CRIME

Victim, former police officer, criticizes Pritzker for commuting sentences of attacker. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, alongside Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara and former Chicago Police Department Officer Robert Mizera, criticized Gov. J.B. Pritzker at a Tuesday news conference for his handling of the Prisoner Review Board.  

ENERGY

Illinois one of more than ten U.S. states where price of motor fuel passes $5.00/gallon; Democrats block action. The dismal news, already familiar to many motorists, was made official by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in their ongoing gas prices survey of the 50 states. Other states with gas prices above $5.00/gallon this week included Arizona, California, and Michigan. Motor fuel was slightly cheaper in the U.S. Southern states, but could not be bought for less than $4.25 a gallon anywhere. High prices for crude oil, and surging motorist demand in the traditional summer driving season, were blamed for the high gas prices.  

CRIME

Durkin says Time for Reform as Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board Releases Convicted Murderers. Just ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board (PRB) voted to release two convicted murderers, prompting renewed calls from House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to reform the board.

“Governor Pritzker needs to stop appointing PRB members that disregard the rights of victims. His record on public safety has made Illinois a consequence-free state for criminals,” said Durkin. 

ENERGY

Illinois House holds joint hearing on rising energy prices in Ameren territory. On Thursday, May 26, the House Energy & Environment and Public Utilities Committees held a joint hearing at the Capitol to discuss rising energy prices for Ameren customers in downstate Illinois.

Ameren Illinois customers received an email Wednesday warning about higher prices on the horizon this summer. State lawmakers had the opportunity to ask energy leaders why this is happening and what they could do to help Thursday.

“The primary reason you will see an increase in your monthly bill is because of the increase in the electric supply costs, which are collected on your utility bill and paid directly to power generators,” the utility wrote to customers. “Ameren Illinois does not profit from these charges.” 

CHILDREN

Pritzker excuses for DCFS failures are endangering children; HGOP calls for change in leadership at DCFS. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin issued the following statement as DCFS Director Marc Smith has been held in contempt of court for a shocking 11th time. The record 11th citation concerns the case of an 11-year-old girl who was physically abused while in DCFS care and is considered a danger to herself and others. She has spent months waiting for appropriate placement in a secure residential treatment center.
 
BUDGET
Illinois Democrats put pork projects before people. Illinois House Republicans held a Capitol press conference Thursday to discuss the Democrats’ prioritization of pork projects over the people of Illinois.

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said there are “hundreds” of examples of spending for projects from Democrat-only legislators

Peace Officer Memorial Service 2022
VETERANS

Audit slams Pritzker Administration for failed response to deadly COVID outbreak at LaSalle Veterans Home. In total, 36 residents of the LaSalle Veterans’ Home died due to COVID-19. The deaths occurred between November 7, 2020, and January 1, 2021. By November 15, 2020, 17 residents had lost their lives from COVID-19 at the LaSalle Home.

CHILDREN

Durkin Calls on DCFS Director to Resign. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin called on DCFS Director Marc Smith to resign after it was recently revealed that he had been held in contempt for a ninth time for failing to protect Illinois’ children in care.

“Unfortunately, contempt of court orders against DCFS have become business as usual for the Pritzker administration. Governor Pritzker clearly isn’t bothered by a ninth contempt of court charge against DCFS Director Marc Smith and has done nothing about it – that is simply unacceptable. The Governor has had three and a half years to get this agency under control – he owns this ongoing tragedy. Since the Governor has failed to take action, I call on Director Smith to resign for the good of the children in this state who depend on DCFS.

BUDGET

CGFA March revenue summary released. The March 2022 revenue report, compiled by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, continued to show revenues buoyed by one-time tax intake factors. Personal income tax payments in March 2022 were $3,147 million, up more than $600 million from the pandemic-squashed income tax payment cash flow of March 2021. Corporate income tax payments rose year-over-year by $180 million in March 2022, and sales tax revenues rose $106 million. These three cash flows made up by far the largest share of an overall general funds cash increase of $994 million during this 31-day period. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

After an all-nighter, General Assembly adjourns spring session. The Illinois House and Senate held its final week of the scheduled 2022 spring session, and then adjourned in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 9. The General Assembly could come back prior to May 31, 2022, the constitutional adjournment date, in case of unusual circumstances or emergency.

