Weekly News from Leader McCombie

DEMOCRATS PRIORITIZE BANNING KANGAROOS, HOP OUT OF TOWN.  After a legislative session day was abruptly canceled in the House of Representatives during a deadline week for legislation to pass out of committees, House Minority Leader Tony McCombie released the following statement:  

“Republicans showed up with good bills for consideration. Bans on kangaroos and exotic cats made the cut while Republican bills to reduce taxes, hold criminals accountable, and strengthen families were blocked by Democrats. The priorities of this chamber are upside down and it’s immoral to leave early while so much work remains.”

While House Republicans were busy fighting to provide relief for working families, improve public safety, and fight health care worker shortages, Democrats prioritized a ban on kangaroo ownership.  

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common experience in Springfield. The majority party continually puts politics before people and refuses to move Republican bills, despite the fact that these measures would improve the lives of not only the millions of residents we represent, but all Illinoisans. 

The session week that abruptly ended on Thursday, April 4, was the final week for standard committee consideration of the bills filed by members of the Illinois House. The more than 2,000 bills filed in the House this spring all had to get through committees to be considered on the House floor for further discussion and debate. Most of the committees of the Illinois House held lengthy meetings this week to look at the 810 bills that had been “posted for hearings.” Only about one-quarter of these bills (213 of the 810 bills posted) received favorable votes and were reported to the House floor for further action. 

The House committee deadline was the end of the road for many of the bills filed this spring by Illinois House Republicans. Of the 213 bills reported to the floor this week, only 32 bills (15% of the total) were filed by Republican members of the House. The overall bill totals that will face the House when they return to full action next week match this percentage and ratio. Of the total of 507 House bills out of committee to the floor this spring, 73 bills (14% of the overall total) were filed by Republican members of the House. The House will re-convene on Wednesday, April 10 to consider bills on the floor for further legislative action. 

Leader McCombie has filed a number of bills, which have moved through the legislative process, including the following:  

  • Freedom to Ride: Provides for UTVs being allowed to drive on all roadways  
  • Axe the Timber Tax: Would repeal the 4% timber tax 
  • Estate Tax: This bill would amend the Illinois Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Act to help protect family run farms and businesses and prevent a double taxation. 

Those are just a few of the many McCombie is backing this year. You can always follow along through the legislative process at www.ilga.gov.


Illinois’ March 2024 revenue growth came from only two cash flow lines.  State revenue numbers tracked and compiled by the Commission on Budget Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) show that the entirety of March 2024 year-over-year revenue growth came from: (i) federal funds from Washington, D.C., and (ii) money paid by Illinois residents in income taxes. All other general-funds revenue sources combined yielded a net decline of $58 million below the money numbers brought in by these lines in March 2023. These declines included drops in net revenues from corporate income taxes, from taxes on electricity, natural gas, and other supplies bought through public utilities, and from taxes imposed on cigarettes, liquor, wine, and beer.  The March 2024 revenue report was published on Tuesday, April 2. 

Despite this broad-based pattern of Illinois tax revenue decline and stagnation, Illinois brought in $413 million more, overall, in March 2024 than was received in March 2023. Federal funds came in up $216 million, and individual income tax payments increased by $291 million. The March 2024 revenue numbers buttressed the conclusion of CGFA economic analysts and professional staff that the General Assembly needs to be prepared for a future overall decline in State revenues. CGFA staff reported on their findings and projections to the Illinois House Revenue Committee on March 14, 2024. CGFA’s overall forecast includes the office’s projections concerning FY25, the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2024.  CGFA’s forecast has been posted as a public document.          


New poll numbers show Illinois voters strongly support ethics reform.  House Republicans have already lined up behind a bipartisan push to allow voter-led constitutional initiatives aimed at honesty in government, and to enact other urgently needed reforms against public corruption. A key component of this reform package will give Illinois voters the chance to circulate petitions, sign their names, and put honesty-in-government rules on the ballot for enactment as laws, in the same manner as voters can do in more than 25 other states. Now, polling numbers show strong public support for these measures, which have been stalled in both houses of the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly. 

Other items in the popular ethics reform package include a ban on ex-legislators drawing a taxpayer-funded pension while awaiting trial, and a statutory ban on legislators casting votes on issues where they have a conflict of interest. Former Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has added his support to the bipartisan moves. 

