Op-Ed: Rep. Elik’s October 2022 Legislative Update

This is my twelfth update to the citizens of the 111th district, as your State Representative. I am continuing to attend and host events in the district this fall, as well as meeting with constituents and other legislators and local officials on a variety of matters. My office hosted a prescription drug disposal event in Wood River in September and we collected 129 pounds of unused medication for safe destruction by law enforcement. I attended the ribbon cutting for the reopening of the Merchants Bridge in Madison, after a ten-year project to replace this 133 year-old bridge which carries rail traffic between Illinois and Missouri. I did a virtual tour of Fresenius Dialysis Center and learned so much about the kidney care treatment that so many people require. The Center is very impressive and I was able to talk virtually with patients and staff about kidney disease. I participated in Alton’s litter cleanup by picking up trash on Alton Square Mall drive down to US67. My office staff and I toured Treehouse Wildlife Center in Dow, and had a great time learning about the unique animal rehab, rescue and release programs there, that very few organizations in the Midwest do. I highly recommend a visit if you have never been there.

I presented a legislative certificate of appreciation to A Precious Organization at the 10th annual walk for sickle cell awareness at Rock Springs Park. I am so thankful that so many non-profit organizations are able to have their in-person events again after so much time away due to Covid.

In August, I attend the Edgar Fellows program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, my alma mater. I had not been back to Champaign in many years, so it was nice to walk the campus again and see what has changed. The five-day program is led by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar. Forty leaders were chosen from state and local governments, various agencies, and non-profits to learn and discuss state policy, economic development, Medicaid, higher education, public service and more. It was an educational program and I enjoyed connecting with my class of Edgar Fellows and getting to know Governor Edgar. He is still very vibrant and focused on sharing his experiences as Secretary of State and Governor with emerging leaders throughout the state.

Rumors had swirled this summer that Governor Pritzker would bring the legislature back for a special session, however, nothing was called. We have veto session dates scheduled from November 15-17, and again from November 29-December 1. Few committees have met, but the Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force has continued to hold hearings sporadically.

Over the last month, I have had numerous calls and emails regarding the Illinois SAFE-T Act. This act is the legislation that was passed in the very last hour of the lame-duck session in 2021, just about an hour before I was sworn in to office on January 13, 2021. I oppose the SAFE-T Act as do most people in the district from what I am hearing from constituents. While the House Republicans have been very vocal over the last twenty months about our opposition to this legislation, it seems to be getting renewed attention in the public and press because of the provisions related to the elimination of the cash bail system that take effect on January 1, 2023. The laudable purpose of reforming the bail system so that people who cannot afford bail are not kept in jail for low-level crimes, is not what this act ended up being. The opposition is bipartisan throughout the state, with one hundred States Attorneys opposing the law. Many have filed suit saying the law is unconstitutional because bail provisions are in the Illinois Constitution. That as well as other concerns on the cost of implementation of the multiple unfunded mandates have many cities, counties, state attorneys, public defenders and others very worried about this law. I am working to repeal the harmful provisions of this act, which can hopefully be done in veto session.

We continue to handle constituent issues in the district office and plan for the fall legislative session. If we can help you navigate state government, please contact my state office at 618-433-8046 or visit my website at RepElik.com.

State Representative Amy Elik, 111th District