SAFE-T Act lawsuit; Divesting from Russia

SAFE-T Act lawsuit to be heard next Tuesday

Dozens of state’s attorneys from around the state have filed lawsuits to stop the implementation of the controversial SAFE-T criminal justice law which was passed and signed last year. The lawsuits were recently consolidated into one case that will be heard in Kankakee County. Now that consolidated lawsuit will get its day in court on Tuesday December 20.

Originally the case was set to be heard on December 7, but last-minute amendments to the law passed in the fall veto session caused a delay. Both sides were given time to amend their filings in order to reflect the changes to the law. It is expected that there could be a ruling in the case as early as December 28. The law it set to go into effect on January 1.

Legislation passes to divest Illinois investments from Russia

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, legislators in Illinois and throughout the country have been seeking ways to divest state holdings from Russian entities, hoping to ensure that taxpayer money is not going to support the ongoing war. I co-sponsored a bill back in the spring to prohibit Illinois from investing any public funds in any investment instrument which is based in or tied to Russia. Unfortunately our bill did not get called for a vote.

But finally, during the fall veto session, the House and Senate unanimously passed House Bill 1293, a bill to target state investments in Russia and to investigate other possible third-party Russian involvement in the economy here in Illinois, including real estate. The bill is similar to legislation which has passed in the past affecting nations like Iran and Sudan. It also affects Russia’s ally Belarus, which has been an active supporter of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The bill now goes to Governor Pritzker for his signature.

Fall harvest wrapping up, winter wheat emerging

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the harvest of field corn in Illinois is 94% completed and the harvest of soybeans has hit 98%. In those areas of the state suitable for winter wheat, mainly to the south, 90% of Illinois’ winter wheat crop has emerged.

The war in Ukraine is having an upward effect on wheat prices throughout the globe, including here in Illinois. Since Russia and Ukraine are significant wheat producing nations, the disruption to the global supply has driven up prices from other sources. At the end of last week, wheat scheduled to be delivered next spring was trading for $7.75 a bushel on the Chicago exchange.

Supporting a local non-profit

Every month I give a part of my salary to support organizations that help our local communities. This time we presented a check to volunteer Wayne Lehman of Watseka and Sleep in Heavenly Peace. This 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity provides hand-made bunk beds to children who don’t have beds of their own. Their website is shpbeds.org.

Thank you Wayne. God Bless!

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $2,552,853,498 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $5.1 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.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I wish everyone all the best for a safe and happy holiday season with family and friends. It has indeed been quite a year, and I expect many interesting and exciting things are still to come in 2023. Happy Holidays!

Did You Know?

The State Capitol is usually decorated for the season with Christmas lights strung from the top of the dome. The effect creates the appearance of a large Christmas tree which is visible for miles around. The tradition was started by Secretary of State Charles Carpentier in 1962. It halted for a few years in the 1970s, but continued until recently when cracks were discovered near the top of the dome, making it unsafe for workers to string the lights.

More news from around the state

Kiplinger: Illinois least tax-friendly state in the country for middle class families

IDOT hiring “snowbirds” for winter snow plowing season

Jobs up in all 14 Illinois Metro areas, Unemployment rate down in most

With deadline pushed, Illinois residents have more time to get a REAL ID

Illinois FFA members win national honors with outstanding Agriscience projects

Illinoisans love this Christmas candy the most during the holidays