State Republican Eye Budget, Public Safety in Final Week of Session

By Benjamin Cox on April 4, 2022 at 1:53pm

Five days remain in the Illinois legislative session.

The session ends on Friday due to the June 28th primary election.

The state’s budget remains on the slate for the General Assembly to vote on and pass before they recess. 50th District State Senator Steve McClure said on Friday he and has fellow members of the Senate Republican caucus will be watching for any expansions or creation of new programs by Governor J.B. Pritzker and state Democrats: “Right now, we have a lot of federal money. We call them Biden bucks…Joe Biden bucks, where there is lots of money going out, which by the way has caused inflation to skyrocket right now, but it’s out there. We have got a ton of money from the federal government. So what we are trying to do is be very resourceful with what we have and not go into these areas where we are going to be in massive debt in a few years because of the fact of these new or expanded programs. I think what we are looking at in these negotiations whenever we see these original…whenever they come up with the actual language in the bills… We are looking for these programs and how much they are going to cost us, and whether or not we are going to be able to afford them into the next fiscal year.”

McClure says that the GOP will also be keeping an eye on any new crime and public safety legislation introduced by Democrats over the next few days. McClure says he’s especially concerned with portions of the recently passed SAFE-T Act, with several provisions slated to begin in January: “One of the things that the governor talked about was trying to give money for witness protection programs and that thing. I fully support that. And, obviously because of that he signed into law, victims are now going to be more at risk than ever before, because people that are accused of witness intimidation are not going to be able to be held in jail before trial. That will start come January of next year.”

McClure says he’s curious to see how the budget and other public safety items will be address, or if any amendments to the SAFE-T Act will come about.

100th District Republican State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer expressed his frustration with House Democrats last Thursday because the House session was spent adopting a number of family planning bills and resolutions.

During a debate about Planned Parenthood, Davidsmeyer chided Democrats for talking about politically divisive issues rather than talking about other issues that Davidsmeyer says is more important to all residents of the state.

Davidsmeyer reminded the House about the federal indictment of House Speaker Michael Madigan, and says the chamber hasn’t properly dealt with the ethics issues that allowed the “Madigan enterprise” to work.

Davidsmeyer accused House Democrats of skirting the issue of what he says is necessary ethics reform: “Ethics is something that we should all care about. We shouldn’t be talking about the divisive issues, the issues that we know divide us. We should talk about the things that unite us, right? We should all want to get rid of corruption. Who is sick of people thinking politicians are all dirty, right? I think each and every one of us is sick and tired of it, but your party hasn’t talked about any of it. You haven’t said a word about ethics. In fact, the ethics reform that you passed last year, if I can remind you, the Legislative Inspector General resigned because it took power away from her office.”

Democrats in the super-majority have not signaled whether an overtime, emergency session will be necessary to pass the state’s budget or any other outstanding pieces of legislation at this time. The session is scheduled to end Friday night, two months earlier than normal.