Illinois House committees hold first hearings of new session. Much of the session work of this week was spent in organizing the 39 standing committees of the Illinois House of Representatives. These are the panels that will hear almost all of the legislation introduced in the House through January 2021. Many of the committees, such as the House Committee on Labor and Commerce and the House Committee on Personnel and Pensions, took prompt action to set up subcommittees from the members appointed to their membership.
This week, I announced my committee assignments for the 101st General Assembly: It’s an honor to serve on these committees as I advocate for the people of our district. I am very pleased with my appointments. I am already reaching across the aisle and regions to discuss pending legislation assigned to my committees. I will use my voice to advocate for policies that will foster economic growth through infrastructure investments and economic reforms, reduce the impact of unfunded mandates on our schools, and truly reform our criminal justice system. My committee assignments are below:
- Elem Sec Ed: School Curriculum Policies
- Judiciary: Criminal
- Transportation: Regulation, Roads
- Economic Opportunity & Equity
- Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT
As the legislative session progresses if you see a bill in these committees that you want me to be aware of, please reach out so, so I can be your voice, and advocate for or fix a bill before it reaches the floor for a full vote!
Additionally, on Friday, February 1, Minority Leader Jim Durkin (IL–82nd) appointed me to the Illinois State Legislative Audit Commission.
Minimum wage legislation. The Illinois State Senate voted on, and passed, Senate Bill 1, on Thursday. The legislation would raise the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 per hour next year, and gradually increase it to $15 per hour by 2025. Illinois’ minimum wage of $8.25 has stood since 2010, even as Chicago and Cook County have raised theirs. Senate Bill 1 now moves to the State House to be voted on or amended, before it can move on to Gov. Pritzker’s desk. Some top Democrat official, including the Pritzker, indicated that they do not intend to amend the bill, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to the Governor’s Office, it’s estimated the net cost to the state will be about $62 million the first fiscal year and about $220 million for a full year. Then in 2025, the budgetary costs will increase to $1.1 billion in direct wages, annually. There is no proposal to pay for this cost. The 82% increase included in this proposal is expected to not only take a massive toll on small and local businesses, but non-profits, universities, nursing homes, and government agencies will also see major impacts.
Additionally, according to Governor Pritzker’s own numbers: Nursing homes will have a $1.5 billion increase in Medicaid reimbursement costs from the state. The State University System estimates over $100 million in increased costs annually – something neither the state, universities, nor students can afford:
- University of Illinois: $73.5 million
- Southern Illinois University: $7.0 million
- Illinois State University: $7.5 million
- Northern Illinois University: $12 million
I believe Senate Bill 1 will be ineffective and detrimental to the very people it is intended to help. Instead, Illinois needs to concentrate on bridging the gap from entry-level jobs to more skilled positions by investing in our workforce and our businesses. Iowa’s population is rising. Illinois’ is falling. It’s due to our State’s inability to create and promote jobs – not the cold weather.
We need to spend our legislative efforts on growth, so small businesses that believe in Illinois can start, grow, and expand on this side of the Mississippi River. Unfunded mandates on our local governments and business community are destroying the local economy. In fact, our current regulations, the worker’s comp costs, the high tax burdens, and the unpredictability of State Legislature is currently inhibiting wage growth; we shouldn’t be doubling down on those failed policies.
Thank you. As the legislative session progresses if I can assist you in any way please do not hesitate to call my Savanna office (815) 632-7384 or contact me online at RepMcCombie.com.