Another property tax relief commission is supposed to report recommendations by the end of the year.
Here’s an idea I submitted to the Illinois House in the mid-1970’s after former Governor Jim Edgar, then a freshman State Representative proposed an income tax hike half of which would go for real estate tax relief.
The major problem I saw with Edgar’s bill was that the other half of the increased tax revenue would go to schools.
So, Edgar was proposing a new net tax.
That stimulated an idea that would not result a net tax increase.
I conceived the idea of a local option individual income replacement tax by school district (with the tax and the local rate to be determined in the referendum),
All of the proceeds would go to lower the residential real estate tax levy in the next year.
There are problems with the idea, of course.
Double taxation in the first year.
Recessions that lower individual income tax collections would mean higher property taxes the next year.
Renters would not be guaranteed lower rents.
But, the big advantage besides shifting the way local schools could be financed is that income taxpayers would not be forced to subsidize those in other school districts.
In its editorial concerning JoAnne Cunningham’s murder guilty plea, the Chicago Sun-Times notes,
“As part of Cunningham’s plea deal, prosecutors removed language from court documents describing AJ’s murder as ‘brutal and heinous.’ In reality, what little AJ went through was exactly that.”
Its description of AJ’s torture follows:
“The public soon found out that little AJ endured many beatings in his short life, and no shortage of 20-minute cold showers, too. Those were his mother’s preferred form of “discipline” if he wet the bed or soiled his underpants. Forehead abrasions, in the same pattern as on the shower head, were among the many injuries found all over his frail body in an autopsy.”
The punishment recommended by the Sun-Times:
“Cunningham, 36, pleaded guilty to avoid a life sentence. She now faces 20 to 60 years in prison, and she deserves every second of whatever she gets.”
Last Thursday, in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule change limiting states from exempting work-eligible adults from having to maintain steady employment in order to receive benefits.
AOC took to Twitter to her nearly 6 million followers and said:
“My family relied on food stamps (EBT) when my dad died at 48. I was a student. If this happened then, we might’ve just starved. Now, many people will. It’s shameful hwo the GOP works overtime to create freebies for the rich while dissolving lifelines of those who need it most.”
AOC via Twitter, 12/5/19 .
To which Lauf replied:
“Create ‘freebies’ for the rich AOC? You and your radical, socilist crew believe the Forgotten men and women, every day middle-class Americans are the ‘rich’. Tax relief for hard working Americans is hardly a ‘freebie’.”
Catalina Lauf via Twitter, 12/5/19 .
Marter Goes After Lauf on Twitter
Sunday afternoon, 14th district Republican candidate James Marter responded to a tweet that answered another person’s question who wanted Lauf to run in the 16th district to unseat Congressman Adam Kinzinger.
It was pointed out that two years ago, Kinzinger was primaried by James Marter, who is not running for the 14th district congressional seat with Lauf and the other five candidates.
Marter responded to the claim that Lauf being the most loyal to President Trump in Twitter, which is transcribed below:
“Catalina [Lauf] worked for Governor Rauner after he signed SB31 HB40 and Red flag law plus many other anti-conservative bills. He gave $50K to PP [Planned Parenthood]. He was the most ardent ANTI-TRUMP gov. Of 50 states. Worked against Ives. No candidate who did that is a Conservative. She received $35K.
James Marter tweet, 12/8/19 .
To which, my response was:
“The truth sets one free, & Catalina Lauf worked for Citizens for Rauner political org, not Governor’s staff. We live in USA & Supreme Court said Gay Marriage & Abortion legal, does that mean all of us support both? That’s sophistry as are your Catalina comparisons on SB31 HB40 et al
John Lopez tweet, 12/8/19 .
This was not the first time Marter has attempted to use guilt by association that because, in Lauf’s case, she worked on Rauner’s reelection team, she supported SB31 (Sanctuary State law) and HB40 (Medicaid Funding for Abortion law) and the Red Flag law signed in the middle of 2018.
