Senate Week in Review: June 19-23, 2023

SPRINGFIELD – The Governor has released emergency rules on Illinois’ out-of-control undocumented immigrant healthcare program, which continues to be the subject of controversy.

In other news, the preliminary May unemployment data is now available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, Illinois’ ranking remains tied for the fourth highest state unemployment rate in the country.

With the dry and windy weather, several fire agencies throughout Illinois are advising caution when it comes to open burning, and a few have banned it altogether.

And the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has released the dates for its waterfowl hunting blind drawings that will be occurring throughout late July and early August.

New Rule Attempts to Rein in Spending for Undocumented Immigrant Healthcare

State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says after months of Republicans calling attention to the increasing costs of Illinois’ undocumented immigrant healthcare program, the Governor’s Administration filed an emergency rule attempting to rein in state spending on the program for non-citizens, which had ballooned to more than $1 billion. 

While the new rule temporarily suspends enrollment to the program beginning July 1 for those ages 42-64 and sets co-pay requirements, Illinois has already sent a clear message to undocumented immigrants across the nation and the world that Illinois is the best place to come for healthcare, says Tracy, who remains concerned about the costs this influx will continue to have on taxpayers.

Even with the new limits on the program, Illinois taxpayers are still forced into providing the best in the nation healthcare to undocumented immigrants. Tracy says this group of individuals are still receiving better healthcare than Illinois residents on Medicaid and that the healthcare costs for this population are four times greater than a similar citizen on Medicaid as the program hardly receives any federal dollars.

The emergency rule filed last week became effective immediately. Additionally, an identical, permanent rule was also filed and will be taken up by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules in the coming months.

Illinois’ Preliminary May Unemployment Data Released

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the preliminary unemployment data from May, showing Illinois as having one of the highest state unemployment rates across the country. While there is no clear trend so far in 2023, the state measured 4.1 percent unemployment rate.

Illinois’ rate falls on the higher end of the national unemployment rate spectrum, where the national average is 3.7 percent. Individual states range from 1.9 percent to 5.4 percent. Illinois is tied for fourth place with Texas and Washington.

Some Illinois Residents Under ‘No Burn’ Orders

The National Weather Service has issued an alert to tell Illinois residents that with the recent dry weather, the risk of widespread fires has also risen. As such, extra care is needed when it comes to fires, and several fire agencies around Illinois have announced “no burn” orders until further notice.

While these notices are mostly in Northern Illinois, all residents are advised to take caution when it comes to fires. According to fire departments, a “no burn” order includes open burnings, only excluding grills and small fire pits. Additionally, oftentimes cigarette smokers are also told to be cautious when it comes to disposing of their cigarettes and to remain vigilant about any sparks or ashes left unintentionally unattended.

IDNR Releases Duck Blind Drawing Dates

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has officially announced the dates and locations of the upcoming waterfowl hunting blind drawings. These drawings take place throughout Illinois from July 16 to Aug. 5. Hunters must register in person and be at that location when the drawing is held.

To participate in the drawing, all applicants must have a 2022 or 2023 regular Illinois hunting license and Migratory Waterfowl stamp at the time they register and a valid photo ID. Both licenses and stamps are available at any IDNR license and permit vendor or through the IDNR website. All applicants must be at least 16 years old by the date of the drawing.

The blind drawings will start July 16 and go through Aug. 5, so potential applicants have some time to gather their application materials. Details on the dates and locations also can be found in the IDNR press release and more information and maps of the locations can be found on IDNR’s Hunt Planner website.

Jil Tracy

Want to stay up to date with your Senator?

Sign up for the District E-Newsletter below: