REDISTRICTING
Durkin, McConchie File Lawsuit to Challenge Legislative Maps. Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie filed a lawsuit this week in federal court to challenge the legislative maps drawn and passed by Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker. The lawsuit is being filed against Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch (in his official capacity), Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (in his official capacity), the offices of the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, and the Illinois State Board of Elections and its members (in their official capacities).
William Butler Ogden seated center in a group portrait. 
Like many states west of the Appalachians in the early 19th century, most of Illinois’ early leaders were born elsewhere and then came to the western frontier to find new opportunities.

Our state’s first governor, Shadrach Bond, was born in Maryland. Our first senators, Jesse Thomas and Ninian Edwards started out in Virginia and Maryland respectively, and our first congressman, Daniel Pope Cook, was born in Kentucky.

They were not the only early Illinois leaders who made their way west in those days. Another such traveler who came to Illinois and became an early leader was the Walton, New York-born William Butler Ogden, who in 1837 became the first mayor of Chicago.
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie filed a lawsuit today in federal court to challenge the legislative maps drawn and passed by Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker. The lawsuit is being filed against Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch (in his official capacity), Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (in his official capacity), the offices of the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, and the Illinois State Board of Elections and its members (in their official capacities).
BUDGET

Democrats pass $42.3 billion budget full of pork, pay raises and higher taxes. Minutes before midnight on the May 31 deadline, House Democrats passed a $42.3 billion State budget for Fiscal Year 2022. Their budget adds a billion dollars in pork projects for Democrat districts, includes a nearly $1,200 pay raise for legislators, and raises taxes on Illinois businesses by more than $650 million. 
Fresh from the success of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition world’s fair, city leaders in Chicago sought a dramatic revitalization to bring their city into the new century. And they knew just who they wanted to lead the charge.

Daniel Burnham had been the Director of Works for the World’s Fair, but now he was approached by his fellow members of the Commercial Club of Chicago and presented with an even greater assignment.
When Abraham Lincoln arrived in the Illinois House of Representatives in 1835 he found himself squarely in the middle of a debate about transportation.

Lincoln was a supporter of U.S. House Speaker Henry Clay’s “American System,” a nationwide web of canals, roads and other infrastructure that would link the young and growing nation together. Lincoln had won his race for the House in part on a platform of building a canal on the Sangamon River to connect his New Salem constituents with faraway markets.
Illinois State Representatives Avery Bourne, Tim Butler, Dave Severin and Ryan Spain weigh-in on the legislative map drawing process in Illinois.


It’s amazing what you can find in your own back yard.

The Illinois astronomer George Ellery Hale became famous for developing new and better telescopes and lenses, thus opening the door to greater scientific discoveries and understanding of the universe. While he went down in history as the driving force behind such large observatories as the Yerkes Observatory just over the state line in Wisconsin, he did some of his finest work in the back yard of his family’s home in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

VETERANS
Top Pritzker officials refuse to accept responsibility for COVID-19 outbreak and 36 deaths at LaSalle Veterans Home. During a nearly four-hour hearing of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Thursday, several top Pritzker administration officials refused to accept responsibility for last November’s COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home, which resulted in the deaths of 36 residents. 
Illinois state lawmakers respond to 5 random shapes. Can you guess what they are?
In the middle part of the 19th century as more and more of the land was settled between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains the farmers faced a number of significant challenges.

Winters were colder than they were used to in the eastern United States, and summers were much hotter. Most supplies had to be brought in by train from distant cities. Lumber for building houses, plentiful in the east, was in short supply on the plains. The soil, while fertile, could only be reached by first breaking through an almost cement-like upper layer of sod. Finally some creative settlers figured out that the sod could be cut into blocks and repurposed for building houses, solving two problems at once.
REDISTRICTING

House Democrats go behind locked door to draw new district maps. Excerpted from a WCIA report this week: Our news cameras were rolling as dozens of House Democrats filed in and out of a locked door on the Capitol Complex grounds. Inside, members of House Speaker Chris Welch’s staff showed members one-by-one where the lines of their new districts could be drawn. 