At the end of August, Marter tried this associative support for sanctuary state and Medicaid for Abortion on Jim Oberweis and Sue Rezin, which was called out by McHenry County Blog. He did not learn his lesson even after it was pointed out that Oberweis and Rezin voted against those two pieces of legislation. Elsewhere on Facebook after being shown the truth back on September 1, he still uses that talking point.
But the Twitter conversation continued from Marter in response to me above.
“Not even close to the same, she worked to re-elect Rauner in Republican primary had real conservative Jeanne Ives. I was 1st of 102 GOP Chairman to call for replacement of Rauner. She [chose] to work his campaign, either she knew all of that & didn’t care or worse didn’t know”
James Marter tweet, 12/8/19 .
It has been written here on McHenry County Blog of looking at what someone did in the 2018 primary is looking in the wrong direction.
Plus when anyone plays fast and loose with the truth, one must be reminded that truth is a multi-sided sword, which is pointed out next:
“I know Catalina Lauf can discuss why she worked for 10 months on Rauner reelect last year. As for Jeanne Ives support, that cuts both ways. Instead of helping Ives fully, you chose to run for Congress in 2018 primary, instead of choosing right battle to devote 100% to help Ives
John Lopez tweet, 12/8/19 .
Funny thing happens when the truth is brought to light. Here is Marter’s response:
“Again you are wrong. I was announced in my race long before Jeanne Ives got in. I was her Kendall County Coordinator and she won Kendall by 6.97% so please check facts before you publish Fake News
James Marter tweet, 12/8/19 .
Now he has challenged the integrity of McHenry County Blog and the One who has brought me here to do what I must do. My response:
“Nothing wrong with my facts, the truth is you could have pulled out of your race against Congressman Adam Kinzinger & devoted time to whom the biggest risk was, & you chose not to. Ability to pick battles & adapt is important for a member of Congress & friend, you’ve shown me you cannot.
“And if you were really an asset to Jeanne Ives last year, why is she not openly backing your campaign in the 14th district? Just like House Freedom Caucus, why is the House Freedom Fund not openly backing your campaign like they are with Ives in the 6th district. Feel free to prove me wrong. Actually like [being proven wrong once in a while]
John Lopez tweet 12/8/19 .
To which, Marter goes into a multi-tweet that would make Congressman Sean Casten green with envy:
“6.97 % victory [in Kendall County in 2018 Ives vs. Rauner] is big deal in any County vs. incumbent governor. went after biggest nevertrumper R Congress, with backing 50% of Republican PC the State Central 16, etc. made a commitment to them. stayed with the commitment, even though promised $Funding never came.
“That race [2018 16th district primary] was a preparation for this race. Which I never imagined would be needed. Meanwhile Catalina never voted in the 14th district when working for Rauner, never voted for Congressman Hultgren in 2018 to defend him from Underwood. Records matter!
James Marter tweet 12/8/19 .
Wow, talk about Marter going froggy on me now jumping around to justify the shellacking he took by Kinzinger in 2018 primary. So where is the “$Funding” for his current race?
Come January 15, we’ll know if he’ll have the dollars to be competitive.
Now he claims that because Lauf wasn’t voting in 14th district in 2018 general disqualifies her? She had to cast her general election vote for Rauner somewhere.
That last tweet was by this time Sunday afternoon, I was running errands.
While many of the points Marter raised in his tweets could have been educated guesses of how Marter and his volunteers would go after Lauf, seeing it in print from his Twitter ID confirms the educated guesses.
Whether his guilt-by-association will work with discerning voters remains to be seen.
A couple of more tweets after I left the grocery store:
“At place where I can text now. The time will come when we discuss this race directly James Marter. And Kinzinger is openly backing one of the candidates in the 14th district Republican primary. We’ll see where all the candidates really stand when FEC Q419 numbers come out next month.
John Lopez tweet 12/8/19 .
