We are back in Session!
This week we will start to review Senate bills that have moved to the House for consideration. The committee work has been unworthy of the serious nature of passing laws that others will be subjected to. There was a rush of bills with little time to ask questions and receive information back on what the legislation will do.
Here’s What Happened Last Week
Over 1600 Bills Passed Out of Senate and House Committees in One Week!
Very Few Are Game-Changers for Taxpayers and Businesses
Last week was the final week for bills to move out both House and Senate committees. In a mad rush to get work done after a very light schedule in the previous weeks, the Democrats in charge of the committees pushed through 1,628 bills. Of those bills, 914 were “Shell Bills.” Shell bills are used to move legislation after the committee deadline by adding an amendment to a shell bill that already “passed.” Leaders and members of both parties file hundreds of shell bills under certain topics in case a situation comes up where legislation needs to be immediately filed. It is archaic considering at any other time Democrats, and probably Republicans when they were in charge 25 years ago, have no problem completely gutting an replacing a bill that has already passed on chamber.
There is a deadline for every step of the legislative process. Those deadlines are meaningless as the legislative process is abrogated if the party in charge wants to get their legislation out.
This year though may be a game changer. Our Illinois constitution requires that a bill be read three separate times on three separate days before a vote is taken. That did not happen when the SAFE-T Act was passed in lame duck session in 2021 and it did not happen when the gun ban bill passed this January during lame duck session. Now, both of those laws are being challenged in court and one of the basis’s for the court challenge is that the bill was not passed using procedures required in our state constitution.
The other 714 bills were individual bills on a myriad of topics. From my perspective, there is only one bill that passed the House that I believe could have long time impact for our state. That bill, Hb 1079, sponsored by Democrat Mark Walker lifts the ban on the building of nuclear plants in Illinois. The bill has broad bi-partisan support and the only No votes in committee were by three Democrats. We need more power and Illinois has the most nuclear plants in the U.S. and we should build more.
One additional bill that deserves honorable mention is State Rep Blaine WIlhour’s bill, HB 2984, which “Prohibits the investment of State moneys and public funds in certain investments or institutions tied to the Chinese Communist Party or the People’s Republic of China.” The bill passed out of committee unanimously.
More Affordable For Some Will Mean Less Affordable For Others
Soon, most Illinoisans’ property tax bill will contain what is essentially an ‘invisible’ line item. In 2021, Illinois enacted a new law called Affordable Illinois that includes property tax cuts of up to 35% for apartment owners that commit to maintaining certain levels of affordable units.
What’s not mentioned is that the increased property tax burden to cover the program will actually be borne by all property owners — commercial as well as residential, including single-family homes.
Stellantis Leaving Illinois For Indiana
Automaker Stellantis recently joined the ranks of other large companies, such as Caterpillar, announcing their move out of Illinois. They will be closing their Belvidere Assembly Plant and investing in three new plants in Kokomo, Indiana.
Illinois’ tax burden now ranks 7th highest in the U.S. which is the driving factor behind the ongoing exodus of residents and businesses. Property taxes are the 2nd highest in the nation, gas taxes are 2nd highest in the nation and the highest in the Midwest, and Illinois is one of seven states planning to introduce a wealth tax.
End Illinois’ Ban on Nuclear Power Plants!
Illinois relies on nuclear energy for over half of its electricity production, yet Springfield politicians think they know more about the industry standards and continue to maintain a decades-long moratorium on new nuclear power plant construction.
Crain’s Chicago recently reported that the power grid operator serving Northern Illinois and areas to the east warned just last month of potential electricity shortages over the coming seven years, thanks to ill-conceived state policies like Governor Pritzker’s Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA).
First MISO, Now PJM Reports Power Shortage Possibilities Due to Illinois’ CEJA Act
Crains Chicago Business had an alarming article highlighting the problems in the CEJA Act. Here is an excerpt from the article:
PJM Interconnection, in a Feb. 24 report prompting legislative hearings in Pennsylvania and Ohio, warned that the combination of fewer fossil fuel-fired power plants and higher demand caused by new data centers, the electrification of vehicles and buildings switching from gas to electric-powered heating could lead to shortages during normal peak times as the decade proceeds.
The report explicitly cites Illinois’ Climate & Equitable Jobs Act, or CEJA, enacted in 2021, as a contributor to the issue. The law, PJM estimates, will lead to the retirement of 5,800 megawatts of power production by 2030 — equivalent to two dual-reactor nuclear stations plus a single-reactor plant. That lost capacity is equal to 56% of the capacity of all five of the nuclear stations operating in northern Illinois.
Illinois’ aggressive decarbonization timetable represents the largest policy-driven cause of plant closures among several other federal and state initiatives that will result in retirements in other parts of PJM’s footprint. PJM covers all or parts of 13 states in the eastern half of the U.S., as well as Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:
“So in an hilarious green irony, coal is keeping the lights on.
Berlin still plans to ban coal by 2030. Maybe before that day arrives politicians in Berlin will catch up to what the market already knows: Fossil fuels remain indispensable for powering modern economies.”
Illinois Energy Policy Makes NO Sense!
What used to an economic advantage for Illinois – affordable and reliable energy is being frittered away for Green Energy deals that are not Green and are No Deal
Why Do We Need A New Flag?
The state flag hasn’t changed since 1969, but Democrat State Senator Doris Turner has introduced legislation looking to redesign it. She thinks it is time ‘for people throughout the entire state to get involved with the idea of a new state flag’.
One has to wonder what the true motivation is behind this effort.
You Have The Power To Save A Life
Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation.
Click on the link below to find an upcoming Red Cross blood drive near you!
Here is a map of the new 101st House District. Use this link for a clearer picture and to enter your address to see if you live in the district: https://repcmiller.com/district/
As your state representative, my office is available to assist you with any issues you may have when interacting with a state agency.
Please call our office at 217.508.4108 to get help or schedule an appointment to see me.
The office is located at 1113 Lincoln Ave, Charleston and is open Monday-Friday from 9am to 4 pm.