Latest News

61st District State Representative Sheri Jesiel represents the farthest northeastern district in the State of Illinois and is a lifelong resident of the Zion-Winthrop Harbor area where she raised her three children.

While we talk about Property Tax relief and pension reform we also ask her to pick someone she would like to trade places with for a week….and her answer just might surprise you.
In Illinois and other states, polices are often stacked against the independent family farmer especially after the death of the owner. Passing a family farm on to the next generation is hard enough without the crippling estate taxes that are required by the state and federal governments.

Currently, Illinois’ estate tax law disproportionately impacts small family farms. The value of these farms, as recognized by the estate tax, is not a pile of money sitting in a bank, but rather acres of land passed down for generations that has allowed families to carve out a living. Under the current system, many families are forced to sell off land or equipment just to pay the tax - diminishing the value of the farm and the ability of the family to earn a living from it.
Governor Rauner delivers budget address to General Assembly. Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. The Governor renewed his call for a $1 billion tax cut for all Illinois taxpayers. He also called for “structural reforms” to Illinois laws that underlie the current patterns of Illinois public-sector taxes and spending.

Assailing what he called “unsustainable growth in our pension and healthcare costs,” Gov. Rauner stated that more than 25 cents of every dollar the State spends goes to these facets of public-sector employee benefits. These benefits far exceed the benefits paid to workers in the private sector, and the cost of these benefits is driving job growth from Illinois to other states. Rauner pointed to job trends, including manufacturing job growth, in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
We talk with Rep. Tom Demmer about his thoughts on transparency, reform, and fiscal responsibility.

He also tells us about his days riding his bicycle past President Reagan’s boyhood home, working in Vice President Cheney’s office at the White House and his family roots in Cubs baseball.
All too often the jobs of state employees require them to put themselves at risk to protect Illinois residents. It was the case with Pamela Knight, a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigator who was brutally beaten last September while trying to take a 2 year-old child into protective custody. She died last week from injuries sustained in the attack. Her accused assailant is facing multiple charges and is awaiting trial.

In response to this senseless act of violence against a state employee, State Reps Brian Stewart, Tony McCombie and Tom Demmer introduced HB4147, legislation that would enhance the penalties for attacking a DCFS worker in the performance of their duties, making it an aggravated felony. Ultimately it would provide DCFS employees the same protections as law enforcement officers and firefighters who put themselves in harms way.

The job DCFS investigators perform can be dangerous and it is important that the state does all it can to protect them and penalize those who do them harm.
General Assembly – House committees
With full start of 2018 spring session, Illinois House committees convene and begin to hear bills. Following the State of the State address on Wednesday, January 31, the Illinois House and Senate began committee action for the spring 2018 session. The House will have five full weeks of committee action prior to the deadline for substantive committee action on April 13. Most of the work of presenting a bill, hearing witness testimony on the measure and developing amendments to perfect the measure are done in committees rather than on the floor of the full House. The House schedules for spring 2018 can be found here. The General Assembly’s website also includes a type-in box to track each individual bill under consideration in Springfield by bill number.
State Rep. Mark Batinick serves the 97th District
Minnesota, Minnesota, Minnesota! It’s all Illinois Democrats seem to crow about these days. The story goes like this: If Illinois just had progressive policies like Minnesota all would be well and our problems would be solved. But like most things, the devil is in the details, so it’s important to examine those “progressive” policies and see how they stack up to Illinois.

Property taxes in Minnesota are near 1 percent and below the national average. Meanwhile, families and businesses in Illinois are faced with some of the highest property tax rates in the country, at 2.23 percent. Do Illinois Democrats have a plan for that?

Workers’ Compensation rates are about the national average in Minnesota — which is much lower than Illinois. In addition, attorney fees on Workers’ Compensation claims are capped at $26,000 in Minnesota. Do Illinois Democrats plan to make the changes necessary in our state to emulate Minnesota’s law? Read the rest of the guest column in SJ-R.