Marter gave a parting shot in Twitter:
“Rezin and Kinzinger have long history together, neither are conservative. No surprise he is backing her. Curious the blog hasn’t focused on out of District candidate who voted Gas Tax and Red Flag, a couple of many bad votes. Republican primary voters do care about those.
James Marter tweet 12/8/19 .
There he goes again challenging the integrity of McHenry County Blog and the One who sent me. My final reply:
“Blog has more than once brought up 2nd amendment issues & Jim Oberweis & Sue Rezin votes. Capital bill referenced ever since 6/2 when it passed. 14th district Republican primary voters care about all issues, & we’ve been asking candidates, including you, for your policy/position papers. Send yours please.
John Lopez tweet 12/8/19 .
And just think, it’s only early December before the primary.
Democrats’ Prescription Drugs Legislation to hit House floor this week, House GOP to propose detailed alternative
“Republican House leaders plan to hold press conferences and other events next week insisting their measure is a more realistic way of reforming drug prices and accusing Democrats of acting only in a partisan manner.”
Washington Post, 12/6/19, “House Republicans will unveil their own drug pricing bill as countermove to Nancy Pelosi“ .
Showdown is looming next week in the House on Prescription Drug Pricing, with Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats ready to place a “watered-down” version of H.R. 3 on the House floor next week, and Republicans will counter with a significant proposal of their own.
The following press release is from House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R, OR), along with video links to the entire 7-part “Here’s the Truth” video series on H.R. 3 with Walden and Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R, TX).
The first 3 parts were posted separately on McHenry County Blog, but all 7 video links below.
Lower costs and more cures are not mutually exclusive principles. There are bipartisan bills we could pass into law right now to achieve both goals. That is why, as The Washington Post outlined this morning, Republicans will soon introduce legislation to lower costs at the drug counter for patients and seniors.
The upcoming plan includes policy that could earn bipartisan, bicameral support, if only Democrats would drop H.R. 3 and work together with Republicans. As outlined in a seven-part video series from Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Speaker Pelosi’s partisan plan for fewer cures is not the answer the American people are searching for.
FULL VIDEO SERIES
Watch each video in the #FewerCures Facts series using the links below:
From the Effingham Daily News, reprinted with permission of author Jim Nowlan:
Jim NOwlan, guest columnist: The Illinois Tax Man cometh; how should we greet him?
A number of readers (actually two) have requested a column about Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s tax initiatives.
I have rattled on about this in the past, yet the topic is important to the future of Illinois, so here goes again, at least for the benefit of the two readers with interest.
There are two elements to this.
Less than a year from now, we will be asked to vote for or against a constitutional amendment to authorize a progressive income tax (higher rates for higher incomes).
If that passes muster, a statute enacted this past spring will automatically go into effect, increasing tax rates on incomes above $250,000 and even much higher for incomes above $5 million.
The new tax revenue is expected to raise more than $3 billion per year.
Unfortunately, the State needs the money.
There simply is not enough waste and corruption to be excised to fill the gap between present spending and revenue.
Most of our state budget goes for state pensions, which the Illinois high court has said can’t be touched; Medicaid (health care for more than 3 million low-income and most nursing home residents), which nobody has figured out how to constrain, and education, which few want to cut.
The remaining state agencies are puny by comparison (go to jimnowlan.com for in-depth budget columns).
Indeed, the Pritzker tax increases alone won’t be enough to close the budget gap and pay off old bills.
Illinois state and local taxes (property a local levy) are already, overall, significantly higher than the national average.
Each Illinoisan has his own gripe about taxes.
For some, it’s the property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation.
For others, it’s high sales taxes in some jurisdictions on big ticket purchases like new autos. For employers, it’s our high workers’ compensation costs (a tax in the eyes of business).
Rich (some would say successful) people in our state are already chafing under the state’s hefty inheritance tax, which most states abolished a few years ago. [Illinois also abolished it by a bill sponsored by State Rep. Penny Pullen. Democrats re-imposed in after they gained control of all the power in Springfield.]
