Week in Review- December 12, 2022

Rep. Tony McCombie debating in favor of crime victim rights and against the "flawed" trailer bill to the SAFE-T Act. Illinois House Floor on December 1, 2022.


Second week of Veto Session concludes.  The Illinois House and Senate convened this week for the second week of Veto Session. This will not be the final session of the 102nd General Assembly. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield during the first week of January 2023 for a “lame duck” session to consider an assault weapons ban and further gun control measures, as well as other possible issues. The new 103rd General Assembly will be sworn into office during the January 11, 2023 Inauguration.


Illinois House Leader-elect Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, shared her Adopt-a-Legislator experiences with county Farm Bureau delegates during the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)

Rep. McCombie addresses Illinois Farm Bureau Convention.  I spoke with the Illinois Farm Bureau last week to talk about my election as House Republican Leader and discuss my priorities, including restoring balance to the State of Illinois. Video of my comments can be seen here.

I would also like to congratulate our local award winners at the ILFB Convention:

Carroll County: Harvest for All Grain Collection

Jeremy Flikkema: Young Leader Chair Award (Carroll County)

Henry: Bushels for Hunger

Rock Island: Bushels for Hunger

Mitchell Family (Whiteside) Ag in the Classroom Volunteer Award

Whiteside County Ag Literacy Award


Democrats pass SAFE-T Act trailer legislation over GOP opposition.  In a now-familiar pattern, Illinois Democrats passed changes to their so-called “SAFE-T” Act during the final hours of the fall Veto Session. The Democrats’ SAFE-T Act trailer legislation (HB 1095) passed with the minimum required number of votes in the House (71-40-0) on yet another partisan roll call. Not a single Republican in the Illinois House or Senate supported the measure. In both chambers, Republicans spoke out in opposition to this deeply-flawed legislation.

Democrats originally passed the SAFE-T Act by bare partisan majorities during the early morning hours of the final day of the January 2021 lame duck session. This highly-controversial law ends cash bail, makes it more difficult to detain dangerous criminals, exploits victims of violent crime, imposes unfunded mandates on local governments, and cripples our law enforcement officers’ ability to do their jobs effectively.

I called the SAFE-T Act cleanup bill “flawed” and says it continues to ignore the blatant errors and disrespects law enforcement and victims of crimes.

“Once again, the Democrats chose to go it alone without involving viewpoints of Illinoisans around the state,” said McCombie. “While this is the fourth attempt to clean up a bad bill, it keeps zero cash bail in place, increases taxes, jeopardizes due process for police officers, and decreases penalties for repeat offenders — making our communities less safe. It is unacceptable to abuse victims in the way the SAFE-T Act allows.”

Despite multiple attempts by the supermajority Democrats to clean up and clarify the intent of the SAFE-T Act, the harsh reality is that the Democrats’ so-called “reforms” will still let dangerous criminals back out onto our streets. No amount of sugarcoating can change what Illinoisans are seeing with their own eyes: shootings and other violent crime is up, carjackings are rampant, and criminal mob actions are plaguing our cities. Our law enforcement community is demoralized and police officers are retiring in droves, leaving some communities without any law enforcement officers at all.

The SAFE-T Act was a terrible law when it was originally passed under the cover of darkness at the end of the 2021 lame duck session. It remains a terrible law today: terrible for public safety, terrible for the victims of violent crime, and terrible for our law enforcement community.

SAFE-T Act lawsuit before circuit court on Dec. 20.  The controversial SAFE-T Act, which will abolish cash bail requirements for persons charged with most criminal offenses (including violent criminal offenses), will face a constitutional challenge in Illinois district court on Tuesday, December 20.  Sixty-two Illinois state’s attorneys, representing more than half of the counties in Illinois, have filed lawsuits against the controversial law.  The lawsuits have been consolidated into one case that will be heard in Kankakee County circuit court.  

The date to hear this case, originally December 7, was moved back by thirteen days as a result of amendments to the SAFE-T Act passed by General Assembly Democrats in the post-Thanksgiving “veto session.”  The amendments were included in House Bill 1095, passed in the House on Thursday, December 1 with no House Republican votes.  Governor Pritzker signed the SAFE-T Act trailer bill into law on December 6.  Both sides have the right to amend their briefs to reflect the provisions of the amended law.  A ruling is expected on Wednesday, December 28.  The new law is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2023.   


House, Senate enact agreed Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund legislation.  In the spring of 2022, supermajority Democrats passed and Governor Pritzker signed the FY 2023 budget that left a $1.8 billion deficit in the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund.

House Republicans strongly opposed the Democrats’ choice to leave a $1.8 billion hole in the UI Trust Fund, rightly arguing that we had the necessary revenue on hand to pay back our unemployment debt in full. The delay in paying back our unemployment debt to the Federal government cost Illinois taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in back interest and penalties. Instead of paying down the debt we owed to Washington D.C., Illinois Democrats spent a billion dollars on pork projects in Democrat districts.

A significant victory has now been won thanks to pressure applied by House Republican members of the Unemployment Insurance Task Force. An agreement has been reached between the business and labor community that will pay off the balance of the debt owed by the State of Illinois to the Federal government for money that was borrowed to replenish the state’s UI Trust Fund.

House Republicans helped bring labor groups and business interests to the negotiating table to work out a solution, and this week, a deal was reached that will reduce taxes on job creators by $913 million over the next 5 years. Not paying off this debt would have left Illinois businesses on the hook for that $913 million in unemployment insurance tax increases over the next 5 years.

After months of House Republicans demanding the Governor and supermajority Democrats in the House and Senate take responsible financial action and pay back in full the loan from the Federal government, Illinois job creators will benefit from a reduction in possible tax increases because of the agreement that has been reached to pay off our remaining debt.

In addition to paying down our remaining debt to the federal government, the State of Illinois will also increase the rolling balance in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which will help stave off future increases in taxes on jobs and job creators throughout the state. A higher rolling balance in the UI Trust Fund will also mean the State of Illinois will be better prepared in the event of a mass layoff event similar to what took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 1698 contains the agreed language to pay off the UI Trust Fund debt and shore up the rolling balance in the Fund. SB 1698 passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 95-8-2, with the Senate concurring on a vote of 45-8-0.


CGFA reports on November 2022 State budget revenues.  The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) released its “November 2022 Monthly Briefing” on Friday, December 2.

Inflationary pressures and rising wages continue to benefit State tax revenues.  Two of Illinois’ largest revenue drivers are personal income tax payments, much of which are forwarded through paycheck deductions, and sales tax payments, which are charged as percentages of the price of the goods sold.  Inflation increases these prices and pay rates, thus increasing State of Illinois income and sales tax revenues.  CGFA reports that on a year-over-year basis, Illinois personal income tax receipts were up by $228 million over the comparable numbers for November 2021.  Sales tax receipts were up by $134 million.  These two increase, which totaled $362 million, made up by far the largest share of the overall increase of $371 million in total general revenues from state and federal sources for the thirty-day period.  Many other tax and revenue cash flows rose and fell during this period, but these smaller trends tended to cancel each other out.     


Chicago legislators push Gun Ban. Illinois House Democrats from Chicago have introduced a massive gun control bill that would outlaw the sale AND manufacture of more than 70 firearms in Illinois. It also prevents most residents under 21 from legally buying a gun or holding a FOID card unless active duty military.

The voting threshold for a bill to become effective immediately drops to 60 votes Jan. 1. Democrats currently have 73 members, leaving room for more than a dozen downstate caucus members or others with Second Amendment concerns to stray from the party line.

Democrats added to their supermajority in last month’s elections, picking up five extra seats in the new Illinois General Assembly, which begins Jan. 12. But bill sponsor, Rep. Bob Morgan, said there is no time to waste, and he said he expects the bill to see movement during the lame duck session.

Proponents and opponents of the legislation can file a witness slip to log their opinion on House Bill 5855.

Upcoming Events

December 30th – Blood Drive at the Savanna Fire Station from 10a – 2p. Sign up here! https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive

During this holiday season, please remember your neighbors and shop small. Small businesses are the foundation of our local communities and deserve our business all year round.