New State policy allows for release of non-citizen, violent convicted felons. In January, without notice to the public, a radical policy change was made in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) that allows for the release of non-citizen, violent convicted felons into our communities. This is happening without notice to local law enforcement authorities or local public officials

When non-citizens complete their state prison terms, they are typically transferred to federal immigration authorities where their immigration status is reviewed and adjudicated by a federal judge. That is no longer happening. IDOC is releasing these dangerous felons into our communities despite requests from federal immigration authorities to hold them.
Reps. Steve Reick and Jeff Keicher discuss their legislative initiatives to prevent child abuse. Rep. Reick outlines AJ’s Law, a bill he has filed to protect children in the care of the state, while Rep. Keicher introduces us to the "Make S.A.F.E. Task Force" and its efforts to tackle sexual harassment and abuse in schools. 

This month, just like every fourth February of the past half century, has seen any number of would-be Presidents slogging their way through Iowa, New Hampshire and a handful of other states at the beginning of the road to the nomination. It is a deeply-engrained part of the modern American political tradition, but one that is just that: modern.

For most of American history, those seeking the Presidency stayed quiet in February. The modern system of primaries did not emerge until the mid-20th century and before then tradition dictated that those who desired to sit in the highest office in the land did not seek it overtly.

But 160 years ago an aspiring Commander in Chief broke from tradition; only slightly as he was not yet an official candidate for the Presidency. On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln visited New York’s Cooper Union and delivered what is considered by some to be the speech that made him President.
Reps. Sosnowski, Weber, and Bryant during a press conference. 
During a press conference at the Illinois State Capitol last week, State Representatives Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa), Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) and Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) presented several pieces of legislation to reform the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

“In April of 2019, one of the communities I represent, Crystal Lake, was rocked by the death of an innocent 5-year old boy named AJ Freund,” said Rep. Weber. “Shockingly, AJ was one of 123 children who were failed by DCFS in 2019. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about and I’m not alone in that feeling. We must change the course of a broken DCFS and that’s why I’ve filed the AJ Freund Act to give local law enforcement the ability to investigate any allegation of child abuse or neglect. If local law enforcement had this investigative ability in December of 2018, when AJ told the ER doctor that his bruises might have been caused by his mother, he may still be alive today.”

House Republicans Call for No New Taxes, Spending Restraint in FY21 Budget. Governor JB Pritzker gave his second annual budget address on Wednesday to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer responded to the governor’s remarks.

“The General Assembly has some work to do,” said Rep. Demmer. “I disagree with Governor Pritzker’s proposal to spend $1.4 billion of hypothetical revenue, and his threat to cut healthcare and education spending unless voters approve his tax increase. Instead, I’ll work with colleagues on a balanced budget that takes advantage of revenue growth from our strong national economy and low unemployment. We can pass a responsible budget without another tax increase.”
State Representatives Tom Demmer, Tony McCombie and Ryan Spain reject the Governor’s proposed budget, calling instead for a responsible state budget that doesn’t rely on hypothetical revenue projections.

The International Space Station (ISS) has become a fixture in orbit above the Earth. Today it is not uncommon for astronauts to spend as much as a year at a time in space. Supplying these extended missions presented NASA and its international space flight partners with significant logistical challenges, leading to the development of the Cygnus spacecraft, an unmanned cargo capsule which launches atop an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to deliver essential supplies to the crew of the ISS.

This Cygnus capsule flying the mission this month bears the name of Robert H. Lawrence, the Illinoisan who was the United States’ first African-American astronaut.
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.
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.