Further, Congress recently limited deductions from our federal income tax liability for state and local taxes paid. This increases federal income taxes for many high-income Illinoisans.
So, should the Pritzker tax increases be approved?
Proponents say, since the money is needed, it is fair to impose the increases on the rich and not on the rest.
Opponents say the increases, on top of other burdens noted above, would cause successful people to think about living six months a year in Florida to avoid all these burdens.
They say it would also drive our perceived business climate even further toward the bottom among the states.
By the way, at present, though not opposed to the concept of a progressive rate structure, I am opposed to the specific tax increase — already enacted — and so plan therefore to vote against the amendment.
Will the increases be enacted in November 2020?
Putting on my political analyst hat, I say it will be close (how’s that for hedging my bets?).
Democrats will tend to favor, as a way of reducing income inequality.
“Main Street” and Rotary Club Republicans will generally oppose, asking why should we punish success, which many of them aspire to achieve?
Many Trump Republicans, a somewhat different breed from the Rotarian type, feel “the system” and the elites have screwed them over, so they may support the increases as a way of sticking it to the rich.
The constitutional amendment will require a vote of 60 percent of those voting on the issue for it to be adopted.
A recent poll I saw reports 68 percent favor the tax increases on high-income earners.
However, based on election history, many voters, especially those I think might favor the proposal, will fail to go way down the long ballot to vote on constitutional amendments.
Thus, they would not be a part of those “voting on the issue” of the amendment.
On the other hand, those motivated to vote against the issue in their self-interest are more likely to vote against the amendment.
So, it’ll be close, I aver.
What happens if the constitutional amendment fails?
Since there won’t be enough revenue to pay basic bills, bond houses will declare Illinois state and local debt to be “junk.”
This will make the state and its 7,000 governments, which often need debt to fund long-term projects, a pariah among the states.
That is why “No” voters like me have a responsibility to be ready with Plan B.
In our book “Fixing Illinois” (U. of I. Press, 2014), co-author Tom Johnson and I call instead for broadening the sales tax to remove scores of exemptions (semen for artificial insemination of livestock, for example, is among many) and extend the tax to services, as Iowa does.
And also tax some retirement income, as most states that have an income tax do.
Pundits say the political barriers to Nowlan-Johnson are insuperable, because taxes would increase on all of us, not just the rich, and voters wouldn’t stand for it.
So, as I say, chaos.
It’s called a conundrum, that is, a really difficult and intricate problem.
= = = = =
For many years, Jim Nowlan was a senior fellow and political science professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He has worked for three unindicted governors and published a weekly newspaper in central Illinois.
He also was elected State Representative, ran as Governor Richard B. Ogilvie’s running mate in 1972. served as campaign manager of statewide races and been Director of various state government departments.
McHenry County, IL. (ECWd) – When anonymous posters made comments to some of McHenry County Blog’s articles referencing former McHenry County Clerk and current Judicial Candidate Mary McClellan, the candidate filed a pre-lawsuit Motion to identify the anonymous posters.
The NW Herald took offense to the method used in defending against the Motion, and the Chicago Tribune took offense to the Poll the NWHerald posted asking people to vote on an offensive definition to the word whore.
McClellan claimed in the court filing that she was honest and enjoyed a good reputation – in defense Hanlon cited her Sanction from 7th Circuit Court of Appeals attacking her honesty and reputation.
In particular, McClellan claimed she was called a “whore,” however, when reading the offending post, she was called a “150 union whore” (she must have “accidentally” left out the 150 union part) – which has a completely different contextual meaning.
Nevertheless, as part of the blog’s defense of the word used, Attorney Rob Hanlon quoted Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of “whore” – which is promiscuous or immoral woman (then pointed to her having a child out of wedlock) to explain that even though offensive and distasteful, it cannot be deemed actionable (page 7) using the innocent construction rule and Illinois Rules of Evidence, Methods of Proving Character (Rule 405).
We suspect McClellan’s court filings will go nowhere, but who knows, we could get a surprise.