Illinois State Representatives Tony McCombie and Patrick Windhorst answer questions about the House Republican Reimagine Illinois platform.


Reported by WCIA today: 

Our news cameras were rolling as dozens of House Democrats filed in and out of a locked door on the Capitol Complex grounds. Inside, members of House Speaker Chris Welch’s staff showed members one-by-one where the lines of their new districts could be drawn. 
Radio listeners and television watchers around the world are accustomed to broadcast interruptions for breaking news events. We have all seen the “breaking news” graphic and dramatic music which suddenly interrupt programming for coverage of everything from thunderstorm warnings to Presidential press conferences to the outbreak of wars.
“Yes, I will pledge to veto,” JB Pritzker said as a candidate in 2018 when asked if he would veto “any state legislative redistricting map proposal that is in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies.”

He couldn’t have been more clear. “Yes, I will pledge to veto.”

Just in case anyone thought it needed clarification anyway, candidate Pritzker followed up in his answer to a questionnaire in the Northwest Herald: “I support ending the gerrymandering of districts to encourage more competitive elections.”
REDISTRICTING

Pritzker flip flops on independent map pledge. Gov. J.B. Pritzker backed away Tuesday from a campaign promise to veto any new legislative map that wasn’t drawn through an independent process, now saying that he trusts state lawmakers to be fair.

At a Springfield press conference this week, Governor Pritzker was asked about his veto pledge and this was his response: “Well as I said I will veto an unfair map. I have also said that in order for us to have an independent commission, we needed to have a constitutional amendment, something that would actually
Forty years ago this week the third Illinoisan to sit in the Oval Office delivered a remarkable address to a joint session of Congress. The address was noteworthy not so much for what was said, but because it was delivered at all. The speech marked the President’s full return to work after becoming the fifth American President to be shot by an assassin’s bullet; and the only one of the five to survive the shooting. He survived in part because of the heroics and sacrifice of two other Illinoisans.
REDISTRICTING REFORM
Hollow Democrat Promises for Fair Maps Highlight State’s Ethical Failings. Despite the past documented evidence of Illinois’ Democrat leaders, including Governor JB Pritzker and new House Speaker Chris Welch, stating support for a fair, transparent and non-partisan redistricting process, they continue to press on with the current partisan process. This week, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Assistant Minority Leader Tim Butler and Assistant Minority Leader Ryan Spain again laid bare the hollowness of Democrat leaders’ past promises and pointed to how it further exacerbates the cloud of corruption and public mistrust in the state.
Secretary of State Jesse White is warning Illinois residents to be on alert for a pair of scams seeking to defraud Illinoisans.

In the first scam, White is warning the public of scammers who are sending unsolicited text messages, claiming to be from the Illinois Secretary of State. The text messages contain vague references to “Problems with your information” and another reference to “*IL* Secretary of State.” 
Illinois State Representatives Chris Bos and Jackie Haas answer questions about the House Republican Reimagine Illinois platform.
Illinois State Representative Andrew Chesney explains his legislation to protect law enforcement personnel from crimes perpetrated against them because of their profession. HB 3715 is part of the Reimagine Illinois Platform.

Photo from the Illinois Office of Tourism. 
Illinois’ second state park got its name from the tragic results of a clash between two of Illinois’ native tribes more than 250 years ago.

Looming over the Illinois River in LaSalle County, just a few miles from the spot where the river takes a dramatic turn to the east, is a gigantic sandstone cliff. The cliff was left behind by a flood, known as the Kankakee Torrent, which swept through the area around 16,000 years ago, scouring out the bedrock of the surrounding area.
Illinois State Representative Mike Marron discusses HB 3643 part of the Reimagine Illinois Platform. The legislation creates a law enforcement recruitment division that among other things would work with local law enforcement agencies to retain and hire sworn police officers who are diverse and reflective of their communities.
Illinois State Representative Tom Bennett talks about HB 2532, Reimagine Illinois legislation he introduced to eliminate the backlog of FOID card renewals. 


