$638 million is being spent on Chicago’s migrant crisis
Late last week, Governor JB Pritzker announced his plan to spend $160 million in taxpayer funds to provide shelter and job assistance to thousands of migrants in Chicago. Since 2022, nearly 25,000 migrants have come to Chicago while the State of Illinois has already spent $478 million on the migrant crisis.
Governor Pritzker’s $160 million plan to address the migrant crisis includes $30 million to streamline intake procedures, $65 million to create additional shelter capacity in Chicago, and $65 million to expand case management to expedite migrant independence, including job assistance.
Illinoisans will soon see even higher natural gas bills
The chief suppliers of natural gas to Illinois businesses and households all applied, in the fall 2023 rate hike cycle, for the right to charge higher rates for natural gas. Under law, these rate requests are heard by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), a nonpartisan State panel with authority over electricity providers, natural gas utilities, and many other segments of the State’s economy.
The ICC decided to grant slices of these requests, and to deny other slices. The applicant utility firms got between 50% and 75% of the rate hikes for which they requested. The specific percentages granted by the ICC ranged from approximately 50% of the rate hike request in the case of Ameren, to approximately 75% in the case of Peoples Gas.
The approved hikes will show up in Illinoisans’ natural gas bills this winter.
Firearms rights advocates seek relief from full federal appellate court
Illinois’ so-called “assault weapons” ban, enacted in January 2023 by a lame-duck session of the Illinois General Assembly, continues to be the subject of court action. Firearms rights groups and plaintiffs have filed a series of lawsuits to try to strike down the new law on constitutional grounds.
Recently, a plaintiff group announced plans to present their case against the Illinois statute to the full Seventh United States Court of Appeals, the federal court that meets in Chicago. This presentation to a full appellate court, called an “en banc” hearing, will give plaintiffs an opportunity to present the federal Second Amendment, and case law buttressing this Amendment, to all the judges of this appellate court.
In addition, one of my House Republican colleagues has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision on Illinois’ assault weapons ban law on due process, equal protection, and Second Amendment grounds.
General Assembly passes bill to get professional licensing back on track
For many decades, professional and workplace licensure was a paper-based process. With changes in technology, it has become essential to move this process to a safe, secure set of electronic platforms. The Department of Professional Regulation is currently operating with very old licensing software, which makes rapid turnover of license applications and renewals almost impossible. Hard-working professionals sometimes must wait weeks or months to be licensed or renewed.
During the 2023 Veto Session, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to reform the licensing process. The new measure demands that DFPR fast-track its procurement process to purchase, and build out, a new computer software system. Under HB 2394, DFPR must have a new system purchased within 90 days of the bill’s effective date. The new system must be hackproof, secure, and operational within 180 days of the bill’s effective date.
Disaster loan window opens for 2023 summer storms
The summer storms of 2023 created major property damage throughout Illinois, especially Central Illinois. Derecho storm fronts on June 29, 2023, through July 2, 2023, caused damaging winds to blow over Illinois. These winds damaged roofs, uprooted many trees, and knocked out power for many Central Illinois residents.
The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) has admitted the June-July 2023 Illinois storm to eligibility for disaster loan activity under the SBA disaster loan program. Small businesses and nonprofits that took on added expenses for repairs or replacement are eligible. Property eligible for loans are business-related or operations-related real property, and moveable tangible goods, which the business, nonprofit, or church had to repair or replace due to the storm.
A separate provision within the Disaster Loan Program helps private individuals and households that were negatively affected by the storm. They can apply for a loan to repair or replace, or cover the cost or repair or replacement, of disaster-affected real property and personal property.
Around the district
Thank you to Meridan Health Plans of Illinois for providing 200 turkeys and hams for families in the Jacksonville area. I had a great morning yesterday with Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer and Sen. JIl Tracy helping with the distribution! I hope everyone has a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!