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Update from the Capitol 4/1/2024

Monday, April 01, 2024 Posted by Rep. Tom Bennett

Prisoner Review Board Decision Leads to Tragedy

Two members of Governor JB Pritzker's Prisoner Review Board (PRB) have resigned after a man released by the board killed an 11-year-old boy, Jayden Perkins, and critically wounded the boy's pregnant mother.

Crosetti Brand is accused of stabbing a former girlfriend and killing her son as the boy attempted to defend his mother from a brutal attack just a day after being released by Pritzker's PRB. In February, while on parole, Brand sent the woman messages threatening to kill her and went to her home. This violation of his parole landed him back in the state's custody while the PRB could consider whether he should remain in prison.

Despite the threats, the boy's mother seeking an order of protection, and Brand's history of domestic abuse, the board voted to release him. On March 25th, Governor Pritzker announced that two of the members of the scandal-plagued board were resigning. Senator Bennett says that this case is just the latest in a string of controversial decisions made by the PRB, which has released numerous convicted murderers and violent offenders on the Governor's watch.

Pritzker has made a number of high-profile, controversial appointments to the PRB, including a convicted double murderer. While the Illinois Senate must confirm appointments to the board, the Governor had repeatedly circumvented the process by making controversial appointments and then rescinding the nominations just before the time they can serve unconfirmed expires, only to immediately reappoint them. In doing so, his nominees avoid public scrutiny and collect a paycheck serving on the board despite not being confirmed.

Senate Republicans have repeatedly exposed the PRB's issues, eventually creating enough public pressure for the Governor to change course and seek Senate confirmation of his appointees. Despite that progress, serious issues remain, and Senator Bennett said the continued need for reform is clear.

Legislation Proposed to Keep at-Risk Veteran Homes Affordable

Senate Republicans recently introduced legislation to put an end to expensive charging station mandates that have made it significantly more expensive to provide housing options for homeless veterans.

The 2023 Electric Vehicle Charging Act requires all new affordable housing developments to include EV-capable parking spaces. Organizations working to build affordable housing units for homeless veterans have said that this requirement will make their efforts drastically more expensive.

Senate Bill 2597, co-sponsored by Senator Bennett, removes this costly burden and stipulates that the provision under the Act would not apply to tiny homes designated for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, provided these homes were funded and constructed by qualified non-profit organizations.

Senate Bill 2597 unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and now awaits a vote in the full Senate.

Illinois Has Highest Tax Burden in U.S.

A new study has named Illinois the least tax-friendly state in the nation, underscoring Senate Republican calls to address the escalating tax burden residents face.

This title was given to Illinois by the finance website MoneyGeek in its latest analysis of how tax-friendly each state is to its residents. The report, which gave Illinois an F-grade for its tax burden, noted that taxes account for an astonishing 13% of Illinois household income.

Unsurprisingly, high property taxes were a major factor in Illinois' dead-last ranking. The high effective tax rate in the state is another reason for Illinois' tax unfriendly status, with Illinois coming in as the 2nd highest in the country in this category.

Senator Bennett, who has long called for much-needed tax relief for Illinois residents, say this report underscores the need for state government to prioritize its citizens and address the financial strain on working families.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,083,512,424.11 to state vendors, including 11,823 pending vouchers. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $139 billion. At the same time last year, the state's accounts payable stood at a little less than $2 billion.

Did You Know?

Each year, the first Wednesday in April is designated National Walking Day to encourage the public to get out and get their hearts pumping.

This long-standing health initiative from the American Heart Association (AHA) was created in 2007 to get residents to prioritize physical activity and recognize the benefits of walking, such as weight reduction, muscle strengthening, improved joint flexibility, enhanced cardiovascular health, and more.

The AHA recommends visiting a local trail or park or even getting on the treadmill if you can't get outside. Stretching before and after, being aware of trail conditions, bringing a friend, and wearing comfortable clothes are all ways to make walking more enjoyable. To find a local trail near you, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.

This Week in the 53rd District

State Senator Tom Bennett - Working full-time to represent you

Office Locations

Morris District Office:
1715 N. Division Street, Suite E
Morris, Illinois 60450

Pontiac District Office:
305 W. Madison St,
Pontiac, IL. 61764

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Update from the Capitol 4/1/2024