The Republican Spokesmen of the House and Senate redistricting committees - House Assistant Minority Leader Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and Senate Republican Caucus Chair Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) - are calling for Governor JB Pritzker to testify before a joint hearing of the redistricting committees this evening. Despite more than 30 redistricting hearings taking place, neither the Governor nor a ranking official within his office has provided testimony at a hearing to date.

 
REDISTRICTING REFORM
Reps. Butler and Bourne Join U.S. Congressman Davis to Urge Pritzker to Keep His Word, Veto Redistricting Map Drawn By Lawmakers. U.S. Representative Rodney Davis joined State Representatives Tim Butler and Avery Bourne in a press conference Monday at the Illinois State Capitol to discuss the current status of legislative redistricting in Illinois and highlight Governor J.B. Pritzker’s pledge to veto any redistricting map that is drawn by lawmakers. Both Reps. Butler and Bourne serve on the Illinois House Redistricting Committee. Rep. Butler is the lead Republican on the Committee.

Illinois State Representatives Avery Bourne and Tom Demmer answer questions about House Republicans' new platform called Reimagine Illinois.

It seems doubtful that when Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone in 1876 he could have imagined that the bulky, multi-wired contraption would ever evolve into an item which seemingly every American would one day carry in their pocket. Of course, those reading this story on their handheld device can attest to the truth of that evolution.

The desire to make telephones smaller and less dependent on wires was a long-sought dream which finally became a reality right here in Illinois in 1983.
Illinois House Republican Deputy Leader Dan Brady talks about HB 1962 that would establish the office of Apprenticeship Coordinator in the state. His legislation is designed to create greater job opportunities for Illinoisans and is part of the Reimagine Illinois platform.
Illinois State Representative Dave Severin discusses HB 4054, his legislation to require the state to implement the "Evidence-Based" education funding model. Using this mechanism would help ensure schools get the funding they need to properly educate students. HB 4054 is part of the Reimagine Illinois platform.

REIMAGINE ILLINOIS

House Republicans push for fiscal responsibility. Reimagine Illinois, the comprehensive package of reform proposals issued by House Republicans in spring 2021, calls for responsible fiscal leadership for our state. Illinois’ credit rating has dropped to near junk-bond level. Illinois Democrats routinely make promises that they cannot keep, spend beyond our means, and then leave Illinois taxpayers with billions of dollars in unpaid bills. This pattern, repeated over and over, has created Illinois’ ‘BBB-‘ credit rating. Illinois routinely has to pay interest rates and charges that are five times, seven times, or even nine times the interest rates that taxpayers of ‘AAA’ rated states like Indiana have to pay.
In this episode, Rep. Amy Elik discusses Reimagine Illinois, responsible fiscal leadership and HJRCA27, legislation to allow voters to decide how the state balances its budget.
Promotional Postcard for the 1910 Rotary Convention. 
Photo from the Rotary Club of Chicago Archives. 
While it is true that over the past year there haven’t been many in-person luncheons or other meetings, it is also probably true that there isn’t a single member of the Illinois General Assembly who has not given a speech in front of a local Rotary club. These groups of local business and civic leaders have been formed in practically every city and town in America, but the very first Rotary club was founded right here in Illinois in 1905.
In this podcast episode, Illinois State Representative Tom Morrison talks about Reimagine Illinois and HJRCA26 that will make raising taxes more difficult.


REIMAGINE ILLINOIS

Illinois Senate & House Republicans Introduce the People’s Independent Maps Act. Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Senate Republican Caucus Chair Jason Barickman and House Assistant Minority Leader Tim Butler introduced the People’s Independent Maps Act to allow Illinois legislative redistricting maps to be created by an independent commission, rather than politicians.
As another Major League Baseball season gets started, the age-old argument in Illinois renews once again: Sox-versus-Cubs-versus-Cards. For more than a century baseball fans in the Land of Lincoln have sparred over the competition between the three big league teams with the largest following in Illinois.