To address some of the shortcomings in current and restore faith in government, Leader McCombie has also have filed a measure, HB4119, to prohibit elected officials from using political campaign donations to pay for their criminal defense. Mike Madigan, the longest serving state House speaker in modern U.S. history, was indicted on federal racketeering and bribery charges in March 2022. He was set to stand trial in federal court in April 2024, but the trial has been pushed back to October 8, 2024. To date, he has used millions in campaign funds to pay for his legal defense. 

A few weeks ago, McCombie presented HB4119 in a subject matter hearing to the Ethics and Elections Committee in the Illinois House. There, she discussed the need for this measure in moving the legislature toward greater ethics reform. 

“The silence from Democrat lawmakers – many of whom supported Speaker Madigan – is deafening,” said McCombie. “My bill is a commonsense approach to ensure campaign financing is used as intended. This is about accountability, and we must hold elected officials to a higher standard.” 


Capitol Crimes: “In Our Own Backyards.”  It is happening in our communities. Often in our own backyards.  

Human Trafficking is a crime of exploitation. Traffickers profit at the expense of their victims by forcing them to commit illegal acts, perform free labor, and/or engage in commercial sex. Victims can be of any age, race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, immigration status, cultural background, religion, socio-economic class, and education attainment level. 

The most vulnerable are often targeted by traffickers: Children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, including foster care; runaway and homeless youth; individuals with substance use issues; migrant laborers, including undocumented workers and participants in visa programs for temporary workers; persons with limited English proficiency; persons with disabilities; and victims of intimate partner violence or other forms of domestic violence. 

Human Trafficking takes an unimaginable toll on the lives of its victims. Survivors who not only struggle to overcome the physical and emotional impact of their enslavement must also deal with the legal ramifications of their actions from when they were trafficked. 

Several Illinois lawmakers talk to Capitol Crimes’ Dean Abbott about their efforts to combat human traffickers and make it easier for survivors of trafficking to get their lives back on track. 

Rep. Nicole La Ha Bill to Extend Prosecution Window for Crimes Against Minors Passes Committee.  State Representative Nicole La Ha’s HB 5467 has unanimously passed committee, receiving bipartisan support. This important bill seeks to extend the prosecution window for crimes against minors

“By extending the prosecution window for crimes against minors, we are not only ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable for their reprehensible actions but also providing survivors with a renewed sense of hope and validation,” Rep. La Ha said. “I am deeply grateful to my colleagues for their unwavering support and dedication to this crucial cause.” 

Under the provisions of HB 5467, when the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, a prosecution for involuntary servitude, involuntary sexual servitude of a minor, or trafficking in persons and related offenses may be commenced at any time, removing the previous limitation of within 25 years of the victim attaining the age of 18 years. 

HB 5467 represents a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking, safeguarding the rights and well-being of minors across the state of Illinois. 

La Ha’s human trafficking bill will next go before the full Illinois House for consideration. 


Tragic death of DeKalb County sheriff’s deputy.  The March 28 roadside death occurred on Illinois Route 23 near Elva, Illinois. Five-year sheriff’s deputy Christina Musil, a veteran of the U.A. Army National Guard with a service record in Afghanistan, was fatally injured on the shoulder of the highway. The heavily traveled IL-23 carries traffic south from the DeKalb-Sycamore population center. A heavy freight truck left the highway, traveled up onto the shoulder, and struck the deputy’s squad car. In an initial follow-up to the incident, the driver of the truck, Nathan P. Sweeney, has been charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, and has been issued three traffic citations. A police investigation continues. 

A series of tributes to Deputy Musil took place this week, including a community procession of honor on Monday, April 1, and a visitation, law enforcement walk-through, and funeral on Thursday, April 4. Gov. Pritzker ordered Illinois’ flags to be lowered to half-staff until sunset on April 4. Deputy Musil, age 35, was the mother of three children.  

“I am keeping the Musil family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” said Leader McCombie. “First responders live their lives to serve and protect, they are pillars in our community, and I feel the loss of this tragedy deeply.”


Changes to tipped wages law would hurt tipped workers, businesses, and customers.  Legislation proposed in Illinois would change wages for tipped workers across the state. Minimum wage would be mandated under the new law, forcing restaurants to restructure their operations.  

State Representative Mike Coffey joined business leaders and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) to oppose the legislation, saying it would have a negative impact on employees and business owners. 

“This legislation would cause turmoil in the service industry, causing job creators to cut good-paying positions and putting these businesses at risk of closure,” Rep. Coffey said. “Ultimately, consumers who are already feeling the higher cost of living in this state will have to pay more to offset the higher labor costs.” 

