Where’s the Budget, Com Ed Four Corruption, New Measures to Protect At-Risk Kids, and More

Where’s the Budget?

With two short weeks now left in our scheduled legislative session we have yet to see any state budget proposals emerging from the majority party.

Meanwhile, tax receipts for the month dropped $1.84 billion below year-earlier numbers. While a decline had been projected, this shortfall was dramatically higher than the projections.

The sharp decline in April 2023 revenue will have a chilling effect on overall revenue numbers during the remainder of FY23 and into FY24. Based on these new numbers, the nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) has reduced its projection of the State’s FY23 tax-fueled cash flows by $728 million. CGFA has also been compelled to adjust its numbers for FY24. The State now expects to bring in barely enough money to meet its existing spending commitments for the new fiscal year that will start on July 1.

We must get control over state government’s massive, momentum-driven need to continually spend money we simply do not have.

Com Ed Four Guilty Verdicts Spotlight Continuing Corruption…Madigan Trial is Next

A Federal Jury this week found all defendants in the “Com-Ed Four” corruption trial guilty of bribery-related charges. Pay to Play policies were clearly the way business was done under the leadership of Mike Madigan, who will himself go on trial next year.

Despite all of this, the majority party in the General Assembly continues to refuse to work with us to enact meaningful reforms that will stop to this kind of corruption. House Republicans have introduced dozens of ethics and corruption reform bills that address issues ranging from lobbying reforms to new requirements for elected officials. None have been allowed to be debated or considered.

Illinois families deserve so much better.

S.P.A.R.K. Working Group Announce New Legislation to Protect Children, Reform DCFS

I along with other members of the Sustaining and Protecting At Risk Kids (S.P.A.R.K.) Working Group on Thursday announced new legislation introduced to protect children in the state’s care, and on the “radar” of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Funding for DCFS continues to rise, and at the same time, so do tragic deaths of at-risk kids that have had previous contact with the agency. Clearly, money alone isn’t the answer. We need reforms and we need increased accountability. New measures we introduced include:

  • House Bill 3471, which would allow local law enforcement to conduct their own abuse and neglect investigations and requires DCFS to share their investigation reports with local County State’s Attorneys;
  • House Bill 3002, which creates an independent Ombudsperson to investigate complaints against DCFS, provide recommendations, and report to law enforcement when necessary;
  • House Bill 2935, which requires DCFS to establish a caseload tracking system which will monitor and evaluate the interrelationship between case plans, the Department’s case tracking system, and work responsibilities;
  • House Bill 3614, which provides that prior to final approval for placement of a child, DCFS will request that the Illinois State Police conduct a criminal records background check of the prospective foster or adoptive parents; and
  • House Bill 3618, which requires DCFS to develop a plan to phase in mandatory intact family services for at-risk families who are in need of continuing assistance and monitoring in the wake of an abuse or neglect investigation.

Protecting at-risk children isn’t a partisan issue, nor is it a regional issue. It is a concern in every one of the 102 counties in Illinois. I believe members of the General Assembly can find common ground and pass needed reforms that can literally be life-saving.  

Firearms Ban Update-It’s Now Enforceable

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has granted the Pritzker Administration’s motion to “stay” the preliminary injunction that had blocked enforcement of the Democrats’ new gun ban law. That means the law is now enforceable. The Appeals Court order granting the stay can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Federal appeals court reverses injunction on Illinois’ gun and magazine ban | Illinois | thecentersquare.com

Remembering and Honoring Fallen Officers

Thursday was a somber day at the Capitol this week as law enforcement from across the state traveled to Springfield for our annual memorial ceremony to mourn and to honor those who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the past year. We need to work together in the General Assembly to pass laws that support law enforcement.

Around the House

Thanks to the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce for joining us in the House this week! Some really good and productive discussions were had!