Last week was an eventful one in Springfield with new legislation being filed and Governor Pritzker giving his first annual Budget Address. I would like to take this opportunity to give you a recap of the legislation that I have introduced this year and offer my perspective of the Governor’s Budget proposal.
2019 Legislative Agenda
I have filed 23 pieces of legislation for the new 101st Illinois General Assembly. My 2019 legislative agenda is focused on efforts to create more job training opportunities for our students, improve state government transparency, preserve and strengthen our natural lands, defend our Second Amendment rights and make needed changes to our civil and criminal laws.
Illinois is facing many of the same challenges today as we have for the last several years. My legislative initiatives this year focus on making strides to solve these challenges, and I look forward to advancing my bills and working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve meaningful results for local families.
The following are bills I have filed:
- HB 367: If (and only if) the state enacts a law to license firearm dealers, this bill stipulates that the licensing requirements would apply only to gun sellers who have been found by the federal or State government to have 3 or more firearms used in the commission of criminal offenses sold or transferred by the licensee within the 5 years prior to his or her application for certification of their license.
- HB 1476: Ensures that funds owed to local governments will still be paid, even in the absence of a state budget, as part of a continuing appropriation.
- HB 1477: Requires that a zoo be open to the public without charge for at least 1 day for every 30 days the zoo is open (rather than every 7 days, as is current law).
- HB 1478: Establishes a 25% tax credit to taxpayer-employers who apply and meet the certain Illinois labor, job training, and apprenticeship requirements of a manufacturing company. Designed to foster job creation and retention in Illinois.
- HB 1479: Creates a 1.5% tax credit for employers who enter into agreements with community colleges to provide job training services to students.
- HB 1480: Provides that the multistate exemption on the Use Tax includes the return of property of an out-of-state lessor or purchaser to this State for storage, repair, or refurbishment, so long as the property is not used by a lessee or purchaser in Illinois.
- HB 1481: Improves transparency by requiring that the Legislative Information System make available to the public a website link to each General Assembly member’s voting record, which would be placed alongside each member’s biographical information on www.ilga.gov.
- HB 1482: Defines the offense of aggravated battery against a DCFS or Adult Protective Services employee in the course of their job, making it a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
- HB 1483: Prohibits a child sex offender from knowingly operating, managing, being employed by, or being associated with the Illinois State Fair in Springfield or DuQuoin State Fair when persons under the age of 18 are present.
- HB 1484: Creates the offense of violation of a parole host agreement. A violation would occur when an individual who hosts a parolee knowingly stores or leaves within the premises a firearm that the host knows or has reason to believe that the parolee is likely to gain access to, and the parolee gains access to the firearm.
- HB 1485: Bipartisan initiative co-sponsored by Representative Michael Halpin, D-Rock Island, to appropriate $7.94 million for the preservation and maintenance of high quality habitat lands; and an additional $2.7 million for the preservation and maintenance of a high quality fish and wildlife habitat and to promote the heritage of outdoor sports in Illinois from revenue derived from the sale of Sportsmen Series license plates.
- HB 1486: Establishes criminal penalties for anyone who abuses or kills a law enforcement animal.
- HB 1487: Repeals the Estate Tax in the State of Illinois.
- HB 1488: Creates an electronic FOID card for the convenience of FOID card holders.
- HB 1489: Prohibits the state from establishing a registry containing the names and personal information of gun owners and all legal firearm purchases.
- HB 1634: Allows a person to petition to seal or expunge a DUI violation after a period of 10 years after the termination of their sentence as long as they have not been arrested for, or convicted of, a subsequent violation.
- HB 1655: Creates the Illinois First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act. First-time homebuyers may receive a tax credit for opening first-time homebuyer savings account to pay or reimburse costs in connection with a qualified home purchase, up to $2,000 for individual taxpayers, and up to $4,000 for married taxpayers per year.
- HB 2204: Clean-up language to a provision of the Vehicle Code affirming the requirement to carry proof of continuous insurance or surety coverage to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Illinois.
- HB 2397: Allows for the issuance of aviation enthusiast decals for Universal special license plates issued by the Department of Transportation.
- HB 2398: Requires lottery tickets and instant scratch-off tickets to provide whether the proceeds from the purchase go toward the Common School Fund or a special cause.
- HB 2963: In cases where an individual has cause to file a civil action against an appraiser, requires such action to be commenced within 2 years from the time the person bringing the action knew or should reasonably have known of the act or omission by the appraiser; and no more than 5 years after the date the act or omission occurred.
- HB 3570: Allows community colleges to enter into an agreement with an employer in which the employer provides certain education and job-training services.
In addition to these bills, I have also signed on as a co-sponsor to several bills filed by my colleagues. You can view the full list of all my legislation HERE, and follow the progress of each bill as we proceed through the legislative session in Springfield.
Gov. Pritzker’s Budget Plan
Governor JB Pritzker gave the annual Budget Address to the General Assembly last Wednesday, February 20. The Governor’s introduced the Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal estimates general funds revenue at $38.9 billion and proposes $38.7 billion in general funds spending. To help close a $3.2 billion budget deficit, the Governor is proposing pension savings through a ramp extension, new revenues through taxes on new and existing services, and closing so-called “corporate loopholes.” Altogether, the Pritzker Administration estimates a $1.5 billion increase in revenue over FY19.
I have several concerns about his budget plan, as it seems to be the same pattern of taxing, borrowing, and spending that has gotten our state into an incredible financial mess. Most alarming is the revenue that the Governor is banking on from things that are not even legal yet in Illinois. In addition to his call for a graduated income tax, the Governor’s budget proposal includes new revenues from a tax on e-cigarettes and plastic bags, higher cigarette taxes, the legalization of sports betting, and the selling of licenses for legalized marijuana. While I was encouraged to hear the Governor strike an optimistic tone in recognizing the significant fiscal challenges we must work to overcome together, I am disappointed that he did not offer any solutions to provide property tax relief or embrace needed reforms to make Illinois a more welcoming place for new job creators to locate and enable existing job creators to grow and thrive. Living in a district that borders Iowa, we have to be concerned about Illinois’ ability to compete in the job market relative to neighboring states. Hopefully, the Governor will make room for bipartisan ideas to move the needle of state priorities in that direction while we work together on mutual goals vital to public safety and commerce, like investing in repairing our roads and bridges.
As a member of the Transportation Committee, I am already participating in discussions on how to best strengthen our infrastructure and am hopeful that, working together on a bipartisan basis, we can meet the needs of our communities and deliver results for families here in the Quad Cities and northwest Illinois. As a member of the Elementary & Secondary Education and Higher Education Committees, I believe we need to reduce the number of unfunded mandates on our schools so that teachers can focus on what they do best, shaping and inspiring the next generation of students, not checking off boxes on paperwork to satisfy bureaucrats in Springfield. These are areas we can work with the Governor on to find common ground.
We will work to pass a budget agreement by May 31 in advance of the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1st and runs through June 30th, 2020. It is time we work together on a bipartisan basis to find responsible solutions to the challenges in front of us.
As always, feel free to contact my district office with questions or concerns about the legislation, state issues, or upcoming events. I look forward to hearing from you.