A communication from State Rep, Steve Reick:
The following is an email I sent to the members of the Illinois House, Republican and Democrat about HB348, a township bill that would have a devastating effect on McHenry County, and is a bill which the sponsor adamantly refuses todiscuss with those most affected.:
“After listening to the hearing last week in the Counties and Townships Committee on H.B. 348, I must try to set the record straight.
The sponsor of the bill was, to be generous, not fully forthcoming in his explanation of the bill, what it provides and the steps he’s taken to include interested stakeholders in the process of its drafting and introduction.
The bill is identical to a bill passed last session and vetoed by the Governor.
I’ve written about last-year’s bill (click here) and I urge you to read my objections to it.
The major issues are
- the loss of motor fuel taxes which will be diverted from any dissolved township and distributed statewide,
- the elimination of General Assistance,
- the absorption of Township debt by the County and
- the miniscule petition requirements for putting a resolution on the ballot.
When asked by the Committee if he had spoken with anyone in McHenry County about his bill, including members of the County Board, Representative McSweeney told the Committee that he had spoken with the Chairman.
He has not spoken to anyone on the County Board, nor anyone else, for that matter.
He’s refused to talk to Senator Craig Wilcox, who has offered legislation (S.B. 1567), which is much in the form of H.B. 348, yet which offers provisions which address the concerns noted above.
The McHenry County Board has gone so far as to adopt a resolution asking that the bill be rejected, and I’ve received an email from the Legislative Coordinator for the Cook County Board President indicating that Board’s objection to the bill due to the kind of precedent it could set for Cook County should its provisions be adopted there.
At the Committee hearing last week, Representative McSweeney agreed that he would hold the bill on second reading pending a meeting with stakeholders in McHenry County.
The attitude he displayed in Committee does not bode well for any kind of constructive dialogue, but we will continue to reach out with the hope that it will be forthcoming.
The Committee Chairman has voiced his frustration at having to “referee political squabbles in McHenry County”, and I don’t blame him.
But when the sponsor of the bill won’t talk to you, there’s no place else to go.
I’m asking you to insist that the Committee’s instruction be heeded, and that substantive discussions be held with members of the McHenry County Board, Senator Wilcox, the representative for the McHenry Council of Governments as well as the elected Representatives whose districts include McHenry County, including myself.
Absent any kind of constructive dialogue leading to an amendment to address the legitimate concerns of the people of McHenry County, I respectfully request that, should it come to a vote on the floor, you vote “no”.
If you’d like to discuss this bill with me, please feel free to call me or send me an email. Thanks.”