Rep. Coffey continued, “As I’ve traveled the district, employees who have excelled at providing service to residents have asked me to stand up and fight against this bill. They are concerned their take-home pay will decrease and businesses will close their doors. We must do everything possible to encourage businesses in this state to grow and not saddle them with additional burdens.” 

HB 5345 amends the Minimum Wage Law and would require all businesses who currently employ tipped workers to compensate employees at $15 an hour, beginning in 2025. After a delayed committee hearing which saw House Democrats sub in several members to get the bill passed, HB 5345 passed out of the House Labor & Commerce Committee on a 17-11 vote. House Republicans were united in our opposition to this ill-conceived legislation and several House Democrats joined us in opposition to passage of the bill. 

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie stands in firm opposition to this measure. “While there may be good intentions behind this bill, it will have dangerous ramifications for business owners across our state, who already face a steep cost of doing business in Illinois,” said McCombie. “If passed, this legislation will be a red flag for future investment, prevent economic growth, and pose huge concerns for employees, who will carry the brunt of this poorly thought out public policy initiative.”  


Save the date for a number of upcoming events Leader McCombie will be hosting this spring.  

  • Spring Photo Contest: Now Live! The Leader is calling on residents to capture compelling photos of people, landscapes, or landmarks throughout the community to showcase the beauty of spring. McCombie is looking forward to showcasing the incredible talent throughout the District. Check out the details here.  
  • Drug Take Back Day: This national event is held every year, an initiative of the Drug Enforcement Agency and in conjunction with law enforcement communities across the nation. This day brings awareness to the potential abuse of prescription medication, and the need to safely dispose of any prescriptions that are old or unused. Leader McCombie has two upcoming events in her district where you can safely dispose of your medications: April 27th from 9am-noon at McCombie’s District Office in Savanna, the second opportunity is in Elizabeth (same date and time) at the Elizabeth Community Building, 330 N. West Street.  
  • Summer Reading Program: Leader McCombie’s Annual Summer Reading Program is launching soon…the summer months are right around the corner; stay tuned for more details on this popular program to help encourage the youngest residents to keep learning during the summer months. 
  • FREE Museum Pass: Looking for a fun activity this spring? Leader McCombie has a free museum pass available to area residents. Call her office for more details on how you can take advantage! 


House Minority Leader Tony McCombie has spent time honoring local businesses this year, through a new program initiative that will help promote the great business community in northwest Illinois. She wants to hear from you!  

Highlighting local businesses is an ongoing effort for Leader McCombie to continue to connect with business owners throughout the district–and bring great resources to constituents. McCombie encourages constituents to help suggest local businesses that deserve recognition by using the nomination form below: 

This month, Leader McCombie visited Koeller Forreston Hardware as her second local business highlight of the year, and presented them with a special certificate of recognition. The store came to life on August 21, 2015 when it was purchased by Gary and Jane Koeller, who are long time Forreston residents. Gary Koeller, who moved to Forreston in 1967, is a plumber and handy-man, which makes the store a perfect fit. The family run store is a staple in the community offering essential supplies and wisdom for any home projects, but it goes far beyond just that.

“Everyone needs to have a local hardware store in their rotation and the selection of goods paired with the expertise and friendliness of staff make this a staple spot in Forreston,” said McCombie. “This store goes above and beyond to not only be a great business but be an essential part of the community here.”


I had the privilege of having a Page for the Day last week! Autumn served as my Page and got to experience what life is like serving in the Illinois House of Representatives.

The Page for the Day program was started to allow students to see the legislative process firsthand and to witness how a bill becomes a law. If you know someone interested in being a Page, contact Leader McCombie’s office at 815-291-8989.


Leader McCombie recently held a successful first “Women in Agriculture” advisory group, bringing together over a dozen women from across her 89th legislative district to discuss legislative updates relevant to the industry, and connect with similar minded women. 

Bringing together women working in agriculture has been a priority for Leader McCombie. This first meeting was an introduction for members within the group, and an opportunity for them to hear from Leader McCombie on issues relevant in the legislature to farming, agricultural education, and funding.  

“This meeting was a great introduction to a coalition that I have wanted to start for some time–to bring women together, celebrate their impact to agriculture and be a resource for each other,” said McCombie. “I see this group as an opportunity for women to work together to gain a better understanding of legislation and programs to promote Illinois’ largest economic driver.” 

McCombie’s group will continue to meet quarterly throughout the year and will feature additional guest speakers to bring added resources and insight to Women in Agriculture. With questions about the advisory group or for information on how to join as a participant, residents are encouraged to contact Leader McCombie’s District Office by email at mccombie@ilhousegop.org.