3rd Reading Roundup
Today was our deadline in the House to pass House Bills out of our Chamber and on to the Senate. Our floor discussions went on into the evenings, and hundreds of House Bills were advanced. Here are a few you should know about:
- House Bill 1286 allows businesses, universities and other organizations to create multi-occupancy, all-gender bathrooms.
- House Bill 2789 prohibits libraries from “banning” books and requires them to create written policies to that effect in order to qualify for state grants. I don’t believe anyone in the Illinois House wants libraries to ban books. Opposition to the bill centered on usurping local library board control.
- House Bill 2396 requires all school districts in Illinois to offer full-day Kindergarten by the 2027-2028 School year.
- House Bill 3203 allows for over-the-counter sale of Fentanyl test strips. This bill, sponsored by House Republican Leader Tony McCombie, will be a true life saver.
The Senate has until next Friday, March 31st, to advance their bills over to our chamber. This week they did pass Senate Bill 1818 which creates a 21-person committee to decide if Illinois needs a new state flag. I don’t believe we do.
Now that oral arguments have been heard by the Illinois Supreme Court about the SAFE-T Act, we await the Justices ruling on the constitutionality of this deeply flawed law.
WalletHub Scores Illinois Dead Last in Taxpayer Friendliness
According to a new study from the personal-finance website WalletHub. Illinois’ combined state and local tax rate of nearly 15.1% is the highest among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The dubious distinction comes at a time when Illinois is forecast to bring in billions in revenue above projected estimates, and underscores the urgent need for permanent tax relief. In Illinois, state and local tax payments by households making the median U.S. income amounted to $10,463, the highest amount in the nation. When adjusted for cost of living, Illinois still ranks 47th on the list.
Back to Business Grants
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has announced $175 million in Back to Business Grants for restaurants, hotels, and creative arts organizations will soon be available. The application period will open on April 5 and run through May 10.
Information on how to apply is available here: https://dceo.illinois.gov/smallbizassistance/b2b.html
Around the District
I had a great day visiting friends in Jacksonville. I want to thank Ben for welcoming me to WLDS WEAI News for “What’s On Your Mind”. We had a great chat which you can listen to here: https://wlds.com/audio-category/whats-on-your-mind/
Then I enjoyed a delicious breakfast hosted by the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club! Kudos on 74 years of what was a clearly successful (and tasty) event!