Illinois State Police registration deadline nears. The registration process is mandated by the “Protect Illinois Communities Act,” enacted by a partisan, lame-duck Illinois General Assembly in January 2023.
Under this mandate, persons who owned so-called “assault weapons,” and possessed them in Illinois prior to January 10, 2023, are required to go to the State Police website and fill out a form that lists their name, address, and the weapons and firearm-related items being registered. The registration process must be completed by midnight, December 31, 2023. Unregistered items could, down the road, be subject to confiscation by law enforcement. Firearms owners are raising questions about the deadline date and the overall process, including scrutiny of the fact that even as the deadline approaches there continue to be unanswered questions as to precisely which firearms and items must be registered. Firearm owner groups assert that the State Police have not yet fully answered these questions.
Many Illinois firearm owners continue to oppose the act of mandatory registration of firearms with law enforcement, and statistical evidence indicates that many of these weapons have not yet been registered with the State Police as the December 31 deadline approaches. Furthermore, the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” forbids Illinoisans from taking new possession of banned firearms and related items if they were acquired after January 10, 2023, the effective date of the new Act. The State Police are preparing new rules to govern their oversight of these weapons on and after New Year’s Day, 2024. These controversial new rules have not yet been filed with the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, an essential step in raising the text of the rules to the status of enforceable “administrative law.”
Illinois unemployment rate up in November.The November 2023 unemployment rate increased to 4.7% in Illinois. This was up 0.1% from the 4.6% level notched in October 2023. The November figures showed Illinois unemployment that was 1.1% higher than the national average of 3.7%.
Total estimated Illinois nonfarm payroll employment in November 2023 was up by 6,800 jobs from the payroll numbers from the previous month, and up by 54,200 jobs from comparable figures achieved twelve months earlier in November 2022. The increase in unemployment for November 2023, which occurred despite a slight growth in overall Illinois jobs, reflected the continued movement of adult Illinoisans back into the labor force. When more people are coming into the labor force than net new hires, unemployment results.
Illinois created a net of 5,400 new manufacturing jobs in November 2023. While this was healthy growth, less than ten percent of Illinois’ overall labor force (568,600 of a total employed labor force of 6.15 million) is currently employed in factories and manufacturing. Other sectors that have shown strength in recent years, headed by educational and health services, other services, and government, continued to add jobs in Illinois. There was continued weakness in November 2023 in the Professional and Business Services sector, which shed 8,000 additional jobs in November 2023. This trend reflects overall changes in global sales and technology. In particular, the wholesaling and nationwide distribution of goods and services continues to be a key piece of Illinois’ economy, but a massive push towards automation is reducing jobs in this sector.
Former Chicago alderman Edward M. Burke found guilty on federal corruption charges. As a half-century member of Chicago’s City Council and ward committeeman, Alderman Burke was known as a power broker. Ed Burke became chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, with veto power over the spending, the taxes, and many of the contracts entered into or ordered by Illinois’ largest city. From the days of former Mayor Harold Washington onward, Burke was a much-feared symbol of Chicago power and authority.
Corruption allegations swirled around Alderman/Ward Committeeman Burke for decades. Perhaps because of partisan party loyalties, a string of Cook County State’s Attorneys turned a blind eye to these allegations. Finally in January 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stepped in. Burke’s indictment on numerous federal charges related to pervasive personal and office corruption was the start of a lengthy, four-year pretrial process. In late 2023, former Alderman Burke was finally put on trial. The jury found him guilty of racketeering, attempted extortion, and other public corruption charges on Thursday, December 21.
State Representative Chris Miller released the following statement after former Alderman Ed Burke, the longest-serving Chicago City Council member, was convicted on numerous criminal charges, including racketeering and extortion:
“As the longest serving Alderman in Chicago, Ed Burke controlled all the levers of power in the city. Along with Mike Madigan, the Daley’s and other powerful Democrat families, Burke also controlled the entirety of government in Illinois,” said Rep. Miller. “His conviction is a conviction of the entire Illinois Democrat party. It is utterly embarrassing that Burke’s wife sat as a supreme court justice during the entire time this corruption took place.”
Meet our newest legislators. This week the House Republican Caucus welcomed Nicole La Ha and Brandun Schweizer to its ranks. The two new legislators were appointed to fill vacancies created with the retirements of State Representatives Michael Marron and John Egofske.
On Wednesday, Nicole La Ha took the oath of office to become State Representative of the 82nd District, which includes the communities of Willowbrook, Burr Ridge, Willow Springs, Darien, Western Springs, Homer Glen, and Lemont.
La Ha was elected to the Village of Homer Glen Board of Trustees in 2020. During her tenure, she demonstrated a strong commitment to lower property taxes and financial responsibility. La Ha is also Mrs. America 2022 and has a history of impactful advocacy for community accessibility and inclusive parks for children with disabilities. Her personal experiences as the mother of a differently abled child have fueled her commitment to inspire a more inclusive world. Learn more about Rep. Nicole La Ha.
Brandun Schweizer was sworn into office as the State Representative of the 104th District on Thursday. His District includes parts of Vermilion and Champaign counties, in east central Illinois.
Schweizer is a retired United States Marine Corps Master Sergeant. He served as an Intelligence Chief, Equal Opportunity Advisor, and Recruiter during his 21-year career. After his retirement from the USMC earlier this year, Schweizer began working for the City of Danville as a Code Enforcement Inspector. He is also a member of IBEW labor union. Schweizer and his wife, Amy, reside in Danville with their three children. Learn more about Rep. Brandun Schweizer.