Capitol Update

Proposal to Charge Illinois Drivers by the Mile Pushed Aside
Six days after Democrat Senate President John Cullerton revealed his proposal to tax motorists for each mile driven on Illinois roads, Cullerton ended up stating he no longer will purse the proposal.

Under the Cullerton proposal, owners of motor vehicles licensed in Illinois would be asked to choose between three separate taxes, each intended to collect 1.5 cents per mile. The amount charged and collected would rise or fall depending on the level of surveillance the driver would agree to have imposed on his or her motor vehicle, with the highest level of taxation tied to the lowest level of surveillance.

Term Limits for Legislative Leaders

On April 11 I announced my support of legislation which would limit the years a Member of the Illinois General Assembly could serve in a leadership position. The bill, introduced by State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), is an effort to ensure that the Statehouse will receive new leadership on a regular basis.

For decades only a handful of lawmakers have controlled what legislation comes before the General Assembly. The citizens of Illinois do not get to vote on who becomes the leaders of the House and Senate, but this legislation would ensure citizens have turnover of these positions far more regularly than they have currently. Enacting term limits for the positions which control the legislature would bring more accountability and more cooperation to the Statehouse.

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 7 (HJRCA7) would limit the years a Member could serve as Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House and Minority Leader of the Senate to a total of 8 years in any single position and 12 years combined in 2 or more positions. If passed, this resolution would apply to service beginning in January 2017.

House Approves Legislation to Create Route 66 Motorcycle License Plates

On Friday, April 15 the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously approved my legislation (House Bill 4315) to offer motorcyclists an opportunity to purchase Route 66 license plates. Illinois played a leading role in the creation of this road, being the first to claim having Route 66 paved end-to-end across a state. Today people from around the world dream of traveling the ‘Mother Road’ for an adventure of their own, including thousands who travel on motorcycle. Many of these folks begin their Route 66 journey right here in Illinois. Given the support we see from motorcyclists traveling Route 66, it is only natural we would give them an opportunity to show their support of our historic byway by placing a special Route 66 license plate on their bike.

Currently, Illinois Route 66 license plates are only available for passenger vehicles, trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles, but not motorcycles. Proceeds from the additional fees collected from the new plate will benefit the Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project Fund. The Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project Fund was created for the development of tourism, through education and interpretation, preservation, and promotion of the former U.S. Route 66.

Despite No Budget, Republicans Offer Solutions
As of April 2016, the State has entered its tenth month without a balanced budget, making Illinois the only state that has not yet enacted a spending plan for the current fiscal year. No plans have been enacted to control and continue State spending during this period. Many providers of essential social services have been affected by the lack of budget appropriations and have been forced by cash-flow realities to reduce services. Some of these service providers have been forced to lay off personnel, and in some cases to completely shut their doors, in the communities they serve or have served.

Throughout this impasse, House Republicans have offered multiple solutions. Most recently, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has introduced HB 6553, the “lifeline” bill, with Senate Republican Leader Radogno. HB 6553 would allocate $1.3 billion in funding to providers of community services in areas where the need is most intense. The Governor has told Illinois House Members and Senators that he expects to be able to sign a “lifeline” bill similar to HB 6553 if it conforms to the broad outlines of this proposal upon approval by the General Assembly.

In the News
Tim Butler: Perhaps Rank and File Members Will Come To Budget Mess Conclusion – WTAX; April 18, 2016
Paychecks for Illinois lawmakers may be delayed – QuadCities; April 18, 2016
Lawmakers React to Receiving Payments Soon – WAND; April 18, 2016
DNR seeks to reopen Illinois State Museum with $5 fee – JournalStar; April 19, 2016

Explore the 87th District

Thank you to the St. John’s College of Nursing students
who came to the Capitol last Tuesday to advocate for their issues of concern.

Stopped by the State Fairgrounds for lunch 

at the Department of Agriculture on April 11 in support of Illinois Pork Producers.

Enjoyed participating in the SIU Paul Simon Institute Youth
in Government Day April 9 in Springfield.