State Rep. Mike Tryon sums up the week in the message below:
“We are two weeks into the 98th General Assembly and I was hoping to be able to report that with the beginning of the new session, lawmakers would feel a new sense of urgency in addressing Illinois’ most critical issues. Unfortunately, so far I have seen nothing that would suggest that Governor Quinn or the Democrat-controlled House and Senate are interested in changing course. I will continue with my fight for fiscal restraint and accountability, and for laws that promote job creation in Illinois.
House Adopts Rules for 98th General Assembly
“There are 118 elected members of the Illinois House of Representatives and each of us serve approximately 108,000 people.
“On Wednesday, in a party line vote of 69-47, House Democrats approved House Resolution 34, which set the House Rules for the 98th General Assembly.
“This resolution erodes individual Representative rights and further consolidates power into the hands of House Speaker Mike Madigan.
“The rules allow the majority party to suppress individual members’ bills and block fair hearings on issues of importance for Representatives’ home districts.
“HR34 also decreases transparency and accountability by decreasing the notice requirements for floor amendments to bills.
“It also allows for the continuance of the disgraceful practice of one individual having sole control over which bills are brought to the floor for discussion and which bills die in committee.
“House Republicans tried with no success to push through rules that would have limited the power of the House Speaker and increase the rights and abilities of individual members, so they could best serve and represent their constituents. Other Republican-supported rules would have improved transparency and public participation in governance by creating specific requirements for advance notice when bills are amended.
Legislative Assignments Announced for the 98th General Assembly
“Last week, House Committee Assignments were announced. I am pleased to be serving as the Republican Spokesperson for the Environment, Energy and Mass Transit Committees. I will also serve as a member of the Executive Committee and the Special Committee on Business Growth & Incentives. In addition to these committee assignments, I will be joining Republican House colleagues Patti Bellock and Raymond Poe on the Commission for Government Forecasting & Accountability. This bi-partisan commission includes 12 legislators; six members of the Senate and six members of the House. Membership on the committee is determined by Speaker Madigan, Republican House Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno.
Governor Quinn Gives State of the State Address
“On Wednesday, Governor Quinn presented his annual State of the State Address before a joint session of the House and Senate.
“I was hoping to hear a speech that focused on the need to solve our tragic and mounting fiscal crisis, growing the Illinois economy, protecting the hard-working taxpayers and preserving services for our state’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Instead, we got to hear a campaign kick-off speech that focused on new spending initiatives that would endear him with his voting base, but which did not address the state’s financial crisis.
“The need for pension reform and controlled spending should have been the centerpieces of his address. They were not.
“This is a year where some tough decisions will need to be made and I heard nothing in this speech which suggested the Governor is interested in showing leadership.
“The Governor had an incredible opportunity this week to educate the citizens about the $200 billion in unfunded obligations and debt, a backlog of 210,000 unpaid bills totaling over $9 billion owed to state vendors, the $3 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills, and the $96.8 billion pension shortfall that grows by $17.1 million every day. Illinois now has the lowest credit rating of all 50 states.
“The debt per person in Illinois is over $21,000. Illinoisans are anxiously waiting for the implementation of real solutions and reform. These are bipartisan issues that we all should be able to solve for the good of the people.
New Spending Bill Flies Through House and Senate; Signed by Governor
“With the election in November, the Democrats took super majorities in both the House and Senate.
“The strength of the controlling party is starting to show, because this week a $2.1 billion supplemental appropriations bill passed through the House and Senate with ease and was signed by the Governor within hours of its passage in the Senate.
“This was the first test of how Illinois House members are going to face the fiscal challenges of the 98th General Assembly.
“It is unbelievable that on the very first day of considering serious legislation, the majority of the House appeared to be focused on spending and not on reform. It was very disappointing.
“This state has an enormous pension crisis and a $9 billion backlog of bills, yet the first thing the House did this year was vote to spend more money.
“What started out to be a smaller appropriations bill grew exponentially since the legislation was first introduced.
“I could have voted for this legislation if we had separated out essential services and would have strongly supported issues such as additional funding for the Department of Children and Family Services to hire needed workers and the $12 million mental health appropriation that was inadvertently left out of the 2013 fiscal budget.
“For example, $1 million was added to pay for newly created executive director positions for various agencies that the Governor authorized and $6.5 million suddenly appeared for electrical repairs at Chicago State University, while other universities provide for their own maintenance…these are simply unacceptable additions.
“Anytime a bill is rushed through the process like this one was, there are always unintended consequences and I simply could not support this kind of spending.
New Legislative Map in Effect
“Every ten years, the General Assembly redraws legislative boundaries to reflect the federal census so that each legislator has relatively the same number of residents.
“I am now representing District 66. While some of my former constituents from the previous map have moved with me to district 66, the boundaries for my district have changed substantially.
“If you have any questions, you can check out this map to see if your address was affected by the redistricting. http://maps.ilhousegop.info/files/state.html.
“Your Input is Helpful!
“The issues confronting the General Assembly are often time controversial and emotionally-charged. I welcome your input and opinions. It is an honor to serve you in the General Assembly.”