As Gun Ban Challenges Mount, Dems propose New Hunting Restriction
This week, a plaintiff’s group won a third Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Illinois Democrats’ gun ban law. The Macon County court decision represented further evidence that multiple Illinois courts are finding that the balance of probable outcomes is shifting against the controversial law. Litigation will continue at the state and federal levels.
Meanwhile, Democrats have filed a new bill, House Bill 1517, that would impose new restrictions on where hunters can hunt…even on their own property! I am opposed, and will keep you updated as this legislation moves through the process.
Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) reports on State budget receipts for January
The CGFA report noted that there was a January 2023 uptick, $987 million, in money coming in from the Income Tax Refund Fund and not spent in giving tax refunds to Illinois taxpayers. However, this is a one-time-only revenue source that cannot be counted on in any future month. Continuing economic storm clouds on the horizon, associated with rising U.S. interest rates and workforce layoffs, could threaten State income tax receipts during the remainder of FY23 (ending June 30, 2023).
The string of State budgets under Gov. Pritzker have all been based upon short-term and one-time revenue sources. He’s set to deliver his annual budget address to the General Assembly next week, so we’ll soon see if that trend will continue. Real fiscal reform continues to be necessary if our State is to begin to live within its means.
Approaching end to COVID-19 emergency
Governor Pritzker’s existing orders declaring COVID a public health emergency will all expire by May 11, 2023, and will not be renewed. This means that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will no longer be able to use extraordinary power to issue decrees and “guidances” over Illinois public spaces and health care communities.
Variants of the COVID-19 virus continue to circulate in Illinois and throughout the U.S. Some of Pritzker’s rules, including controversial State rules that have sparked strong pushbacks, will remain in place until May of this year.
BGA criticizes Illinois’ “weak” legislative ethics oversight
Under the constitutional separation of powers, the Illinois General Assembly is supposed to get first crack at overseeing itself. An in-house panel, the Legislative Ethics Commission, and a watchdog, the Legislative Inspector General, are supposed to oversee the Illinois General Assembly and to take initial action when reports and allegations are heard. House Republicans have long called for the Commission and the Inspector General to receive real powers to match these responsibilities. Unfortunately, the Democrats have not heeded these calls and warnings.
Now, a research analysis and report from the Illinois-based Better Government Association backs up the long-standing concerns and criticisms. Pulling no punches, the BGA report calls Illinois’ legislative oversight “weak compared to other states.” It finds that Illinois’ legislature has a weak ethical setup even in comparison with other self-regulating legislatures in other states.
We must do better, and as a member of the Elections and Ethics Committee I will be working this spring to make that happen.
Supporting Illinois’ Agriculture Community
Thank you to the Illinois Pork Producers Association for hosting a great pork expo this week! Illinois is one of the leading pork producers in the country and contributes nearly $14 billion to the state’s economy.
Be Prepared for Higher Utility Bills
Ameren Illinois, one of the state’s (and our district’s) largest electric and gas delivery companies, has filed plans with the Illinois Commerce Commission to raise electric and gas rates.
Nationwide, home energy costs were 15.6% higher year-on-year in December. Here are a few tips for lowering energy bills and for finding assistance if you are having trouble paying them.
Around the District
Great turnout and great food at the Eureka/Goodfield Fire Protection District pancake breakfast this week. Thank you for all you do!
Happy Birthday President Reagan!
On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in the great state of Illinois He was the only U.S. president to be born, raised, and educated right here in Illinois, in district 105! He is an alum of eureka college right here in district 105 too. Happy birthday Mr. President!
Next week – Budget Address, State of the State
At noon on Wednesday, February 15, Governor Pritzker will deliver his annual Budget/State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. You can watch it live on the Illinois General Assembly website.
I’m anxious to hear what the Governor is officially proposing. In recent public statements, he has proposed massive expansions of State programs, which will require significant new spending to achieve. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, State spending has greatly increased with the influx of federal relief funds. With these short-term revenue sources about to disappear, the well has run dry. If Illinois Democrats continue to increase spending for new or expanded programs, Illinois taxpayers will be on the hook for the Democrats’ spending spree.
Following the address, I will be posting my reaction on my website, and on my official Facebook page (State Representative Dennis Tipsword).