Budget Becomes Law, Good and Bad Ideas, Unconstitutional Election Changes, and More

As expected, this week  Governor JB Pritzker signed into law a partisan $53.1 billion spending plan, the largest budget in state history. The Fiscal Year 2025 budget is $2.6 billion more than last year’s enacted budget and includes pay raises for politicians and a staggering $1 billion for non-citizens. Moreover, Democrats voted for $1 billion in tax hikes to pay for their record-breaking spending.

Over the last four years, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly has joined Governor Pritzker in a voracious appetite for increased government spending. Since the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, Democratic lawmakers have voted to grow state expenditures by more than $13 billion, from nearly $40 billion in 2020 to more than $53 billion this year and have forced hard-working Illinoisans to foot the bill.

More Legislation You Need to Know About

In addition to the budget, a variety of other legislation you need to know about was debated in the final weeks of our spring session…some that are good ideas and some that aren’t.

Good Ideas

Senate Bill 3350 makes it easier for the public to access life-saving fentanyl test strips.

House Bill 681 seeks to correct glaring errors in how the state’s Prisoner Review Board addresses parole hearings of violent offenders and notifies victims of any potential release. Recently, a convicted violent felon who was released and immediately went to the home of his ex-partner and killed her 11-year-old son and injured the woman and her other child. While this legislation initially passed the House, it was amended in the Senate, and a concurrence vote did not happen before the spring session adjourned.

Senate Bill 2781 creates the Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Act. The Department of Natural Resources shall prepare and maintain a comprehensive Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant plan for the preservation and enhancement of natural areas in Illinois. 

Eligible entities for the grant program include units of local government, conservation land trusts, and not-for-profit entities with conservation missions. Stay tuned for more grant application information once the Act is signed into law. 

Concerning Legislation

House Bill 4720 will share, without taxpayer notice, the personal income data of all Illinois taxpayers with the Treasurer’s office for marketing purposes. Protecting our personal data is one of the most important things in our modern age. Despite many bipartisan objections, this legislation still narrowly passed. 

Senate Bill 3157 is the worst kind of political pandering and a direct attack on religious freedom! The bill would have given the Treasurer the ability to deny some non-profits access to state programs because of their religious beliefs. the sponsor of the legislation also made it clear organizations supporting Hamas and overtly antisemitic protests don’t seem to be a problem! Fortunately, our vigorous debate forced the sponsor to pull the bill from the record. 

House Bill 4582 removes a provision requiring school boards to go to referendum for certain types of bonds. Schools, and all taxing bodies should need the approval of voters to exceed bond limits. Unfortunately, this legislation is on its way to the Governor for his signature.

Another Piece of Good News

A Sangamon County Judge has brought a halt to hastily passed legislation that would have severely limited your choices at the ballot box.

 Last month, Democrats’ elections bill was introduced, passed through the General Assembly, and signed into law in less than two days. This law, which changed elections rules mid-cycle, has now been found unconstitutional by a Sangamon County judge.  The legislation prevented political parties from being able to slate candidates for office when none had been on the primary election ballot, leaving many incumbent office holders unopposed for reelection. The Judge ruled that preventing parties from slating candidates “places a severe restriction on the fundamental right to vote.”

Around the District

Our Pontiac district office I-CASH event hosted in partnership with the IL State Treasurer’s Office was a great success in returning funds to our constituents who came to claim their cash! Special Thanks to our District Director, Beckie Johnson for planning such a wonderful event!

Job Alert!