As we draw closer to the May 31st scheduled deadline for this year’s session, time is running out on schools, universities and vendors of all kinds that rely on the State for funding. The failure of the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget for going on three years now is abhorrent.
The fact is that we can’t fix this problem if we aren’t in Springfield working. Unbelievably, the House was only in session for a total of 5 hours and 54 minutes the last two weeks.
The point we are at is completely inexcusable and ridiculous. I agree with many of you that have reached out to my office to say that we are simply not getting the job done. The people of our state deserve so much better than they are getting from their government at this time.
One way we can move the state in a positive direction is to establish a baseline from which we can build a spending plan. You have to do it in your house, I have to do it in mine, and it makes common sense that the General Assembly do the same. It also happens to be the law.
House Republicans Ask Attorney General to Force General Assembly to Establish a Revenue Estimate
One major component of passing a balanced budget is the Constitutionally required responsibility of the General Assembly to adopt an estimate of the revenue it projects to bring in for the upcoming fiscal year.
For months, my House Republican colleagues and I have publicly repeated our demand that the House Democrat leaders bring forth a bill that would establish this revenue estimate. So far, our demands have not been met. This is an abdication and outright neglect of the General Assembly’s statutorily and Constitutionally defined duties.
To that end, I joined my colleagues this week in signing on to a letter written by my colleague Keith Wheeler to Attorney General Lisa Madigan requesting that she use the powers of her office to force the Illinois General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate prior to the filing and passage of any spending bills. This request was made in order to prevent further damage to the state’s finances and the many social service providers who serve the most vulnerable individuals and families across Illinois.
Despite having no revenue estimate in place, House Democrats have passed bills that would result in $295 million in NEW spending.
The letter cites several prior court rulings and instances which set precedent for the Attorney General to intervene to ensure the Illinois Constitution is upheld. Both the Constitution and state law require the General Assembly to adopt a revenue estimate on which to base a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The legislature has not done this in either of the past two years and has failed to do so for the coming fiscal year. Time is quickly slipping away to resolve this crisis. Action is required now!
Opposing ANOTHER Onerous Gun Control Bill
This week a suburban-Chicago Democrat State Representative brought forward SB 1657 to the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee. As a member of this Committee, I am often presented with bills that I fundamentally oppose. This week was no different.
My office has received an overwhelming number of phone calls and emails opposing Senate Bill 1657 and urging me to oppose it as well. The bill would create more regulations on firearm dealerships by requiring them to file for a license with the State of Illinois (in addition to Federal licensing requirements) in order to sell firearms.
I am proud to report to you that I voted NO on this bill! Firearm dealers have become an easy target for government regulation as parts of the state have seen increases in gun violence. However, we know that the guns used in the daily carnage in Chicago do not come from reputable firearm dealers, but are instead bought illegally or even stolen.
As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and as a member of the NRA, I will continue to fight against this bill. The right to bear arms is a cornerstone of a free America, and SB 1657 is just another way Chicago Democrat gun grabbers are attempting to restrict that right. If this bill comes up for a vote in the House, you can count on my NO vote.
You can hear me question the bill’s sponsor and offer my critique of this legislation during the Committee hearing by clicking on the YouTube video link above.
SB 308 – House Defeats Bill to Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain Professional Licenses
On Friday, House Republicans helped defeat legislation that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain professional licenses from the State of Illinois. The bill specifies that no person shall be prohibited from receiving a license solely because he or she is not a citizen of the United States.
The reason for the change, according to the sponsor was to put Illinois in line with former President Obama’s DACA, or more familiarly, ‘the dreamers” program. DACA was basically President Obama’s administration ignoring existing immigration law.
Under federal law, professional licenses cannot be extended to aliens not lawfully present unless states affirmatively opt out of the federal restrictions by enacting legislation providing for eligibility. This bill would essentially have been the ‘opt out’ that would make clear that Deferred Action for Childhnood Arrivals (DACA) are eligible for professional licensure in Illinois.
I voted NO on this bill because I believe firmly in legal immigration. It is fundamentally unfair to those individuals that are following our immigration laws, waiting for long periods of time and spending large sums of money to legally come to live in this country to be skipped over for individuals that are not following the law. The House Republicans arguments against the bill prevailed and the bill was defeated.
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Thursday, each from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. You can also contact me directly through the Contact Form on my website at www.repbryant.com – Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!