Wrap-Up, February 3, 2023

Temporary restraining order against gun ban upheld in appellate court; actions in federal court

First, I want to thank Tactical Bunker and Monte for hosting such a great Town Hall event this week on HB5471, the so-called Illinois assault weapons ban, now being challenged in the courts. The lame-duck measure, passed by Democrats last month bans a variety of commonly used firearms and also large ammunition magazines.  The bill also subjects a wide variety of firearms to harsh regulation, including mandatory registration and locational pinpointing of the firearms.  The law has been stayed by at least two judicial Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms.  These rights have been buttressed by a variety of federal court decisions that now make up valid case law.  Gun-rights plaintiffs have now filed at least three separate federal lawsuits against the new State gun ban law.  Plaintiffs include the National Rifle Association (NRA).  The cases allege that the new law imposes an unconstitutional burden upon the legitimate exercise of Second Amendment rights.   

House Republicans Set Budget Priorities

The House Republican budget team got off to a fast start this week, calling on Democrats to engage in a truly bipartisan budget process and bring reform to the most important legislation passed at the Capitol each year. House Republican budget priorities this spring will include: Adopting a revenue estimate and budget based off that revenue estimate. Holding REAL, meaningful budget hearings which respect minority voices and provides for public input and transparency. Requiring Balanced Budgets. Restoring quarterly bipartisan briefings by the Governor’s administration to the bipartisan Legislative Budget Oversight Commission. These briefings were eliminated last spring after Republicans asked tough questions about how the administration was spending COVID relief funds. Respecting the voters’ decision to overwhelmingly reject the Graduated Income Tax Hike.  Give taxpayers REAL Tax Reform – eliminate the franchise tax on employers, property tax relief for families and businesses, and reducing the harmful impacts of the estate tax on family farms. Finally, returning excess income tax collections to taxpayers instead of sweeping it to be used to fund things like politician pay raises.

103rd General Assembly Committees Finalized

The Illinois House of Representatives reconvened on Tuesday, January 31.  The members of the House for the 103rd General Assembly organized themselves into committees in order to discuss the legislation proposed for the 2023 spring session.  I’m pleased that I will be able to utilize my experience in public safety this spring on key House committees tasked with keeping our communities safe –the House Judicial-Criminal and Public Safety Appropriations Committees. Crime is a growing concern, not only in Chicago but in our communities here in Central Illinois as well. The so-called ‘Safe-T-Act’ passed by Democrats last year has only made matters worse. I’m very pleased to be serving on the House committees that can help shape criminal law and penalties, and can recommend much-needed funding for police, fire, and other first responders. In addition, I will serve in the 103rd General Assembly on the House Ethics and Elections committee, the Mental Health Committee, and the Health Care Licenses Committees. These committee posts give residents of the 105th district a seat at the table on a variety of issues important to our families and communities and I’m ready to get to work.

New State law takes away local control over solar, wind farm zoning

Up until now, the principle of local control has governed the interactions between Illinois and large-scale energy projects.  The major effects these projects have on the people living near and around them have been reason enough to listen to the local governments with immediate jurisdiction over the sites used to build wind and solar farms.  That could all change soon with a new law enacted by the lame-duck 102nd General Assembly. With respect to the location of new Illinois wind farms and new banks of Illinois solar panels, the new law states that from now on, no county in the Prairie State will be allowed to exceed the very limited statewide powers granted by Springfield to the counties with respect to zoning standards for these projects. Most House Republicans voted against HB 4412.  During his re-election campaign, Gov. Pritzker talked about the importance of local control with respect to Illinois capital projects.  However, although HB 4412 restricts local control, on Friday, January 27 Pritzker signed the bill anyway.  It became law as P.A. 102-1123. The Champaign News-Gazette  has editorialized against Pritzker’s flip-flop on local control over wind and solar projects.

Clean-Up Assistance for DePue  
The Village of DePue, IL has waited and waited….20 Years too Long for Clean Up of the mess left behind by Exxon Mobil and CBS/Viacom. I’m committed to helping them get the help they need to get the job done.  This week I met with Village officials and Kevin Lindemann from the North Central  Illinois Council of Government to assist with potential grants for Federal/State funding. Stay tuned to this unfolding story for updates on our progress. To learn more, visit www.cleanupdepue.org.

Dennis Tipsword