BUDGET
Illinois House prepares for submission of FY21 budget. Illinois enacted a balanced FY20 budget in June 2019 for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2019. International credit-rating agencies accepted Illinois’ FY20 budget, which moved Illinois closer to fiscal stability. The Illinois House must prepare for the challenges of the FY21 budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Governor Pritzker will give his Annual Budget Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, February 19.
Assistant Republican Leaders Avery Bourne and Tim Butler talk about the need to eliminate mistakes in Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) and to fix bureaucratic processes causing long delays for Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card applications and renewals.


For most of its first century, organized professional baseball in America was strictly segregated. This shameful era lasted until 1947 when the great Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as Major League Baseball’s first African-American player.

But though the doors of Major League Baseball may have been closed to them, African-American baseball stars of the early 20th century still found a way to showcase their talents, thanks in part to the work of a Chicago ballplayer who on February 13, 1920, chartered a new league which would change baseball forever.
BUDGET
CGFA releases revenue numbers for January 2020. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) tracks incoming State revenues in order to help lawmakers keep to the balanced budget that Illinois is constitutionally required to maintain.

The January 2020 CGFA revenue report contains a feature article describing the current gambling industries of Illinois, and the numbers they generated in calendar year 2019. Illinois now has more than 33,000 video gaming terminals that generate net income of more than $1.6 billion/year. More than $400 million/year of this money goes to the State to help generate funds for capital and infrastructure reinvestment. Net income from video gaming terminals has now passed the adjusted gross receipts generated from game play at casino riverboat slot machines and table games.
As the spring legislative session got underway in Springfield last week, House Republicans once again are laser focused on ending corruption in state government. Assistant House Republican Leader Grant Wehrli and State Representative Patrick Windhorst talk about the need to end the corruption and unethical practices that have been plaguing Illinois.

Pullman Porters in Chicago, 1943.
South of downtown Chicago lies the city’s Pullman neighborhood. At its center is Illinois’ second National Park Service site: a monument to an effort to revolutionize the way companies and their employees lived and interacted. While it failed in its effort to create an ideal community for the company’s workers, Pullman did become an epicenter in both the labor and civil rights movements which changed the nation forever.

Born in New York in 1831, George Pullman was a builder from the start. His father worked on the Erie Canal and even invented a tool to use jackscrews to move entire buildings out of the canal’s path. When he died in 1853, young George picked up right where he left off, heading the family business and moving 20 more buildings to allow the canal to come through.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Governor Pritzker delivers State of the State address to Illinois General Assembly. In an annual tradition, a joint session of the General Assembly listened to the State of the State address by Gov. Pritzker on Wednesday, January 29th, where the Governor laid out his priorities for the 2020 spring sessio

Responding to recent federal investigations and charges against current and former legislators, Governor Pritzker called for swift action on ethics reform to end the culture of corruption.
As the defeated mass of soldiers in blue fell back in disarray, Congressman John A. Logan had seen enough.

Like many of the “great men of Washington,” the Illinois congressman had journeyed a few miles west of the nation’s capital city on a warm Sunday in July 1861 to watch what many had expected to be the one and only major battle of the American Civil War. The inexperienced U.S. Army had marched into Virginia to confront a ragtag group of rebels who were dug in along a creek called Bull Run. Many spectators expected an entertaining clash which would result in the suppression of the rebellion in a single afternoon.

They could not have been more wrong.
ELECTIONS
Federal and State Lawmakers Demand Accountability and Action to Preserve Integrity of Illinois Elections. With early and absentee voting set to start on February 6, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis, and Illinois State Representatives Tim Butler, Avery Bourne, Mike Murphy, Dan Brady and C.D. Davidsmeyer are demanding accountability and immediate action to preserve the integrity of the March 17 primary election
Census Workers in 1960.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
Two hundred years ago, Illinois participated in its first decennial census as one of the nation’s 24 states. Completed on the first Monday in August of 1820, it produced the first official snapshot of Illinois’ demographics as a state.

The Census was authorized by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, with the instruction that it take place “within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress,” which worked out to 1790, “and within every subsequent Term of ten Years.” It was originally spelled out in the Constitution as being necessary for the purposes of apportionment of seats in the population-based House of Representatives. With Illinois attaining statehood in 1818, its first census as a state would be conducted in 1820.
With early and absentee voting set to start on February 6, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), and Illinois State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield), Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville), Mike Murphy (R-Springfield), Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) and CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) are demanding accountability and immediate action to preserve the integrity of the March 17 primary election.

On December 18, 2019, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office notified the State Board of Elections that a “programming error” led to well over 500 non-citizens being registered to vote over a 17-month period. The letter was not made public until last week.
TAXES
House Republicans continue to push for property tax relief despite Democrat-controlled task force failure. Illinois House Republicans will continue to fight this spring for property tax relief families need and deserve, despite the latest Democrat-controlled task force’s failure to deliver.

At a Capitol press conference this week, Representatives Dan Brady, Tim Butler, Mike Murphy and Tom Bennett said the final task force report was another missed opportunity, but won’t be the final word. 
Every January the Capitol building at 2nd and Monroe in Springfield sees an influx of people: legislators, staff, lobbyists, press and everyday Illinoisans who come to the grand old building to observe the workings of the Illinois General Assembly.

The building has stood since the late 19th-century, and has undergone a series of overhauls and rearrangements in its 150 years. All of this movement and renovation might inspire an old-timer (in some cases a really old-timer) to look at a certain spot in the Capitol and ask a question that begins with the words, “didn’t this used to be….”
CORRUPTION
Durkin calls for investigation after shocking email from Madigan confidant hints at rape cover-up, ghost payrolling. The call came following the disclosure that a powerful former lobbyist with close ties to House Speaker Michael Madigan, had sent an email to top officials in then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration referring to what appeared to be the cover-up of an incident of sexual assault.

In the 2012 email, then-lobbyist Michael McClain urged two top Quinn aides to avoid firing a state worker facing a disciplinary case by arguing that the worker had “kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items.” 
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was among the most important pieces of legislation passed in the 20th Century, or perhaps in all of American history. The effort to pass the law was driven by some of the towering figures of the 1960s: Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House, Hubert Humphrey in the Senate and Dr. Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

But its passage would ultimately come down to a rather unlikely figure, the bespectacled, eminently-quotable senator from Illinois, Everett McKinley Dirksen.