Senate Week-in-Review August 16 – 20, 2021

Springfield, IL… Following the release of the official U.S. Census data, Senate Republican claims of faulty maps has been verified. The census numbers show proof that Illinoisans are underrepresented in several communities.
Plus, the federal government announced it is now suggesting a third COVID-19 vaccine for those with weaker immune systems.
While it is only August, IDOT is preparing for the winter months by opening applications for their annual snowbird program.
And, the Illinois State Fair concluded this past weekend.

Official Census numbers don’t align with Democratic-drawn maps

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released its official 2020 census numbers confirming what Senate Republicans have been saying for months – that the Democrat-drawn legislative redistricting maps violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law, as well as comparable provisions of the Illinois Constitution. Redistricting_copy.jpgNew analysis of the maps show a 30 percent population deviation between districts, which is three times the maximum limit according to federal law. The data also shows a major blow to minority populations represented in several Illinois communities.

Instead of waiting to use real numbers from official Census data, Democrats forged ahead with their partisan desires by using population estimates from the American Community Survey, which has proven to be not reliable for what is a very complex and important process.

State Senator Jil Tracy says the maps are unlawful and unusable and further aligns with the Pritzker Administration’s failure to keep a campaign promise, where he specifically vowed to veto any map drawn by politicians. Instead, the Governor supported a closed door process that undermines diverse communities giving them little power and representation.

Republicans have filed a lawsuit, McConchie v. Illinois, asking the courts to rule the maps as unconstitutional. With this new data, it is clear the Democrats’ plan unequivocally violates federal law.

While the court continues to consider the case, Senate and House Democrat leaders have called legislators back to Springfield on Tuesday, August 31 to “fix” the maps. However, they do not have the legal authority to redraw the maps because:

  1. They acted in bad faith by passing a map they knew violated the Constitution;
  2. The June 30 deadline has passed; therefore, under the Constitution, the process should now head to a bipartisan commission; and
  3. Since the original map was already signed into law, the General Assembly loses jurisdiction to amend the map.

Senator Tracy says she’ll continue to fight for a bipartisan commission to redraw the maps in an effort to bring a fair and transparent process to the people of Illinois

CDC now recommending COVID booster shot

The U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention is recommending people with weakened immune systems who have had the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine get a booster shot.
CDC officials say the third shot is driven by concerns to the delta variant. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, individuals who are receiving treatment for cancer, taking medications that weaken the immune systems, organ or stem cell transplant recipients, individuals with advanced or untreated HIV infection, and other conditions are eligible.
Federal health officials are preparing to roll the third shot out in September. Individuals should get the same brand of vaccine that you received for your first and second shots.
To see if you qualify for the shot, a full list of conditions and guidelines can be found here.

IDOT to open application process for Snow Bird Program 

The Illinois Department of Transportation is looking for qualified individuals to apply for their annual “snowbird” program.
Each year, several seasonal snow-and-ice removal positions open up for temporary full-time employment to help keep the roads cleared throughout the winter.
Snowbirds are required to promptly respond to emerging weather situations and stay alert to work in emergency conditions at any time, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
Applicants must have a commercial driver’s license and submit to a criminal background check.
Each winter, IDOT has approximately 1,800 plows to put into service, providing coverage to nearly 16,000 miles of roads statewide. For more information on the program, and how to apply, click here. 

Illinois State Fair comes to a close

The Illinois State Fair in Springfield came to a close for the 2021 year this past weekend.
The fair this year marked a return following the 2020 cancellation due to COVID-19. This year’s fair featured performers like Kane Brown, Toby Keith, I love 90’s tour, and Brett Young.
The final weekend of the fair was topped off with car racing featuring drivers from across the country at the historic Springfield Mile.
The DuQuoin State Fair is scheduled to take place Aug. 27 – Sept. 6.
Jil Tracy

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