FY 2023 State Budget 
Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer and Republican Floor Leader Mark Batinick offered the following comments on Governor Pritzker’s federally-funded budget that ignores the financial pressures in Illinois’ immediate future.

Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer:
“A year and a half ago, Gov. Pritzker was threatening Illinois voters with draconian cuts or across-the-board tax increases unless they approved his $3.4 billion tax increase amendment. But voters said no.
BUDGET
As Democrats continue budget talks, Republicans say millions of their constituents are being snubbed. As Democrats continue negotiating how to spend taxpayer dollars for the coming fiscal year, Republicans say millions of their constituents across Illinois are being snubbed.

Spring session of the Illinois Legislature ends April 8. It’s expected a plan to spend taxpayer dollars for the fiscal year that starts July 1 will be approved before then. 

Celebrating Women's History Month

In the early morning hours of October 13, 1977, Rosalyn Sussman Yalow received a phone call with the news that she had won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. She was the first American-born woman to win a Science Nobel and only the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in Medicine. However her road to the Nobel Prize was not an easy one.  

Borrowing money always comes with associated costs, specifically interest payments.

When we’re late paying our credit cards, we pay interest. When we borrow to buy a car or a house, pay for school or consolidate debt, we pay interest. When it’s a state that borrows money it is the taxpayers who pay the interest. 
 
To protect hardworking taxpayers, Illinois' government should pay its debts as expeditiously as possible. It is the responsible thing to do. Last week the Democrat supermajority in the House of Representatives took a different approach. Instead of using existing eligible funds to pay off a federal loan, Democrats chose to saddle Illinois taxpayers with interest payments that will increase every day until the debt is paid. By passing SB 2803, Democrats have also risked benefit cuts to the unemployed, and ensured a tax increase is coming for every job in Illinois. All so they can fund new “pork projects” in their own districts. 

TAXES & DEBT

Illinois Democrats’ UI plan prioritizes pork projects over paying off debt; will lead to tax hikes on Illinois jobs. This week, Illinois Democrats passed a supplemental appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2022 that failed to pay off the $4.5 billion Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund debt owed to the federal government.

For Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Democrats, making and breaking big promises is becoming a way of life. If that sounds like a typical throwaway political attack line, an examination of the last year of action (or inaction) by the governor and the Illinois General Assembly reveals the truth.

From drawing fair legislative maps to promises of honesty in financial dealings, protecting children in the care of DCFS, addressing rising crime, and providing relief for families struggling to afford necessities like food and fuel, Democrats have made some big promises. To this point in the 102nd General Assembly, it seems Democrats' promises were made to be broken. 

Last week a Chicago businessman gave away $200,000 in gasoline to Illinois residents. Cars lined up for miles at 10 gas stations in Chicago to receive $50 worth of free gas. They waited for hours for what amounted (for most) to a half-tank of the precious fuel. If the long lines and waits were any indication, families are desperate for financial relief.

Gas prices are at their highest level since 2008, fueled only in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The fact is gas prices have been going up steadily since President Biden was sworn into office.

In honor of Women’s History month we celebrate the much beloved Judy Baar Topinka.

Judy Barr Topinka's passion for representing the people of Illinois began in 1980 in the House of Representatives. She served 2 years in the House and then was elected to the State Senate where she remained for 10 years.

After 14 years as a member of the Illinois General Assembly, Judy Baar Topinka ran for statewide office. She was chosen in November of 1994 to serve as Illinois State Treasurer becoming the first woman in Illinois history to be elected to that office. 

CHILDREN

DCFS – Blame Shifting Must End, Children Deserve Protection. One of the vital roles of government is to protect its residents, especially vulnerable children in state care. For a variety of reasons, Illinois children end up in the system, because of abuse from their parents or guardians, death of parents or guardians, homelessness, neglect, and even outright abandonment. As a society, we give up part of our income to the government to establish a social safety net to protect these children and provide them with vital services.

One of the vital roles of government is to protect its residents, especially vulnerable children in state care. For a variety of reasons, Illinois children end up in the system, because of abuse from their parents or guardians, death of parents or guardians, homelessness, neglect, and even outright abandonment. As a society, we give up part of our income to the government to establish a social safety net to protect these children and provide them with vital services.

