Migrants, Ethics, February Festivals, and More

Chicago plans to stop building migrant shelter space

As part of its overall drive against city of Chicago homelessness, in 2023 under Mayor Brandon Johnson the city had said it hoped to build housing spaces for all comers, including migrants. After thousands of migrants showed up in the middle and later months of 2023, the city fell back on a plan to erect “industrial tents.” On Monday, a spokesperson for the city told a reporter that the tents would no longer go up. The city’s residual efforts to find marginal new spaces for the net new inflow will be confined to working with the private sector and seeking owners willing to volunteer private spaces for the purpose.

 In a statement published on Tuesday, a city of Chicago spokesman stated that if it is the desire of Illinois to continue to be a sanctuary state for asylum seekers, the state government should pay for the services required by migrants.     

FYI, this spring I am sponsoring HB 4187 that would repeal the Illinois Trust Act – the Act that effectively made Illinois a Sanctuary State.      

House Republicans Renew Call for Ethics Reform

As the tangled web of Democrats’ corruption continues to unwind over and over in federal court, Illinois House Republicans have renewed calls for needed ethics reforms. The list of convictions continues to pile up, and the silence from the Democrat side of the aisle is deafening. 

In addition to multiple convictions in 2023, Mike Madigan, the longest serving state House speaker in modern U.S. history, will stand trial in federal court on October 8, 2024.

My House Republican colleagues and I are taking action to address corruption and create stronger ethics reforms. Ethics proposals filed include:

  • House Bill 4119– Prohibits elected officials from using political campaign donations to pay for criminal defense. 
  • House Bill 1277– Benefit or annuity payments to a member or participant in a retirement system or pension fund shall be suspended if the member or participant is charged with a felony. 
  • House Bill 4286– Provides for a three-year revolving door ban on lobbying. 

Read more about House Republican efforts to combat corruption and reform ethics laws here.

The year-end Illinois unemployment rate rose to 4.8% in December 2023

The 4.8% jobless rate posted by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) in December 2023 was 0.1% higher than the 4.7% rate posted in November. Illinois’ December unemployment rate was 110 basis points higher than the 3.7% national unemployment rate for the same month, and was also higher than the jobless rates posted by our surrounding states. For example, neighboring states posted December 2023 unemployment rates of 3.6% (Indiana), 3.2% (Iowa), 3.3% (Missouri), and 3.3% (Wisconsin).

New, bipartisan manufacturing caucus created

Here is some positive news for Illinois’ jobs climate!  Partnering with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) on legislation to keep manufacturers in Illinois and remove barriers to those seeking to enter the manufacturing workforce has been one of my greatest highlights serving in the 103rd General Assembly. I look forward to building on these efforts in collaboration with my colleagues as part of the newly formed Illinois Manufacturing Caucus. Read more about it below.

Bipartisan, Bicameral Illinois Manufacturing Caucus Formed to Advance Issues Important to the Industry, Which is a Key Pillar of State’s Economy – Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (ima-net.org)

Major festivals set for February 2024

Many communities will be hosting Groundhog Day events, Winter Carnivals, and other celebrations in February. Recent years have seen a significant increase in populations of Illinois winter bald eagles, and the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge near Marion, Illinois will be one of the locations hosting birdwatching tours to see and honor America’s national bird. The Illinois Municipal League (IML), a nonpartisan organization that represents many of Illinois’ local governments, is one of the entities that posts an online calendar of Illinois events by month.

Around the District

We’ve been getting a great response from local families dropping by our Pontiac office to donate new stuffed animals to help brighten a child’s hospital stay! Thank you! And there’s still plenty of time to donate a stuffed animal at my office located at 305 W. Madison in Pontiac.