Ethics Reform, Public Safety Enhancements, Jacksonville J’ettes and More!

Common-Sense Ethics Reform

Newly introduced House Bill 4119, would prohibit elected officials from using political campaign donations to pay for criminal defense. House Republican Leader Tony McCombie stressed the importance of the measure, an unfortunate reminder of just how much progress the State of Illinois must make amid Ethics Awareness Month.

The bill would close a loophole that has enabled bad actors, including former Speaker Mike Madigan, to use millions of dollars in funds from his campaign coffer, ‘Friends of Michael J. Madigan,’ to pay for legal fees as he fights federal corruption and racketeering charges. Presenting the bill in committee this week, Leader McCombie called HB 4119 a commonsense measure.

Truth in Public Safety (TIPS) Working Group Unveils Public Safety Enhancements

The TIPS legislative package seeks to undo damage done by the recent passage of the Democrats’ so-called SAFE-T Act. Specifically, it focuses on supporting and protecting crime victims, giving judges wider discretion to detain people charged with felonies, and recruiting and retaining law enforcement while ensuring they are able to do their jobs. Legislation introduced this week by House Republicans serving on the Truth in Public Safety working group include:

  • HB 5120 – Widens the possible detention net to all felonies and also establishes the burden of proof at a detention hearing to preponderance of the evidence.
  • HB 5121– Calls for the revocation of pre-trial release when the defendant is charged with an offense while on release.
  • HB 5126– Restores the process for a court to issue a warrant for a defendant’s failure to appear in court.

MoneyGeek Names Illinois the Least Tax-friendly of the 50 States

The warning label came from a database that indicates that a median Illinois family must pay approximately 13% of its income in State and local taxes. These taxes, which are separate from the federal income taxes that all Americans must also pay, are levies that are controlled by the local governments elected by the taxpayers. In particular, the average Illinois property tax bill of $9,000 per residence drove Illinois to the bottom of the tax-friendliness list. Illinois earned a “F” grade for tax unfriendliness at the bottom of the list. Other “F”-graded states included Connecticut and New Jersey.

Several states adjacent to Illinois earned much higher grades because of lower government spending and comprehensive tax reform efforts. Indiana and Kentucky were graded “C,” and Missouri was graded “B.” Several states with no personal income tax, including fast-growing Florida and high-tech-oriented Washington, earned a coveted “A” grade.  

Jacksonville J’ettes in the House!

This week the Jacksonville High School J’ettes Dance Team visited the Capitol! The House passed House Resolution 661 congratulating the team and their coaches on winning the 2024 IHSA Class 1A Competitive Dance Championship and wishing them many more victorious seasons to come. Congratulations ladies! 

Maker’s Madness

There’s still time to vote in the Top 16 round of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association’s Makers Madness competition and help determine the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.