Inauguration Week 2019
This week marks the beginning of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield. On Wednesday, newly elected State Representatives and State Senators gathered in Springfield to take the oath of office and begin the work of the people of the State of Illinois.
During the Inaugural Ceremonies, I was proud to make good on a promise that I have often repeated. As State Representatives, the very first vote that we make is the one that decides House leadership positions such as the Speaker of the House and the House Minority Leader.
As I have always promised, and have always done, I cast my vote against Mike Madigan’s bid for an unprecedented 17th term as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.
As I am sure you are aware, Speaker Madigan has reigned over the Illinois House for decades. He has rejected all attempts to enact term limits, even for legislative leaders and Constitutional officers.
The absolute and total power that Speaker Madigan wields both politically and as an agent of the State government is unmatched anywhere in modern politics. Interestingly, the problems we face as a State have only gotten worse during this period of total one-man, one-party control. Democrats now hold significant majorities in the House and Senate, and as of this coming Monday will also hold all six Constitutional offices.
I am very interested to know how newly empowered Democrats will proceed on policies dealing with the major financial challenges facing our state. The 101st General Assembly begins in earnest on Tuesday, January 29th, as lawmakers return to the Capitol to start debating legislation. I will continue to keep you updated as news breaks.
100th General Assembly Wrap-Up
Although Wednesday marked the beginning of the new legislative Session, two items were addressed on Monday and Tuesday as the 100th General Assembly completed its business. One bill that passed allows the incoming Governor to reconstitute the Illinois Tollway Authority Board.
It is very much usual for incoming Governors to choose their own members and in this case I believe the right thing to do is to allow for a fresh start. The Tollway has been in the news to our north for many months because of controversies related to patronage hiring and expenditure fights. The incoming administration has promised increased transparency as it retools the Tollway Authority.
Voting NO on Pay Raises for Incoming Governor’s Staff
As you may know, the 736-day budget impasse caused long-lasting financial damage to the State of Illinois. During the impasse, our bill backlog grew and our structural deficit exploded. Although it has not always been easy or popular, I am proud to have voted several times in a row to balance the State budget.
I have also been adamant that Illinois must stick to a strict financial diet in the coming years.
Although some stability has returned to Illinois due to a full budget passing last year, Illinois still owes billions in unpaid bills and hundreds of billions in pension and other general debt liabilities. Our state unfortunately ranked 2nd highest on the list of states losing population last year, losing more than 45,000 residents.
In the days following the November 6th election, Governor-elect Pritzker began lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation allowing him to pay incoming agency directors up to 15% more in salaries during his administration. The Governor-elect has argued that $150,000 is simply not enough money to attract top talent to the State of Illinois.
With the financial problems we face, and with the State of Illinois losing people by the tens of thousands just last year, I believe firmly that guaranteeing 15% raises for incoming and untested bureaucrats sends the wrong message to working families in Illinois. I voted NO.
Inauguration Day 2019
Bryant Sworn-in to Fourth Term as 115th State Representative
Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) took the oath of office on Wednesday, as she was sworn-in to a 4th term as 115th district State Representative. Bryant was re-elected in November 2018 and begins work in the 101st General Assembly on Thursday.
“Inauguration Day is always a joyous and hopeful occasion,” Bryant said. “I am deeply honored and proud to serve the people of Southern Illinois as their State Representative. I want to thank the many friends, family members, and supporters that made the trip to Springfield to watch the ceremony. I sincerely hope that the good feelings that come about as a new legislature is seated will continue into the Session and that we can work cooperatively as a body.”
Bryant takes office as the balance of power in Illinois government radically shifts toward Democratic control. Democrats will hold veto-proof majorities in both the Illinois House and Senate and will occupy all six Constitutional offices, including the Governor’s office. For her part, Bryant says she is cautiously optimistic that Democrats will work across party lines.
“The incoming Governor has signaled a willingness, at least for now, to listen to ideas from Republicans and to work cooperatively,” Bryant said. “I have been encouraged by some of the personnel moves he has made already, but I will be watching closely when policy items begin to move in the House. We might have a new Governor, but we are still facing enormous challenges. Property taxes are too high and people are leaving the State. We have to rebuild our infrastructure, and we must take steps to stop the outmigration of our citizens to neighboring states. These are enormous challenges that will require good ideas from both sides.”
The 115th district is located within the boundaries of all of Jefferson County, and parts of Jackson, Union, Washington, and Perry Counties. Bryant has offices located in Murphysboro and Mount Vernon. Constituents can visit her website at www.RepBryant.com and use the contact form to message her office.