Senate Week in Review: May 27-31, 2024

Pritzker’s Tax Hikes, Record Government Spending Pass General Assembly

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly passed Governor JB Pritzker’s bloated budget and nearly a billion dollars in new taxes this week to fund the migrant crisis he created.

Pritzker’s budget sets a record for government spending at just over $53 billion – an increase of nearly $13 billion, or 32%, since the Governor took office.

State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) said she did not support the record spending or the $1 billion in tax increases.

The alarming surge in government spending was primarily fueled by temporary emergency COVID-19 funds and unexpectedly high state revenues. Rather than using these resources wisely, Pritzker and his legislative allies created new programs and increased permanent government spending. This includes an annual expenditure of approximately a billion dollars on programs for non-citizens, including top-tier healthcare. Senate Republicans have cautioned against using temporary dollars to fund permanent spending.

Instead of reducing government spending and reining in costs, the Governor is raising taxes to the tune of a billion dollars to fund the migrant crisis he created. Meanwhile, the budget shortchanges individuals with developmental disabilities, K-12 and college students, along with the taxpayers forced to foot the bill.

Tracy said the Governor needs to make the people of Illinois his priority and stop treating them like a piggy bank to fund his political agenda.

Senate Passes Legislation to Reform Prisoner Review Board

Amid ongoing controversy with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (PRB), including a recent high-profile tragedy where a young boy was murdered by an offender just days after his release, the Senate has passed legislation to reform the controversial body.

House Bill 681 includes several reforms to the PRB, incorporating ideas previously suggested by Senate Republicans. The bill enhances protections for victims by ensuring they are notified when prisoners are up for release and by improving the process for filing impact statements. Additionally, the legislation establishes new qualification standards for board members, increases transparency and creates a task force to examine various issues related to the board.

Tracy emphasized that the PRB urgently needs reforms to improve public safety, prioritize and protect victims, and ensure that their voices are heard throughout the process.

Judge Temporarily Blocks Unconstitutional Election Law

A Springfield Circuit judge issued a temporary injunction May 22 blocking a controversial new election law rammed through the General Assembly by Democrat lawmakers earlier this month. Critics say this new law is designed to protect vulnerable incumbents and reduce voter choice at the ballot box.

Senate Bill 2412, signed into law by Gov. Pritzker on May 3, would make significant changes to the rules for an election process that is already under way. Most notably, it would end the slating process currently taking place in districts throughout the state, eliminating challengers that entrenched incumbents could face in November.

The temporary injunction comes after a lawsuit was filed alleging violations of constitutional voting rights, preventing free and fair elections for the people of Illinois.

Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation earlier this month, noting that this proposal was a blatant power grab by Democrat leaders looking to protect incumbents in the general election and would only further erode public trust in the electoral process.

Tracy remains hopeful that this ruling is a step toward ensuring that the citizens of Illinois will be able to choose who represents them in Springfield.

Senate Republicans Unveil Wall of Remembrance at State Capitol

The annual Memorial Day Wall of Remembrance is now on display in the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda.

Presented every year by the Senate Republican Caucus, the Wall of Remembrance features a moving display of photos and stories of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. military.

Illinoisans are encouraged to visit the display to share their own stories and memories of loved ones and friends who have fallen in the line of duty, or to simply express gratitude, by filling out notes to post on the Wall. The display is open to the public from May 23 to June 7 during regular Capitol business hours.

Individuals unable to visit the Capitol can view the display here.

Jil Tracy

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