One of the most important ways for homeowners to protect their prized investment is to prioritize keeping their basements waterproof and dry. In the current economic climate of high taxes, high inflation, and increased costs, it is more important than ever for homeowners to do all they can to save money and maximize their home’s value.

Pickleball Fever has struck the Prairie State and the rest of the U.S. As America’s fastest-growing sport in the last three years continues to skyrocket in popularity, the demand for state and local governments to keep up with constructing adequate pickleball facilities grows. Pickleball participation in the U.S. has grown from just over 4 million players in 2020 to 13.6 million in 2023. 

Included in the growing list of amateur Illinois pickleball athletes is Illinois House Minority Leader Tony McCombie. “As my recovery from foot surgery continues this Spring, I cannot wait to get back on the pickleball court this Summer,” McCombie stated. “I love the sport and am proud to be a fierce competitor to colleagues and friends alike.”

Visit Springfield has introduced a new food tour focusing on Springfield’s most iconic dish: the horseshoe. Horseshoe Trail is a digitally based tour that takes hungry Illinoisans to 24 of the Capitol’s best restaurants, all serving up the legendary horseshoe sandwich.

Horseshoe Trail is free and easy to use. To begin their journey, users must simply enter their phone number or email address and will immediately receive their very own Horseshoe Trail “passport” on their mobile device. With each new location visited, the user’s phone will automatically detect their arrival and will add points to their passport, which can be redeemed for prizes along the way. In addition to the comprehensive list of Springfield’s best horseshoes, the passport grants users access to exclusive discounts they can use at their stops along the way. 

March 26th serves as a day of remembrance for the thousands of American service members who risked and lost their lives fighting at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. The Battle of Iwo Jima, which lasted from February 19th to March 26th, 1945, stands as one of the largest and most important battles of the Pacific War. During the Second World War, the Allied forces found the need for more airports near mainland Japan in order to carry out long-range bombing missions and identified the island of Iwo Jima as an ideal location. Over the course of 5 weeks, more than 80,000 American service members carried out numerous missions in order to gain complete control over the island, many of whom were Illinoisans.

In response to the unprovoked and deadly attacks by Hamas-led terrorist groups on Israel last October, several U.S. state governments stepped up to lend a helping hand financially to the Israelis.

The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office pledged to buy an additional $10 million in Israel Bonds at the onset of the attacks. The Prairie State has been joined by at least 13 other state governments, four municipal governments, and one public pension fund in investing or committing to invest in Israeli bonds to the tune of $564 million. 


House Republicans make public safety concerns a priority in new legislative package. At a Capitol press conference on Thursday, House Republican State Representatives Patrick Windhorst, John Cabello, David Friess, Dan Ugaste, and Amy Grant laid out a bold legislative package aimed at improving public safety, recruiting and retaining police officers and other law enforcement officials, and providing assistance to victims of violent crime.

At a Capitol press conference on Thursday, House Republican State Representatives Patrick Windhorst, David Friess, Dan Ugaste, and John Cabello laid out a bold legislative package aimed at improving public safety, recruiting and retaining police officers and other law enforcement officials, and providing assistance to victims of violent crime.

“There is a concerning trend we see here in Illinois where criminals are treated better than law-abiding citizens and as leaders, we cannot continue to jeopardize the safety of our communities,” said Cabello.

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie presented an ethics reform proposal during a subject matter hearing today in the Illinois House Ethics and Elections Committee. McCombie’s legislation, House Bill 4119, would prohibit elected officials from using political campaign donations to pay for criminal defense. Leader McCombie stressed the importance of the measure, an unfortunate reminder of just how much progress the State of Illinois must make amid Ethics Awareness Month.

Illinois is home to hundreds of limestone caves that stretch from just southwest of Chicago to the southern tip of the state. The ‘heart’ of cave country in Illinois can be found in Monroe County, home to more than 100 caves, more than any other county in Illinois.

An exploration of limestone caves in Illinois begins with Illinois Caverns, the second-largest cave in the state, in Waterloo. Visitors can explore the cave there from April through October. The 118-acre site was purchased by the IDNR in 1985, and it was previously referred to by names such as “Mammoth Cave” or “Burksville Cave.” The only commercially operated cave in Illinois, previous records indicate visitors paid to explore Illinois Caverns as far back as 1901. 

Within the last twenty years, young adults have made the shift to drink less alcohol than the generations before them. According to Gallup Research, approximately 62% of adults aged 35 and younger say they drink alcohol, which is down from 72%, which was reported just 20 years ago.

With this data in mind, some raise the question of why young adults have shifted their mindset on alcohol. Researchers have pinpointed a few explanations as to why there has been a decline in young adults consuming alcoholic beverages.

Five states, including Illinois, will be holding their Primary Election Days on Tuesday, March 19, a week after both Joe Biden and Donald Trump secured their parties nominations to top the ticket as presidential candidates presented to voters in the General Election on Tuesday, November 5, 2024.

