Senate Week in Review: June 24-28, 2024

Illinois’ Culture of Corruption in the Headlines

SPRINGFIELD – Democrat Ed Burke—Chicago’s longest-serving alderman, a longtime ally of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, and a towering figure in city politics—has been sentenced to prison time in the latest of a long history of high-profile corruption cases to rock Illinois.

Burke, who used his significant influence to steer business to his law firm in exchange for helping companies navigate the Chicago City Council, was convicted on 13 charges of bribery, racketeering, and extortion. He was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $2 million for leveraging his position to improperly influence business dealings for personal gain.

Senate Republicans cite this conviction as further evidence of the urgent need for tougher ethics reforms to hold politicians accountable and make it easier for law enforcement to investigate public corruption.

Senate Republicans have continued to fight the culture of corruption that has long tainted Illinois politics, pushing for greater accountability and transparency. Recent proposals from Republican lawmakers include stronger revolving door prohibitions, banning elected officials from working as paid lobbyists, and campaign finance reforms.

Laws Taking Effect July 1

Several new laws are set to take effect on July 1, including measures allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain Illinois driver’s licenses, protections for the children of social media influencers, additional safeguards for independent contractors, and changes to school assessment tests.

Undocumented Immigrants Drivers’ Licenses

Public Act 103-0210 allows non-citizens to obtain standard driver’s licenses. This replaces a previous system in which they were allowed to obtain licenses that indicated they were not citizens. Now, they will be able to get the same licenses as Illinois citizens.

Underage Professional Vlogger Protections

Public Act 103-0556 seeks to protect children from exploitation by requiring influencers to set up a trust fund for their child if they earn income from their child’s likeness.

Regulation for District-Administered Assessment in Schools

Public Act 103-0393 requires school boards to hold a public vote before approving a new contract for district-administered assessments.

Freelance Worker Protections

Public Act 103-0417 creates the Freelance Worker Protection Act to create protections for independent contractors.

ISP Partners with Texas DPS to Enhance Child Protection Training

A new Illinois State Police (ISP) partnership with the Texas Department of Public Safety trained officers to better protect at-risk Illinois children.

This joint venture allowed ISP officers to participate in the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) training program. The goal of the IPC training is to help officers identify signs of child exploitation, victimization, and abduction.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), other law enforcement agencies and child advocacy groups also attended the training.

Illinoisans are encouraged to report any suspicious activities involving minors to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Additional resources can be found at

IDOT’s Fiscal Year 2025-2030 Plan Released

IDOT’s newest Multi-Year Improvement Plan (MYP) is the largest in state history, investing $41.42 billion over the next six years in various projects touching every county in Illinois. Funding for the projects will come from a combination of federal, state, and local dollars.

Part of the ongoing Rebuild Illinois Program designed to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, the primary goal of this funding is to modernize Illinois roadways. In this annual update to the MYP, $29.65 billion is earmarked for roads and bridges, while the remaining $11.77 billion is allocated for public transit, freight, and passenger rail, as well as other projects.

Information about the plan can be found on IDOT’s website.

Free Camping Near State Fairgrounds with Purchase of 2024 Admission Booklet

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is offering free camping near the fairgrounds during the Illinois State Fair.

To be eligible for this promotion, interested fair campers need to purchase a 2024 Illinois State Fair Admission booklet from June 26 to July 3 and plan to camp within the dates of August 11 to 16.

With the booklet purchase, campers and fair attendees can receive up to two complimentary nights at one of the Springfield-area State Parks. The three parks available for this free stay include Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site, Sangchris Lake State Park, and Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area.

For more information, visit the fair’s website at

Jil Tracy

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