Capitol Update: Budget, Healthcare, Public Safety

The Illinois House has 13 days left until we are scheduled to adjourn on May 19. Last week the House was busy considering bills in committee.

This is the time of year when lawmakers and the public need to pay close attention to what is happening in the legislature as a number of surprise bills pop up in the final days that affect us all, sometimes good and oftentimes bad legislation is enacted with only moments notice.

As always, I will keep you updated. In the meantime, here are a few updates from last week and the week ahead.


The head of the Illinois House Republican caucus says her top priority is to pass a balanced state budget. But she has concerns about how that will be accomplished.

“The definition of ‘balanced’ will be the question,” said House Republican Leader Tony McCombie.

“The speaker says it will be balanced. But does balanced mean we will borrow funds from other agencies and other funds? Yes. Does it mean that we will move funds from one fund to another? Yes. I don’t hope for that, but it’s been that way ever since I’ve been there.”

She said such maneuvering lacks transparency.

McCombie is in her seventh year as a state representative, and her first year as House Republican Leader.

McCombie said Representatives Norine Hammond and myself (Amy Elik) are working hard to make sure Republicans have a presence at the table during budget discussions. Hammond is chief budgeteer for House Republicans, and I serve as the party’s deputy budgeteer.

Read the rest of the Tri States Public Radio article here.



Illinois’ health benefit program for undocumented immigrants is estimated to cost nearly $1 billion next fiscal year, a 346% increase since last year. These costs incurred keep climbing and are not eligible for matching funds by the federal government. The majority party approved this spending without considering the fiscal impact to our general revenue fund. This puts services for our most vulnerable citizens and many other critical programs at risk in future state budgets.

Read the rest of the story in The Telegraph here.


Authorities have posted flood warnings for the Mississippi River’s banks from Illinois’ northern border, near Galena, to the junction of the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers near Alton. On the opposite bank from Illinois, Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster declaration covering ten riverfront counties in the Hawkeye State. Parallel flooding has begun across the river in Carroll County, Illinois, and the river town of Savanna.

As in previous years, the high water is associated with snowmelt upriver, especially from watersheds in Minnesota and Wisconsin. As these floodwaters roll south, the fresh waters will crest on various days depending on location. In Quincy, Illinois, for example, the floodwaters are expected to crest from Thursday, May 4 through Saturday, May 6.


On Wednesday, the House Republican Truth in Public Safety (TIPS) Working Group introduced a series of measures designed to balance the rights of the accused while ensuring the safety of the public.

Members of the Working Group include my colleagues Rep. Patrick Windhorst, House Republican Floor Leader and Chairperson of the TIPS Working Group as well as Representatives Dan Ugaste, Dennis Tipsword, John Cabello, Amy Grant and David Friess.

“The Truth in Public Safety Working group has come up with a package of more than 20 bills through our work,” Windhorst said. “We have developed legislation centering around protecting crime victims, restoring cash bail with reforms, and recruiting and retaining police officers.”

The working group began meeting in January, and with the final product unveiled, Windhorst says he’ll push hard for hearings and votes on the package. Learn more about the public safety package here.


This week at the State Capitol is was great to visit with representatives from local Madison County at an event hosted by the Illinois Credit Union League.


The Illinois House of Representatives is back in session tomorrow Tuesday, May 2. You may listen or watch live at Noon here.


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.