Protecting at-risk kids
The House Republicans have formed a series of “working groups” this spring to craft and propose ideas to tackle many of our state’s most pressing issues. I’m honored to be working on the Sustaining and Protecting At-Risk Kids Working Group to help protect children in the state’s care from abuse and neglect. Each and every year children die while in the care of DCFS or in homes that are on the Department’s radar. This ongoing tragedy must end. Throughout the spring, our working group will continue to investigate and propose solutions.
The other House Republican working groups include:
- Supporting Women and Families: to make Illinois a place where families can move and grow for generations
- Reigniting Illinois’ Strong Economy: to improve Illinois’ business climate, while still protecting workers and using our strengths – geography, workforce, and resources – to bring job creators and opportunity home
- Truth in Public Safety: to make our neighborhoods safe again, protect law-abiding citizens, and respect law enforcement
- Literacy Improves Future Endeavors: to address learning loss, improve reading literacy, and restore Illinois students to a place where they are competitive in today’s world
Several of the first bills I am sponsoring this spring coincide with my work to protect children and bring much-needed reforms to DCFS. New legislation filed (HB 3618) would require DCFS to develop a plan to phase-in family services for at-risk families who are in need of continuing assistance and monitoring following an abuse or neglect investigation. Additional legislation (HBs 2935, 2937) would set up a new caseload tracking system for the department and require DCFS to report caseload information to the General Assembly each March. House Resolution 0038 stresses that the time is long past due for systematic changes to be made at DCFS to help protect children and prevent the department-related tragedies that occur each year.
In addition, I have introduced legislation to help with an important local project. House Bill 1609 would allocate $67.6 million for demolition and remediation of buildings at the former Jacksonville Development Center. The ongoing construction and renovation at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy will be a continuing priority this spring. Supporting these projects is vital to Illinois families and to our communities. I look forward to helping see them through to completion.
To view a list of all of the bills I am sponsoring to date, click here.
The Illinois Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case against the SAFE-T Act on March 14.
Moody’s Analytics releases Year 2023 economic report with downbeat aspects
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) contracts with economic database firm Moody’s Analytics to survey current numbers and trends generated by the Illinois economy as a whole. These trend lines can be significant in developing a picture of the future economic prospects of the State of Illinois.
An economic crash took place in Illinois in March 2020, due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic and private-sector shutdown orders. This crash was followed by a relatively powerful economic recovery. However, Moody’s analysts are starting to see storm clouds on the horizon, which they want the General Assembly to look at. One of the data sets used by Moody’s is a regular, repeated household survey of employment to determine how many Illinoisans are working full-time and part-time. Moody’s sees the results of this survey as “downbeat,” noting that fewer Illinois residents are getting jobs than are residents of other states.
These job numbers signal that future Illinois income tax payments and sales tax receipts could be disappointing, with lower-than-expected numbers of Illinoisans collecting paychecks and making purchases.
Specialty Crop Block Grants
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is now accepting Specialty Crop Block Grant proposals. These funds will support projects that expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crop industry.
National FFA Week
I hope our local FFA chapters had a great National FFA Week last week. Cheers to all of the young leaders participating in FFA programs here and across the nation! #NationalFFAWeek
What’s the “coolest thing made in Illinois”? The initial round of voting is now open in the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association’s fourth annual “Makers Madness” contest. Cast your vote!
Around the district
I had a great visit with the good folks at the Adams Co. Farm Bureau’s Legislative Lunch. Thank you for the conversation and the feedback on what’s happening in Springfield!
Showing our grandsons some of the wonderful places in the 99th District! We visited the Quincy Art Center and the Veteran’s Home.