The Illinois House of Representatives adjourned shortly after 9:00 am on Friday, leaving lawmakers with 557 bills to consider by the March 24th deadline. Here is an update on a few key issues from this week:
In this edition:
- Illinois Revenue Estimate
- Ethics Reform
- Firearm Ban
- Human Services – Choate Developmental Center
- Jobs – January 2023 unemployment rate
- House Returns March 14
CGFA updates Illinois revenue estimate for FY23. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the nonpartisan budget watchdog arm of the Illinois General Assembly, released this week its Economic Forecast for FY24. In sharing this forecast with the House Revenue Committee, the Commission also updated its FY23 Revenue Estimate, the estimate covering the now-more-than-half-completed fiscal year ending June 30, 2023. Although numbers are still coming on for FY23, the State now has an improved picture of how the revenues for this year are likely to end up.
CGFA now estimates that FY23 revenues will total $51.9 billion, which is a $575 million increase over CGFA’s previous FY23 estimate and a $545 million increase over the Governor’s FY23 estimate published in February. The increase in base FY23 revenue assumptions by CGFA led to a higher FY24 revenue estimate compared to the numbers from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), with FY24 expected to bring in $50.4 billion in revenue – a $465 million increase over the FY24 estimate projected by GOMB.
In a CGFA Report section entitled “The Economy,” CGFA analysts pointed to gathering uncertainties on the U.S. and Illinois economic horizon that make this healthy picture highly uncertain as the State looks forward to FY24, the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2023.
House Republicans renew call for ethics reform to combat corruption. Illinois House Republicans are demanding more ethics reforms on the one-year anniversary of former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s indictment on federal corruption charges.
My colleagues and I agree that Illinois lags behind other states in enacting meaningful legislation to eliminate conflicts of interest and empower the Legislative Inspector General. Lawmakers need to choose between personal profit and public service.
Urging clarity from Attorney General concerning enforcement of unconstitutional firearm ban. I participated in a press conference on Wednesday with the Illinois State Rifle Association to urge Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Governor J.B. Pritzker to provide more clarity to law-abiding gun owners concerning last Friday’s court decision ruling the firearm ban unconstitutional.
Out of respect to law-abiding gun owners, I urged the Attorney General to provide the clarity they deserve concerning a court ruling that the firearm ban is unconstitutional throughout Illinois. The Attorney General is responsible for providing a response on this issue as the case is not scheduled to be considered by the Illinois Supreme Court for another two months. Law-abiding gun owners need to know if the State is still enforcing this unconstitutional firearm ban.
On Friday, March 3, Macon County Circuit Court Judge Rodney Forbes ruled the firearm ban signed into law by Governor Pritzker to be unconstitutional.
The Illinois State Rifle Association weighed in by releasing the following statement, “After reviewing with counsel the Macon County Circuit Court’s decision, based on how the decision is not explicitly limited to one named person or group of persons, and based on how the Opinion clearly finds the challenged law unconstitutional on a facial basis as opposed to being unconstitutional as-applied to any particular person or persons, the ISRA believes that the Macon County decision is meant to be read to apply to all persons in the State. We acknowledge that the language therein also seems aimed towards facilitating an Illinois Supreme Court review, and we are confident that the skillful attorneys representing the plaintiffs will successfully present their arguments to that Court at the appropriate time.”
Southern Illinois lawmakers react to Governor’s proposal to repurpose Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center. State Representatives Paul Jacobs and Charlie Meier have been the lead House Republican members working to identify and correct ongoing problems at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center with the goal of keeping the facility open to serve residents living with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In late February, I joined my Republican colleagues in the House and Senate to demand immediate public hearings into abuses of residents of Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna, Illinois. Choate is located within the boundaries of Rep. Jacobs’ 118th legislative district.
The abuses that were detailed in a February 10th, 2023 ProPublica report showed an unacceptable pattern of abuse, neglect, cover-up, and intimidation of whistleblowers over a decade-long period that resulted in more than 1,500 complaints to the Office of the Inspector General overseeing the Illinois Department of Human Services.
On Wednesday, Governor JB Pritzker held a news conference at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine to announce that Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center will undergo a three-year transformation that will effectively repurpose Choate while implementing new safety enhancements and expand support for families and the residents living there.
The Department of Human Services announced Wednesday it will partner with SIU’s School of Medicine to shape Choate’s transformation.
Preliminary numbers say Illinois’ unemployment rate was 4.5% in January 2023. Illinois’ 4.5% unemployment rate, while it marked a 0.1% decline from the comparable rate in December 2022, was 1.1% higher than the nationwide 3.4% unemployment rate for the same month.
The preliminary Illinois January 2023 numbers, which are subject to revision as more data comes in, show continued job growth in the government and hospitality sectors of the economy. Of the net 14,300 new jobs created in Illinois during the month, 7,900 were created in government, and 6,300 were created in leisure and hospitality (including hotels and restaurants). Service sectors lost ground in Illinois in January 2023. Monthly payroll declines were notched in information science (down 900 jobs) and the separate fields of professional and business services (down 900 jobs).
HOUSE BACK IN SESSION
The Illinois House of Representatives is back in session on Tuesday, March 14. You may listen or watch live at Noon here.
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If you have an issue or need help navigating state government. My office is here to help you. If my office may be of assistance please contact my district office in Alton at 618-433-8046.