However, that doesn’t mean Illinois voters will find no choices to make in their primary balloting. Voters will not only have an opportunity to weigh in on presidential nominees and their delegates but will also get an opportunity to vote for their chosen parties nominees for the U.S. House, Illinois House, some Illinois Senate seats, and numerous elections to Illinois’ judiciary, and local government offices like County Board and some County officials. City of Chicago voters will also have the opportunity to vote on a Real Estate Transfer Tax referendum.

Leader McCombie and Deputy Leader Ryan Spain are pictured 

with Farm Bureau President Brian Duncan (Ogle County).

With National Ag Week taking place from March 17-23, 2024, the Illinois State Capitol was abuzz with activity during the Session Week before as agricultural advocates including local farm bureau groups, FFA students, and livestock and energy industry advocates took to their State Capitol to advocate for Illinois leading role in agricultural production of energy, food and fiber for the world.

  • Illinois is the #1 soybean producing state in the country.
  • 15% of all U.S. soybeans are produced in Illinois.
  • Illinois is the #2 corn producing state in the country.
  • 13% of our country’s supply of corn is grown on Illinois farms.
  • Crop land makes up 76% of Illinois.

This week at the Illinois Capitol, State Representative Tom Weber was joined by fellow Representatives Joe Sosnowski and Martin McLaughlin to call on the State to act on property tax relief. Despite many years of claiming to support property tax relief, the majority party in Springfield has only allowed minimal action on relief proposals. The solutions offered by Weber and his colleagues would place hard caps on property tax increases that have been driving families and small businesses out of the state for years.

“Men and women across Illinois have worked hard and done everything right to provide a home for their families,” said Weber. “Unfortunately, for too many people, the dream of homeownership has turned into a nightmare of unmanageable property tax bills that are threatening their ability to keep their homes.


House Minority Leader Tony McCombie held a press conference this week to discuss the ongoing issues at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. McCombie stood alongside State Representatives Dave Severin and Bill Hauter to talk about the frustration IDFPR has caused residents and discuss their legislative package to provide solutions.

The package includes McCombie’s License Convenience Act (House Bill 4855), which would require the department to accept electronic payments for licenses and fees.


Illinois’ High Taxes are Stifling Economic Growth.  At a press conference this week in Springfield, State Representative Dan Ugaste and three Republican colleagues highlighted a recent report from Moody’s Analytics and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability that outlined how the current economy in Illinois is stalled and high tax burdens are a main reason.

Cancer screenings offer a way for individuals to find out any signs of cancer in a particular area(s) of the body before the onset of any symptoms. These screenings can help find cancer in its early stages, and in doing so that can make treatments or finding a cure easier. In short, cancer screenings help save lives. 

Cricket is becoming more popular in Illinois. Despite the dominance of sports like baseball and basketball, cricket is carving out its niche in the hearts of Illinois residents. This growth is supported with recognition by state and local governments of the popularity of the sport in our communities.

The Girl Scouts organization, best known for its cookie sales, is an organization rooted in character, courage, and confidence to teach young girls leadership skills. Before its creation in 1912, organizations geared towards teaching young girls about anything other than the usual gendered norms was unheard of and discouraged. Juliette Gordon Low, a Savannah, Georgia native, sought to change that.

With more than 150 firearm and component manufacturers operating in Illinois, over 14,000 working families depend on incomes derived from their work in manufacturing firearms, ammunition or components within the state’s boundaries.

Firearms manufacturers provide private gun-owners, the US Military, and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to carry out vital national security, and public and personal safety missions. The industry supports safe, legal, and responsible ownership, and works to stop criminal misuse of firearms.

Legislation pending in the House of Representatives (HB 793), would have a negative impact on 14(c) workshops across the state of Illinois if passed through the General Assembly. State Representative Mike Coffey (R-Springfield) and State Representative Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) both agree that this bill would create lost jobs, lost opportunities, and put service providers out of work.

“While this bill sounds good in theory, it would ultimately lead to individuals losing their job and having zero income,” said Rep. Coffey. “Service providers do a fantastic job, but many of them would be unable to pay minimum wage to their employees if this bill is passed. Protecting our job force should be a priority and this bill does the opposite.”

State Representative Travis Weaver (IL-93) and State Senator Neil Anderson (IL-47) are urging the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker to set aside funds in the 2024 budget for critical repairs needed at the Bishop Hill State Historic Site.

The Bishop Hill State Historic Site in Henry County is a small village that includes a beautiful array of historic buildings, memorials, a park, and gazebo. The settlement dates back to 1846, when the community was founded by Swedish immigrants fleeing religious persecution.

The Bishop Hill site includes a Visitor Center, Museum, Park, Colony Church, and Hotel. The Bishop Hill Heritage Association (BHAA) works to retain Bishop Hill as a living community while encouraging all efforts to restore and maintain historic properties and cultural heritage. The BHHA also provides guided tours for large groups, and visitors can also enjoy self-guided tours.

