How Many Corruption Convictions will it Take?
Tim Mapes, the Chief of Staff to former House Speaker Mike Madigan, was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice yesterday afternoon. The conviction could result in Mapes being sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence. This verdict underscores the need to throw out the Madigan playbook and enact strong anti-corruption measures at the statehouse.
Speaker Madigan’s trial involving charges he’s facing for RICO violations amidst a corruption bribery and racketeering scandal is expected to begin in 2024.
Since the 103rd General Assembly was seated in January of 2023 I and all of my House Republican colleagues have repeatedly demanded sweeping ethics reforms to clean up government and stamp out corruption. Despite multiple press conferences, multiple bills being introduced, and sadly, multiple trials, guilty verdicts, and new indictments, House Democrats have refused to take meaningful action on comprehensive ethics reforms.
Illinois’ comeback story begins with honest government. House Republicans will continue to demand necessary changes to state ethics laws, including:
– Empowering the Legislative Inspector General with subpoena power, so that the LIG’s office can conduct thorough, meaningful investigations.
– Ending the practice of legislators working as lobbyists. This creates inherent conflicts of interest and undermines the faith and trust of the people of Illinois in their government.
– Suspending pensions from retired lawmakers that face corruption charges stemming from their work as legislators.
– Prohibiting the practice of politicians utilizing their campaign committee war chests for legal defense against charges of misconduct, sexual harassment, or discrimination.
August Marks the Conclusion of the Spring 2023 Bill Signings
Lawmakers have introduced 6,717 bills since taking their oaths of office in January 2023, with 4,129 bills filed in the House and 2,588 measures submitted to the Senate as of August 24, 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. When Gov. Pritzker concluded his 2023 summer bill-signing cycle, 561 measures had been signed as Public Acts. More than six thousand Illinois legislative measures were either rejected by the General Assembly, ignored, or folded into other bills. Some combination Public Acts contain the texts of two or more spring 2023 bills.
Some of the bills signed into law this summer went into effect immediately, while others have a “delayed effective date” that will swing into action on January 1, 2024, or some other date. Some bills are being held over for further consideration in the fall veto session and beyond. If you’re looking for information on where any specific bill is in the process, or information on the effective date of a new law, you can find it on the Illinois General Assembly website.
Organized Retail Theft is a Growing Threat to Merchants, Consumers
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. 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 also 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.
The hot, dry, and windy weather We have experienced the past couple of weeks can lead to the dangers of wildfires burning in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources urges Illinois residents to become more vigilant and educated on wildfire safety so that incidents of fires can be prevented.
Around the District
Congratulations Pontiac Township High School on the completion of your new track!
Thousands of Illinois residents can expect some cash back from Illinois’ Unclaimed Property program. You may be one of them!