Fair Maps, COVID Vaccinations, Around the District

Illinois Senate & House Republicans Introduce the People’s Independent Maps Act

 As Democrats in the House and Senate hold simultaneous redistricting hearings that hinder public input, Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced the People’s Independent Maps Act to allow Illinois legislative redistricting maps to be created by an independent commission, rather than politicians.

The People’s Independent Maps Act, Senate Bill 1325:

  • Gives the Supreme Court the power to appoint sixteen independent, citizen commissioners to the Independent Redistricting Commission within 30 days of becoming law.  
  • The makeup of the Commission would be required to reflect the ethnic, gender and racial demographics of the state. 
  • The Commission would be required to hold at least 10 public hearings throughout the state before adopting a plan, with at least four hearings after a map is proposed.
  • The commission will release a map within 30 days of receipt of the census redistricting data. 
  • This legislation would only apply to the 2021 redistricting cycle.

Good government groups have been pushing for independent commission for decades. Public polls have shown more than 75 percent of Illinois voters support an independent process that puts citizens in control of drawing election districts instead of the politicians.

Illinois’ COVID-19 positivity rate holds steady at two-month high, Vaccine Availability increases

 Public health officials this week said that Illinois’ COVID-19 positivity rate held steady at a two-month high as the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations climbed to the highest level in over a month. The state’s positivity rate, a key metric for tracking the virus’ spread, has risen from a low of 2.1% recorded March 13, marking a troubling jump in coronavirus cases that could lead officials to tighten restrictions on businesses again. You can read more at the Chicago Sun Times here:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/coronavirus/2021/4/5/22368640/illinois-covid-19-update-positivity-rate-steady-hospitalizations-highest-over-month-coronavirus

On a positive note, vaccine availability across the state is increasing. There are now more than 900 vaccination locations throughout Illinois. More than 5.0 million shots have already been administered to eligible people throughout Illinois, and vaccinations continue to move forward at a rate of more than 100,000 procedures per day.  Starting on Monday, April 12, all Illinois residents aged 16 and up will be eligible to make an appointment and receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Three-year CGFA budget forecast shows ongoing structural deficit

A continuously updated tally published online by the Office of the Comptroller indicates that the State currently has 48,128 backlogged vouchers, better described as unpaid bills in past-due status.  These backlogged vouchers represented, at the end of March 2021, more than $4.7 billion in unpaid State bills

Recognizing this challenge, the General Assembly in 2010 enacted the Emergency Budget Act of Fiscal Year 2011.  This law asked CGFA to conduct a series of 3-year budget forecasts for the State of Illinois.  The latest CGFA report covers FY22 – FY24, a three-year period beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2024. The report anticipates that during this period the ongoing trend of State expenditures, based upon existing programs, exceeding State revenues can be expected to continue and worsen.

The study also includes proposals for partly closing this massive budget gap.  These suggestions include maximizing Illinois’ economic advantages, including its standing as a centralized location for North American business, and applying for the maximum possible amount of help from federal government COVID-19 relief programs.  

Deer Season Lottery

 Resident Illinois hunters can now apply for the first lottery drawings for 2021 Firearm and Muzzleloading (Only Deer Season) permits. The first lottery deadline is April 30, 2021.

 For more information, click here:

https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/hunting/Pages/DeerFirearmMuzzleloader.aspx

What We Owe

 According to the State Comptroller’s website, as of this writing Illinois currently has a General Fund Backlog of $5.774 billion dollars, and several additional billion in borrowing.  In comparison, 10 years ago we ended the 2011 Fiscal year in June of 2011 with a General Funds Deficit of $4.5 billion.

 Around the District

I am donating the increase of my paycheck this month to UMC Pastor John Hauck and Cara Fitton of the Hands of Christ Food Pantry in Paxton. Thank you for your efforts in reaching out to the community! You are needed! Thank you for all you do. Glad to help. #district106.

I was honored to present a USA Flag to Michael Johnson and the Iroquois County Youth Center in Watseka.  This flag was flown over both the State and National Capitals. Thank you Michael for all you do for our youth center and the community!

Other Items of Note

Legislation has been filed in the Illinois Senate that would eliminate FOID Cards:

The Illinois EPA is hosting household hazardous waste collection events across the state this spring. You can find your nearest collection event here:

https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/collections.aspx