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Update from the Capitol 5/6/2024

Monday, May 06, 2024 Posted by Rep. Tom Bennett

Senate Republicans warn, "This is how you steal an election," as Democrats pass drastic change to election law

During the week Republican lawmakers stood in defiance of a controversial new law that will drastically change the state's election laws in the middle of an election cycle that has already started to favor entrenched incumbents and reduce competition at the ballot box.

Senate Bill 2412, hastily filed just hours before a vote in the House and a day before a vote in the Senate, makes significant changes to the rules for an election process that is already underway. Most notably, it would end the slating process currently taking place in districts throughout the state, eliminating challengers entrenched incumbents could face in November.

For prospective candidates who have spent more than a month gathering signatures and rearranging their lives, their family's lives, and their jobs to run for office, it could mean the end of the road.

Republican legislators called this a blatant power grab by Illinois Democrats afraid of competition for their incumbents in the general election. They characterized the bill as an attempt to change the rules midgame by Democrat lawmakers prioritizing control of the election process over the rights of Illinoisians to have free and fair elections. They noted that the legislation would further erode public trust in the electoral process.

Republican lawmakers in both the Illinois Senate and House stood in protest, voting "present" on the controversial measure. They contend that the rushed proposal is patently unfair and undemocratic, allowing Democrat lawmakers to undermine the election process.

Rather than upholding the integrity of Illinois' election process, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law just hours after telling reporters he hadn't yet reviewed the proposal.

Senator Bennett said the bill is a slap in the face to the concept of free elections. He said that at a time when many voters have lost confidence in elections, the state should not be giving them good reason to further lose faith in democracy.

Fallen Officers Remembered in Springfield

Officers who gave their lives in the line of duty were honored at the annual Police Officer Memorial Ceremony on May 2nd at the State Capitol complex in Springfield.

Joined by their loved ones and colleagues from various law enforcement agencies statewide, attendees gather to recognize the sacrifices made by those who serve and protect and pay tribute to fallen heroes killed in the line of duty.

This year's honorees include Chicago Police Officer Andres Mauricio Vasquez Lasso, Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Makayla Preston, Cicero Police Officer John Francis Kane, Montgomery County Sheriff Ray Boston, Sangamon County Deputy Sheriff Andrew H. Sloan, and Chicago Police Detective Todd C. Gillerlain.

Senator Bennett declares May 1st as Illinois Bacon Day

In recognition of the contributions and importance of the state's pork industry, Senator Bennett passed legislation declaring May 1st as "Illinois Bacon Day."

Last week the Illinois Pork Producer Association and Illinois FFA were at the Capitol passing out BLTs for legislators.

Senate Joint Resolution 50, notes the economic impact of the pork industry to Illinois, including contributing an estimated $13.8 billion to the state's economy and supporting over 57,000 jobs. As for bacon specifically, Illinois hog farmers produce more than 6 billion slices of bacon per year.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $797,261,318.17 to state vendors, including 15,029 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?

It is Mental Health Awareness Month

Raising awareness of the challenges faced by those living with mental health conditions, the month of May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month.

Established in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month was created to reduce the stigma around mental illness and educate the public about the millions of Americans who live with mental health conditions.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, with 50 percent of all lifetime mental illnesses beginning by the age of just 14.

For more information on Mental Health Awareness Month, visit nami.org.

This Week in the 53rd District

Office Locations

Morris District Office:
1715 N. Division Street, Suite E
Morris, Illinois 60450 815-432-0106

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

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Update from the Capitol 5/6/2024