Tag: Illinois House of Representatives

Area Lawmakers React to Illinois Budget Plan | Sugary Beverage Tax Put on Hold

Springfield

Thursday, July 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Illinois House voted 71 to 42 on July 6 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a revenue bill “that will hike the personal income tax rate — while also voting to override two other budget bills,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Thursday.

For the first time in two years, Illinois has a full budget in place after after a two-year impasse, “the longest such impasse for any state in modern history,” according to a July 6 New York Times report.

“The decision to approve the budget, which includes an income tax increase expected to generate about $5 billion, came as Illinois was sinking deeper into fiscal misery,” the Times reports.

“The state is $15 billion behind in paying its bills; has delayed or stopped payments that have especially affected the elderly, poor and students; and has been warned that its credit rating could sink to junk status, the lowest for any state.”

In the run-up to, and after, the historic vote, local state lawmakers were vocal in their support of the measure.

After the State Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto earlier this week, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), (whose district includes Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, along with other western suburbs and parts of Chicago), said that the plan “would give our neediest populations and decimated institutions a fighting chance.

“Families, our most vulnerable populations and businesses alike need consistency,” Lightford stated. “It is time for Governor Rauner to set aside his political antics once and for all and do what he was elected to do, enact a budget.”

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district includes much of Proviso Township, praised the plan.

“The plan cuts state spending by nearly $3 billion, while protecting our seniors, supporting our most vulnerable citizens, revitalizing our violence prevention programs and funding our schools, colleges and universities,” he said.

In a July 6 Facebook post, uploaded as the House debated the governor’s vetoes, state Rep. Kathleen Willis (77th), (whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Maywood and Melrose Park), said that although the measure isn’t perfect, “we must do something. As one of my colleagues said last week the state hemoraging. This is a way to stop bleeding out. My view is that you must stop the bleeding before you can repair the damage.”

Sugary beverage tax blocked as budget cuts loom, says Preckwinkle

Soft_drink_shelf_2The cost of sugary beverages sold in Cook County were set to go up one penny per ounce this summer, but a Cook County Circuit Court judge blocked the inevitable from happening.

Now, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is warning that if the judge keeps the tax from taking effect by August, the county would have to cut 10 percent of its budget.

Per the Chicago Tribune, “In a letter dated Monday sent to all county elected officials, bureau chiefs and department heads, Preckwinkle budget director Tanya Anthony said analysts would be providing them ‘a recommended course of action’ to meet spending cuts needed if Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak doesn’t lift a temporary restraining order that’s preventing the penny-per-ounce tax from being levied.

“Kubasiak stopped the tax, which was supposed to go into effect Saturday, after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers sued the county to permanently block it on the grounds it is vague and unconstitutional.

“The county was counting on $67.5 million to be collected through Nov. 30 via the tax on pop and other drinks.”

Read the full Chicago Tribune article here. VFP

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Guns Plan Approved By Illinois House Falls in Senate, Leaving Maywood Ordinance Intact

By Michael Romain

An Illinois House bill that, if passed into law, would’ve effectively wiped out an ordinance here in Maywood that bans the carrying of concealed weapons was defeated in the Senate Executive Committee on Tuesday by a 10-6 vote. Village Ordinance 130.81(a) states, “A person who is not a Village officer shall not carry about his person any concealed pistol, switchblade, knife, metal knuckles or any other weapon or thing of deadly character.”

The Senate Executive Committee, of which former Maywood resident Sen. Kimberly Lightford is a member, voted instead to approve a stricter proposal that would keep local ordinances banning concealed weapons intact.

The failed House proposal, which passed the lower chamber by a vote of 85-30, called for eliminating local gun laws in municipalities, permitting establishments that sale less than 50 percent of alcohol to allow patrons to carry guns on their premises and requiring law enforcement authorities to issue permits to anyone deemed qualified to own a gun. Typically, such qualification entails accumulating at least “16 hours of gun-safety training – most in the nation – [passing] a background check and [paying] a $150 fee,” according to an article by the Associated Press.

Rep. Chris Welch (D-7th), who was born and raised in Maywood, said the House bill was negotiated “by a committee that didn’t include one black legislature – there are 20 of us – and not one Hispanic legislature – there are 6 of them. So it didn’t take into consideration the communities that I represent, which deal with gun violence everyday.”

Welch’s reason for voting against the bill seems an inversion of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s reason for voting in support of it. Madigan noted that the proposal’s single, statewide standard for dealing with gun ownership would eliminate confusion.

“As people attempted to move about the state,” said Madigan in the AP article, “they would contemplate the possibility that there would be a change in the rules up to 220 times” (220 being the number of home-rule communities in Illinois, each with different gun ordinances).

But Madigan’s reasoning doesn’t seem to take into account the fact that this statewide diversity in gun legislation may be necessary to accommodate diverse local conditions, a reality that a uniform, blanket approach to gun control may only exacerbate.

The House proposal derived its power to basically wipe out local ordinances controlling concealed weapons from a provision in the state constitution called preemption. “What preemption does,” Welch said, “is preempt home-rule municipalities from passing a law on something if we [the State legislature] pass a law on that issue with 71 or more votes.” Since the House proposal garnered 85 votes, it was well above the threshold for preemption.

Rep. Christian Mitchell, in the same AP article, called the bill a “massive dismantling of local administration of gun safety” and that it’s the “opposite of small government […] This bill is massive overreach, it is dangerous […]”.

Perhaps the most potent danger is the bill’s disregard for local variations in how guns affect people’s lives. While carrying concealed weapons may be relatively benign behavior in certain areas of rural Southern Illinois, it constitutes extremely hazardous behavior in much more dense urban and semi-urban areas such as Maywood.

“There’s no reason people should be allowed to walk the street with military style weapons,” Rep. Welch said. “These weapons will make the light in ‘The Village of Eternal Light’ go dim very quickly.” VFP