Capitol Update

Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Elimination of Cash Bail
The Illinois Supreme Court announced its opinion last week on the Pretrial Fairness portion of the SAFE-T Act by a 5-2 decision, they have ruled it as constitutional. Thus, the elimination of cash bail is now set to go into effect on September 18, 2023 in Illinois.

Illinois becomes the first state in the U.S. to totally eliminate cash bail, and it comes at a time when crime in the state remains at the top of the nation. Police and law enforcement agencies across the state have vehemently opposed the SAFE-T Act.

This ruling will put many detained criminals back on the streets much faster without having to post cash bail. I am disappointed in the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling on the SAFE-T Act which ties the hands of judges and law enforcement, and does not support crime victims. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to enact laws that support law enforcement and keep our communities safe.

Pritzker’s handling of undocumented immigrant healthcare program comes under sharp criticism
Under current State law, Illinois taxpayers must pay for the healthcare benefits of many undocumented immigrant adults and children. The estimated cost of providing these benefits to undocumented immigrants in Fiscal Year 2024 is between $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion. In contrast to conventional Medicaid spending, almost all of this expense must be paid for by Illinois taxpayers; federal healthcare programs will reimburse almost none of these expenses because the medical patients are not citizens or legal residents of the U.S.
With the goal of reducing this expense line item by $550 million, the Pritzker Administration released new emergency administrative rules earlier in July 2023. These rules are expected to close off access to this program to some undocumented immigrants who would otherwise have been eligible for benefits. However, even if these emergency rules function as intended, the program is still expected to cost Illinois taxpayers at least $550 million in FY24.

At a bipartisan legislative committee meeting of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) this \week in Chicago, the new Pritzker Administration rules came under sharp criticism. Some of the lawmakers present stated the new rules had heartlessly cut off access to this vital program for thousands of Illinois residents who had been hoping to use it to deal with urgent personal medical needs. Others pointed out that this new program, whose origin had never been fully discussed or publicly debated, had created a vast new taxpayers-funded benefit and budget expense. The Chicago JCAR hearing was held on Tuesday, July 18.

Unemployment rate at 4% in June

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate was down -0.1 percentage points to 4.0 percent in June, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Nonfarm payrolls increased by +8,400 in June. Both estimates are based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The May revised unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, unchanged from the preliminary May unemployment rate. The May monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +2,500 to +5,400 jobs.

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