Last Minute Chicago Agenda Pushed...

In November, Illinoisans sent a strong message to their representatives demanding not only bipartisan cooperation but also a departure from the last 12 years of record job loss and state budget mismanagement. Despite the expectation of cooperation, the Democrat majority thumbed their noses at Illinois residents by unilaterally pushing legislation that will hurt job creators, put further pressures on the state budget and preserve Chicago-style politics.  

At the same time, members of the House Republican caucus vowed to work in a bipartisan manner to move the state forward and support policies to create good paying jobs in Illinois. However in the waning hours of the General Assembly, Democrats fast-tracked and passed several major pieces of legislation profoundly affecting Illinois residents.

In a seeming race to pass controversial bills before the new administration takes office, special interest groups wanting to ensure that Illinois maintains its reputation as a “judicial hellhole” (where lawsuits threaten businesses at every turn) hurriedly crafted and passed SB 2221, legislation allowing individuals to sue construction businesses in perpetuity for certain types of contaminations, regardless of their knowledge of possible risks.

Democrats passed legislation mandating businesses with 25 or more employees to automatically deduct retirement savings from their employees’ paychecks unless the employee opts out. Currently employees can do this on their own however SB 2758 puts the responsibility on employers for their employees’ savings habits.

Illinois businesses are already buried in state and federal regulations and paperwork. It gives them yet one more reason to move to another state and take their jobs with them.

Chicago–style politics at its worst continues to thwart good government in Illinois. Even after this year’s failure to properly manage the ‘experiment” of Election Day voter registration program, Democrats passed a new law to expand the ability to control election outcomes. SB172 would allow Chicago ward bosses to bundle absentee ballots and process votes before Election Day. It also places additional mandates on state and local government with a corresponding impact of higher costs for taxpayers. 

Less than a month ago the voters clearly articulated their desire for bipartisan collaboration and more accountable government. However, Chicago power brokers afraid of the prospect of the change called for by Illinois residents (which has been a long time in coming) fell back on the tactics they long ago mastered, using brute force to ram controversial legislation through the House of Representatives, without benefit of public input.

House Republicans are optimistic that the new era of bipartisan state government with strong checks and balances that takes effect with the swearing in of the new governor in January means a brighter future for Illinois.