There’s always much to argue about, and this year will be no different. But they do all have one thing in common: some of the most memorable moments in the history of each club were narrated by the great Harry Caray.
Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods), House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Republican Caucus Chair Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and House Assistant Minority Leader Tim Butler (R-Springfield) today introduced the People’s Independent Maps Act to allow Illinois legislative redistricting maps to be created by an independent commission, rather than politicians. 
REIMAGINE ILLINOIS

“Reimagine Illinois” important to families throughout the state. The Reimagine Illinois platform, introduced by the House Republican Caucus earlier this month, calls for treating recent upheavals in Illinois’ economy and politics as an opportunity for new thinking. Our members’ four goals include:
  • Ending the culture of corruption
  • Responsible fiscal leadership
  • Growing jobs and opportunities for our families
  • Ensuring public safety 
Chicago and Illinois took their turn on the world stage in 1893 when the city hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition, better known as the World’s Fair. It was a chance to reacquaint the nation and the world with the Midwest’s pre-eminent city after it had risen from the ashes of the 1871 fire.

In the decades that followed, Chicago and Illinois re-emerged as the crossroads of America, with the construction of railroads and then highways, and the early days of aviation. With its status as a world-class city in the center of the North American continent; and with so many of the leaders in the nation’s movement toward equal rights for women based here in Illinois; it was only fitting that in 1925 Chicago would play host to the first Woman’s World Fair.
Imagine an Illinois with the best-trained public safety personnel, and where public safety agencies function the way they are supposed to.

Every night on the news we see stories of murders, carjackings, shootings and other acts of violence. Law enforcement officers don’t get the support they need from state government, and law-abiding citizens have to navigate endless bureaucracy just to get paperwork approved. 
Imagine an Illinois with limitless opportunities.

This year’s Census figures look to confirm a troubling trend: more people are leaving our state in search of opportunities elsewhere. Neighboring states and other regions of the country are surging ahead, while we lag behind. Economic development coordinators in every part of the state all have their stories of the big job-creator they hoped to land, only to see them pick a different state with a better jobs climate. 
REIMAGINE ILLINOIS

Illinois House Republican Caucus Launches ‘Reimagine Illinois’ Platform. The Illinois House Republican caucus has launched a new comprehensive platform called Reimagine Illinois. The plan outlines House Republicans’ priorities for the 102nd General Assembly and asks Illinoisans to ‘Reimagine’ their State government if certain public policy goals are met. 
Imagine an Illinois with real fiscal leadership.

Each year it seems like Illinois’ fiscal condition gets a little bit worse. Credit ratings fall, pension debts rise, debt gets piled upon more debt in an endless cycle. Legislators wink and nod at that line in the state Constitution which says “appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.”
Imagine an Illinois without political corruption.

Every single day Illinoisans pay the price for corruption in state government. We pay that price through inefficiencies in government agencies, through contracts awarded due to clout rather than competence, through wasteful spending tied to politically-connected lobbyists, and so much more.

Corruption drives up property taxes and income taxes. It drives down funds available for important priorities like education, veterans and senior services. It also drives down citizens’ confidence in their state government, and job creators’ willingness to invest in our state.

Many American First Ladies have left their mark on history and society. Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan were among some of the highest-profile First Ladies of their time and those with some of the most lasting legacies. It was another 20th-century First Lady, the Chicago-born Betty Ford, who not only made her mark during her time in the White House but who continues to have an effect on the lives of many Americans to this day.

The Illinois House Republican caucus today launched a new comprehensive platform called Reimagine Illinois. The plan outlines House Republicans’ priorities for the 102nd General Assembly and asks Illinoisans to ‘Reimagine’ their State government if certain public policy goals are met.