Below are some court rulings on speech, whether it be hate speech or anonymous speech:
In Matal v Tam (2017), Justice Alito said “that the Lanham Act constituted impermissible discrimination based on viewpoint. The law’s prohibition of offensive ideas “strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’”
In protecting anonymity in speech, the United States Supreme Court, in the 1995 McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission states that “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.”
In 2018, a United States District Court of Appeals determined that unmasking an anonymous blogger’s identity, even after losing a defamation case, infringes on his rights under the First Amendment because the unmasking in connection with both his protected and unprotected speech might hinder his ability to engage in anonymous speech in the future.
Live at 6:06PM CST, Dr. Kinzler will be on live as a member of Bruce Dumont’s Panel
6th district Republican congressional candidate Dr. Gordon “Jay” Kinzler will be part of the 4-person panel on tonight’s broadcast of Beyond the Beltway.
The show is broadcast live nationwide, and locally can be heard on WCGO 1590 AM. Additionally, you can stream the show, with video, live on Facebook or YouTube.
Indeed, it will stream right here on McHenry County Blog at 6:06PM CST:
With the actions about to be taken on lowering prescription drug prices in Washington in the coming week, hopefully, Dr. Kinzler can give the first hand account from a medical professional’s perspective of the reasons why prescription drug prices are so high in the United States compared with the rest of the world.
And may tonight’s discussion include what can the President and Congress do to lower the prices of prescription drugs through executive and/or legislative action.
Prescription drug prices has loomed large in Washington in recent weeks right up there with impeachment, and other important issues Congress is trying to wrap up before the Holiday recess begins after December 20.
(McHenry County Blog note: With multiple actions taking place in Washington in the next two weeks on prescription drugs prices, press releases & statements from The White House and Congress to be shared on this complex issue to keep everyone informed)
House Drug Pricing Bill Could Keep 100 Lifesaving Drugs from American Patients
The Trump Administration is committed to lowering prescription drug prices while encouraging medical innovation to help patients access new lifesaving drugs. H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, may share the Trump Administration’s first goal of lowering prices, but the threat it poses to continued medical innovation will harm American patients in ways that far outweigh any benefits.
H.R. 3 aims to lower prices for select drugs by effectively forcing drug manufacturers to accept prices set by the Secretary of Health and Human Services—or otherwise face an excise tax of up to 95 percent of sales. This tax would not be deductible for income tax calculations, so drug manufacturers could lose money from selling the drug. Consequently, manufacturers would either have to accept the Secretary’s price for a given drug or decline to sell it in the United States.
The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates that H.R. 3 could lead to as many as 100 fewer drugs entering the United States market over the next decade, or about one-third of the total number of drugs expected to enter the market during that time. CEA also estimates that by limiting access to lifesaving drugs, H.R. 3 would reduce Americans’ average life expectancy by about four months—nearly one-quarter of the projected gains in life expectancy over the next decade.
Furthermore, the economic value of this loss of new, better drugs, and the resulting worse health outcomes, could reach $1 trillion per year over the next decade. That is far larger than H.R. 3’s projected savings.
Even supporters of the bill have conceded its potential harmful effects on drug innovation. The Congressional Budget Office acknowledges these effects, and suggests that the bill would result in 8 to 15 fewer drugs coming to market over the next decade. However, CBO does not reveal its methodology for making this assessment, and the studies it cites argue for a much larger reduction in the number of new drugs coming to market. Another study suggesting the bill would have a minor impact on innovation assumes that pharmaceutical firms and markets do not respond to profitability changes when deciding how to invest, and also ignores the role that small biotech firms play in pharmaceutical innovation.
CBO’s assessment suggests that H.R. 3 could reduce pharmaceutical company revenues by $500 billion to $1 trillion over the next decade, which would have noticeable negative effects on drug innovation. Since pharmaceutical companies typically spend 15 percent to 20 percent of their revenue on research and development, this revenue decrease would probably result in a $75 billion to $200 billion reduction in research and development expenditures over the next decade. For comparison, CEA conservatively assumes the cost of developing a new drug to be $2 billion, which explains how CEA reached the estimate that H.R. 3 could result in as many as 100 fewer drugs entering the market over the next decade.
