Fall veto session cancelled
I am disappointed to report that the fall session of the General Assembly has been cancelled. We were scheduled to meet next week and the week after Thanksgiving, but Speaker Madigan has decided to cancel the session. This is a serious disappointment as we have many critical issues which need to be acted upon. Instead, it appears we will be waiting until the new General Assembly is sworn in in January.
This year I have sponsored several bills which I felt needed urgent action. The legislature should be much more involved in the state’s coronavirus response, rather than ceding so much authority to the Governor. We also need action on ethics reform and property tax reform, perhaps now more than ever.
Special Investigating Committee has not met since September
The House of Representatives has a Special Investigating Committee looking into allegations against Speaker Michael Madigan concerning a bribery scheme in which he was implicated, but not formally charged. Over the summer, the utility company ComEd entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in which the company admitted to bribing a state policymaker in exchange for favorable government actions. The agreement pointed to Madigan as the official.
The House convened a special committee to investigate the allegations, and the committee met twice, but then abruptly cancelled any further hearings until after the election. The committee meeting set for November 5 was also cancelled, and no new date was set.
The people of Illinois deserve better than this. We need answers about what happened, and action to ensure that it does not happen again. State government has needed ethics reform for far too long, and this is just more proof of that need.
Join us to discuss open enrollment in Illinois’ health insurance exchange
The open enrollment period for Illinois’ health insurance marketplace is underway now through December 15. Those Illinoisans in need of health insurance have the opportunity to sign up for a plan through the Get Covered Illinois marketplace. Next Monday I will be hosting a Facebook Live discussion with Brian Gorman of the Illinois Department of Insurance and Margaret Dunne of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to provide information about the program and to answer questions from those interested in applying. Visit my Facebook page at 5 p.m. on Monday November 16 to participate in the conversation.
How much do we owe?
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $7,857,542,387 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $5.8 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $137 billion.
More news from around the state
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For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: coronavirus.illinois.gov or my website at repbennett.com and click on COVID-19 Info. Persons with coronavirus questions or concerns should call the statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also submit questions via e-mail at email@example.com.
My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).