However, the buildings are in desperate need of attention and repairs. They’re maintained by a state agency, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), but they require funding from the General Assembly and Governor to be able to make these repairs. The buildings have suffered through years of deferred maintenance, leading to foundation cracks, water leaks, rotting soffits and windowsills, and other issues.

“As a state we have a job to maintain our infrastructure, and it’s unfortunate that these historical buildings have been allowed to fall in such disarray,” said Sen. Anderson. “The continued neglect of Bishop Hill is unacceptable. We need the Governor and the General Assembly to prioritize funding to repair and maintain these incredibly important structures.”

“Governor Pritzker should be embarrassed by his agency’s ability to care for historic buildings,” said Rep. Weaver. “Several decades ago, the state decided to take ownership of the Bishop Hill historic properties in order to preserve them; however, since then, they have allowed these buildings to nearly fall into total disrepair. Illinois Democrats will scream about a lack of funding – but make no mistake, this is 5% about funding and 95% about poor management from the Pritzker administration. It doesn’t take much funding to ensure windows are sealed and gutters are working properly, which prevents buildings from falling into ruin. Fortunately, I have confidence that the recently appointed IDNR Director, Natalie Phelps-Finnie, is highly competent and can right the ship. But it must happen faster. We’re on the brink of losing the Bishop Hill properties and wiping away nearly two centuries of history. The Governor has a pool of discretionary funds – we see him use it regularly to prop up illegal immigration and subsidize pet projects – I am calling on him to immediately release the funds necessary to fix the Bishop Hill properties.”

Action is needed immediately from the state legislature and the Governor to commit funds so IDNR can make the necessary repairs and restoration work at this historic site. There is no more time to waste to save this historic village that has fallen into disrepair.

Bishop Hill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and listed in 1984 as a National Historic Landmark.

A press conference on this topic was held today in Springfield. See the video below.


McCombie Calls for Reform Amid Ethics Awareness Month. With the two-year anniversary of former Speaker Mike Madigan’s indictment coinciding with national ethics awareness month, House Minority Leader Tony McCombie is using the opportunity to advance ethics reform in the Illinois House this spring.

Protecting victims of human trafficking is a top priority for Illinois House Republicans during the Spring 2024 Session. The Caucus is fighting this epidemic head-on with a robust bill package that provides protections to individuals who have fallen victim to human trafficking. The legislative package includes bills sponsored by Reps. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore), Nicole La Ha (R-Homer Glen), Jennifer Sanalitro (R-Hanover Park), and Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont).

Less than seven years after a total solar eclipse captivated millions and shined a spotlight on deep southern Illinois, another total solar eclipse will be visible in areas of southern Illinois on the afternoon of April 8. Southern Illinois is considered the eclipse crossroads of America because it was in the centerline for the path of totality in 2017 and will be again next month. 

Yesterday women from around the state traveled to Springfield for the third annual Emerging Women Leaders Conference. These remarkable up-and-coming leaders who were invited by their State Representatives were identified as “women to watch” and honored at a recognition brunch for their leadership in their communities.

After the brunch, their day continued with activities designed to introduce them to people who work under the dome, help them build networks and hear from influential women who are at the tops of their fields.
Friday, March 1st marked the first day of Women’s History Month. This is a month filled with celebrations that honor the past, present, and future of women in our world.

The Beginning of Women’s History Month

Each year we celebrate March as Women’s History Month, but how did this honorary month begin? The roots of Women’s History Month can be traced back to the first ever Women’s History Week celebration in 1978. Organized by the Education Task Force of Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women in Santa Rosa, California, this honorary week was intended to be a celebration of women’s contributions to American history. The following year, women across the country followed suit and began planning their own Women’s History Week celebrations.

Casimir Pulaski Day was officially designated as a statewide observance in Chicago and Illinois in 1986. It is observed each year on the first Monday in March in recognition of Pulaski’s March 6 birthday. Pulaski, a Polish-born hero of the American Revolution, was killed in battle during the ‘Siege of Savannah’ in 1779. 

Chicagoland is known for its large concentration of Polish Americans. The population of Illinois includes over 875,000 Polish Americans, second in the U.S. to only New York. The holiday’s significance to Illinois relates to its large Polish American base and serves to honor one of its national heroes. There are just under 2 million Polish Americans living in Chicagoland, and Polish is the third most-spoken language in the region. 

Capitol Crimes: Shattered Trust. Democracy depends on the public’s trust of its leaders. When that trust is shattered it could take years, if ever, to put the pieces back together. Wiretaps, stings, racketeering, bribery, and extortion – terms that have become all too familiar to the general public. Why should they care about good public policy if the politicians don’t? It is one of the reasons that so many people are disengaging from politics – they don’t trust politicians to do the right thing.

Democracy depends on the public’s trust of its leaders. When that trust is shattered it could take years, if ever, to put the pieces back together. Wiretaps, stings, racketeering, bribery, and extortion – terms that have become all too familiar to the general public. Why should they care about good public policy if the politicians don’t?  It is one of the reasons that so many people are disengaging from politics – they don’t trust politicians to do the right thing.