CEA’s estimates are at the low end of the damage caused by H.R. 3. For example, in its assessment of the bill, CBO cites a study that finds that increasing the potential size of the drug market by $2.5 billion in revenue is associated with one new drug. Based on the CBO’s preliminary analysis of a projected $500 billion to $1 trillion revenue decline over the next decade, this study suggests 200 to 400 fewer drugs will enter the market, far larger than CEA’s estimate. Otherstudies cited by CBO suggest even larger harmful effects.
Reducing the number of new drugs by one-third over the next decade would have substantial negative effects on Americans’ health. To value the economic costs from these negative health effects, it is estimated that spending $2,000 on pharmaceutical research and development increases population health by one statistical life-year. This means that H.R. 3 would reduce population health by 37.5 million to 100 million life years over the next decade. In other words, H.R. 3 would reduce Americans’ average life expectancy by about four months.
As another way of showing the bill’s costs, H.R. 3 would save the Government an average of $34.5 billion per year over the next decade. Using standardmethods of valuing health gains, CEA estimates that the economic value of the bill’s resulting reduction in health outcomes ranges from $375 billion to $1 trillion per year over the next decade. This means that H.R. 3’s long-term health costs are at least 10 times larger than the short-term savings to the Federal Government.
The Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing drug prices through market-based mechanisms, such as approving new generics and removing barriers to drug innovation, has provided Americans with the largest and longest drop in drug prices in over five decades. Lowering the price of prescription drugs is rightly a major concern for American patients and policymakers, but H.R. 3 is the wrong approach to address a pressing problem—especially when bipartisan legislative alternatives that encourage innovation while lowering prescription drug prices are gaining support in Congress.
Heavy-handed government intervention may reduce drug prices in the short term, but these savings are not worth the long-term cost of American patients losing access to new lifesaving treatments.
Crystal Lake Police releases Thanksgiving enforcement numbers
Crystal Lake, IL – The Crystal Lake Police Department made 2 impaired driving arrests and issued 7 seat belt and child safety seat citations during the recent Thanksgiving enforcement effort.
During the mobilization, the Department:
Stopped 57 motorists for traffic violations Issued a total of 43 traffic citations which included: 12 citations for speeding 16 citations for unlawful use of an electronic communications device 6 citations for other moving violations and equipment 7 citations for occupant protection 2 citation for operation of an uninsured motor vehicle 16 warning citations were issued In addition, 2 persons were arrested for the following offenses: 2 adults for DUI alcohol and for having a BAC over .08 1 adult for Endangering the life and safety of a child.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois participated in this effort to save lives by getting impaired drivers off the roads and more people buckled up.
The enforcement campaign took place from Nov. 22 through Dec. 2.
During the mobilization, extra emphasis was placed on enforcement during late-night hours, when statistics show the most unbuckled and impaired driving fatalities occur.
McHenry, IL. — A recent report ranks Illinois at the bottom of the 50 states for fiscal transparency, and as a new decade looms, lawmakers must commit to improving the state’s system of drawing legislative boundaries to limit undue influence from politicians and special interests.
In other news, kudos to Aunt Martha’s, a community-based not-for-profit that does amazing work providing critical health care and wellness services for underserved clients. Also, there was great conversation about Illinois issues making news these days at a special gathering at Rush Creek Distilling in Harvard and, I paid a visit to Hilltop Elementary School in McHenry for the Illinois Principal’s Association’s “Principal for a Day” program.
Finally, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is recognizing the academic achievements of its newest group of Illinois State Scholars, including dozens of high schoolers from the 32nd Senate District.
Illinois was ranked ninth-worst, with the state’s score negatively affected by such factors as the late delivery of its annual documents, a failure to have an external auditor look at the numbers, and a distorted net financial position due to misleading and confusing information in its report.