The Democratic majority and Governor Pritzker have been busy working on their priorities: Passing gerrymandered legislative maps, defunding the police, and turning a blind eye to the corruption charges filed against the former longtime Speaker of the House Michael Madigan. All while middle-class families, children in state care, and veterans pay the price for the misdirected priorities.


Celebrating Women's History Month.


The first American woman to win an Olympic event was Margaret Abbott from Illinois. She captured first place in women’s golf at the 1900 Paris Olympic games. Except Abbott would never know she had even competed in the Olympics.

Margaret was born in Calcutta, India in 1878, the daughter of Charles and Mary Abbott. She moved to Illinois as a teenager when her mother became the literary editor for The Chicago Herald. In Illinois, the Abbott women joined the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton where they competed in local golf tournaments. Margaret was coached by several talented male amateurs including Charles Blair MacDonald and began winning championships. However, mentions of Margaret’s golf wins could only be found in the society pages of local newspapers and not the sports sections.

CRIMINAL LAW

Majority rule and rising crime rates. Illinois State Representative Deanne Mazzochi has accused the Democrat majority of not just being soft on crime, but creating state and local policies that allow crime to thrive.

Carjacking, burglaries, and retail thefts are on the rise in her district. Murders, robberies and gang violence are threatening other Chicagoland communities. And Democrats in Illinois won’t tackle the problem. They are comfortable sitting back while Illinois families endure violence in their neighborhoods with little recourse because Democratic lawmakers have refused to make laws to protect them.

Illinois State Representative Deanne Mazzochi has accused the Democrat majority of not just being soft on crime, but creating state and local policies that allow crime to thrive.

Carjacking, burglaries, and retail thefts are on the rise in her district. Murders, robberies and gang violence are threatening other Chicagoland communities. And, Democrats in Illinois won’t tackle the problem. They are comfortable sitting back while Illinois families endure violence in their neighborhoods with little recourse because Democratic lawmakers have refused to make laws to protect them.

Celebrating Women's History Month.


In 2005, Channy Lyons organized an exhibit of women artists who worked in Peoria before 1970. She managed to identify 50 artists but it was no easy task. Researching women artists was a tedious process, made more challenging because most women artists prior to 1940 remained largely anonymous. Tracking them down was thwarted by name changes after marriage, unsigned works or the use of pseudonyms.

SPEAKER MADIGAN INDICTED

Former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan indicted on federal corruption charges. On Wednesday, March 2, former Democratic Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan was indicted on federal racketeering conspiracy and bribery charges following a federal probe into political corruption in the state of Illinois. Also named in the indictment is longtime Madigan confidante Michael McClain. A joint press conference held by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) outlined the indictment.

Yesterday, former longtime Democratic Speaker of the House, Michael J. Madigan was indicted on federal racketeering conspiracy and bribery charges following a federal probe into political corruption in the state of Illinois. Also named in the indictment is longtime Madigan confidant Michael McClain. A joint press conference held by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) outlined the indictment.

Celebrating Women's History Month

Mary Louisa Page distinguished herself by becoming the first woman in the United States to graduate with an accredited architecture degree. 

Page, born in Metamora, Illinois, in 1849, enrolled in the College of Engineering at University of Illinois (then called Illinois Industrial University) in 1874. She was the first woman at the college to study architecture.

The war being waged by expansionist Russia on Ukraine has led two Illinois lawmakers to introduce bills that would impose sanctions on Russia and support Ukrainian refugees fleeing their war-torn homeland.

Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer sponsored, HB 5702 and HB 5703, legislation that would provide additional funding to aid in the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees. As Ukraine continues to defend its boundaries from Russian assault, hundreds of thousands of refugees are making their way to Europe and the United States. Demmer wants to make sure that Illinois is well equipped to provide necessary services to Ukrainians who are displaced by the Russian invasion.

UKRAINE

Illinois House Republicans Stand with the People of Ukraine. While Russian troops move into Ukraine, an act of war the likes of which has not been seen in Europe since 1939, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has introduced legislation to send a message to the Ukrainian people that Illinois supports them and will not do business with these vicious warmongers.

