observers who are seeing growing ‘flash mob’ retail theft activity. Many Illinoisans are now familiar with video scenes of insta-gatherings which overwhelm a store. Karr reports that IRMA’s investigation has found that many of these thefts are organized behind the scenes by criminal gangs. The flash-mob theft not only overwhelms store personnel but enables the gathering of a large quantity of desirable goods. The goods can be shipped by fast freight to a faraway customer who does not ask too many questions. International freight globalization is putting old-fashioned theft ‘fences’ into the shade. IRMA’s Karr spoke to WTTW-TV on Monday, August 21.
New Law Will Forbid Videoconferencing While Driving
While videoconferencing from home is appropriate under a wide variety of circumstances, some people have tried to “sign in” from a moving vehicle in which they are the driver. A new 2023 law will make it illegal to participate in hands-on videoconference activities while driving. The exception that allows hands-free/voice-activated phone work from the drivers’ seat will also apply to hands-free/voice-activated videoconferencing activities. Under the provisions of HB 2431, the driver is allowed to press a single button to start, and then to end, the videoconference. The other participants in the videoconference had better not expect to look into the drivers’ eyes, though. If he or she is driving a car or light truck, the driver will be watching the road.
Illinois Flashback: History from the Prairie State
- The Great Reorganization: In state government in Illinois there are about two dozen agencies referred to as “Code Departments.”