The Truth in Accounting group measures each state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report in an annual report, and issues scores based on a number of criteria including public accessibility, whether the states used an outside auditor, the auditor’s opinion, timeliness of the report, financial liabilities and pension data.
Idaho, North Dakota and Nevada were ranked at the top of the report, while Connecticut was ranked 50th.
Legislative redistricting reform must be a priority
For many years, Senate Republicans strongly advocated for creating a new, non-partisan system for drawing legislative boundaries. Earlier this year, the Caucus pledged support for the passage of a bipartisan Constitutional Amendment that would have allowed Illinois residents to have their say on the issue.
The state’s current system of drawing voting maps is geared toward protecting current officeholders. Districts are drawn – by politicians – to protect partisan incumbents, and ensure that the majority caucus is likely to continue to hold those seats for the next 10 years (when maps are redrawn).
Redistricting reform requires the General Assembly to submit an amendment to the Illinois Constitution – providing voters the opportunity to put a new system in place. The most recent Constitutional Amendment would place the question of fair maps on the ballot for the next statewide election.
While the Senate Republican Caucus has been working on this issue for many years, the Democrat majority has not allowed the matter to reach the voters despite a nationwide call for fair map plans from members of both parties.
Public Service Excellence
Thanks to Aunt Martha’s, the community not-for-profit organization that does great work providing critical health and wellness services to thousands of underserved citizens for the invitation to their luncheon on December 3.
A presentation featured a live interview of the organization’s President and CEO Raul Garza by long-time and award-winning Chicago journalist Robin Robinson.
Aunt Martha’s does heroic work serving 70,000 patients and clients each year. They employ a highly-trained staff and motivated volunteers to bring quality healthcare and wellness programs where it’s needed most.
They serve at-risk families at 22 community healthcare locations, mostly in the Chicago metropolitan area, but also in downstate communities of Danville, Rockford, Toulon, Watseka, and Woodstock.
Our latest “Conversations Untapped” event brought us to Rush Creek Distilling in Harvard on Tuesday evening, December 3.
We had great conversations on public pensions, corruption allegations that are making news lately, taxes – quite a common concern, recreational marijuana and township consolidation, which is always a hot local topic. Thanks to all who came out to talk. I value these opportunities to interact and hear directly from constituents.
If you weren’t able to make our event, I encourage you to reach out to me about issues important to you. There are several ways we can stay in touch. Call my district or Capitol offices: 815/455-6330 or 217/782-8000 or, go to my legislative website at www.senatorwilcox.com. There is a contact tab at the top of the page, which you can use to email me directly. At the website, I also post news from the Capitol and you can sign up for my free newsletter, and connect with state government agencies and resources.
Hilltop Elementary School Visit
On Wednesday, December 4, I visited with the students of Hilltop Elementary School in McHenry for the Illinois Principals Association’s “Principal for a Day” program.
Thanks to Principal Christy Brown for the tour. I also had a great time with third graders to talk about “How a Bill Becomes Law,” and also visited the school’s Innovation Center, which is under the capable hands of teacher Gina Nicholls. I met with first grade students who are learning about science, technology, engineering and math. The Center exemplifies Hilltop’s motto: “Today’s Learners… Tomorrow’s Leaders.”
Local High School State Scholars – Recognizing Excellence
The Illinois Students Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced the 2020-2021 Illinois State Scholars during the week. There are dozens of Illinois State Scholars in the 32nd Senate District of which we should all be proud. They are great achievers and reflect well on their families and their schools.
Illinois State Scholars, who rank in approximately the top ten percent of graduates from Illinois high schools, are selected annually based on their ACT and SAT exams and sixth semester class rank. Each Illinois State Scholar receives a congratulatory letter from ISAC and a Certificate of Achievement.
Honorees can download an official Illinois State Scholar badge that can be displayed on their online profiles and social media platforms and shared with high school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others.