COVID-19

House Republicans lead JCAR vote to halt Gov. Pritzker’s school mask mandate. On Tuesday, February 15, the bicameral Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted 9-0-2 to block re-implementation of Governor JB Pritzker’s mask mandate for K-12 public and private schools in Illinois in the wake of the February 4 temporary restraining order issued by Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow declaring the Governor’s emergency rules as they apply to schools "null and void."

Illinois State Representative Dan Swanson discusses the new law he co-sponsored creating the Veterans' Accountability Unit in response to the COVID-19 outbreak at LaSalle Veterans' Home. He also addresses the need for greater awareness of veteran suicide and the new 988 phone number to help Veterans and their families in crisis. 988 becomes operational nationwide in July 2022.

If you are a veterans or know one who is in crisis call 1-800-273-8255, press 1 for help. Learn more:  Veterans' Crisis Line 


The bicameral Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted 9-0-2 today to block re-implementation of Governor JB Pritzker’s mask mandate for K-12 public and private schools in Illinois in the wake of the February 4 temporary restraining order issued by Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow declaring the Governor’s emergency rules as they apply to schools "null and void."

To deal with the current teacher shortage, schools have increased class sizes, used long-term substitutes, brought back retired teachers and combined classes. But schools cannot continue to rely on these “Hail Mary” strategies as the teacher shortage continues to grow and our children’s education suffers.

According to a recent study published by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, 88% of school districts reported teacher shortages and 77% indicated the shortage problem was getting worse. Additionally, 96% said they have a substitute teacher shortage. What’s more, 86% indicated they are seeing fewer qualified applicants for open positions.

CRIMINAL LAW

House Republicans Call for Repeal of SAFE-T Act After Pritzker Law Lets Violent Criminals Evade Justice. The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week on multiple cases of violent criminals not being charged for felony murder due to the recently enacted “SAFE-T” Act passed by Illinois Democrats and signed into law by Governor Pritzker. 

Deals to reduce charges and jail time are often used by prosecutors to obtain guilty pleas from defendants. There are many motivations behind plea deals and Illinois State Representative Dan Caulkins thinks victims, judges and the general public should know what they are, especially with armed robberies, carjackings and violence on the rise in Illinois.

For a third time, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Director Marc Smith has been found in contempt of court for failing to place a child in an appropriate care setting. In this episode of Have All Voted Who Wish, Illinois State Representative Tony McCombie demands public hearings into the failures at DCFS and discusses the ongoing concerns.


Last February, the Governor signed a massive criminal justice reform bill into law that has resulted in increased crime and violence throughout the state. The 600-page bill was hastily crafted with minimal input from law enforcement and Republican lawmakers. In the waning hours of the lame-duck legislative session, while most Illinoisans were sleeping, the billpassed the House with the bare minimum number of votes. 

BUDGET

Illinois begins discussion of budget for Fiscal Year 2023. Discussions began after Governor JB Pritzker delivered his FY23 Budget and State of the State Address Wednesday at the Old State Capitol. The Governor’s budget plan covers the upcoming Fiscal Year 2023, a 12-month period that will begin on July 1, 2022 and will end on June 30, 2023. The budget anticipates that Illinois will have $45.4 billion in general funds to spend in FY23. This follows the $43 billion budget approved by the Democrats in 2021 for FY22.

Illinois House Republican lawmakers from across the state respond to the Governor’s State-of-the-State and Budget Address, below are a few excerpts:

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin
The governor’s budget address is always a wish-list, and this year it’s clear that the governor wishes to be reelected. The budget laid out by Governor Pritzker today is packed with gimmicks and one-time tricks, but no structural reforms. The people of Illinois deserve a governor who will be honest and work to actually fix things like property taxes and out-of-control crime. Read more.  

The most common of all neuro-cognitive disorders, dyslexia, affects 20 percent of the population and represents 80-90 percent of those with learning disabilities. It is estimated that 1 in 5 children in school are dyslexic but not all of those students, only about 5%, are identified as such. 

While intensive dyslexia interventions are most effective when they begin in kindergarten or first grade, oftentimes dyslexia goes undetected until 3rd or 4th grade, if at all. Experts agree that early reading problems can manifest as serious reading disabilities later on so it is vital that students are screened for dyslexia when they enter school

CRIMINAL LAW

Durkin Proposes Victim-Focused Overhaul of Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board. With a focus on protecting victims of violent crime and their families, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin introduced legislation on Thursday to overhaul Illinois’ Prisoner Review Board (PRB) and provide greater weight to the interests of victims of violent crime, rather than criminals.

“Today, I am here to give hope to the forgotten voices in our present criminal justice system, the victims of crime. The despair and anguish felt by crime victims and the futility they experience seeking closure for the tragic and brutal loss of a family member, loved one, or friend cannot be discounted,” said Durkin. “That pain and torment is only fueled by the decisions of Governor Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board.” 

In this podcast episode, Illinois State Representatives Ryan Spain and Patrick Windhorst discuss the need to repeal the SAFE-T Act to stem the rising tide of crime and violence in Illinois.

More episodes on Have All Vote Who Wish


A police officer attempts to pull over a driver for running a red light. The driver knows there are drugs in the car and if caught may be charged with drug possession, a crime that carries up to 15 years in prison. Aware of the local police department’s strict pursuit policies preventing officers from giving chase at high rates of speed, the driver doesn’t stop and instead takes off - exceeding 100 mph. Sure, the driver knows they could be charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, but the sentence and penalties will be significantly lower than if they had been caught with the drugs – only facing 1-3 years of prison instead of 15.

For the last several years, Democrats who control both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly have implemented an unwritten policy prohibiting increased penalties in current criminal statutes. Additionally, they have prevented the passage of laws that would criminalize new behaviors. Two such examples of legislation that were thwarted by Democrats include one that would have increased penalties for attacks on DCFS workers and the another that created a new law criminalizing surreptitious electronic tracking.

CRIMINAL LAW

House Republicans call for repeal of Democrats’ “damaging and dangerous” SAFE-T Act. January is the one-year anniversary of Illinois Democrats passing sweeping legislation to defund, disarm, and disrespect our police. House Democrats voted yes, House Republicans voted NO. Violent crime is up, police retirements are increasing, and our communities are less safe. House Republicans are sponsoring legislation that would repeal the so-called “SAFE-T Act.”
 
Buyer’s remorse – you know that feeling of regret in the pit in your stomach after you make a hasty and expensive purchase. At times the remorse anxiety causes us to simply justify our purchase so we can live with the decision, other times it compels us to return the purchase for a full refund. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) even has a “cooling off” rule that gives consumers 3 days to cancel certain types of purchases because the FTC recognizes rushed and high pressure decisions are not always the best ones.


Illinois State Representative Chris Bos has long advocated for victims and survivors of Human Trafficking, both in his former role at a non-profit that worked to free children from sexual exploitation and now as a state lawmaker. For this session, he has filed several important pieces of legislation that protect victims of human trafficking and that put punitive disincentives in place to protect children from predators. January is also National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of human trafficking. 

CRIME

Illinois less safe since SAFE-T Act enacted. In February of 2021, Governor Pritzker signed the quickly drafted and un-vetted SAFE-T Act into law. The Safety Accountability, Fairness & Equity Today Act was purported to keep Illinois families safer. However, that has not been the outcome for those who are already battling violence in their neighborhoods.

Since the law was enacted, many neighborhoods in Chicago and surrounding suburbs have witnessed an increase in violent crimes that include murder, expressway shootings, carjackings, assaults, armed robberies, smash & grabs and mob retail theft. Compared to 2019, crime is up 7.5% in Chicago. And the neighborhoods most impacted by crime are the ones that have been dealing with violence for decades.

In February of 2021, Governor Pritzker signed the quickly drafted and un-vetted SAFE-T Act into law. The Safety Accountability, Fairness & Equity Today Act was purported to keep Illinois families safer. But, that has not been the outcome for those who are already battling violence in their neighborhoods.

Since the law was enacted, many neighborhoods in Chicago and surrounding suburbs have witnessed an increase in violent crimes, that include murder, expressway shootings, carjackings, assaults, armed robberies, smash & grabs and mob retail theft. Compared to 2019, crime is up 7.5% in Chicago. And the neighborhoods most impacted by crime are the ones that have been dealing with violence for decades.